Dear “Scared White People,”

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used an online site to help. If you see any mistakes, I’m only human. And I am not perfect. Thanks for reading!)

Dear “Scared White People”,

Hi. My name is Nyikia and I am a concerned black woman.  I’m writing this letter to you because I’m growing quite concerned (and getting pissed off) by your recent behavior toward black people.  I have listed a few examples:

1.) Calling the cops when black people are waiting for our friends in the local Starbucks. (Happened in Philadelphia.)
2.) Calling the cops when black people gather peacefully in the park to have a BBQ with friends and family. (Google BBQ Becky.)
3.) Calling the cops when black people are going to view a house that is for sale. Even though the person is a real estate agent, and had been authorized to do so.
4.) Calling the cops when black people check out of an Airbnb (with their luggage in full view) because you thought they might be burglars.
5.) Calling the police on a 9-year old that was just buying something at the local corner store because you think they “grabbed your butt.” (Google Corner store Caroline)
6.) Calling the police because a black father was cheering his son on during his soccer game. (Google Golf cart Gail)

I’ll stop here because the list goes on and on with your less than stellar behavior.  If you notice from the list, there is a consistent pattern.  That pattern is the calling of the police on people who don’t look like you.  Why is that?  I could understand if they were doing something that was suspicious.  But clearly, in the instances listed above, they were not. The suspicion you had was based merely on the color of their skin.  And also, the prejudices you have acquired over the years.  Now I understand that your prejudices could stem from a learned behavior passed down from generation to generation.  And some have come from outside sources:  literature, television, hearsay and most notorious the media.  I’m really trying to work with you “scared white people,” I really am.  But at a certain point in life, you have to take inventory of yourself.  Not everything you see and hear about people is true.  Even the cheeto in chief (aka our current realty star president) knows this.  Hence the term his administration loves to overuse, “fake news.” Although in his case most of what we hear about him turns out to be absolutely true.  But that’s a post for another day.

Let’s get back to the task at hand.  I understand having a little concern for the unknown. Dark places, stray animals, emails from strange addresses and yes our fellow humans.  I grew up in the 80’s with McGruff the Crime Dog, so I learned all about stranger danger. But the one thing McGruff never taught us was to be afraid of someone based solely on their skin color.  If you asked the average child today to describe someone that frightens them, I’m pretty sure a stranger’s skin color wouldn’t come up.  Unless of course, they were taught that type of racial bias in the home.  So why is it children are wiser in this regard than most adults?  I work with children for a living, and I notice that they have a tendency of seeing people for exactly who they are.  Race not included.  When they judge you, they judge you on your merits.  Race not included.  When they are leery of someone, it is because of the vibe they get from the person.  RACE NOT INCLUDED.  Children are usually both open and eager to get to know someone who is different than themselves. They ask questions without assuming they know the answer.  Children just see a person much like themselves with zero prejudgments.

So why haven’t adults learned to do this already?  For people who are older and intellectually smarter, we sure lack the intelligence of the average child.  I’m going to take this time to let you in on something you should have already figured out:  NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE BAD PEOPLE.  That is shocking right?  I know the truth can be most times.  But I feel you really need to know and understand that fact.  Let me be clear here, there are bad people in every race, gender, and country.  Being a bad person is not relegated to a racial thing.  It’s a personality and behavioral thing.  If I went around thinking certain things about certain races, then my belief right now would be that all white people are racist.  And clearly, that is not the case.

I have a suggestion on how to help you “scared white people” in working through your prejudices.  Provided you actually want to get rid of your judgmental nature and possibly make a few new friends.  BE OPEN.  Get to know more about the black people that you encounter in your everyday life.  That sounds like a lofty task, but it can be made easy. You can simply start by saying, “Hello.”  Easy enough right?  Have a real genuine conversation with that co-worker that you see all the time.  Get to know them on a level that’s based on common ground, common interest and a humane level.  You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll have in common with the average black person.  Everyone has that one family member that they don’t like in their family.  You avoid them at all costs at family functions until another relative asked you if you said hi to them.  You can easily bond over that.  Or how you love your kids to death, but could sometimes punt them like a football when they get on your nerves.  You can’t always judge a book by its cover.  You have to pick it up, read the description on the back or inside cover in order to learn what it’s about.  And the same goes for people.  All I’m saying is get to know someone who’s different than you before you judge them.  And for the love of God:  STOP CALLING THE POLICE.

