Good Enough: To Whom It May Concern

J.M. Barrie’s character Peter Pan said “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it” and lately I’ve been trying to understand how people develop the belief (even if unconsciously) that they aren’t good enough to have a healthy relationship. I’ve been pondering why perfectly “good enough” people doubt whether they can fly high in healthy relationships. Truth be told, I take no pleasure in this endeavor because at one point my life I too was a person who self sabotaged their intimate relationships, I too didn’t believe I was worthy of a healthy relationship.

Still; lately I’ve been noticing a troubling trend among daters and I’m wondering if their belief in their inability to fly has damaged them in the dating world forever. Obviously the metaphor is not about flying at all but instead it’s about the doubt that prevents you from even trying. It’s about the fear of falling before you even launch, before you even understand, and before you even get the opportunity to truly be in love.

So naturally I’ve been trying to examine the unfortunate truth about people who self sabotage relationships due to the fact that they don’t believe they’re good enough and of course the best way for me to do this is to examine my own life and then compare that to other people I know to determine some form of understanding about “not being good enough”. It’s a daunting task and it’s one that can’t be answered in one article but I do want to tackle one section of the many moving parts of the “not good enough personality flaw”.

Question; what responsibility or role do we as daters play in trying to convince the person we’re dating that they’re good enough for us? That’s the question that I’m going to try to find an answer to in this article because quite frankly I think there are many people self sabotaging their relationships because ultimately they don’t believe they’re good enough. Is it up to us, the dater, partner and lover of the one who sabotages to help them through their issues? And if so, how much?

I remember at the end of my last relationship my then girlfriend said to me that she “realized that she’ll never be good enough for me”. I found this to be completely ridiculous, not because I didn’t believe her words but because I never once said anything in a negative way towards her to make her feel that way about our relationship. In fact, I went out of my way to accept her as she was. I went out of my way to speak life into her and her living situation. I never once told her she wasn’t good enough for me and never did any actions (as far as I’m aware) to make her feel like she wasn’t.

Were there things that I saw that she could improve on? Absolutely, and I suggested things that could be done. Were there things that she saw that I could improve on? Absolutely, and I tried to change once she brought it to my attention but like many things in life; changing into something new takes dedication, fortitude and a true desire to want to do better but more importantly it takes the belief that you can do better.

Identifying things in your partner that can benefit them is natural. That’s part of what being in a healthy relationship entails. Your partner should identify areas in your life that one, can be improved and two, that they can help you with. If your partner isn’t identifying things that can be improved in your life then they don’t really care about your overall well-being. If you aren’t identifying and suggesting things in the person you’re dating life then you don’t really care about them. Why be together if it’s all about staying the same?

Constant criticism is not the goal nor is that healthy but partners can’t get defensive when your partner tries to show you a better way to live. If you do, one can’t help but wonder if you care about your very own happiness and believe me when I say that not caring about your happiness will frustrate your partner even more than you not receiving their advice.

Furthermore, there will always be a few things that your partner likes that you’ll change towards because you want to please them. For example, maybe you like your man to have a little hair on his chest or maybe you like your lady to wear a little bit of makeup and you suggest a slight change.

There’s nothing wrong with that and there’s nothing wrong with you adapting and adopting small changes for the person you love. All of that is to be expected in relationships. If my lady tells me she likes a certain cologne over another cologne that I normally wear then I’m going to wear the cologne she likes more often and not get defensive.

Still, with that said I often wonder if I didn’t do enough to help my ex feel like she was good enough. I often wonder if I could have said more, shown more, and done more to make her feel come confident in the relationship. Was there anything I could have done to make her feel good enough? Do we have any responsibility to do so and would it make a difference?

As a person who lived much of his adult life as such a person who thought he wasn’t good enough, I can speak frankly to this experience and I can speak absolute truth to sabotaging my previous relationships in my twenties and I can say without a shadow of doubt that in my personal experience there was nothing that those women could have done to make me feel completely at ease about my worthiness.

Those women could have told me how much they liked me, loved me and adored me every five minutes and it still wouldn’t have given me the lift I needed. I still wouldn’t have believed I could fly and I would have found a reason as to why it can’t be. Like many people; I ran away from perfectly healthy relationships or found illogical excuses and convinced myself that they were valid reason’s as to why they and I couldn’t be.

Maybe you’ve been doing this as well and maybe you’ve been blaming your ex lovers as to why none of your relationships have worked but if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that we always have to account for the common denominator, which is always ourselves. You have to always account for yourself, your thoughts, your actions and your old bad habits. You have to be aware when the thing that constantly sabotages your relationships tries to reestablish its dominance over you.

The main responsibility that a dater, partner or lover has in the development of someone is to speak life into them. They don’t have to take on your burden, your flaws, your worries or your insecurities unless they want to and if they do; it’s up to you to make quick changes so that it doesn’t bring them down.

It’s not up to the dater to convince you that you’re good enough. It’s up to you to know it to be true because if you’re relying on other people to justify your good enough then you’re giving up the control that only you should have. You’re ultimately placing your worthiness in what other people think and view as good enough.

Why does this happen? The better question is why do you allow it to happen? Why do you believe that you don’t deserve someone who loves you? Why do you continue to allow those who don’t live your life to control your life? Why do you continue to conspicuously go ghost the moment someone shows you your worthiness? If you’re dating someone who does these things it can be utterly frustrating right? It’s maddening when you go out of your way to show your appreciation thinking you’re making progress together and a month later you’re back at square one or even worse. Why does this happen?

There are many reason’s why people do this and I believe that Women Have It harder for various reason’s but comparing yourself to others and what they have is one of the biggest reason’s as to why people don’t feel good enough as stated by @timgoetzinger in his piece Monsters in the Bed: Enough IS Enough but what can a person do to break away from self sabotage? Here are a few tips I call the Divine 9.

