Increasing your self-love

Latara Boodie, Youthlink Writer

What does Black History Month mean to you? February is the month selected to celebrate black history and the life, achievements and character of the black community. There is great pride despite the adversities which we, as a people, have overcome as we have grown stronger from defying the odds we have had to face.

Despite Jamaica being predominantly inhabited by black people, a large portion of the population continues to undermine the beauty that comes with being a child of African descent. This has been the case for generations and the notion of 'the lighter, the better' has led several individuals, especially teenagers and young adults, to bleach their skins and take other drastic measures to appear 'beautiful'.

Realising beauty comes from within is a feat many twice our age are still grappling with. Alas, everything takes time, patience and practice. The road to self-love is a tricky one, but here are five tips to help you get on the right path.

1 Your body is a temple, treat it as such

You are what you eat and your body is the product of your lifestyle. Be intentional about what you put into and on your body, not only because you want to look good but also because your desire is to feel good. If you want radiant skin, make it a habit to eat healthier and adapt a cleaner ways of living. Channel all the negative energy you have for your body into positive actions that can improve how you look. Don't sit and mope and rely on cosmetics to cover up your issues. Health is beautiful. A word to the wise is sufficient: it may be difficult to start but it is absolutely worth it. Team work makes the dream work, so get a group of friends who have the same goal and make them your support group.

2 Know Your Self-Worth

"Your outlook on life is a direct reflection on how much you like yourself," Lululemon.

Many of us judge our worth according to how much we are able to please other people, whether physically or via our personality. You may find it easier to adapt to society's dictates than embrace what makes you unique, but this does nothing more than depreciate your value significantly, because it makes you no different from the next person. Acknowledging and accepting what makes you yourself is another step towards self-love. It is easy to point out your flaws. The difficulty lies in finding the positive things you possess and what you can do. Be patient with yourself, you are only human.

3 Shift Your Self-Perspective

Imagine if you could step outside of yourself. Would you like the person you are? Would you want to be your own best friend? Reflection is necessary for progression. Analyse how you treat the people around you. This is a clear indication of how you treat yourself. If you are always negative towards people, it is because you are generally negative towards your character and yourself.

4 Tap into Divinity

Whatever your religion or beliefs, having a sense of spirituality instills inner peace and is a great mood booster. "We find profound levels of meaning in life, greater positive emotions, less negative emotions, higher self-esteem," said Todd Kashdan, a psychologist at George Mason University in Virginia. Spirituality comes in various forms. Research and choose what works best for you.

5 Believe in Your Path

There is no rule book to life. Every action relies on trial and error. Have faith in your own decisions and remember that you are the only judge of your accomplishments who really matters. If you feel you can do better, then go for it. When you figure out what you want out of life, don't let anyone discourage you from attaining it. Take your time, set your own deadlines.