Hellooooo! Repeat after me: NOVEMBER IS SOMETHING SPECIAL! All throughout this month, I will be sharing content from my book Yarns of inspiration II. I hope you enjoy the read and please let me know in the comment, if any part of this speaks to you.
Here we go…
It was a short trip. All my life I had been looking forward to visiting this particular country and yet when the opportunity finally came, I had to make it short because my brother was getting married. So the plan was, I would arrive on Wednesday, speak at the conference on Thursday and return on Friday (no shopping!) in time to make it for the big ceremony on Saturday. ‘No problem, for my brother I will do this; he is worth it’, I thought.
Everything happened according to plan on the trip, well except for the shopping bit. At the time, I had been saving for something very important later that year, so I told myself no more shopping, not even for the kids. Besides, I had recently shopped my wallet off on a previous trip, and so surely, I would be forgiven if I returned empty-handed; I reasoned. However, on my way to the boarding gate, there was this really incredible shop with thousands of different arts and gifts. The shop literally kept calling my name! Rolling my eyes dramatically, I said to myself ‘fine! Just $100 and I’m out of here.’
As usual, I got a few gifts for the kids. And then debated with two Shop Attendants on whether I should get a giraffe print tie or a t-shirt for my husband. Oh and I simply had to buy two lovely bead necklaces for my mother and mother-in-law. But of course, I couldn’t forget my two sisters-in-law, my brother-in-law and the housekeeper who were taking care of the kids while I went looking for money, haha! Finally, I got chocolates for my church team and girlfriends’ kids. However, just as I was about to go to the till I thought ‘wait, I haven’t bought anything for myself!’ For some reason, this thought irritated me! Why on earth would I buy something for myself when; 1. I was saving seriously. 2. I did not have a lot of money. 3. I did not particularly need anything? After what seemed like a couple of minutes, I decided ‘fine! I will just get myself this pair of earrings! *Eyes rolling!* I paid for the items, not particularly happy that I had made the final purchase, but I refused to be angry at that moment. After all, I was on my way home, and my big brother was getting married! What? Miracles do happen! Haha
A few months later, I had to return to this same country. This time it was a 3-day conference, so I had 4 whole nights! ‘Fabulous! I will definitely treat myself this time. And then, of course, I will shop; the kids need new PJs’ I thought. So yes, I was really looking forward to this second trip to my dream country. On day one, I went on a tour but only because it was sponsored! Nope, I would not have paid to treat myself to it because as my friends like to say, I am ‘pepeh’ (stingy with money)!
On day two, I discovered a mall close to the hotel we stayed at. With my shopping list, I marched straight to H&M looking for PJs. That was when I saw it, the perfect briefcase bag I had imagined for as long as I had fantasized about being a career woman! It was black with gold details, just perfect to match everything I had and go everywhere I went. Alas! ‘but Ama you know you don’t have money’ had to rear its ugly head in my thoughts again, and as usual, I dismissed the idea of buying the bag right away. I went on and got the PJs from another shop and looked for some gifts for the few ladies I had at home.
On day three, I went back to the mall to check out the training pants I had seen at another shop the day before. It was perfect, except for the price, haha! So I dropped it and went back to H&M, at least even if I could not buy the bag, nothing stopped me from just looking at it. While there, I spotted a pair of Khaki pants on sale, and I thought they would look good on my husband. There was even a matching t-shirt. Of course, I had to buy it, the man is a God-sent always being nice about my trips even if the inconvenience made him unhappy! Haha.
That night on my way back to the hotel, there was a heated debate going on in my head; why on earth couldn’t I have the bag versus why buy it? All throughout the next day, the bag was on my mind as I packed, received a few visitors, made some sales of items I had sent to exhibit… basically I could not get it out of my mind. By 3pm, I was pacing back and forth in my room. ‘I deserve the bag! I have worked very hard for this money! I have bought gifts for everyone! How about me?’ My mind was raging! I stormed out of the hotel, hopped on the bus, went to H&M, bought the bag, bought another white top for me, and sauntered out of there feeling like the boss!
Oh, my goodness! I will never forget the defiant feeling I felt as if I was some rebel! Well, I guess I was actually a rebel. I was rebelling against that voice which was always willing to spend on others except me! Come to think of it, this reminds me of a question my friend Frances had asked me during one of our tete-a-tetes ‘why do some women eat the burnt part of food instead of throwing it away to make a new one for themselves?’ I wonder, why some mothers walk into a shop to treat themselves only to come out with shopping bags full of children’s clothes? Why do some women break their backs to make good money but refuse to spend it on themselves?
Recently (in 2018) I conducted a poll on social media to ask our network what they wanted us to discuss during our Dinner With The Girls-Kumasi. I was so excited when more than 60% of the votes were for ‘Loving/Valuing ourselves as women’ It was evident to me then, that self-love is quite difficult for some of us women especially mothers. The more I think about it, the more it baffles me.
