See the Beauty in the World
There is beauty everywhere. Once you understand this, the world around you changes in a heartbeat. You can look at an ordinary object and find the beauty in it. You can look at grape leaves covered in caterpillars and imagine a butterfly garden. You may meet someone who—by social norms—might not be “beautiful,” only to realize that they are the most charming, witty, and intelligent person you have ever known: the most beautiful. Beauty is not an objective, quantifiable characteristic, like height or weight. Beauty isn’t just about physical appearance, and as many point out, it is in the eye of the beholder. A badass Black girl trains her eyes to become more sensitive to the beauty around her, instead of constantly focusing her attention on the world’s imperfections. She learns to seek the beauty that exists in her surroundings; she learns to feel it too.
But how? How do you silence your inner critic and learn to see perfection in seemingly imperfect things? Here are some suggestions for increasing your ability to connect with the beauty in your life.
A badass Black girl makes space for beauty. I suggest you start by uncluttering your space and cleaning everything that needs cleaning. Discard or recycle anything you no longer value—someone else might like these items. And because everything that goes on in our physical world becomes a reflection of our psychological world and vice versa, you’ll find yourself tidying up on the inside as well, letting your inner beauty shine! You will discover new aspects of yourself that will make you happy, and you will reconnect with the beautiful person that you are.
A badass Black girl surrounds herself with beautiful people. Make a list of all the people you hang out with on a regular basis. Next to their names, write down what you find beautiful about their character and share your notes with them. You will see how energizing it is to appreciate and talk about inner beauty. You may find it easier to make the list for others than for yourself. If so, why not tell them: “I am learning to appreciate beauty. So I made a list of everything I find beautiful about my loved ones. I must admit that I have more difficulty doing it for myself than for others. Would you be so kind as to tell me just one quality you like about me so that I can add it to my list?” The person may be surprised at your request, but know that your initiative could help others as much as it helps you to appreciate what is beautiful. And you may be surprised at the things people see in you. Their observations may help you to take a second objective look at yourself through other people’s point of view and really see what makes you beautiful to them.
A badass Black girl pays attention. A first glance at something doesn’t reveal its essence. What we perceive as “average” can very often turn out to be extraordinary if we care to really look, to go beyond the first impression. Also, just because you see something every day doesn’t mean it’s ordinary. Have you ever observed the speed at which a snowflake falls, listened to the sound of raindrops falling on the roof or the waves breaking on the shore, or smelled the salty smell of the ocean? When was the last time you watched the sun reflecting off an autumn leaf or in the windows of a skyscraper, listened to birdsong, watched a starry sky or a sunset ablaze with all the colors of fire? Take the time to look at all the ordinary beauty of the world around you. Pay attention. Don’t walk through life distracted by your thoughts. Notice new buildings, beautiful gardens, quirky and cozy little cafes. You are surrounded by wonders, but you may miss them if you are too busy planning the next day or are overwhelmed by memories of the past. Enjoy the pleasure of sharing a meal with people you know well or not at all, of watching a singer or dancer perform, of smiling back at a stranger. Serene or unleashed, the world is magnificent, and its beauty helps us grow. A badass Black girl has an artist’s eye. Look at the world as if you were going to draw it. Learn to savor every moment, every second. Let beauty fill your heart with goodness and then share it with people who cross your path.
As we grow up, we lose the ability to maintain enthusiasm and a sense of discovery. A five-year-old can hear the same story ten times with the same interest, the same excitement as when they first heard it. An adult can hardly wait more than five seconds before informing everyone that they have heard it all before. Let go of the idea that familiar things are boring and try to see them from a new perspective. Give it a try and you will see that you’ll make some remarkable discoveries! Discover the world with eyes wide open and be amazed by what you see around you. Realize that, no matter where you are, whether it is thousands of miles from your house or even in your own neighborhood, everything around us is a source of beauty and deserves our attention, if only for a few minutes a day.
A badass Black girl sees the beauty in herself. Seeing the beauty in others starts with seeing the beauty in yourself. Have you ever thought about how amazing you are? Your body is an amazing biological organism that can breathe, move, distinguish over a million shades of colors, digest food, and often heal on its own. You have the capacity to love, to create, to laugh, to imagine, to feel compassion toward other human beings, and to give life. Your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and actions create your reality and shape your life. You are the greatest miracle ever created. You are unique. You should never forget it. We spend our time wanting to be amazed and envying others, but we must realize how magical our own life is. Every moment can be dotted with sparks that make it memorable.
Every day, make a habit of surrounding yourself with beauty and looking for it inside and outside yourself. This will quickly transform your life. You will find it easier to know what you want, what is important to you, what really makes your heart happy, and you will develop more self-confidence.
