Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.
If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page herefor past episodes.
Today’s inspiring word is about praise and criticism. There are many variations of this quote, and challenging to track down the first person who said it. The one I found most fitting for this feature is this one:
Another variation is this one:
“If you live off a man’s compliments, you’ll die from his criticism.”—Cornelius Lindsey.”
There are many reasons we whine and complain. One of them is because we are not getting enough attention. Some of us have no real issues in our lives except we want to be seen, acknowledged, and praised. This is not entirely a bad thing, but it could be if we are dependent on it.
Sometimes when we are frustrated, we want to vent to others. This can be a good thing and feel like a warm hug from that one trustworthy friend, much like a child who falls and hurts themselves and gets a kiss on the boo-boo from mom. But, too many kisses from mom will have the child purposely hurting themselves to get that validation.
I am no psychologist, and I am certainly not your therapist, but in my thirty-four years on this earth, I’ve learned we do this as adults too. We might not run to our mothers for hugs and kisses, but we run to other people for validation when we do not recognize our own potential or when we want to be coddled. The danger in this is we end up living off the praises of men and dying from their criticisms.
And how do we die?
We cannot function without praise, and we do not understand how to discern negative feedback.
We have invested so much of ourselves into what other people think and how other people feel, and what other people think we should do with our lives that we become like little children who cannot be told no. If you don’t have the support of the group, you are out here throwing temper tantrums. You’ve become an ‘energy vampire’ who desperately needs to feed.
No matter how good of a person you are, you are still the villain in someone’s story because you simply cannot please everyone. Once you stop caring what people think of your decisions and whether or not they like you, you step into your most authentic self.
Problems need solutions, and complaining to others can be good when we need to be heard or are looking for answers. After all, it is wise to listen to advice, especially when coming from people who have been where we want to go or experienced the troubles we are currently experiencing.
Giving and receiving genuine praise and compliments is a good thing, and we all need it, but balance is necessary. Without balance, we depend on the feedback from others more than on our own souls. We open ourselves up to everyone else’s input and everyone else’s solutions despite our own intuition, and we seek to be validated because we do not recognize our own value.
Not only do we want to cut down on complaining, but we also want to cut down on letting other people’s complaints negatively influence us.
You matter, and your presence is necessary to the world—the end.
Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.
If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page herefor past episodes.
Today’s inspiring word is about growth:
I’ve heard growth several times this week and the one message that stuck with me is this one.
“Growth isn’t always what you can see.”
While I love that people realize the importance of self-love these days, social media can make that look like a fairy tale. People start to make money and travel, and then they post pictures of themselves living their best life and caption it something about self-love. This can give the impression loving on yourself is only luxury.
But self-love is not all glamorous. It is not manicures and pedicures and vacations to Ghana. That can be a form of self-care, but self-love includes:
Acknowledging your own crap
and more (add them here)
People have gone so far as to say they are not humble because “humility is thinking low of oneself.” A lot of this “self-love” on the internet is really just arrogance masquerading as growth.
What I have noticed is growth is being promoted as this outward, physical thing. Growth can be outward. We do not have the same bodies as adults we had as children because our bodies grow and expand as we age.
But a twelve-year-old with a twenty-year-old body still has the mind of a twelve-year-old.
And a sixteen-year-old who reads and counts at the level of a ten-year-old would be considered for a learning disability.
These examples show growing outwardly is not enough.
Outward growth is expansion. Inward growth is depth.
Root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and beets don’t look like much outwardly because they grow underground. Peanuts also grow underground.
We can also see this by looking at the tree in general. Its branches stretch wide with leaves and fruit, and it’s beautiful.
But if that tree is not rooted in the soil, it will be blown away by the weakest storm.
No matter how beautiful the tree has expanded on the outside, the tree doesn’t stand a chance if its roots have not grown deep below.
Just because you do not physically see the growth does not mean it’s not happening.
