No Whining Wednesday – Live Not for the Praise of Men

NWW(1)

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 here for 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:

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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.

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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.

No Whining Wednesday – Growth Isn’t Always What You Can See

NWW(1)

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 here for 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
  • Setting Boundaries
  • Discipline
  • Forgiveness
  • Saying No
  • Speaking Up
  • Seeking therapy 
  • 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.

It’s Okay to Begin Again

I have not been as active on this blog as I need to, but know if you see me less, that’s because I’m doing more!

Although I have not published much, I have a bit I am working on, including a new potential author client preparing to release her book (throws invisible confetti), part two to #TWWBE (Yep. Surprise), the anthology for Black History Fun Fact Friday, and tons of articles sitting in my drafts, waiting to be picked to go next.

Poor babies. Mommy has not forgotten you. I hope to get part two of Signs You Are Not Ready to Self-Publish out this week, time permitting.

Today, I want to give you an update remixed with a lesson I’ve learned in the process.

I am starting over with my email list, and I am deleting my Business Facebook page at the close of this year.

I have had the same author email list since 2015, and hard as it was for me to accept, I don’t have the same audience. Much has changed between then and now.

I received good email opens but very little engagement. It started to feel like people were watching me, although they were no longer interested in what I had to offer. I got little feedback which made drafting and sending emails less fun. I was also getting a lot of spam sign-ups. That’s when I knew it was time for a change.

This morning, I deleted everyone from the old list* except for the two people who emailed me a reply to say they are interested in being on the new list.

*This is not my poetry list, but my general author list. If you are subscribed to the poetry list, you are good!

I started to backtrack, though. Building an author email list isn’t easy, and neither was deleting over four hundred emails I’ve worked hard to accumulate over the years. I started to send one final email asking people to reply if they are interested in being added to the new list.

Then, I realized this was an excuse to hold on a bit longer.

The truth is the interested people had already told me as such, and I had to accept that.

It is also true quality will always be better than quantity.

In the end, it didn’t matter how many people were signed up. What mattered was who was engaging. How is it only two people replied to me? I decided this was unacceptable.

I also decided to change my strategy. It is not lost on me my part in this. I’ve struggled with my list for some time, and I hope to become better at it.

And instead of deleting my email list altogether, I am starting over. I still believe in the value of the author’s email list, especially in light of how many people have their social media pages deleted.

The lesson can be summed up in the following quote:

“You get to change your mind about things that are no longer aligned with or supportive of your growth.”

– Alex Elle

Simply put, it’s okay to begin again.


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Thank You

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.

Thank you.

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Enjoy your weekend and please, be safe!

Growth is Uncomfortable

I spent most of September reflecting on my writing and spending time with family. I’ve got tons of unfinished manuscripts in need of work and truth is they are hard to finish. I do not mean hard as in difficult to write. I mean hard as in finding the joy in publishing them.

I have felt bored with the monotony of publishing books. The support doesn’t feel the same. The blog doesn’t feel the same and now, even Self-Publishing doesn’t feel the same.

I am always writing, and I love publishing but I’m no Terry McMillan with millions of readers lined up to read my next book or any other author with multi-city tours lined up to guarantee that the next release will provide a change in routine. I do not mean this to sound pessimistic.

I am not giving up on publishing but those of you who have been Self-Publishing for a while may understand. No real change can get tiring. I have felt like King Solomon when he said, “the making of many books has no end and much study wearies the flesh.” (Ecc 12:12)

I feel myself transitioning to a level I do not as of yet fully understand.

Last week, the revelation came and while I know it’s not the only revelation on its way to me, it’s one I think important enough to share.

Growth is uncomfortable.

This is an exciting phase and every day I am reminded of its promise. Just recently a media specialist contacted me for something I cannot speak on at the moment. These kinds of moments provide me with the proof that I am not going crazy and that perhaps my name is being uttered in rooms I have not walked into yet.

Growth is like strength. It doesn’t feel you are being strengthened when you are in process. It doesn’t feel like growth when it’s happening. It feels uncomfortable and uncertain. I can feel myself changing in a way I never have before. I can almost reach out and touch it.

The next time you feel uneasy and uncomfortable, consider that perhaps, you are growing. Evolving. Blooming.

A little discomfort helps us to grow. The feeling is not fun, but it’s a big part of improving our personal development.

“Routines may make you feel at ease and in control, but what a constant routine really does is dull your sensitivities. Think about the times in your life when you’ve driven the same route repeatedly: after a certain number of trips, you start tuning out most of it. Have you ever had a trip to the office where you barely remember what happened after you got in the car? If you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you might find yourself tuning out much of your life on a daily basis. (Sujan Patel Entrepreneurs, Growth Marketer & Co-founder of Web Profits)

 

To keep from tuning out, I had to stop and think real hard about why I was feeling such discomfort and then I had to accept it, even as I watch people become distant and even as I strive to overcome my own limited thinking.

Brain research shows that putting yourself in new and unfamiliar situations triggers a part of the brain that releases dopamine, the “happy,” chemical. That part of the brain is also said to only be activated when we experience new things.

