Goodbye insecurity (“5 Things Secure People Just Don’t Do”).

So I was on YouTube (instead of attending to my to-do list for today). Typical.

Thankfully though, something good came out of this procrastination. I came across this video called “5 Things Secure People Just Don’t Do” by registered clinical counsellor, Julia Kristina.

As someone who is in the process of becoming a more confident and secure person, I found this video to be really uplifting and insightful.

The points covered can be summarised as follows:

  1. Secure people don’t feel the need to control everything.

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Secure people don’t have a need for over-control (an expression of insecurity). They don’t need to know who’s going to be there, what something’s going to be like, what the energy will be like. They trust that they will be able to adapt to the situation (whatever it is) and figure things out. Secure people are also able to set boundaries, say no and remove themselves from situations that do not sit well with them. They are not passive.

This resonated with me as I noticed my insecurity can show up in being overly concerned with how “things will be”. I also have the tendency to be passive and so I found Kristina’s observation that passivity, whilst it can seem like someone is being nice and accommodating, can actually be the result of fear. The fear of upsetting someone, the fear of somebody disagreeing with you etc.

2. Secure people don’t talk about themselves all the time.

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Here, Kristina describes how secure people do not feel the need to prove themselves to others and how they have a deep sense of security, worth, love and belonging. She also notes that they don’t feel the need to shrink into themselves and never be proud of their achievements/accomplishments.

In other words, as Kristina says in the video, the mentality of a secure person when it comes to celebrating themselves is:

“It’s not that I am so great, it’s that I am grateful.”

I love that!

3) Secure people don’t look at and point out other people’s flaws.

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Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhvE18VljiW/?taken-by=juliacounsellor

Here, Kristina discusses how secure people don’t feel the need to nit-pick at others or put people down for being different to them.

She talks about how, a lot of the time, we are judging others to protect ourselves. We don’t want to see what our own issues/ areas for healing are and so we project onto others.

On the Instagram caption for the above quote, Julia talks about how being more compassionate towards ourselves can help us be kinder towards others.

I need to work on this.

4. People who are secure don’t over-apologise.

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Secure people find a balance between knowing when to take responsibility for their actions and not doing too much i.e. “I’m no good”, “I’m such a terrible person etc”.

Kritstina aptly states:

Take responsibility for the part that is yours, nothing more, nothing less.

5. Secure people know that they are not perfect and accept themselves as imperfect.

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“Secure people accept themselves as perfect without resigning themselves to being stuck in whatever their struggles are”.

I loved this point because it accepts the reality of being a human (imperfection) without falling into the trap of self-pity, i.e. since I can never be perfect, I might as well stay here and struggle forever.

I have struggles I’m working through. You do too.

But we can still acknowledge our imperfect state whilst striving to do and be better.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Kristina’s point about embracing our imperfection reminded me of something I wrote in a previous blog post: On Soulmates (“To the single people out there” Part 2):

Maybe really knowing ourselves can help us love ourselves more and then extend this love outwards. A love that acknowledges in the same way we all have our “issues”, others do too. In the same way I’m not perfect, nobody else is and so on and so forth.

All in all, this video has encouraged me as I continue the journey of parting from my insecure ways. I hope it does the same for you.

Thank you for reading. You can check out the full video here:

If you’re also working on overcoming insecurity, low self-esteem etc, let’s talk about it in the comments below! Also, feel free to add more things secure people just don’t do.

See you in my next blog post. ✌️

The rudest thing someone’s said about my natural hair.

So I was talking to my friend Marshea (that’s her glowing in the header) the other day and she said something like “I know how you feel now”.

For a minute I was lost until she elaborated and said that she was at a party and she had gotten onto the topic of hair with a guy she knows. He brought up the fact that her hair was “different” (she’d had it in twists a few months back) and is currently rocking a puff/updo with her natural hair. So she explained how she liked the twists but likes her natural hair as it is right now because it’s more freeing. Long story short, he disagreed, seemingly disheartened by the fact that the twists (which he mistook for locs) were “so long” and now her hair is “super short”.

