Tag Archives: Confidence

January Gemsūüíúūü¶č

Identity & Worth . It’s a subject my sisters are discussing at Mentor My Sister. My platform online, that strives for authentic women and authentic connection.

Identity-what gives me identity

What I spend time with – tends to give me identity . We can desire material wealth, cars, … to be in relationship with people and we can make idols out of all of them.
I have value in relationships, so I will share what comes up for me as I make mention of my value of several relationships I have, currently. Mainly they’ve been friends family and my spouse; but also mentorship .

My Family has given me identity. Now that i live closer to them, I have more opportunity to be influenced by them. You see, whether I cherish them or not. It’s up to me to decide if I’ll carry out a legacy of good or evil.I always say, if there’s good, make it better . And if it’s not good, make it exceptional.

My Spouse is one who influences my identity . How we make decisions together, dream together… LIVE together makes a difference and influences my identity .l and my children’s identity as well.

Friendships influence my identity . Whether I choose mentors, leaders, friends who live models lives or just have the challenge of daily survival, I can learn from them. I make space for mentors and people to influence me. I need leaders to pour into my life, so I find out where they are, and I serve, or join them in their discussions, or create them.

Mentorship . Being mentored and mentoring others has brought great value in my life . I really enjoy having conversations about life with other leaders, friends and women who desire authentic relationships.

Here are a few mentors in my life

Here are three places I’ve learned from other in my life :

1. Trees .

I was in South Africa in May, of 2003 and i was teaching in a classroom about dreams. A teenager said to me: /‚ÄúWe Are All Like Trees.” I resounded after that encounter , because I realized I’ve always loved trees. The strength , growth and resiliency tees represent inspire me. I have never seen trees the same , since.

2. My African Heritage Family.

I found identity in my African Heritage family. There’s a woman I know named Joyce Shabazz. She created a forum of people and a platform about people regaining their culture and heritage and finding value in what they see and experience, again.

I attended for five, maybe six years a platform that help me transcend racism, my thoughts about my identities as wife, female, being oppressed, internalized oppression, my inadequacies about being African American, and I re-claimed myself.

The process and journey has been amazing. I’ve gained new international friends and I’ve learned new experiences I’ve gleaned and kept treasures forever sealed in my heart. I’ve come up a lot, and now I mentor others on perspective.

3. My Worth

Where have I found worth and value?

What foundations have I established my worthiness upon?

For years I pondered this. Growing up in an alcoholic family, My vision of myself and who I was was altered. It wasn’t my truth. It was an attempt to destroy my truth . I once was a girl of low self – esteem, insecurity and felt very inadequate . However I no longer espouse those characteristics .

And today, I have evolved. I was determined to change the depiction of what my worth and value set as a template from birth to 20 years of age. Once I gained a determination of the will and had mentors in me that saw in me the greater good, and encouraged it- I realized I could truly be my best self. I reached for opportunities to be better: attended a historically black college , Howard University, experiences ethnicity in a new way, was determined to learn about my heritage, visited South Africa, ignored and distances myself from hate, and envy and people who represented this at all costs… and read books galore on the subject of identity , esteem and intrinsic value. And maybe my trips back and forth down the road to African Heritage, or a constant re-evaluation of my life purpose ; or maybe my trip to Africa all influenced me in major ways.

Or maybe it was the fact I didn’t allow Opportunity to pass me by.

Perhaps I reached for it with eager anticipation, and it became my friend. My mentor . My tutor.

Yes, Opportunity became my Teacher.

Mountains… or Hills?

I am in Dansville, New York today. Just left a really pensive session about family, & what it means to me. I admired the atmosphere; being surrounded by mountains on each side. I kept taking in the views, and exclaiming how beautiful the mountains were, and one of the residents of the community said to me: “Oh those aren’t mountains, they’re hills.”

I smiled and said to myself…”They’re mountains to me.” You see, whether they are mountains or hills depends on the person. The power mountains give us – and the power the hills give us – they may be the same … or not .

I recall a time enduring a very difficult season and it was like my drives in my car during this season of my life were instructing me. I was traveling through a small town and there was this particular part of town where I noticed once – that the mountains had reduced in size!

I wondered to myself : “How did that happen!?” And I realized internally, my perspective had shifted.

Just like that.

Sometimes the life seasons we endure cause us to shift and change (snap!) just like that.

Driving those those small towns I had being enduring a really hard season in my life. And the trees and the mountains were so meaningful. They reminded me of how powerless I am, in comparison to the beauty of this world, and God’s power. God was teaching me. Informing me of my perspective. Stretching me…molding me… shaping me and causing me to shift.

