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I was honored to be a special guest for “The Theory of Self-Love” Twitter chat, hosted by my beloved sister Shahida Muhammad for her new #DoingTheWork segment. It was AMAZING! I honestly felt like I was on an episode of Oprah’s “Masters Class”! It was therapeutic, exciting and an adrenaline rush! We were joined by a number of other young women whose words I have highlighted below the interview!
Shahida’s goal was to create a safe space where women could be open and share their experiences with Self-Love or the lack thereof. Her subject of Self-Love is a deep one and a topic that cannot be exhausted. From how the chat went, it is a subject requiring more discussions! Thank you so much Sis. Shahida for the opportunity to share some of my experiences! I am still on high and in reflection! I pray you all enjoy!
What are YOUR experiences with Self-Love? We’d love to hear from you!
Peace & Love,
Sister Ebony S. Muhammad XO
Shahida Muhammad (SM): Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired you to help women turn “wounds into wisdom”?
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): It actually happened organically. As the Publisher of Hurt2Healing Magazine, many women’s issues arose (i.e. abuse/assault). Those critical issues is how the #Wounds2Wisdom summit came to be this past December 2014. It continued to grow from there!
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches that 75% of the work is with the woman. In order to reform a nation you must begin with the woman! She is the first teacher and is the physical manifestation of God’s Love & Mercy. So her healing is imperative! If you want to take down a nation or people, you start with taking down the woman, and we see that today!
SM: Yes ma’am! Awesome point and motivation for your platform, Hurt2Healing magazine. In your work, how do you see lack of self-love play out among women?
EM: Every woman is different. Some resort to saying negative things about themselves (out loud). “Look how fat I am in that photo”. Some are more discreet; they do self-harm such as cutting themselves. Some resort to substance abuse and/or prostitution. Some express lack of Self-Love in less extreme ways. They become people pleasers, perfectionists and need external validation. Another major one are those who are hyper-competitive. They seek to ‘out do’ other women and constantly compare themselves. Some women are overly judgmental of other women, thinking they are better for one reason or another. Yet, it’s a defense mechanism to shield their lack of Self-Love.
SM: Thanks for the insight! The less extreme ways is such a huge point! I’ve been in some of those shoes.
EM: Yes ma’am, I believe we all have in some aspect or another.
SM: Do you have a personal testimony on growing into self-love?
EM: Boy do I!!! (laughing) Short & sweet… I survived a nasty divorce that involved emotional and financial abuse. I definitely saw what I was made out of #DoingTheWork ! There were negative affects I had to battle. I questioned myself a lot. I sought others to esteem me. I became a workaholic! Those were crash courses I took to “prove” to myself the things that were said/implied to me in that marriage weren’t true. Yet, #DoingTheWork for Self-Love meant having a strong support system, falling in love with myself all over again and prayer for sure!
SM: What a powerful testimony and a blessing that you’ve come out even stronger!
EM: All Praise Is Due To Allah!
SM: I used to place so much of my value in the hands/opinion of others. Reading your journey got me a little choked.
EM: I think soooo many of us do that, and it creates this backdrop of not feeling like we’re “good enough”.
SM: Why do you think it’s a challenge for many of us as women to value ourselves properly?
EM: Hot button question! Okay, so media definitely plays a role in how we don’t value ourselves properly. Value is not promoted or advertised! We used to have shows like The Cosby Show, A Different World, etc. that showed women in morally strong roles. Now it’s ‘Cookie’? Yikes!
Also a woman’s support system is MAJOR! Who she is around most of the time counts; family, friends, etc. The foundation is critical. Sometimes we’re around people who are functionally-dysfunctional! You know, they look good, function well in society but are grossly unhappy individuals, corrupt and chronic complainers. They talk more about other people than they do ideas, visions, and they are not purpose-driven. It’s like Brother Nuri Muhammad said, “We are the sum total of the top five people we hang around”! Take a close look at those five people in your life.
Minister Farrakhan says that the woman is worth more than all the riches on Earth! Not because she has a degree or because she’s pretty. Her worth is God-given! We put our worth and value in the hands of others and they did not create us. Many do not take on God’s view so they devalue us. Most people put external factors and conditions on Self-Love, therefore, we end up thinking and, worse, believing we aren’t enough. We stay losing that way! We ARE good enough!
SM: What is your definition of self-love?
EM: Let me say this first…I have NOT arrived (laughing)! It is a continuous work in progress! Growth is constant, so the path to Self-Love is infinite! Short and sweet… Self-Love is a journey, not a destination. First, get to know yourself, like yourself and spend time with yourself. I know that may sound super cliché, but it’s the truth! It’s like any relationship. You don’t just jump to ‘I love you’ first!
Challenge yourself by being WITH yourself. Treat yourself to a fancy dinner, the movies, museums! Get to know what YOU like. Your life trials will continue, therefore your growth will too! Struggle, pain, etc. will test the very fiber of your Self-Love.
Yes, you’ll discover some things you don’t like about yourself; habits, tendencies, character flaws, etc. This is very normal and natural. Work on these things to turn them into strengths or almost non-existent so they don’t impede upon your growth (anymore).
SM: Powerful! What role does spirituality play in keeping you emotionally sound?
EM: Spirituality plays a MAJOR role in keeping me emotionally sound! Prayer, meditation and journaling are my top choices! Those tools help me to process what I’m feeling and thinking. I am able to make more sense of my thoughts, explore various angles, perspectives, outcomes, etc. Those tools assist in me being compassionate to myself and others. I’m able to get out of my emotions into a higher level of thinking!
SM: What are 3 important lessons you’ve learned in regards to loving yourself?
EM: Okay, I have 3.5 (smile)! 1) What I think about myself matters the most! Forget the external blasé! Most of those people don’t have it together anyway! 2) Forgiving myself/being compassionate is critical to my Self-love. Beating myself down makes it harder to lift myself up! 3) Learning how others overcame obstacles similar to mine helps a great deal too. I don’t feel like it’s just me #DoingTheWork ! 3.5) Resilience! Are you a rubber band or a rope? Do you bounce back after a setback or drop down defeated?
I saw Brother Jesse Muhammad Tweet these words earlier, and they are so on point! “Authenticity is about being true to who you are, even when everyone wants you to be someone else”. That’s #DoingTheWork ! I would also like to add to never be afraid to be yourself, because most of the people you’re concerned with are pretending to be perfect! Being yourself is Self-Love!
SM: Wow – thank you for your insight and these valuable lessons from your journey!
EM: All praise is due to Allah! Thank YOU for these awesome questions! If anything I shared can help someone else it was ALL worth it!
Here are a few comments that were made during the live Twitter chat! Thank you to all of the sisters who joined in and shared some beautiful words of wisdom and opened up about your struggles. I was and am extremely honored by your courage!
— Andreau Berry (@MsAndreau) May 13, 2015
— Anisah Muhammad (@MuhammadAnisah) May 13, 2015
— Andreau Berry (@MsAndreau) May 13, 2015
We often avoid #doingthework because its painful acknowledging your weaknesses.but we can never overcome that which we have no knowledge of.
— ツModest Fashionista♡ (@Halimahnia) May 13, 2015
Without my connection to God, I was often in a place of internal strife, yearning for the acceptance and approval of others. #DoingTheWork
— Shahida Muhammad (@ShahidaMuhammad) May 13, 2015