On Why Transparency Matters in Friendships

I was silently angry with my friends! What I mean is that I was upset with them and they didn’t know it. I felt that our relationship was one-sided. I felt that I was the only one pouring out and they were always receiving. There were times that I didn’t want to pick up the phone for them. There were times when I outright watched it ring, and ring, and ring again. There were moments where I made up in my mind to stop being friends with them because I was tired of not having the support I needed. I was wrong!

The reason that I felt all those negative ways was because I was never transparent with my friends. I was never open to allowing them to see my wounds, to give them the bricks to destroy me and trust that they wouldn’t. I never gave them a chance, but I expected them to show up! But where were they showing up? How did they know to come if I didn’t extend the invitation?

Transparency from all parties is extremely important in healthy friendships. You have to trust the other person enough to know that if they cut you it is because they love you. If they call you onto the carpet it is because they want you to change. If they hold up a mirror it is for the sole reason of showing you who you’ve become. Perhaps they want you to grow too. Maybe they want to be there for you like you are for them, but for the strong friend, we cancel out any opportunities for communal healing.

I’ve learned over the past couple days the importance of transparency with my friends. I’ve learned the importance of allowing them to see my humanity, my craziness, my shortcomings and trust that they are committed to me just as I am to them. I’ve learned to believe them when they say that they are “here” for me. I’ve learned to take them at their word and not make decisions about their capabilities.

My friends are stronger than I once gave credit. They have the ability to refill my cup when it is running on low. They have the capacity to handle my weak moments. I don’t know where this will take our friendship. I don’t know what barriers it will break. I don’t know how it will transform their lives, but what I do know is that I am grateful for them.

If you are “the strong friend” I encourage you to see the strengths in your friendships! Trust the intellect and the wisdom of your community. Believe that they won’t drop you even if they challenge you to be better! Even strong friends have weaknesses and blindspots, and it is in those moments that your friends can close the gaps!

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The Power of “I”

Imagine who you’d be if you took the boundaries off of your life.

What type of woman would you become? What type of intellectual would you become? What type of wife? Citizen? Woman? How far in life would you go if you knew the power of I?

Within this context, “I”refers to identity. A lack of identity causes our lives to stutter in very complex ways. It causes us to seek things outside of ourselves to fill voids. We play the part in other people’s movies instead of staring in our own.

How do we do this? It’s not always obvious. It’s not always willingly, but when we have identity voids we conform to the offers of others. Namely, if we don’t have a firm understanding of our identity then we will accept, and sometimes detrimentally, unhealthy labels.

How then do we reject those labels? Identity awareness! Generally, identity is thought of in relation to something outside of ourselves–as a response to outside forces–but identity starts internally. A healthy inner peace, attention to inward migrations, and spiritual consciousness are important in identity formation.

The power of “I” does not stop at “identity,” but evolves into capacity!

Do you have the capacity to embrace yourself?

If not then the work starts here.

On Believing in Yourself

When you are in a transitional period it is easy to doubt yourself. You may doubt whether you are good enough. Doubt whether you have what it takes, or even if you heard God correctly. You may waver back and forth between two opinions–the opinions that are in your head. You may battle with becoming the person who you envision, and the person who was created as a response to your circumstances.

We enter into an identity crisis when we doubt ourselves. We lack the ability to believe in the person who has yet to manifest, but why? Why do we limit ourselves? Why do we flirt with the potential of our future but rest in the comfort of our past? Why do we vacillate between safety and progress?

I get it, we are bombarded with images that tell us we are aren’t good enough. And, it is easy to pick ourselves apart even though we have everything going for us. Why do we willingly engage is such self-depricating activities? Perhaps, it is not a willful action but one that is unconsciously taking place based on imagination.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument], And before you were born I consecrated you [to Myself as My own]; I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations” Jeremiah 1:5 (AMP)

The scripture in Jeremiah wrecked me in a moment when I was struggling to keep faith in my future. I prayed for direction and confirmation, and about 30 minutes later I opened my computer and saw the scripture recorded in a document months earlier. Talk about confirmation, right?

I love the amplified version because it says that God approved of you as his chosen instrument before you were in the womb. This confirms that I don’t need to validation of others if I’ve already been chosen to do what God has destined for me. I don’t need to know the right people, step on people to get to the top, or compromise myself to be seen. Ultimately, I don’t have to do anything but believe in who I was created to be.

So many times we quote scripture about faith, but how can you have faith if you don’t know what God has said about you? How can you believe if you never heard? The bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. And, in his word it says that he chose me and consecrated me even before people knew who I was. He chose me before I had accolades, degrees, and influence. He chose me because he wanted to, not because of anything I did. Therefore, I can rest in the reality that I am enough.

I want to encourage you to hang on to Jeremiah 1:5 and remember it when the world attempts to offer you a narrative contrary to your calling.

 

 

On Self-Confidence

It’s March 1st and if you’re anything like me you’re thinking a new start! Maybe you get exited when a new month starts because you have a goal that you’ve been waiting to start and reach. Unfortunately, somewhere around the middle of the month we lose momentum for the very thing that we were excited to start. For you it could be a number of things, but for me it’s generally maintaining the belief that I am good enough to start and finish anything that I desire.

One thing that stagnates so many of us is a lack of self-confidence. We generally look for people to validate our ideas even though they might not have the capacity to hold our vision. We play mental hangman until our mind threatens to dangle our hopes by the same rope that holds the stick figure suspended in the air. We vacillate between the unspoken opinions of others who have the potential to scare us into immobility. We lack self-confidence.

Self-confidence comes from affirmative identity which is not rooted in other things. With so many things competing for our attention daily, it can be difficult to remember, I get it! But, I ask you, who are you? You are you outside of your degrees, children, mate, social life? Who are you when the smoke settles and the lights dim on the stage you stand on? Who are you at your core? Why are your goals important? If everything was stripped from you today how would you survive?

Ultimately, the answers to these questions will vary, but one thing that is constant in each is “you.” So this month, I want to encourage you to push to uncover another level of intimate confidence. I want you to coach yourself into believing the best things about yourself. Affirm yourself daily and make room for your errors. But, more importantly, spend some time thinking about the thoughts you think towards yourself. If they are bad, change them. If they are good, magnify them.