Posts Tagged ‘self worth’

Racism within a race; dark vs. light skinned girls

Friday, May 27th, 2011

I just watched a sad but insightful video  about “dark skinned girls” and was amazed by how much the women who were part of the documentary were so negatively affected by their skin tone.

What stands out to me the most is that every single one of those women was in pain because she felt like her skin tone defined her as ugly. Their pain is a result of what society has collectively agreed defines beauty and that, in many black communities, means being light skinned which then as a default means that being dark skinned translates to being ugly.

I remember some years ago, one of my aunts jokingly remarked that I was not all that beautiful but appeared so because I was lighter skinned. I remember, in my childish ignorance, thinking how “lucky” I was that I was not as dark as she was. Years later, I find it almost laughable that we even had that conversation but the sad truth is that for a lot of people, in black communities, those kinds of conversation are not a thing of the past. How dark or light a black woman is is still a very relevant topic.

In recent years, I find that so much emphasis is being placed on recognizing “chocolate sisters” as beautiful which is great but it seems as though in an effort to appreciate the “chocolate” we are now suggesting that “caramel” is not as beautiful or “exotic”.

Here is the bottom line: How “chocolate” or “caramel” a woman is only as important as we collectively agree that it is. It is up to us to cultivate a  culture where we are able to look past surfaces  such as skin tone or color.

How long are we going to allow our minds to be raped by false beliefs? I say NO MORE!!!

Take a look at the video here: Dark Girls

ME TIME: What every woman needs and every woman should have

Friday, April 29th, 2011

A few weeks ago, as I sat in my office at the college at 6:30 in the morning, I began to have a nose bleed. *Gruesome story Alert: Naturally, I jumped out of my chair and raced to the bathroom. I leaned into a sink, hoping that the nose bleed would stop in a couple of minutes. It didn’t! It got worse! I have never seen so much blood in my life. It was out of control.

After about 15 minutes of waiting for this out of control nose-bleed to stop, I realized that maybe it wasn’t going to stop so I took a huge wad of paper towels and held it to my nose. It took only a few minutes to soak through and then I needed another one, and another and another…

Eventually, another woman who happened to be in the vicinity became aware of my predicament and she being in administrative role at the college, knew exactly what to do. A few minutes later, I was sitting in my office with two paramedics and a whole lot more attention than I wanted. They took my blood pressure and it was the highest that it has ever been in my life! I’m so grateful that I was sitting in my desk chair because I was now also feeling a bit light headed and could not think clearly. Even in my foggy haze, all I could think about was my lecture at 8:30am and my long list of “things to do”! I never made it to the lecture because I was in no condition to teach anybody anything!

A few hours later I was sitting on a hospital bed nodding my head as the doctor told me that, according to his examination, and based on what I told him, there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. The only prescription that he gave me was to “take it easy” for a couple of days. And so I did…

This is what I have learned,or more rather, been reminded of: “ME time” is not a luxury, it is an essential part of a balanced life. In the weeks leading up to my dramatic episode, I had been looking at my “ME time” as a luxury that I could not afford to indulge in. After all, I have a husband, children, hundreds of college students, I’m writing a book, I have an Audio program in production, I’m writing a new course for Black Women at the college, I had to go to a seminar to get certified for one of my courses, my website and blog needed updating, I had to make plans for the conference in Atlanta, get my National Speakers Association membership processed and on and on and on! All these list items are very important and yes, they needed to be done, but so did “ME time”! In leaving out just one vital thing, ME time, almost everything else was almost jeopardized by the breakdown of my physical body.

My body spoke to me in three ways:
1. An out of control nose-bleed
2. Unbelievably high blood pressure
3. Light-headedness resulting in an inability to think clearly

Here is what I was forced to hear: out of control, high pressure and foggy thinking. Operating this way could not sustain the level of Excellence that I hold myself to.

As I look back at the last four months of my life, there has been such a whirlwind of activity that I can’t believe that one person (me) accomplished it all! The accomplishments are great, but I find myself wondering if it is all worth it. If we push ourselves, physically and emotionally, so much that our physical body starts to get weary and our emotional well-being starts to decline, it is time to stop!

I firmly believe that without taking time away from our busy work and home lives, we do ourselves a huge disservice and we also hurt, rather than help, our loved ones and those that we have professional relationships with. Most women, me included, wear so many hats in their lives that they never take the time to just take off all the hats and attend to the person under all those hats.

