This talk is food for the soul. It takes an hour and it’s worth it to play it in the background or stop what you’re doing and watch.
Oprah Winfrey on Career Life and Leadership by Stanford Graduate School of Business.
This talk is food for the soul. It takes an hour and it’s worth it to play it in the background or stop what you’re doing and watch.
Oprah Winfrey on Career Life and Leadership by Stanford Graduate School of Business.
I’ve never had a shortage of heart. Growing up in the Hood, Richmond, California to be exact, “Having heart” was essential to having peace. I remember walking into large crowds, say at a festival or a game, knowing someone there would laugh at me, talk about me, and threaten me if I looked soft. You could easily get into a fight if you stared at someone too long or bumped into someone too forcefully. We were sensitive, strong people. People who’d endured suffering and who were now competing for confidence during the war on drugs and the absence of Fathers. See being soft was most likely the result of having both parents, money, privilege as far as my hometown was concerned. Most people were fighting some war, be it in their minds, family or even community. I wasn’t. I was . . . at peace, a.k.a. soft. I didn’t have to struggle and claw like some people. I never saw a food stamp or even knew what Section 8 was until I was a teenager, which inspired jealousy, anger even violence from a few young people in Richmond. Simply because I was different and had an easier life.
In spite of this easier, two-parent, middle income household, my hair was rarely done well and my clothes were rarely trendy. I was a nerd and a theater geek. Let’s pair my “softness” + my lack of style + my nerdiness=I was an easy target. Between 8th grade and 10th grade I got into three fights and was jumped once on a bus. HOWEVER, I was no punk. I had heart. So when other nerds would fall back, I stood up. When someone else allowed a bully to insult them, I snapped back. In my family it was collectively understood that we never backed down from a fight. Whether it was a boy, girl, big person or a group of people, we stood our ground and if we lost a fight, we lost it with honor, and so goes my life.
It’s funny how the lessons we learn as children stick with us as we age. Today, I’m a fighter, courageous and “ready” all the time. When my parents divorced I felt I needed to step it up even further. I’ve gained a lot of knowhow and power from standing up for myself, in warranted and unwarranted situations. This gift and curse, bothers some, because they don’t see themselves that way and it awes others because they see the possibility that they can overcome. But as a gift and curse, it helps and hurts me.
I find great pride in telling my story. The story of how I made it through trials and troubles only God could get me through. I take great rest in my relationship with God; the fact that I can ask for help and help arrives, that I can root myself in the strength of a God of infinite power and withstand a storm. However this “gift” is the other side of the coin. When you stand against all battles, you must dig in to power and strength but what does it mean to fail? To be weak? Is it ALWAYS a fault?
I had to ask myself ‘What if God’s power is in surrendering to this opposition? What does it mean to yield or admit that you don’t want to fight, you’re afraid or you need help?’
Strength thickened my skin and digging into the wrong type of strength, hardened my heart. Could I have been better off folding and perhaps losing?
Recently my Mother was diagnosed with Dermatomyocitis, an auto immune disease that operates like Lupus and a collection of different autoimmune diseases, such as Fibromyalgia, RA, Connective Tissue Disease and Congestive Heart failure. I came home to help and found myself behaving as the anchor for a family of siblings and children suffering through our own life struggles and the challenge of trying to reclaim the life of my Mother. I made it my job to be strong, to be the embodiment of faith and endurance. While this helped my family feel stronger and gave them someone to lean on in their time of need, it damaged me in ways I am still discovering to this day. The choice to deny the sadness I was feeling, to exemplify sufficiency when I needed someone to lean on, to be there for others when I needed someone to be there for me, left me feeling cold inside and lonely. I didn’t share my pain or my fear. I held it in and protected my family from the fact that I was afraid too. While having heart, standing up to the predator which was losing my Mother looked good from the outside, it ate me alive.
My love life soured. Most potential lovers and friends found me too stand offish and disconnected. When someone would come to me needing an ear or a hug, I’d give them a pep talk and a pat on the ass, “Get back out there!”. When some would see me in my worst pain, my armor of “Everything’s okay” made them feel that they and their help weren’t needed or even wanted. And honestly, for fear of being vulnerable, I didn’t want them and I didn’t want their help.
