“If you know who you are, then what somebody calls you is just so irrelevant… If I wilted every time somebody in my life mischaracterized me or called me a bad name, I never would have accomplished all that I have to date. You know who you are, so whatever anybody else says is just interesting fodder.” ~Michelle Obama, 2008 Essence Interview
I could just stop right there, huh? How fabulous is she?!?!
Jumping right in, I’m pretty sure all of us have heard some things about ourselves from others that took us by surprise. I know I definitely have. Fortunately, 99% of the folks in my life are those who I can truly have a heart to heart with when things like this come up and what it usually boils down to is almost always misunderstanding. This really takes a good level of self-assuredness and confidence. It’s often so much easier to just sit in hurt over what others say about us, especially when it comes to the situations in which it’s the 1% who are actually just talking to talk….it happens. It takes strength not to wilt and stay focused on what you know about who you are.
So, by now you’ve probably guessed it. The most critical aspect to not wilting under mischaracterization knowing thyself. This week we’re going to focus on a few self-reflective questions around this. Get the journals out folks.
1-What two most valuable truths do you truly know about you, that no one can every persuade you otherwise on?
2-What about yourself are you most sensitive about?
3-How do you usually most productively get over hurt?
4-Who is your ace-someone (s) you can go to and totally pour out without any fear of judgment or any other potential consequence.
Because I’m all about modeling the behavior I expect of others…here goes…
1-First, every day I am focused on being the very best me that I can be and living a life that is honorable based on my Christian values. Second, I have a heart that extends to others in their pain and genuinely celebrate with them in their joy! (Ummmm, did I mention Dre got an Emmy!!!!! That Dionna is on a cruise with her mom this week!!!! And I’m not ashamed to say that there have been moments that I’ve actually clapped for the Jeopardy winner!!!)
2-Ugh so let me explain this one (already sounds like defense doesn’t it) so, I am totally ok with being single…for now as I do look forward to being in a relationship but trust, I am thoroughly enjoying this season. HOWEVER, over the past few weeks, too many people have been asking me the question “so why are you single.” The woman who threads my eyebrows even asked me, “Why you don’t have husband….you don’t like men?” Really? And….oh if you knew the stories that are getting back to me about why I’m single…from folks who don’t even know me…it’s nuts!!! Kinda funny at times. So yes, as that itty bitty rant shows, today, in this season, that’s what I’m most sensitive about, not because it is my season, but because of others’ assessment of it.
3-The way I most productively get over hurt is to have a conversation with the source of the hurt to make sure that I’m actually seeing whatever the situation is through the same lens as them and understand their intention. When that doesn’t or can’t happen for whatever reason, my other option…real simple….pray, and move on.
4-No naming names here but I actually have two usual suspects that I go to when I really just need to let it all out.
Why is it important to answer these questions, well, when I identify and spell out my most valuable self-truths, starting with just two to get the ball rolling, well, then nothing that comes my way to contradict those truths will get me to move away from these because I know that I know that I know these truths about myself. The are part of who I am. If I know my own sensitivities and can get to the root of them to understand what’s behind them, no one can use them against me. It’s like one of our Partners recently shared, “I know I’m fat, you know I’m fat, can we just move on or do you need to put in another joke to make you feel just as good about you as I do about me regardless of how I look?” That’s an “in your face” statement if I ever heard one.
For as long as we’re living, we’re going to experience pain and hurt from others. It’s just reality, but as Rick Warren says, “God never wastes a hurt, but uses it for a purpose in your life and the lives of others.” That being said, as long as you know how you get through hurt, you’re better prepared to employ that strategy once things come up. Finally, we all need someone with whom we can be totally transparent, who will know when to hold our hand and cry with us or tell us to get over ourselves, stand up straight, get in line, and keep moving. To my aces, you know who you are, Thanks!!! Love ya!!!
Since all of this requires the fighter in all of us to come out, the soundtracks of the week are