One of my worst habits is comparing myself to other people. I did it so often in high school and freshman year of college. “I wish I had long hair like Jolie. Or was skinny like Sharon.” Or, “If only I could look like so and so.” The realization hit me on my way home, while I was singing along to Lily Allen in the car. Her song “Cheryl Tweedy” is like the self-pitying monologue that loops through so many women’s heads.

“Wish I had blonde hair, Wish I had green eyes, So many things about myself that I despise.”

I have never wished for blonde hair, but I know whereof she speaks. I think it’s a bad habit many women have. Even the most slender and beautiful among us have their moments where they look at another person and wish they were them. I spend so much time wishing I looked like someone else, and not enough celebrating ME. Today, I say nuts to that.

Today, I am going to unabashedly indulge in a Stewart Smalley moment with a twist. Instead of looking in the mirror and picking myself apart like I often do; I am going to celebrate my favorite features.

I love my hair, it’s strong, healthy, and beautiful.

I love my eyes; they are sparkling and expressive.

I love the color of my skin, as brown and delicious as milk chocolate.

I love my smile. It’s the purest expression of me.

In the spirit of self-celebration, I offer this theme song. Nina Simone’s “Ain’t Got No/I Got Life” always picks me up when I feel down. I’m working on a big post on Nina soon, but I couldn’t wait to share this live version. This is obviously a later performance so Nina’s not in great voice, but this song is always a great sing-along.

Join me and celebrate your beauty today! What do you love about yourself?