With all love and sincerity,

Nyikia

 

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Resting Bitch Face: It’s Real

(Disclaimer- I proofread this thing a dozen times and used an online site to help.  If you see any mistakes, I’m only human and not perfect.  Thanks for reading!)

According to Urban Dictionary.com, the formal definition for Resting Bitch Face is:  “A phenomenon in which the resting face lacks animation and appears to look bitchy at all times, thus leading people to believe a person must be upset, a snob or a bitch.”

I am a sufferer of this misunderstood facial phenomenon.  Thinking back on it for the majority of my life, I had absolutely no idea!  I would get the usual questions like, “What’s wrong with you?” or “Who pissed you off today?”  Or worse I would hear later that comments were made about me to others basically saying that I looked bitchy and “unapproachable.”  I wanted to say to them, “This is just my face.”  Who knows how many dates or hangouts I missed out on because someone was afraid to talk to me.  Who knows how many times someone may have looked at me and thought I was an angry person that would kick their ass in a minute.  Now to be completed honest and fair, back in the day I was not always the nicest person in the world.  I had what some would describe as a “bad attitude” and I was a bit of a “Debbie Downer.”  And I take full responsibility for that.  But I’m a totally different person from who I used to be.  I worked really hard to be a happier person for myself and toward others around me.  But do you know for all that work I did, I STILL have Resting Bitch Face?  Smh….

On a brighter note though, having Resting Bitch Face probably kept me from having a lot of unpleasant experiences.  So that’s good!  I feel like I shouldn’t be solely judged because I’m not walking around smiling 24/7.  Who the hell does that?  You know damn well if I did, people would think that I was either high or crazy.  Before when I saw someone sitting alone minding their own business smiling for seemingly no reason, I would have definitely been leery of them.  I would have more than likely thought to myself, “Is that person up to something?  They are smiling way too hard over there and they’re sitting alone.  I better get out of here.”  I know it isn’t right, but that’s what I would have been thinking.  Deep down in my mind, everyone is the potential killer/ rapist.  Weird thinking I know, but hey it has kept me alive and well so far.  I attribute this to watching and listening to far too many true crime shows and podcast.  But seriously though, it’s perfectly ok to be cautious.  But I was judging someone in the way that others judged me. And that isn’t right.

I currently work as a Teacher’s Assistant for a living until my successfully (and very profitable) writing career takes off.  I have to say children never think I have Resting Bitch Face.  Not that they would know exactly what that is, but they don’t judge me on my lack of a happy facial expression.  They usually just see another person that they can talk too about whatever is on their minds.  Children are extremely comfortable around me. I even have children in public places start talking to me without any motivation from me to do so.  I once had cute little girl start a conversation with me in a ladies line bathroom.  I’m sure to the adults around;  I may not have looked like I was interested in talking.  But she didn’t see that.  She saw a person that she wanted to talk to about her Little Mermaid shoes her mother bought her.  And that was the best.

Since I’ve discovered that I suffer from RBF, I do my best to be mindful of it.  Sometimes though, I can’t help it.  I get lost in my own thoughts of things I have to do or want to do. And my facial expressions (or lack thereof) get away from me.  That doesn’t make me not a nice person or unapproachable.  It just means I have a lot of things on my mind at that given time.  So next time you see someone who may suffer from Rest Bitch Face, don’t judge them too quickly.  There may be nothing at wrong with them at all.  For all you know, they could be thinking about how much they really want a taco.

Clean up the milk and move on…

(Disclaimer- I proofread this thing a dozen times and used an online site to help. If you see any mistakes, I’m only human and not perfect. Thanks for reading!)

