Being self aware in today’s world is a necessary tool to success. We are our own worst critics and yet even though we beat ourselves up over the littlest things, we don’t always want to be honest with ourselves about what we need to work on. For example, if we say we don’t judge others and then start pointing the finger at what others are doing, then isn’t that judging them? Sometimes we get a real big smack of reality to make us evaluate ourselves. Even then we don’t always adjust what needs to be fixed. I can’t tell you how many times I knew what needed to be fixed in my life and didn’t do it because I honestly didn’t want to rock the boat with my friends and my family. I let fear make decisions for me that I’m paying the price for today.
For a very long time, I kept repeating patterns in what I’d say, my actions, and telling myself that things would get better. The problem was that I never changed what I was doing until I had finally recognized that I was the one who had to change things. No one else was going to do it for me. I don’t like feeling helpless and yet the actions I was relaying to the world was one of the inability to delegate, to show that I could lead and the realization that when I could finally admit that when I needed to work on me, things would change.
I have always tended to migrate to folks who weren’t overachievers. I thought that if I fit into their world,then I wouldn’t have to stand on my own two feet to stand out. The problem with that mentality is that we all have to stand on our own. Most of it stems from things that happened when we were younger. The emotional scars can manifest itself in ways that we don’t recognize right off the bat. I began experiencing a string of failed relationships. Some were longer than others but I always tried to conform to what I thought was expected of me. Finally some events happened in my life that made me realize that I was the problem. I was using everything and everyone else as an excuse as to why I was not excelling. Being honest with ourselves can be a painful reminder of the past. There may be incidents that occurred that we blocked out but still affect everything we do.
One thing I have had to work on is my mouth. I would talk a lot. Now I’m becoming more withdrawn. Only a very select few are talking to me and that’s my choice. I’m finding the less I talk and the more I listen, I’m learning more. Plus, I’m also finding that I don’t have to tell everything I know in order for others to find me interesting. Also, I’m getting myself involved with various activities and volunteer groups. It’s in doing these endeavors that I’m finding I’m happiest. As a society, most of us don’t understand the journey that those we don’t know walk every day. I never really understood what white privilege was until the last few years. The more educated I get, the more I begin to comprehend that no one should be judged by the color of their skin and yet in a society that’s supposed to be free, black men and women deal with more hatred and lack of opportunities than many of us can begin to understand. Yes all lives do matter. But for the black community, they are constant targets of cruelty and unnecessary deaths. That’s part of why the #BlackLivesMatter movement is so critical. Even though I have done a lot of work within black communities, I have the ability to go into better neighborhoods without too much fear of being accused of something. Many blacks don’t have that luxury. We don’t get to choose what color we are born with. We choose how to treat each other. I will never understand everything that blacks still have to contend with. It wasn’t until I took a course at Guilford College that I began to understand that if a person had one drop of black blood that they were a target. I’ve never understand why one race had to think they were superior than others. Our society has made us all more self aware of our actions than ever before. I hate the divisions that are making this country less than what it could be. We are all a product of the human race. Life may not be fair but we have to find ways to lift one another up and stop attacking each other. The same black man or woman that you are trying to destroy may one day be the person who saves your life. Blood donations don’t show the color of the skin that was donated. Love doesn’t have a color. Be self aware of what you do for others. What we say and do matters.
Then there are people in my life that I felt that if I didn’t live up to their expectations, that I would prove the point that I wasn’t good enough to be included in the better things in life. I guess you could say that I felt that I didn’t deserve good things because I was afraid of succeeding. Stupid huh? I honestly don’t know why my self esteem had taken the beating that it had but I knew that it was almost as if demons were attacking my confidence and wouldn’t allow me to defeat them. It started to feel as if I was constantly being drug into a ring of doubt and wasn’t allowed to step out of that ring. Thank you to the people in my life who gave me my confidence back. I know now that I’m the only one who holds me back. I’m in charge of my moods. If I allow the negative energy to take over, then I will sink into a depression. Depression has no place in my life now. I will not allow myself to go back down the rabbit hole of self loathing. All that does is create more doubts and fear is not something that can be beaten when the depression kicks in. At some point, you have to be aware that the depression is a problem and take action to get it under control. Otherwise it will control you.
So for my friends who are self aware of what they need to work on, you aren’t alone. There’s several things you can do to help with self awareness. Meditation, feedback from friends, writing things down and just listening to self help and self awareness programs can all be beneficial. For the record, when things settle down, I’m going to attack my fear by speaking to people that I truly care for but have been afraid to approach. I don’t have all the answers. I’m searching like many of you. But I do know that as long as we are all willing to accept each other for who we are, that we have the potential to learn and grow in ways we never could imagine.