Hello and Happy Monday !
This round of the “I Love Me” Post Series features 4 gorgeous women that were willing to share their love for themselves with me and you guys. As always, I hope this post series inspires us all. This time around not only will they share their stories and tips with us, they will also share their point of view on who’s to blame to for a woman’s low self-esteem.
First up my friend Tiye. Tiye and I met years ago but I honestly didn’t get to know her till recently… and I wish I never waited this long. Her fun-loving tweets fill my twitter timeline (not to mention, she entertains my random rants and banter). I chose Tiye because I admire how positive and happy she is (or at least that’s all I see ;)). From expressing her opinion, cracking a few jokes or discussing a serious matter, she always does so in such a positive manner. Check out Tiye’s feature!
– Name: Tiye N. Cort
– Age: 22
– Occupation: Graduate student
– Your Passion: To be successful and influential in all that I do.
– Random Fact: I’m a really silly person.
Do you think you have great self-esteem? If yes, was there a time when you didn’t and why?
Yes! I didn’t have great self-esteem until my junior year of high school. I was always the smallest, quietest, and a little awkward in the beginning. But my sophomore year, I had back surgery for scoliosis, which not only improved my posture, but made me taller and opened up a few more opportunities for me. I did a couple of modeling gigs, which definitely helped boost my self-esteem, and I saw my differences (my small boobs, super long legs, height, and excellent posture) as things to embrace rather than things to be ashamed of.
What do you think is the most attractive thing about you and why?
I think that the most attractive thing about me is my smile. People have always complimented me on my perfect white smile. I used to think it was weird, but I learned to embrace it. I realize that it communicates so much more than my sense of humor. It tells people that I am happy, confident, carefree, and open- even if I feel the complete opposite…. and smiles are contagious, so I am always happy to be able to make someone else smile and feel good!
Do you sometimes feel the need to conform to society standards (Physical and Non-Physical)?I do sometimes feel the need to conform to society standards. Physically? Yes, to a certain extent. I feel the need to stay fit, sometimes because society says that a female my height should have certain measurements, but usually because I think that’s when I look my best (which may or may not be because of society’s constant influence). I like to travel, and usually to places with beautiful beaches, so I feel that my body must be bikini-ready at all times. Thankfully, I don’t have to work extremely hard to maintain my body (thanks for the genes, mom and dad!), but I must admit that I sometimes feel pressure to lose a few extra pounds. But then again, being Guyanese, I love to eat the foods that will certainly pack on the pounds, so I must admit that I indulge quite a bit!
Non-physically? Of COURSE! I am a 5’9″, dark-skinned female in academia! Right now I am in the Masters of Arts program for Economics, and even though I’m in the heart of Atlanta, GA, my classes are full of pink faces! Though it’s a tough field of study, I feel the pressure to excel in my classes, take part in discussions, and prove myself in a way to which I don’t feel my other classmates can relate. I feel pressure to be financially successful according to society’s standards, which I think have definitely helped mold my view of successful lifestyles, tastes, and preferences.
In terms of women with low self-esteem, who’s to blame: Her or society?
Both are to blame, and neither one more than the other. As women, we are bombarded daily with ads, commercials, and even other men and women who tell us how we should look and feel about ourselves. Society is to blame for this. Society sets the standard of beauty. BUT guess who makes up society- people, including women- those SAME women with low self-esteem. So both are to blame. I blame the men and women of society for setting and catering to these standards of oft-unattainable “beauty”, and making those who cannot reach those goals feel inferior. I blame society for engraining in our minds, from such young ages, that if we don’t look, act, or feel a certain way, we are failures. I blame society for choosing such shallow standards that make no sense; really- some of them even go against natural instincts (i.e. unnaturally skinny girls in lingerie being considered sexy before being considered unhealthy).
Then I blame the women. You have to be strong in today’s society and realize that it’s a dog eat dog world. So what if you’re a little bigger than a model or actress? Who cares if you have an imperfect smile? At the end of the day, you’re responsible for yourself! If you want to change something about yourself, do it. Lose weight? Put down the cheeseburger and hit the gym. Feel you need straight hair? Buy a flat iron. Wanna be a little lighter? There are creams for that. But don’t place all the blame for your desire to conform on society. Imagine how many people would sue “society” for defamation of character if it were possible. You alone are responsible for how you view yourself regardless of your upbringing and outside influences. Becoming the most beautiful, confident, and esteemed you possible is completely up to you. Learn to tune-out the things that tell you otherwise, and high self-esteem will come naturally!
If there were one thing you could share with the many women who suffer from a lack of self-worth and self-esteem, what would it be?
I could think of at least fifty, but if there were one thing, I would share my story- my own personal experience. Growing up, my parents always encouraged me- which I later realized is a true blessing. They told and showed me that I was beautiful, allowed me to live a life filled with privileges that many other people wished they could have. Even with all those things handed to me, I still always found something to be insecure about. Whether it was my body, my hair, my skin color, my clothes, or my way of thinking, I always saw the negative and unsatisfactory things that bothered me as greater than all the positive and great things that I was getting for free. It wasn’t until I met people who actually had to work and sacrifice things that I realized how blessed I was. The point of all that? Things could always be worse.
One thing? Self-worth and self-esteem start with you. For me, it took a life-changing experience to realize my worth. As I spent time recovering from my surgery, I reflected on how I was before. I saw how ashamed I was of my condition, and how I allowed it to impact me socially. I resolved within myself to make a change. It helped me to see that there are always others who are worse off. Yeah, I spent a couple months walking like Frankenstein, but for someone who couldn’t afford the surgery, they were stuck eventually walking around like Quasimodo for the rest of their life. All the little things about my body became miniscule as I learned to focus on what was really important- my health and well-being.
For women who suffer from lack of self-worth and self-esteem, I encourage them to remember their blessings. You have life, and with life comes the opportunities to do many things IF you have the self-esteem and confidence within yourself to do them. Don’t let your lack of confidence hold you back from success. Work on yourself. Don’t allow other people to make you into a follower- become a leader by setting your own standards. Realize that it’s normal to dislike things about yourself, but it’s not normal to let those things hold you back from living life to the fullest, so stay away from things and people who pressure you with their negativity. Surround yourself with people who support and encourage you, and always remember that someone somewhere looks up to you, so lead by example.
And if you ARE going to look to society to boost your self-esteem, be prepared for disappointment. There are many good role models out there, but they tend to stay out of the spotlight. Find someone who is great in spite of their flaws, a person with a good heart, good motives, and the power of influence- even if in a smaller arena.