Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Around July of last year, I was asked to share my story on a virtual platform. I said “yes” because of who was asking (a long-time family friend). It didn’t hit me until moments later that what I committed to wasn’t like my typical speaking engagements.
I started focusing on myself. With things like: I don’t fit the image of what other people look like in this forum, I have very different ideas that I embrace and different ways of expressing my individuality. And in terms of the vanity of my physical appearance???
I thought about my overgrown eyebrows and even my little quarantine beard that had just started to bloom.😆
I began pondering about what people would think of me. Especially with my being so private, because I understand how so easily common everyday occurrences can serve as gossip fodder for many, and I began to hope that the woman that had asked me to speak would eventually see that I wasn’t the right fit for her platform and would end up changing her mind.
I also thought about all the things that block the momentum of any given moment and often those areas in our life that keep us from seizing hold of opportunities that are designed to grow ourselves and help the people around us.
We all hear statements like: “you can't worry about what people think”.
Or “It doesn’t matter what people think”.
But I’m not going to say that, because no matter how many times you hear that, the truth is - we think about it, AND we DO CARE about it.
As much advice as I’ve given to my talented friends and clients about not caring what people think, I was faced with my own moment.
We’ve been groomed to care what people think before we even begin to speak, and we’re also groomed to think of ourselves based upon how others view us.
All you have to do is look at the news, and you’ll figure out really quickly that what people think about you can have a major impact on your life.
So I will say this. When you’re in transition, in the middle of a struggle, at the beginning of it or when you’re coming out of it. Even when you’re at your most vulnerable.
Wherever you are in your journey….
What is MOST important is what YOU think about yourself.
It takes some training and reworking to do this, because we have to discard a lot of what society has trained us to think and feel.
But only you know yourself the best.
Only you know everything you’ve ever been through and what’s led you to where you are and who you are today.
Determine that how you feel about yourself and how you want to feel about yourself is most important, and that will just have to override everything else.
Turbulent times can have a way of squeezing the spirit right out of you.
Life comes for you no matter how many “good” decisions you make or how many safeguards you put in place.
You get bombarded by so many hits and cuts, and before you’ve had time to recover from one, you’re dealing with 10 more ALL at the SAME time.
I mean when do you find the time to heal?
I think as women, we just don’t know how vulnerable we are.
We carry the world on our shoulders and get praised for it, setting ourselves on fire to warm the people around us, and it’s a rare thing for someone to tell you to stop.
Because unfortunately, that’s what society expects and praises.
However, there comes a time when you are so spent, you are not in a place mentally, emotionally, spiritually or physically to take any steps. And to that, I say take some time to “lay down”.
Get alone with you.
Tune out all the voices, thoughts, and opinions around you.
Because sometimes - many times, we just simply need to rest.
Clear out all the mental, emotional, and spiritual noise and clutter, and tune in to your inner voice, your inner compass that was given to you since birth.
When you don’t take the time to figure out who you are (unfiltered) and what you want, everybody else’s agenda, goals, and plans will consistently absorb the space you should be occupying and take complete precedence over your life.
You’ll be busy spending time fulfilling their objectives and sacrificing yourself.
A Word on Friendships, Foes, and Fauxships (False Friendships)
In the past 20+ years, I’ve allowed people into my circle (male and female) that supported and created gossip, strife, manipulation, or at times, they saw me as an opportunity to use in some way. No judgment on them, I wish them all great success, and I take complete ownership of my choices, even when I gave away my power by allowing them to bend my will to theirs.
For those situations, I came to 3 realizations:
We have to redefine what winning means and what being strong means. You don’t have to prove who you are to anyone (especially in friendships), and if you find yourself doing that, then you have to take a good hard look at that relationship and ask yourself if it really is worth the energy that it takes to sustain.
One of the most substantial positions I’ve had to take for some situations was to forsake defending myself in certain scenarios, because in order to properly defend myself, I would have had to tear down someone else in the process. And I’m just not willing to do that. I’d rather focus my efforts elsewhere.
The third realization I came to is that the only people that have a problem with me are those that can no longer control me.
There are relationships in your present or past that when pressed against the wall, would try their best to bring as much innocence to themselves by making you look guilty, in order to preserve their reputation, even when you’ve always operated from a position to protect them and look out for them.
Choosing you involves making sure your space is protected and filled with the energy you need to thrive. Your creative energies are looking for a place to flourish, and you need your place of peace for that creativity to spark.
