First, it has definitely been quite a while. I’ve really had a lot going, a lot of great things, and even a lot with Living Fabulously Fierce, but I just haven’t had much time to sit and share my reflections as I have in the past. I have to apologize, especially for all of those who have reached out sharing how much they look forward to the updates. All that being said, I’m BACK! And LFF Factor #9 is pretty fierce!
Over the past few weeks so many people, including some of you who really follow this blog, have shared a few instances of feeling rejected, alone, disappointed, and/or hurt by others. I’ve definitely been there, in all of these realms of sentiment at some point or another, and quite frankly, even now, just addressing a few things. Whenever I face times like this (seasons-they always come to an end) I am always reminded that it’s actually always been hard for me to easily “fit in” or be accepted by a lot of folks. My mom and I have always been very close, so growing up, I would always go to her when I needed counsel around this or when I just needed an answer to the “why” around it all. Her answer was always the same, an answer which really annoyed me to be honest, but which I grew to appreciate: “Farah, you’re just different.”
See my issue with this answer is that it added to the challenge for me, it didn’t provide a solution. To me this could be equated to a tea bag saying to a cup, “This water is really hot.” The only response the cup could give could be, “well yeah, you’re a tea bag, you’re making tea.” That doesn’t change the challenge of the tea bag…it’s burning up! Ugh. But yes, as I said, I’ve come to appreciate it.
See, for so many of us, we’re just different, with unique characteristics, unique approaches to life, unique perspectives, everything…just unique. Often times, what makes us unique isn’t always highlighted as positive or beneficial. In fact, at times, it is the basis for others to eliminate us from the whole, exclude from groups, intentionally and unintentionally. Let’s be honest, we’re all human and we’re more inclined to those who are similar to us than those who are different. Above that are you? Well, all I know is that, Ambi got my attention early on just from the picture of their ads…some of you don’t even know what that is… and some of you watched the Brady Bunch instead of The Cosby Show, falling in love with Greg instead of Theo… and vice versa. There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, we’re built to learn by building categories.
I won’t go too deep into this but the human brain is set up this way. Where we go wrong is when we take action on the differences, applying judgment to our created categories, and facilitating negative impacts on those who are different from us. There are so many examples from history of this…but we’re sooooo not going there right now. So yes, I have grown to appreciate my mom’s response because in it, while she actually presented what I think to be more of a challenge (I can’t change who I am at my core), she also presented an opportunity. Essentially, this was about a decision: In my life, with my difference, would I choose to operate as one who was disregarded or would I choose to operate as one who was distinguished?
It’s so easy to sit in a corner and sing to the tune of woe is me or the spiritual, nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Been there, done that…it’s not that cute. BUT, how powerful to determine to live a life as one who is distinguished!!!
Let me be very clear, this is sooooo NOT about operating with a sense of over-esteemed grandeur or pride. Not at all, because that’s really not attractive either, that just puts others off. What this is about is setting a personal standard of excellence, one that you are committed to no matter what and leveraging your unique nature, all of who you are, to meet that standard of excellence every day, in everything you do. Put simply, it’s about sitting tight in the hot cup of water and brewing as the best cup of tea you can.
It’s not easy, but I’ve come to learn that since there really is no one exactly like me, really no one, I’ve got a boundaryless playing field for excellence. So, my standard of excellence…simply put, bringing all that I am, appreciative of myself as a whole, to everyone I interact with, in all that I do, staying true to my namesake (joy), focused on leaving a legacy, a positive example for others, no matter what!
So, what’s yours?
Soundtrack of the week: Angie Stone’s Happy Being Me