A to Z Challenge: Authenticity: Empowerment, My Personal Journey

The authentic self is the soul made visible. -Sarah Ban Breathnach

AUTHENTICITY. I took a journey to excavate my authentic self and it turned out to be the most POWERFUL tool in empowering myself. Who am I before religion, before all of the trauma and drama, before I was shaped and molded into the woman I had become to know, loathe, and then love? I had learned to love myself as I was, which was powerful, but when I remembered, dug deeper into who I was before all of this, before I admitted how I TRULY FELT ABOUT EVERYTHING I WAS TAUGHT in home, in school, in life, in church…that real honesty that can make you feel guilty because you know, they say it’s wrong…or it’s not lady like or it’s not part of our culture or God is going to strike you down. God’s going to write it down and he is reading your thoughts and recording them. Whew, child! I had to now accept my TRUE SOUL and love her all the more. I had to do away with some of my outdated thinking and programmed thinking. I had to move beyond the Black/African American-AMERICAN culture. I had to remember the free little girl in her free moments laying in the backyard looking towards the sky. The little girl sitting on the step of the front porch daydreaming. The little girl before being horrifically teased about being black with naturally red hair. Before prejudice and racism. Before, abuse and before the beat down of self esteem and the rip off of a budding fashion designer. I am more than a preacher’s daughter. I am more than a Christian, if I am that in fact. (Still discovering).

My authentic self is like this megaphone echoing throughout the universe. “Here I am! Here is the real me! Love it, like it, leave it, NAMASTE.” If you are mean, miserable, biased, rude, insensitive, lying to yourself about what you really think and feel, carrying the torch for known evil, etc.. I highly recommend EXCAVATING YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF. If you hate anyone in this world, if you love division, if you can’t see people for people, then you’re probably not as REAL as you claim to be. If you are about ZEN life, Yoga/Yogi, spirituality, but when a person of color walks in you ignore them and their knowledge or experience you probably need some excavating. But I must warn you that becoming your authentic self can be daunting and painful work. It may cause you to lose friends and family and to leave you lonely at times. It may make you feel funny and it may make others living a carbon copy life question your sanity. With that being said, GO FOR IT.

~Nikki

 

Truthful Tuesdays

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Whatever you do, let love be your motivation. In a situation like this, where people have made you want to “get back at them” or retaliate, CHOOSE to move away with love and SHOW YOURSELF how much you LOVE yourself by doing what you came here to do or by letting them go. You don’t have to show anyone anything except yourself. You don’t have to show the Creator what the Creator already knows you can do. Don’t let humiliation be your fire extinguisher. Let love and strength be your fire.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Don’t Crowd Fund Your Self Esteem

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Cup of coffee and clementines. Photo by Natalia van Doninck on Getty Images

It’s not possible you would know everyone who walks along a crowded street or those standing with you at a concert.Crowd funding consists of strangers and a few people you know contributing to your cause or project. It’s not likely those people know you from the eyes of a good friend or the perspective of a wonderful family member. So, in this life why do we seem to crowd fund our self esteem? I know I am guilty of this from time to time but, oh I remember the days where I relied heavily on the opinions of others and even sought after validation. Thank God! Thank God because I did the hard work and made it through the mistakes to get to this point to talk to you, unashamed, about crowd funding your self esteem.

What people don’t understand about those who struggle with self esteem issues is it didn’t start yesterday. They also don’t understand the complex journey it takes to go back in your life and discover where the seeds were planted and the hard work it takes to cut the roots of low self esteem. Crowd funding your self esteem is when you rely on the contributions of others opinions to fund how you feel about yourself. You should cancel this fund raiser (thought) each time it pops in your mind. I could go through a bunch of steps on how to do this but there is this one saying that sums it up and you could tape it to your forehead or mirror. Which ever is more fashionable for you!

The quote is: Comparison is the thief of joy-Theodore Roosevelt

Why are you sad now? Why are you feeling defeated now? Why are you feeling bad about yourself now? You just compared your progress, success, where you are, to someone else’s progress, success, how farther they are in life than you are and now your joy has been stolen by comparison. Stop that. Learn to admire others and set your OWN goals. If June buys a million dollar home don’t try to buy a million dollar home simply to measure your success by June’s. Look at your bank account, do the math, and buy what you can afford. If Courtney just ran her first marathon and you just made it running a mile, how UNFAIR is that to compare yourself? Your diligence and her diligence is simply diligence. I tell you “a truth” as Jesus said in the Bible when he was about to introduce a new concept: If you learn to CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORIES AS WELL AS OTHERS you wouldn’t need to crowd fund your self esteem.

