By Asten Cosby
“Love yourself, girl, or nobody will.” J. Cole raps in his 2013 song “Crooked Smile,” one of the songs that inspired me to accept myself and love myself as is.
One thing that I have noticed that is extremely present in the members of my demographic (college-aged women, specifically African-American college aged women) is the quest for self love.
This self love runs a little deeper than going to a spa or buying yourself lunch. The Self-love that i’m talking about can change your entire perception of yourself. Self Love is truly accepting and loving yourself, flaws and all.
When i realized the impact this concept had on people I was compelled to do more research.Why is it so hard to achieve this level of comfort with yourself? The answer i received to this question didn’t surprise me.
It was Success.
This is success is current and comparable. it deals with the ability to see just how well your success stacks up to your peers. Now, by success, I’m not just talking about money. I’m talking about overall well-being. Appearance, social status, accomplishments, money, and popularity. In my research i have found that Oftentimes, we find ourselves comparing ourselves to others. And there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with it. We’re human and we want to know that we are doing just as well as, if not better than, everyone else.
“It took a while for me to be able to accept who I am as a person because I was constantly comparing myself to other girls I see on my timeline who are always buying expensive, name brand clothing,” Kristan says. “I just recently saw a girl who bought Louboutins and it made me kind of feel bad because I want that kind of stuff, but I can’t afford it.”
“It took some time for me because I found myself trying to keep up with some of the girls I saw on my Instagram, “ Leah said. “I was always trying to be up on the latest trends because I didn’t want to be left behind.”
So I wondered how do you really learn to love yourself?
Tia said, “I had to take a hiatus from the media. I stopped using social media, I stopped watching television, and I had to stop looking at things that I felt would ‘trigger,’ for a lack of a better word, my insecurity. I had done this for three months, and I slowly had to re-introduce myself to the media and I had to remember that although I may never look like them, I’m still beautiful and I love myself over everything else.”
“I actually had to constantly remind myself that I was not destined to be like the ‘stereotypical’ Black woman,” Leah added “I’m not going to be a welfare queen, I’m gonna finish school, I’m going to be a boss.”
Stress and uncertainty might be other reasons why college women are taking blows to their self-esteem. Think about it, we’re going to college for at least four years, paying thousands of dollars for a degree that honestly, doesn’t guarantee us a successful career or even a job.
“I stress a lot about how my life is gonna turn out,” Tiffany says. “Like, I’m going through all of this stress and paying all of this money and I’m gonna be up to my ears in debt when I get out of school. I have no way of knowing if I’m going to be able to pay it all back easily.”
I receive a lot of pressure from my family to make sure I get a good job after college so I can pay back the money that I owe. Everything comes back around to being successful.
If you’re reading this article and you’re feeling like your self-esteem and your confidence isn’t where you think it should be, know that you got this. You’re talented, you’re beautiful, you’re strong, and you got what it takes to be a boss. I’m extremely proud of you.
If you’ve ever dealt with self-love issues, let us know in the comments. Tell us how you got over them. Share your tips for boosting self-esteem, confidence, and enhancing the overall love you have for yourself.