“I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin. I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I had been the day before. I tried to negotiate with God: I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted; I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened.
And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no consolation: She’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then Alek Wek came on the international scene. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden, Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy…”Lupita Nyong’o
The seduction of inadequacy…She got me thinking.
How often are we seduced by our own inadequacy? How appealing is it to be victims of our own perceived weaknesses? And how often do we decide what our weaknesses are, succumbing to them with almost an air of relief…because now we can surrender to being average?
When we give into ideas about ourselves, good or bad, we make them our reality. We give them power with our focus and intent and this becomes the premise for so many of our decisions, and therefore, the outcomes of our lives.
I’m a true believer in pursuing our strengths; but let us not give into preconceived ideas of what our weaknesses are, because of that one time ten years ago when we “failed”, or someone shamed us and made us feel inadequate. Believing this keeps us spinning in a tiny little box, like a hamster in a cage – running and getting nowhere.
It can be enticing to repeat the same old song; a distraction from the life of fulfillment that we could all be living.
But this doesn’t have to be the truth of our lives. We can end this by ending the seduction of inadequacy and embracing that our lives matter for the mere and simple reason, that we exist.
Peace, love and the end to the seduction of inadequacy,
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