Chocolate Vent Quote of the Week: “STRENGTH + SENSITIVITY = WISDOM”

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
    love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
    Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
    embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will give you a garland to grace your head
    and present you with a glorious crown
{Proverbs 4:6-9}

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Willpower: The Fair-Weather Friend

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). —Galatians 5:16

Willpower sure sounds like a great thing. We are led to believe that we have enough of it to fight off every temptation that comes our way. And sometimes it works. But let me tell you a little secret about willpower. Willpower is your best friend when things go well, but it’s the first friend to check out when you get weary. I have found that if I really don’t want to do something, my mind gives me plenty of reasons why I don’t have to. My emotions even join in, saying, “I agree because I don’t feel like doing it anyway.”

Our soul (mind, will, emotions) would love to run our lives, but the Bible says we are to be led by God’s Spirit. We are never instructed to be willpower-led, we are told to be Spirit-led. Willpower and discipline are important and vitally necessary to a successful life, but willpower alone won’t be enough. Determination gets you started and keeps you going for awhile, but it is never enough to bring you across the finish line. Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV) says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts.

What happens if, instead of turning first to willpower in your time of need, you turn to God instead? God releases His power into your willpower and energizes it to bring you across the finish line. Willpower does not get the credit for our success, God does. Jesus said in John 15:5, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. This is one of the most important and most difficult lessons we must learn if we want to enjoy the life Jesus died to give us.

4 Self-Love Statements Every Woman of Color Should Live By

Being a radical supporter of yourself can feel hard, especially when you feel like the world has it out for you as a melanated sister or as a woman in general. Even getting support from a fellow BAUCE woman can feel challenging and intimidating when you get the sense that love and friendship are being besieged by competition and jealousy. But don’t allow those feelings to hold you back or keep you down. When you fuel yourself with abundant messages of love and acceptance, you’ll be strong enough to keep any hateration at bay and your confidence rays will expand like sunlight.

Drown yourself in self-love. It’s the only way to conquer the dark thoughts that sometimes creep in from our insecurities or from other people’s own projected insecurities. Here are four self-love statements that we believe every woman of color should live by.

1. Just because you view beauty in someone else does not mean that there’s an absence of beauty in yourself.

Stop putting yourself down to put someone else up.

“Confidence is like a mental muscle…like muscle everyone is born with it, but not everyone flexes it. And if you want your muscles to grow stronger, you got to exercise.” – Michelle Phan

Confidence is something you aren’t going to gain overnight. Everybody has their own insecurities. If you want to be viewed as a BAUCE, you must act like one and play the part. You can’t just sit and think negatively about yourself and put yourself down and think that people will think highly of you. To build up your confidence, try reciting these positive affirmations to yourself daily. Trust us, it works!

2. Leverage cockiness to build confidence but not to spread hate or negativity.

There’s a substantial difference between being cocky and being confident. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re cocky just because you love yourself. Don’t be scared to put yourself first you’re all you’ve got at the end of the day, just you and yourself, so put yourself first no matter what. Don’t let a guy make you guilt yourself into doing things that he wants you to do. You are your main priority.

3. Don’t get in a relationship to make you whole. Be whole with yourself first. Let love come second. 

Don’t let a man destroy your confidence, I’ve been there. I’m a firm believer that for someone to truly love you, you have to love yourself first. Part of loving yourself comes from respect from a guy. If a guy truly loves you, he would never call you expletive words or be emotionally abusive; instead, he would want to make you feel like a queen and would never want you to feel low about yourself. Don’t let a guy define your worth.

If you feel that past relationships or situationships have beaten you down or made you cold at the core, then it may truly be time to take a break from the dating scene and take some time to get yourself right. Re-explore your hobbies or discover a new passion to help yourself rediscover who you are and what makes you great. Build up your skill levels and talents so that you begin to feel confident and alive again; heal your heart so that you know what not to allow back into your life. If you feel like you are really struggling in this area, then read our guide on how to get your life back after a situationship beats you down.

4. Confidence is sexy. Exude confidence and you’ll glow forever. 

Confidence creates an aura that draws people in. Because many people lack high self-esteem themselves, they are intrigued by people who have high levels of confidence. They want to learn how these people live their lives with hopes of emulating their energy.

Finding a way to be confident is a beyond desirable lifestyle and one everyone should strive for. Although it can sometimes be difficult to achieve, it is definitely worth it in the long run.

Flex your confidence muscle by tapping into what you’re good at. What do you do better than anyone else you know? What’s your superpower? What brings you passion in life? Once you hone in on that, use that superpower to shape your identity. Lead with that energy and you’ll see how quickly and positively people will respond to you. Here’s a crash course on building confidence that we highly recommend.

*Originally published on BauceMag.

#ThursdayReads: Bell Hooks

Bell Hooks is an acclaimed intellectual, feminist theorist, cultural critic, artist, and writer. hooks has authored over three dozen books and has published works that span several genres, including cultural criticism, personal memoirs, poetry collections, and children’s books. Her writings cover topics of gender, race, class, spirituality, teaching, and the significance of media in contemporary culture.

Born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, bell hooks adopted the pen name of her maternal great-grandmother, a woman known for speaking her mind. hooks received her B.A. from Stanford University, her M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her books include, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, Rock My Soul: Black People and Self-Esteem, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope, Where We Stand: Class Matters, and We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity. Please visit from Indiebound and Amazon to purchase bell hooks’s books.