“You are smart…you are enough.”

I was recently presented with an opportunity to work alongside a cohort of professionals on one of my organization’s internal projects. We’re in the very early stages of this project, where the foundation is being laid. Key questions are being asked and the work that is fundamental to the identity of this project is being executed.

As with any project, the work is being divvied. My friend drew the lucky straw of drafting a few statements to represent the groups purpose.

After reading these statements, I was left a bit perplexed. Thesaurus-laden buzzwords and corporate jargon had drowned out the message. I asked my friend to rewrite the statements in plain English. Though she knew I had good intentions, she was offended.

I wanted her to see that her message, the one she believed in, the one without the colorful language was enough. Adding colorful language not only took away from the message, but it made the reader work harder. In fact, I had to read the statements more than once to deduce what was being said. And in the end I was still confused and frankly, frustrated.

But this also created a great opportunity for feedback. While, my colleague wasn’t happy with my feedback, I had the opportunity to follow up with what was in my heart.

My feedback had less to do with the message and a million times more to do with what I believed, and what she needed to believe, about herself.

I had an opportunity to tell her that she was smart and that she didn’t need to rely on anyone else to tell her that. She didn’t need the “extras” to impress anyone. Simply being who she was was enough. And when she delivers her message from her heart, that would be enough.

I had an opportunity to tell her that she was, and is, enough.

 

 

Affirmation

Today, I repeat this message to you. You are enough. Give yourself the gift of relaxing the security of who you are. Stop trying to outfit yourself with the proverbial colorful layers — fancy clothes, an extensive vocabulary, multiple degrees, or the pursuit of the seemingly “perfect life” — to gain the approval of others or even yourself. Don’t water down the magnitude of who you are. Be you.

The Bible says that you were fearfully and wonderfully made. Who am I to disagree with God?

Take off those layers. Life is a lot lighter and much clearer without them.

Until next Wednesday,

RP

Tell someone they are enough.

Share this message and tag them in it. I can’t wait to hear how you’ve made a positive impact on their life. Be sure to add the hashtag #beaffirmed on IG, Twitter, and FB so I can see how you’re inspiring others.

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“I just don’t get along with females.”

The first time I heard this statement was when I was in high school…and it’s continued into adulthood. It’s a statement that baffled me for years. I thought, “why would someone have a hard time getting along with other young ladies?” Then it hit me…boys; “boys” was the only rational explanation I could come up with.

The idea of not being able to get along with females was one I didn’t get because I didn’t live, eat and breathe boys as a teenager or even college student. With (what I know now as lifelong) friendships, sports, dance, work and studies – and a pretty healthy fear of my mother – consuming my time, my brain didn’t work like other young girls. Did I like boys? Of course. Did I have boyfriends? Yes. But I just didn’t obsess over them. They were just part of the everyday routine.

But after teaching youth Bible Study to a class of high schoolers, I realized just how atypical I was…or maybe they were the atypical ones. Nah, it was me.

Our discussions often surrounded supposed haters and boys. I was constantly inundated with who was beefing with who and who was dating who and so on. And the girls…I had to keep my eyes on the girls.

They were lovely young ladies, but if an ounce of testosterone entered the building (no matter how good looking or not so much they were), these ladies about lost their minds. And it was while I had that class that I understood why women didn’t get along.

And get this, I wasn’t exempt.

As I grew older and transitioned into independence, I too felt the pains of female-to-female tension. When I no longer saw dating as a game,  but as a means to an end (i.e. dating for marriage), I allowed low self-esteem, pride, jealousy and even some controlling behavior set up shop. I looked at women as my competition. And I, ultimately, became catty, untrusting and bitter.

But that’s not who God has intended us to be.

Unhealthy competition is the antithesis to love and compassion. How can you show mercy if you’re busy trying to identify the fault? You can’t.

Instead, you find yourself in the position of adversary and foe. You waste energy envying what “they” have. You spend time tearing down the powerhouse that you were promised. You get in your own way, point blank period. And you block your own blessing.

Today, I’d like you to be affirmed in yourself. Your uniqueness. Your strength. Your personal blessings. Know that when you are affirmed as one, you can become affirmed as many.

Moreover, be affirmed in your sisterhood. Know that she is not the enemy. She is your sister…one who brings a unique set of strengths to the table. And while feeble apart, together you can change the world.

#BeAffirmed

Assignment:

  1. Share this article and include #beaffirmed
  2. Over the course of the week, reach out to a woman…young or old and let them know how they have made (or are currently making) a difference in your.

See you next Wednesday.

To stay in touch in the meantime, follow me on Facebook and Instagram


 

Affirmed Designs

Affirmed Designs provides a line of products that allow individuals to add inspirational and motivational messages to their everyday life. Shop the line.