Don’t compare yourself with others. Instead, celebrate yourself and others.

~Nikki

Kanye-ing Anxiety

 

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There are  times in life when we will face some really difficult situations which can cause us to “worry” or to become “concerned” about the outcome. Anxiety is a perpetual worry and concern. It can come like a flood seemingly out of nowhere or it can come immediately when something foreseen or not begins to manifest right before our eyes. And many times  it may never manifest or at least not to the full degree we allow ourselves to imagine. It is when our active imagination takes us out in the deep where we lose sight of the shore of hope and faith. We are no longer anchored to the shore. We are floating out on a sea of shaky thoughts. We become “see” sick by the things we imagine will happen.

I ran across this quote and I had this thought: “Oh, it’s like Kanye-ing thoughts which create anxiety.” Imagine anxiety with a mic and you run up on stage and say “Look, I’m not going to give the mic back. However, I would like to thank the Creator for all that I have. I am grateful for life. I am thankful for the breath I breathe. I am thankful for the clothes and shoes I have. I am happy I can see, walk, talk and taste the food I have. I am so very grateful for the lessons I am learning….”  You know blah blah blah good stuff until Anxiety walks off the stage and has a seat.

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In many cases it’s rude to interrupt but, it’s perfectly fine to interrupt negative thoughts and “what ifs” that create and build up negative emotions that send you into anxiety rap battles also know as anxiety attacks. I remember reading a book by Inyanla Vanzant that stated “If you are going to play the “what if” game, play the other side.” In other words, what about “what if” it doesn’t happen? Instead, use your imagination to create solutions and calm. Also, if you play the what if game, then ask yourself what can I do if that does happen. I know it’s not easy. I know from experience. However, it’s worth cutting off negative thoughts or anxiety and filling your mind with gratitude instead.

~Nikki

Rise Up Again

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You have the courage and the strength to rise up again. Again means you have done it before and  if you have done it before you can do it again. I know. it’s never been this devastating. I know, it’s never been this dark. I know it’s never been this hard. Still, you have it in you to rise once more and again if you have to. And when you rise, pray.

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And when you rise up, TAKE courage. Sometimes you have to TAKE courage and do what needs to be done.

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Rise up.

~Nikki

 

 

Rising Fear, Rising Faith

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I live in a city where senseless and violent crimes take place daily. I live in a city where educational programs are often squandered and where politics lean towards the influence of the wealthy. This produces fear, anger, and flight. This produces arguments and lethargy.

Now factor in raising children, health problems, unemployment, starving artists, underpaid teachers and overpaid leaders, aging parents, debts, low paying jobs, past catching up, uncertainty about the future, marriage, divorce, single life and dating, finances, careers, family matters… You’ve got a whirlwind of fear dancing about your mind, body, and spirit. Torture. Did I say whirlwind? I meant a category 5 tornado.

Where do you stand? (Stand Nikki? I’m laying down and taking a nap. I’m drinking. I’m chain smoking. I’m overeating. I’m not eating. I’m confrontational. I’m not doing anything. I’m not sleeping.) Let me rephrase, “How do you stand?” I heard an intelligent being say, by the name of Nicole Jackson, “Rising fear is met with a rising active faith.” I love to be the bearer of good news. So, in other words “You have to meet fear with action! A faith that DOES SOMETHING. FAITH IS AN ACTION WORD.”

All of the knowledge/wisdom you’ve absorbed from the Creator, Shamans, Priests, Gurus, Ancestors, Life, etc. It’s time to use it. Prayer and meditation is a two way conversation between you and the universe (known to many buy God, Creator, Divine, etc.) Let prayer and meditation pour into you instructions you need “for such a time as this.” Perhaps this is new to you. You maybe a young adult. Listen, wisdom is all around you. It’s in your parents, grandparents, mentor, your beliefs, a book, mistakes, this blog. It’ll come to you Young Jedi.

Have no fear. Instead, activate your rising faith.

~Nikki