Image by Mike Coletta
This week, a conversation I had with a friend brought my attention to something. Early in the conversation, she jumped into how much she was learning about herself and the areas she needed to grow. In 2019, she was going to do better, BE better. This went on for a while. On the surface, it sounded like she was all about self-improvement, which I guess is a good thing, but the more she talked, the more negative she sounded about herself. This wasn’t self-improvement anymore: this was “fixing” herself. She didn’t have one positive thing to say about herself. This bothered me. And I told her that.
Here I was on the line with an amazing individual. She's hard-working, strong, persistent, beautiful, loyal. She completely disregarded her dopeness and jumped into self-improvement mode. With all the chatter around the New Year, I hear a lot of people talking about what they are leaving in 2018, but there was some awesomeness in 2018 that you need to bring with you.
I think focusing on what we do well will give us the energy and inspiration to improve and grow. For example, let's say I'm killing it in the money management department. I'm going to celebrate that! And if I notice I'm not the best at spending time with the people I love, I'm not going to beat myself up about that. My self-talk should probably sound like this, "Cyrah, you are great at budgeting resources. Look at how well you balanced your household budget last year. This year, I really want to spend more time enjoying my family and friends. I know you spend a lot of time working, but my relationships are valuable to me. Time is a resource, just like money is a resource. You can do this."
If I talk to myself this way, I'm way more likely to actually change. Most likely, I'll implement a baby step like putting a non-negotiable bi-weekly date night on my calendar. Then, when I do that well, I'm going to celebrate that too!
I'm not perfect, but I'm getting better at treating myself with kindness and grace. Yes, I want to grow, but I will celebrate who I am on the way to where I'm going.
With that being said, here's this week's exercise; write a list of the things you love about yourself. No negativity allowed. Focus on your strengths. When you're done making your list, treat yourself to something awesome. It doesn't have to be anything complicated or expensive, just something you enjoy. (I normally treat myself to a fruity smoothie when I do something awesome.)
Here's a little bit of my list.
1. I am kind.
Someone in my inner circle just told me I’m too nice. I was offended at first because I don’t want anyone thinking they can take advantage of me, but the more I thought about it, the more I enjoyed the thought. I’m kind. Warm. I love being around people who make me feel good about myself. I'm one of those people, so I should enjoy that.
2. I enjoy learning.
Give me a cozy place to sit and a good book, and I'm in HEAVEN. I can’t help it. I love learning from people who've gone before me. I love challenging my brain to engage.
3. I’m a planner.
I used to HATE this about myself. Why do I always have to feel like I'm in control of everything? Why can't I just go with the flow? Why do I always have to have a plan for everything? As an artist, I thought I needed shed that part of my personality, but that's not true.
I've just repurposed it. I can't control the outcome of the audition. But I can control being prepared and doing my best work. The more often I am prepared and do my best work, the better I feel. I've also found that when I'm acting or creating in some other capacity, the creative act is the one place where I'm free from having to have all the answers. I can just play when I create. And that is refreshing and freeing. I can be my true planner self in my life and let myself run wild when I'm creating.
4. I’m quiet.
My immediate family might argue with this a bit because I can get loud when I want to, but I genuinely enjoy observing and speaking only when necessary. It makes me feel wise to not have to be the loudest in the room. I’ve learned how to be interesting without being noisy.
5. I’m spiritual.
I take my spiritual life very seriously, and I like that my beliefs are mine. I like that I feel unapologetically close to God and have been that way for years. It grounds me and brings me so much joy.
I could go on and on, but I will say that I feel lighter and happier after writing this small list. Focusing on the good has a way of doing that me. In the coming years, my prayer is that we continue to be kind to ourselves and allow ourselves room to grow with grace.
What's on your list?
About me . . .
I'm Cyrah Hill. I'm a woman of faith, an actor and an everyday black girl.