But you ain’t never gone be happy till you love yours…. -J Cole
Love Yourz will probably forever remain one of my favorite J. Cole tracks. When I first heard the song I was going through a very difficult time in my personal life, which caused me to become severely depressed. The song spoke to my soul in so many ways because the lyrics were so relatable. I think all of us at some point have compared our lives and situations to other people and it made us salty or bitter about our own situation. The truth of the matter is that when we see other people’s lives, it’s usually an illusion. We don’t see the full picture and we don’t know what their reality is like.
Even though the song focuses on loving your situation despite it not really being the best, it also opened my eyes to how I was wasn’t loving myself. Around the time Cole released 2014 Forest Hills Drive , I was in the beginning phase of my natural hair journey. The “journey” is the process your hair is going through as it changes over time. When most females go natural they have to relearn their hair because they’ve gotten so accustomed to wearing it a certain way, and using certain types of hair products and appliances. In a way it’s like you’re starting back over from scratch.
Honestly I didn’t make the decision to change my hair to embrace my natural beauty, make a statement, or to represent black pride. I simply just wanted to have healthier hair, but along the way my natural hair journey became a deeper more personal journey. It became a journey of self discovery and change. Just like I had to relearn my hair over, I was learning who I was all over.
For so long my hair was a representation of who I was. I was used to being defined by my hair. I was used to presenting myself a certain way to people for years especially in terms of my appearance, so when I decided to change my look it brought out so many insecurities. I realized how I was somewhat dependent on other people’s opinion for validation. When I wore my hair bone straight flowing past my shoulders, I was accustomed to getting certain reactions…….
“Your hair is so beautiful”
“You look so beautiful.”
To change my hair and have different reactions or no reactions at all was a little nerve wrecking and it took away from my confidence.
My natural hair (present day). 🙂
Surprisingly I think the most negative responses about my hair came from my mom. She felt that my new look took away from me and that it didn’t enhance my beauty. She felt that it made me less presentable and less approachable to others. Other people also gave their opinion on what they felt complemented me better. They told me that this “look” wasn’t me. It made me realize how much of my life I lived being who people told me I was or should be. Changing my hair became liberating and a way of saying I’m not living my life a certain way to please anyone else anymore.
Looking back, another thing I realized was that I had a bad habit of looking in the mirror excessively. I would over analyze and criticize what “I” considered was a flaw when I looked in the mirror. I didn’t love myself as much as I thought, and it made me see the way I loved myself was largely based on how I was loved and received by others. I definitely had some internal work to do and that was a big reason that I decided to take a break from relationships. I wanted to love myself authentically before I let someone else in my life. How you feel about yourself can affect so many areas of your life and it plays a huge role in the relationships you have with others.
There is no mastering self love, it’s something that you continuously have to work on. I still have days when my confidence is down and I’m hard on myself, but those days are few and far between. I’ve come a long way on my journey, and I feel that I’ve grown and changed for the better. I feel like I’m becoming the greatest version of myself daily and that makes loving myself so much easier.
Do any of you have a self love story? Drop a comment below and let’s talk about it!