Earlier this year, as I browsed through a magazine while at a vision board party, the words, ‘I WILL NEVER BE OVERLOOKED’, leapt from the page and inveigled me from the task at hand. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I whispered to myself, as I cut out the affirmation. At first glance, the sentence could easily be taken as a declarative about how you want others to treat you. While it could very well be, I took a different approach.
I started to focus on what the words truly meant. I thought: This is an assertion about how a person should treat him or herself. Too often, we look to others to validate our accomplishments (and ultimately us), rather than being our own cheerleaders. Granted, it is pleasing to earn recognition from peers and people in influential roles, but self-acceptance is a tenet of happiness. The more accepting one is of oneself—good or bad—the happier that person will be. Each individual is responsible for his or her own happiness. So, why then, would you put the fulfillment of your contentment in someone else’s hands? Seeking validation from others does just that.
As I write, Interlude 5, on Lauryn Hill’s MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 comes to mind:
“…You already are the standard. What are you trying to fit into a standard for? We were each created to be individual standards… And we’re trying to fit into a standard?... Because there’s all this social doctrine that says, that the infinite God, with all this expression, who created every single one of us absolutely different, on purpose, wants everybody to fit into the same suit. I’m like… that’s deception. That’s deception...”
It is so easy to fall into the trap of measuring yourself to someone else. The most important person you can and should gauge yourself to is YOU. After all, you can only be you, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to be a better version of yourself. Indexing yourself will only cause you grief and discord.
It is not unusual for us to be engrossed with obtaining approval from others. The days of the “microwave society” have seen much technological advancement. We now live in an instant world (instaworld), a universe that moves quicker than that of the “microwave society”. We amplify our lives through social media. Our value is predicated on the number of followers, friends, or likes we have. We are imbibed with the immediacy of social media and we consume it in surfeit. This is not an admonition of social media, but an observation of the self-responsibilities and the power that we hand off to others.
In January, Jada Pinkett Smith called for a boycott of the Academy Awards due to the award show’s lack of diversity and inclusion. On Martin Luther King Jr’s Day, she posted a video to her Facebook page.
“Hi. Today is Martin Luther King’s birthday and I can’t help but ask the question, ‘Is it time that people of color recognize how much power, influence that we have amassed that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?’”
She went on to say that it may be time for us to pull our resources and invest in our own communities. This is precisely what I am talking about: Invest in yourself. Pat yourself on the back. Create opportunities for yourself and for others who are invested in your welfare. If you continue to look to others to pat you on the back, you will be highly disappointed. You will be overlooked.
A mentor recently iterated, “If you don’t beat your own drum, who will?” Know your worth! When you value yourself, you won’t need to look to others to recognize your significance, because you already know that you are capable and great. This has nothing to do with arrogance and everything to do with self-acceptance and self-confidence. Everything you will ever need starts from within. If you don’t accept and love yourself, it doesn’t matter how many accolades, degrees, or social media followers you have, you will always feel inadequate. You will always look to others to fill you up.
You are perfect, whole, and complete! If you remember nothing else, remember that you are enough and should NEVER OVERLOOK YOURSELF!
*This post was first published on July 16, 2016 to the 20 Beautiful Women Huffington Post blog: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/never-be-overlooked_us_578aa320e4b0b107a24133a5