The Divine Nine

  1. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
  2. Evaluate your past relationships and identify common problem areas that came up. Tackle them with ferocity.
  3. Pay attention to your insecurities and stop them from gaining momentum when they show up in your new relationships again and then do the opposite of what your insecurities make you feel like doing.
  4. Try to remove your ego from the equation. Ask yourself if you have a valid reason to be bothered or is it just your ego trying to convince you that it isn’t an ego bruise.
  5. Get help! Find someone to talk with about the problems that you’re dealing with mentally and listen to the feedback.
  6. Work on your self-love.
  7. Find closure on the issues from your childhood that are causing issues in your adulthood.
  8. Find closure from your past relationships. Many people are continuing to allow people who are long gone to remain in present moments.
  9. Bask in the compliments, acceptance and love that your partner gives you. Live in those moments but more importantly TRUST in them.

May these words strike a chord inside anyone whose eyes have been glued to this screen. Understand from this moment on that you’re more than good enough, you’re God enough because God is you, in you and created you. So unless you believe that God creates inferior versions of God self then you’re going to have to come to grips with the fact that you’re good enough for anyone and deserve the healthiest and happiest relationships that life can bring.

“We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.”
Beth Moore, So Long, Insecurity: You’ve been a Bad Friend to Us

Follow me on IG:Jay_noetic

Follow me on Snap:Jaynoetic

Good Enough

Advertisements

Apology Not Included: How to Garner forgiveness without an apology

Nervous about the words I was about to speak to my father I hesitated to say them even though they were on the tip of my tongue. I had rehearsed them prior to dialing his phone number but even in that moment I wasn’t sure how it would be received. It took me years to reach the point of forgiveness of my father and the understanding of my father as a human being. It took a lot of self-reflection and my struggles as a man to comprehend that my father was human and severely flawed too.

To tell you the complete truth it took the shedding of my old skin to understand the non-existent father son relationship that my dad and I had. Hell; I remember it like it was yesterday but it was a little over seven years ago that I finally found the strength to speak the words I rehearsed. “I just want you to know that I love you and that I forgive you. I want you to know that I’m not angry with you about not being part of my life. I want you to know that mom never said anything bad about you to me and that I don’t view you in a negative light. I hope that we can build from this moment on ” “I love you too son” were the words that came through the phone but no apology.

I don’t know if my father truly heard the words and I’m positive he didn’t know how much internal pain I had been experiencing just a few years prior to that moment but what I did know was that moment wasn’t for my dad; it was for me. That moment wasn’t about my dad, it was about me. The person you need to speak to? That moment will be for you.

For me, that moment was the pivotal moment on my timeline of life that allowed me to release hurt, anger and disappointment regarding our relationship. Apology or not I was set free from the bondage that I had previously been a prisoner of. To put it quite frankly I was a slave to the anger and it was my master. I had to learn to accept the apology that would likely never come so I did.

The reason this is on my mind is because recently Hip Hop Artist Jay-Z said in his “Adnis Footnotes” video (find it on tidal) “All my songs up until this point have been about anger with my dad. As an adult looking back, now I have a different perspective of it. I started thinking, ‘Man, my dad married my mother at a time when everybody was leaving.’ He tried.

My mom had two kids before him. She had four kids by 20. I was the youngest child. They were young. That don’t check the box of what I thought. That don’t check the box of somebody who wasn’t shit. You married this woman with four kids and they was together for 11 years. Now the story gets different.”

Jay-z’s video and words brought me back to the moment when I realized that my dad’s story was different from what I had created in my mind. My dad married my mom who had one child prior to them getting married and they were married for thirteen years. In those thirteen years is a story of a flawed man who tried but that I didn’t know because I was too young to understand. The video reminded me that peace comes from finding understanding and accepting it. It also reminded me that some stories will never be known unless we tell them or speak to the people who need to tell them.

So why am I writing about this? Two reasons in particular. One; there’s someone out there who’s holding on to anger, hurt, broken bridges and aren’t able to move forward in their lives because they’re waiting for an apology from someone. The second reason is that I’ve never really spoken on this topic openly and maybe a different part of this article will help someone.

Furthermore, over the years of writing I’ve learned that my words are often a breath of fresh air for many and so if parts of my story can generate strength in someone else to finally say the words they’ve been dying to say to someone then who am I to not write?

Look this is a human life fact; people are flawed and many people are severely flawed. So much so that they don’t know how to say I’m sorry, they don’t have the foresight to understand the hindsight of how they screwed up. They don’t know how to explain the reasoning behind their decisions. They don’t know how to fix the broken relationship because they’ve never been the one to do so. Does that make them a bad person? No; it just makes them a flawed individual.

To complete my point, flawless lives don’t exist but your centering in those flawed relationships can exist if you learn to accept them for who they are and where they are in their lives. It’s not up to you to change them or to try to change them. The only responsibility that you have in a broken relationship is to find peace with it. To become centered and to remain centered isn’t easily done and it absolutely requires COMPLETE forgiveness in order to be in that place of balance.

Your happiness and peace in these relationship can exist by accepting the fact that some people don’t know the hurt they caused you and will never apologize. In all honesty; forgiveness is always more for you than it is for them. So if you don’t want to feel angst when either speaking or seeing the person or people involved in the pain caused then you have to come to an understanding with yourself about the situation.

You owe it to yourself to be the best version of you in every situation that you find yourself in; but how can you be that if just the mere thought of potentially crossing paths with someone makes you uneasy or makes you not want to go to the planned event? We can pretend that broken relationships that were once loving relationships don’t bother us and continue to lie to ourselves or we can be truthful about them and find healing.

The beginning of my healing came the moment I sat down and wrote a letter to my dad. I don’t remember my exact age but I do know I wasn’t quite twenty-five yet. I had no intention of mailing the letter but I knew I needed to say everything that I never did. I grabbed two loose leafs sheet of paper and a pen and began writing. After I finished I put the letter in an envelope, found a stamp and stared at it. I remember asking myself, “is this really worth it”?

I got my dad’s address from my uncle,wrote it down on the envelope and two days later I stood in front of the post office box wondering if I would get a response from my dad. Somewhere between “I’m not going to mail this” and finishing the letter I convinced myself it was best to mail it. I stood there as a grown man, scared to let go of this tiny envelope that carried the weight of the world in it but I dropped it into the dark crevices of that mail box and walked away.

