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Giant | 1. noun-an imaginary or mythical being of human form but superhuman size. 2. adj -of very great size or force; gigantic.
We've all heard the question: are you a leader or follower? Sure. On my best day, my response is: "I'm a leader all day babeee." Yet, in actuality, I have many follower moments. When the majority of the people I surround myself with are on one wave, I conform in an effort to ride it. Typically, this phenomenon disregards my own beliefs and ethics. Recently, I found that to be bullshit. I'm too old to be getting caught up in trying to "fit in" or be like someone else. In essence, I am the shit in my own right, and I do not need any leader other than the Lord all mighty and my spirit guides. On the contrary, this brief flashback into adolescent-hood got me thinking. In what other ways have I shrunk myself?
I downplay my talents and ideas to seem less intimidating to others. This might sound crazy, but its the truth. I have been told on numerous occasions that I am too much, or too crazy, or intimidating. So, as a defense mechanism, I resolved to speak up last.
I seldom share or celebrate good news. When something positive occurs in my life, I share it with my man and keep it on lock. I don't like to share with others who are also climbing because I don't want to appear boastful.
When I am complimented, I deflect the praise by sharing a flaw. Them: "Your hair is so cute!" Me: "Girl, it was only 5.99 at the beauty supply store. Nothing fancy." It's like I subconsciously believe I don't deserve love and praise. Therefore, countering compliments became my defense.
I often sought confirmation or reassurance about a move from others. A new hairdo, relationships, outfit ideas, or etc, would need to be affirmed by someone who I felt knew more than me or opinions I valued greatly. In doing this, I found my own confidence in certain decisions had dwindled.
When faced with an opposing view, comment or action, I did not advocate for myself. Occasions when folks say or do hurtful things, in an effort to avoid confrontation, I turned the other cheek. Not seeking revenge or disturbing piece is a beautiful thing, until one own self-esteem is tormented.
All that was cute, but I'm a giant.
The first problem with shrinking yourself to please others or conform is who you truly are will be shrouded by a mask. After a while, you will become so used being who you think the worlds needs you to be, you forget who you are. Second, when we shrink ourselves, we forfeit the opportunity to be used by God, the universe, or to whomever you pray. Different is truly beautiful, and it is also intentional. We were all uniquely made, and evolution lives in the difference. Different is the only avenue available to generate change. Lastly, it is a true disservice to oneself not to glow unapologetically. There is absolutely no way for you to live your best happy life if you are too busy ignoring your authentic self. Otherwise, the journey we call life will run you like a treadmill. Literally, you will find yourself doing all of this cardio without a beautiful view along the way. Cut the shit.
Break it down, B:
Well, Damn, B, How do I do this?
Surround yourself with like-minded folk. As people, it is natural to have a variety of thought processes and view. However, it is possible to surround yourself with people who share the same core values and mindsets. Ask yourself, is your tribe helping you grow or bringing you down? Do they celebrate you, or make you feel meager? Also, keep in mind, iron sharpens iron. In other words, those who share the same core values and mindset can only hold you accountable and help you grow.
Combat urges to shrink by:
Focus self-realization on the love of God, the universe, or whomever you pray. Consider this. God has crafted you uniquely, so life does not get any better. God loves every part of you exactly as you are while asking for nothing in return--not even conformity. Who are we to alter what God has already solidified and deemed perfect.
Love you. Good, bad, blemishes, and highlights. Nobody is perfect, but nobody is going to love you better or more than yourself. Realize you have great qualities and flaws, and embracing them decreases the need for outside approval.
During my moments of conformity, I found myself confused, drained, and uncertain. I found myself confused about who am I as well as my cause. I felt drained by the negativity I did not attempt to combat. I felt uncertain about my current position in life. After all, if I wasn't like them, then something was wrong. Later, I realized I only felt these feelings because I was not being my true and fullest self. Yet and still, the same God, that delivered me from turmoil, is the same who loves me as I am. (1 Samuel 17:37) .It would be a disservice to the world, for me not to glow. With that glow and be your extra self. Be so extra folks start asking how much for the extra sauce. It's a movement.
By: Britney “Bird Nefertiti” Newton is a spiritual womanist, writer, blogger, poet, and “women are made of fire” enthusiast.
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