In Crop Over 2012, Ricky Lil Rick Reid (arguably one of the Caribbean’s most creative minds), penned the words to a song simply titled: I Like Muhself. In this song, the artiste served notice on his ‘haters’ that he simply didn’t care if they liked him or not because – “Ahhhhh, I like muhself”. There really is a mobaton of rich insights and pearls of wisdom that can be gleaned from such a song and as such, it will serve as the basis of my short message to you today.
I love watching people; not in a weird way but I consider myself to be a student of humanity and, in light of this, I enjoy observing the actions and attitudes of those with whom I come into contact. There is much that can be learnt about a person when you simply observe them over a period of time but of course, you must always be mindful of the fact that your perceptions can oftentimes fall far outside of the reality. Sadly, one of the things I have noticed about many of us is that even though we proudly and loudly chant the words of songs like the one mentioned above, many persons seem not to possess a healthy self-image. This can be seen in the way some of us carry ourselves and the activities within which we participate.
When I speak of having a healthy self-image I am referring to the way each person views and thinks of himself or herself – our levels of self-esteem and the value or worth that we ascribe to ourselves. Persons who have healthy self-images tend to view themselves positively and they understand that their lives have a unique purpose – warts and all. They do not subscribe to the view that they are just ‘here surviving’, meandering through each day without much intentionality or focus. On the contrary, they see each day and situation as an opportunity to be seized and they seek to add their value to life in such a way that their inner purpose is fulfilled. They refuse to participate in activities or associate themselves with others that cheapen their worth.
All of us at different stages in our lives have or will struggle with maintaining a healthy self-image. From the teenager to the business leader, we all have to constantly remind ourselves of our worth if we are to avoid a personal devaluation. The absence of a healthy self-image can lead a young girl to seek love and attention in all the wrong places, often times leading to mistakes and regrets. The absence of a healthy self-image can lead a young boy to participate in bullying, fights and mischief just to fit in with the crowd. The absence of a healthy self-image in adults can lead us to seek out activities and substances to fill the voids we sense in our lives and, in some cases, this can even lead to depression. In such cases, without the assistance of professionals and the loving support of those around us, this can have negative and severe consequences.
I must say that it saddens me when I look around and observe our young people, especially our young ladies, basically devaluing themselves through participation in some of the most damaging and purposeless activities. We must seek, wherever possible, to remind ourselves and those with whom we come into contact that we are all precious – carrying unique value and worth – and we must ensure that we avoid anything that has the potential to derail us from reaching our life’s purpose.
How do we do this? Might I suggest that it all starts with acknowledging that you are not here by accident. Did you know that out of 500 million sperm cells it only took one to form you? Did you know that there is and forever will be only one you? Your life has a purpose and you are special so recognize this and ensure that you live intentionally every day.
Secondly, when those negative thoughts come, whether originated externally or internally, show them the door. Life happens, and it can sometimes get us down, but we have a choice – we can sit and wallow in negativity or we can choose to maintain a positive outlook and appreciate all of the many good things that we have going for us.
Lastly, watch the company that you keep. Those persons who pull you down and speak negatively about you will only serve to frustrate you and cause you to devalue yourself in your own eyes. On the other hand, when you have supportive people around who care about you and who recognize your worth, it reinforces you and can help you to maintain a healthy self-image.
It is my belief that many of the challenges that our society faces can be traced to the unhealthy self-images found within many of our citizens. If we desire to become the leaders that each of us are truly destined to be, within our various spheres of influence, we must endeavour to create and maintain a healthy self-image. I go further to declare, that as leaders, we must also seek to help those around us to adopt healthy self-images and when we see them falling away from the high standards that persons of worth ought to hold, we should provide the necessary guidance and correction. This is not about being prideful and it is not about seeing ourselves as better than anyone else, but it is about respecting and appreciating our true value. In the immortal words of Lil Rick: “Some people love vanity, love fake ride and luxury, like nuff brand and nuff jewelry, ain’t nuttin out dere like better than me….ahhhhhhh, I like muhself.”