I never received a response from my father. I don’t know if he opened it and cried or if it got lost along the way of Route 360 but what I do know is that I felt 50% better after the writing of that letter and 75% better after mailing it. I’m not telling you that you have to mail a letter or email or to even direct message the person who caused the pain but I am telling you to write down or type everything you need to say as if you will and then decide what to do with that letter afterwards. Let that be the beginning of your healing regarding the broken relationship.

After you do that step, read the words you wrote at least five times over the course of a week. Let it sink in and after each read say out loud “I’m releasing this weight and I forgive you but more importantly I forgive myself for allowing you to hurt me.” Do this before you send the email or letter, do this even if you choose not to send. The next step is in speaking with the person or people who has caused the hurt and anger.

The goal however should not be you speaking to them to make them feel guilty or to get an apology. The goal is for you to clear your plate of the negative energy that exist in the relationship. The goal is for you to find the strength to ask them to just listen as you say the things you need to say in order for you to find peace.

Remember, you already forgave them after you finished writing your letter so you speaking to them is not about their apology, it’s about you taking back control over your emotions, feelings and energy regarding the relationship. That moment is not about them, it’s about you and they don’t need to know that. That moment is about you finding your strength again so that you can move forward with love.

Mahatma Gandhi said “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” and Martin Luther King Jr said “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” Keeping that in mind, constantly remind yourself that you’re strong enough to forgive just like I was strong enough to forgive my father. None of this of course guarantees that the relationship will get better but my relationship with my father did improve afterwards so maybe the broken relationship that you have will too.

In closing, my dad wasn’t a bad person or a bad friend to his friends. He just wasn’t a good father and that’s okay because I understand that’s how it had to be. The person who has hurt you likely isn’t a bad person, they just weren’t good to you for whatever self reason. I want you to know that you can completely heal without speaking to the person who has caused the pain,it will just take longer to do so without speaking the words that need to be said to them. Look, I don’t know about you but if I had a choice of the short road or the long road to my happiness I’d choose the shorter path every time. Good Luck!

“We are all mistaken sometimes; sometimes we do wrong things, things that have bad consequences. But it does not mean we are evil, or that we cannot be trusted ever afterward.”
Alison Croggon

*I’m just a guy who blogs. I’m not a English professor so don’t let a few grammatical errors block your blessing. If you’d like to offer your service for free that’s cool too 🙂

Well this is Awkward:Religious Insensitivity

Let us bow our heads and pray in order to give thanks to Jesus for this food that we’re about to receive“. I stand there for a moment looking around the room; waiting for someone to acknowledge that I don’t believe in this practice anymore and haven’t for over eleven years but no acknowledgement comes.  These are the words of a family member who knows me and is standing across from me without a second thought about the request as everyone in the room begins reaching out to hold hands.

I stand there waiting for someone to say “hey Jay, you good? Do you need to step away?” I’m not a Christian anymore but no one pays any mind to this and doesn’t think anything is wrong with the all-inclusive request. In that moment I’m left to either speak up and “make a scene”, walk away until they finish or to just grab their hands, bow my head,smile and say Amen at the end. I grab their hands, they bow their heads but I don’t close my eyes. I just stare at everyone in the room wondering what if I praised Allah?

About two months ago I was hanging with some friends and another similar situation occurred. They wanted all of us to pray to Jesus for blessing us with safe travels but this time one of my friends acknowledge that they knew I didn’t believe in this but continued anyway and rightfully so. I grinned and said don’t worry about it. I grabbed their hands, stood in the circle and listened to them pray because I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable even though I was. I decided to put my practice, my beliefs and my lifestyle second to theirs to avoid making them uncomfortable.

Just the other day someone close to me asked me to go to Church with them again even though they know it’s not my spiritual practice. For eleven years I’ve had to continue to politely say “no thanks” to their invitation and yet they never stop for one second to think that it’s insensitive to keep asking because for them, it’s natural to be the norm in the room.

They don’t think about what it’s like to be the minority in a group setting unless it relates to the color of their skin. Religious people assume that what they do and what they say is what everyone does and that you will either get with the program or not. (sound familiar?) Not one person who ask you to bow your head and pray stops to think for one second that it’s insensitive to your lifestyle and if they do stop to think about it they certainly don’t care if they proceed without checking.

This is the life of any person who no longer follows a religious lifestyle or religious deity and the moment we speak up for ourselves, the people who do live that type of lifestyle become bothered by our actions or by what we’ve said. Somehow someway we become the offender merely by wanting to be included or at the very least, acknowledged,

The next step for the now offended religious people is the questioning of your existence. They want their lifestyle to be superior to your lifestyle so they question you as if you’re the one not living freely. How did you become this way? What is your belief? What is your definition of God? Questions that they really don’t want an answer to because they’ve already decided their rebuttal the moment you stated “I’m no longer”.

They then tell you that you’re hurt and that you must be feeling anger and bitterness about Church and that you’re holding on to old feelings that are unhealed.  This of course in most cases is the furthest from the truth. If anything we’re mad at ourselves for allowing ourselves to have spent so much time following the religion we left. The truth is they don’t want to have a real conversation on the topic because the truth is they don’t really care about your truth, they only care about their truth. They care about being right but the fact is, nobody knows.

We (the non-religious) have to tip toe around the religion topic among our friends and family in order to avoid making the religious uncomfortable. We are expected to stay uncomfortable to keep them comfortable and as a black who already has to tip toe around the topics of racism and equal rights in America I refuse to keep tip toeing on my spiritual lifestyle as well. Listen, there are many spiritual practices that grow people closer to their own happiness and many of them have nothing to do with Jesus Christ and Allah or any other religion.

Most religious people are insensitive to everyone around them who don’t practice the religious lifestyle that they themselves do. Let me drive home a point really quickly here. If you tell these same people you don’t eat meat they don’t offer you burgers anymore; they think about what else they can do to accommodate your no meat-eating at the next event.  If you tell these same people you’re allergic to shellfish they don’t offer you shrimp anymore. If you tell these same people you don’t smoke cigarettes anymore they don’t offer you a cigarette 4 months later. They make the adjustments.

