Colorful Beloved logo with red and purple hearts

OPINION: Dear Beloved — Self-Value = Identity Awareness

A Love Letter to Explain Why You Must Matter to You!

by Chardonnay Beaver

Everyone lost to gun violence is someone’s beloved.  Beloved is a multi-media campaign exploring gun violence in-depth in four phases: The Problem of gun violence as a symptom of illness (or infection) caused by systemic inequality; The History of gun violence, root causes, and local and national data trends. The Solutions to end gun violence including King County Public Health’s regional approach to gun violence prevention and treatments; and finally, the ideation of a world without gun violence, The Beloved Community. The Beloved project is brought to you in partnership with Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Hope Corps program, King County’s Public Health team, Converge Media, Black Coffee Northwest, Toybox Consulting, Creative Justice, The Facts Newspaper, Forever Safe Spaces, Northwest African American Museum, Presidential Media, and the South Seattle Emerald.

Dear [insert name], 

You, yourself, deserve love as much as everyone else in the existence of humanity. But be aware that love is often misrepresented by symbols that become irrelevant when we yearn for transformative love and self-awareness. 

Roses will never equate to the acceptance of self. Luxurious gifts will never be enough to comfort a parent who’s grieving the loss of their child. Chocolate candies and candles, which are my personal favorite, will never be the remedy to propel you into purpose. 

Love is a verb rooted in the selfless act of sacrifice and grace. Love is about going outside of your intended path to meet the ends of others. This also looks like loving beyond liking.

For example, Sasha may love her little brother Sam; however, there are many times when she doesn’t like him. 

Some of us have progressed in our ability to effectively love individuals, while others may struggle with loving themselves. 

Inspired by children, we need to be curious enough to go beneath the surface. 

When reflecting on why one wrestles with loving themselves or establishing standards for how they want to be loved, one can often find a link to a misaccounting of self-value

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, self-value is “confidence in one’s own merit or importance; self-worth.” An inadequate accounting of self-value is a universal issue across all generations.

Thus, we haven’t been seeing ourselves from an unfiltered view. You know? The filter we wear to mask our vulnerabilities. The unsustainable filter we set up to live a life contrary to who we’re designed to be and eventually become. We lack awareness of our identity as a community and generation. 

Thus, we attach our value to our performance, what our peers think of us, how we made it or survived the struggle. However, all of those matters are contributing to our misaccounting of value. 

Here’s why you really matter: You were designed for a purpose. Your existence was not a mistake or accident. 

Contrary to the messages of mainstream culture, you are as valuable when you aren’t producing as when you are. 

For those departing from peer pressure — both the pressure of your immediate friend group and the pressure of social media that makes the need to succeed feel like an urgency, rather than the need to serve — it’s not their job to see your value, it’s your job to start being what you value. 

How can you start valuing yourself from where you are? Concern yourself with the daily commitment to be better today than you were yesterday (notice the word “be,” not “do”). Meaning, be more gracious with yourself.

Words of Wisdom by Char of the Week: When we don’t develop a greater understanding of who we are as adults, it’s a greater disservice for the youth. Children are observing our practices of self-love, self-value, and self-determination. Learning to start with valuing ourselves will shift the trajectory of generations to come. The path toward self-value is a trail worth blazing (Philippians 1:6).

The South Seattle Emerald is committed to holding space for a variety of viewpoints within our community, with the understanding that differing perspectives do not negate mutual respect amongst community members.

The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the contributors on this website do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the Emerald or official policies of the Emerald.

Chardonnay Beaver is a multimedia storytelling, influential speaker and writer. Her stories center the lived and historical experiences of minoritized communities in America, in a nuanced way. Her articles has been featured in Crosscut, The Facts Newspaper, The Seattle Medium to name a few. Chardonnay is a recent graduate of the University of Washington, earning her degree in political science and journalism & public interest communication and minor in diversity studies. To learn more, visit her website.

📸 Featured Image: Beloved logo courtesy of The Beloved Project

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