A badass Black girl discovers the creative beauty that exists in her. One way to let your inner beauty shine is to develop your creativity. Creative people are determined, flexible, and imaginative. They are problem solvers. Open and curious, they express themselves better than everyone else, and are more apt to come up with new ideas. Unexpected situations, doubt, and uncertainty do not scare them, because their creativity allows them to bounce back and adapt to all situations.
You can develop your creativity by incorporating new habits into your daily life.
● Get into DIY. Coloring, knitting, sewing…In addition to being good for morale, DIY helps stimulate one’s imagination and inventiveness. A badass Black girl dedicates time to hands-on activities in order to develop her creativity. DIY activities help you unleash creative self-confidence. This helps you to stop being afraid of failure and dare to believe in your projects!
● Get out of your comfort zone and maintain your curiosity. Routine stifles creativity. Get out of your comfort zone and face the unknown. Feeding your imagination regularly is essential for unleashing your creativity to its fullest potential. Forget about Netflix. Attend shows, concerts, exhibits, conferences…even if virtually. Discover new things.
● Take a walk. According to researchers at Stanford University, walking for a few minutes promotes the emergence of new ideas.
● Live in the moment. Take a few minutes every day to really listen and feel your surroundings. This contemplative break will encourage the emergence of creative ideas. It is also a good idea to meditate. A study by researchers at Leiden University found that people who regularly meditate were more apt to come up with new and original ideas. So don’t hesitate to incorporate fifteen minutes of meditation into your morning routine!
● Write. Practiced regularly, writing exercises are real boosters of creativity. Just take a piece of paper and a pencil, and write everything that comes to mind, without judgment. As the days go by, your ideas will become better organized and flow from you faster. Writing regularly also helps you acquire persistence.
● Get bored. Did you know that boredom is conducive to creativity? Indeed, when you do nothing, your brain takes the opportunity to sort out your thoughts and make connections that will bring out new ideas. Therefore, don’t hesitate to leave a few holes in your schedule!
● Take care of yourself. When you are comfortable with your body and mind, you create a climate conducive to the emergence of new ideas. To develop your creativity, take care of yourself with a balanced diet, regular sports, and activities that make you happy. Unleash your creativity!
So, Beautiful (yes, you!), it’s easy to let your inner strength shine for you. If you make a practice of focusing on true beauty, you’ll find yourself radiating it and embodying it. The world needs more people who are willing to be themselves regardless of what other people think of them. So don’t pay any attention to the negative, cruel things some people might say. Instead, pay attention to the good in everyone, and most importantly in yourself. In no time at all, you’ll feel as beautiful as you are. Others will notice it too. You can’t really hide what you are, can you? There’s no fun in that and no authenticity. You can’t fake beauty; you just have to trust that you as you are right now are equally as beautiful as everyone around you. Don’t forget to let others know how beautiful they are too, in all their unique, inspiring, different ways. People are like reflections of each other, and if you can see and share what you see with others, you’ll see it and feel it in yourself too. Now, be brave, and you glow, girl!
-- A creator of safe spaces, and an initiator of difficult conversations, M.J. Fievre, B.S. Ed, spent much time building up her Black students, helping them feel comfortable in their skin, and affirming their identities. Her close relationships with parents and students led her to look more closely at how we can balance protecting our child’s innocence with preparing them for the realities of Black life. When―and how―do you approach racism with your children? How do you protect their physical and mental health while also preparing them for a country full of systemic racism? She began to research the issue and speak to school counselors and psychologists to find (and apply!) strategies parents and teachers can use with their children to broach uncomfortable but necessary topics.
M.J. is the author of Badass Black Girl, a daily dose of affirmations for Black Girls
“You'll come away from Badass Black Girl feeling as if you've known the author your entire life, and it's a rare feat for any writer.” ―“Mike, the Poet,” author of Dear Woman and The Boyfriend Book
#1 Gift Idea in Teen & Young Adult Cultural Heritage Biographies, Publishers Weekly Select Title for Young Readers
Affirmations for strong, fearless Black girls. Wisdom from Badass Black female trailblazers who accomplished remarkable things in literature, entertainment, education, STEM, business, military and government services, politics and law, activism, sports, spirituality, and more.
Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, you will confront the issues that can hold you back from living your best life and discovering your Black girl bliss.
Embrace authenticity and celebrate who you are. Finding the courage to live as you are is not easy, so here’s a journal designed to help you nurture creativity, positive self-awareness and Black girl bliss. This journal honors the strength and spirit of Black girls.
Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek to inspire and ignite discussion. You are growing up in a world that tries to tell you how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages you to fight the flow and determine for yourself who you want to be.
Badass Black Girl helps you to:
Build and boost your self-esteem with powerful affirmations
Learn more about yourself through insightful journaling
Become comfortable and confident in your authentic self