A personal note from Basheerah Ahmad, the author of "Love Yourself Enough To Be Healthy"

Almost on a daily basis, I run into people who tell me that “Love yourself enough to be Healthy” is such a smart slogan or that it’s a great branding idea. Little do they realize that this statement is so much more than a slogan, it’s the philosophy that I adopted on life to save me from MY self-sabotaging ways.

Most people who know or who have met Basheerah Ahmad would say that she is happy, sweet, and optimistic. And while these characteristics do apply to me, they certainly do not sum up the complexities that define me. So often, people assume that the perpetual smile on my face means that I don’t have the same adversities that everyone else does; or that I have a secret solution to success in life. Nothing could be further from my truth…I’ve had more bumps in my journey, than many of you would ever believe.

You see, I was a privileged child and teenager; not in a financial sense, but in a mentally and physically protected way. I grew up in a home filled with Love, Knowledge, Ambition, Spirituality, and sense of Community Responsibility. I was raised to believe that every human being was “good” on the inside. In fact, I’ll never forget one of the many lessons that my parents taught me about sharing. I have 3 wonderful sisters, Aquilah, Iman, and Jihan, and on all of our birthdays, my parents would have us use our allowance money to throw a party for our friends in the neighborhood. My mother and father felt that the best way for us to celebrate our day of creation, was to give something back to Humanity.

Another memory I have of giving back still stings a little, but I honor my father for the lesson. When my older sister and I were no more than 4 and 6 years old, my father took us to Toys R’ Us to pick out toys and games. We were so excited and felt on top of the world! Mom and Dad were very careful with their spending, so a shopping spree for toys was almost unheard of. Little did we know (or didn’t care to remember) that all of the toys were being purchased to give to the children at a nearby inner city childcare center. Needless to say, my sister and I were devastated. We were too young to understand that the toys we thought were “so cool” were probably the only toys that these children would see at all.

Some of you may consider that insensitive behavior on my father’s part, and I must admit that I was pretty upset for years. But, my father and mother taught us how to serve God’s people before serving ourselves, and this message is still deeply embroidered into the fabric that I am today. Unfortunately, we live in a world of people who have been so damaged and desensitized, that they prey on individuals who live by this pure system of service.

At times I’m embarrassed to admit that I became one of these individuals who people tried to prey on. Even with all of the academic knowledge and social consciousness that I possessed, I became a target. As I grew into an adult and begin to spread my wings outside the comfort and protection of my parents’ home, I was hit with a startling realization. Yes, it’s true that everyone may have the potential to be a good person, but many have given up on even trying to.

It was at this point in my life that I began to feel bitter, and question if something was wrong with my view on creation. Why did I always try to see the best side of people even when they didn’t even want to acknowledge it for themselves? I started to turn inward and pulled myself away from society because I didn’t understand how people could be so cruel to each other. I didn’t comprehend why people could throw their lives away. I’m embarrassed to admit that at one point, I wouldn’t even return the phone calls from friends or family for weeks at a time. I didn’t want to save anyone anymore, including myself.

These were very dark days for me, and until now, only my older sister Aquilah knew about them. Yes, little Miss High Achiever went through a period of Depression, that she hid from the people most important in her life. But, of course I was in denial about my Depression, so I refused to talk about it, and slowly it began to change me. For the first time in my life, I allowed fear to creep in and affect my decision-making. I started thinking of myself as a statistic. “Why was I in my early thirties and not married? Why didn’t I have kids? Why didn’t I work a 9-to-5 in Corporate America? Why didn’t I have solid investments and an American Express Card? Surely there had to be something wrong with me, or people wouldn’t keep asking me these questions. Right?” Yes, I had “Drank the Kool-Aid”.

The Basheerah Ahmad from just a few years previously would never have allowed these asinine societal pressures to take a moment of her time! The old me knew without question that she was created from the Best of Molds, and could accomplish any goal she set her heart and mind to. I began to pay closer attention to the people that I would have around me, and I started to see that what was happening to me, was also happening to many of my close friends. We were questioning our Greatness because we were looking at our lives in Worldly timetables.

When I started to clearly see myself and my “sick” thinking pattern through the eyes of others, I realized that I had to snap out of this depressed state before it caused serious damage to my self-esteem. At this point in my life, I started listening to affirmations. My favorite Self-Help Author is Louise Hay. I would force myself to repeat her affirmations over and over, until they became imbedded in my memory bank, and it worked! Whenever I began to have a negative, self-destructive thought, my newly trained subconscious brain would come to the rescue and silence my overactive conscious mind. I began to re-build my confidence, determination, and will to help others again. I was ready to “Love myself enough to be healthy”.

This statement has different meanings for different people. For me it means, having a love affair with myself that is so solid and genuine that I can’t hurt myself in any way without immediately feeling guilty. Now, I know my VALUE - and with this book, I challenge you to find and know yours.

It brings tears to my eyes to think of the phenomenal men and women in this world, who give up on their dreams and ambitions, because they never learned how to put self-love first. Think about it. If every elementary program in this country alone started each day out with an “I am worthy of Love” Mantra, imagine how high children from all racial and socio-economic backgrounds could hold their heads. I wonder how many young girls would save their Virginity for a deserving mate instead of feeling obligated to serve the first Man that makes them feel special.

My mother and father were certainly on the right track by teaching me to serve and love others, but as I’ve grown into this woman today, I’ve taken their message a step further and learned how to love me. Every affirmation in this book comes from my heart and has helped me in overcoming adversity. I ask that you read each one carefully and repeat it daily until your heart accepts its truth.

I pray that these affirmations change your life as they have changed mine. I implore you to be Freedom, be Peace, and most of all, be Love.

My heart is with yours
— Basheerah Ahmad

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