Foes are easy to recognize (you don’t even have to personally know your foes), and they tend to be easier to get rid of; they’re usually the ones that are so busy trying to find fault in anything and everything you do, that they can’t experience the gifts that can be a blessing to their life.
There are also times that you have to let go of long-term friendships or “fauxships” (a bit harder to do) to rest in your place of peace. Safeguard yourself from those that try to take advantage of you, especially when you’re at your most vulnerable. Quietly exit those relationships that don’t serve your spirit, even if that may sound selfish to you.
If asked who do you love? One would say, “I love my spouse”. If asked who do you love more? One may say their child or children. But rarely does anyone say that they love themselves more or the most. It sounds narcissistic. It’s viewed as gauche. Self-love is preached but not accepted. So it turns into choose yourself as long as it doesn’t make others feel bad.
But loving others is easier right? Sacrificing yourself for everyone else almost comes second nature. Girls born into this universe are never given the tools on how to love themselves. We have to make a change here. Pull yourself out of the loop that you've found yourself in for as long as you can remember, and love yourself enough to choose yourself. And with the love that you have for yourself, it will power you to make very different decisions. The type of decisions that support you and honor who you are and are created to be, by loving yourself - FIRST.
We believe in our parents. We believe in our siblings, our children and other relationships.
We believe in earthly systems and traditions.
We have more belief in all these things and so much more, more than we do in ourselves.
We even believe in strangers in the media more than we believe in ourselves.
What will it take, or what will it cost you to believe in yourself?
Sooner or later, tomorrow always shows up.
It doesn’t need reminding.
It doesn’t need to be picked up or dropped off.
It can’t be rushed.
And it can’t be slowed down.
But tomorrow always shows up!
As each year passes by, the requirements of the daily grind, the daily routine never ceases, then you look up one day and 10 years have gone by, 20 years have gone by and that dream that you’ve had, that idea that you’ve had where is it now?
So much time is spent on being the kind of person that someone else is proud of.
Living a measured life of meeting the expectations of parents lofty goals for their children. People get degrees that have nothing to do with their passion or interest, dedicated to jobs in which they are exceptional at performing, but hate. Spending years in a role that limits them from utilizing all of their gifts and their talents, stifling the dreams and the impact that they are supposed to fulfill in this life, and many more die without ever tapping into the full exploration and use of their abilities, or ever being their true selves.
Regardless of what anyone else in your life thinks, how their fears show up in your life, or any fears you may already carry, I believe that you can fulfill your destiny knowing that it is a continuous journey and that it all begins with just one step, one committed step after another.
We’re all searching for our own version of peace, freedom, and joy.
Believing in yourself is a never-ending marathon, striding towards the great work that you have been destined to fulfill, regardless of what transpires around you.
Even with mistakes and bad choices, you don’t EVER have to feel like a failure, feel ashamed, or feel like you just didn’t measure up in ANY area of your life.
Instead, I challenge you to reframe your perspective and realize the gift you’ve just been granted - the opportunity to redefine what it means to truly win. Life on this planet is in a constant state of rebirth. Remember that in choosing what’s valuable and meaningful to you (YOURSELF) - you are winning!
Choose you Unburdening yourself from the weight of the thoughts and opinions of others is not easy.
Sometimes you just have to make the fearless decision to choose YOU!
You have to be willing to walk out of an environment, a job, a relationship, a situation that EVERYONE else would die for so you can start living for yourself!
When I made the decision to leave Apple and the day came for me to communicate that plan, I was met with what would be considered compelling comments, wishes, and offers to stay, but they were all meaningless to me when compared to the value I decided to place on myself.
What I did not predict was the indescribable joy I experienced in finally choosing myself.
You are not half a person. We are whole people going into or coming out of experiences that test our resolve to choose ourselves.
In choosing you, it elevates EVERYONE around you, including those you care about the most. Even our children are watching and waiting for us to choose ourselves, if we don’t model that behavior, how will they know who they truly are as they mature into adults?
Even if you’re down and out, you’ve been stripped of all resources, your energy, your spirit, you’re just done. I want to encourage you to LOVE YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST, EVEN AS IT EXISTS RIGHT NOW. Yes, love your life to the fullest - all of it. Embrace it. Whether you feel you’re in the gutter of life, or high up on the mountaintop.
Take ownership of it all.
Appreciate and celebrate where you are today and remain excited and expectant about what the future holds for you by choosing you.
Love is waiting for you to love you.
Love is waiting for you to choose you.