Self-Love comes in many forms. It can be as disciplined as scheduling weekly meetings with a therapist, or it could be as innocent as getting a shape up and milly rocking at a red light to Playboy Carti's 'Magnolia'.
One of the most poignant displays of self-love in 2016 was the release of Solange's sophomore LP, 'A Seat at the Table'. The album served as a 52-minute therapy session that allowed the songstress to shed a layer of skin that was once worn as a costume.
Through an honest conversation with her reflection, in addition to those who contributed to the makeup of her DNA, she understood her roots as well as the fruits she produced up to this point. The album was celebrated as the soundtrack for the Black Woman's journey to self-love.
Such impact sparks the question of where is the guide to the internal evolution for (Black) Men?
The delayed response to this question might lead one to believe that there is no such guide for men. The recipe for testosterone doesn't call any introspection. Money and status are the only components we need to generate in order be deemed as 'complete'. Anything else, whether positive or negative, is considered as sprinkles on top of a blandly vanilla ice cream cone.
While rappers such as Drake, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar have used their music to turn the mirror on themselves, Jay-Z's '4:44' is one of Rap's first attempts in the 21st century to face their own image and take action to improve it. Here are 4 keys that we as men can take away from Jay's album and apply to our daily lives.
1. Kill [Your Ego]
Practicing self-love is not feminine behavior. It's not masculine behavior. Loving yourself is human behavior that is essential for survival. Drink more water. Be proactive in the way you address your emotions before you erupt. Place your value on your relationships before your bank account.
No part of life is all bad. No part of life is all good, either. The beauty of life is found in the balance of it all. Count your blessings. Appreciate the people that never switched up. Don't chase an infatuation when you have love at home. Be grateful.
3. Nobody Wins When The Family Feuds
Self-love is also shown in the way you interact with others. Take the time to build your relationships. Just because we have a woman doesn't mean that she'll be there forever (especially if she doesn't have a ring on her finger). Although absence does make the heart grow fonder, negligence makes the heart grow cold. Love your loved ones.
4. Be In It For The Legacy
The journey to self-love takes more than a day. Learning to effectively communicate or be intimate won't happen on the first try. Practice self-love by making minimal adjustments each day. Call your mother every Sunday, Spend a Saturday with your kids or younger siblings. Cook with your significant other sometimes. It may not seem like much, but the long-term effects of these actions will surprise you. The same rapper that made 'Big Pimpin'' made '4:44'. Give it time. Be a better man for yourself so you can be a better partner. Then you'll both become better parents. Then your kids will know what Love looks like and they'll know where to place their aspirations. Love yourself so you can Love others.