See, vulnerability would’ve revealed my anger with my parents. It would’ve shown my disappointment in my daughter’s father. Vulnerability would’ve revealed that I was sad with my own life and uncomfortable better yet angry about being needed while I was still in need. Vulnerability would’ve pulled my armor off and left me open and made all my fountains of tears visible. It would’ve left my family to their own feelings and left them looking for another source of strength. That source should’ve been God, not God in me.
I grew up believing when times are hard, when opposition arrives, when faced with a “bully” of any kind, the only option is to “Have heart” and fight but the moment I allowed myself to admit my weakness and eventually give love to that weakness, things changed. The few moments of vulnerability that I allowed revealed beautiful friends who bought me cake and took me to the lake to cry. Family who let me vent and speak my anger without judgment. Many people who loved me who were just waiting on my permission to enter. What I didn’t realize is “losing”, admitting a battle may be too big for me, opened the door for help. It gave others a chance to love me and gave me a chance to be my true “whole hearted” self.
While growing up in Richmond taught me to be tough, it didn’t teach me the power of vulnerability. The strength in connection and the encouragement of empathy were lessons I had to learn on my own. Vulnerability opens the door to the heart and allows you to be seen as a whole, strong, tender and fallible person. It took me years to unlearn what it meant to “Have heart”. “Having heart” is not solely being brave enough to stand up to your enemies, it’s also being brave enough to scream out for help and being human enough to receive the love that comes to your rescue.
Some of us are born with the goods.
No matter how much money they have, degrees or no degrees, attractiveness or charm, some of us were born with the gift of self-love. And no matter how bad the world gets they can always separate themselves from what they see and hear. They can always say, I love me!
Then, some of us had to work on it, work hard, overcome and fight indefinitely. There are so many levels to self-love and so much secrecy behind the true self esteem you may never reach the end of the journey. My word today is to STOP!!
Stop pushing, pulling, attempting to love yourself. Stop staring in the mirror saying you love yourself, that you’re beautiful… etc. Simply refuse to hate yourself. I know, I know, affirmations work, well. The exercise of looking at yourself in the mirror and deciding to love what you see is very positive, but here’s an idea. I believe that self love is your nature. Loving yourself is not always an action but a state of being. Loving oneself is as natural to the human being as feeding yourself. The work that needs to be done is to stop the tendency to hurt yourself. That includes the following:
15 Signs You are Hating on Yourself
(a.k.a. 15 targets to defeat)
Do you mull over every mistake you make? Do you beat yourself up for not being a perfect ______. Do you watch your every move, word. Are you seeking perfection or some type of finale? Do you keep your expressions to yourself out of fear of criticism? Do you deny compliments and brush off praise? Stop! Everyone has an inner critic but if you aren’t careful, it can grow from a thought that kindly looks for space to improve, into a monster that keeps you up at night, or a hateful thought that picks you apart in the mirror. Often the standard you hold others to, is a reflection of how you treat yourself. Are you demanding of others? Do you lack forgiveness? Be kind to yourself and tell that inner critic to have several seats.
“Oh it was nothing.” When someone says “Thank you!”, you say, no big deal. One of my greatest challenges to this day is receiving applause after I sing a song. The audience could be full of tears and I know in my soul that I’ve given something beautiful but I nod and walk. No, stand there and take the applause. Receive the gratitude for giving your gift.
Do you constantly work out for fear of getting fat? Do you poke at every dimple, pinch every fold? Eat extra food trying to be – what we call in my hometown- “thick”? Your body is a blessing that is listening to every thought you have, every word you speak. Tell her you love her, tell her thank you for getting me up those stairs. Tell her thank you for nursing my children, being huggable, being beautiful because newsflash! women are naturally beautiful. Just as men are given more strength per square inch, you are given beauty. In Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia, inanimate objects are called he and she based on their beauty. If a chair is pretty, it’s called she. If it’s boxy and plain, it’s called he. Think on that…..
Are you addicted to self-help? Therapy? I am a recovering self-help addict. I have issues, we all do, but I can love what is good, pray for what is less than and say thank you for it all. Read the books, speak with your therapist, pray as often as you need but remember, you are human and you will always be a work in progress. Those tools will help but the perspective you have on your enoughness will change because you decide to be your best every day. That’s all that’s needed to grow and heal at a healthy rate. I’m not saying call your Therapist and cancel (I’m not) but I would suggest trusting what, “The Lord has made.”