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earthtone says:
October 11, 2006, 9:55 am
I love my almond shaped eyes..they make me look exotic. I love my curly, kinky, nappy's shows where I came from. I love full lips...I'm husband says they are soo soft. I love my wide hips... gives me shape. I love my stretch marks...means I've gained and lost weight I love my small least I got some,! hehe I love being me... real, honest, and don't take no sh*t!
jerseybred says:
October 11, 2006, 10:18 am
I love my lips; very luscious. I love my nose; it fits face. I love my kinky hair; its so soft. I love my spirit; I am thee divine spark. I love all of my five feet. I love me. I'm so fly.
Julia_Claudine_Deveraux says:
October 11, 2006, 10:29 am
Bella...I heart you, you are truly my sista from another mother. I remember growing up and WISHING I would go to sleep and wake up looking exactly like Sheila E did in the Glamorous Life video. Even though I was a pretty, popular teen, I wasn't light, I wasn't skinny and I didn't have long hair....that was the favored look of the 80's and it still exists to some degree now. With that nonsense said: I love my slanted eyes I love my full lips I love my 46 dd breasts I love my hair, it's healthy and it's short but it's ALL MINE I love my ass I love my dark skin with the contrasting light freckles (yes, I'm a freak of nature hehe) I love my sense of humor, it keeps me sane Screw Trina, I'm the baddest bitch haha
bella says:
October 11, 2006, 10:35 am
Yay, Julia!! I heart you too. =) Damn, you're packing 46 DD? I'm scared of you now, girrrl. LOL. I'm just sick of feeling down on me. I had a comment posted recently by another reader (Liz, where you at?) she said "By the way, your hair is sooooo damn beautiful! Black women are truly blessed with their hair. I don’t see why anyone would perm it, or put a weave in it. My hair is so limp, and dead. and It takes me forever to even try to curl it. =(" That made me laugh, then it made me sad. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I wished my hair was straight, or long, or anything other than what it is. We always stand on our side of the fence and admire the neighbor's yard. Well, my yard is looking damn fine today! It's a celebration!
Megan says:
October 11, 2006, 10:50 am
I luv my full lips. I luv my skin tone. I luv my natural hair. I luv my eyes. I luv my thickness. I luv my eyelashes. I luv my hips. I luv my height. I luv my Texas drawl. I luv my breast.
earthtone says:
October 11, 2006, 10:51 am
Bella, thanks for this post. It really uplifted me today.
Megan says:
October 11, 2006, 10:51 am
Oh and my favorite Nina Simone song is "See Line Woman"!
70ssoulchild says:
October 11, 2006, 10:53 am
I love the gap between my front teeth,its make my smile unique. I love my 42DDDs (shout out to go girl!) I love my hair..its thick and coarse and will look great in locs when I'm finished transitioning. I love my skin, its smooth, soft and blemish free(thanks to black soap and sheaaloe butter). I love my eye color (light brown to hazel) no one else in my family has it. I love my sense of humor and optimistic outlook on life. I love my lips and calves..they're shaped like my beautiful mother's. I love to hear myself laugh..that means I'm having good fun. I love that I found this site..thanks Afrobella I needed this after having a contrary day yesterday!
diamond says:
October 11, 2006, 12:00 pm
when i was in jr high, a guy that i was crushin (yet a very good friend) told me the best thing ever he said: "i've dated the prettiest of the prettiest girls and they too have low self esteem, if not lower. everybody thinks that 'they'll be happier when...' but the truth is that they'll never be happier if they look like somebody or have something cuz then they'll find another problem and never be satisfied" that was the best thing ive ever heard from a guy (too bad i dont know where he is today) and it was the pure truth right now i dont feel like being mushy and sayin what i love about my body, but i just wanted to share that.
Fela Cortes says:
October 11, 2006, 1:02 pm
I love my people and I am loving you afrobella. Thank you for the Nina Simone clip and your writing. As for me: I LOVE my complexion I love the line that runs down my arm separating the darker color from the lighter (really it's a line) I love my breasts (gaining 2 dress sizes gave me the breasts I always wanted) I love the size of my feet (9.5 - I've always said the keep me firmly planted on the earth) I love my hair (have to thank Titi + Miko for caring for it) - mi esposo calls them boingies I love the gap between my teeth I love my lips I love my heart - it seems bottomless I love my legs (thank you Mommy) I'm even loving my little paunch (I never thought I'd have a tummy, it may be on it's way out as I've started working out again) I love me!
girl stop says:
October 11, 2006, 2:25 pm
Wow...this isn't as easy as it seems...I love reading everyone else's declarations, but I'm not feeling the self-love lately...I just turned 41, and I always thought I would grow into an acceptance of myself, but it hasn't worked that way. I try--I work out every day, I'm strong and healthy, but today I can't say there's any part of me I love.
o0seinabo0o says:
October 11, 2006, 5:24 pm
I love my: *eyes*...there big,brown and expresive *mixed herigtage*...The Gambia & Sweden *hips*...lemme just put it like this, If u where sopose to fit in the clothes from the childrens section there wouldnt be one for adults... *voice*...beacuse YES I can SAAANG! *bilinguality* ... It´s a blessing to be able to comunicate with so much people... *hair*...we beef sometimes..buth most of the time its soft,curly and fabulous *snap*
Nique says:
October 11, 2006, 8:48 pm
Ol' Skool Black Beauty: Nina Simone I love my Nappy hair my 32A's and my smile. I love my toes and most important I LOVE ME!!!
bella says:
October 11, 2006, 9:03 pm
Girl Stop, sorry your comment didn't post until later. I was getting hit by a ton of spam, so we installed this new software that occasionally blocks out good people. Now you need to listen to your name. Girl, stop! You just said you're strong and healthy. So there are two things you should love about yourself. I know it's not always easy, but the age factor really shouldn't matter. You gotta go, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself sometimes, "I'm beautiful, dammit!" I highly recommend that you take the "me" time to discover your self-love. It could be something as superficial as getting a makeover, or taking a bubble bath; or it could be something deeper like religion or therapy or a self-help book that makes you discover it. (for me, it was therapy and makeovers =)  ) Just take the time to fall in love with yourself all over again. I sincerely believe that it's vitally important. Peace and Love, Afrobella