Why? Because they respect your decision to stay alive and to make your own decisions for your life surrounding those issues. However; if you tell them you aren’t a certain religion anymore; particularly the one that they still are; they keep asking you to go to Church with them. Why? Because they don’t respect your decision and don’t understand how one could “turn their back on the Lord” They don’t understand how someone can become happier AFTER leaving that religion. And they don’t know because they never really tried to exist without it. They never tried to find their own way without the belief that they need help to find their soul’s happiness.

Recently; my mom and sister asked me to go to Church because it was sister’s birthday weekend. I politely declined the invitation and maybe I was a little snooty in my response but dammit, it’s been eleven years. Why are you still asking me to go back to a place that didn’t make me a better person? I’m a better person because I left religion and believe it or not, there are millions of people who are BETTER people because they did as well. The truth is the Church invite didn’t bother me as much as my sister’s response to me declining the invite. It bothered me all night; so much in fact that I woke up and made this statement on my FB timeline.

fbpost

To be completely honest the latest invite was just the straw that broke the camel’s back but it wasn’t the sole contributor to my post. Now, you would think that people who have been taught to be empathetic to their fellow brothers and sisters would come onto the post and say something like ” I understand where you’re coming from and yes, we can do a better job at respecting each other’s lifestyles” but 155 comments later and only one person was able to kinda say they agree and even that was like pulling teeth. Instead, those who live a religious lifestyle or follow a deity commented that I was insensitive to their belief because I used the word addicted and disliked my analogy.

Remember when I said the one offended becomes the offender with religious people? The very first comment was “I think it’s interesting that you called it an addiction and place religion or religious zeal on the same level as a physical addiction” Others then said that I talked bad about Jesus in a negative light. Please refer to the above picture and tell me where I painted Jesus in a negative perspective?

The religious people completely  ignored the part about their lifestyle being insensitive towards others. They completely avoided the part of stop working against someone’s spiritual journey and focused in on two words; Jesus and addiction. From that point on they automatically put up their Christian defensiveness and no longer wanted to talk about anything else. They completely ignored the fact that quite possibly that Church is an addiction for many but instead of talking about religious addiction from my perspective and to prove I’m not making this stuff up I’m going to place some links here that you can read for yourself.  Please read and then continue.

Now that I’ve made my point let me ask you a few questions. Have you ever had a friend who you were close to stop talking to you because you weren’t a Christian and all of a sudden they were? Have you ever had someone break up with you because you no longer were “equally yoked”? Have you ever had someone isolate themselves completely from their real family to be part of the church family? Have you ever had anyone completely lose themselves in Church? If you can answer yes to any of those questions then you can’t deny that Church isn’t an addiction.

Atheist, Agnostic,spiritual practitioners and those who no longer follow a religion didn’t just all of a sudden wake up one gloomy day wallowing in our sorrows and decide we no longer want to follow Christ, follow God or any other deity. For most of us, the decision to stop believing in something outside of ourselves was brutal and likely took years to finally be able to say I’m done with it.

Do you think it’s easy to be the only one who isn’t a religious follower in your family and circle of friends? Do you think people want to feel isolated from those relationships? You can try to convince yourself that we do but many of us are still struggling with just saying how we feel on a damn FB timeline because we don’t want to be judge, debated, and dismissed.

And that’s the most frustrating part about religious people being insensitive. The callous dismissal of our beliefs and life decisions. The constant questioning of our decisions because they don’t understand them. The degrading looks that they give when you tell them Church isn’t for me. The non-religious don’t go around asking them when they’re going to stop going to church.

The non deity following don’t accuse the deity following people of being broken and hurt which is why they turn to someone to try to fix them. No, we just accept you as you are and let you go about your life in peace. We try to be mindful of your spiritual path and journey without trying to convince you to come to the brighter side. Why? Because we respect your decision and we’re sensitive to your space in the world.

That’s all I and others like myself are asking from anyone who desires to live any religious lifestyle; respect the space that we too have to live in. Stop asking us to go backwards and start asking us to go forward together in another way. Be mindful that everyone in your circle isn’t bowing to Allah, be respectful that not everyone in your circle prays to Jesus over their food, be mindful that not everyone in your circle want to give credit to a source outside of themselves for their safe travels because I’m certainly mindful that many in my circle do.

The truth is, you don’t have to understand to be respectful of the lifestyle and the scary thing is, us (the non-religious) nine times out of ten understand the religious lifestyle because we came from it and yet we find a way to respect it still. Most of the religious people don’t know what it’s like to even live on the side of the fence of spiritual freedom. They don’t know if it’s horrible, great or heavenly bliss and yet they remain insensitive and dismissive of it.

The last point that I’m going to drive home is that on my post there were many friends who commented that they agreed with me and that they no longer follow a religious lifestyle. This was shocking and surprising to me. I didn’t know I had so many friends who felt the same way and you know why I didn’t know? Because they don’t talk about it openly. They never post about, they never comment about it because they don’t want to deal with the arguments, debates and funny looks. They want to avoid exactly what I experienced on my PERSONAL timeline.

They would rather be silent to the insensitivity that they face because they value their peaceful space but is that really fair to have to silence your peace in order to not rock the boat of a religious friend? Are we the only ones that have to be sensitive to the ego’s of religious folks in order to have peace? Can the religious not try to be just a little more respectful and spiritually conscious of all us? We’re not asking you to stop believing in God, we’re just asking that you to do better at acknowledging different lifestyles because we certainly do. So much so that I stand in circles, grab hands and sometimes bow my head in respect for that space.

In closing maybe you’re being insensitive because you don’t care and maybe you think it’s cool to not care but as a person claiming to be a follower of a religion you should care. So stop trying to make us feel like we’re bad people because we’re on the right spiritual path for ourselves. What’s for you is for you so that clearly means it’s not for everyone else too. Go spread the gospel to the people who have never heard it and need some help finding the light but stop asking people who were already part of it to come back to something that you yourself can’t even follow 100%. I leave you with this quote that my FB friend Oakey McKnight commented on the post and it’s this…..

“ Religion is like penises, you can be proud of yours; just don’t wave it in my face.”

