No More Downplaying: Period

I have a real issue with acknowledging my achievements and talents in my life.  Self-doubt has always been such a big problem for me.  It’s almost as if I think that I don’t deserve whatever it is I accomplished or my God-given talents.  Take my recent weight loss as a prime example.  I have lost over 30 pounds in the past 11 months.  That’s a big freaking deal by anyone’s standards.  But to me, seeing as though it took me damn near a year to do this, it wasn’t good enough.  My thinking was that I should have lost more in that time.  I belittled all the hard work, sweaty workouts, sore muscles and hours of meal planning I put into the process.  None of that shit was easy or fun to do, trust me.  So why do I continue to do this to myself?  I think it’s because no matter how far I may have come; I always see how far I still have to go.  Even though I have lost over 30 pounds, I tend to mostly focus on the weight I still have left to lose.  For me, this isn’t exclusive for just my weight loss.  This has translated to most of the things I have achieved and to my goals.

I have a tendency to downplay MOST if not all of my accomplishments and talents.  And it’s totally not a, “I’m trying to stay humble” thing. It’s more of a, “I sort of did it, but damn I still have so much farther to go” thing.  See the problem?  Often times I can’t pat myself on the back for doing something that I worked really hard to do.  Some things that even people who know me wish they could have done.  That’s the very thing I have been told a few times by several different people  They say this in regards to my recent weight loss and also about the things that I have written that they have read.  But since I’m nowhere I want to be and in my mind, “still have so far to go” it means almost nothing.  Career-wise, I’m nowhere close to where I want to be either.  My career goal is to be a full-time author.  To be more specific, I want to write fiction books for adults and children.  I have been doing the biggest step of all to achieve this goal and that is to simply write.  The more writing one does, the better they become right?  The negative side of my thinking always says this step isn’t shit if no one has read what I have written. But regardless of how small, it’s bringing me closer to my goal of being on the New York Times Best Sellers List.  I have been writing much more than I have been in the past few years, which is a bit of an achievement in itself.  I have been submitting my poetry to different publications and have gotten published.  That’s a big one because (as per usual in my mind) my work isn’t all that great.  SIDEBAR:  I received my first professional review of a poem I wrote.  The critic wrote that my poem was, “the first piece I return to after a long day of work to find my calm.”   Cool huh?!

For someone who doesn’t know anything about me to say that my poem was one of her top three favorites in the anthology, has to speak to my writing abilities.  I have to really start training my mind to believe and know that I have a talent for writing.  I must start giving myself credit for continuing to go after my dreams.  Whatever effort I’m making (big or small) it is getting me closer and closer to the finish line.  And I should celebrate every victory with an enthusiastic pat on the back.  I am starting to learn to accept the fact that I am the shit for even making a serious effort to accomplish anything.  The person I was a few years ago would never have attempted the things that I have recently. I think that the downplaying I still do sometimes is a bit of the old me that reside inside.  She always has something less than stellar to say.  Who knows, she may always live in the small relics of my mind.  But I can’t let her or anyone else put a damper on my accomplishments, talents, dreams or goals.  Last Thursday I had the pleasure of going to see an R&B band that I love called, “The Internet.”  I had the privilege of getting some sound advice from one of the members named Matt.  I told him that I was a writer and a future New York Times Bestselling author. Speak it into existence right?  I told him that most times I am filled with so much self-doubt I can’t see how I will accomplish my dreams. I also let him know that despite that, I know that I’m a damn good writer.  But that I have trouble remembering that all the time.  He told me that that sort of thing happens to most people, but that I had to keep positive thoughts always.  I have to be my biggest supporter no matter what.  And that I should always know that anything is possible no matter how impossible it may seem.  I knew all those things before he said them to me.  And I have thought them myself before.  But to hear them from someone whom I just met, and is a fellow artist like me put them into a direct perspective this time.  Thank you, Matt, for putting everything back into perspective for me with your wise words.

