#TBT: 5 Confessions of a Lost and Found Role Model
I AM A [RECENTLY] FOUND ROLE MODEL.
ON BEING A ROLE MODEL
Being a role model can be
It can make you feel like you're never good enough.
(If you let it)
Being a role model can be
It can make you the best version of yourself at all times.
(If you let it)
SO...WHAT'S IT GONNA BE?
When deciding on a title for this post, I started to write "Confessions of a 'Bad' Role Model."
and then I realized how unforgiving and judgmental that was, and that's not what I'm about. Yes, it's possible to judge ourselves, in fact, any form of judgment (whether directed towards others or ourselves) is really a projection of our lack of self-acceptance/self-love (deep right?). Anyway, I just figured I would be transparent with you about how intentional this whole self-love, self-forgiveness process has been and always will be for me. I'm constantly trying to unlearn past habits in order to do better and be better. it's hard work.
through this ongoing self-evaluation process, I realized that a lot of us are so hard on ourselves, especially when we're in positions to lead by example (which I'm learning is all the time). I have been blessed with many platforms to influence others: as a sister, teacher, coach, through this blog, and now as a leader who is working to promote sisterhood and self-love within my community (through @wempowermi - follow us!). It is such a beautiful thing to give back, but without learning to practice self-forgiveness, it could truly be daunting.
I have always taken these roles extremely seriously, even when I didn't even take myself seriously. For the majority of my life, being a role model forced me to give others parts of myself that i hadn't even learned to give myself.
and that was okay. I was right to be this intentional, but I've learned that, in order to ensure i was in a sustainable position to promote positivity and love, I needed to learn to give myself those same things. Thankfully, I am in a place today where I've learned to forgive myself for everything: all of my shortcomings, all of the moments when I went out of character, all of the immature phases I went through. I accept them as part of my journey, and I want to help you do the same, whether for yourself, for those watching, or ideally, for both.
THESE are my confessions:
1- I INTENTIONALLY DID "THE WRONG THING," A LOT OF THE TIME
you don't have to be a bad person to do the wrong thing, a lot of the time. i was never a bad person, but none of us are perfect. so, if you're reading this and you think i'm being too hard on myself, just listen. I've found that 9.9 times out of 10, we know what the right thing to do is. I italicize the right thing and the wrong thing because they should be treated like proper nouns - that's how clearly defined they often are. but sometimes, due to ego, fear, insecurity, immaturity, or a plethora of other love-lacking forces in our lives, we opt for the wrong thing. Purposely. to make matters more challenging, A lot of times, the wrong thing also happens to be the easy thing to do. Conversely, the right thing tends to be the harder thing to do.
But who told you that you were put on this earth to take the easy way out? You're worthy of choosing the right thing every single time. you're built for the more challenging option. You are strong and resilient enough to trek the higher road. I have had so many challenging moments like this. legit Walking away from conversations and interactions and telling myself: "Rima, you KNOW that wasn't you. You know you should right your wrong, right now." and i did, over and over again. i trained myself to do the right thing. I always right my wrongs now, in the only way i know how (through love), and over and over again i am so pleased with how things play out, for myself and for those i'm able to inspire in the process.
2- I FOLLOWED MY EGO, THUS RESISTING MY HEART
learning to follow my heart instead of my ego has been the most drastic and challenging behavioral shift in my life. I had so much "pride." today, I call it "pride paralysis" (jk i just made that up lol), but misplaced pride really has been a paralyzing force in my life. i would lose countless hours of sleep because my ego was encouraging me to behave in ways that were lacking the love i knew i was supposed to be giving. i was so afraid to choose love and follow my heart. I thought it would open me up to more heartache. one of my biggest fears was relinquishing this overrated "upper hand." my preoccupation with power paralyzed me, so much that i didn't realize i was at my most powerless state when i chose anything other than love.
but somewhere deep inside, i knew my ego was getting in my way. I would always ask myself this question: "Is it really pride when you don't trust yourself to set it aside?" That question remained rhetorical for a while, mostly because I knew the answer and wasn't ready to own up to it (hence paralysis!). i realized with time that following anything but my heart was really a cop-out. It was the wrong thing because my stubbornness was feeding into a world that is already lacking in love. not surprisingly, when i finally learned to choose love, I was able to transform my relationships with the same people whom i once thought were egotistical, cold-hearted or negative. by choosing to drop everything and love, We really can manifest the kind of world we want to live in.