If you read last week’s post, then you know that I love listening to a podcast called, “The Read” hosted by Crissle and Kid Fury.  In the episode called, “Cheerleader”, Crissle spoke on her depression, seeing her therapist and the advice given by the therapist.  The therapist compared negative self-talk to running a race. (See last week’s post for full description.)  Crissle’s therapist went on to give an example about forgiving your past mistakes.  Her therapist said, “Let’s say a child spilled a cup of milk.  Are you going to every time you see that child, every day for the rest of their life be like, remember the time when you were 5 and 38 days and you spilled milk?  And I had to use three of my good Bounty’s to clean it up?  And replace my eight ounces of milk.  Are you going to drag that baby for that?  Or are we going to clean up the milk and move on with our fucking lives?”  From that moment on, Crissle decided that she had to clean up the milk in her life.  She would stop blaming herself non-stop and start looking forward again. Bam!  It hit me like a ton of bricks!  Is that what I have been doing the majority of my adult life?  Bitching over milk I spilled when I was young, naive and didn’t know any better.  Constantly berating myself over and over for situations that no longer exist and couldn’t be changed anyway.  Being my own biggest critic/ hater has always been a real hotbed issue for me.  After hearing the example that Crissle’s therapist gave her, I fully comprehend what my problem has been.  I have a lack of compassion for myself.  Isn’t that a fucked up thing to find out about yourself.

My understanding and heart is always so large for others.  I am able to fully support others with mistakes they have made in the past with my encouraging words.  But when it comes to having those same words for myself, there’s been little to none.  It is as if I don’t allow myself space to make mistakes or bad decisions.  For some reason, that is not allowed in my world.  For me, it’s not so much that I’m trying to be perfect.  I know this will never happen.  And that is completely all right with me.  Trying to be perfect, looks like a lot of work that I simply wouldn’t be dedicated to doing.  So where does my lack of self-compassion stem from?  Why is it that I can be so kind and uplifting for others, but not myself?  I am very skilled at stopping someone from beating themselves up.  I’m also very good at telling someone to have more patience with themselves and quick to say, “Everyone makes mistakes.”  Sometimes I can see the potential in others way more than I can see it in myself.  I have given myself far too much cruel kindness.  That is clearly something I would never do to another person.  Maybe I thought I was helping myself by giving cruel kindness.  By reminding myself of unpleasant situations I have been through, this would somehow help me to never to make those mistakes again.  By constantly replaying situations and poor choices, I would somehow learn to never do it again.  I found that this is unacceptable behavior and an oxymoron that simply makes no sense.  So what are the steps I plan on doing to change this behavior?

Step 1- Acknowledge that I am not compassion with myself.  Seems easy enough right?  But until one can admit to themselves that they have a problem, the situation can’t be fixed.

Step 2- Accept that mistakes have been made.  I’m human and humans make mistakes.  Some of the mistakes I made were necessary in order for me to learn and grow.  They taught me to make better choices and to listen to my gut.  Without making certain mistakes, I wouldn’t have become the person I am today.  And right now, I think I’m pretty awesome.  🙂

Step 3- Change the thought.  When NENE just won’t seem to shut her negative pie hole, I have to quickly remind myself of how awesome I am.  I begin to think of all the accomplishments that I have made over the years.  I will speak positive affirmations that prompt my brain to go down a more optimistic path.

Step 4- Forgive myself. This one will truly be the hardest to do of all the steps. I’ll have to learn that I’m still a good, smart person, who has flaws. No more or less than anyone else, just flaws. My past choices or decisions do not dictate how much I have grown. They also don’t determine my future. I will give myself a pep talk when I think of a mistake and move on. I will not dwell on choices and things in the past that can’t be changed.

As long as I’m walking the Earth, I will make mistakes.  It’s an important fact of life that I must remember.  I will acknowledge when I have done so, learn from said mistake, forgive myself and move on.  Because I’m tired of beating myself up over old, spilled milk.

I Chose Me…..

Recently I was seeing someone that I had grown very fond of.  We seem to hit it off really well from the beginning.  At least from my perspective, we did.  I really, really liked this person a lot.  They were funny, passionate about pursuing their career, driven, kind and positive.  I really enjoyed spending time with them and couldn’t wait to receive a call or text from them.  That…..was in the beginning.  Toward the end of our “situation”, I use the word situation because this person was uncomfortable with the word relationship. That should have been a red flag for me right there, but I digress.  Toward the end, this person’s whole demeanor begin to change from the person that I met in the beginning.  I believe I met their representative and not the real, honest them.  They became more down on a daily basis when I would speak to them.  There were things going on in this person’s life that I knew about and I’m sure a lot that I didn’t.  But I would always try my best to let them know that I was there to listen if they needed an ear.  With their mood becoming more and more down, this made them more irritable.  And I became the lucky recipient of this.  The conversations (and face to face interactions) would usually start off good.  Then seemly out of nowhere, their tone would change because of something I said. And at times, something I DID’T say.  Figure that one out because I never could.  They couldn’t always explain to me what I did (or didn’t do) that would piss them off.  This person did acknowledge the fact that they knew they were the problem.  They told me numerous times that they believed they had a problem communicating with others.  And that I wasn’t my fault. I was a good person.  Here’s where my confusion lies.  In one breath they say that they are the problem and in the next, they are yelling at me that I’m pissed them off again.  Huh?

