When most people meet me for the first time, or even if they’ve known me for years, they often perceive me as this person who has got it all together. If I were ever asked to describe myself from the perspective of my peers, I would say that they think of me as a confident, independent, goal-oriented person.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am always flattered when I receive those types of compliments, but if I am being completely honest, I used to have a hard time seeing myself in this light.
If you’d asked me how I felt about myself physically, mentally and spiritually about four years ago, you would’ve gotten a completely different answer from me than you would today.
Have you ever felt like the world (people who you’ve come in contact with) view you in a completely different way than you view yourself?
Confusing? Okay, let me explain.
Do you oftentimes hear from your family, friends and associates how awesome of a person you are, but for some reason you cant get yourself to believe it? This is something that I had struggled with for such a long time. You know, trying to match up to this person that everyone thought that I was, but on the inside I was struggling to feel secure within myself.
There was one point in time where I struggled to see my beauty, and all the good things that I have to offer the world because of naysayers, and the overwhelming pressures that I would feel from watching TV or opening up my favorite magazines. I’ve always felt like I had to dim my light so others wouldn’t feel uncomfortable, and now I realize how much of a negative impact that my decisions had on the way that I viewed myself.
Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I wasn’t actively doing anything to change the way that I felt about myself, but I kept stressing out about it.
Looking back on it, I know that college was the place where I began to realize #BlackGirlMagic. I finally decided to take control of my life, and stop letting others influence the way that I felt about myself. And, when I did that the rest was history.
I began to change my thoughts into ones that were more positive, and removed negative people from my life who weren’t trying to see me win. I also held myself accountable for self-pity and making excuses, so that I always make sure to maximize my potential. Some days are better than others, but I feel so much more confident in myself now than I did previously.
I feel that there are so many ways that you can define #BlackGirlMagic, but for me it’s a confident, purpose-driven, game-changing woman who is defining life on her own terms. And, everyday I feel like I’m getting closer to that.
Malia Brown (@iammaliatyler) is an ESSENCE College Ambassador, writer and on-air personality. She attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and majors in Political Science and Journalism. She reports on beauty, pop culture, and lifestyle news.