And so she’s fired up, ready to defend her natural hair, talking about how soft it is etc and so she says “feel it” (on her behalf, I ask you do not judge this act) and long story short, the guy was basically like “umm, well it feels like you’ve grown out a full bush of pubes”.

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And then it all came flooding back to me.

My very own “pube story”.

Basically, in secondary school, some guy, in R.E I think, had likened my natural hair to “pubes”. My hair was in a puff and I believe I too had allowed him to touch my hair.

Where was Rickey Thompson’s outro on “Cantu” when I needed it??

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I know other black people will have “hair-stories” of their own- e.g. Youtuber “OnlyOneJess” being told she looks like a clown and actress/singer Haley Law being told she looked like she’d been electrocuted the first time she wore her natural hair.

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It helps to be able to laugh off stupid comments like these. People are dumb and ignorant (and rude).

I just wanted to use this blog post as a reminder to myself and to you to love your natural hair (yeah you’ve probably heard that a million times) but still!

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Whether you’ve got a weave in right now (wait, my bad, a wig, it’s 2018), braids, a twist-out, whatever, the next time it’s just you, the mirror and your natural hair- not styled, no product, just chilling- I hope you can embrace what you see. (And if you can’t right now, don’t worry, it’s a journey).

Anyway, don’t forget to keep that hair moisturised on a daily basis (I should really take my own advice) and please feel free to share any similar experiences you’ve had in the comments below.

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Source: https://gph.is/1he7IP1

Until next time. ✌️

Phases, A New Month and Finding your flow

We’re in October!! The year’s going to be over before we know it. It feels like just yesterday when I wrote my “Four Months to go” blog post (encouraging all of us to make the most of the remaining months):

And for some of us, come September, it’ll be time to resume our studies. (Still not entirely sure how I feel about this).

So, university has indeed started and with that start seems to have come what I’ll call a “down phase”.

Today’s blog post is basically a reminder to myself and to anyone else who’s feeling anxious, lethargic or weighed down that it’s normal to go through “stuff”-whatever “stuff” entails for you.

You’re not always going to feel positive, social and on top of the world and I think that’s just a part of life. There are ups and downs.

Validate your feelings by acknowledging them, not ignoring them. As much as you may be able to put up a front to others, at least be transparent with yourself.

I believe that you’ll end up finding your flow again- which basically means being back on the ball, back on track, more energetic, feeling good again etc.

When this “flow” will return is uncertain but the main thing to remember during this time is that you can be responsible for the mindset you adopt.

Yes, validate your negative thoughts and emotions by acknowledging “yes, in this moment I feel x,y or z” but don’t stay there.

What are the thoughts you can add onto a “I feel so down right now” to keep you in a positive state of mind?

What are the habits you can adopt to boost your mood?

What self-care rituals do you need to practice more frequently?

Be kind enough to yourself to realise that’s it’s okay to feel down. But also let that self-kindness be reflected in a constant reminder that:

Validating your feelings doesn’t have to be synonymous with self-pity.

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This is the hook from a song called “After the Storm”, one of my personal favourites from the summer.

I’m going to close this blog post with the explanation the artist, Kali Uchis gave for these lyrics.

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Keep on going. You’ve got “this”, whatever “this” is for you.

See you in my next blog post! ✌️

Music & Visuals Watch: Ari Lennox -“Whipped Cream”

 

Today’s music & visuals watch is on “Whipped Cream” by R&B Singer Ari Lennox.

DISCLAIMER: The song was released on July 16th this year. The video (directed by Doubiago Bishara for The Fiends) was published on the 5th of September, so I’m late but bear with me! I hope to be quicker if I do more of these in the future!

The song, featuring a slowed down sample of “Two of us” by funk group “Cameo”, captures the unrelenting mental presence of an old lover as Ari Lennox realises “he was never her’s at all”.

There’s a warmth to the visuals; this nostalgic feel, warm,fuzzy images (I’m not a director- don’t shoot me) that match the depth of emotion in her voice and capture the beauty of what once was.

The idyllic quality of the images contrast sharply with lyrics like “you were never mine at all”. It’s like there’s a flicker of hope throughout the video with each beautifully captured memory but the ending only serves as a reminder that this hope is gone.

