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.


Am I worthy?

How do  embrace my worth? What I base my  worth upon?

I haven’t always been able to¬† answer this question¬† confidently. I ¬†began to ask myself these ¬†questions about my worth when ¬†I ¬† was about thirty five years old. ¬†I ¬†didn’t stop until I was about 38 years old and felt some¬† sense of resolve about it.

I used to base my worth upon¬† what my ex-husband ¬†thought was ¬†good and acceptable. ¬†Even after I left him. And then, what my girlfriends ¬†considered important, or… ¬†my parents. Even as an adult, I based ¬†my worth upon these people in my life. ¬† I would think whatever anyone important to me thought was ¬†important, it was also important to me, as well.

But I was so wrong. ¬†I matured a bit, and found that ¬†my worth is based more upon things that ¬†God ¬†finds worthy. ¬†God gave me gifts , and one of the was the ability to ¬† trust my instincts. ¬†So…lately, it’s been my ability to discern . I had a very ¬†hard time trusting myself, when ¬†I was ¬†the age of 37. ¬†Then , one day, that all shifted. ¬†and I decided to began to prioritize myself . I made some decisions with my purpose ¬†and intentions in mind and I began to ¬†ask myself what I wanted.

One of the ¬†most fearful decisions in my life, was to move on. To not be in relationship with someone, who I truly cared for . ¬†The only issues I had with this, was that I had to decide ¬†how to ¬†love myself more than I loved him. ¬†I realized once I ¬†loved myself¬†fully, ¬†( I came to this revelation much later and longer after I had left him), that ¬†loving ¬†me felt really good, and ¬†relationships could not dictate my worth. I would not ¬†and could not control ¬†how someone accepts me; and I actually had to grieve this relationship, even if I was not ready for it to end . ¬†The other relationship… Was similar … I didn’t expect that one to end either , but I was confident it was time to end . I wasn’t grateful for these relationships to come to an end, yet they were purposed to do so.

I was so afraid to make a mistake when I decided ¬†something, I thought if I did, my whole life would disintegrate. ¬†I didn’t trust my own thinking. ¬†And so I began to look at the source of that, to determine where I lost the ability to think for me. I realized my fear– “frozen fear” ¬†discounted my worth. That I could not make decisions for myself unless I ¬†first realized I was worthy of those ¬†decisions. ¬† ¬† And that ¬†confident place of ¬†worth had to come from deep down, so I asked ¬†God where – ¬†had I neglected myself ¬†and why? And I began even to look at my family of origin and notice patterns of ¬†family neglect and I prayed very hard for those patterns to leave my life.

My relationships were central to my worth in my past, and the relationships that didn’t allow me the freedom to live and ¬†choose for myself –taught me I needed to make a few personal changes, and challenge myself differently with how I deserved to be treated . Those changes ¬†taught me I needed to ¬†change a few things about my relationships in general.

I’d like to share here those lessons learned :











1. Don’t filter a relationship ¬†gone wrong as a rejection of you as an individual. ¬†Don’t view it as a rejection. ¬† You should filter it through the guise of ¬†transparency. h If your esteem and worth isn’t higher, when you leave it because you stood for integrity and your values; then the person you were – may have lost a piece of you, in the process of being a part of it. If confusion and setting of goals and ambition disappeared, perhaps the person in that relationship was not healthy. Hopefully, you will be reminded of the truth and ¬†realize that ¬†you are better off believing the truth, rather than the ¬†lies.

2. Don’t ‘force’ relationships to exist. If they aren’t going well , or end up ¬†abruptly and unexpectedly ending, receive it. Let it go. It may have a lesson of release in it, but you’ll never know what it was, or wasn’t , until you decide to fully let it go and can independently evaluate what the lesson is, to learn. Some intimate relationships are meant to be friendships, some are lessons and others are keepers. The keepers cause you to maintain and increase in self-love. You shouldn’t ‘ t lose self-love when you’re forced to take a look a good, honest, look at yourself.

3. Choices come to us ¬†every day. If we don’t let go , we stifle the growth. And sometimes growth needs to happen ¬†through the conduit of surrender. Without our resistance. ¬†And without our interruption. Selah.

4. ¬†As you release… you will feel awful. Even in the grieving process :¬† Accept. Grief comes as resolve when you are able to fully surrender. If you don’t surrender, you become stagnant ¬†and sometimes you’ll go back if you resist the release. Grief, however, matures you, immensely , once you get to the acceptance phase. It’s a Teacher. Grief teaches you the blessing of embracing sorrow. And sorrow, once embraced, offers so much clarity.

5. Be angry. Yell, scream release . Then yell… Scream .. & release again. Do this 20 or more times, until you feel less stifled. Even if you must have a silent scream ¬†Silent screams help too. I ¬†recently took a silent scream within, ( I just couldn’t get it out)… and then I walked in the cold air, breathed and took some of the most beautiful pics I’d ¬†ever taken before. Hmmm… (Maybe my silent scream turned into breathable breaths; because I found another release.) Believe me, though I had to breathe to SAVE my life.

6. Prioritize Your Worth . Oh yeah… The worth came once I moved into acceptance. Because I knew that the decisions I made were in a spirit of integrity; and ¬†I knew ¬†I was in full consideration, of ¬†everyone involved ¬†but me – I had to back track and ask myself – Jenn, …Do you deserve this? And most of my answers were a resounding YES. I completely let go… and ¬†I decided I didn’t want to carry their baggage around with me, any more .

Sometimes complex relationship can confuse you into believing that ¬†something is wrong with YOU. If the integrity factor weighs strong and you know all you have to the relationship was out of the goodness of your heart and for the ¬†sake of being your best self, then you’re fine. If you experience oppression in your heart, feel weighted, or its way too painful , then you may need to process and heal from the experience with a counselor mentor or friend Don’t underestimate the power of a healthy heart lending an ear and – listening in to your struggle.

And one more thing… this is a wonderful time to RECEIVE. To just be around good, fun-lovin’ people, every chance you get. It balances off all the unhealthy stuff.

I’m linking up with the #GiveMEGrace Community!