The Art of Encouraging Yourself

Psst. I have a secret for you. Doing good gets you nowhere. You heard it here first. It’s probably not getting you a mansion. Probably not getting you a dream job. It’s probably not winning you favor from anyone. So does that mean you should stop doing good? Well, no. The better you do, the more good you do, the more you will be attacked from all sides. So do you stop doing good? Absolutely not. If you become weary in well-doing and stop doing good, you’ll be doing exactly what those attacking you want.

That’s some pretty heavy stuff. What happens when I’m on my way to feed the homeless at seven in the morning? Speeding ticket. What happens when I pay my car note on time and pay taxes my entire life? Repairs come sooner than later. All of this right here? All of it is frustrating.

Do I want recognition for all the good I do? Well, no. My mama and Jesus recognize my hard work, so who cares what others see or don’t see. Do I want some respect? Sure. It would be nice. But it’s a man’s world, it’s not happening.

While each day brings new frustrations and old frustration seem to take up residence and linger without paying rent, to become totally discouraged would be horrible. Suicide to my well-being and yours. While I have improved over the years, my first instinct is still to be frustrated, dragged down, mad, and discouraged when my doing good gets me nowhere. But as I get older I also realize that people aren’t going to change. Situations can get better. I can change my reaction to these people and situations. But people are not changing. So how do I encourage myself?

First, I look in the mirror. Taking a good look at myself always clears my head. Second, I say exactly what I want to say to somebody. If I want to say, “I get sick of everything I do being shit on,” I say it out loud to somebody. What’s the point you ask? The point is that once something is spoken, it’s not dwelling inside of you, just waiting to boil over. Third, I listen to music. Music soothes, but also works out frustration. Lastly, I think of all of the women like myself who I know had to have been weary in well-doing at some point. Alice Walker. Toni Morrison. Zora Neale Hurston. No one was playing these women cheap or underestimating them. And while they may have been mad at one point, all three speak of letting her anger go. I also think of my own mother who integrated a high school. My grandmothers.

Whenever I choose to be a part of something, whether it be a corporation, non-profit, mentoring program, anything; I take it seriously. My involvement aligns with what I feel I have been put on earth for. A person’s knowledge of their purpose is a powerful thing. It gives a whole other kind of confidence. Sometimes the blows to it are endless though. The solution for me is encouraging myself. If you don’t know how to do so, learn! I will gladly take a blow and then walk in any place even more upright and confident after the most recent blow is received. They want me to stay home, but I’m not pleasing them that easily.

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