I woke up early this morning and while my family slept, I had two full hours of quiet and peace and it has soothed my soul and satiated my spirit. My thinking is clearer and my whole being is at peace. I’ve, once again, been reminded just how vital and valuable “ME Time” is.

So, my friends take some time for YOU. It is not a luxury; it is essential. If you don’t, please don’t hesitate to call me when you need a ride to the clinic or the hospital-that’s what friends are for! But on a serious note, take time to relax and rejuvenate. You’ll be glad (and at peace) that you did.

PS: If your friends, employers, husbands and other family members complain or ask why you need this (and they will), just tell them because “Noma said so!”

Selah

Tyra Banks to become a “baby mama”?

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

This past week, many news outlets have been reporting that while on CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Tonight’ show Tyra Banks hinted that she “may be” trying to have a baby soon. She then went on to say that there were no wedding bells ringing any time soon and when asked if marriage should come before the baby, she replied, “I don’t think it’s necessarily necessary.”

Now, generally, I have nothing but love for Tyra Banks but I’m disappointed by the way that she seems to be treating such serious issues so lightly! First of all, having a baby, if at all, is something that should be very well thought out and planned if you’re going to walk that path unmarried. Second of all, Tyra Banks should and probably does know that the statistics of unwed women having children in African American communities is alarming! These same statistics have been shown in study after study to have a correlation with a lot of the negative issues that people face in African American communities, such as the institutionalization of young black men and high pregnancy and high school dropout rates for young women.

I have said it before and I will say it again, women like Tyra Banks are role models and they have a responsibility to young women (and men) to hold themselves to a higher standard of conduct. Obviously Tyra has the right to make choices for herself that make sense for her but she has to do so in a responsible manner. Carelessly going on television and throwing words like “maybe” and “necessarily necessary” around while discussing issues as serious and sobering as marriage and having children fall way below the expectations that I had for Ms. Banks.

My appeal to Ms. Banks is simple: Be mindful of what you’re saying and doing. A lot of young women look up to you to set the standard for “model” (pun intended) behavior!

Self Esteem; How to change

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Most of the time when I write, I write from my personal experiences with the faith that what I share will be informational, encouraging or inspiring. Up until now, I have generally kept my most intimate relationship, my marriage, completely private and I will continue to do so, but today, I am allowing everyone a small peak inside. Yesterday, I had an intimate conversation with my husband and one simple thing he said, reduced me to tears.

“You’re a good person, Noma.”

That was all it took to reduce me to tears. One of the reasons why this one simple truth reduced me to tears is that it had three levels.
1. It is true
2. He genuinely believes it to be true
And the most profound one is
3. I genuinely believe it to be true.

To some, it may seem like such a simple and maybe even uninteresting, random piece of information. Those of us, however, who have been challenged with living with a low self esteem, learning to raise it and finally overcoming it, through change, to emerge as solid, confident and authentic women (or men), will understand the victory in hearing those words and recognizing their three levels; most importantly, the third level.

It is my firm belief that everyone, yes, EVERYONE, is good; or more accurately put, has the seed of goodness within them. What is sad is that sometimes, we don’t know that to be true. We start to believe the lie that we are evil, bad, undeserving etc. Sometimes, it is other people who don’t see the good in us and unfortunately, we buy into the lies that they have bought into.

Here is a small challenge: Think about what you say to yourself about yourself. (Inner dialogue) This usually translates to what you say, out loud, about yourself and how you conduct yourself. Every day, I hear people say things like “I’m such a loser”, “I’m so clumsy”, “ I’m so fat” and on and on and on! None of these statements are “good” but these people are thinking them, speaking them and displaying the behaviors that correlate with the thoughts and statements and that is ultimately the state of their lives.

One of the reasons why I was reduced to tears when I heard the words “You’re a good person, Noma.” was that in that moment, I realized that I had heard those words spoken to me before and had intellectually thought it to be true but there was always some background whisper (in my mind) that always said “That is not true…” and sadly, the whisper would continue with a laundry list of items to back up the lie. Tears streamed down my face as I realized that, in that moment, the whisper was not there. I realize that it may come back, but I now know that my voice, my husband’s voice and the truth are so much more powerful.