Have you ever had someone in your life like this?  Unfortunately, this wasn’t my first encounter with someone like this.  That’s why it was so easy for me to recognize this behavior so quickly.  But despite that, I didn’t want to stop seeing this person.  I genuinely like them and I knew (and still know) that they are a genuinely good person.  I began to care about their well-being, their day and them as a whole.  I tried to let them know that I was there to listen to them whenever they needed to talk.  There were romantic feelings for this person, but above all that I was trying to be their friend.  But despite all of that of my efforts, I was still the bad guy.  Still the problem.  This person told me that they felt I wasn’t listening to them.  That’s all I ever did, but they couldn’t see that.  This “situation” ended with both parties yelling at one another.  And with me saying something out of sheer frustration that took me out of my character.  I was quite saddened that this “situation” ended because as I said I had grown really fond of them. But more importantly, I was upset with myself for allowing this person to pull me down to a negative level.  I work too hard on a daily basis to stay positive and see the light.  In hindsight, maybe this should have ended way before it did.  But I gave it time because this was very new and we were still getting to know each other.  And I stated before, I liked them.

When you care about a person, you’re willing to put up with a lot of shit in the hopes that they will change.  You hope that things will change for the better.  And that the person will realize how much you care about them and how their words hurt.  At some point, one has to ask themselves a serious question.  Do I like the way this person treats me more than I like myself?  For me the answer was simple:  HELL NO.  It got to a point with this person (and others I found myself in a similar situation with) that I had to make a choice.  Continue this “situation” that sometimes leaves me drained and feeling bad or bounce?  I chose the latter.  Instead of focusing on the good times, I had to focus on the bad ones.  The reasons that it couldn’t work out the way I wanted.  Their yelling, my hurt feelings, the miscommunications.  The time they called me a jerk for making what I thought was a cute comment.  And their constant pulling me close then pushing me away.  Those things outweighed the good and the strong feelings that I had developed for this person.  So despite my not really wanting it to, it had to end.  I will say that meeting this person wasn’t all bad for me.  They helped me to learn more about myself.  I learned more about my likes and dislikes, what I’ll put up with, what kind of relationship I want to have and how I’ve become a more positive person.  So for those reasons, I can say I am grateful.

If you find yourself in a similar situation with someone (friend, family member or spouse), remember that they don’t have the right to make you feel that their mood is your problem.  It’s a personal problem that they themselves need to work through.  If you know that whatever is going on with them has zero to do with you, do your best not to take their behavior personally.  Don’t allow yourself to be a person’s emotional punching bag.  Now I understand in some circumstances it isn’t always so easy to walk away. In those instances, have a conversation with the person.  Communication is key.  Be clear about what you want, how you feel and why.  This process will take some time. Especially if the person in question isn’t good at letting you know exactly how and why they feel the way they do.  Listen and let them know that you are listening.  Let them know that you do see them.  Most times people just want to feel that they are being heard and that someone cares.  In my case, I was listening and I cared, but I didn’t feel the same from them.  But if it gets to the point where talking it out and giving it time changes nothing…..Bounce.  Choose your happiness.  Choose your positivity.  Choose your well-being.  And most importantly, choose yourself.

