A famous musician named James Brown sang an epic song called “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” in 1968. This song helped a community of people take pride in and value who they were. It became a powerful symbol of Black Power and a foundation for self-worth, which still resonates today. Let’s delve into the topic of self-worth in the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and discuss how to cultivate it.

First, let’s define self-worth. According to scienceofpeople.com (and a bit of Kenzie), self-worth embodies a genuine, deep, core belief in one’s value and worthiness of life, opportunities, and love. It would be wonderful if this were innate, but there are numerous external and internal forces that challenge our level of self-worth.


When our sense of worth diminishes, it can manifest in various ways, such as:

  • Lack of life purpose
  • Increased anxiety or depression
  • Eating disorders/addictions
  • Self-criticism
  • Fear of trying new things/failure
  • Shallow or unfulfilling relationships
  • People-pleasing behavior/seeking external validation
  • Feeling uncomfortable around others/feeling shame
  • Poor boundaries

Specifically for BIPOC communities, historical societal constructs have often attempted to establish hierarchies, suggesting that certain populations are undeserving of equal opportunities. These unfounded ideas become entrenched beliefs, passed down through generations and internalized as identity. Thus, messages from external sources (e.g., a manager deeming a Black man’s hairstyle inappropriate for work) and internal dialogue (e.g., doubting recognition due to race or gender) can deeply affect self-worth.

As part of the BIPOC community, I strongly encourage self-exploration of one’s cultural heritage, passions, fears, strengths, and weaknesses. Embrace every aspect of yourself with self-acceptance, forgiving past failures and mistakes nonjudgmentally. Reflect on your beliefs and their origins, challenging critical inner voices.

Practicing self-worth entails consistent thoughts and actions:

  • Recognize your good qualities and traits regularly.
  • Treat yourself with kindness, compassion, and mercy.
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others.
  • Embrace mistakes and continue forgiving yourself.
  • Prioritize self-care and plan enjoyable activities.

Building self-worth is multifaceted, requiring both action and a shift in thinking. It’s a gradual process, but as you embark on it, you’ll notice a positive shift in your self-perception. BIPOC individuals should recognize their inherent value and uniqueness, walking tall with pride and confidence. You are valuable—embrace it!

By: Kenzie Davis, LMFT

Kenzie Davis is a LMFT at Mathews Counseling. He currently taking new clients but space is limited. Request your appointment today! Learn more about Kenzie here

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