The knowledge of my “goodness” translates into my thoughts, speech and conduct. I’m not saying that I am without flaws or that I don’t sometimes make mistakes and even, at times, run into my own ego. What I am saying is that I have raised my level of thought, speech and conduct. In so doing, I have watched as my life has slowly unraveled to conform to this one thought. I now enjoy a healthy relationship with myself. I love myself and respect myself. I treat my husband with love and respect and he mirrors that back to me. It does not stop with just me and my husband; I approach every person I meet with love and respect and more often than not, I get the same love and respect. I meet every day with an expectation that it will be fantastic and it usually is.

All in all, I have a wonderful life!

My final thought is this: If you’re not satisfied with your life or life circumstances, then your starting point is your thoughts. What are you thinking? Whatever you’re thinking is what is ultimately creating what you perceive as an unhappy life. If you can change your thoughts, you can change your life. I did it and so can you!

Peace

You can accomplish your goals with Burning Desire and Belief

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Recently, a student came to me and told me about one of his aspirations and solicited my help in turning it into a definite goal and then creating an action plan. It is standard practice for me to ask my students to e-mail me any requests that they have. I do this for two reasons:
1. Putting their request in writing encourages them to get clearer about what they want to accomplish as well as what they are asking for.

2. This process weeds out the students (and people, in general) that are not serious and have the potential to waste my (precious!) time.

It has been a week and the student has still not e-mailed me. There are three possible reasons:
1. He does not believe in himself and therefore does not believe that he can or will accomplish the goal (Lack of Belief)

2. He does not believe in me and therefore does not believe that I can help him (Lack of Belief, again)

3. He is not serious about his goal; he does not have a burning desire. (Lack of Desire- lack of burning desire)

I can confidently say this because I know that when you have a “burning desire”, you do not make excuses, rationalizations and justifications about why you cannot accomplish your goal. I also know that sometimes we experience fear and doubt, which causes a lack of belief. Sometimes the lack of belief is a result of a low self esteem or lack of confidence. This is what I know for sure: if the flame in your “burning desire” is hot enough, it will push you past any fear, doubt and lack of belief, as well as distractions and everyday life and work issues that people tend to use as excuses.

So what’s the lesson? It’s simple: Find what you love; what you’re passionate about and then use your imagination to light a fire under it.

If you do this, you will accomplish your goals and I’m ready to work with you! [email protected]

Chris Brown apologizes for his behavior and Robin Roberts invites him back

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Chris Brown is now, reportedly, apologizing for the shocking and unacceptable behavior that he displayed at the ABC studios is New York a couple of days ago and Robin Roberts has reportedly invited him back.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; if Chris Brown was genuinely upset and that was how he displayed his emotions, then he needs help. We are all responsible for our emotions-period. No amount of blaming, criticizing and judging of others as an excuse for our behavior makes them responsible for it.

I watched the video clip of some of Chris Brown’s interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts. It is my opinion that Robin persisted on staying on the topic of Rihanna a little longer than was necessary, to the extent that it was uncomfortable for both her and Chris. That being said though, I still maintain that Chris Brown’s alleged temper tantrum which led to him smashing a window and storming out onto the street topless is not even close to acceptable.

We are all responsible for how we choose to express our emotions and if we do so in a destructive manner, that is an indication that we need to make different choices. If Chris Brown was so frustrated by Robin Roberts’ questions, he could have gone and written her a strongly worded letter to let her know or he could have gone and released some of that energy by exercising or maybe even writing a song, but throwing a temper tantrum and destroying other people’s property just doesn’t “cut it”.

I feel compelled to note though, that the last time a woman (Rihanna) irritated Chris, he physically assaulted her but this time he decided to take his frustrations out on a window. This may be a step in the right direction. In my desperate attempt to look at the bright side, I’m applauding Chris for not attacking Robin and instead, punching a window. Although this is the lesser of the two evils, Chris is still a long way from being the role model that he could be.

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter encourages us to never give up

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Don’t ever give up on yourself. Whether it is your homework, class work or yard work; if you give up, you’re not giving up on the work; you’re giving up on yourself and a piece of that never leaves you. You carry that piece into the next thing that you do and you will continue to give up until giving up becomes a part of you.