I love mountains and I love hills.

The point is, no matter whether they are mountains or hills, they still encourage me. They still inspire my soul. They still make me think about the wonder of this world and how small I am in it,.. and sometimes my perspective, too.

Thank God for shifts.‚̧ԳŹ

Oh, and mountains…‚ėļÔłŹ

Changed My Name, Change My Life…

I recently heard someone mention how names are so important. They said something like this: ‘Names introduce a certain ‘honor’ into your life when you inform people how to honor your name.’

So this blog piece is about naming and changing – and how changing my name to “Make Me Happy” when I went to South Africa, changed my life.

In May of 2003, I searched out my own happiness, and began a new personal journey. I don’t believe I shared much about my full transformation. Interestingly enough,…I found it in Kuma, South Africa.

I found myself having a greater purpose in another country. Teaching and ministering to kids and adults and helping them thrive despite being in poverty situations and helping those who suffered life challenges and found themselves having little hope. To be honest, my own hope was at its lowest. I was trying to decide if I should continue with my first marriage. This journey would be telling.

My “BOUNDARIES of Blessing”, began here, in South Africa. It was a journey that redeemed my worth and my significance. I found I actually existed for a greater cause and purpose. And when living in my purpose, I FELT SO WORTHY. Maybe it was the Resolve I felt. And that, resolve could change a Nation. If I had the team of women around me like I had in South Africa, with me in the U.S.A., I would have more than enough support.

My name change in South Africa – or the African name given to me – was “Nthabiseng “. Nthabiseng means : “Make Me Happy”, and this name became a personal mandate of my own, or a personal mission – and I began the journey for myself first, and then for others. I realized walking in Purpose, in my own Happiness, and in my own purpose and living for myself, my youth was renewed. I felt alive again! Almost as if I’d been resurrected.

Well first of all… my first lesson learned – I had to acquiesce, to get there. (I yielded without protest.) I am learning most blessings come via surrender. I noticed once I stopped trying to make life be something it really was not… neither had the potential to be; and stopped sacrificing my peace for others who didn’t value it as highly as I did – my life became better. I learned so much when I discovered this. I had finally began to live for myself.

I wish I had learned this lesson earlier in life. I would often contemplate and hesitate in my life and ponder were things worth it or was “I worth it” Sure, I was worth it! Should I move on with my life – or keep trying to love where love was not returned? I finally came to the decision love can’t be embraced with someone it was never taught and cherished , with humility. And that life is too short. You have to keep living. Because you can stop living for yourself to the point you are almost dying. And then, what good is that? For your dreams die with you.

 

Secondly, I began to appreciate and be grateful for new experiences learned and used them as stepping stones to get me to higher places. For instance I began to challenge myself and ask myself : “Why  work in Syracuse just because I lived there?” I then found myself searching for jobs I liked outside my ‘four walls’ and found a good one in a small town in N.Y. working with adolescent boys in foster care and this began a new trajectory for me in terms of my work. I realized that loving and nurturing boys who had never been truly nurtured before was definitely a passion of mine, and fulfilling work. That they needed this love; for them to be full grown men. Perhaps innately and most unconsciously if I loved them this way – as a social worker who worked with boys; perhaps then, I would not help some women then- not waste time loving them, as broken men.

I believe I also learned what it meant to be Free. To live and have fun for the very first time in my life. I learned I could enjoy company and make good decisions and make friends miles away in another culture and country and it felt good to not need permission to do that.

These were new beginnings for me. I learned I could live and survive on my own. Eight months later I was moving to a place I loved: Washington, D.C. It completely changed my LIFE.

 Then, I decided to look inside. I went a little deeper; & began to self- evaluate.

I believe in the power of naming. Naming can change perspective and change life commitment. In my book, Red Sea Situations, I speak to powerful names of God and how altars – like the places I’ve been to – these representations of love and struggle in life are not always negative places – but places that ushers God’s true presence in your life, so you can change your life and perspective.

Get a revelation on how changing your life, your purpose, and your direction can change your life. It may also change YOU.

To dream a bit brighter, be a little lighter and smile a little happier.

Selah.

Confidence.

Since this month I am¬† speaking about esteem…¬† and where it comes from¬† and how it’s developed, I wanted to share¬† my story on¬† how I personally developed¬† my confidence and esteem .

