Our eyes behold countless scenes and images within our lifetime and it is up to us to determine for ourselves what we think about what we see. Sometimes we will call what we see beautiful and other times we won’t. We do not exist in this world alone. As we journey our own path we will more than likely meet a wide variety of people from differing walks of life. Their experiences helped to develop and shape their perceptions, ideologies and expectations from the people and the world at large. We have a definite right to whatever opinion we form about these people—if that’s how we choose to spend our time. However, they owe us no explanations for who they are and how they exist in the world. Maya Angelou said we will probably forget what people said but we won’t forget how they made us feel.   Maybe the people that made us feel loved and appreciated are people you and I would also call beautiful.

Have you ever heard a song whose lyrics moved you toward a defining moment in your life? You may call the song beautiful while no one else even notices. Why did the song elicit such a different response? The old adage is true! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Cultural conditioning has influenced our personal ideas of beauty. Within certain cultural constructs some appearances and ways of being are rejected.  The ridiculous one aspect of cultural conditioning is the it inclines us to be like others rather than embracing and celebrating our unique individuality. Behaving in this manner causes us to ignore and dismiss the beauty we encounter in the world and often the beauty we should behold when we look in the mirror.

Trying to look like someone or become just like someone else is a waste of time. No one else can be YOU like you can. The color of your skin, the texture of your hair, size of your feet, shape of your nose and lips all makes you uniquely you. Do you call what you see when you look in the mirror beautiful? You should. No one else’s opinion should be more important to us than our own. You are an original priceless masterpiece! Loving yourself means truly accepting yourself for the beautiful person you were created to be.

My authentic thought:

We are beautiful Black women with a wonderful culture to honor and fully embrace. It is unnecessary to align ourselves with what society deems beautiful. Actually, society is in denial about Black beauty. It’s more than interesting that others pick and choose to emulate certain aspects of Black beauty without acknowledging the origin.

Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

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Growth is fortunately a significant reality of good living. When the state of our existence is healthy and the quality of life consistently improves growth is inevitable. The key then to personal growth is making certain that our outlook from within our personal habitat for life is personally nurturing. Now this does not mean that everything around us has to be positive and perfect—that’s never going to happen. Nor is love and respect from everyone we meet a necessary conduit for growth. The old adage is true. Life is not about what happens to us. Life is about how we respond to what happens to us. Our unique perspective determines whether our experiences add to or subtract from our lives. When we respond to life’s problematic circumstances as opportunities to become we will experience personal growth by leaps and abounds.

I have concluded that personal growth comes when we honor our commitments and goals, forgive ourselves and release the need for perfection.  Honoring our commitment means keeping the promise we made to ourselves on the good days and the bad days—during favorable and unfavorable conditions. Quitting is not an option. Commitment is standing firm on our own convictions. We set ourselves up for failure when we compare the commitments of others to our own. Even when personal goals are the same the path one person takes to get there could be totally different from someone else’s route. The process of reaching our personal goals can only be accomplished by climbing from our own foundation of commitment.

Secondly, making mistakes is part of the process of living. Therefore, forgiveness of self is necessary for growth. Unforgiveness sucks the life from our souls and stagnates our growth.  Even healthy balanced lives do not have error free zones. The most valuable lessons are learned from falling down not winning.  Winning is usually the culmination of gleaning from many lessons learned. Got a whole lot of adversity going on? Good. The Creator says class is in session! The universe will respond to all of your intentions so act according to your desired outcome. Some venture to say there are no mistakes just lessons to learn. As long as we fall forward, (applying what we learned) we will grow and even win from time to time. In those moments our seeds of knowledge bloom into flowers of wisdom. I personally win, every time I learn a lesson from this wonderful journey called life. I’m always trying to learn something cause winning in my life is motivational fuel for the journey.

Finally, we must fully embrace our growth at each phase. Have you ever looked at old photos with embarrassment or regret? Why? What would have made that moment better? You knew what you knew, nothing more—nothing less! It has been said by many elders that when we know better we do better. Too often we look at past photos or reflect on moments in our history with clearer lenses of new knowledge. Of course, if you knew then what you know now things would be different. However that is not the case. We made the best choices or not at the time simply because that’s who we were. We had to be that person then to be who we are today. Don’t remember  your past or present development for that matter with regret. Change the story you tell yourself about what happened. Highlight the good and honor the valuable lessons you have learned. Only then is the time well spent and we are equipped and ready to move forward.

A farmer wholeheartedly accepts the labor of tilling the soil and preparing the earth. He or she is privileged to plant the seed and does not discount the joy of participating in beginning something new. Further the farmer commits to the process of caring for seed, the seedling, the finally full grown plant and harvesting the fruit. Each phase is crucial the process and just as important. The farmer wisely sets right expectations for each phase of growth and development.  So, embrace each phase of your growth with a grateful heart. Every growth phase is part of the unique human process of becoming. You were everything you needed to be then and everything you need to be now—that’s perfect!

In love and peace,

Dr. Free

My authentic thought:

Life is a journey. We delude ourselves if we hope to reach a final destination. There is always more to do and more to learn if we make ourselves availible. Let’s surrender to the process and enjoy the ride.

Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

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Do What U Gotta Do!

Singing about tomorrow, I’m wishing this day would past.
My problems weighing me down, but I know they will not last.
Searching for the answers, all along they’ve been so near.
I took a trip down in my soul and put aside all of my fears,

I said, Go ahead now you, can make it.
Do what you gotta do, do what you gotta do, baby.
Keep your head up, you can make it.
Do what you gotta do.
Go on now, you can make it, do what you gotta do.
Go ahead now, you can make it
Do what you gotta do, do what you gotta do

By Angie Stone

The lyrics above have brought me much encouragement! Each time I listen to the song above, I am motivated to persevere. There are times when we may feel a little discouraged by goals yet to be accomplished. Setbacks are inevitable and adverse circumstances and difficult people are something we have to learn to deal with. It’s all a part of the human existence.

There are times when I’ve ended up starting back at square again and again. In times like these I resolve to do whatever I can in that moment to work toward my goal and I keep it moving. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not come but what I do today, right NOW, will determine the quality of my future.

I’m not a quitter and the lyrics in this song remind me that I am equipped and well able to overcome if I choose to be intentional and willing to do whatever I must do. I am obligated to actively participate in making my own success and victories a tangible reality.

Look within yourself, or Angie says take a trip down in your soul, follow your intuition. I hope the lyrics encourage you the way they’ve encouraged me. Positive self-talk is important. I always tell myself, “As long as I keep moving in the right direction, eventually I will get there.” Hold your head up and tell yourself, “I can make it cause I resolve to do what I have to do!”

Thanks Angie Stone

Be encouraged,

Dr. Free

Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

Leave a comment. Express and share your authentic thoughts.