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Dr. Africa L Rainey

Who am I?

How many times have we sat and pondered that thought. Who am I? Upon reflection, we come up with some sprinkle of words to describe how we see ourselves. More often than not, these words are harsh, and abrasive. Wounding thoughts, thoughts we would never think to say to another, because of the pain we know it creates within ourselves….

So then why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we flood our minds with painful, injuring thoughts about ourselves??

We were taught it.

Yep, this culture, teaches us to hurt and disregard ourselves and if you look or act different then it goes double!  We restrict ourselves to the phrases:

“Act like man!”

“Act like a woman!”

“Speak right!”

“Don’t cry, men don’t cry”

“Don’t be mad, it’s not ladylike”

Or the infamous “you’re too’s”

“You’re too emotional”

“You’re too serious”

“You’re too fat”

“You’re too skinny”

The list goes on and on. If we put all these messages in a pot and boil it down, we’re left with one all encompassing message….

“Something is wrong with you and you’re not enough!” 

Yep, call the bad wagon cause you got a ticket going straight to the town of Shame, and please keep in mind, you deserve it, because, let’s say it together:

“Something is wrong with you and you’re not enough!”

Oh I almost forgot, you deserve it, because you’re not what everyone wants you to be and you most certainly can’t be who you are because, one more time:

“Something is wrong with you and you’re not enough!”

Woo Hoo!!  It’s becoming a catchy tune on the record player in your head. So ask yourself, how true is that? Why is it wrong, to be who you are, to like who you like, feel how you feel? Who holds the book of what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable? Now let me add the disclaimer; acceptable meaning, as long as you and no one else gets hurt. Who has the book on “how to be on your best behavior and give up who you are?”

You guessed it!..... ours and other cultures. How can we change that?

 Believe something different and plant the seeds of that into the minds of our children, friends, peers etc. That’s how cultures evolve by embracing new ways of thinking, speaking and behaving. So if we take a moment to examine new thoughts, how about something like this:

1.     There is nothing wrong with you. You are beautiful and perfect as you are. Accept that, embrace that and live that, by allowing yourself to express who you are to the people you care about. Ask for needs, expect respect, and give respect, because there is nothing wrong with any of us. Being different is a good thing.

2.     We enter into relationships in order to learn and understand about ourselves. How we allow others to treat us is a reflection of how we see and feel about ourselves. If you’re a doormat to your friends, it’s because you don’t give a rip about yourself and your needs. Instead of villainizing your friends, stop and look at what you have allowed and then set about changing it.  You may lose some friends, but the friends you’ll gain, who will respect and accept you as you are will multiply!  

3.     Accept responsibility, that may sound a bit funny, but the biggest problem we have in this world is blaming others, which is disempowering.   Accept, others, experiences, and transitions, and decide how you will respond to what is in front of you. We so often try to get others to fit what we want in our mind, which is impossible, we can only accept them and then decide what we will do in the wake of that acceptance.

It is so difficult for many of us be in the present of presence. We run the past through our minds constantly and the mistakes we made that only intensify that painful feeling of not being enough or we run future scenarios through our mind that paralyze us with fear. We also use the past and future to escape our current situation. “The grass is greener” phenomenon. Accepting responsibility doesn’t mean deny oneself, inflicting guilt or allowing others to inflict guilt upon you. It means having a knowing, that whatever happens to you, you have a choice as to how you will respond. Your choice will either lead down a path of peace or turmoil. You always have a choice.

Ok, well, take some time, put these thoughts in the crockpot of your mind and soul and set it simmer for a bit. I leave you with this final thought from the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:“Our lives end once we become silent about things that matter.”

 It’s time to wake up to knowing, YOU MATTER!

Dr. Africa L Rainey, LCPC, EdD



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