When we give attention to Doubt, she usually overstays herself and invites her country cousins: Fear and Shame, who invites them boys: Insecurity, Indecision and Stagnation.
These know no boundaries and have no respect of ambitions. They trample our ideas and dance all over our dreams.
Before long, our passions are tattered on the floor no longer resembling how they arrived to us.
But our visions, our goals, our dreams - they must stay protected from doubt, her cousins and all their friends.
If our minds are fertile ground with the ability of being impregnated, they are also able to give birth to the dreams they produce. However, just as the womb is a sacred and protected space, so too are our minds sacred and needing protection.
Within the wrong environment, we can intake poison in the way of our thinking that cross the barrier and harm the budding life (idea) inside. And before long we spontaneously abort our idea because we are now convinced that it is too big for us, or that we are unworthy of it, or that we are unqualified, or that we just…can’t.
Or our idea is still born…meaning that no inspiration or life was breathed into it to manifest our vision.
When our ideas come, we must seek every means of bringing them into fruition. It has become a habit that we raise doubts soon after being hit with a great vision of ourselves. And unfortunately, we are so accustomed to our doubts that we think they require real consideration. We lend more consideration to our doubts than we do to our possibilities. This is a crime we commit to ourselves.
Our dreams are our own possessions to care for and cultivate. We wouldn’t be talked out of tending to and nurturing our own children. We needn’t be talked out of tending to the aspirations developed in our spiritual womb, our mind. And like children, our dreams are both gifts and challenges-rewarding and compelling.
But be aware that doubt gets in the way. It is an interruptor. So we must stay vigilant that we do not be the advocate of our doubts, especially in greater measure than we are of our dreams. If we do, we can remain paralyzed in fear right at the gate of our success, never breaking that barrier.
Sometimes we are doubtful because we’ve never before accomplished the like of our particular goal. That lack of experience is okay; and it actually means we’ve not yet developed bad habits on our journey that we need to later unlearn.
Indeed, the journey to manifest our goals is a personal one but not one that we must undertake alone. There are people who can help us. There are usually others who have accomplished something like what we desire. These people can be our mentors and coaches. We can take classes and trainings, if necessary. Those who have gone before us can serve as great advisors if we are humble. Plus we can learn from mistakes they've already made and save ourselves that time (and money.)
We needn't let our own insecurities and doubt be our roadblocks to our accomplishments. Nor should we allow pride to be our stumbling block.
I teach my children never to deny their dreams and that while others may have similar ideas as them, only they can lend their unique expression to their ideas. No one else can impart their personality into the development of what is in their hearts and minds.
We have been conditioned to be easily discouraged. While we sit on our dreams, we remain only consumers to the dreams of others. If Allah, God, found us sufficient to implant an idea, He would also know we are capable of bringing it forth.
Doubt is like a no good, do nothing friend. Spending too much time with it and we find ourselves hypocrites to that which we dream, love and desire. And before long, we will find ourselves doing all that is in opposition to our dreams and blaming others (or make-believe insufficiency) for never moving forward in a real attempt.
Therefore, let us remain encouraged with what has been laid in our hearts and minds. First appreciate it. Then seek a means to develop the thought into a reality. This is us being creators or gods, children of the Most High God, by bringing something from nothing.
Do not invest in predictions that do not empower us. Stay around those who will be encouraging, even in the darkest hour. Stay away from anyone telling you to be ‘realistic’. No one who accomplished any major achievement did it by being ‘realistic.’ Think big. And eliminate others around you who will not.
You and I are the stewards of our dreams. Know for a surety that there are unlimited possibilities for us. Carefully, navigate the landmines of doubt and fear and dodge the grenades of skepticism tossed by friends and family who neither believe in themselves nor you.
If a person had the capacity to recognize their own potential, they would be able to recognize yours.
Do not be angry at them. These people are deeply conditioned and their conditioning makes them a prisoner in a cell of hesitation, indecision and disbelief. Our best help for them is to go after our own passions and be an example of all that is possible when we do not succumb to doubt.
We must know this. And we must teach this to our children so that they do not cut short their own brilliance because they allowed doubt to rob them of their dreams.
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I came across a headline some time ago, ‘Miley Cyrus Wants to Be White Again’.
An older article written of her said, “The twenty-one year old, after performing ‘Party In the USA’ simulated giving oral sex to a backup dancer dressed up like Bill Clinton." One music video showed her sitting naked atop a wrecking ball. And yet written in another article, “Miley Cyrus left her Melbourne audience stunned when she took her wild antics a step too far, flashing her private parts, legs akimbo, staging a mock orgy and straddling a giant hotdog at her Bangerz concert.”
Had these incidents occurred during a white hiatus? And if she indeed ceased being white, what was Miley when she was in the midst of her smutty marathon?
The implication - she was ‘being Black.’
I take exception with this. I find no parallels in vulgar, druggy, hyper-sexualized behavior with Blackness or Black culture. Further, I believe some of the journalists who lambasted her so-called ‘cultural appropriation’ actually co-signed her raunchiness as that of Black culture.
What I saw in Miley’s shameless antics was similar to Madonna’s provocative persona decades ago. When Madonna released a coffee table book ‘Sex’ which depicted her naked throughout (including multiple images of her simulating sex), she was called the ‘Queen of Obscene.’ No one associated her behavior then as anything other than an artist testing boundaries, pushing limits and simply being outrageous. Madonna was not ‘being Black.’
