Congratulations to Sister Deanna Muhammad and all the sisters who have taken the 100 day challenge and have joined the Facebook group, “Reviving Ourselves-Fit, Fabulous & Fearless”. I urge you to participate! Like most of us, I am engaged in the daily struggle for balance. We all need encouragement and I can think of nothing more encouraging than being with and among Original Women who believe what I believe! As we all embrace this incredible journey, let’s keep in mind why we are doing this. What is the ultimate goal in all of this?
During our last Women in Ministry call, Sister Traci Muhammad stated that she was receiving questions on Facebook from sisters who wanted to know how to develop their self-esteem. I would offer these thoughts: the word “esteem” means respect and admiration for someone. So self-esteem would mean respect and admiration for oneself. Unfortunately, we live under the rule of the Caucasian in a world dominated by racism, sexism, nationalism and materialism. The offshoots of these great impediments to self-development are color, class and connections. All of these conditions go a long way in determining our self-view. Do we really want to focus on developing self-esteem?
The root of “esteem” is a term meaning “estimate”, as in “estimated value”. This is an extrinsic rather than intrinsic measure. We have to be careful not to get confused, or remain confused when truth and clarity are present. This is a world that teaches us to look outside, never inside. We base our esteem of self, or self-esteem, on our perception of others and the high or low esteem in which we hold others. There is always someone more attractive, more successful, more something than we are. From time to time, we are that one who is more attractive, more successful, more something than someone else. But that is only for a fleeting moment. And so women, in a sexist society such as the one we live in, constantly comparing ourselves to other women on the basis of external traits. There are hundreds of magazines showing women how to look better, be a better wife, better lover, a better parent, better housekeeper, a better friend, etc. Where are the magazines showing men how to be a better provider, better protector, etc?
Of course, real life accomplishments are worthwhile to you and to those around you. But high self-esteem is not what we are after as Original women. It is actually stressful and harmful to our mental health to constantly focus on appearance, performance and approval of others. One reason we have weight problems, failed relationships, conflict with others, depression, anxiety, etc. is the lack of a true knowledge of our own self-worth.
We are taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that Master Fard Muhammad stated the entire scope of His Teachings could be summed up in six words: Accept your own and be yourself. Your own self is a righteous Muslim. It is not self-esteem we should seek, it is self-acceptance. When we accept ourselves, we automatically have a high self-esteem.
There are two very profound statements made by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan that are central to this discussion: “As long as we live with white people, we will live under them” and “when we stop thinking about white people, they will cease to exist”.
The sooner we recognize that we devote more time and energy to assimilating into this world than we devote to being ourselves, the sooner we will experience happiness.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, on the Divine Guidance of Allah, gave us the specific means to build our own self-acceptance. It is not easy to do. I repeat, it is not easy to do. And it involves a process; a lengthy process. Why? Because we are a dead people. We must be brought to life. We are unhappy because we are not alive; we are ghosts of our true selves. When asked by a reporter what his ultimate goal was, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad replied, “My mission is to give life to the dead.”
So we have been given the solution to our problem, if we are willing to engage.
Read the Letter of Introduction to Self-Improvement: The Basis for Community Development (December 12, 1986), where it is revealed to us through the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan that it is not working on self-esteem but facing the self-accusing spirit that leads to our resurrection and to becoming one in perfect harmony or peace with Allah and His Creation.
This is the practical application of all that we have considered. Self-care is the nurturing, protection and cultivation of self. It is something we learn to do, consciously and deliberately. It is a fundamental pillar of right living. It includes all of our health decisions, making sure we take in sufficient clean air, water and food; get sufficient exercise and rest; socialize; make time for solitude. We have to learn to manage stress, manage pain, pay attention to personal hygiene; the list goes on and on.
Above all, we have to be the force within our community pushing for and demanding a real move toward separation from God’s enemy.
A nation can rise no higher than its woman.
I am so motivated by the goal of making a mark during SD17: to please our Minister, our husbands, our families, each other, but above all, to please Allah and ourselves!
Thank you for reading these words.
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