Life Lesson # 11
The Things We Believe
What if we stopped believing what the world has to say about us? What if we stopped believing in the names people use to label us – black, white, yellow, light-skinned? I am wondering today what type of things occur in the life of a person that refuses to believe in the categories, stereotypes, and labels given to him/her.
Well, in order to reverse one’s thinking and remove all of the “trash” the world has put into his/her mind, that person must first identify what the “trash” is. I’ll provide a perfect example of what I consider to be the garbage of the world:
If you are a woman, you must be thin for the majority of the world to think you are beautiful.
Like I said, trash right? Here is another prime example:
In order to live a happy and full life you need wealth – loads and loads of money.
The idea that money equals happiness, that’s an idea that many people can relate to. What I would like to challenge you to today is to filter the “trash,” sift out the garbage, and throw away all of the beliefs you’ve built up because society has fed them to you. Ironically, we are spoon-fed our trash by the gallon everyday – the sad part is that we barely recognize that we are being fed. The reality of our lives is that we are told what to wear, what to eat, where to eat, and what to think every single day. Don’t believe me? Just turn on your television and let the myriad ads, commercials, sitcoms, reality shows, music videos, cooking shows, and exercise commercials consume you. Take a minute to observe what you are wearing right now… Do you remember why you bought it? Perhaps it was a clothing commercial on tv, or a friend that recommended a certain store to you, or your inner desire to fit in. My point is simply this: we all have a desire to feel loved, accepted, and part of something. Some people want to feel like the key ingredient in the recipe of another person’s life. Others want to be relied on – the person that everyone turns to in a crisis because he/she is the beacon of hope. Then, there are the people like me – the people that want everybody to like us and be appreciated for the glimmer of happiness that we bring to another person’s life. All in all, society is not doing us a disservice that we are unaware of – advertisement agencies and marketing companies have only picked up on the innate human desires we know exist: our need to feel loved, our desire to fit-in, our longing for acceptance. The only hurtful part about this reality is that often, we are given the wrong ideas of what we should be.
Think about it: how many times have you thought to yourself, “Jesus! I have got to lose weight,” or, “I bet more men/women would find me attractive if I wore this today?” I myself have fallen prey to believing many lies that the world has to offer. When I see a hair commercial on tv, for Pantene or Fructise or Herbal Essences, I think to myself, “Damn, if only I could flip my hair like that! If only it was long, straight, voluminous, and silky. Maybe men will think I am less attractive because I have long, nappy dreads instead…” Before the day has even begun, this is the “trash” I have eaten for breakfast. I have already made myself feel “less than” because I do not fit the standard for what is considered “beautiful.” Clearly, I do not have long, ridiculously straight, flowing blonde tresses, nor will I ever. But, let’s say I start letting that simple thought, planted into my mind by an ad I’ve seen on tv, take route in my daily life. Perhaps I start thinking, “Let me buy a long, blonde wig” (consciously aware of the fact that by attaining long blonde hair, more men might find me attractive). Then, let’s say I go to a high-end hair salon and have them curl my newly prized wig, and fluff it up so that I look just like the woman I saw in the hypothetical Pantene commercial. All the while, my actual beauty is scorched by my inability to recognize it. By transforming myself into what I believe is the idolized, most “beautiful” version of myself, based on a series of thoughts I’ve believed due to society’s influence, I have compromised myself.
I mean honestly, how ridiculous would I look wearing a long, fluffed up blonde wig, with amazingly unique and beautiful dreads hiding underneath? So, I offer this to you: what are the lies that you believe about yourself/your life/ your career due to the things you’ve been told? Have you believed you must be
Thicker with round hips?
More “macho” to prove your manhood?
More aggressive to level-up in your workplace?
More made-up for guys to like you?
“Whiter” for people to accept you?
Pretty in order to get your “foot in the door?”
Lighter-skinned for men to find you attractive?
Gutsy for women to respect you?
What are the things you have allowed yourself to believe due to the brokenness of the world we live in? The truth, my reader, is that you were born with the right everything. The right sized nose, the correct cup-size, the right skin-complexion, the right everything. When you allow yourself to sift through the trash of society, that tells you you must be better, prettier, smarter, and/or more provocative, you compromise the natural beauty you were born with: the beauty to be you. Take some time today and sift through the trash – your real, beautiful, and most genuine self is waiting to comfort you with open arms.