When we genuinely love and accept self
By Ogo Maduwesi
A few months ago, I got a call from a man whose wife is living with Vitiligo and we met in their city in two days. They met me that evening in the hotel lobby and whilst I talked with her husband, she sat there staring at me, the husband assured me that he is neither disturbed nor worried about her vitiligo, but would want to know if there are helpful treatments and some self-help guides. I found him a very positive man, I was really impressed with his positivity and approach to all (yes a very positive one in the society I live), I commended him on that, but he wouldn’t accept he is that positive. This is one trait I found out about people who are genuine and real, they have a great attitude and are really quite humble.
Suddenly she called my attention to her spots and patches with the wife speaking for the first time. The spots and patches were not on the exposed areas of her body but she was going to show them to me there in the lobby. I had to smartly stop her. I noticed the husband was surprised at the wife being so open and free with me but did not say a anything. They took their leave at about the same time, as I walked them to the door; she leaned on me and asked:
“How do you do it? How can you talk boldly and confidently? Is there something I need to do to be able to stand like you?”. She continued, “I am so happy meeting you, knowing that there is someone I can talk to that understands exactly what I am going through, “It’s been hard for me, really hard that I find it difficult taking off my clothes before or around him, I feel so unhappy and ugly”.
All I could do at the point was to extend my hands for a hug and then I said to her, you are so lucky, you have a very supportive and appreciative husband who seems to accept and love you as you are. Then she whispered, how am I sure? What if he is just acting? Sadly, he heard it and that broke the husband’s heart, he asked, “How possible?”. He was trying to control his tears as his voice had already been shaky. This is the part I always wish it doesn’t get to when counselling or discussing with married couples.
This brings me to my topic “When we genuinely love and accept self”. The expression above is one I have heard from different couples, more from women. What makes people feel that way? I mean, doubting their loved ones even when they show all love and affection?
Here is what I think and believe having been working in this area for years, until we accept and love ourselves, we will continue to feel insecure and socially excluded. Now I know very well that this is not an easy path yet it is the only path to win the situation. For as long we continue to doubt and question compliments and good endeavors, we will never accept nor believe in us because we can only give what we have. We often times look at others and conclude that their life is perfect and we desire it, yet every human I know is struggling with something directly or indirectly. The beauty queens, the movie stars and celebrities are all inclusive.
The happiness, self-peace, love and acceptance we seek, all begins with us. Truly, when we genuinely love and accept self we worry or bother less about what the next person thinks. Self-acceptance brings happier life, true freedom, the freedom to live above societal expectations, demands and pressures.
I personally think it’s the best gift anyone and any person can give self. When you have accepted you, you become a more confident person, you become more appreciative, you become healthier, you heal, you look younger. Then what any other thinks about your appearance becomes the least of your worries. After all, we all have our individual styles, perceptions, imperfections and flaws. That the society feels that a particular hairstyle is the best of the moment doesn’t make it the best, please go with your own style, go with what works for you and that which makes you happy and comfortable. Armed with self-love and self-acceptance, walking your style will be effortless and when you do, you exhume self-confidence, amazing self-esteem and you conquer social exclusion, no person can possibly exclude you socially when you love and accept yourself.
Then, I saw this quote a few days after the encounter with my friend “Self love has often been seen as a moral flaw, akin to vanity and selfishness” – B. Kirkpatrick ed., Roget’s Thesaurus (1998) p. 592 and p. 639
Vitiligo Support and Awareness Foundation VITSAF
Outer Shell Africa – Skin and Appearance Social Lab