Cross-Posted by Faith of Acts of Faith In Love & Life blog
There's a list of 51 Lessons in this article by Regina Brett and here are some of the gems with my thoughts on them:
1. Life Isn't Fair, But It's Still Good
Our lives have unique challenges aside from individual upbringing and personal development. Modern black women also have to content with a landscape that is more openly hostile to our fulfillment as individuals and as a group compared to other women. We are collectively on our own if we are relying on getting support from depleted sources (i.e the "black community"). What's good about this is that we are free to seek resources elsewhere and should do so with haste. We have a purse of more than $750B to spend wherever and however we like. It's time to stop wasting our thoughts, time, energy and resources in any way that doesn't benefit us.
2. When In Doubt, Just Take The Next Small Step
Put one foot in front of the other literally and figuratively speaking. Some concepts regarding our free agency may be difficult to grasp even after we think we've accepted them. It's called getting stuck. You know you can't go back but you're afraid to make a misstep in going forward. So you stand still. Wrong! You must keep moving. Think of it as being on a conveyer belt. You can't block the propelling motion but you can trip over yourself up trying to stop it. Resist the urge to go back. Wherever you go next it's still so much better than where you've been. Just keep moving.
3. Make Peace With Your Past So It Won't Mess Up Your Future
I modified this from the author's quote of it messing with one's present. We are in the present right NOW. Or at least we should be. I find myself drifting off into reevaluating my life that I look back at all the mistakes I've made as well as how other people have messed me up with their foibles. For some of us it may be even more damaging. We can't wave a magic wand over it and make it go away. I find doing affirmations and some of these "new age" techniques make me angry because it diminishes my experiences. It doesn't make it all better. What I have found is that I can think about what I'd like my life to look like for the immediate future. I have created a "Day In My Life" scenario where I think about the life-affirming things I can do for myself. I think about specific activities, what type of relationships I want, how those interactions take shape and what choices will get me there. I am reworking an entire life Vision Board (goal setting) for myself.
4. Don't Compare Your Life To Others
This stops the what ifs, the if onlys and the could would shoulda urge to kick ourselves.
5. Life Is Too Short For Pity Parties
As we realize certain models no longer have value it's easy to be tempted to look back and wallow. We have to acknowledge our experiences but keep going forward.
6. No One Is Responsible For Your Happiness But YOU
If we stop looking to external circumstances, relying on others to "act right" or resorting to magical thinking we will realize no career, person, x amount of money or anything temporary will truly satisfy us. Peace of mind is the goal. Which means we have to take care of ourselves first and foremost.
7. Get Rid Of Anything That Isn't Useful, Beautiful Or Joyful
That includes deadbeats, negative thought patterns, holding onto the past, having doubts, seeking approval, being accepted by certain people, shifting physicality whatever will be an obstacle to our living our best lives.
8. Read the Psalms - They Cover Every Human Emotion
I think having a solid spiritual practice is a necessity. Many of us will have to replace the time we've spent supporting "religiosity" that was so dependent on following a list of rules and not studying/questioning anything with something more meaningful that we take responsibility for. That's up to us as individuals to determine what works best for us. Exploring this as well as other tenets is a good place to start.
9. If You Don't Ask, You Don't Get
We're not an island. We need help from time to time. We have to build relationships and alliances. We also have to try new things and be bold. Instead of thinking about the obstacles we have to find solutions. That can be more challenging than what is comfortable. So the variation of this theme is: if we don't go for it, we'll never get it. We have to try in order to "fail". Those failures will often lead us to a victory or breakthrough of some sort because we put ourselves out there to begin with. As opposed to hiding under the covers and letting life pass us by.
10. The Best Is Yet To Come
This is my kind of affirmation. Whatever has happened is done. We don't have to repeat it. Today is a new day. We wipe the slate clean. If we're still alive this is our "do-over". This is why we put one foot in front of the other. This is why we look and move forward!