Monday, August 23, 2010

Self-Realization, Acceptance and Appreciation

I LOVE my hair....no really, I DO. I love the way I would get deep waves in it when I would wet it and pull it back.  Right now I'm going through a process with it...accepting and appreciating what God gave me.  It's curly as all get out and even when I would take a flat iron to it, it was STILL not completely straight.  I remember (and so will most of you who've known me for the past 10 years or so) changing my hair every month.  Long short, curly, straight, black, brown, auburn, red.....I've done it all. Aside from my love of hair in general, not just my own, and being able to do so many things with it, I started to think about my natural texture.  I realized that all that processing is WAY too much for my lovely locks, no matter how my hair texture was.  So I got to the point where I decided no more relaxers, straightening combs, flatironing, etc. (I still like to dye it every now and then.) I had to accept that my hair would never be blond and that it would never do exactly what I wanted it to do among other things.  After months of thinking and doing tons of hair research, I made the decision that I was going to appreciate my natural hair and loc it...let it do what it wants to do...man, did I get some flack from some people for that...but I don't care.  (Side note: If they didn't like it, they would have to take that up with God.) Measuring one strand of hair untouched was only 1", stretched out it was just under 4"....that was what made up my mind... I was breaking it off by managing it too much.  Some wondered if I had some major lifestyle change and my answer was no. 

Was I a pot smoker? No...(never been a smoker)
Was I looking at becoming involved with Rastafari religion? No...
Was I gay/butch? No...(most definitely not, I love my husband...and I believe it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve)....
Was I trying to be more Afro-centric? No....
I can still keep it clean and style it and (most importantly) it will be ALL MY NATURAL HAIR.

*Now to many of you who wonder what my hair has to do with my title, humor me and just keep reading...

As I was coming to realize the beauty of my hair I started thinking about the rest of my life. There are many things that contribute to me besides my hair: my mannerisms, my attitude (the way I try to be optimistic when the flood waters of life are about to drown me), my hobbies (sewing, painting or make handmade cards) and my interests (natural hair care for specific reasons, volunteering/mentoring, remodeling/interior decorating).  I've come to realize I'm turning out just as God intended.  He already knew but it was on me to figure that out with his help.  I'm starting to understand what my God given talents and gifts are and now I'm in the process of figuring out how to use them properly.

In figuring out what I was halfway decent at I've come across stages that all of us cross: Realization, Acceptance and Appreciation.

1) Realization
When we realize certain things about ourselves, we go through a "fact-finding" stage.  God put certain things in us to do and to not do.  He gave us personalities, interests, likes and dislikes. This is where we see ourselves in black and white and come to admit certain things to ourselves whether they are good or bad things.  We don't count the bad things as things that can't be changed, we just see that we have some less than great things about us, and possibly areas where we need to be strengthened in.  At this time we usually make decisions about what to do about the negative things and how we can further or maintain our positive things. No matter what our reasons are for changing or not changing, we will encounter these two things: Opposition and Support.

  • Opposition:  People WILL talk about you...and if they don't talk about you, they will think badly about you, Facebook about you, gossip about you, do anything they can to shed a bad light on the things you are trying to accomplish. They will "forget" goals you may express to them, dissmissing them as trivial or not important because your goals don't benefit them.  They won't try to aid you in understanding them, they won't because they would have to actually CARE (even if it's just a little) about you to HELP you.
  • Support:  You will find that those who really take the time to understand you and your goals or at least take the time to value that you are coming to your self-realization and setting goals for yourself will support you in any way they can (or at least feel comfortable doing). You may have to find clubs or online groups that have the same interests to support you in your endeavors if you don't find a large number in your circle of friends or acquaintances.  If there is something that you have an interest in, there is support out there, you just have to look for them sometimes.

2) Acceptance
This is where we accept the things about us that we realized before. God isn't going to chnage things about us that He put in place because we don't like them.  Example: cosmetic plastic surgery....people change their noses, lips, bodies to make them how they want...God didn't give us all lipo'ed bodies and botoxed facelifts.  He made us how He wanted to. Whether the things are good or bad, up to this point we haven't been able to change those things about ourselves. We have to accept most of the time that there are things that we aren't great at doing, while there are other things that we are good at doing.  When you realize things about yourself (especially when you see there is a pattern of it going on/not going on) then you can't deny it. I accept the fact that I have issue finishing some books I start. The realization behind it is that I sometimes pick out books/magazines to read that are genres that I have very little interest to me because they have nothing to do with my interests (People vs. Real Simple...Real Simple will be read, read and read again....)

3) Appreciation
When we've gotten to the point where we realize and accept differents aspects of our lives, we can begin to appreciate them and how they work together. We realize that all our interests, traits, likes, etc. all work together and help us in the areas where God has put us to use in. While others may not understand or like what you're doing it doesn't matter.  You have to appreciate what God has given you or placed in you and learn how to use it for His glory and that's all that matters.

So after going through these 3 stages, we will be able to see and experience that when we go through them we are so much more "free" afterwards....Free from haters (cause they won't bother us as much anymore), free from self-denial (we've learned to appreciate the good things more and to find the good in what we thought was bad about ourselves), free to help others (since we've gotten past ourselves and the "I/me me me" attitude to where we can benefit someone else).

Why don't you start your own path of self-realization and learn some things about yourself? It's rewarding and fulfilling to live as God made you....