I hope this brings enlightenment to some of my religious friends.

in·sen·si·tive

adjective

  1. showing or feeling no concern for others’ feelings.
*I’m just a guy who blogs. I’m no English professor so don’t let a grammatical error stop your blessing. If you’d like to offer your services for free then let’s talk. 🙂

Whispers from Strangers

Those who don’t know you don’t get you and those who don’t get you are likely strangers living vicariously through you. They’re strangers to actually knowing who you are, what you’re about and how you’re trying to live your life and I can say this with absolute confidence because anyone who’s a true friend of yours or someone who’s opinion you value will know exactly the type of person you are. Strangers who know not who you are should have very little impact (if any at all) on how you feel about yourself but sometimes the words of others that you hear through the grapevine can cut deep if you allow it.

The unfortunate truth about people is that when you keep your business and lifestyle private to everyone except those in your circle/family then those on the outside are forced to create their own story-line about who you are, what you do and how you think. They take the little bit that they do know, the little they did know and combine it with the whispers from strangers to build their own version of you to fit the narrative they have of you.

This is most often created in a way to make themselves feel elevated above you because who you appear to be makes them uncomfortable and the only way to feel comfortable again is to create a version of you that’s opposite of their own beliefs and lifestyle. Nine times out of ten the version of you that exist in their mind is slightly negative in one way or another. It’s not right, it’s not fair but such is life, this is what strangers do.

Truthfully, sometimes people who were once in your circle and are now in new circles but still interact with parts of your circle contribute to the false narrative as well because they assume they still know you and it’s only natural to be bothered by what you’ve heard them say when you catch wind of it. Most often your first few thoughts are; “how could they say that” and “they know that’s not me” or quite simply it makes you feel “some type of way” about it.

I’m here to tell you that their thoughts, opinions and false narrative about who you are don’t matter (insert hand claps >>>>>)..point….blank….period. They don’t matter and they’re on the outside looking in for many reasons and the only way they can get inside of you is by you allowing them in. Do you choose to give them control over you?

I’ve been there before; I’ve been the person trying to convince people who don’t know me to understand me. I’ve been the person trying to keep people on the inside who deserve to be on the outside . I’ve been the person who’s caught wind of the whispers of strangers and let it affect me. I’ve been the person on the receiving end of a text message from someone you once called a friend and being in shock by what you just read wanting to go the fuck off on them.

Listen, it’s not worth your time, it’s not worth your frustration and it’s certainly not worth the high blood pressure that’s associated with the bullshit that comes along with trying to fix it. Socrates once said “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people” so unless you think Socrates is a idiot why would you want to waste your time with weak-minded people who just want to discuss what they think they know about your character?

“Insecure people only eclipse your sun because they’re jealous of your daylight and tired of their dark, starless nights.”
Shannon L. Alder

Let the whispers that you hear from strangers fall on deaf ears and let the strangers that whisper; sleep on the bed of lies that put crooks in their backs. The misaligned can’t be aligned with authenticity. So just continue to remain true to yourself and keep pushing forward in the life you’re living but never allow false information to ruin your vibe, your frequency and your energy.

More importantly however is that you don’t contribute to the whispers about someone else that you really don’t know. Don’t be what frustrates you; in fact, be better than that and either shut down the false narrative being created or step away from the conversation. If they who are talking ask you why you did that? Just tell them you don’t participate in the tearing down of someone’s character.

grapevine

Understand; I’m not trying to be obtuse to how you might feel about the words that you might hear about your false self from someone speaking inaccurate information but if you know those words hold no merit then you don’t have to grin and bear it. Furthermore, if a person doesn’t have the desire to get to know the true you or re-acquaint themselves with you after a shift in the friendship then you don’t have to pretend to care and you don’t have to be the one to reach out to figure out what’s going on. Move on in love until the alignment occurs.

Now, if the whispers are cutting deep because they hold some truths and not because a stranger said it then instead of getting angry with the people who’ve said it; get aligned with yourself and work on those issues. The worst kind of person to be is the kind of person who doesn’t fix the very flaws they themselves see everyday but are quick to call out others. Look, I’m typically not a bible person but somewhere in the bible there’s a passage that translates to don’t be a hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye. Regardless of the belief that’s some real information.

I write these words for anyone feeling isolated in their friendships and networks. I write these words for anyone trying to find their place in the relationships that they have yet to figure out. I write these words for anyone angry, sad and frustrated by the whispers of strangers. I write these words for anyone wanting to pull back from their goal of doing things differently this year and onward. Don’t you quit, don’t you retreat, don’t you put up your walls just because someone doesn’t get you, doesn’t appreciate you or doesn’t fucks with you.

Everyone isn’t going to like you just like everyone doesn’t like me. People have preconceived notions about who I am and they’ve never had one face to face conversation with me. That’s what people do and if I stopped being authentic just because of those people then the people I really care about will suffer and so will yours. I leave you with this. Bill Cosby will never be looked at the same again due to the rape allegations (whether true or not) but one thing I’ll never forget about him were these words he said. “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” So why care about the whispers of strangers? Let go and elevate.

“They asked what we were most afraid of. Some said they were afraid of dying and I said dying afraid”-Jay Noetic

Confrontational Dialogue:A Social Media Epidemic

The revolution will not be socialvised. Yes, I know it’s not a word (yet) but I’m coining it from this moment on. Your revolution will not be SOCIAL-vised; meaning the battles you fight on social media are rarely successful. The arguments that you participate in on social media rarely changes the opinion of your oppressor or those who refuse to understand the inequalities that you endure.

I get why you may be angry. Hell, I’m angry about the inequalities that I experience everyday as a black man, but just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I hate you and just because I suggest a different solution to bridge the divide doesn’t mean I’m working against you. There are the oppressors and there’s the empathetic supporters and not being able to converse with your supporters without demonizing does more damage to your cause than helping it.

We’ve seem to have reached the pinnacle in human conversations through social media where we will either make little progress or make no progress at all in unifying our differences. Make no mistake about the next words you’re going to read. We’re at the apex of dysfunctional dialogue in regards to social media conversation and interaction.

I’m sure you’ve witnessed the emotional carnage left behind on facebook threads, news comment sections and 150 word tweet wars. Maybe you’ve drew the ire of a social media grown ass adult who doesn’t want to hear anything except their very own narrative and maybe you’ve even been the one dishing out the dysfunction. Whichever part you’ve played; whether the witness, the recipient or the deliverer you likely left that thread and/or comment section feeling like shit and if not like shit even more frustrated than you were before commenting or posting your status update wondering why you even bother.