 

“Am I good at something other than being smart?” That’s the gist of the question I asked my mom this weekend after I mulled over one thing I wanted to be really good; you know that one thing that people fawn over that you

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wished you had the amazing ability to do. For me, that one thing is singing. I’m better than average but not as good as great.

It doesn’t matter that I’m a great dancer, a great writer or even a great leader. And it doesn’t matter that I’m dependable, curious, outspoken, opinionated, a bit crafty…or the MULTITUDE of other talents and gifts I possess. I, in pure Gina fashion, went and found the one thing that I’m not good at (or at least the one thing I really care about.)

Why?

To begin, I love attention. And it’s not that I don’t get enough of it. Let’s just blame the overt and conspicuous attention-seeking behaviors to an extreme amount of positive reinforcement, oldest child, youngest grandchild, only girl, syndrome. – Okay…I’m neither an only child nor the youngest grandchild anymore, but going 6 years as an only child and the next grandchild being my brother, there was a fair share of brat molding going on. But I digress.

I have to be the best. I don’t like to be in the middle or only mediocre. If I like something and feel it’s worth my time investment, I feel like I have to be the best at it. I was the same way about basketball. And I’m not sure there’s any good to this; not just because you become a haughty little brat, but also because you’re consistently setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s great to reach for the stars, but when its unhealthy, the mirror is telling me there’s room for

I want to be seen as glamorous or sexy or something like that. And when is smart ever any of those things?

Smart individuals are portrayed as societal outcasts who only become acceptable once they have been given an external makeover… [insert sarcasm]And even if they are smart without the makeover, they already have to be sexy…or some other fantasy Hollywood puts into our mind.

But the number one reason boils down to the age-old chiché, the grass is always greener…well, you fill in the blank. It’s because we possess a ton of amazing qualities, but we tend to hone in on those things that we are not. Like I said above…who cares about the multitude of talents and gifts I have? And who cares about the brain that I’ve been given? I had to go and focus on the things I wasn’t.

I was happy to hear my mom reinforce the fact that I was a good dancer without prompting. She even said I was a better writer than dancer…though it took a little nudging to help her see that my type of writing wasn’t just book smart (smile).

Even if she didn’t reinforce those two things – especially dance – it may have been a blow to my ego, but it wouldn’t have changed my reality. And in reality, I’d never give up my brain for the ability to sing. I love the gifts and talents I’ve been given, and there’s no reason to be greedy, right?

Moral of the story: You probably don’t want that other thing as bad as you think you do.

Over like the last two years, I’ve been obsessed with YouTube beauty gurus. Hauls, hair and make up tutorials IMG_2472have been my thing. But now, I’m getting to this point where I feel like…okay, I like myself. I’m feeling pretty good about myself. Now what?

The statement that beauty is only skin deep is only partially true in my opinion. Why? Because I believe in inner and outer beauty. I believe that everyone deserves and should feel good about themselves…and I believe a lot of that has to do with how they look…how pretty or handsome they feel. But I don’t believe that’s the end all, be all. Instead, I believe that’s only part of the story. There has to be so much more to life than outer beauty.

The Bible states that “beauty is fleeting.” For a person who doesn’t feel attractive, this could be empowering…or it may not hold very much weight in making them feel better about themselves. Whatever the case, the statement is true. Beauty is ,indeed, fleeting. It will fade and a lot of the beauty we see today is false…or, indeed, in the eye of the beholder. (see video at end that looks at what different cultures perceive as beautiful).

Since beauty is fleeting, we have to dig deeper. We have to go farther than only wanting to look good. In fact, I’m finding this shallow view of myself very unfulfilling. While I did need to work on my self-esteem in terms of how I looked, I’m finding that this hyper-focus on beauty is beginning to get a bit boring. I want to explore other things, do other things and go deeper, per se. I want to go deeper within my intellect, get smarter and make a difference, even if that difference is only within myself.

I don’t want to be here for a mere, shallow existence. Instead, I should be helping others uncover their beauty and increase their self-esteem. I want to live up to my potential, and honestly, while many things may seem like work, I find joy in “doing”. (I also find joy in playing.)

Frankly, I feel my life lacks meaning if I live a one-dimensional existence. It can’t be all work. It can’t be all play.  And it can’t be all beauty and fashion. And, frankly, it can’t be all rest.

The Bible talks about there being “a time for everything” and “a season for everything under the sun.” I’m learning the truth of this more than one could ever know. One day I can love something and the next day it doesn’t mean that much to me. And one day I may want to run away from something and the next day I’m all in. It’s the circle of life. It just is what it is. I guess that’s why we’ll never have it all figured out. We don’t have the eyes of God and are generally clueless about what’s coming less. That’s why we have to totally depend on Him and not simply our own wisdom. I’m sure I’d go 100% crazy if I had to figure it all out. And you know the irony of the journey, it’s not the destinations that always get to you…sometimes it’s when you’re in-between stops that have you constantly asking, “where are we going” and “are we there yet,” but that’s the beauty of the journey; just when you think you’re getting comfortable and bored is when it’s time to pack up your stuff and get on the road again…to your next stop along the journey. Dang. It’s annoyingly exciting because you know something good is coming, but you just can’t see it yet. Kinda like a child waiting for Christmas day.