Coined by Iyanla Vanzant, NWW is a segment I added to this blog a couple of years ago to help us stay motivated for the remainder of the week. You can look at it as the extra push to get over the hump on “hump day.” For the entire day on Wednesdays, you cannot whine, complain, or criticize.
No Whining Wednesday is not only a fun exercise but a gratitude practice. To keep from complaining, you have to remind yourself of all the things you are grateful for.
The hope is we can lessen the complaints we have not only on Wednesdays but every day.
Here are some definitions:
To Whine – give or make a long, high-pitched complaining cry or sound; to grumble, murmur or complain in a feeble way.
To Complain – express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event; state that one is suffering from; state of grievance.
To Criticize – indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way; to condemn, attack, discourage.
If you are new to this blog please visit the NWW page herefor past episodes.
Today’s inspiring word to help get through your day comes from Vanzant herself.
Though I am a black movie buff and can probably quote the lines to every black movie ever made, I don’t watch much TV during the day. Most of my TV watching is in the evenings and on the weekend. If I find I am finished with work early, I am reading or listening to a YouTube video in the background while doing laundry or something. While listening to an inspirational compilation of Iyanla Vanzant’s speeches, I came across this quote.
“Never judge your clarity on how others respond.”
I am sure we can all draw our own meaning from this. For me, it means having the courage to stick with what you know is right in your heart. It means if you’ve been given divine instruction to do something, don’t change your mind because someone else rejects the idea or doesn’t understand it. It means if you’ve been given absolute clarity on something, don’t let others plant the seed of doubt in your heart despite how good their intentions. It means to hold on tight to your integrity.
Clarity – the quality of being coherent and intelligible. Clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.
It was hard for me to delete my email list at first because I was worried about how other people would respond. I didn’t want anyone to take it personally. Look at me, worried about how somebody else will feel about something I am absolutely clear about doing. Ain’t that crazy?
It was only when I listened and did what I knew needed to be done that I could see the freedom in the decision.
Since restarting my list, I have far fewer subscribers but more engagement. My open rate went from 30-70% because the people on my list want to be there. I am absolutely clear about that.
What does this quote mean to you?
Have you ever changed your mind about something you were clear about because of how someone else responded?
How do you plan to lessen your number of complaints today?
As I scrolled through my LinkedIn page (and I am rarely on LinkedIn), I came across this post and was surprised to learn of Sue Vincent’s passing.
I know Sue from her promotional posts for authors and her generosity in opening up her space to give others time to shine. I’ve been featured on her blog a few times, and each time that we emailed, she was always welcoming to have me.
I feel sadness about Sue because I have not been as immersed in the blogging community as I used to be. My schedule is crazy these days, and I have not had the time to dedicate myself to my own blog, much less engage with others. On searching her name, I found tons of posts dedicated to her and posts she wrote about her illness. I am so very sorry for missing it all.
I also want to note that Sue was a poet, and with it being National Poetry Month, I dedicate this post to her honor.
As per the title of this post, I want to remind us to give people their flowers while they live.
If there is someone you appreciate or someone you love, or someone who has added value to your life in any way, I encourage you to make it known to them now.
Why not now?
Last June 2020 was the last time I saw my mother alive. I had taken a quick trip to Chicago to celebrate the life of another person I knew who had passed and stopped by my mom’s place. I was literally only passing through. My husband had to make a run, so I ended up staying with my mother for longer than I had anticipated.
At the time, I was irritated Moshe was taking so long to come back. I did not see how much of a blessing it was he took this run.
Before I left, I put a necklace on her neck that I had meant to ship but never got the chance to. As I snapped it on her, I kissed her cheek and left. This wasn’t out of the ordinary. It is something I did all the time, kiss her cheek and tell her I loved her. The difference this time is I didn’t know this would be the last time I would do it, as she would pass on in September.
