Written by Ariel Hollie
A constant topic of discussion.
Its meaning, still a blur as you spend countless hours scrolling on your phone.
Double tap. Double tap.
“Her hair is so pretty,” you think.
“Her body is perfect!” you applaud.
Yet, when you look in the mirror – you find it hard to return the compliment. Why is that?
Ask yourself why!
According to Andrea Lewis, the most important question to ask yourself when you’re feeling like you’re not good enough is, “Why?”. You may be familiar with Lewis for her role as Hazel in Degrassi: The Next Generation. Or you may know her as writer, creator, and producer of the hit web series, ‘Black Actress’.
I had the opportunity to interview Lewis and hear her thoughts on self-love. I wanted to find out more about her #SelfLoveSaturday videos published on her YouTube channel, in which she discusses topics like feeling rejected or feeling lost.
When asked about what prompted her to start making such videos, Lewis shared that there was a time when she was working on a play and the producer, a beautiful woman, had a lot of negative talk about herself. Lewis described the producer as sticking “out like a sore thumb”. She found it strange to hear someone talk about themselves in this manner – she couldn’t stop thinking about it.
So in a way, when Lewis made her first video on self-love, it was indirectly about this producer. “People like to live in this place of negativity, rather than fixing themselves.” Lewis felt that there was a solution for all the things this producer saw wrong with herself. Which speaks volumes for how she deals with issues she may see in herself.
Lewis describes herself as a self-motivator. She is obsessed with fixing things about herself. At the time of starting to make videos on self love, Lewis says that she was “past the point of negative talk”. She realized that “if you don’t like something about yourself, you can fix it”. In many of her videos, Lewis opens up to her viewers about mental setbacks she experiences and how she is working through them.
Her candid nature in front of the camera is ALMOST ALARMING. In one of her videos, When You Feel Lost, Lewis opens up about not knowing if what she is doing is getting her anywhere. She describes feeling as though she is “always coming up with a strategy… always re-planning… always coming up with something, some turn, some twist, some trap-door, some other route”. Elaborating on this feeling, she questions “Am I doing anything right? Am I getting anywhere at all? Or am I just paddling in a circle?”
Some of us may be able to relate to Andrea Lewis. Being in a state of flux where you’re not sure if the trajectory of your life is a destined path. Or, if you are fulfilling a greater purpose.
Lewis’ comfortability with filming herself in a headspace that is not ideal requires confidence. Most people are afraid of putting themselves out there. Too afraid to let the world in on their imperfections. Which is why Lewis advises any viewer who wants to create similar content but may lack the confidence, to do it only when you ARE confident. “I do these videos for me. I don’t do them for anyone else,” Lewis states.
She actually enjoys creating this type of content because it allows her to get “something off [her] chest.” It stems from a place of helping herself – not in a selfish way – through creating art. “We make art because we need to do it,” Lewis explains, “it’s a release for ourselves… I’m okay to be vulnerable on camera because it’s for me.”
When asked what advice she would give to readers who may be struggling to pursue their passions because they believe that they are not good enough, Lewis shared an exercise she finds very helpful:
On paper, write down all your fears, your doubts, what you’re afraid of, your negative thoughts.
Number each one.
On another piece of paper, go from number to number and write out solutions.
“As you read it out loud, you’ll feel like a friend is telling you this.”
“If you’re friend is telling you this, then you are going to give them all of the advice in the world on how to do this.”
“Sometimes hearing it said out loud will make you question why you have such silly thoughts.”
Throughout the interview, it became clear that Lewis was an action-oriented type of person. For every question I threw at her concerning self-doubt, she had a solution. As she states, “There is not one negative thing that’s honest, that is permanent.”
Self-love, for Andrea Lewis, is a daily process. “You have to do it daily because you have a lot of things working against you daily that are not about self love.” According to Lewis, self-love is “feeling what you feel in the moment, but then figuring out how you fix this?”
Lewis is definitely a self-motivator and has a lot of wisdom she shares with viewers on her channel. She also recently directed a documentary on self-love consisting of 3 parts: “Finding Magic” “Finding Joy” & “Finding Trust”. I suggest you go to her website and check it out.
The next time you do scroll down your news feed and give strangers more credit than you give yourself, it’s important to ask yourself “why” you think of yourself as less than.
Learning to love yourself means taking responsibility for the way you perceive your beauty, your body, your hair and reminding yourself that you are your own person.
In that sense, no one can take your uniqueness away.
Self-love is, essentially, spending less time focusing on what you don’t like about yourself and dedicating more time to becoming who you want to be.
Put your phone away.
Look in the mirror.