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My favorite vocal moment: The vocalisations which start around the 3:56 mark.

My favourite visual moment/shot: The part where she’s watching him before they both get on the motorbike. There’s something sad yet beautiful about it.

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Video linked above!

“Likes” aren’t a good measure of self-worth.

Hello and welcome to yet another blog post inspired by introspection and overthinking.

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Assuming you use any form of social media, I have a question for you.

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Do you find yourself overly concerned with the number of “likes” you get?

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I think a lot of us do. I also think it’s something a lot of us need to snap out of.

In saying that though, let me not act as if “likes” mean absolutely nothing. “Likes” make us feel good. “Likes” can help determine the type of content we should post more often.

HOWEVER,  I think some of us unconsciously or sometimes even consciously use “likes” to determine our own self-worth (and the worth of others) and that’s not ideal because it’s a very surface level way of doing so.

“But I deserve more likes though”

Now, you may be thinking, this is all well and good but…

“I put hours into editing that video or “my blood sweat and tears went into writing that blog post” or “I looked fabulous in that leopard print jumpsuit and  yet I only got X amount of likes”.

Yes, it’s true that the very act of posting something that can be “liked” by others automatically invites another’s approval/feedback so you may feel justified in feeling like you deserve more “likes”.

The thing is though, whenever you posted whatever you posted, be it a blog post or a photo, you deemed it to be good, right? So, if it doesn’t get the “likes” you expected, is it no longer “good”?

The issue lies in taking what you deem to be a lack of “likes” and using it as a catalyst for thoughts like “Maybe I’m not that funny”, “maybe I’m not that smart”, “that stylish, that pretty” or whatever the case may be.

 If you suddenly got more “likes”, are you suddenly worth more as a person?

If you got the “likes” you think you deserve, would your life be complete?

Remember, I’m not negating the fact that “likes” make us feel good. I just don’t think we should give them too much power in terms of how we view ourselves.

“Likes” I suppose, are just a temporary boost to our self-esteem. An abundance of them or lack thereof shouldn’t determine our self-worth.

 

 

On being desperate for approval.

I like to think of myself as self-aware. To me that means being reflective; being aware of my thoughts, feelings and actions.

One of the things I’ve noticed about myself for a while now is that I’m desperate for approval; something often accompanied by another issue, being a people pleaser.

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I’m working on these things but for now and for the purposes of this post, just imagine somebody screaming from a megaphone “Approve of me” at the top of their lungs, all day, everyday. Metaphorically speaking, that’s me and I know there’s a bunch of people out there who can relate.

You’re always wondering what people think, how they perceive you-from the way you look to your opinions, always wondering if you make the cut, wondering why no one gave you a pat on the shoulder, worrying about who’s watching you, always wanting to toe between the lines so you don’t piss anybody off. (Check out more approval seeking behaviours here).

I think it’s normal for us to care about how we’re perceived but an incessant need to please people or to seek approval has to get tiring, right?

We lose ourselves in the equation of our own lives.

So, what exactly is “approval”? And is it any different to “validation”? These are the questions I found myself asking in the drafting up process of this blog post.

I came across this article entitled “Validation is to Approval as Empathy is to Sympathy”. The title itself is telling as well as the following definitions included in the post:

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I also considered the following definitions, as provided by the Oxford Online Dictionary:

Validation= Recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.

Approval= The belief that someone or something is good or acceptable.

What I took from this is that approval is about liking something, e.g. A “like” on an Instagram photo, complimenting somebody’s painting, enjoying or approving of a song.

Validation on the other hand, is deeper. For example, somebody telling you that your work helped them overcome something in their life or someone, despite differences in opinion, choosing to acknowledge your point of view. Validation is about being seen.

On the basis of all this then, I chose to use “approval” in the title of this blog post because I believe it is different from validation, in the sense of being more surface level and thus something we shouldn’t be desperate for.

We should not be desperate for validation from others either but I’m just trying to say that because of the nature of approval, it’s something we need not expect from everybody. Approval is fleeting.

Not everyone will approve of you and nor should they.