There is this exercise video I dance to, at the end of it the trainer says ‘and don’t forget to love yourself’. The first time I did that particular routine, I jokingly looked in the mirror and said ‘I love you’, and I kid you not, I started tearing up! Suddenly, I began to realize that I did not really love me. Else I would not have made certain choices that put the welfare of my mind, body and soul last. The sad part is how I expect everyone else to show love to me and yet do not even realize that I am not loving me.
And so for the past few months, I have been on a journey to discover what it means to love and value me as God sees me. It has been interesting; I have realized that it is actually easier said than done, and I have to be intentional about it. Well for now, whenever that ‘voice’ which prefers to put me last pops up in my head, I ask ‘why is it so hard for you to love me?’, roll my eyes and treat myself like the boss! Haha! Hey lady, don’t forget to love yourself!
You know, I wrote this in 2018 and the content still speaks to me. It’s interesting how I picked this particular story to share in this week’s Mind Your Business episode. As at the time of the recording, I was emotionally a right mess! I spent much of the entire week reflecting on why I was feeling the way I was and it boiled down to one thing: I needed Ama Duncan to love me! I mean to really walk the talk of loving me. And so I press on…what about you? Are you loving yourself? Well, I will love to read from you in the comment and until then, remain fabulous!
Get your copy of Yarns of inspiration II:
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24 thoughts on “WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR YOU TO LOVE ME?”
It’s like l am reading my own story. It so resonates with me. I guess it’s because doing all of that gives me a good feeling. That’s my reward for breaking my back for my family. It’s like l had to do it to prove (to who anyway?) that l loved them and am a good mom or sister.
I just threw my head back and laughed out loud after reading your beautiful story. It hit me hard If doing all of these things was my way of showing love to my family and friends, to those who matter in my life, then l have excluded myself. I have not shown much love to myself. Thanks Ama. I am looking at the lady in my mirror, and for the very first time in my life, l just told her, Tancy, l love you!
I am glad l clicked on this link. Bless you 🥰
Amen. It’s always a pleasure Ps. Tancy
Thanks for sharing! Self-love appears demonized. And on a trip, I got some girls asking me same question ‘you didn’t buy anything for yourself’. I got a reality check and made it back to the malls. Even that I didn’t buy what I really wanted because I wanted to give those girls a treat. #Agendalovingme
I like #Agendalovingme! Thank you Jade
Ama, thank you for this piece. It is timely.
Self love, self care, giving yourself permission to breath! Thanks for sharing! I smiled because it resonates with me! I have learnt that if we don’t pursue our own wholeness we will soon have nothing to give others!
Yep! Thank you Mensima
Well said, but to me, giving yourself a nice treat doesn’t necessarily mean loving yourself though. If you really understand the meaning of love and you exhibit it, loving yourself comes automatically along. Understand love, and live it in it fullest.
Yes Hannah. Thank you for your comment
Ama, this is my story. It’s like I want to satisfy everyone except myself. Even at bedtime, I want to be sure everyone is ok to the extent that the dogs should have enough water to pass the night. Going forward, my name should be first on the list.
Absolutely first on the list Gifty. Thank you for sharing Milday
One thing is factual!
Creating a conducive atmosphere for self-love condition to strive.
I love this piece.
You hit the happy mean
Thank you Gideon
Thanks 😊 Madam. Even though they say you’re pepeh at least not with knowledge. Sometimes we get so much involved in showing love to others and forget that we also matters. Many realize this when they get disappointed by those others. The inner joy from loving ourselves gives see fulfillment and lots of benefits be it emotional etc.
When love is voiced my name shouldn’t be left out. You and I so much deserve the impact of love and so must we claim. Mrs. Duncan, let’s share the Gift given by nature(LOVE)… I LOVE MYSELF AND I LOVE YOU!!!
Thank you John 🙂
Thank you, for this piece, Ama. I have attention to the needs of others especially at work that I have lost opportunities to upgrade myself. This is timely and I thought I have been trying to love myself all this while. I realised I need to do more. I just looked in the mirror and told myself ‘Jemi, I love you’ it sounded awkward though, but I will keep saying those words and practice them as well.☺️Thank you, Ama
Jemimah, go you!
A very true realisation. As you rightly said, one needs to be intentional about it, cos it seems putting others first always occurs naturally to us as humans.
Yep, so true Joycelyn
Thanks for sharing this. I’m so glad you came to my Inbox!!
This is something I have struggled with my entire life, but at some point, I stopped even seeing it as a ‘struggle’ and just accepted it as who I am…I even justify it by reasoning that making my loved ones happy makes me happy. Giving makes me happy. But does it make me happier than receiving?…I don’t know.
I will definitely put this down on my list of new year’s resolutions. I will start by seeking real understanding as to what it even means to ‘love oneself’.
Food for thought….