Are we there yet?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JEaJ94pH9s?rel=0]

I am beautiful. I am empowered. I am strong. I am valuable.

Not one time did I hear that come out of the mouth of a dark-skinned girl in this film, and frankly, I am quite appalled. While I think the point of the documentary was to help dark-skinned women feel all of the above, I think the film fell short.

And so I admit, I stopped watching a little past halfway through.

Instead of hearing multiple affirmations of strength and self-esteem boosting commentary, the discussion surrounding why we have this separation of color and why guys preferred lighter skinned women prevailed. Personally, it felt like confirmation. It didn’t change minds, at the least, it felt like…well there may be hope; hope for the dark-skinned girl who is learning to love herself.

Yes. There were positive conversations regarding the preference of a dark-skinned female, even from the caucasian male, but the sense of self-hate and inner-race racism outshined any of the positivity.

So from a dark-skinned girls perspective, who has felt the disdain of being dark  and wishing to be light, who suffered from a bit of self-color hate; yet whose mother and father constantly bragged about their beauty, I’d like to help you understand what would help dark-skinned girls feel better about their skin.

1) Start with POSITIVE affirmations.

2) Remind them of all the beautiful dark-skinned people in the world

3) Remind them that mommy, daddy, grandma, cousins, and other relatives are dark-skinned and beautiful.

4) Remember that beauty results from confidence…and so does attractiveness.

5) Remind them about the positive things about being dark, such as dark skinned people have awesome complexions; sometimes seemingly flawless.

6) Remind them that they can do anything they put their mind do simply because they’re awesome.

7) When they encounter a mean person – one who calls them ugly – tell them what you think…and why.

8) Put a mirror in front of them and have them say on a daily basis “I am beautiful.”

 

Along with God, we only have each other…and I mean that as a human race. We’ve done enough of putting each other down… and even reminding one another of the negativity without positive solutions. While our history is important, let’s not let it overshadow our present and our future. Let’s not have our babies growing up hating themselves…especially for something as superficial as skin color. (Or anything else)

Love ya to pieces.

Life. It’s a funny thing. Kinda like the mind. There’s ups, downs, twists, and turns. And some days we are just super discombobulated. If you follow my blog, you get to share my life adventure with me. You’d know life is not all cherries and peaches. But you know what I have learned? I’ve learned that it’s a learning experience.

Part of my learning experience is learning how to be okay with myself. Being okay with my hair, my skin color, my sense of being, etc. This can be an extremely difficult thing. As you can see, my self esteem issues are mostly superficial/external. I am more than confident about my abilities, intellect level, etc. and believe me, I have a pretty high sense of self-worth. I am a God-send, because He sent me (notice where the acknowledgement went. To God. He sent me and while sending me, I have a purpose and a destiny. So yeah, I’m a God-send.) However, I digressed.

I would like to proudly report that my self-esteem has gone up, and while this may seem superficial and may even be, I find that when I look good, I feel good. But it’s when I THINK I look good – when I feel confident. (Notice this id all in the mind.) And frankly I feel confident in a hoody and in heels. I feel confident in a hat and or a messy up ‘do. I’ve found that confidence comes from within. While others can help build your confidence, confidence also comes when you feel comfortable, and I mean comfortable with yourself. Trying to follow trends and people will make you unhappy. That doesn’t mean you can’t find inspiration from people who are like you or like the you in which you desire to be. But if u try to be them, you will fail.

I remember something my pastor once said that at one time Kobe Bryant was asked if he would be the next Michael Jordan. His answer, “no, I will be the next Kobe Bryant.”

I say this to say, you will never be the person you’re comparing yourself to. That’s okay. You weren’t meant to be. Don’t put that pressure on yourself. You were meant to be the only [fill in your name here]. I mean think about it. How many people do you think are pretty? You can probably name a few. Now think, how many of them actually look like each other? Not many. But they are all what you consider pretty.

I started this article by saying invest in yourself. Invest your time, energy, and money on yourself. From makeup to adjusting my wardrobe to simply changing my stinking thinking, I invest in myself. And the makeup isn’t because you aren’t pretty. If this is what you need to increase your confidence do it. Don’t let thoughts of I shouldn’t have to wear makeup to feel pretty hinder you. If u like how you feel in it and don’t have any personal convictions, wear it. I actually find it to be fun… A hobby in fact.

Style your hair the way you like. Wear the clothes that make you feel good. Do you. As people say, confidence is an attractive quality. Do embrace confidence. Embrace the new you.

(forgive any typos. Typed on my iPhone.)