I have been away from home since 2009, when we moved to Louisiana. I now live in Georgia, but most of my family still lives in Chicago. That said, I didn’t see my mom daily because we did not live in the same city. If I had not come to Chicago that June, the last memory I would have of her would have been December of 2019 when we celebrated her 60th, and unknown to us, her last birthday.
We never know when will be the last time we see or speak to someone, but we still take it for granted. We still treat each other like every day is promised. We still love people more in death than we do in life. We see this every time a celebrity passes.
I hope that one day this will change.
I hope that one day we will live with such immense gratitude that hindsight is no longer 20/20 because we will see things clearly at the moment.
This post is longer than I would like, but I think the message is necessary.
If you’ve been following me online for any significant amount of time, you know I am always saying thank you or reintroducing myself to new readers. I do this because of my firm belief in the phrase, “people don’t have to support you.”
Let me tell you a story.
My husband was driving, and I was looking out the window of the passenger’s seat as we passed by the brick houses, mansions, and condos of downtown Atlanta. “This probably where most of the celebrities live,” I joked. We talked about how movies never show the city’s complete image by filming movies in less wealthy areas. Since we are both from Chicago, we talked about Chicago films where we didn’t recognize the city because it was on the side of town we have never lived.
As we drove, we passed by a fancy-looking hotel where a man stood. He leaned against his suitcase, a white sign on its top with black ink that read: “I lost everything.”
My smile faded, and my heart felt heavy as I realized he was homeless. He didn’t look like those fakes that try to scam people out of their money, either. Something about his vibe told me he was not joking. He had really lost everything.
The US economy was already bad, but since the COVID-19 Pandemic, things have gotten worse. People are out of jobs, out of money, out of homes, and out of hope. Any little they scrape together is reserved for only the most essential items. If someone spends money buying books or t-shirts, or anything that is not greatly essential (okay well, books are essential to me but I mean, like food), it means so much more to them, and they deserve a thank you.
Because they didn’t have to do it and sometimes, they couldn’t do it, but they invested in you.
Entrepreneurship has been on the rise a lot lately, and as an entrepreneur, I think that’s a good thing. I have always stood for the underdog and will still rally around the concept of Independence. There is a humility about small, independent businesses that I love. Plus, every large company started as a small business. And since the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and the countless black deaths, it has encouraged more people to support black-owned businesses and independent businesses.
This awakening means that while many people are struggling, many people are also thriving even amid this Pandemic. However, I am disappointed to see a lot of bullying among entrepreneurs, both large and small. Some people are shaming people with 9-5s when truth be told, most entrepreneurs in this economy have 9-5s, and their business is the real side hustle. That or their spouses have 9-5s. There’s nothing wrong with this, but some people think there is. People also throw shame when they try to bully people into supporting them.
Bully others into supporting them?
It means making people feel small and insignificant for not buying your services or product. It means threatening to cut people off because they didn’t support your business. It means neglecting to consider all the other things people have going on in their lives right now and that maybe they don’t have the extra money to spend or perhaps don’t have the time.
Ignore social media posts for a second and think about what someone may go through behind the scenes.
Maybe they cried their eyes out this morning.
Maybe they prayed on their knees, drowned in tears.
Maybe they were going to lose their home or apartment or children.
Maybe they lost their job, career.
Maybe a family member died.
Maybe people have other things on their mind that take precedence over buying your bar of soap.
And if you think someone’s being fake for wearing a smile through their storm, then you need not look passed the smile of Chadwick Boseman, who battled cancer while filming movies and never complained.
I watched my sister-in-law battle and eventually perished from cancer. My dad, too, so I know what Chadwick did was not easy from personal experience. And while everyone is praising his silence now, that is not how we treat the “regular everyday people,” we know in actual life who battle in private. We call them phony for not opening up as we think they should. Sometimes people don’t talk, not because they are being fake or secretive, but because it’s just none of your business. Let’s allow people to give their testimony in their own time.
My point in all of this is that no one is obligated to spend money with a business only because it exists. Anything that anyone chooses to give, including time and information, is a gift. I always say “thank you” because people don’t have to support me.