Not everyone will validate you either but I think that ultimately what most people desire from others is validation:

Validation. What is it? It’s getting feedback from others that “what I do and what I say matters to you. You hear me. You see me. You think of me. You thank me. You acknowledge my accomplishments. You appreciate my efforts.”

It’s the same kind of thing for validation vs approval. If I validate your experience or opinion, I’m letting you know that I see where you are, I “get” how you’re thinking. I don’t have to agree with you. It’s not up to me to decide how you should see an experience or what opinion you should hold. I serve only as a witness. This is a very soothing experience to be on the receiving end of.

Perhaps this desire to be validated is a more worthwhile pursuit than that of being approved of. (And note that I’m not saying approval from others isn’t nice or that it shouldn’t be a thing. I just think that the absence of it shouldn’t determine our self-worth). The same applies to validation but that’s not what I’m specifically discussing here.

I’ve been reading a book called “Psycho-cybernetics” by American surgeon and author Maxwell Maltz. It’s been an incredibly insightful read so far. Below is an excerpt from a section of the book entitled “Ideas Are Changed, Not by “Will”, but by Other Ideas”:

One of my patients was a salesman who was “scared to death” when calling on “big shots”. His fear and nervousness were overcome in just one counseling session, during which I asked him, “Would you physically get down on all fours and crawl into the man’s office, prostrating yourself before a superior personage?”

“I should say not!” He bristled.

“Then why do you mentally cringe and crawl?”

Another question: “Would you go into a man’s office with your hand out like a beggar, and beg for a dime for a cup of coffee?”

“Certainly not.”

“Can’t you see that you are doing essentially the same thing when you go in overly concerned with whether or not he will approve of you? Can’t you see that you have your hand out literally begging for his approval and acceptance of you as a person?”

A visual representation of how I felt after reading that last part:

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I think being self-aware is not just about acknowledging your feelings. It’s about saying now I know that this is what I do, think, feel, whatever the case may be, how can I work on it?

I’m constantly working on reducing my need for approval and it’s an interesting journey.

All I can say is, we need to reclaim the power we give to other people when we become reliant on their approval.

We need to put our begging hands back inside our pockets and remember that we are capable of approving of ourselves as individuals.

Let us consider what we are truly doing the next time we find ourselves metaphorically holding a megaphone to our lips and screaming incessantly for someone (just someone) to tell us they approve of us.

Let’s dust off our knees and keep journeying towards becoming the best versions of ourselves. And after that, feel free to check out this post on how to stop being dependent on other people’s approval.

In closing, an important thing to note, as the author of the aforementioned post does, is that strategies for being less approval dependent…

won’t eradicate your desire for approval or the anxiety you feel when disapproval comes your way. What they will do is give you practice accepting such desire and anxiety without relinquishing your integrity.

Don’t lose yourself trying to get people to like you.

Main image source: http://the-rain-keeps-us-alive.tumblr.com/post/139639022167

Photographer: Unknown.

The Writer vs Inconsistency

I’m sure you’ve heard it all before…

Make time for writing. Write everyday. Stay consistent and the world shall be yours.

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In one of my previous posts, “If you’re a creative, read this”, I even discussed how important I think consistency is.

Evidence of my profound observations below:

Quote:

“Staying consistent is key”.

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Nonetheless, for the past two days I’ve had a reminder on my phone screen which reads:

Start writing again.

I haven’t been able to tick it off yet.

Prior to my current lapse in consistency, I’d been working on the first draft of a screenplay everyday, eager to get it done. And then life, as it does, got a bit hectic, so I held off on writing for a bit and then when I was supposedly “free” again, I did not, as I’d anticipated, return to writing everyday.

I also had to extend the initial deadline I set for completing my first draft and that was annoying.

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Source: https://gph.is/2mV6WB5

I think it was a good call though and I’m aiming to get back on track with my writing schedule soon. Hopefully today, even if it means sparing 30 minutes to write complete and utter garbage. First drafts aren’t meant to be masterpieces anyway right?

Let’s not beat ourselves up too much but enough to get ourselves back on track; a process that might be a bit wobbly at first, but we’ll get there in the end.

See you in my next blog post!

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Source: https://gph.is/2kb5L0r