ESP: Energy Sucking People

Have you ever been around someone that as soon as they appear, a large portion of your energy is drained?  I have.  And to be honest, I have been that person.  But here’s the thing:  I didn’t realize that I was doing it.  I think most ESP’s (Energy Sucking People) never realize that’s what they are doing.  As a former ESP, I can say I never knew it.  I thought I was doing one of the following instead.  I believed I was keeping it real (aka being honest) or looking for advice with my venting.  Turns out the “keeping it real” wasn’t always so good.  When I thought I was being “helpful”, I was actually being hurtful.  And the “looking for advice with my venting” was actually just whining.  I just wanted to talk about all the bad in my life because I was looking for sympathy and agreement.  And the minute I felt like you didn’t agree with me, the conversation was over in my mind.  ESP’s often times just want to know that you are feeling the same way that they are.  The last thing a ESP wants to hear is that life is going well for you.  As I stated earlier, I don’t believe that this behavior is intentionally done by all of them.  But there is a small portion of them that like to know that they are not alone in their misery.

For me, it wasn’t that I wanted everyone to be unhappy or down because I was.  But I did take some solace in knowing that I wasn’t the only one whose life wasn’t going as planned.  The other kind of ESP is the one who doesn’t know that they drain the life out of any situation with their presence.  They have been an ESP so long that it just second nature for them.  It has become ingrained in who they are.  (Raises hand slowly)  When I was an ESP, I couldn’t identify that my lack of positive energy was draining those around me.  That by my talking (aka constant complaining) about my circumstances, I was zapping away their energy.  I didn’t know that I wasn’t getting invited to hangout as much anymore because people wanted to limit their time around me.  By the time I finally did, I couldn’t believe those people stayed around me as long as they did in the first place.  Many said that they stayed around because they knew I was a good person and that they loved me.  (Insert crying emoji here)

As a former ESP, I can now identify an ESP probably quicker than the average person. And when I do I have to ask myself a few questions.  Why?  Why do I continue to talk to this person?  Why do I keep them around?  Some of the ESP’s in my life, unfortunately, are family members.  Truth be told I have zero problems distancing myself from family members that I don’t gel with.  But when they are immediate members that can be harder to do.  Here’s how I handle the ESP’s in my life.

1.) Focus on my happy.  I have one ESP that as soon as I see or hear them, my vibe can be lowered just like that.  I feel the lowering of my vibration, acknowledge it, and find something to be happy or grateful for.  It could be something as a simple as, “My hair looks really good today.  These curls are popping!”  Find something to bring you vibes back up where they belong.

2.) Venting Time Limits.  Everyone needs to let off some verbal steam from time to time. But a person’s steam starts to burn my skin:  I CUT THAT SHIT SHORT.  If they keep coming to me with the same stuff all the time with no sort of change:  I cut that shit short. If when I’m done listening to them I have a headache, my mood is down AND I feel I need a drink……(Say it with me)  I CUT THAT SHIT SHORT.  It’s ok to be there for the people you love and care about especially when they are going through something heavy, they need you.  But make sure to not let them ALL your energy while doing so.

3.) Don’t take their energy personally.  This one can be tricky because my first thought when someone is coming to be with an attitude is I did something to them.  Or when I try to give advice on things I do when I feel the same, they totally dismiss it.  Or worse than that, they lash out.  It’s taking me a while (because as much as I don’t want to admit it) I can be a bit sensitive.  I learned that their shit is their shit.  That their energy is their energy.  That their feelings and opinions are their feelings and opinions.  And that NONE of that has any bearing on how I should feel in my own life or energy space.

So if you find yourself around an ESP, just let them be who they are going to be.  And try not to let their low energy take away from your high vibrations.

Late To The Game or Early To A Breakthrough?

I always thought that by the time I made it to the age I currently am, I would be a lot further along in my life’s journey than I am.  I also thought that I would have all my shit together by now as well.  Fun fact:  I have been proven wrong on both points.  The fact that neither of those things is true, bruises my ego a little on a daily basis.  So much so that I’m actually a little embarrassed to even admit it.  But I never hold back the truth on this blog, so there it is for the world to read.  I thought that I would be further along because I thought I knew what I wanted at a young age.  At 18, I wanted to move to New York City, go to the Fashion Institute of Technology, graduate and become a world-famous designer.  By the time I turned 25, the only thing that I still wanted was still to move to New York City.  Now I really don’t want any of the things I did at 18 or 25.  I decided to go back to college in 2010 to study Journalism under the guise that I would become a Fashion Journalist.  Since I know longer wanted to make clothes, I wanted to write about other making them.  A little more than halfway through my studies, I took a creative writing class as a filler for a semester.  After two months in the class, I had made a big career change.  I no longer wanted to be a Fashion Journalist, I wanted to be a writer.  But not just a writer, oh no that’s too small of a dream for me.  I wanted to be a New York Times Bestselling author.  Hell, why not?  The thing that gets me (aka pisses me off a bit) is why couldn’t I have figured all of this out at 18, 25 or hell even 30 years old?!  And now instead of NYC calling my heart, California seems to be calling my name more and more. But I digress.

