Just Do You: On the Importance of Turning Inward (40 DAY CHALLENGE)

I saw this and it made me pause:


It resonated with me because I believe many of us spend our days working to prove, win, edge out, and convince others of our way, our plan and our worth. But the Navajos nailed it on this one: try as you may, those who do not desire to truly know or value you, won’t. No matter what you do.

NO MATTER WHAT.

They have their own shit, my loves, so don’t even waste your energy trying to drag them into the light of you, if they resist your sunshine.

If you take a small step off of the hamster wheel of attention seeking behaviors, you may come to the same conclusion that I did: your relentless pursuit of approval, validation, whatever has nothing to do with “them.” It’s really about you.

u

You have misplaced your worth in the hands of others. Take that shit back.  What do YOU think of YOU?

This is sticky and uncomfortable for me to sort through because I have so much practice identifying what I don’t like, what I regret, what I lack. Despite my advice and encouragement of others, I struggle to turn this grace inward.  And it has everything to do with building my self-value.

It’s tough even writing this because it pushes against the myth of the strong black woman; as if I can’t be strong in the face of these internal struggles.

In search of a practice to establish and maintain healthier behaviors, I found some incredible advice from Iyanla Vanzant.  This quote stopped me in my tracks:

“When we think we are unworthy, it means that, for some reason, we believe that we have to prove we have a right to our space on the planet, in life, as we are,” she explains. “That means that we will do all manner of wonderfulness to prove we deserve to be here.”

Ok stop.

Go back and read it again.

Now check out Iyanla breaking down the difference between self-worth and self-value, and why we have to build value to drive better relationships and dynamics with others.

Isn’t she just everything?  She always leaves me in awe, and wanting to treat myself better. So I am taking this 40 day challenge and here’smy first crack at the “I am’s”

I am health I am peace I am success I am beauty
I am joy I am freedom I am capable I am thriving
I am liberation I am hope I am love I am light
I am kindness I am grace I am talent I am original
I am worthy I am special I am woman I am strong
I am victory I am human I am real I am cool
I am truth I am grounded I am glory I am wisdom
I am rising I am beauty I am focus I am wanted

I have to be honest, getting to 40 affirmation was challenging for a couple of reasons.First off, it was painfully clear that I’m not wired to celebrate myself.  I struggled to come up with more good stuff to say.  I also worked to use a noun, rather than a verb or adjective as instructed. So saying I am love rather than I am loving, or hope instead of hopeful, and so on. It was disorienting but powerful to make this distinction.  It made me aware of how much I describe and see myself is a product of my interactions with or as a function of what I do for others (helpful, supportive, friend, mother).

cat-wheel

It was also refreshing to speak from a place of looking and moving forward rather than back. In other words, I recognized my bad habit of running through and talking about the same negative shit; calling my soul’s attention to what I don’t like.

This exercise also made me recall a previous word Rock City Pastor Annie Jones-Barnes on the importance of what we choose to call forth – I am STRONG vs. I am TIRED, and how we call forth our reality by what we speak into the universe.  You can see a snippet here (under Videos, look for “I AM”).

Our words not only mean things they hold power; the power to build our lives or limit them. Let’s choose to look inward for our worth and power.  When we do so others recognize, respect and align with our power.  And if they don’t we can be assured it is a reflection of them not us.

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Think you might be down to do the challenge with me? I need some accountability partners! Please join me as part of the #Freshin40 challenge!

 

 

 

 

Do You Have Something to Share?

Today it’s on my heart to encourage you to speak.  About what, you ask.  That, my love, doesn’t matter. Just speak.  Make some noise. Release what’s tormenting you.  The world hungers for your unique voice.  Hell, I want to hear you, too.  I NEED to hear you.  What are you holding on to, and why? Don’t fear judgment or retaliation.  It’s a threat that rarely manifests.

Paint it

Write it

Sing it

Play it

Punch it

Slay it

Share yourself with the world around you.  As a group, my colleagues and I discussed the book, The Spirituality of Imperfection. And in doing so, we discussed the importance of storytelling.  Not only does it act as a form of release and tool of healing for you, it allows a bridge in which others’ experiences intersect with yours.  It builds community, and helps bring others to a place of restoration.  It isn’t necessary that I’ve experienced exactly what you have, or that you and I have endured the same pain (addiction, abuse, depression, etc.).  The window to light is in the intersections of the soul, and the feelings that our respective journeys have generated.  Isolation, fear, humiliation, anger, relief, mercy, laughter, love.  We can all participate in that.  We have all marched or stepped lightly down these paths.  As such, we can all be both blessed and supported by personally offering our perspectives and stories to the world around us.

Share your self; your authentic, fractured, ever-fighting, confused, and brilliant self. Realize I’m talking to myself here, too.  I grow fearful, and ashamed of exposing my past (and even my present) feelings and especially my behaviors.  Betty don’t always behave, ya’ll. And ironically, I am the most afraid of sharing my true self with the ones I trust the most.  But I’ve found in every instance, pushing through the resistance and letting someone in, has built a bridge between me and another brave soul in this world.

Finding the safe space is often the challenge.  As I grow older, my circle of trust gets smaller and smaller.  As women, we are often taught to not trust other women.  There is a learned, often false, threat of cattiness and deception that further feeds our tendency to keep our stories to ourselves.  And while yes, there’s some raggedy chicks out there, I know there are far more good and authentic women than not.  They may not look or speak the way I do, but they breathe, bleed, cry and struggle like I do.  If I let the number of times I take a risk to speak my truth at least match the number of times I clam up, I will have grown exponentially this year.  And I am encouraged to think of the relationships that may form out of speaking up.

You don’t have to represent your race, gender, class, or faith.  Start with representing yourself.  Speak your truth.

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.