Shade Ashani

WHYITRIBE (THE REASON YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE WHO YOU ALREADY ARE):

I used to love the quote “you are allowed to be a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time.” To me it means we can exist in duality—we can be great and be working on it. We can be affirmed in our own beauty and focused on getting healthier. Maintaining this duality isn’t easy for most of us mentally. It’s hard for us to hold what feels like two opposing thoughts together at the same time. Our minds fight it. One of them has to be a lie. And as women, we are so willing to take on extra responsibility, put in more work, take another class, read another book, take the blame. I’ve come to realize it’s more important to focus on celebrating exactly where we are, who we are and call ourselves magnificent for just that. When we don’t celebrate who and where we are, we tell ourselves we’re not enough. This isn’t enough. So even after we’ve worked really hard to get somewhere, we can’t let ourselves arrive. Because we haven’t learned how to celebrate who and we are. Now we can’t manufacture the skill on the spot. We literally don’t know how. We have to practice now and celebrate ourselves every single solitary day. Finished a yoga class? Put on pants when you were tired and sad? Said no to a relationship that was hurting you? Honored who you are by taking care of yourself? Bust out the streamers!

NAME A TIME RECENTLY WHEN YOU SAID SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF / HOW DID THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?

This morning. Every morning I tell myself something I proud of myself for and something I forgive myself for. Gotta do it. Lisa Nichols, who I admire and respect so much, reminded her audience in an incredible segment on IQ that we can’t want others to celebrate us more than we do. We treat others how to treat us so if we want respect, love, appreciation, support, celebration, patience—we gotta start passing that out within. Actually being asked to do this interview for THE TRIBE made me feel like I was manifesting all the self-love I’ve been pouring into myself.

WHY DO YOU THINK WOMEN SHY AWAY FROM CELEBRATING OR PRAISING THEMSELVES SO MUCH?

Women are taught to be nurturers, helpers, cheerleaders from a very young age. Men are not. Regardless of whether or not, both sexes are given stickers and told “good job!” in school; the hardwiring from childhood that we are to care for others remains for many women. Caring for the self, which I believe celebrating the self is a huge part of, becomes last on the list of things to do at best. At its worst, caring for/celebrating the self becomes viewed as selfish and a negative trait to be avoided. Meanwhile celebrating men is completing engrained in our culture. They do it for themselves with much greater ease because we are constantly doing it! Whether the team wins or loses, a giant tribe of women dressed to impressed is going to get up smile and cheer anyway. Wouldn’t it be a cultural revolution for men to be cheerleaders at women’s sporting events? At Serena’s tennis game, at the WBNA playoffs, at the World Cup soccer game. Men. In ridiculous outfits. Dancing and shouting and getting the crowd engaged to celebrate women.

HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THE TENDENCY TO DISCREDIT COMPLIMENTS YOU ARE GIVEN?

This is something I used to really struggle with. I’d blush and say nooooo or make a ridiculous noise or laugh. Then I read “Open Your Mind to Receive” by Catherine Ponder and realized what dangerous messaging I was sending to God and the universe by refusing kindness and support from others. Now I say, “thank you so much. I receive that.”

HOW DOES SOCIETY REINFORCE THE IDEA WE ARE NOT ENOUGH AND HOW CAN WE TAKE THAT POWER BACK?

Think of all the businesses that would close if women just decided to love themselves. No really. Go there. So much of our culture and industry is in a vicious, multi-billion dollar churning cycle that demands on the input of women’s low self-esteem. So by distributing imagery that requires us to alter our natural selves (through surgery, makeup, expensive clothing, etc) then they secure their business model. I think we can disrupt this whole paradigm by producing our own images. I love seeing The Tribe’s videos, pics, and work online. Real women. Looking beautiful and relatable. Speaking truth and being brilliant. We can also raise up a generation of girls who we absolutely infuse with self esteem. I never heard any of the women I knew saying positive things about themselves growing up. Every morning I look in the mirror with my daughter–who just turned two–and I tell her how much I love her hair and eyes and skin. She is currently learning about her body and likes pointing to her head, belly button, nose etc. We then talk about her body and how her beautiful soul-house works together to help her enjoy her life. I’m very cognizant of how I behave in the mirror in front of her. James Baldwin said, “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” Savannah sees me smiling at myself, brushing my hair and we even kiss our reflections. I think there’s a revolution for the future of womanhood with mothers and daughters in the mirror–loving what they see.

WHY IS THE TRIBE MOVEMENT IMPORTANT?

Keeping in theme with this awesome interview, celebrating women is crucial to the revolution. Showing women what self-celebration looks like so they can do it for themselves? I can’t think of a greater gift to give. So thankful for THE TRIBE! May you be blessed for what you’ve done for women.

Occupation: Speaker and Coach

Website: www.shadeashani.com

Instagram: shade.ashani