Dear Africana Woman,
This week I launched the #AWSayILoveYouChallenge. The premise behind it is that generations have grown up in households where the words 'I love you' were not used. As children you would not hear your parents say it to one another nor would you receive it from your parents. This does not mean your parents did not love you, the expectation was that their feelings were implied in their actions. So the campaign has been met with resistance as no one, zero, zilch has participated. Yet I still think it is important to speak about it and bring awareness. Even if no one does participate, but it makes you stop and think, I would have done my job.
Now you know that in our homes discipline was/is a combination of beatings and verbal abuse. "You are so stupid. How dumb can you be? Don't bring that kind of stupidness in my house. You think you are so clever, you are not. Who do you think you are, you are nothing. No one will ever want you. Who can be with you when you behave like this." Translate that into whatever language you speak. Go back to the words you heard most often when you were young. Granted these words were said in anger. However, if ALL you ever heard was berating words and NEVER heard the words, I love you, which words will you believe? Sit with it for a moment. When a child is growing up these are their formative years, and there is so much being absorbed in their subconscious. For years on end we were told we were bad or not deserving of love but were expected to guess that we were loved by our parents. Again, our parents do love us and their discipline was well intended just not balanced. A child is not inherently bad, it is their actions and choices that are not wise so they should be instructed on how to make better decisions.
So there you go out in the world, looking for friends and a partner. Your intention is to find love but your subconscious is telling you, who can ever want you, you are not worthy of love, you are not a good person. So what happens is you attract what you believe. You look for love and friendships in people that mistreat you repeatedly. Worse still because your emotional vocabulary was not developed when you were younger, you fail to articulate what you expect in a loving relationship.
In Zambia alone, in 2019 the number of divorces recorded were 20, 000. On the one hand I am happy that the custom of staying in unhealthy marriages seems to be dying. However, there is a quote that says, if you continually have problems with everyone you come across, more than likely the problem is you. We women do not take responsibility for the part we played in a relationship failing. There is another quote by Christine Caine, that I love which states, God gave us two golden rules: Love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Here is the issue, a lot of us do love our neighbour as we love ourselves. We just don't like ourselves. .... sit with it. I know I am stepping on some toes today but I am on a mission to break cycles.
Do you like yourself let alone love yourself. Do you really? What is the tape that is on replay in your mind? What do you constantly tell yourself? I challenge you to make a list of all the things that you tolerate in your relationships that you know do not make you happy. Then answer my question, do you like yourself? Okay *hands raised* I will back off for a second. I say this to you because I love you. I want you to believe without a doubt that your are loved and worthy of love. Just because you did not hear it growing up does not take away who God says you are. You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. You are inseparable from God's Love. When you know who and and whose you are you would not tolerate a man that lies, cheats, and/or abuses you. You will not tolerate friendships that are founded on gossip or making others feel belittled. You would see that the man who looks like a Boaz is actually a Bozo, therefore you would not even go on a first date with him. Come on now.
What I am saying to you is that the #AWSayILoveYouChallenge is not a witch hunt to identify who was a bad parent. This is about bringing awareness to our community about the self hatred that is being repeatedly perpetuated. You may have had loving parents that told you I love you, but I invite you to still participate to raise awareness and be the voice for the voiceless. I invite all of you to break the cycle. Let us enforce more positive words than the negative ones. Let us heal as a community. If you would like to participate, you can record a video saying the words I love you Mum/Dad. You do not have to record a video with your parents. Post it on FB or IG. Remember to put the hashtag and nominate 5 people. This challenge ends on 25 May, which is Africa Freedom day. Even if you do not participate, I hope that you spend a little time reflecting on the power of words. The tongue has the power to create and destroy. Think of what words were spoken over your life especially when you were younger. Then begin to speak the words you want to see in your life now. Say it to yourself 5 times in the mirror every morning. I believe this will be life changing.
Alright chikita I have to go. I do have some exciting news though. So Africana Woman is extending an invitation for guest writers on the blog. If you think your story must be shared with other Africana Women please send your article to email@example.com . Please let us know whether you would like us to indicate your name or if it is an anonymous submission. We have also started an Africana Woman Community on Facebook. If you are looking for a community of African women who value our culture but are also willing to critically analyse what is relevant for our times, then this is the group for you. You can join by clicking here. My final announcement is that I will be hosting a segment called a Taste of Culture on Facebook Live every Tuesday at 4pm CAT. I will be talking to amazing women across the world about how to thrive in our cultural context and as an African woman. So I hope you join me for these educative conversations. Okay now I really gotta go. Please share this with someone. Comment below plus subscribe. And I hope you participate in the #AWSayILoveYouChallenge. My desire is that you love yourself, flaws n all and attract the life that you deserve.
Peace and Blessings,