Before you read this article, please take a mirror or a recent photograph of yourself and name 5 things you hate about your face and 1 thing you like about your face. Write them down somewhere (or memorize them) and then come back to this page and read the rest of this article. See you in a few minutes!
Welcome back! You will soon understand why that exercise is important!
I recently read a post on wikiHow about dark skin and how to love your dark skin. The author describes dark skin as “majestic and very attractive.” I am not sure who the author is or whether he/she is dark or light skinned, but I took pleasure in reading all the positive things this writer had to say about dark skin. Clearly the writer wasn’t referring to dark skin within a specific race, but to dark skin in general. I loved that. I wanted to share this with you because as human beings we all love feeling good about ourselves and when people compliment you, even the most humble person feels good deep inside.
I’m going to “keep it real” and tell you that I loved reading that article because it really made me feel good about my skin tone. I mean, who doesn’t like to be told they are “majestic and very attractive” right? LOL. However, though it is good to like hearing positive things about yourself from others, the first person who should appreciate you is YOU!
In our colour-conscious world, people are often judged by the colour and tone of their skin. This happens in all races. For some or other reason, people who have skin qualified as “dark” are often marginalised and qualified as “not beautiful,” “dirty,” “poor,” etc. It makes it hard to build your self-esteem in a world where you are considered “ugly” or “unworthy” because of your skin tone. I have struggled for many years because of my dark skin tone. So naturally, it feels good when there are people out there who “praise” dark skin and who appreciate it. But I personally think that in order to TRULY love your skin, the love should come from yourself first before coming from outside opinions.
I love the saying “don’t leave your happiness in someone else’s hands; hold it in yours so that it will always be within your reach.” Imagine if the only way you can appreciated the colour of your skin comes from the fact that someone always compliments you about it. The day that person stops or changes their mind, what will happen to your self-esteem? But if from the bottom of your heart, before anyone else even says anything, you manage to love your skin, it won’t matter whether people like it or not. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that it is easier said than done, but in the end it is worth it.
There isn’t a manual that shows you how exactly to love your skin, but it is more than possible because many people are comfortable in their skin no matter what. Personally, I needed to start by loving myself as a person before looking at my physical self. Once I accomplished that, I needed to feel comfortable enough to be me without worrying about what people would say or think. A few practical things to do are:
Do something you love that makes you feel good about yourself. Find some free time at least once a week to do something that makes you feel good. I, for example, love painting my nails (I know it is random, but I really do) so I paint my nails once a week because it relaxes me and because I love the way my nails look. It makes me feel good about myself and it boosts my confidence. Perhaps you like getting your hair done or you enjoy cooking for the people you love. Whatever it may be, do it as long as it is something you love and it is something that gives you a sense of self-fulfilment.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparing yourself to others is probably one of the worse things you can do to your self-esteem. Always remember that you are unique. Don’t compare any of your features to anybody else, not even members of your family.
Boost your self-esteem by taking care of your heath and your physical appearance. By this I mean eat healthy food and exercise to make sure your health is on point, and also dress up from time to time and let the world see you at your best. It is true that “when you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you do good.” Find out what style (hair, clothes, shoes, make-up, etc.) you like for yourself and rock it! Do what works for YOU and the right people will notice you. It WILL boost your self-esteem. Take care of your physical beauty; don’t “let yourself go.”
Lastly I would like to tell you one of the things that helps me the most:Be happy and surround yourself with positive energy!!!! This may sound silly but it is true! I’m telling you this based on my person experiences. Of course life has it’s ups and downs, but try to be happy and to surround yourself with positive energy. Weirdly enough, the energy that you put out into the world is the energy you will get back! Try it, it really works! I remember I recently had the worse week, but I picked myself up, dusted myself off and I focused on the positive things in life. I became so happy and cheerful and the next day, out of the blue, I literally got six compliments, from people I don’t know, in the grocery store. The positive energy I gave out came back to me. Being positive makes you feel good, and makes the world feel good about you too (expect for all the haters.,lol).
Now go back to the list you wrote down before reading this article. Be honest with yourself and answer this: were the things you wrote down based on what others think or even based on a comparison you made with someone else? After answering, go do something you love and that makes you feel good, pamper yourself and just be happy with positive energy. Once you have done this, look at yourself in the mirror and write down 5 things you like about your face and 1 thing you hate about your face.
I hoped you enjoyed this and I hope you actually go through with the exercise I left you. I would love to hear some feedback from you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or to leave a comment.
By Stella Mpisi.
The author, a Congolese-born (Democratic Republic of Congo) South African woman, is a writer, poet, blogger, songwriter, motivational speaker and colourism activist.
Follow her at @AuthorMpisi