Let’s be absolutely clear. When you interact with someone who CLEARLY has no interest in your cause, in your belief and in the very thing that’s causing you much pain, you should be confrontational. If they’re trying to shut you down or silence your voice you should deliver knowledge so powerful and bad ass to the racist, rapist,sexist, homophobic person and anyone else who discriminates against human beings that their mothers mother ancestors spirit materializes and they ask what happened because they felt pain in their bones resting in the grave. You owe it to yourself to stand for your rights.

Here’s the thing though; everyone isn’t against you, everyone isn’t trying to silence your voice and everyone isn’t trying to make you any less important than us. Some of us actually stand beside you, some of us actually march with you, some of us actually talk against the discrimination publicly because we ourselves are a living reminder of what discrimination feels like. We can stand for the same cause but have different solutions to move the agenda forward.

Honetly, If you can’t tell the difference between someone who’s got your back and someone who turns their back then you’re no better than the person trying to silence your voice. If you’re going to be confrontational with the very people empathetic to your cause just because they see things differently, then you’re actually hurting your own cause. It’s sort of like the person who says “come to church with me and come as you are” and then you get to church and the person who invited you to Church talks bad about the outfit you wore, making you feel bad.

That person who was attempting to be a supporter is likely never coming back to support something that they were trying to understand or get more involved in. So, take some advice from someone who’s experienced this first hand, don’t be a turn off to your own cause, because no matter what type of dance you call it, it’s still shooting at your own feet. The fact is, you can’t tell someone to come support your cause and then talk bad about them because they have a different perspective on it.

How I wear my perspective is to be respected and understood. How I come to you is how you accept me and help me do better and vice versa. Learn to educate without the anger, pain and ridicule. Learn to see another perspective that may help push the agenda forward collectively without you feeling attacked; because fresh eyes often bring fresh ideas and all causes can use fresh ideas.

Please, stop confronting the very people you need in your corner and start having non-confrontational conversations on social media if that’s the only place you have them. The truth is, too many people are typing to respond instead of reading to understand. Too many people are afraid that if another way is possible then their way must be wrong and that’s not the case at all.

Let me clarify, this is not for the people who say Blue Lives matter and don’t say black lives matter. This isn’t for the people who say look at the black on black crime but refuse to say look at the white on white crime. This isn’t for the people who say black people need to go back to Africa and refuse to tell themselves to go back to Europe.

This isn’t for the people who point out drug usage in the black community but refuse to see the opioid epidemic in white america. This isn’t for the people who never share a post or talk against discrimination online. For those people, you give them the cold hard truth. You give them every ounce of anger and frustration that you have because they’ll never change anyway.

The cold hard truth is that this confrontational epidemic isn’t just between black people and white people, this is a problem between Black on Black, White on White, Asian on Asian, Hispanic on Hispanic; it doesn’t matter the color, age or sexuality, this epidemic is hitting all of us. This epidemic is destroying the very spaces that were once created for us to be more connected and is causing more of us to be disconnected among the connected world.

So the questions I ask all advocators of a cause are these. Are people actually having fruitful conversations or are said people just playing make believe? Do they really want progress or do they just want to fight just to feel better about themselves? Are people just talking to the same people already shouting with them? Is anyone really reaching across the isle and helping one another to the same side or are all of you just arguing on social media with anyone who won’t say “yes you’re right”?

con·fron·ta·tion·al
  1. tending to deal with situations in an aggressive way; hostile or argumentative.

Be better, do better and converse better because if you want someone to be confrontable you first must be that yourself. If you want someone to take on the pain you’re feeling you must first be willing to show them why it hurts. Girdha Joshi said “When two people are on the path of confrontation…an innocuous comment is taken as an accusation. And an innocent query is suspected as an accusation.” So remove your confrontational attitude in order to see the bigger picture. Create safer spaces for your current audience and also the audiences that you’re trying to bring into your circle.

The fact remains that you never know who your audience is, you never know who’s reading your comments and you never know who’s allowing you to educate them on the next steps. You don’t know who’s in your audience checking out your platform in order to decide their next steps. When you’re confrontational with anyone who disagree’s slightly with you, you create a thin wall between yourself and them.

Someone I know has become the most aggressive and confrontational person I know over the years and I’ve witnessed her audience dwindle because of it. In a thread the other day someone who was fighting for the same cause as her made a comment that said “notice how quiet it is on this thread because nobody wants to talk about it”

No, the truth is, nobody wants to comment and talk about the issues if all you’re going to do is attack them. You silence them when you attack and they in turn silence you by not sharing any of your post that could move your cause forward. The two people who commented on her thread the other day (me and another guy) were treated like the enemy and talked about in negative light and I don’t know about the other guy but they both lost any credibility for their cause with me because of the confrontational dialogue they presented to me. How did that benefit their cause?

In closing, you can’t blame others for your isolation if you find fault in everyone except yourself and if everyone continues down this path of blaming and shaming on social media all of us will be conversing with the same people we started with, wondering why the hell there’s no progress. We have to remember that progress comes to those willing to tackle the tough conversations and also being aware of displaced anger. Stop it from rearing it’s ugly head and bridge the gaps that are between you and your destination.

Let’s stop being so closed off and paranoid and let’s stop with the confrontational dialogue that people think is cool. It’s not cool and it wasn’t cool yesterday, today and it won’t be cool tomorrow. Direct your anger towards the people trying to shackle you down, not to the people trying to break chains with you. Your anger will shackle your mind, leaving you bounded and grounded.

I want to help you elevate but you have to help me too and we can’t do that until we understand that anger is a combination of emotions unreleased and feelings unexpressed exploding uncontrollably and until we get THAT under control, you have no control over your situation because no one is listening. Sadly, I see way too many people on social media com-busting and I’m pretty sure I know why….because everyone has tuned each other out.

