In honor of Valentines Day, I am reposting one of my favorite blog posts that I wrote some years ago. I find that it is as relevant today as it was when I first wrote it. Enjoy.
“Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi, thirteenth-century Sufi poet “Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.” ― Steve Maraboli
As we celebrate the day of luv remember to honor, luv and accept your SELF right where you are. SELF is the core of who you are, your essence your Divinity. Accept it, luv it and honor it for doing so you are honoring the Divine in you!
Do something nice for your SELF today: rest, take a hot bath, dance, read a book, listen to soothing music…give your SELF a break from the stress and strain of life and give your SELF something wonder-filled.
I do hope that while you are expressing luv to those in your circle that you will take the time to give luv to your SELF. To guide you into doing do Please download my gift of Luv to you. It is an e-book entitled Daily Desserts to Inspire Self-Luv. I hope that it will indeed inspire you to find luv within you.
We process and view life through the lens of our own experience. Our environment growing up, our values, beliefs, teachings and personal ethics all shape our opinion of the people and events around us.
The problem comes in when we only see life through the lens of our own experience. We all could benefit from each of us getting outside of ourselves and viewing life and events through the lenses and opinions of others. After all, each of us has something valuable to add to our collective experience.
Many of you who have followed my work know that I have been an advocate for women and girls my entire career. It’s why I write this blog. What you may not know is my work in domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. It is something I have done for many years in addition to my political career. I serve on boards and commissions whose work it is to not only bring awareness to the issue of DV and Sexual assault, but to advocate for policy and programs to serve victims.
Four years ago, R & B singer R. Kelly was due to appear in concert here in Las Vegas. You all may now be familiar with the years old accusations against him which include sexual assault of underage girls thanks to the documentary Surviving R. Kelly produced by Dream Hampton which recently aired on Lifetime network. Though the world was shocked to learn of his treatment of women and girls, some of us have been familiar with these accusations for many years.
In an effort to shut down the concert, I launched a coalition of concerned women who worked diligently to bring awareness to the singers alleged atrocities committed against women and girls and to shut down the concert. Though we were not successful in stopping the concert we were successful in getting media coverage and bringing attention to his alleged crimes. I’m proud of the work that the coalition did to stop the concert and I’m proud of the work we continue to do on behalf of women and girls.
Considering the documentary Surviving R. Kelly and the work I helped spearhead to stop his concert four years ago, I received calls from people asking what I had to say about the documentary and was I pleased that it aired. Rather than speaking on the documentary I have chosen to direct my energy to what is most important to me and that is doing the work to ensure that young women and girls (and boys too) understand their value and worth. I want to make sure that we are providing spaces and tools for young people to develop a healthy sense of self-worth and value. If you have ever experienced domestic violence or sexual assault you may feel like a part of you has been stripped away. You may feel like you have no value. I want to tell you that though you may have been victimized you don’t have to take on a victim mentality. Your experience does not have to become your story or your identity. Your experience of assault is not who you are. It is part of your experience, but it is not the totality of you. Your power is internal and comes from your Divinity. It can never be stripped from you nor can it be diminished.
If you need to, please get professional help to guide you through your healing process. Get whatever support you need to get healthy. But whatever you do, always know that no matter what your experiences are in life, they don’t define who you are.
In our society we have been conditioned to believe that we must live for others, to make others the center of our lives. Whether it be our children, our spouse or partner, our career, our ministry works etc., for many people, our value comes from dedicating our life to serving other people. Parents build their lives around their children and “live for them.” Some people build their lives around their career and everything they do is to further their career or business. Some wake up in the morning and immediately begin to think about what they can do to make their business or career better; how they can make their company better or make their clients or employer happy. We dedicate our days to providing for our children, driving them to where they need to be, building them up emotionally, making sure they have everything they need or everything we didn’t have when we were their ages. We live to be in service to our churches, houses of worship, pastors, fellow parishioners and members of our communities.
But what happens when the things we are living for are no longer there? What happens when we separate from our company? What happens when your children leave home? As unfortunate as it may be the possibility that a child may die before a parent is a real one. When the things we are living for are no longer there who will we live for then?
It is our nature to want to do our best and to have others think highly of us and to be pleased with us and the work that we do. We want to make others happy. But we must live for ourselves. This is not to say that we must neglect others in our lives, but it is to say that we must be our own center of our life. When we make ourselves the center of our lives and do things for us that make us happy, others will feel the effects of this. It is okay to think of yourself and what you want when making decisions. It is okay to consider how decisions that others are asking us to make will affect us. We don’t have to wear ourselves down to do something that others are asking us to do if it will affect us in a negative way; if it will cause you stress, disturb your peace or cause a burden for you it is okay to say no.
As we head into a new year, I encourage you to look at your life and ask yourself who are you living for. If the answer is not yourself then I hope that for the new year your goal will be to make yourself the center of your life.
How did you come to be who you are? Did you choose the person you are or did someone else-society, religion, your parents-tell you who to be?
Recently I served as a panelist as part of a discussion on black woman, stereotypes and the #MeToo movement. The discussion centered on the stereotypes associated with black women and how those stereotypes helped perpetuate sexual violence against black women and how those stories are or are not being told in this time of #MeToo.
During the discussion the topic of black womanhood came up, specifically, what it means to be a black woman. My response was that as women, we came into our womanhood in a patriarchal society and that our womanhood has been defined by others. Men. A society that is male centered and male dominated has decided what the standards for being a woman are and women themselves have perpetuated this standard. Men have decided the standards for what a woman should be, how she should dress, how she should speak, how she should behave, wear her hair, who she should date and most importantly, her sexuality. And all of it is based on the needs, wants and desires of males.
Question for you: Did you as a woman have a say in setting the standard for who you are as a woman or did you fall in line with what was dictated to you? Do you sit quietly when you really have the desire to roar because you have been told that a lady is not loud? Do you stand by when you seen an injustice being committed against others when the warrior spirit in you really wants to fight against that injustice? Do you forgo the short miniskirt that set your heart ablaze when you first saw it or do you choose the more “appropriate” longer skirt because society says that only whores wear dresses that short?
My point is to inspire you to think about how you became who you are. If you are not being the woman you really want to be then I encourage you to courageously explore who you really are, what it is that you really like and what womanhood means for you and start on the path to becoming that woman. Know that you are supported every step of the way by the Divine. After all, it is the Divine who created you.