2018: YEAR OF ASSERTION
When you hear the phrase “stand up for”, the mind jumps to “defending one’s self”, usually in a dispute of some sort. But this year, I have begun standing up for myself in other ways. I have come to realize that sometimes I am the main obstacle in my way. By doubting myself, procrastinating, or just not looking out for my own well being, I waste my energy and fail to have my own back.
Let’s think about things we love. Would you let something you love be stepped on? Would you let it be controlled or caged by someone or something else? Would you neglect it, abuse it, hold it back or abandon it? Would you let it get left behind? If your answer is “no”, then why would you allow any of those things to happen to yourself?
If you love yourself, assert yourself, be your greatest advocate and stand up for yourself. 2018 is my year of assertion. I am exercising my authority over myself and here is how.
Donald Lawrence made it a gospel song. The main character in the movie Girls Trip does it with a mantra. And, it is the main thing I recall from the movie The Help, when the lead repeats, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” Encouragement.
When going into battle, an army usually riles itself up. It beats its drums, toots its own horn, waves its flag and uses other methods to remind itself how great it is. Soldiers are reminded of their purpose and the great impact they can have on the tides of war. Think of yourself as an army preparing for battle. You are unbeatable, you are unstoppable, you have a purpose, what you do makes a difference, and you are destined for greatness.
Do you doubt yourself? Do you question your abilities? Do you fall before you’re even pushed? Do you believe in what you’re fighting for? Are you willing to sacrifice hesitation?… A doubtful army is not an army you want fighting for you. Be encouraged.
(For more on mantras, see end of article.)
Today and every day this year, is Independence Day for me. The goal is not to be completely independent, but to have my independence greatly outweigh my need to depend. Being more independent means no shortcuts, less assistance, more responsibility and more accountability. It also means sacrificing, budgeting, recruiting resources and walking into situations knowledgeable. Instead of asking others to help, find a way to make something work. Instead of receiving, do more giving. Make more decisions for self and remember that SELF is in charge.
It is sometimes easier to let someone else do something first, before you have to/ are asked to. Well, it is rare that someone else volunteers to improve your life for you, so you might as well take some initiative. This point can be summed up simply as: Be proactive, be prepared, and stop being lazy! If you know something needs to be done, go ahead and do it! Here’s a suggestion; write a to-do list every day to remind you of what you need to get done and check things off as you accomplish tasks. Try to think of the list as things you get to do, not things you have to do.
Taking initiative sometimes mean stepping out of your box. This year I want to get uncomfortable. If I’m too comfortable, then I’m not growing. Growing means making mistakes. It means taking leaps. It means being brave in the face of fear. It means being trying something new. If you don’t usually take selfies, take selfies. If you don’t usually perform in front of people, step on stage. If you don’t usually consider applying to graduate school, consider! Your box is getting too small, or perhaps, you are getting too big for it; step outside.
START A GOOD HABIT
Habits can be hard to break, but can be good to start. Habits like eating healthily, exercising, prioritizing, using time wisely, hygiene and a billion other things you can think of, are good habits that deserve consistency. Consistency allows you to be more trusting of yourself. Make no excuses for yourself. You would only be hurting you.
EMBRACE & EXPRESS
Embrace who you are! Though your outer appearance affects how you navigate this world, you are more than your outsides. Express who you are! Use your gifts and your outer-body additions (clothing, hairstyles, etc.) to show your true colors, not necessarily for the world to see, but for you to feel free. Once you accept and become confident in you, it is more natural to be assertive in the things you do.
Don’t let others step on you. You are powerful. Don’t doubt yourself. You are intelligent. Don’t let worldly circumstances limit your thinking. You are capable. Don’t let this year pass you by. Use it responsibly. I refuse to let 2018 get the worst of me. I will give it my best. It will be my year of assertion.
I am creating a mantra for the year. Mine begins, “I celebrate myself, I sing myself,” after Walt Whitman’s poem, Song of Myself. I challenge you to create your own mantra. What will it be? Maybe the ladies in the video below will be able to offer some inspiring thoughts.
This piece comes to us from one of our talented content contributors, Cynthia Sharpe. Her bio is below and if you would like to work with us you can email us here!
Cynthia M. Sharpe, is a May 2015 graduate of NC State University. Cynthia graduated with a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing and currently aspires to pursue an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. “As I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” -Cynthia M. Sharpe, inspired by Marianne Williamson