Are you maxing out your credit cards on beauty products and fashion? Are you a “Product Junkie” ? Do you miss bills buying things that will make you more attractive? Girl stop. You’re kicking yourself in the you know what. You’re beautiful when you’re healthy and happy. The inner glow you’re looking to create with those external items will never show. Until you look inside, you will continue to miss that glow. Doing what makes you truly happy is what makes you beautiful and unless you’re a make up artist at heart, all the money used to cover your inadequacies should be used to reveal your spirit.
You are going to be ok. Don’t be afraid. You can spend a couple dollars on yourself. You should absolutely not be last on your list. Try a dance class, massage, pedicure, hair do… you have to do something for yourself! Whether you buy the supplies and do it yourself because you have a tight budget or whether you go all out and have a nice, “I Love Me” weekend ever so often, you must do for you. Fill your tank so you can carry yourself, maybe even a couple others from time to time.
You’re always late and ill prepared. You procrastinate and “forget”. You act on suspicion and create problems out of nothing. You think no one gets you or no one likes you when a relationship doesn’t go as you will it. You deserve to succeed. What separates you from someone who does? You. Prepare early, meet your own expectations first. Keep yourself in the light of worthiness. All the time. Even when you’re low and blue. You are always worthy.
Are you refusing to acknowledge that its time to leave this place, this way of thinking, behind. You know you’re in a culture of deprivation when everyone around you is a victim. When everyone is proud of pain and sorrow. Have you ever heard someone brag about pain? This is especially true for African Americans who descend from enslaved Africans. Our identities as victims of heinous crime is only PART of who we WERE. Some of us bought their own freedom or escaped. Some moved on to become professionals or landowners. Many of us took our lives into our own hands and fought for dear life and won (Google: Haitian Revolution). Why are you any different? The pain and psychological damage of our past is not who we are. We are victorious survivors. We are a people who survived and in some ways thrived in a state of institutionalized insanity. Leave that culture of sorrow and strife behind.
Seeing her makes your blood boil. She’s got this, that, something else that you dreamed of. Stop it now and go get it. Stop being envious, look at those feelings as a sign of your hunger for something and acknowledge the fact that YOU are responsible for manifesting your SELF. Your hating is not about family who have more _____than you, your cousin who has more ____ than you or your Uncle is is more _____ than you. It’s about your hunger and your passion to be in a better, more desireable place. Go for it. Your kids will sacrifice but they will admire your drive. Your family will have to miss you at a few dinners but they will respect your accountability. You want more money? Create another job. You want more beauty? Create more health. Stop hating and start participating in your own creation, your own rise to success.
Helping others should rarely involve hurting yourself. We all make sacrifices for people we love but when you are depleting your own resources, when you don’t even think before giving your last, you’ve lost something, your sense of separation. We love the proverb Ubuntu, “I am because we are” but when “we” stop “I” from being able to survive, “I” needs to take a step back. There is no “We” if “I” is dissolved into oblivion, there’s only “you guys” or “them”. Yes, help your family, give to your community, contribute to the larger body but remember, YOU are the body as well! YOU are a part of the community. YOU are a part of the family. YOU have to be healthy to help someone else. A wise woman told me when you enable people they will resent you. Why? Because you did not empower them. You saved them but left them in the same condition that brought them to that place in the first place. They will be back for more help and if they can’t reciprocate the favor in some way or another, they will grow angry with you because they haven’t changed and now they owe you something they haven’t learned how to produce. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first.
11. Refusing to Stand up for Yourself
Do you let people tell you who you are? Do you allow them to talk over you or tell you what to do? Do you allow a “group” to define you, determine your movement and value? STOP! You are not a mean person if you say, no. You are not going to lose love from anyone who truly loves you. You are not going to be annihilated if you have to spend time alone. If you’ve surrounded yourself with people who “push you around”, you have to go through the process of reestablishing yourself. This may be with a new group, or you just might be surrounded by people who love you and not the dynamic of your relationship. They just might be waiting for you to speak up. Be brave and be strong.
Newsflash: You don’t need permission! No one has to tell you you’re awesome. Van Gogh died poor. Edgar Allen Poe died in a mental institution. Their greatness was never validated by people on the outside. Even without validation, someone will love you! It’s the nature of human existence. You, as you, authentic and self loving, will be loved by others. It’s natural law. Love yourself. You were permitted to “be” when you arrived on the planet. They say , if someone invites you to a meeting, it’s permission to speak and contribute. You’ve been invited to life on the planet. Permission Granted.