So what am I going to do to improve this pointless, negative behavior?  I’m going to start focusing on what I actually did to accomplish the goal.  If someone actually compliments me on an achievement I reached or even notices the effort given, I will sincerely take the compliment.  I will start looking at how far I’ve come as opposed to how far I still have to go.  With my writing, I will pay more attention to writing quality blogs people can relate too rather than obsessing about getting my views numbers up.  If I write good stuff and stay consistent, they will come.  It’s all comes down to how I look at things and what I focus on.  If I (and you) continue to look at how far we still have yet to go, then not only are we downplaying our achievements but we are slowing down our progress.  And trying to achieve anything is challenging enough, why add more unnecessary crap to that?  And above all of that, I truly have to remember this:  I AM THE SHIT.  Period.  I’m good at what I do.  Writing is my God-given talent.   And I have been blessed with the strength, drive, and hunger to get anything I want in this life.  So from this moment on, I’ll do my best to only look at how much I have progressed in my journey.  My advice is not to let a setback (or what you perceive as small steps) keep you from patting yourself on the back for a job well done.  Know that you’re doing your best and you too are the shit.  If you don’t think that you’re killing it at working toward your goals, then you won’t be.  And again, who needs that unnecessary crap on their minds?

 

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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

 

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.

How Are You Running Your Race?

(Disclaimer- I proofread this thing a dozen times and used an online site to help. If you see any mistakes, oh well, I’m only human. Thanks for reading!)
A little over a month ago I was listening to one of my favorite podcast called, “The Read” hosted by Kid Fury and Crissle.  The episode is called, “Cheerleading” and in it, Crissle talks about her history of depression and negative self-talk.  She said something that her therapist told her that made her take a serious look at how she speaks to herself.  And after hearing it, it also made me take a look at how I speak to myself?  Her therapist said to her, “Picture life like a race. And one person is beaten along the path.  Like someone is whipping at their back. Chastising them and telling them all the ways that they suck.  And they’re moving forward trying to be motivated by the negativity.  And the other person has cheerleaders in the distance who are rooting for them and encouraging them to keep going.  And when they fall saying, ‘That’s fine.  You know we all stumble sometimes.  Just get back up, dust your knees off and keep going at it.’  And you can choose how you’re going to talk to yourself through life.  Are you going to beat yourself through it?  Or are you going to cheerlead yourself through it?”  Crissle said as soon as her therapist told her that, she began to change the way that she spoke to herself.

I know for an absolute fact that most times I am not kind to myself.  My words can be harsh, rude, mean and downright disrespectful.  Sometimes so that the things that I say to myself I wouldn’t dare allow anyone to say to me.  So why is it ok that I say those things to myself?  Ideally, I know that it’s not.  But that doesn’t stop me from constantly doing it.  At one point the negative self-talk was loud and often, it became the only self-language I knew.  I have come a long way from the constant beating myself up.  But I still have a tendency of whipping my own back instead of rooting myself on in this race called life.  My problem is I’m often living the past or worried about the future.  Neither of which is mentally healthy for me to do.  One reason is that I can’t seem to forgive or forget my past mistakes.  The second reason is that I’m not presently where I want to be in life, and I worry I’ll never get there.

My negative self-talk appears to come from my own vision of lack and comparison.  Since I don’t have the things that I want, all I see is lack.  Here’s how it usually goes:  “I’m not currently working as a full-time writer because I lack the skills needed in order to achieve that.  I’m single because I lack the beauty it takes to draw someone’s interests.  I’ll never move ahead in life because I made that awful decision five years ago.”  You get the idea.  The comparison comes from looking at what everyone else is doing instead of looking directly at my own path.  I’m watching how everyone else is performing in their race of life and that slows me down.  I get slowed down because I think I should be where they are in life.  Often times I forget the fact that everyone runs at their own pace. So where does the negative self-talk, my vision of lack and compassion get me?  The short answer is:  NOWHERE.  And who the hell wants to stay there?

After hearing Crissle give the race example that her therapist gave her, it really made me want to change my internal dialogue.  I want to cheer myself on the way I would cheer for others.  I’m a fantastic cheerleader for everyone else.  Why shouldn’t I do the same for myself?  Learning to not beat myself up will surely be an everyday struggle.  This isn’t something that will suddenly stop overnight.  I will probably have to work hard each and every day to see the good in myself.  I can do this by learning to ignore those things I don’t see as being “good enough.”  For every discouraging thought that comes across my mind, I will quickly follow it up with something I love about myself.  I will keep my eyes on my own journey and pace, and not worry so much about what others are doing.  And not comparing my speed to theirs.  Knowing that comparison only serves to injure me in my own race.  Daily, I will think of a least three things I like about myself or that I’m good at.  This will serve as the encouragement that I need to hit the finish line. I want to run a strong race, with all the strength that I can muster.  I must learn to not be my biggest adversary.  And become my biggest supporter, encourager and overall best friend.  Because after all I am the one running this race, and this race I fully intend to win.

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.

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.