'Empire' Star Grace Gealey on Accepting Yourself As You Are

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Actress Grace Gealy (Anika on "Empire") on learning to answer the question, "Am I enough?" with positivity and love.

Okay. SO. Please tell me ya'll are caught up your Empire episodes because ish is getting real up in there. In the last episode of 'Empire', we are introduced to the character of Elle Dallas, portrayed by Courtney Love. Entering in full diva mode, Elle was one of the original artists signed by Empire and is a music legend in her own right. The problem is, who she is now is nothing like who she was then. SO. How is she expected to make the same hits or enthrall her audiences when she is no longer the past Elle Dallas that her fans know and love? This is Cookie's plight as she goes on a journey to convince Elle that who she is now, is enough.

This episode resonated so strongly with me because it reminded me of the very question that we find ourselves faced with at some point in our lives: "Am I enough?"  

Whoever started the fallacy that we have to somehow 'earn our validation' needs to be pimp-slapped. Hard. In society, we have to earn other things of import like trust, respect, money, education, careers, status and etc., so naturally, we find ourselves attempting to earn love, acceptance and validation along with that. Here's the trip: we do it at the cost of other people and more importantly, ourselves. Before we know it, we are operating in a cycle of sacrificing our true selves in order to be accepted, liked or paid attention to.  

The greatest lesson I have learned in life is that I am enough simply because I have been given life. Growing up, I constantly found myself trying to please others because I wanted to be included and validated. I expended myself completely. That's when I realized that part of the issue was that I was accepting the projections of other people's deficits. I had to stop, be still and start the work from within. When I got deep, I realized that I was owning their lack as my lack, their insecurities as my insecurities, their fear as my fear and the vicious cycle was about to be perpetuated. Nope. Had to cut that mess off quick.  The other part was that I hadn't plugged in with my spiritual foundation. Once I started to get aligned with the God in me, something hit me hard: I learned that our worth, our validation, our purpose and our acceptance don't stem from what we should do. They don't stem from what we have. They don't stem from what we've done or who we were. They stem simply from the fact that we ARE. We are alive. We are here. We are created of love because we are created of God. 

We are.

Who came up with the lie that we all have to be perfect in order to be worth it? Honey, please. I don't have time to beat myself up over my fallible nature.  Instead I use my energy to learn from my past and let it inform my future.  It's time to own all of our glory, mistakes, mess and light and be gentle to ourselves. Let's be kind to our spirits and celebrate the truth of our hearts. Let's shed the projections of others who have yet to come to terms with that and let's refuse to take on the burden of someone else's lack - but still send light and love to them from afar.  

Love. Keep loving.

Forgive. Keep forgiving.

Accept. Keep accepting.

But most importantly, don't forget to do them all with yourself.

With light, love and a big ol' stamp of approval,

Grace.

Tune-in every Wednesday to catch Grace on EMPIRE!

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Filed under: Celebrity, Empire