Ten year-old Egypt Ufele is a 5th grader who constantly got bullied by her peers because of her weight. In response, she created a clothing line for plus-sized women and she presented her work at New York Fashion week.
Welcome to Day 19 of #31daysofSelfCompassion
Today the theme is “Your Turn is Now”
Egypt illustrates the life changing advice I learned from 2 of the people I admire the most, Magatte Wade founder of @worldoftiossan and her husband Michael Strong founder of @koschool. “Criticize by creating” is a mantra that drives all their business decisions. The goal of this motto is to be solution-focused rather than problem-focused, when facing an obstacle.
Prior to meeting them both, I was great at organizing pity parties for myself. Any road block I met was an opportunity to wallow in misery, and talk forever about how the whole world was against me. This affected my approach to social justice as well, in that I tended to feel a sense of hopelessness with all the injustice I witnessed and could complain for hours. Since adopting the mantra of “Criticize by creating“, I moved from helplessness to empowerment, from stagnation to possibilities and boldness.
Just in terms of my journey of self-love, I was much too focused on how much people else didn’t understand the struggle of overcoming self-loathing when everyone is trying to convince you that you shouldn’t take up too much space, or that you are only valuable according to some arbitrary criteria. While this is true, talking endlessly about injustice can leave you feeling overwhelmed and disempowered. You feel like the issues are much bigger than you and too complex to dismantle. Criticize by creating is the mantra of empowerment. Because you move from thinking “everything sucks” to thinking “what am I going to do about it”?
Every obstacle becomes an opportunity. When you get lemons, make lemonade. When you hit a road block, do some weight lifting with the rocks. When you get at the end of your rope tie a knot, hang on and do some pull-ups too. When you feel the need for a self-pity party, turn it into a brainstorming party instead. How much more cheesy can I get with this?
How exactly can you apply this concept to all areas of your life? This is what I learned from my life mentors:
- Identify the issue, but approach with a solution-focused mentality, not problem-focused
- Don’t ask for permission. This is perhaps the most important, because too often, we wait for someone else to come tell us it’s ok to go after the things we want because we don’t believe our ideas are good enough. Your turn is now.
- Believe in your success story. We wait for permission because we don’t feel good enough, so we choose a prophecy story of endless failures. But what would happen if you operate with the belief that you have what it takes to have great impact?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We live in a society that celebrates individuality, and that’s good for that time when you need to choose yourself and get what you want against all odds. But please know, collaboration is not weakness, so don’t be afraid to find your tribe and ask for help to propel you forward. There is power in numbers.
- Just do it. Stay Consistent, persistent, relentless, and resilient.
Want more examples of “Criticize by Creating“?
@worldoftiossan created a luxury Senegalese skincare line to counter the hopeless Africa narrative, is building a manufacturing plant in Senegal and an entrepreneurial school as well.
@nubianskin created nude color lingerie for black women and Christian Louboutin did the same with shoes.
@mynameisjessamyn changed the face of yoga of heavy girls
@lueatsdotcom is a body positive coach who helps people change their relationship with food.
@effyourbeautystandards was created by Tess Holiday to change the narrative around fatness
What are the things you don’t like in this world that should change? How are you going to do it? Complaining is easy but feel hopeless. Criticizing by creating, now that’s Power.
Be like 10 year old Egypt Ufele and counter criticism into powerful creations.
Your turn is now
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.