It’s been many, many years since I created a New Year’s Resolution. I believe the work we must do is a daily resolution. Therefore, I have been waking up every morning over the past few years with a resolve to be the best I can; slay my goals; pull music from the static and let the challenges chisel me into a champion. I learned this neat trick from my minister, Bro. Jim Love, that I believe can help transform us all. Make an acrostic poem with the word resolution(s) for your personal purpose and improvement. Here is mine:
Read more, watch less.
Encourage others daily.
Separate myself from people who do not make me better.
Occupy my life with prayer, positive talk, and progressive learning.
Love and live more!
Understand God’s will for myself and attempt to better understand others.
Trust God more!
Ignore past mistakes, keep the lessons, and push through to the future.
Open my mind more to the guidance and Power of the Holy Spirit!
Need God more!
What are your goals, guiding words, and hopes for this day, month, or year?
Photo Courtesy of Great Performers Academy
As some of you know, this has been a ROUGH 18 months to say the least. Lots of ups and downs, bumps and bruises, cuts and scrapes. The ones who know me best know that no matter how many times I fall, I am always going to get back up again. Others seem to think that I am living a charmed life which is far from the truth. What I am living—and have been living long before it became a popular song—is my best life. I decided long ago that settling for being mediocre was NEVER going to be an option in my life. For that same reason, my circle is very small. People around me know that I expect everyone to strive to be the best version of themselves. Self-work isn’t for everyone…I get that. But when you choose to settle for the easiest life, you become accustomed to being mediocre. You do yourself and the world a grave injustice. I hope this list will shake you up and get all the good stuff out of the bottom of your life’s glass and into the mix.
Ten things to remember:
- You owe yourself EVERYTHING. You are too everything to settle.
- As you walk in your purpose, do not accept littleness in the place of your magnitude.
- The power of the Most High within you will support every effort you make to walk in your purpose.
- Remember that God offers his glory to the world through you.
- You don’t have to strive for greatness. It’s already in you. But you do have to strive against doing “just enough to get by.”
- Neither give nor take mediocrity.
- When you choose to half-step or do anything in a mediocre manner, this is your evaluation of yourself. You have judged yourself less worthy.
- Mediocrity will never make you content or give you peace.
- Don’t surround yourself with a tribe of mediocre people or all you will ever do is “measure up.” No one rises to low standards.
- Every time you think about living a life that flies below the radar, ask yourself: “Do I want to be a hostage to mediocrity or a host to magnitude?”
I was having a conversation with my dear friend, Courtney, about some of our other mutual girlfriends who we always support but never seem to support us. It dawned on me that for much of my adult life, the women (outside of my family) have rarely supported me in the way that I have supported them. Women seem to think that everything is a competition; that everyone’s out to get them; that there isn’t enough room in the sky for every star to shine. And I just don’t think like that. First of all, the only woman I compete with is Sean. Every day, I want to beat the old me! Secondly, I am too busy to be out to get you when I am out to get mine! Finally, my light does not diminish yours; in fact, two lights make the room brighter. Therefore we need to support one another! Here’s why:
- We can empower, encourage and uplift one another.
- We’re stronger in numbers.
- Every one of us is fighting an inner battle. Why create outer battles for fellow women to fight as well?
- In this misogynistic world we are still living in, why should we be against one another when the world already is?!
- Beautiful minds can inspire one another.
- Team work makes the dream work.
- We need to teach the younger women what sisterhood looks like so they’ll be more Golden Girls and less Real Housewives!
- We can learn from one another.
- You need a sister to show up for you in the times you cannot show up for yourself.
- What you give to others, you give to yourself.
It’s WAY past time to stop honoring and supporting women with our mouths but not with our actions. It’s WAY past time to stop forming these cliques that only serve the purposes of clucking louder in the hen house. It’s WAY past time to stop discriminating against other women based on size, education, skin color, sororities, religion, and all that other garbage! It’s TIME to be real. And real women know they cannot do it alone.
After seeing so many posts about the #InMyFeelingsChallenge, I finally watched the video. Clearly, Drake is going through something. But aren’t we all? When I’m in my feelings, my thoughts go haywire and if I did everything that came to mind at the time, I’d likely end up prison. These past few months I have been working on being very intentional about not staying in my feelings when I get in them. Here’s how:
- Don’t react right away. This used to be a BIG problem for me. Something would happen and the minute I felt offended in any kind of way, I was popping off that the mouth and trying to run people over. As much as I’d love to think of myself as a highly rational being, I’m sometimes not. Knowing this about myself, I work extremely hard to not react right away.
- Prayer is my saving grace in my darkest moments. I take a moment to ask God for His divine intervention in revealing to me what is truth versus perception and what I must do.
- Mindful breathing. I learned this from my friend, Lilith. Mindful breathing relaxes my body. I start by taking a deep inhale through my nostrils, holding my breath for a few seconds, and then taking a long exhale through my mouth. These deep and intentional breaths decrease my heart rate, relax my tensed muscles, and refocus my concentration.