Eventually, I had to step back, do some serious inventory and think about it.  Why exactly aren’t I where I thought I would be?  And why aren’t I where I think I should be?  For me, the answer wasn’t crystal clear at first.  After a few years of reading different self-help books and listening to positive podcast, it finally hit me.  My mindset wasn’t right for the goals and dreams I had for myself.  How can I expect to be somewhere more positive than I am if my mindset isn’t on the same page?  Impossible.  It took years of growing pains, long conversations with people, late nights of reading, prayer, and meditation to finally get it.  I also think part of the reason why I’m not where I thought (or would like) to be is that what I want has changed.  And more importantly than that, I have changed. My self-confidence is stronger than it has ever been at any point in my life.  And I work daily to strengthen it more than the day before.  My career goals are truer to who I am now.  My focus, drive, and desire for what I want are on warp speed.  Now if I could only stop wasting time and energy beating myself up about the slow start. (Insert emoji with the lady with the hand over her face here)

Now I’ll be candid here, my mindset isn’t always 100% completely aligned with my goals. When I say this I mean that there are days when the New York Times Bestsellers List seems like nothing more than a pipe dream.  And then there are days when I think something I’ve written is worthy of a Pulitzer Prize.  Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, but you see where I’m going with this.  If my mindset isn’t completely aligned with my goals, then my goals won’t come to flourishing.  Since what I want hasn’t appeared in my life, then I would beat myself up about not achieving that goal.  Never.  Ending.  Cycle.  Good news: I finally figured this out.  Bad news (sort of):  Trying to figure out how change this destructive, non-productive pattern of behavior.  I have learned that when I try to do too much at one time, I freak out and then fail miserably.  So I take baby steps, my friend.  Baby steps.  It started by acknowledging that there was a change that needed to happen within me first.  That’s usually the hardest thing to do.  Honestly, it sucked that my change had to take so long to manifest, but it was necessary in order to grow strong enough to go after my goals.  Once I knew that I had to change, then I figured out the how.

Instead of the constant complaining to anyone who would listen to my whining, I started having actual conversations.  Meaning I would talk about what I wasn’t happy about, but I would actually listen to the feedback I was given in return.  Not only would I listen, I would give a significant amount of time to what the person said.  And then from there, I would apply the advice to help improve myself and my life.  As I stated earlier, I started reading books about mindset and positive thinking. I started with a book called, “The Secret.”  I know some people have issues with this book, but it helped me tremendously.  It helped me learn to see the glass as half full instead of half empty like how I was raised to see it.  It always taught me to be more grateful for all the things I have in my life.  With gratitude comes a better attitude. So corny, but so true.  I listened (and still do) to positive, motivating podcast as well.  Some of my favorites are The Marie Forleo Podcast, The Lavendaire Lifestyle, and The GaryVee Audio Experience.  Really love Gary Vee because it keeps it real, tells the truth and doesn’t sugar coat shit.  And someone like me appreciates that.  I surround myself with as many positive people as I can.  And the funny thing is, I have met some great amazing people online who have helped me to be more positive as well.  I try to avoid as many negative people as possible.  But sometimes that’s hard when it’s a family member, a friend or maybe even a co-worker.  I just keep my conversations with them to a minimum.  It’s the only way I can survive.  And I think the most important that I’m learning to do (and working on daily) is forgiving myself.  Forgiving myself for past mistakes, ideas, attitudes, actions, and non-actions.  I have this terrible tendency of living in the past and replaying mistakes in my mind.  I am learning to work through that, and let it go.  Nothing I can do about it now, it’s over.  The only thing I can do is learn and grow from it.  So even though I may not be exactly where I thought I would be.  Or even have my shit together, I’m still here fighting the good fight.  I’m not giving up on my dreams or myself.  Clearly, I’m still here for a reason.  And I’ll do everything I can to make sure that that reason is fulfilled.