Liz says:
October 11, 2006, 9:08 pm
Hey afrobella! Thanks so much for doing this post. I know all women out there of all ethinicites and nationalites suffer feel down on themselves sometimes, and reading this post alleviates the pain of the scrutiny we put ourselves through. You really have a gift, and I thank you so much for this blog! =) Well since everyone else are doing lists, I'll do mine also lol and I never really thought of this, so here goes nothing: I LOVE: my fahsion sense my loooong natural hair, and how easy it is to style it(except curls arghhh) my brown eyes that change in the sunlight my light complexion my stubby nose my full lips my size 3 feet (yes I know, they are tiny) my Colombian ethnicity my good heart my brain my tiny hands my tiny breasts lmao my legs and most of all, this blog!!!
Liz says:
October 11, 2006, 9:10 pm
oh, and i love the fact that i look over my posts to check if i spelled words correctly lol
BaldBeauty says:
October 11, 2006, 9:50 pm
thanks bella
Beauty says:
October 11, 2006, 9:57 pm
I love my smile, my hair, my cheeks, my lips, my nose, my eyes, my boobies, my butt, my hands, my feet, my body. Bella sorry in advance, I already know I'll write a lot. This right there is why I love your site so much. You celebrate beauty everyday! I needed to read a message like this one today. We're living in a society so visually focused and this photoshopping done to models in magazines, videos girls, and everything else, women and teenage girls have lower and lower self-esteem. The same is starting to happen to men and that's unfortunate for them, teenage boys and grown men. So is it what we're supposed to be? A bunch of human beings with low self-esteem, comparing each other constantly, running after plastic surgery hoping will make us feel better? Focusing and working on the outside when what we urgently need to do is work on the inside? Let's stop letting the world DICTATE to us what beauty is supposed to be about. There's isn't one kind of beauty, God made us all different for a reason, our diversity is what makes us so beautiful. The world would be BORING and...let's say it..UGLY, if we were all carbon copies of each other, same eyes, same hair texture, same hair color, same size, same nose, same lips, same skin tone. Have you noticed, we're quick to believe someone calling us ugly but we hardly ever believe someone who says we're beautiful? I heard someone say one day something about self-esteem that is really true : "You will ONLY BE THE SHIT TO OTHERS when YOU ARE THE SHIT TO YOURSELF!". Nobody will find you beautiful if you don't feel beautiful, nobody will find you sexy if you don't feel sexy, that's what it is. This is why you'll see that average looking fella attracting women and you'll wonder what does he have that makes him so attractive? He may not be the most handsome man in the world, but he'll have that swagger, that sexiness and confidence that will make him irresistible, HE WILL FEEL LIKE HE *IS* THE SHIT, and will end up BEING the shit to others. Why you think MONIQUE got herself that sexy chocolate? How did Angie Stone get D'Angelo back then? (even if they broke up, he dated HER, and she's never been like the "average video girl"). I really want all of y'all ladies (and gentlemen) to love yourselves, whether you represent the "standards of beauty" or not, whether you look like a model or not, slim or big, tall or short, light skinned dark skinned, long hair short hair, straight hair nappy hair curly hair. You are beautiful in YOUR own way, YOU ARE UNIQUE and YOUR INDIVIDUALITY is WHAT you should BE PROUD OF and CELEBRATE! Thank you Bella, you're beautiful inside and out, and your site is AWESOME!
Carolyn says:
October 11, 2006, 11:23 pm
Wow, you just keep it coming! Thank you so much for today's post - it's just what I needed! Saying what I love about myself is tough - I live in fear of being unjustifiably "full of myself", but this seems like a safe place for self expression, so...on a really good day, I love: my mind my Mona Lisa smile my thick & willful hair my slender wrists and ankles my small waist my long slim arms my ears my eyebrows my voice Thank you for this site!
bella says:
October 12, 2006, 8:31 am
Yay, ladies! It's a bella love thing and it feels wonderful. Beauty, girl you are so on point. That self-confidence needs to come from within, and sometimes you gotta fake it until you make it. I'm gonna give your site a shout-out soon - you've got a new artist on your site who's totally in the running for Afrobella of the Week!
pt says:
October 12, 2006, 10:46 am
Maybe its been said but I love: ...the oppoortunity to visit a website and get friendly with my sisters, in a real way, no matter where they are. ...the opportunity to return the favor of being cared for to my mother, when she needs me to care for her. ...the chnace to grow and move forward and define myself, daily, or by the minute if I choose. ...the fact that when I'm feeling low, or ugly, there's always someone to make me feel better (even if its just myself). ...that I serve a God of second chances. ...that I have more room to grow.
girl stop says:
October 12, 2006, 5:59 pm
Thanks, Bella, and all your visitors who remind me of beauty every day.
Beauty says:
October 13, 2006, 6:03 am
Bella thanks, and I know who you're talking about lol, she's amazing.
Shonquayshah says:
October 13, 2006, 4:11 pm
i have a very good ability to be kind to mean people...i should be an oscar winning actress! and i have a beautiful smile!
Juicy says:
October 18, 2006, 4:41 am
Thank you for the post. I'm so addicted to your blog.
nellie_pigeon says:
October 29, 2006, 12:24 pm
thnx 4 evry1's blogs,i'm glad i stumbled across this website 2day it has rely uplifted me but stil find it hard 2 say wat i love about me. i always want 2 luk like sum1 other thn myself,my mother is fair skinned,freckles n very attractive n i suppose i'v always felt like the ugly duckling bt i'll giv it a try... i love my toffee complexion my height my curly afro my big brown eyes long lashes evry mole n birth mark i love me


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