Today, I went to see a speech given by Rubin “Hurricane” Carter at the college and I’m so inspired! In the above paragraph, I’m paraphrasing the main “nugget’ that I got from his speech. Here is a brief summary of his bio that was released by the college:

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was a formidable boxer who had won the European Light Welterweight Championship for two years in a row when his promising career was cut short. In 1966, he was falsely arrested for the murder of three white people in a bar. Sentenced to a triple life-sentence, Carter always maintained his innocence. Subjected to a nineteen-year travesty of justice, he was finally set free in 1985 by a federal court. His story was immortalized in a Bob Dylan song and made into a Hollywood movie starring Denzel Washington. Carter has chronicled his own life in two books, The Sixteenth Round, and 2011’s Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness to Freedom. The recipient of two honorary Doctor of Laws degrees, Carter now devotes much of his time to speaking out on behalf of the wrongly convicted.

Mr. Carter gives new meaning to the words “if life gives you lemons, make some lemonade”. He has taken the “lemons” that he was given and has used them to make lemonade in the form of liberation for people who have been wrongly convicted and incarcerated. Mr. Carter is now a Civil Rights Activist who has committed his life to not only liberating himself from wrongful incarceration, but then also helping others get the same liberation. Mr. Carter has inspired me not to just think about how I can be successful, but to take it a step further and think about how I can also help others be successful.

I encourage you to take Mr. Carter’s advice and never give up. Celebrate your victories as they come -because they will come if you never give up-but please, take it a step further and look around for people who are still pushing and haven’t seen their victory yet. Reach out to them and at the very least, inspire them not to give up, or better yet, help them see their way to victory.

Wendy Williams on Dancing With the Stars

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Until recently, I had generally lost interest in the ABC channel show, “Dancing with the Stars” until I heard that Wendy Williams was going to be on it. The reason why Wendy Williams sparked my interest in the show is that while I don’t actually watch her show, I have had a few glimpses of it and her and each time I was mildly amused.

What I love about Wendy Williams is that she has a big and bubbly personality and she does not apologize for it. Every time I have seen her on television, I have loved her energy and enthusiasm, so last night when she was on Dancing with The stars, I was a little disappointed to see how timid she was.

Wendy Williams’ appearance on Dancing with the Stars reminded of one lesson that I have been learning and re-leaning; be who you are, no matter what. Trying and learning new things is a great way to grow and expand your influence and I have a lot of respect for Wendy because she is stepping out of the box and doing something that causes her discomfort. What I would encourage Wendy to do though, is to “bring Wendy” to every single performance.

This does not only apply to Wendy; it applies to all of us. It’s great to do new things and go new places but it’s important to always remember what people love about you and bring that to every new place and endeavor.

So, Wendy, next time, (assuming there will be one) please be the sassy, bold and audacious Wendy that we have come to love. If you do that, you’ll go a long way on Dancing with the Stars!

HATERS: Be grateful for them

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Today, while meditating, I actually gave thanks for and expressed deep gratitude for everyone that has ever, either knowingly or unknowingly, hurt me. It may seem strange but the reason why I am grateful for this special group of people is that my experiences with them have caused me to take my growth and personal development to another level.

Anytime that you say something or do something, there are always going to be people who disagree with you, regardless of how good your intentions were. A lot of times, the people in opposition are good, well meaning people but sometimes they are ‘haters’.

So, what are ‘haters’? A ‘hater’ is a slang term used to describe a person who tries to sabotage you or your life just because the glow of your success casts a blinding light on their lack of success or accomplishment.

The key, I’ve learned, is that every action that we take must have a purpose. In knowing its purpose, we must focus on the purpose until whatever it is we set out to do is accomplished. The greater the purpose, the more haters it will attract but I have found that the less attention we give the haters, the smaller they start to look. I have also found that the more attention we give the ‘haters’, the less attention we give to our purpose and as a result, the goals we set for that purpose become less attainable, or worse still, they become entirely unattainable.

As you move through life, understand that “haters’ are going to show up. They may inject doubt, fear and a lack of confidence to whatever you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes they just mock or ridicule you and your ideas or plans. This can be useful because it causes us to be more definite about our purpose and to make plans that can withstand these tests. If your plan lacks a definiteness of purpose, it, along with you, will crumble as soon as a ‘hater’ attacks it. Again, it is more important to give your attention, focus and energy to your purpose and the goals that you set to fulfill your purpose, rather than to the ‘haters’. In addition to working on your goals, it is important to work on yourself and surround yourself with positive, like-minded people who will help you accomplish your goals and give you sound advice without ‘hating’.