3- I INAPPROPRIATELY ENGAGED IN PETTY BEHAVIOR
before i get to my main point, i must say that, Sometimes, being "petty" (expressing concern about trivial or seemingly insignificant things) is appropriate. My students made me buy my red "PETTY" hat because they said I nitpicked about everything and "did the most" when trying to teach them life lessons (like give my seniors zeros on papers when they didn't write their names on them 🤷🏻♀️). In this way, I'll be petty for the rest of my life because i believe people deserve to be held to the highest of standards. i inherited this appropriate pettiness from my dad. I learned the most valuable and memorable lessons from his "petty" disciplinary measures (like throwing my ripped jeans in the fireplace because I purposely wore them to school against the dress code 🤷🏻♀️). anyway, that was my "petty defense" for those who care lol.
When I say i used to be "inappropriately petty," I'm talking about trivial, self-absorbed behavior that is rooted in lack of self-love and empathy. i even took pride in being petty. common examples of this kind of pettiness are subtweeting anyone about anything, posting captions or IG/snapchat stories taking a shot at someone instead of confronting them, and engaging in any form of gossip or hateful speech, whether it gets back to another person or not. I swear I'm so happy I phased out of this one, because not only was it never really in my character to begin with, but it also promoted a culture of toxicity, hatred and self-victimization. I don't believe I am ever a victim anymore, regardless the situation. And even if I did, I no longer have the capacity to promote anything other than love, especially on public platforms. I'm committed to the truth, and nothing hateful could ever be the truth. simple as that.
4- I WAS TERRIFIED TO BE ALONE
when i think about the impact and influence i can have on other women, this confession hits closest to home. more women need to spend long periods of time alone. i always knew this in theory. when i was 16, i made a promise to myself that i would stay single until i truly loved myself. I always took such pride in allowing myself the space and time to be alone like I knew i needed to be, especially in a community that tells us we are more worthy when we find "the one." i would let you give me your kudos, but the truth is, I wasn't actually alone. sure, I wasn't in any committed relationships, but I always had someone around. I always had a guy I was "talking to," I was constantly hanging out with friends or talking on the phone. if i wasn't, i was listening to music or watching tv. constantly engaging in anything but true self-reflection. anything that prevented me from being alone, from feeling lonely, from listening to the voices in my head. little did i know those were the exact voices i needed to befriend.
by failing to be alone, I failed to commit to myself. how could i possibly commit to anyone (my students, my family, my soulmate, my friends, etc.) when I hadn't even kept the commitments i made to myself. today, i feel so strongly about encouraging other women to be comfortable in their own skin, in their own spirits, in their hearts and minds and bodies. i am still taking the time necessary to get to know those very parts of myself, and Being alone has already changed my life. soon, i'm going to devote a whole blog post to this. Now, when I do communicate or hang out with people, it's because I want to, not because I need to. My relationships with others are so much stronger because I've strengthened my relationship with myself.
5- I SOUGHT OUT TEMPORARY PLEASURES
This is a spin-off of #4 because it is rooted in discomfort of the "self." and there are so many temporary outlets that perpetuate this discomfort. Anything that has addictive properties could be a temporary pleasure. anything that is a temporary feel-good thing amid an extended feel-bad period is a temporary pleasure. Junk food when you're going to feel like sh*t and shame yourself about it tomorrow? Temporary pleasure. you hangout with the person you shouldn't be involved with because you have "nothing better to do?" Temporary pleasure. Choosing a fast life when you're really a slow paced kind of gal? Temporary pleasure. do you justify anything or anyone by saying they're "something to do when there's nothing to do?" sounds like a temporary pleasure to me.
I am in no position to judge or tell you what to do, especially because what may be a temporary pleasure for you may be okay for someone else. it really just depends who you are and what you're using that person or thing for. I don't know you like you know you - nobody does. it's on you to decide what is and isn't best for you. Just know that if you're running away from something, there's a good chance you're running towards something unhealthy for you. believe me, I used to run marathons to avoid my issues. I understand. It takes serious courage and strength to face your fears and insecurities head on. But I knew if I wasn't ready to choose me for me, then I needed to choose me to give other women permission to do the same. why settle for a temporary pleasure when you deserve eternal joy?
i write these confessions in hopes that my level of transparency, accountability and self-forgiveness could encourage you to think about the ways that you may not be showing up as the best version of yourself. if you're like me, it's easier to hold yourself accountable when you realize that your lack of self-love is actually hurting the people who you care most about. a lot of us are still learning how to love ourselves; a lot of us are still learning how to connect to god. but i know all of us can think of at least one person whom we love unconditionally. one person who calls us their "role model."
if you're a lost role model, and you can't make that commitment to yourself or to god just yet, commit to that one person.
ALLOW THEM TO HELP YOU FIND YOURSELF.