photo courtesy of Martin Dimitrov--Getty Images

“Quick! Let me take a selfie.”

When I get up in the morning, I love the woman I see looking back at me--whether I'm putting on makeup or not. In my mind I think, she’s radiating with beauty from the inside out.

Then I say out loud, “Yass hair and brows!" or "Do it for the gram!" at which point I take my phone out, open the camera, and begin "working my angles" like Tyra says. However, after about 10 minutes and reviewing what seemed to be a success, I become annoyed by the failed attempt to capture the beauty I see in my reflection.

Being in a society that craves validation and acceptance, we take to social media platforms such as Instagram to find our self-value based on the number of 'likes' we get. As a black woman in the community, I feel as though I’m under a microscope every waking moment of every day. I feel as if I'm constantly being scrutinized for the many looks of my hair, the way my makeup looks, or the way my body looks. It's as though women of color are held to a higher standard in order to be approved by the patriarchal standards of society.

Being in a society that craves validation and acceptance, we take to social media platforms like Instagram to find self-value based on the number of 'likes' and reposts we get.

I’m a strong believer that having your own unshaken self-defined confidence carries you a long way. It signifies the greatness within yourself, validating that you approve your beauty from within.

Building an unhealthy habit

With all that being said, the constant habit of taking a selfie, posting it online in desperation for likes and views hurts our self-confidence as black women. This destroys our self-confidence because it puts us into the vicious mindset of strategically plotting what time of the day to post selfies to achieve a high volume of likes. We spend those moments of anticipation, after dwelling over a reel of selfies and creating a snappy caption, waiting to see how many likes we’re going to receive.

The habit of constant selfie taking and posting for social media isn't the only issue; adding in the many filters damages self-confidence as well. We have been told for many years that our radiance and facial features are not beautiful. More importantly, we’ve been told that our complexion is unacceptable.

The photo filtering system creates an environment in which we conform to others ideologies of beauty.

The vast number of filters between every photo editing application allows for skin complexion to be altered, making it lighter and hiding flaws that actually make us beautiful in one way or another. The photo filtering system creates an environment in which we conform to others ideologies of beauty. It doesn’t allow us to bask in the untouched beauty that we already possess and share that in its purest form with all of our followers.

My advice to my natural sistas, black queens, and young queens on the rise

Don’t wait on society for any sort of validation, affirmation, or approval that you are beautiful or that you are worthy. Look at the woman staring back at you in the mirror and love her unconditionally. The self-confidence you need in your life comes purely from you, not from the 100 plus likes on instagram or whatever goes down in your DM. You’re a queen! Your radiance and beautiful complexion doesn’t need to be altered by five separate filters. Love yourself.