I’m sharing my deeper thoughts on being an angry black woman. Self-reflection is so important to see where I can do better or see differently. In my previous article, 7 Powerhouse Women Who Will Inspire You to Rise, I quote seven Black women who I look up to. Today, I will use a quote from Lena Horne, “It’s not the size of the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. Carry it by the comfortable handles of gratitude for what’s positive and that it’s not worse, rather than the uncomfortable edge of bitterness for the negatives and that it is not better”. She was born in 1917 on a cotton farm in Georgia so her analogy was literal on some level. Think about how that is pertinent to what’s happening now. All the killings, economic injustices
But by choosing gratitude over all else, she rose above her situation. This reminds me of my own life. About 20 years ago, I became Muslim 2 months before September 11th. While I was on a spiritual high, I have been going through what everyone now is experiencing now for 20 years. So each day I chose to slow down each interaction and carefully selected my energy and how I showed up. When you carry the vibration of love which is the highest vibration, it’s hard for someone to misbehave with you. For example, if you smile at someone, it takes an especially miserable person to not smile back. Be curious about the aggressor. Anger and fear are two sides of the same coin. People hate something they fear and fear something they hate.
Watch my talk here. Self-discipline is the measure of a society. It brings oneness and clarity when it shows up powerfully. That’s why self-reflection matters in eradicating racism and inculcating change. Having laws is great, however, it’s the inner work that we do individually that makes the laws part of mainstream culture. I love seeing my white friends curious about self-examining their actions, choices, and “autopilot behaviors”. One of them told me recently, “when I heard about George Floyd, I cried for 3 days. If it hadn’t been for lockdown, I previously was only “empathetic” but now I actually felt him as he was myself experiencing that”.
Here’s the exercise I propose:
- Slow life down to a moment at a time. Be intentional about the energy you bring to the interaction.
- See the other person as a mirror image of yourself
- Be curious whether they are (a) projecting deep trauma or fear, (b) a cry for help, © confusion.
There’s always more behind the “anger” or “misbehavior”, we are all really children inside in that way. At a minimum, it’s a fear of the unknown and at maximum the culmination of a lifetime of mistrust, misunderstandings, mistreatment, frustrations, and a lack of love and nurturing. For those of you on a personal development journey start connecting the dots. Replenish Me is a comprehensive program where the first two steps help you to self-reflect:
- Release what’s expected and accepted in your culture and society
- Restructure: what are your personal values separate from your culture and society? Create a habit to honor and support your own personal values
- Refresh: Time to hit the streets and enforce those same boundaries with others
- Rebirth: show up powerfully in self-belief and self-trust spreading your vision, mission, and values
Personal development isn’t just about feeling good in your skin it’s about affecting your circle of influence.