The journey of self-love can be a battle. It can be sparked by insecurities, trauma and societal standards, but the healing from the scars is what makes the work beautiful and make you greater than before. 

Telling the story of self-love can be painful, but author Adeline Bird decided to put her experience into words to help people of color with their experience through her book, "Be Unapologetically You: A Self Love Guide For Women Of Color."

“Be Unapologetically You: A Self Love Guide For Women Of Color,” provides tips for women to learn how to know their worth and take on the “creative process and dig deep to find their own soul.” 

Bird, a Canadian storyteller, filmmaker and podcaster hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, was inspired to write her book because of the way the media stereotypes communities of color. Every time she would check her Facebook she was bombarded with live videos of Black people being gunned down by the police or reports of missing or murdered women and men of color. 

“That sent me a message saying that your life doesn’t matter and as a mixed-race woman, coming from both those communities, it was devastating to see that constantly,” Bird said. 

She said she felt a sense of helplessness, and even though she isn’t American, she still tried to figure out what she could do. She came to the realization that one thing that she found the most important thing in her life is her relationship with herself, soul, spirit, her ancestors and community, which ultimately influenced her to write a book about self-love.

“I felt like it was important to talk about our history,” Bird said. “That’s the most important part in the book and what I go into right away is knowing your history, going and doing the work and taking the time to understand where you came from.”

Bird finds it important to reconnect with her roots of being both a Black and indigenous woman and she feels like if people knew more about where they came from they would feel more empowered because they can draw a connection and that alone is so much beauty in itself. 

“There’s a resurgence of people reclaiming themselves, reclaiming their stories, and owning their narrative,” she continued.  “It’s not much different from what I see and what’s happening with Black America, actually.”

Photo: Adeline Bird/Sterling Images

Writing her book also helped Bird in her healing journey after losing her fiance’ to suicide in 2005, which was really devastating for her. 

“The trauma of losing someone suddenly changes you,” Bird said. “It changes your whole entire world it changes how you see the world. It changes how you experience the world and so, I felt different.”

Bird said at the time, she had to separate from her friends because she could no longer connect with them anymore and she had to learn how to become comfortable with her own existence, which she believes is hard for women because we’re conditioned to feel like we always have to have a partner or have to have people around us.

“Getting to know myself and really having that time to think and have that space to myself was really really important to me,” she said. Trying new things like going to different spaces, was a part of her healing journey as well.

Bird has gotten to the point where she is today because of the consistency, learning and time she took on her journey of self-love by taking time to be one with herself and implementing things into her life. 

In her book, the author describes self-love as a spiritual act, because once you begin to love yourself, no one can tell you anything. Bird touched on how people start to learn what is important to them, what boundaries to put up with others and being who they are is “non-negotiable”. 

“It’s really about being in tune with your intuition, everything around you, being open to accountability and being open to constantly learning and growing,” Bird said.

She considers self-love to be a revolutionary act because you can just be in love with every aspect about yourself and understand that although people may have things to say, it’s important for you to put yourself first, and even embrace your own beauty.

Photo: Adeline Bird pictured with her niece

In her book, she also encourages people to no longer wait for someone else to give them permission to love themselves since we've been conditioned by corporations and governments to be that way for so long. 

“I just think that because we’ve been oppressed for so long and we exist in a white man’s world, we're told that we should wait for permission to try to navigate ourselves and step outside of what we’re conditioned to do,” Bird said.

One of the biggest takeaways she wants people to learn from “Unapologetically You: A Self Love Guide For Women Of Color" is their creativity is not useless.

“People are always going to have something to say,” Bird added. “There is always going to be somebody who's not going to agree with whatever it is that you have to say or whatever it is that you’re creating or even the self-love journey that you’re on. It’s really up to you to decide what you do with that and this is why I say be unapologetically you.”

It’s important to know that we’re here to serve, do good work, make connections, and constantly learning about ourselves, and we’re more than superficial things. 

“I just think that because we’ve been oppressed for so long and we exist in a white man’s world, it’s already hard for us to try to navigate ourselves and step outside of what we’re conditioned to do or what we’re told so we wait for permission,” Bird said. 

For those that have yet to read her book, Bird hopes they use it as a tool for personal development and something that they can refer to when they feel like they need to recharge or take time for themselves. 

“I really hope that people take the tools in the book and make it work for themselves,” she said. “Make it work for their own experience.”

Bird wants all of her readers to know that they’re greater than their circumstances and situations. 

“You’re not broken, you’re not the person that you were 10 years ago,” she said.

With her book and her work, Bird is on a continuous mission to create, inspire and elevate people to unapologetically be themselves.

To learn more about Bird and her book, visit her site here.

This piece is brought to you in partnership with Toyota.