Have you ever compared yourself to other women and not just because of her clothes or hair but because of skin tone? Perhaps a little lighter or a little browner?
Maybe you’ve experienced the victimization of the dark-skinned, the comparison didn’t start from within but from what was said about the dark-skinned and what was depicted around as the norm.
Whether you are Latino, Black American, African, Indian, or any other brown colored beauty that the world is blessed with, you might have had that moment when you wished you had a different color than what nature gifted you with. You were gifted with the best color you ever have, with all its uniqueness and beauty that makes you stand out.
Unfortunately, scares that came from society discriminatory practices, words from childhood teasing or something mom or dad spoke over you have caused you to feel less about the skin you’re in.
How can that love of you back? Let’s go on a date.
Some say there are 5 stages to dating: attraction, reality, commitment, intimacy, and, finally, engagement.
Stage 1: Attraction/Romance
Have you ever met a guy and there was just something special about him? Just looking at him made you smile from the inside out. Remember that feeling? Your inner voice whispered so deeply that you literally thanked God for creating such a marvelous creature, “Oh God, he is soooo fine.”
Now, imagine feeling that way about yourself.
Attraction: “the action or power of evoking interest, pleasure, or liking for someone or something.”
Take your breath away about how magnificent God created you. Let your inner voice speak lovingly and sexy to your soul, “I’m fine. I’m sexy. I look good.” Look at those curves and slap yourself on the BE-hind! There’s nothing nasty about it; perhaps it’s just a little naughty. Whether you have big breasts, small breasts, or are a breast removal survivor, acknowledge everything that you see and speak life to it. Then watch that shine start to twinkle in your eyes. Romance You.
Stage 2: Reality/Power Tussle
The second stage in dating is the reality check.
The first heavy disagreement is in this stage. You start to notice things, thangs and what not.
First, maybe he has a tendency to “smack” his lips when he eats, but you figure you can deal with that. That’s a little thing. Perhaps he’s between jobs, that could be categorized as a thang ̶ even Adam in the Bible had a job. After careful investigation, you discover he’s only been unemployed for a week, and he’s actively seeking and building a career. He’s unemployed, but not unemployable. You maybe fine with that. Now this third category contain characteristics that simply are not okay. Perhaps he’s disrespectful in subtle ways. You see signs that you would like to ignore because he’s so delicious on the outside, but you snap out of it and realize there’s much more going on on the inside. He has a what not and must not be the one (pronounced, “WHHHHAT!” not).
In dating You, you recognize that you may have a few shortcomings, but not as many as insecurity would want you to believe. You wrestle with changing your habits and with changing the lifestyle that you’ve known all your life. To acknowledge that there are some things, thangs and WHHHHAT nots that have to be dealt with is the first step to growing and bringing on change. Don’t be too hard on yourself. No one is perfect, not a single one. We as beings all have some things in common. If we don’t brush our teeth, our breath will stink. If we don’t bathe, our body stinks. If we don’t comb our hair, only God knows what will happen. The point is that we all have something that needs our attention. Moreover, the things that are what nots can have smelly consequences. Time for a reality check.
Stage 3: Exclusivity/Commitment
Oh! When he commits to you, and you commit to him!
You are ready to give this relationship a go! You have enough common ground, based on your current knowledge, to say, “Let’s do it.” You can officially say with a smile, “That’s my man over there. He’s the one with Denzel Washington’s walk, Dwayne “The Rock’s” chizzled body, the intellect of Barack Obama ̶ wait. Let me stop right here. Whoever your dream man is… insert here.
During this stage of commitment, you step into your reality with determination. You are fully ready to enter into your own life. No more comparing yourself to other women. No more lying to yourself about things you need to deal with in your inner and outer self. If you are overweight and have health risks, commit to change. If you over-process your hair or wear extensions to the point that you are losing your hair, commit to a treatment plan. If bad eating habits and lack of intellectual stimulation are stifling you, this is the stage to lock down the growth process.
Finally, commit to laughing at You. Enjoy yourself. As women, we can do some really laughable things and it’s okay. You’re enough, and you’re deserving of self-love from yours truly, You.
Stage 4: Intimacy
Just to be close to you…(smile).
In this stage, you let your guard down. You are not afraid to open up and share intimate details about your life. There is trust and a safe environment to be vulnerable with each other. It’s not always about physical sex; it’s about deep conversations and just being together in the same space and loving it. Intimacy says, “I see you. I see your weaknesses and your strengths, and I celebrate them both. I’m into you, and you are into me.”
In dating You in the intimacy stage, you open up to loving yourself more and to being loved. The love moves from the inside out. It’s not just about your sexiness or your intellect. It’s about true character and who you are. You see how you can improve and how you can love yourself more. This stage involves nurturing the love you have come to gain for yourself. Grow that love even more and begin to accept things about yourself that you never thought you could. When someone gives you a compliment, you can accept it with grace, and it simply serves as a confirmation on something you already know.
No one can ever love you as much as you can love yourself. With intimacy, you are truly looking from within.
Stage 5: Engagement/Blissful Love
This is the final stage of dating. This is where you take it to the ultimate level. You’ve decided that “we belong together” and “‘I do’ for the rest of my life in sickness and in health till death do us part”. You are all in.
At this stage, you accept all of you and love yourself unconditionally. Now, you’re working on mastering it all.
When you make a mistake or do something outside of your character, you forgive yourself. You learn to let go of guilt or shame. Self-forgiveness is the key to really seeing the beauty in You, even when others fail to do so. Even in perceived failure, you are still committed to yourself. No matter what external situation comes along, you won’t lose sight of who you are. You have dated You, and the love you have comes from the inside out.