People support businesses that offer something they need, whose message or value system aligns with their own, helps them solve a problem and companies they trust. Someone might enjoy eating bread, and you may launch a bread business, but that bread lover is still not obligated to support you. Maybe over time, once you’ve gained their trust and they’ve sampled your product, they may try it and when they do, say thank you.
Because they didn’t have to do it, so show some gratitude.
To better conclude this point, I will again turn to Tyler Perry as an example.
For the record, this isn’t about Perry’s personal life. I will not comment on him dressing up as a woman, Madea, or his elite status because its none of my business. I am commenting on some basic business practices I see from him as an outsider looking in that many newer entrepreneurs can learn from. Everything else is for an entirely different conversation.
From a business perspective, you see the same stories and the same actors in Tyler Perry’s films because Perry has a good understanding of his targeted audience. He knows the persona of the people who like his stuff, and he focuses on giving them what they want. Many beginner entrepreneurs can learn from this. Instead of guilt-tripping people into supporting your business and trying to sell to everyone, find your targeted audience or that specific group of people you want to reach based on shared interests and market and direct your attention to those groups.
This means that if only five people like your post, that’s a good thing because chances are those five people are genuinely interested in what you offer. Listen, I’m a damn good writer. I know this to be true. But I also know it to be true that everyone doesn’t want to read what I write, and that’s cool because I am not for everyone and everyone is not for me. I work to serve my audience no matter how small, and I appreciate all the support and time my people invest in my writing.
He passed me his phone with a world map pulled up next to an article. The article detailed that because of the extreme of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, most countries are not allowing citizens from America into its lands. While we were not planning a trip out of the country, this made me think about the preciousness of now, of gratitude, and how quickly moments become memories.
How often do we stop to enjoy the minutes in front of us, before rushing on to the next something?
Fun Fact: I take a lot of pictures on vacation, but I rarely post them to social media when they were taken. Sometimes, I may not post photos at all on that day.
I started this practice after realizing how much I was missing with my head down. My husband would say stuff like, “did you see that deer?” No. I didn’t. I was uploading photos to Facebook.
I kept taking lots of pictures and sharing them, but not before enjoying the moment in front of me first. It has made all the difference. I can still taste the sweetness of the oranges we picked from the orange trees in Spain and smell the delicate fragrance of the lemons we picked from the lemon trees. And I can still remember the moment my husband snapped this picture, capturing forever a time I am not sure will ever return.
I do not know if the world is going back to what we considered normal, and I am not sure when we will travel again. But, I know that I will keep taking pictures and capturing moments because today is here; living and waiting to be filled. This second. This minute. This single hour. This unprecedented time. This precious right now that will undoubtedly become history. How does it feel to live history? Will we remember? What will we make of these moments before they become memories? What will we do with all these precious hours in front of us before they are gone?
When I first started this blog I always celebrated the small growth. I have learned to appreciate my journey without comparing it to anyone else’s, to clap for myself without feeling the need to explain it, and to double check that everything I do is in humility and not to feed the ego.
I have learned the importance of owning my stuff.
Owning your stuff means to own your decisions and accomplishments even if others do not deem it important.
Owning your stuff means to be proud of yourself without prefacing it with that insecure, “I know this not as better as some,” stuff.
If you can’t be proud of you, who will?
Stop lessening your value. You don’t have to be like everyone else or do what everyone else is doing. A perfect example is how everyone is going LIVE now. That is great and I love how people are being creative amid this pandemic, but you don’t have to go LIVE if it’s not you. There is no one way to be successful online.
Do what feels right with your soul first because as COVID has reminded us, life is not all about numbers, followers, likes, and it is not all about money. That is not why I acknowledge these mini milestones as I have done since I started this blog.
…but I am getting sidetracked…
Thank you for following this blog, for supporting my writing, and for being a part of this journey.