We all love being loved but what happens when having a lover, or being with a certain type of person, validates you? What does it mean when it gives you your sense of belonging or worthiness. What happens is you give this human being- flawed and perfect- power over your worth. They become the market and their demand for you determines your value. You fear being alone because when you’re alone, you’re nothing. You fear being with someone who is less than ______ because then you are less than. What a burden for a lover to be responsible for how you feel about yourself. Free them and free yourself. Accept yourself!
This is a sticky one. This is sticky because I thank God for everything but God gave me, me. My abilities, my gifts and I use them. While thanking God, acknowledge the part that you play in the plan. When God blesses you with an opportunity, you still have to show up. That’s you. That’s what makes God proud of you! You are worthy of praise. Perhaps not grand praise as The Creator, but you are something more than an empty vessel. You are the vessel!
After receiving a good grade on an assignment, my daughter at times asks me, “Mom, are you proud of my work? Are you proud of me?” I want to say “YES! I’m so proud of you, honey! Mommy is so so so proud of you”, instead I ask her, “How do you feel? Are you proud of your work? Are you proud of yourself?” She always says yes… of course I then pour on all the reasons why I agree with her, validating her pride in herself. We all seek approval from our peers, family and friends but first, value and treasure your own approval. I’d even go so far as to say, work for it. If you don’t approve of your attire, change it. If you don’t approve of your command of the English language, study harder. If you feel you aren’t attractive, take care of yourself and get healthier.
We blame ourselves for the world we were given, for statements others made that had nothing to do with us, for a culture we were born into that told us, you are supposed to look like, be like, think like, act like, etc. We learn self-hate just as we learn language. Depending on your family, you grew up with varying levels of love and acceptance. Well today, you are yours and you can decide what you allow in your heart from here forward. I challenge you to refuse the self-hate.
List 5 things your inner-critic says to you and 5 snap-backs to destroy her logic.
This Ted Talk awakened something in me. I hope it does the same for you.
I was born, “in pursuit”. It takes my Dad to tell you how I didn’t crawl or how I cried at 2 years old because I couldn’t speak like an adult. Frustration or a sense of being behind, is part of my gift and curse. No matter what I was doing, I was never where I wanted to be. If you’re even a little like me, there’s this wall between who you are every day and who you want to be. There’s this thought that attaining our “carrots” (a degree, an ideal size, a relationship status or a financial status) is the only way to validate our belief in who we truly are inside.
Fortunately, I read some good books and met some good people who helped me to see, yes, ambition and drive may be my nature, but those personality traits should not control my identity. Becoming the woman I want to be is rooted in who I am, right now, as I am. The thing is, the inner self creates its external self. I had to learn that although I don’t have the ______(insert carrot here) I want, my dream is me, in utero. Every day, I am birthing myself into the external world.
The possessions, the outside gratification of it all, is always last to arrive. You are a lover, long before you meet your mate. You are a great business person far before you reach your first million. Your ability to sing and create new ideas comes forth far before you release an album or write a book. You have to be it to do it.
Our culture puts a tremendous amount to focus on external wealth rather than internal health. The pressure to have often eclipses our passion for being. We focus on attaining or looking like a million bucks before we focus on feeling like a million bucks. This “lead with the tail” mentality has caused so much illness and confusion. The key now, is to turn that philosophy around. Be what you dream, today. In our collective past, the goals were the carrot dangled before us, the work it took to get that carrot is what made many who they became. Let’s turn it around. Let’s fully believe in and act as who we dream to be, the carrots will come.
My challenge to you (and me) is to let your goals follow your greatness. Writers, write. Dancers, dance. Nurturers, nurture, Business Women conduct business. Let the accolades follow the performance.
Whatever you’re doing at work, at home… whatever you’re wearing or whatever is wearing you, is part of your process. The journey of you should not be lured across time by trophies, notoriety, goals and external wealth. The woman who is on the journey should live a healthy, whole, assured life, no matter how many tiny statues she wins.
Choosing to believe that the woman of your dreams is you, now, is up to you, but I promise if you’re here, reading this, so is she.
I’m a believer in homework so here you go: (I’ll show you mine if you show me yours)
Do your “carrots” follow you or do you follow your carrots?
Let’s pretend you never attain your “carrots”. Who are you without them?
