Now, imma let you finish but… Kanye West might actually be, well, kind of right. No, not about interrupting Taylor Swift, or, as a matter of fact, about most things. However, the self-proclaimed god might actually have a point when it comes to one thing: self esteem.
Sure, Kanye has at one point or another warranted all the name-calling that’s been thrown at him. (If you type “Kanye West is a” into Google, the top suggestion is “Kanye West is a dipshit”.) Egocentric, cocky, conceited, crazy just to name a few, are shoes that seemingly fit.
It’s not and should not be socially acceptable for anyone to wrongly take credit for someone else’s success, or interrupt them during a huge career-defining celebratory moment, because you think you can. But what I’ve begun to wonder is this: is it really so harmful to think that you’re a genius, that you’re awesome, and not be afraid to share the fact that you believe in yourself?
Starting early on in childhood, children are conditioned to think and feel positively about themselves. That idea that everyone (yourself included) is unique, beautiful, talented, and smart is something that society loves to preach and proclaim, but punish when it manifests (unless you’re like, Beyonce or something). I must’ve missed the fine print in which “Be confident in yourself” is followed by “But not too confident, or everyone will think you’re a conceited bitch.”
I’ve been fortunate in that I have seldom found myself seriously affected by low self-esteem, self-doubt, and generally feel as though I have a positive relationship with myself.
By no means do I think I am a perfect goddess absolved of all wrongdoings or imperfections; I make mistakes, but I still can confidently say I love myself and I’m proud of who I am.
I mean, it took me eighteen years to become the woman I am today, and I’m pretty damn proud of her. However, what I’ve realized lately, is that people often like to label someone like me someone who has a positive sense of self-esteem with negative names.
You can’t hold your head up high, stand up for yourself, be convicted in your beliefs, or happy that you’re you, without someone jumping to the conclusion that you’re malicious or egocentric. This leads me to another question: why does my relationship with me have anything to do with anyone else?
A wise woman by the name of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once said, “There are people who dislike you because you do not dislike yourself,” which I have, unfortunately, found to be true.
Is Kanye West thinking he’s the shit really such a harmful thing? If you look past a lot of foul language, sometimes inappropriate sexual references, and discussion of drug and alcohol abuse, Kanye’s music really is just an ode to himself. He thinks he’s a god, he thinks he is the number one most impactful artist of our generation, and he’s not afraid to share his self-proclaimed truth with the world. Let’s be real, he could be doing a lot worse.
Yet, society has gone to extreme lengths to assassinate his character and call Kanye an egotistical maniac. In his verse on recent track “Pop Style” with Drake and Jay Z, Kanye points out the fact that people try to silence him “Why can’t you just shut your mouth and take the high road?” he asks, mocking those who feel as though his opinions would be best kept to himself.
Why are messages of positivity, self-love, and self-esteem publicized as something we should aspire to and uphold, if those very things will be cause for ostracization?
The societal hypocrisy is astounding, and essentially squelches out self-empowerment, thus perpetuating the idea that one should live their lives so as to make others comfortable, and to comply with what is not seen as brave, bold, or inspiring. Vehicles of empowerment don’t just fall from the sky. It takes strength, bravery, and yes, confidence to stand up and change things. This is the reason the famous Apple quote says, “While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius,” It’s because society looks at anyone who believes in themselves enough to do something revolutionary, as, well, crazy.
While we should not be spreading the idea that it’s okay to be a jerk, and to offend other people because you feel as though you are better than them, we should not punish or silence those who are fortunate to love themselves.
“I’m happy with me, and I want you to be happy with you” is a positive mentality, and something that should be nurtured and grown, not squelched out simply because it contains “I’m happy with me.”