I don’t want you to think this post is about quitting. This isn’t about quitting. This is about allowing ourselves to grow/level up.

It is tempting to want to revert into that state of normalcy, to remain as we are. It’s easy to go through life unchanged out of fear that this new version of us won’t be accepted or that someone may accuse us of no longer possessing the same moral integrity as before. And how can we not think this way? We’ve been well-trained to think newness and change are inherently bad.

This is not the truth. Not all change is bad and since all change teaches us something, perhaps even change we perceive as bad is not so.

In the words of Maya Angelou, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Few people enjoy the feeling of being uncomfortable and as we are now a few months away from 2020, time will not wait for us to catch on. My challenge for this month and the rest of this year is to get past that initial feeling of wanting to return to the norm, so I can grow and benefit from that discomfort.

I hope the same for you.

A Poem is Born

Photo by Marc Schulte on Unsplash

Not all poems are conceived in light

Some of them are buried in darkness

Surrounded by dirt and soil

gritted teeth

and clenched fists.

Sometimes the lyric is a resurrection of rage

a fire that is only quenched through spilled ink

on blank pages.

Sometimes poems are tears

because not all compositions are conceived

in well-lit rooms

some poems are seeds that only grow in darkness

or did you not know that is how seeds grow?

Hidden, covered and planted in the dirt

the sun coming in from someplace outside of itself

water pouring in from someplace outside of itself.

Some sonnets are crushed grapes

crumpled and left for dead

or did you not know that is how wine is made?

Something fermenting

festered and developing into something worse.

Some poems are nearly dead

before they reach the light.

Or did you not know that is how Messiah rose?

from the grave

from the pit

from the earth.

When you feel that you cannot write

that your life is a laughing contradiction

thrown back into your face

a joke everyone gets but you

when your hands tremble with uncertainty

too weak to hold the pen

too fragile to unvirgin the page

Write anyway.

Because not all poems are conceived in light

some of them, the best of them

are buried in darkness

and covered in dirt.

until suddenly, like a sprouting seed

a poem is born.


REMINDER: Don’t forget to preorder Keep Yourself Full in ebook below. Free with Kindle Unlimited.

Keep Yourself Full is a spiritual handbook that focuses on our return to self-love. It is a reminder that self-care nourishes the quality of our lives and makes us fit to be of service to others. Through my testimony, I give examples of how we self-abuse and how that differs from self-love, why it is essential not to take things so personally, why we must establish and enforce healthy boundaries, and how assumptions kill relationships. We learn that by investing in our well-being spiritually, physically, mentally, and professionally, we can be of service fully to others. It cannot be ignored that we treat others how we feel about ourselves. When we realize that what we do to others, we are equally doing to ourselves, we can use this awareness to heal. By treating ourselves better, we treat others better. Keep Yourself Full is about keeping ourselves filled with love and all that is good so that we are overflowing with enough to share with everyone else.

CLICK HERE TO PREORDER

CLICK HERE TO MARK AS WANT TO READ ON GOODREADS

Small Growth is still Growth

It’s hard running a small business. Independent Artists (authors, publishers, musicians, filmmakers, etc.) aren’t backed by huge companies and corporations and many of us don’t have millions of dollars in the bank. In fact, most small business owners still have 9-5s because, like you, we have bills to pay and families to provide for. But the truth is most people only see the result, the finished book, the mastered track, the Indie film. You don’t see the prayers that go up, the tears that come out, and hope that what you are doing is not in vain. You don’t see the depressed spirits of artists who lack support and feel like giving up. Sometimes it can be so overwhelming that it doesn’t seem as if you are making progress at all.

That’s why noticing small growth is important to me. I don‘t post about my work for applause, fake pats on the back or to look important. I post and get excited about it because baby steps still move us forward. Even when it’s something small and even when it may seem silly to others I am free and I have the freedom of celebrating where I am on the way to where I am going. It’s time we stop waiting until we’ve become Bestsellers to see the value in our work.

In these moments let’s remind ourselves that progress does not have a price tag, it’s not a social media meme, and it’s not a popularity contest. If you went from $0 to $10, you have progressed. If you went from no book sales at a signing to five books sold, you have progressed. If you’ve gone from wanting to publish a book to holding that book in your hands, you have progressed. Even if you’ve only moved from the bottom of the bookshelf squeezed between books where hardly anyone will ever see it, to the top of the poetry section (yours truly) you have progressed! Stop waiting to be some kind of celebrity before you realize the value in your work. Growth is growth no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

If you love poetry, black history, or self-care literature and you are in the Marietta/Atlanta area, I’d appreciate you investing in me by stopping by this B&N (address below) and purchasing a copy of my poetry book, I am Soul or grab and review the ebook on Amazon here. (Listen to my poetry on YouTube here).

Thank you for your time, attention, and support of a small business owner. Remember that support begets support.

Store Location:

Barnes and Noble Booksellers

The Avenue West Cobb

3625 Dallas Hwy

Suite 40

Marietta, GA 30064