“Self-esteem makes me super, superb and supreme” ~ Rakim
Have you ever walked out of a department store dressing room glowing while looking for the nearest mirror to see if you look as good as you feel? The length and color are just right while you’re standing and admiring your reflection, the mirror is shouting “yes”! Tell me you know this feeling! Despite your instinctual approval you turn with bright eyes to ask your friend “how do I look”? Your friend looks you up and down with a sly smile and replies…
Within those milliseconds your complete satisfaction is suspended until you hear what your hoping for, an enthusiastic "yes". Approval feels good and confirms good taste. I understand, you deserve those moments of positive reinforcement. But what if you walked out of the dressing room with the same pep and didn't ask "how do I look? How self-assured do you have to be to know without asking? It starts from within, an inner vibration the great Rakim declared “self-esteem makes me super, superb and supreme." As a youngster I felt the weight of his proclamation, but I didn’t fully understand what he meant outside of being cocky.
Now that I understand the depth of his rhyme, I can assure you it’s no easy task to reach his elevated level of esteem but its worth the price. Acquiring this characteristic can be challenging for two reasons, first: many are used to things making them feel better, second: it's a solo journey. No worries though, we're all build to handle this mental process. Learning the process of raising your esteem is a true nugget that you'll be able to use again and again.
The foundation for esteem is self-acceptance; learning to love and embrace everything about yourself. Having the wherewithal to honestly face your flaws and focus on only what you can change. We live in a sometimes merciless society that values demeaning others. No one wants their insecurities put on front street for others to pick apart, but it'll still happen, what matters is how you affected. If you are overweight or short, have poor skin or bad teeth, own it, it’s yours anyway. Remember Eminem’s final battle in 8 mile? “I know everything you got to say against me, I am white, I am a fucking bum, I do live in a trailer with my moms…” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHE0wmgljco
When I really started beating to my own drum I went sky diving, which was unheard of for a dude living in the hood. I was afraid of heights and wanted to challenge my fear. Once I made up my mind and put it out there I heard all kinds of jokes and questions from friends and co-workers like what the “fuck” am I thinking? Or had I wondered what I would I’d look like splattered across ground (you gotta love my boys). I sensed fear in their jokes which made me more determined to jump from 10,000 feet. When the day finally arrived I was so excited during free-falling you can actually see the veins in my forehead bulging. It was an awesome experience.
A week later around 1:30am, Sunday morning, I received a call, and the first sound I heard were slurred words with blaring music in the background, “fool what the fuck are doing”? "You really did it huh?" My folks couldn’t believe I did, after a little back and forth I was given a gem. “Let me know if you go again, I want to try that shit”!
No one's opinion can devalue what I think of myself. And I attest to the power of taking a risk no one understands, and have realized these are small steps toward leadership and embracing a vision. Empowering yourself is contagious and influences others to value your opinion because “light” is tangible and leaves an indelible impression. You don’t have to be a torch bearer, a candle holder serves the same purpose to guide our children, friends and family through turmoil, instead of brain altering pharmaceuticals such as ritialin and antidepressants. All of these wonderful characteristics grow from self-love and why I’m challenging you to walk out of the dressing room with pep in your step and already know you "look good".