Lady Emmy discusses pride, self-esteem & mentoring 

Lady Emmy discusses pride, self-esteem & mentoring 

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Lady Emmy discusses the power in pride, self-esteem & mentoring.

 

Have we traded positive phrases like “black and proud” for negative ones?

As a community, we’ve taken two steps forward and one step back. “I’m black and proud” came from an era when we were struggled for our civil rights. Our people were proud to be African American and proud to fight for certain freedoms and privileges. The step that we didn’t lose is we are now more educated than we’ve ever been. We have progressed in so many ways including corporate America, entertainment and media. At one time, we had pride in ourselves and in the community, and now some of us are only proud in a sense of our accomplishments and the money we’ve made.

In looking at people like Oprah Winfrey and President Obama, as opposed to us saying we are proud of what they’ve accomplished as African Americans, we sometimes look at the attainment of education and money, and that is what we’ve become proud of. It’s no longer having pride in our culture, history or heritage, and that’s where we’ve lost ground over the years. The generation that’s now successful may have actually grown up when their parents were struggling.

Their struggle was the things they didn’t have, but their parents had concerns that were greater than themselves. They were concerned with voting and where can I sit and even in spite of all of this, I’m proud of being African American. I’m struggling to feed my kids but I’m still proud to be black. While their children grew up thinking, I don’t want to be poor, broke or labeled as inadequate.

It seems as though our focus has shifted.

Some may say that we’ve gone from being proud as a community to being proud as individuals. During the Civil Rights movement, Black people would march for what the community was going through, and we don’t have that now. If you were an activist during the sixties, you tended to have a tremendous amount of respect in the community, and today if you say, “I’m a social activist,” some people may not understand what you do! If Dr. King and Malcolm X were here today, would they get the respect they deserve or would they be overlooked because they were still worried about the black community when others may be worried about money and material things?

What does it take to increase the self worth within young women?

The tricky part of self-esteem is the “self-factor”. If I could just tell young women that they’re beautiful and smart as a quick fix, it would be perfect. I wish it was that simple. We could line up young women by the thousands and tell them that, but if the self-factor isn’t dealt with, it will never change.  It is wise to catch it before it happens or to restore it at an early age in young women.

If a young woman doesn’t fall in love with herself first, she could suffer from low self-esteem for the rest of her life.

Makeovers, money, marriage, and plastic surgery won’t change that. It’s like building a house with no foundation. You only put value in yourself if you love yourself. Today’s music videos don’t matter, if a young woman loves herself, she won’t necessarily want to be like the video girl. Then the media or the little boy at school isn’t the problem. All these outward factors no longer become an issue if our young women love themselves. That is the key to self-empowerment, and mentoring helps to reinforce that affirmation.

It’s natural for a girl to want to be loved. If they don’t get that from the world around them or a mentor, then that’s when they may turn to a life of promiscuity, drugs or overeating. If we can’t find the love we are seeking, we look for something to fill that void. Women can be so driven in their pursuit of love until we sometimes settle for unhealthy relationships. The only way to have a healthy relationship with anyone else is to love yourself first.

How important is it that our youth have mentors?Think_Positive_BLACK

One of the best ways to counteract the issues of low self-esteem is through mentoring. I don’t mean just through the big name organizations. I mean if you know a young man from around the corner, take him with you when you get your hair cut on Saturdays. Hang out and grab a bite to eat. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. What young people need is time, information and wisdom.

In the long run, that will be worth more than any check you can write to any organization. Spending quality time with a child cannot be replaced by any financial investment. Showing a young person that they matter is powerful. There is always a level of intrigue in young people when they see that someone wants to mentor them. So after a while they start to think, “There must be something special about me that people see.”

 

We can not help our youth just with books or conferences, we have to build positive relationships with them one on one through mentoring and good parenting.

Seedtime and harvest is the law of the land. If you plant that seed, it’s going to grow. It might be a week, it might be two years or even 10, but I know plenty of people who have a powerful story about how they got to where they are in life based on something a mentor or some caring adult said to them when they were 12 years old. We have to be willing to take the time. If enough of us do invest time in our youth, there would be less work to be done.

How does one step it up in this area?

Start your own individual movement on a grassroots level. There is nothing wrong with striving and reaching forward. God gave us two hands and one of them should always be reaching back. When enough of us have one or two young people who we are reaching back to, things will change.

How do we harness the power inside woman to uplift the brothers?

This is where that balance comes in. In particular, if we can teach young men how to value women there is limitless potential of these women supporting men.  There is something instinctual within African American women who want to encourage and support their brothers. Back in the days of “I’m black and I’m proud,” if he didn’t have anything else, he was getting encouragement at home from his wife and children. It’s so natural, because you can watch a five-year-old girl encourage or compliment her father.

It’s unfortunate that sometimes you have ladies that grow up, become cynical and want to hold back because their admiration of their black men hasn’t been appreciated. They may think, “If he doesn’t value me, then he won’t value the compliment.” So if we can teach young men how to, not only, value themselves but to value women as well, women may start to lower their guard in the future.  If she feels that value coming from him, she will support that man to the end of the Earth.

This is how the wall comes down and black women give more of the support that some people claim black women don’t give men in this generation.  It’s often because the appropriate value hasn’t been given to them.  Women sometimes feel like, “I’m not going to put that kind of value in someone if they’re not putting it in me.”

It has to start somewhere. If he wants to be the king, then she has to be the queen.

 

Follow Lady Emmy on Twitter: @TheLadyEmmy

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