“The revolution will not be socialvised-Jay Noetic”

Global Awakening

“The Revolution introduced me to art, and in turn, art introduced me to the Revolution!”
Albert Einstein

Guess what? There’s something astonishingly beautiful happening in our world and I must gleefully admit that for the spiritually conscious person, this (r)evolution is refreshing. It’s like stepping outside on a Saturday morning in a Virginia Autumn. What am I speaking of? A spiritual re-wiring, a evolution that’s creating a new revolution and because of it, people are becoming more accepting of others albeit still slow but faster than past years. On the flip side of this is the unfortunate realization of the fact that the  spiritual evolution happening is being overshadowed by events and topics in the United States that are equally important as developing spiritual consciousness , e.g.Black Lives matters, Mass Shootings and domestic violence. These topics are extremely important and truly need immediate action taken to help resolve the issues keeping us abused, unequal and separate from one another.

Still, I have faith in human kind, I have deep faith in you and I truly believe that in the near future the aforementioned social issues will no longer have to be headliners in the news because they will cease to exist or at the very least, be happening on such a minute scale that they won’t control our social media timelines. I can hope and you can hope for this change as well but we must also take action. Hope alone won’t close the gaps elaborately confusing and dividing us every hour, every day and every week. My reasoning for having much more hope and faith in people these days versus a decade ago is that more people are becoming spiritually aware. This is great for our society because spiritually conscious people tend to be more accepting of all people and lifestyles which is in stark contrast to people who are living or practicing a religious lifestyle.  This isn’t a knock on this lifestyle but it’s a fact that most religious lifestyles are taught to convert others from who they are to what they themselves are and spiritually conscious people tend to not care about that. Most of us only care about one thing and that’s pushing our people (that’s everyone) forward together.

“The only Revolution that can really change the world is the one in your own consciousness, and mine has already begun.”
Russell Brand, Revolution

The spiritual (r)evolution happening in our modern times is without a doubt having major effects in not only our communities but also in how we view people different from us in the world. Understandably not all will agree that this evolution is a good thing for you, for me and for them and will fight drastically and dramatically for what they feel are infringements upon their basic human rights. In fact you have likely heard and seen people say/do things that are derogatory towards people who live differently, openly and spiritually instead of caring for them  and loving them. Is that the way to experience life? To stay separated from those who are different from us? Where is growth in this? Spiritualism doesn’t teach this and is often confused with Atheist but they aren’t one in the same.

Spiritualism is a religion (for lack of a better word) that gives an understanding of God and encourages us to act with a high sense of duty towards others. Spiritualism stimulates spiritual growth and prepares us for eternal existence in the spirit-world. Spiritualism is a science because it is based upon proven facts that can be demonstrated and scientifically classified. Spiritualism is the science of life as it encourages the search for truth in every department of existence, in nature and in human psychology. Spiritualism is a philosophy that attempts to understand people, their physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual being. As Spirit is the moving force of the Universe.

I’m a firm believer that the reason you see more inter-racial dating, growing support for the LGBT community and different races coming together to “fight for what’s right” is that my generation and the generation after me are living more spiritually than religiously and are influencing the generations before us to think logically, openly and noeticlly. And if these said people who decide to live in the past don’t change, we the changers are making sure they understand that there is no turning back the hand of time or in other subliminal words to “make america great again”.  Fact, America is already great and it will be even greater when everyone begins to pull together to uplift the homeless, the impoverished, the middle class and the disenfranchised. Our time is now and the world can feel it.

Change is scary so I don’t fault people for wanting things to stay the same but I do fault people for seeing evidence presented to them that is in contrast to how they live that shows the new way is better for our society and they completely ignore it simply because they believe “it’s not natural”, “it’s not right” “it’s not what God said” or they believe it takes away from their personal gain. And let’s be honest; that’s the main reason for the push back from people who are against same-sex marriage, inter-racial dating, equal rights and/or  allowing kids and people to fully be themselves because they feel that what was once theirs is now being taken away. Their exclusive rights to God, their exclusive rights to marriage, their exclusive rights to fair pay, their exclusive rights  to better insurance, their exclusive rights to America and their exclusive rights to equal living conditions.  Nobody wants less than what they already have, we get it and honestly no one is forcing anyone to teach against their morals and beliefs but what is being asked is that you accept everyone and anyone as we believe God to do without defamation of an entire race, culture and individual.

Everyone existing in this moment has an opportunity to be either on the right side of change or the wrong side of change. When I look at images from seventy-five years ago and I see white people smiling as they stand around a chard boiled naked black man hanging from a tree I ask myself if they regret being in that moment. I wonder if they wish they were on the right side of history that said those actions are no longer acceptable and that we need to change this for the betterment of our society. When people look back at images from 2015 seventy-five years later, will you be standing on the side of the crowds standing in protest against those who feel unequal? Or will you be on the side fighting for what’s right? When you get to the gates of heaven that you believe in, will God be proud of you or will God wonder why you treated God’s angel’s in that way, knowing your actions showed hate instead of love. Many better pray and hope that God is as forgiving as it is believed.

In closing, it’s time to brush aside the need of a few and begin to do what’s right for the many. It’s true, I don’t currently know what the solutions are for our  existing problems but I do know what’s not the solution and that’s continuing to live as if everything is terrific as is. There are brothers and sisters hurting, struggling, crying for justice and it’s our responsibility to help them feel better about life. It’s the only life they and us have to live and no one should ever live it feeling like less. It’s time to stop telling people to be blessed and yet do nothing to help them be that in the way they are living. So yes, people are angry and yes people are fighting back and yes people are speaking up asking for what they rightfully deserve and it’s not going to stop anytime soon until we all come together and work through it. Luckily for us, the spiritual evolution is changing things and some will unfortunately be stuck in the past thinking the world went to hell in a hand basket when in fact it will only be the world they have boxed themselves in.

Here is a fact,  by 2050, those unaffiliated with religion (meaning spiritual people) are expected to rise from 16% to 26%,  which means religious affiliates will slightly decline, naturally. Will this trend continue? There is no way to know until we get there but the trend has been trending up fast. So fast in fact that it’s the 2nd fastest growing practice behind Islam. Does this upward trend have any correlation with what we see happening in human acceptance? Absolutely and I’m glad to be on the right side of history, change and spiritual consciousness; hopefully you’ll join me there.

Written by: Jay Noetic

Follow me on Twitter:Jnoetic

Follow me on IG: Jay Noetic

Go Buy My Book!