25 years later, Miley comes along also using shock as entertainment as others have done before her. She was simply a young entertainer trying to dominate headlines as entertainers do.
Equating her brazen behavior with being Black is unfounded. Sure there are provocative Black entertainers, but there are also plenty who aren’t and we do not define the whole by a part. And to suggest that a Caucasion woman’s scurrilous actions are “being Black’ is defining the entirety of Black culture as just that.
We must not give our children (nor accept ourselves) the designation of Black culture as obscene, derogatory, demeaning or profane. Not only is this inaccurate but it negates our unlimited capacity utilized in the establishment of North America.
I’d promised months ago that this blog was forthcoming. The reason I took so long before publishing is because I always want to be clear in my writing. It is important to me that I exhaust every possibility for the reader to truly understand the intentions in my words. Therefore all of what I write undergoes multiple revisions and seldom am I truly satisfied before publishing.
So, I want to be clear, this is not an ‘anti white’ article. I have no time to waste on that sort of content. But this is an article to bring attention to the ways in which we, Black people, allow ourselves and our culture to be defined.
I teach the youth in urban areas with which I work that there is no monopoly on good living. Therefore, the Asian store owners in their communities are not the only ones entitled to thriving businesses in their communities. The neighboring communities with clean streets and the absence of drug ravaged addicts mulling about do not have exclusive rights on peaceful communities.
But when we accept the assignment of dirtiness, inferiority and vulgarity to Black culture-we not only discard our group pride but we collectively assume a substandard regard for ourselves and our condition. And this is unworthy of respect.
My grandmother always taught me that I had to respect myself first before expecting others to do so. And if we lack respect of ourselves, we compel no one else to do such.
I believe that we do a great disservice to our culture when we parallel debauchery with Black culture. There was no appropriation in Miley Cyrus’ behavior. Well, there was no Black appropriation.
Therefore the intention of this article is to remind us, Black people:
1. to be discerning in that which we assign and accept as ours
2. to reject as openly and loudly as necessary any and all mis-assignations to our culture.
In doing so, we cause others and ourselves to qualify that which is attributable to us. Because, without any quality control, we permit our culture to be the dumping ground of any incendiary actions other groups refuse to accept as their own.
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We must be careful not to put the weight of our life’s disappointments on our children by pushing them to live the dreams that we didn't make come true for ourselves.
Sure, we want to teach our children of their great potential. We want them to know that they can do anything they set their minds to doing. But we cannot use them as a depository for all of our failures. And we mustn’t push them to take on goals that we didn't meet for ourselves in our lifetime.
I don’t suggest that we do not want them to become ‘better’ than we are. I just mean that we should teach them to create goals of their own and encourage their pursuit of their own achievements.
Sometimes in parenting, we pour our dissatisfaction at the feet of our children. Not only do we tell them all the things we wanted to do, we also give them our excuses of why we did not. Often in these discussions, the causes of our failures are other people or circumstances. A spouse was unsupportive. Our parents didn’t enroll us in the right school. The coach didn’t play us. The criminal record got in the way. The bank didn’t approve the loan.
It is uncommon that we admit that the actual hindrance was our lack of concerted effort, consistency or personal investment. No. We seldom admit that our goals were only clever ideas that we never built the foundation to attain. We place the blame outside of ourselves.
One of my favorite quote states, “Excuses are tools of the incompetent which build monuments of nothingness and bridges to nowhere. Those who specialize in these tools of incompetence seldom become anything at all.”
We cannot help our children get anywhere on excuses. We show them not only that excuses are acceptable, but that we actually possess little responsibility and authority in the trajectory of our own lives. We teach them that other people or circumstances possess a greater influence in our success than our own self determination and hard work. But this is untrue.
When we indulge in excuse making, we make the case for our own helplessness, dependency on others, the perfect circumstances or just plain luck. Instead we should create our own luck and teach our children to do the same.
Inadvertently we can create dissonance in our children by telling them they can do anything or be anything and then tell them of our unattained goals at the behest of others. Then they too may look for opportunities to bow out when circumstances aren't ideal or if the process isn't easy.
Many adolescents blame their shortcomings on their teachers, classmates, coaches and parents. They become paralyzed when prodded to answer what their contribution could have been to have had better outcomes. At young ages, they are very comfortable excusing their action or inaction based on others. And often, we parents, enable their excuse making because we do our own.
If it happens that we did not fulfill our dreams, there is no harm in sharing what they were. This can be its own source of inspiration for our children. We can create teachable moments recounting the action steps we didn’t take or the fears that hindered us from reaching our goals. Yet an even better teachable moment is showing our children the second chances we give ourselves by trying again.
It's never to late too get a high school or college diploma or try to develop our own businesses. There is no expiration date for self advancement. And when our children see our spirit of possibility, they can be encouraged in the development of their own.
They can be inspired by our continuous effort to actualize our goals. In this, we set a standard of being accountable for all that happens to and for us. And we create a base of liability for them to do the same.
Nurah Writes Blog Page is intended to Tug on the Soul of the Black Community. If you enjoyed this article and would like to receive future posts directly to your inbox, submit your email address below!
Nurah strives to enlighten, empower and engage her readers with the wealth of knowledge she has gained from her own experiences and those of others from whom she has learned.