Self Confidence: Work That Muscle

I was recently watching a movie called, “House Party 2” which is about one of the main characters nicknamed Kid going off to college. At one point in the film Kid, while studying, reads a quote from Marcus Garvey. The quote goes as follows: “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.”
Now I have seen this film on numerous occasions, which means I have heard this quote before. But this time it stood out to me more than it ever had before. I had to rewind that scene in order to write down the quote the second I heard it. Then I had to really give some serious thought to what Mr. Garvey was saying. You have no confidence, you’re basically already losing. Damn…… That kind of hurt a little when I really meditated on that.
I can readily admit that since I was a teenager, having self-confidence has been a constant struggle. Whether I was struggling to believe I could learn a new skill or the ones I already had were good, or that my physical appearance would attract the person I liked, it has been an ongoing thing. Here I am 20 years later and many of those thoughts still linger within my mind. It’s an ongoing battle between who I “think” I am versus who I want to ultimately become. Sometimes the distance between the two can be as far as from Earth to Pluto. And my self-confidence spaceship doesn’t have enough fuel or power to get me to the distance dwarf planet.  I have learned after reading many self-help books, listening to self-help podcast and watching motivational speakers on YouTube that self-confidence is, in fact, a muscle.  And that muscle must be worked out daily in order to get stronger and grow.  Did you hear me, people?  I said:  DAILY.  Unlike every other muscle in our body, which need a resting period, the self-confidence muscle can’t be afforded that luxury.

What I have noticed about mine is if I don’t do some form of positive thinking about myself every day, it tends to get weaker over time.  The longer I go without a good thought, the longer it takes me to build my self-confidence back up to where I last left it.  And as I’ve stated in a previous blog post called, “Working out: That Helpful Bitch”, I hate working out.  So who has time to keep working the same muscle all the time and seeing no major results?  Surely not me.  And I’m sure you don’t have the time either.  I’m sure this happens too many of us more than we would like to admit to ourselves let alone the rest of the world.  I think that even the most self-confident person has to experience this from time to time.  The only difference is their bounce back game is probably a lot stronger than yours or mine.   And that’s unfortunate.  I have recently met someone whose self-confidence muscle is the level of strong that I want to get mine too. It seems that no matter what she can’t be brought down.  Whether it be from negative comments from others or even negative thoughts she may have in her mind from time to time.  She knows without a doubt that she will accomplish her goals and that she is the shit.  Period.  She focuses on her strengths, taking daily steps to reach her goals, her spirituality and her overall badassness.  So one is faced with the question:  how do we build our self-confidence muscles during times when we just aren’t feeling it?  The answer to that will undoubtedly be different for different people for sure.  So I’ll just tell you a few things I have been doing to build my muscle up to Hulk status.

1.) If on a particular day I feel down, I don’t stay there long.  We are humans who have ups and downs.  One minute I love my life and everything in it.  And the next I could be questioning why I was put here in the first place.  And that’s cool.  I feel what I need to feel and then MOVE ON.  I work hard to not stay in the dark for too long or it will be harder to light the match that I need to see in order to get out.

2.) I write all my feelings and emotions down on paper.  It may sound stupid or cliché, but I have found that it works for me.  When I’m having a particularly shitty day, I need to write about it.  I write exactly how I’m feeling at that moment.  Whatever crappy feeling I have about myself, others around me or my surroundings get written about.  No hold barred.  And once I have let it all out, I close my journal and leave it there.  Now I’m not saying that once I’ve written it out, I feel 100% better.  Hell no.  But it helps me to get those thoughts out of my mind so I can refocus my thoughts on more productive matters.

3.) I find something that inspires me or makes me feel good.  That could be a book, a motivational speaker, a bible verse, a baby’s smile or a funny meme.  For me, I’ll go on Instagram and look at funny memes to make me laugh.  Or I’ll listen to one of my favorite podcast to help me feel inspired again.  I find “Style Your Mind” and “The Lavendaire Lifestyle” to be among the most helpful for me.  Both podcasts speak to me in a way that is relatable, helpful and kind.

This self-confidence muscle will not be built overnight.  And it damn sure won’t build itself, you gotta put in the work to make it happen.  And as lazy as I am and yes I can admit this about myself.  I’m willing and able to do the work.  And if I can, I know you can.