My “best” looks a lot different right now. It’s not an old friend I recognize in a crowd. It’s a new friend, one that I am weary of, one that I am questioning, one that feels conflicting. My new best arrived during an incredibly unprecedented tumultuous time, one that my system has never experienced before. A time that does not have a clear end in sight.
As a therapeutic exercise, I wrote a letter to my younger self, offering career advice and kindness on the long, professional road ahead that would await them. It was a reminder to myself to be compassionate about my choices and to keep my mind open to the possibilities we have yet to encounter.
I’ve been weird all my life, not fitting in and feeling pressured to do so. I have a new appreciation for weirdness and being a weird Black kid; this is my love note to all the others.
Permitting yourself to be authentic is beautiful, but it takes practice, trust, and safety. We hear over and over that we should be ourselves, without the warning that it needs to fit someone else’s design.
Sometimes we underestimate the power of words of thanks and gratitude, I know I do. I want to make a more conscious effort to freely let others know I appreciate them, whether I know them well or not. You never know who needed to hear those words the moment you said them.
Have you ever used daily reminders? Little things to tell yourself to keep going about your day. Sometimes these phrases can be a machete that chops through the thick brambles of negativity; other times, they just kind of swim around in your head. Here are a few you can incorporate.
Do you have trouble facing the mirror? My self-esteem and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. Sometimes, we’re in sync. I’ll high-five the mirror or give myself a well-deserved wink. Other days, I am sitting on the floor sulking about how hideous I look and how I never want to go outside again.
A little reminder that we’re all different and do not need to fit a mold. Sometimes it’s tough to reconcile with, but I wouldn’t want you any other way.
“You’re born into this world alone and you’ll die alone.”
You know that statement is entirely false, right? I usually hear this when someone is trying to sound profound; sometimes, it is used as justification for failed relationships. In reality, you came into this world literally connected to someone else. What happened between then and now may have been wonderful, it may have been really shitty, and it may have felt really lonely. Deep down, this whole time, you were never alone.
Now and then, it’s good to take a moment and express gratitude. Here’s my list.