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“Self-acceptance starts in the home” with Fotis Georgiadis & Ginger Lavender Wilkerson

I personally believe that self-acceptance starts in the home. Parents have to model self acceptance in front of their children and in return children will manifest the confidence. In terms of society, I believe that we need to stop allowing society; trends, popularity and celebrity determine standards of beauty and what to place value on. […]

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I personally believe that self-acceptance starts in the home. Parents have to model self acceptance in front of their children and in return children will manifest the confidence. In terms of society, I believe that we need to stop allowing society; trends, popularity and celebrity determine standards of beauty and what to place value on. The first step would be not to subscribe to others standards of beauty.

As a part of my series about “Learning To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Ginger Lavender Wilkerson. Ginger is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is the CEO and founder of her private counseling practice, (www.gingerlavendertherapy.com), and recently the Girls Initiative “I’m Pretty PowHERful”. Ginger is known as a “teen mental health expert” and her work extends beyond her private practice. She is an entrepreneur, speaker and media influencer. She is an undergraduate of Spelman College and obtained her master degree in Counseling Psychology at Mt. Saint Mary’s College. She has nearly two decades experience working with teen girls and women specializing in their mental health. Ginger has brought her message to variety of girl’s groups, such as The National Charity League, Young Women in Leadership Conference, KJLH Women’s Health Expo for mental health, and local private/public schools as well as community and faith-based partners.
Ginger has been featured and quoted in professional articles about her career and specialty as a teen expert. Articles have included, ways to manage self-care, anxiety and depression. She has also been featured in 3 national publications’ which includes, LA Parent Magazine, Your Teen Magazine, and Black Press USA, where she discussed specialty mental health topics.

Thank you so much for joining us! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.

My passion is supporting and helping women and young ladies become their best self, despite obstacles, challenges and life adversities. I support them with learning to overcome these obstacles through changing their narrative/life story, while providing cognitive and behavioral techniques to support change and promote growth.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?

I am currently working on 2 exciting new projects, supporting young ladies and helping busy moms through my empowerment coaching series. The first is a transformational program for Busy Moms who want to reset, re-center and re-focus on their dreams, aspirations and goals. This program supports mom who are looking for the extra push to pursue your own dreams so that you can be more balanced and well for your families, and live the life you truly want. The second is a girls Empowerment Imitative entitled “ I’m Pretty PowHERful in which I support and help young ladies to tap into their power.

Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self-acceptance?

I believe that when I became a wife and mother of 3 I struggled with balancing my career and responsibilities of being a mother and a wife. I had difficulty in finding happiness in my job because I knew I was not living my best life, but was maintaining a status quo. There was a turning point in my life when I tapped into my internal empowerment as a women and mother is when I remembered 1) why I entered my career field 2) took the authorship of my life’s story 3) the desire for better life balance. At this point, I began reading self-help books; I hired a mindset coach and began to focus on my business and how I could make my business work for me. Following these three steps, I re-shifted priorities which included 1) balance 2) family 3) Career. I began to accept both my strengths and areas of growth, which helped to channel them into a new direction.

According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?

I work with women and young ladies daily surrounding the topic self-confidence and self worth. Many women and girls struggle with identifying authentic self, and allow others to define them both internally and externally. Their confidence is highly weighted on perceptions of others, which included height, weight, skin color, hair, eyes, etc., This form of public opinion negatively affects ones level of satisfaction.

As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?

It is important to love yourself first, because how you feel about yourself affects, most things. It affects how you choose to make decisions, the way in which you engage with people, the way you take care of yourself and others. Loving yourself allows you to make informed decisions that will be for your best interest and not others, and with will allow you honor your beliefs and values.

Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?