- Apply 5Ws. I use the 5Ws (Who? What? When? Where? Why?) to write down what ACTUALLY happened. Facts only. Not my perception or feelings about what happened.
- Assess feelings. TRUTH BOMB: Our emotions don’t always represent the truth! Just because I feel a certain way, doesn’t make it a reality. Once I have written down the facts, I can then start to assess why I am in my feelings. Am I hurt because it’s true? Did I receive the situation in the wrong way? Do I have PMS? Am I hungry? Was I already upset about something else? Will this situation even matter a week, month or year from now?
- See the bigger picture. I remind myself that every step is an ordered step and everything that has ever happened in my life, whether good or bad, has served a higher purpose. I try to see past the moment and distinguish the greater meaning, trusting that even in the midst of being in my feelings, there is purpose.
- Journal. Journal. Words are powerful and when I am in my feelings, I have trained myself to use my words to describe, improve, and transform my situation. I write until my hand hurts in order to physically liberate myself from my pent up emotions.
- Thought exchange. I replace negative thoughts with more positive ones. The thing about choosing to stay in your feelings is that you’re also choosing to bind yourself to negative thoughts which will eventually lead you to a cycle of negative life patterns. The constantly bitter people in your life are probably allowing themselves to remain in their feelings so long that negativity becomes their new normal. Think on good things!
- Ask for Support. Sometimes we need someone to listen to us, pray with us, or guide us into a more positive place. FYI: The negative Nellies in your life are not the ones to go to! Avoid toxic people!
- Help someone. I find that when I am taking care of someone else’s problems, God takes care of mine! You don’t have time to stay in your feelings when you’re out in the world changing it for the better!
What do you do when you’re in your feelings?
My Daddy and I at one of my college graduations.
Father’s Day is just a few days away and I would LOVE to see my daddy once again. I miss him terribly. Even after all these years, I still adore my father. I still live to make him proud, heed his warnings, hear his words. And if after almost 9 years of his absence I still consider myself daddy’s girl, he must have done something right. Here are ten things you should do for your daughter:
- Remind her daily that she is created by the Most High with High Purpose.
- Don’t just tell her she’s smart; tell her that she is gifted and name the ways she’s gifted. Does she have a way with words? Is she great at math? A people person? Gifted with pets? Tell her that you see her gifts.
- Don’t just tell her that she is beautiful; tell her why she is beautiful. Give her specific praise. What is it within your daughter that makes her beautiful?
- Listen to her. Hear her. Turn the TV off. Put your phone on silent. Even when she is babbling on about boys and girl drama, listen to your daughter. If you don’t listen to her, some raggedy boy will…and he may not reply with her best interest in mind.
- Teach her to be a lady. My daddy taught me how to be a lady. My mama taught me about womanly things like thinking smart, periods, bras, cleaning house, not taking ish from anyone, etc. But it was my daddy that said, “Cross your ankles when you sit down, Lady. A lady lays her napkin on her lap. A lady always smells good and dresses well.” And not only did he teach me about being a lady, he taught me what a lady should expect from a gentleman.
- Fight for her. Protect her. Make a scene if the need arises. Let her know that you’ll start a war, move heaven and earth to defend her.
- Be honest about sex. My daddy told me exactly what men thought so I’d be prepared for the game. Don’t just say, “Don’t get pregnant.” Tell her the about the responsibilities and consequences that come with sex including the physical, emotional and most importantly…spiritual. Arm her with the truth.
- Teach her. From you, your daughter will learn how to treat a man, what a man should do, how to navigate the world around her, and so much more! Daddy, though it may be hard at times, one of the most important lessons you will teach your daughter is how a man treats a woman. You will teach her this lesson in the way you treat her mother. Now I know her mother may not always deserve respect, but respect her anyway. She may not always deserve kindness, be kind anyway. Sometimes you might want to shake her, don’t shake her. Your daughter is watching you, and how you treat her mother is how she will let men treat her.
- Be consistent. My daddy was home every night at the same time. Even when he was preaching in other cities, he was never gone too long. Not every father lives in the same house with his child, but this is no excuse for inconsistency. If your job only paid you when they felt like it or if they had nothing better to do, would you accept that? How much more important is the job of raising your daughter? If you only see your child once a week, see your child once EVERY week. If you only see your child the first Friday of the month, be there EVERY first Friday of the month. Women thrive in relationships with men they can depend on. Teach her while she’s young that a real man consistently shows up for the girl that he loves.
- Respect her. Know that though she may be like you, but she is not you. She is not her mother. She is the best parts of both of you. Respect her as an individual and in doing so you will show her that she was made to stand out, not fit in.
I could go on and on about all the things your daughter needs from you. She needs your encouragement, your trust, and your time. She needs you to teach her respect and show her respect so that she’ll always expect respect. She needs your affection because if you are loving on her, she’ll be far less apt to let any old knuckle head get in her pants. But above all, she needs your unconditional love. You are the first man in her life, the navigator that sets the course for all her future relationships. Ask yourself, “Am I the kind of man I would want my daughter to marry?” And if the answer if no, today is as good a day as any to begin again.