As you move to higher levels of accomplishments and success, you will meet a new level of ‘haters’ but that is okay because if you’ve been diligent about focusing on your purpose and you’ve been surrounding yourself with the right people, you’ll be able to see the ‘haters’ for what they are…small people who feel threatened by your greatness. Take Wayne Dyer’s advice and “send them a silent blessing”. Be grateful for them because anytime they appear, it is a sign that you are on your way to accomplishing something great.

Peace

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Find A Man

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Young ladies the world is your oyster…..you can pick who you want‏! By Ngoza Phiri-Mazarura (guest blogger)

A [couple of weeks] ago I posted my concern about the kind of man that is being raised in our time. With what we see on television and in our own circles one has to wonder. It’s important to note that this post was written by an African woman [Zimbabwean] in her 30s who lives in [South] Africa. I wanted to get people talking and thinking about what makes a man in our environment. We have many absent fathers and fathers who have been taken by AIDS and women are forced to raise men that are functional in our society. The various comments that were posted on my [Facebook] page got me thinking. I realized just how differently we have all been raised and what we have been taught to expect from a man.
I was unfortunate to lose my father very early in life and so my belief systems and values as well as conclusions were shaped by the various interactions I have had with family, friends, peers and the church. My mother was and still [is] a hard working, “no nonsense” woman with an A-type personality, which she passed on to me.
I will share with you what I have been taught and welcome your comments. I learnt early on that in life you must have standards. If you don’t, you will let everything and anything come into your life. Some of those ‘nastys’ are very hard to get rid off and will leave you scarred for life. An example is dating a guy who chooses not to [love and respect] his parents even though they are alive. If he can’t look after his folks he can’t look after you- it is that simple. If he is also unable to forgive, he will tell you all the stories that will make you want o be his new “mommy” but once you subject yourself to that kind of mental torture you will lose yourself in his battles. I always say to ladies who tell me about a guy and his awful past that the question they should ask is ‘ How long are you going to be holding on to this pain and negative energy?’. Should he not be willing to explore forgiveness and move on? I say run for the hills! This is not for you. It is for the professionals and those professionals are called therapists. You are not qualified to help him through those kinds of problems and issue; neither can you love him enough to fix him.
A man must want to provide for his family and if you are dating he must at least offer to pay the cheque. If he doesn’t have a car he must be interested in your safety which means when the sun goes down he should be willing to call a cab. Yes, we are independent and we can pay our own way but ladies, allow a man to be a man. Men are wired to look for a mate that will accommodate their manhood and allow them to love, lead, protect and provide. If you don’t want that then don’t look for a mate- its best for everyone involved.
If you are thinking of a life partner then he has to be able to cover those four areas. (Love, lead, protect and provide) These are further divided but they are the basics. Women who allow men to function in their role will tell you that they are happy. They know they are loved and they receive the love with open arms. They allow [the men] to lead. Someone has got to have the last word and it can’t always be you. If you are a “power freak”, exercise that need at work, not at home. It’s not welcome there. Protection is not just physical, it’s mental and emotional. A man who loves [you] will take steps to make your ride in life as smooth as possible. He will keep out the bad and those who threaten to cause you injury or pain will be dealt with accordingly, even family. Provision is also more than just financial. Allow a man to do things for you, we can all change a light bulb, call pest control, pay our bills and all that but we don’t have to do everything! Having my husband change all the light bulbs makes him feel needed, fixing broken things allows him to express his manly strength and yet some ladies do it-because they can. Well, all I am saying is no one says you can’t do it yourself. I am just saying let him [exercise] his masculinity.
[Here are a few more tips]: Let him open that car door for you, carry the shopping, pay for a meal, drive you to the airport, hold your hand. Acknowledge the good things he does (not just when you are alone); it just makes him want to do more. Praise him in front of other men; it will do wonders for his ego and he will be more willing to adjust any negative behavior.
Some animals will pee around what they believe is their territory so that intruders will pick up their scent. The same goes for men, if you don’t let him pee and be a man, well he will just have to relieve himself elsewhere….
Till next time. Love and light.

*I created the ladies lounge to encourage great discussions among women across the world. Please read, comment and share. I would love to hear from you! If you would like to be a guest blogger please contact me at [email protected] Enjoy!     Nomalanga, SBW