I think that most people stay in mediocre relationships because there is a level of comfort that comes with it. This level of comfort tends to drive other areas of their life. When people meet “status quo” relationships, they believe that having more is not possible. Many people begin to have shared responsibilities with each other that make it harder to leave; this could include marriage, a home, kids, and financial commitments. It is sometimes easier to manage mediocrity than to manage uncertainty in pursuing greatness. The advice I can provide to readers is to not to allow the feeling of comfort to be your measure of happiness.

When we talk about self-love and understanding we don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?

Some tough questions readers may ask themselves are : 1) Am I happy? 2) What does happiness look like for me? In my life? 3) If I could be doing anything in the world, would I be doing what I am doing 4) Is what I am doing making me better or taking away from me and my spirit. 5) Is my happiness more important than others perception of me?

I had to ask some of these tough questions when I was working for a fortune 500 companies, and I hated it, not because of the work, but due to my level of satisfaction, with the work culture, and the company priorities. I was compensated extremely well but was extremely unhappy. At this time in my life, I had ask these tough question because I did not feel like I was living my best life. I had to do some quality self-reflection. I spoke with my family about my concerns and decided that my happiness was worth more to my family and myself. I made some sacrifices and I quit the job and I felt so much better. I took a leap of faith and have never looked back.

So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?

Being able to enjoy alone time is extremely important. During your alone time, you get to learn more about what you truly enjoy without the influence of others. Quality time with oneself helps to foster self-awareness and self worth. In addition alone time, helps you to take a break from the fast paced life and allows you to slow down.

How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?

When you have a deeper connection with your self through self-awareness and acceptance, you can genuinely be happy for others, their success and their differences. This is possible because your self-worth is not dependent on the actions of others.

In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?

I personally believe that self-acceptance starts in the home. Parents have to model self acceptance in front of their children and in return children will manifest the confidence. In terms of society, I believe that we need to stop allowing society; trends, popularity and celebrity determine standards of beauty and what to place value on. The first step would be not to subscribe to others standards of beauty.

What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?

1) Strong Faith- I am a believer that I am made perfect and not flawed. Believing in this helps me to accept myself both good and bad

2) Strong Support System- Having a strong and loving support system helps to ground me and make me feel needed and wanted, which affects the way I feel about myself

3) Self Care- This is important to maintain balance and wellness, if I am doing well I am able to exude and project wellness to others.

4) Self Empowerment- I journal daily and refocus my energy on my wants, needs and desire. This practice helps to ground me and keep me focused on my goals.

5) Exercise and Healthy Eating- Maintaining a healthy and clean lifestyle, helps to nourish my body and soul in a positive way.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?

1) Playing Big-Practical Wisdom for Women who want to Speak Up, Create and Lead. By Tara Mohr. This book inspired me because it talks about ways we play small and ways that we can play big, tap into our power and create. This book helped me to realize that I don’t have to apologize for my brilliance, expertise, knowledge or creativity. My gifts and talents are appreciated and should be used.

2) Happy Black Women Podcast- this podcast is dedicated to women empowerment and entrepreneurship. It is helpful to hear ways to reach your goals and ways to manifest your vision.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…

I recently started a Girls Empowerment Initiative entitled “ I’m Pretty PowHERful”. This initiative is to empower young girls and women to embrace their power and influence. The definition of pretty relies on the power that you possess within and by tapping into that internal power makes them beautiful. I value influencing, inspiring and empowering young girls in a creative way. This initiative is designed to influence young ladies and women to tap into their authentic power. I want to support them in freeing undue, guilt, shame or anxiety, placed on them by society, family and internal negative beliefs.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by?
Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?

The quote that encapsulates my journey thus far is that “there is growth in discomfort,” this quote means a great deal to me because it recognizes that in most beautiful outcomes, i.e. childbirth, business launch, there is a great deal of discomfort and pain, however the reward is worth it. This suggests that on the other side of fear, discomfort and sometimes pain, is the birth of your dreams, goals, and desires realized. Thus the journey to find love, and self-love may be uncomfortable but their will be growth within the process.

Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!

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