 

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”
Rosa Luxemburg

 

What Human’s Do:Debunking the Gender Differences

I attended a round-table discussion the other night in which the focus of the discussion was about relationships and dating or as I like to call it “The Great Debate”. If anyone has ever participated in this type of event then you understand that it can get a little heated and a little personal during the discussion. Sometimes in these type of events, all the people participating most often leave the event thinking the same way that they entered the room thinking, not learning a new perspective. The goal as I see it should always be to learn something  that you didn’t know before you entered the room.

Hopefully the twenty something people who attended the round-table learned something new, I can’t speak on that but what I can speak on is what I learned after observing the different perspectives from each individual regarding dating and relationships. I’m an observer, I like to watch and listen to what people are saying before I make an assessment or personal judgement about the situation and what I learned after assessing the conversation that night was this; that the majority of the people sitting around that table were stuck in a perspective of “this is what men do” or “this is what women do” and this is why we are single.

I should point out that it wasn’t just the opposite sex speaking about the things that men do and women do, it were men and women saying these things about themselves, generalizing an entire gender. How fair is that? Whether it was someone stating “Women like to talk about things right then and there and men don’t” (as if men can’t be that way) or “that men are visual creatures and women are emotional creatures” (as if women can’t be that way) they (those who were speaking) continued to exist in what I feel is the root cause of the problem and that’s looking through the perspective that men and women are separate when in fact we are not.

Question, what’s the point of going to a round-table discussion or even a seminar if  you’re going to remove the eyes you always had only to  replace them with a new set of eyes but continue to see the same way? The goal, again, should always be to become more enlightened so that you can improve upon the situation that you no longer want to be part of but as I sat there and listened I realized that most of the individuals didn’t realize that they have accepted the separatism that has been thrown upon them.

Separatism-the advocacy or practice of separation of a certain group of people from a larger body on the basis of ethnicity, religion, or gender.

Many people have decided that gender separatism is okay when in fact it is not okay. Is racism okay? Is class-ism okay? Are there things that men do differently from women? Of course. Are there things that women do differently than men? Of course. But the things that both men and women need at our core are the same things. The things that we think the opposite sex does the same can be said about the other and you would be continuing to do yourself a disservice to keep believing otherwise. In order to have better relationships with one another, both men and women need to stop looking at it from a perspective of “what women do” and “what men do” and learn to understand that it’s “what human’s do”.

I too use to think from a standpoint of men vs women and that to understand a woman you need to think like a woman or for a woman to understand a man she needs to think like a man. But guess what? That’s not true! And I want to help you start looking at it from the human perspective instead of the woman’s perspective or the man’s perspective because the two issues between man and woman is gender separatism and improper communication.

I was talking to a friend about this and he said ” You know, you’re right, men and women may communicate differently but as long as we are getting the same answer then that’s what matters. If i ask two different people what numbers they need to add together to reach the number ten and one says eight plus two and another says 9 plus 1, they both are correct. It may have taken a different thought process but the result is still the same”

If you are trying to understand the other gender then you need to understand that properly communicating on each level is the key to a healthier relationship. Truth is however, that each individual will communicate differently. You have to learn and adapt to each person that comes into your life. One particular method of communication will not work for each person. We all have been shaped by our experiences and so we struggle to communicate in different areas of our lives, especially if there has been no one in our lives that have helped us learn to express ourselves effectively. Be mold-able  friends, always.

Gender separatism is probably causing the biggest divide between men and women. Healthy couples always speak of “being one”, that they finish each other sentences, that they are unified. That can’t happen when you continue to live in the belief system of separatism. Stop placing all your eggs in a book or speech that is telling you that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Again, why aren’t we living on the same planet? That title alone is reinforcing separatism.  Are we separate or are we one?

“I stopped looking at relationships as “what women do” and “what men do” and started looking at relationships as “what human’s do and then I understood”. I said this quote the next day after attending the round-table discussion.  Let me explain what I mean. I recently became involved with a young woman who I’m in a relationship with, prior to that I had been single for almost four years. I too had the mentality of separatism and was having no success in trying to find a potential lover so I decided to take a hard look at my approach. It took me two years to understand it but I did.

I realized that as human beings, we all do the same things and we all need the same things that make a person and/or relationship feel worthy of our time. I asked myself what were the things that I need and then I asked myself if any of these things could be what a woman needs? Everything that I said needed and wanted I understood that so could a woman. Respect, communication, flexibility, sexual expression,patience, understanding, time, ambitions, hugs, kisses, quality time, and gifts to name a few  These are things that human’s want and do not just women, not just men. So everything that I wanted and needed I started to give to each woman I dated and I advise you to do the same.

Ask yourself, what is it that human’s do? Not what men do, not what women do. I also decided to start finding more reasons to be with someone instead of reason’s not to and I removed judgement of the situation. Stop judging other people and deciding it’s something bad because of an experience that molded you into who you are. These are the things I changed in my life and  in the last two years I became closer to being in a relationship than ever and now I am in one. I dated three women in two years and the last one has been successful as of the writing of this article.

I removed the poor communication, I removed the separatism, I removed judgement (as much as possible) and I removed the excuses as to why not and I’m encouraging you to do the same. Everything evolves friends, everything. Look at the universe and see how everything in it continues to evolve and change? So why aren’t you? Dating and relationships have evolved as well and you can either continue to say “men use to court” and “women use to call” and keep living in the past tense or you can be mold-able and evolve into what is happening now and bring a little (or a lot) of what you expect from the past into modern times. Stop allowing other people to dictate the reason’s why you are single or struggling in your relationship. Stop allowing other people to keep you separate from one another, stop allowing other people’s bad advice to continue to allow your current relationship to get further away from fixing. We are human;s  who happen to have been created slightly different in order to keep balance in relationships

You can continue to see genders in a separate state or you can choose to see it in a unified state but what I do know is, that only one of them leads to healthy, respectable relationships. If you want peace in all areas of your life (not only relationships) move beyond the man vs woman debate and move towards the human debate because the truth of matter is and the FACT of that matter is, that while we may look different and think different we all are 99.0% the same….don’t be controlled by the 1%