Can you love yourself if you never attain them?
What is your greatest vision of yourself? How close are you to being the woman of your vision?
What can you do today to release more of her?
Are you living a “carrot” free life and loving it? If so, comment below and tell us how you’re doing you, right now!
Stop what you’re doing right now and love yourself for all that you are, today!
A Welcome Letter from Me!
Welcome to BWBHBF. Women of purpose, women of valor, women of love, women of substance, welcome home. We’re changing the game, bursting through glass ceilings, defying old archetypes, raising futuristic children, crafting a new world that allows our daughters to thrive and our sons to live longer, fuller lives. This site was born out of the understanding that driven women face more challenges during the day than most. BWBHBF is here to offer new power, new focus, and fresh energy every day! We give you inspiration that matches the challenges women like us have in life. We offer concentrated inspiration to help love you where you’re weak, protect you from the day’s offenses and fortify you where you’re strong. Our vision is to make the world a better place by freeing the spirit and genius of women and girls.
Look for affirmations, articles, motivational videos, workshops, communion, constant conversation and the chance to dialogue with men who love women like you -some may even be available ;-).
- by Reginald Martin
As human beings we are social creatures. We find joy in sharing our life with others. When we experience an event that is joyful in our lives the feelings multiply exponentially when we get to share it with others that are genuinely joyful for us as well.
One of the reasons we seek a mate is to develop a bond that we may share experiences with. Experiences like having and raising children, going to a movie that makes you cry, having that sexual union that curls your toes and touches your soul. There is no doubt that all these experience are better when you are in concert with someone that shares and values those same experiences.
But why is this type of love so difficult to find? Maybe you feel that you have loved and been burned so many times you just don’t want to try again. Let me tell you that the difficulty can be alleviated and love is there for the taking. However, it will take some work and a change in perspective that will have love overflowing in your life.
There are many new age ideas floating around society today. Some I agree with and many I don’t. One that I believe to the core is that everything in our lives is a process of attracting it. I know many people don’t believe this idea, but realize that it has been around for thousands of years! On a deeper level all everything is in the universe is vibrating energy. Again, this idea is thousands of years old and confirmed by science today.
Vibration and emotion are the same thing
Your vibration is the key to attracting the type of love you want in your life. All that you are attracting and have attracted or not is due to your vibration. Your vibration is your state of being. It is the way you think and the way you feel at any moment in time. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about love? Not just when you think about it, but what is your core belief? Even your subconscious beliefs (the way you think infused with emotion and imagination) affect your vibration. Your subconscious beliefs have more power than you conscious beliefs because they are programs running at all times, even when you aren’t “thinking” about them.
If your core belief is all the good ones are taken then your belief and vibration will attract the circumstances and people to reflect the belief back to you in your daily life. What you see in your life is a reflection of all that you are. It is a pattern of thinking that you must change if you want true and lasting love.
How do I change this pattern
First you must recognize your most prevalent thoughts around your ideas about love. It is impossible to track all of your thoughts. Don’t even try it. But you can recognize how you are feeling at any given moment about life in general. Paying attention to your emotions (your vibration) is key.
Second if what you are feeling blah, down or just so so then CHOOSE to feel uplifted. Yes, you have the power to change your state of mind which will change how you are feeling, which changes your vibration, which will change what you are attracting. It is a process. But a process that you have power and control over.
Third and most important is to love you. Choose to express that love for you in all aspects of your life. Do something nice for yourself just because. Recognize that you are worthy of love because you are here! No one’s opinion outside of you matters! This can be tough sometimes because of all the programing we have had when growing up. But all of this has to start with you. If you can’t love you, how will someone else?
I stated this earlier that all that is outside of you is a reflection of your state of being. You have attracted it based on your predominant thoughts and beliefs about yourself and about life. To believe that you can find love when you don’t truly love and appreciate yourself is analogous to looking in a mirror and expecting the reflection to smile first. True love has always been and will always be an inside job. You have to invite love in by being love. It starts with loving you.
Reginald Martin is a spiritual life mentor and workshop leader to thought leaders, visionaries and creative individuals. His website is www.beyondthephysicalme.com
Be and Do! Shonda Rhimes gives one of the most honest speeches at Dartmouth. This commencement address ties perfectly with our theme this week of being who you are and doing what you dream, now.
(25 minutes of awesomeness)