It’s¬† a story of several¬† weaved into one,¬† but¬† they¬† all have¬† ¬†deep meaning.¬† ¬†My¬† story¬† doesn’t¬† begin here.. but I wanted to share¬† this¬† belief with you , because this young student¬† from South Africa¬† spoke to my heart and through my heart into something i have always believed.¬† She was the essence of my dream, articulated.¬† ¬† ¬†And¬† this was¬† when¬† I rose to the occasion and began¬† ‘activating’ my journey.¬†

It was¬† in¬† ¬† May of 2003¬† and¬† this room of young people had been gathered together to be encouraged.¬† ¬†I was not¬† surprised,¬† but then I was.¬† They were here to¬† hear a woman from¬† America¬† speak about following their dreams.¬† ¬†Why? because¬† young people in South Africa, particularly in Kuma,¬† South¬† Africa – in this¬† case,¬† had¬† been discouraged.¬† Suicide was¬† rampant,¬† across the land –¬† and¬† they needed a voice of encouragement.¬† ¬† ¬†And God sent me.¬†

I had  known I was up for the challenge, indeed

It had taken  six months to get here.  And I knew I was coming, but I had to be prepared.   So six months prior God began to establish His  message in me.  It  was a lot of  quiet time spent with Him to  hear what He wanted me to say.  I decided   during this  time , that if God was going to send me to South  Africa,  I  must have  had something mighty  important to say.

Standing before that room and listening to this¬† young lady, I had heard this before.¬† I had¬† heard this¬† in my Bible,¬† in my¬† teacher’s¬† rooms,¬† and I¬† heard the same voice of¬† encouragement in mother’s voice,¬† my mentors and auntie’s voices¬† that were¬† encouraging me on.¬† ¬†You see, what she¬† saw,¬† I saw¬† because¬† those gone before me¬† had manifested that belief in me.¬† ¬†I¬† knew the strength¬† she¬† knew was in her people;¬† she had believed was there all along.

And¬† so, my confidence¬† has come through the walking of other’s¬† shoes.¬† The¬† stride of their pride,¬† and the¬† ¬†risks they have taken to make¬† the¬† messages they¬† believed in made clear.¬† ¬†Without those¬† risks – they would not be where they were.¬† I told them¬† the risk I took in leaving everything in America behind.¬† ¬†I¬† ¬†did not believe I could make it to¬† S. Africa, and yet here I was , standing in a room before them,¬† encouraging their hearts¬† – Because¬† God chose me.¬†

I¬† told them how I was¬† chosen , the opposition I came up¬† against, and¬† how I still made it to speak to them.¬† It took¬† loads of faith.¬† Not just mine… but¬† others.¬† ¬†Then I turned the page, and told them I¬† came on¬† the backs of my ancestors.¬† And I knew I had to get to¬†Africa¬† because¬† it was home. Home of my identity. And I told them how privileged they were to be in touch with the honor of being home. And living “at home”. they¬† were the dream¬† I had set out to be.¬† The dream of knowing and believing I had to return to my¬† ancestors¬† ¬†place of residence,¬† and “be that Queen.”¬†

The  queen  that  spoke largely to my destiny and my  significance, and the  queen  that  I studied about  Рand who had lived  here in Africa, long before them. 

Yes,  they were   surprised they were my inspiration.

But my  inspiration had a long and lengthy legacy  of hope and faith.

 Selah. 

I have committed this year in 2018 to writing about ūüíé Diamonds my online course and writing about the gems therein. To make it even more exciting, I’m challenging myself to write a book on how I got to the “Other Side” of pursuing me.”stay tuned as I share more on this journey, & eventually provide links to the course.

‚ÄúWe Are All Like Trees.‚ÄĚ

image_539310778980272.jpg

‚ÄúWe Are All Like Trees.‚ÄĚ

I‚Äôll never forget how her face lit up when she said these words. I was in South Africa, Kuma, South Africa, in fact. I was teaching in a classroom of South African teenagers, and I was on cloud nine, (naw ….101..)

Her words were so simple and freeing.

Powerful, yet pensive, contemplative yet colorful.

Description causes me to attach meaning to sometimes things I barely notice. I know I’d always loved trees. Yet the trees in South Africa spoke to me. I remember having spoke to this classroom brill of teenagers and then coming back to a Johannesburg and spending time with my new friends  and their friends. I stood quietly in the backyard just thanking God for the experience of being in a South Africa, eating dinner with such focused and thoughtful people. There was a tree in that backyard that spoke to me.

Inlistened to her words all over again: ‚ÄúWe are all like trees.‚ÄĚ

And  then it hit me: Our strength. Our endurance. The people we are, and continue to become. We dream, we hope, we encourage , we teach.

And yes, I am one of those Trees.

Yes indeed I am.