(Self) image is everything

But only when you define it

Labels are a part of life. Throughout it, we are constantly confronted with people who not only try to tag us, but expect us to go along with their narrow definitions. “If only you would be less…, more…, look like…, act like…,” they say. The tragedy occurs when we listen and change to fit into their molds.

Many of us “live as though we’re acting out a script written by someone else in a movie no one is directing,” say Darlene Powell Hopson, Ph.D., and Derek Hopson, Ph.D., clinical psychologists and co-authors of The Power of Soul: Pathways to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for African Americans. This makes it hard to “maintain or develop a positive self-image that confirms and reaffirms our inherent worthiness and potential for accomplishment.”

When it comes to you, no labels matter but your own. Choose to define yourself by your own standards, and learn to love your unique essence. Or, literally kill yourself trying to be what everyone else wants you to be. The choice-and consequences-rest entirely with you.

The Power of Soul: Pathways to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for African Americans by Darlene Powell Hopson, Ph.D., and Derek Hopson, Ph.D., (William Morrow & Co., $23). To order, call Books Now! At 800-BOOKS-NOW or visit www.BooksNow.com/BlackEnterprise.

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