While growing up, that was a lesson my parents preached to me every day…Just be yourself!

As Haitian immigrants when they came to the US, our family practiced and celebrated certain cultural events, spoke a different language, listened and danced to Haitian, Caribbean and Latin music at home and ate food/meals that were different from the other children in my class.  Sometimes I worried that the other kids wouldn’t be friends with me because I was different. 

My parents encouraged me to celebrate my individuality, embrace my culture and not be concerned about being like everyone else.  They just wanted me to be the best person I could be. 

As I grew older, there were times where I felt I had to be a certain person or fit a certain image for others to accept me or for the person I was in a relationship in to like/love me but every time but my parents’ words always stuck with me. It’s the same advice I give my child every day.

These words have truly helped me stick to my beliefs and values no matter what.

I’ve learned to really recognize my strengths and good qualities and express my talents and applaud my achievements.

I’ve learned to really focus on inner beauty and utilizing my gifts to the best of my abilities to help others.

 We are all unique and diverse and we should respect our differences

Everyone adds value to this life. When we embrace diversity, we cultivate a culture of acceptance, positivity and respect.

So for this month especially and for every day going forward, express the ways that make you unique and celebrate yourself!