#TBT: RIP to the Girl I Used to Be ft. My War Against the Need for Validation
🗣IT FEELS SO GOOD TO BE BACK!
i’ve taken a mini-hiatus from social media/the brand so i could focus on getting my mind and spirit right before this big chapter! i’ve been writing a lot tho. just intentionally have not been sharing - Which brings me to this #tbt post. I wrote it earlier this summer, but left it in the drafts until I was ready to re-engage. writing this post was pivotal in helping me get ready. today, as i continue preparing to be a change agent and leader, its messages and lessons are even more relevant.
I MISS YOU & I HOPE YOU ENJOY!
THE OLD ME IS DYING SLOWLY AND PEACEFULLY.
I PLAN TO PUT HER TO REST IN SEPTEMBER, IN TIME FOR ME TO START SCHOOL. I know that sounds kind of harsh, but you must first understand that i loved the old me deeply. no hard feelings, but her time has simply passed. there is no place for her in my new life.
the other day i was walking with friends and i mentioned something about the "new me." one of my friends responded to my comment asking me this:
"so if you're not the old you anymore, what's the name of this "new you?"
i don't know who that "old me" was, but she wasn't rima. she wasn't being herself.
i have changed so many things about my life this year. this 25th year has truly been a transitional one, but all of these changes have been put in place to bring me closer to myself, to who i'm supposed to be. i truly do not recognize my 24 year old self.
i really like the new me. i like what she stands for. she gives me a lot of hope. she makes me proud. i'll tell you more about her when her time comes, but for this #tbt post, i want to tell you a little about the old me, followed by my war on the need to be validated.
THE OLD ME
the old me was so hungry for validation. she wanted to be seen. she wanted to be heard. she wanted so badly for others to affirm her being. to tell her she was beautiful. to tell her she was smart. to tell her she was worthy. she held on to these words. she didn't really believe them, but they kept her going. they were a drug. she needed them regularly and often.
the need for validation has become so normalized. many of us don't think it's an issue because of how prevalent it is. but it is a huge issue, one that i'm personally committed to working through. because, like any emotional dependency, the hunger for validation can be crippling.
i remember opening up to a friend during my first year of college, telling him that, for my whole life, my identity had been so dependent on what others thought of me. i told him that i was constantly in others' heads trying to figure out who i was to them because these thoughts and opinions informed what i thought of myself. i had no true self-concept outside of their thoughts and opinions. this discovery was a breakthrough moment for me.
at the time, i was wise enough to know that i was experiencing a serious identity crisis, but i didn't know how to work through it, to make my way out. i am proud of the 18-year old Ri for identifying that her self-worth stemmed entirely from others' abilities to see it. but here i am, 8 years later, still trying to rid myself of this toxicity. i don't say this to judge myself. i say this to extend empathy to anyone who may be struggling to work through thought patterns and toxic roots that they've identified as self-deprecating, to anyone still trying to figure out what to do with their breakthrough. it truly is hard work. and i'm trying so hard.
| RiFLECTION: A BREAKTHROUGH DOESN'T MATTER MUCH IF YOU DON'T ACTUALLY BREAK THROUGH.
i’m ready to breakthrough. i have decided to wage a war on the need to be validated, and i won't stop fighting until the only validation i care for comes from god. sometimes, our habits and thought patterns are so deeply rooted, so extreme, that the only way to rid ourselves of them is to do something equally extreme. so this war of mine is an extreme one. it is relentless. it is laser-focused. but it is temporary.
so, in true Ri fashion, i wrote myself a love letter, followed by specific commitments outlining exactly what this war will look like. i discussed the most salient parts of my life right now, and my hope is that you can find yourself in my words. maybe you'll be encouraged to initiate a quiet storm of your own.
FOR ME: The Quiet Storm
hello my love,
first things first - I’m proud of you.
you’ve officially committed to doing it for yourself, knowing good and well that this is the only sustainable way to devote a life to serving others through your purpose. knowing that your purpose requires of you to truly reflect deeply on who and what you are meant to be. and that is no small feat.
as a matter of fact, i don’t think you could have possibly anticipated just how challenging this work is without having first begun building this new life of yours. you are quite literally laying the foundation for a new life, and that will require successfully uprooting the old one. and admittedly, it’s taking much longer than you thought. not because you are not growing every day, but because you’ve underestimated just how socialized you’ve been into doing it all - directly or indirectly - for someone else’s approval. and that’s okay, because rushing the process is a form of greed and trusting it is a form of gratitude. and all we can do is be grateful these days.
so we trust the process. we understand that we are in one of the biggest transitions to date, and we are ready to continue building this new life. it has already been such a deeply gratifying process, and we wouldn’t change it for anyone or anything. hence, the #forme movement.
in order to successfully ensure we're doing it for ourselves and nobody else, we need to be very specific about what this looks like in our day to day. we've spent 25 years surviving off validation, that kind of addiction isn’t going to go away on its own. we will need to resist, resist, resist every single day. we will need to literally wage a war against the need to be validated. and here’s what it will look like:
A QUIET STORM
a war against the need to be validated
when the imposter syndrome surfaces, i'll remind myself that god believes in me and that my fear has no place in this new life. after all, my fears are always more daunting than the reality at hand.
when the less than loving thoughts surface, immediately restate the thought or sentence in a positive way - whether the thought is about myself or someone else. empathy and love are the #1 weapons we can use to combat any form of negativity. make use of this arsenal.
if i am feeling insecure or down, i immediately change my thoughts. do things that make me feel good or remind me of my self-worth. re-read old letters, watch inspirational YouTube videos, workout. i may not be able to prevent all of these thoughts just yet, but i am not allowed to let these thoughts fester and spread. they are cancerous. i'm going to stop feeding them. they don’t belong in this life. and they will soon be gone for good.
if i find myself wondering what someone else thinks about me, i will immediately refocus those thoughts on what i want to think or feel about myself. i have limited energy to spend, so i should stop wondering what’s going on in someone else’s head and start deciding on what i want to be happening inside my own. i will immediately remind myself that the only validation i care for comes from god and from myself. god and me only. (this makes for an amazing weed-out process because those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter.)
SOCIAL MEDIA & IMAGE
no more pictures right now. don't ask about the brand's future because the brand isn’t a brand if rima isn't really rima (#newsflash). don't make me say it. okay, i'm gonna say it: i scrutinize every angle of my body when i take pics. i obsess over every single detail before posting it. and i quite literally measure my validation against the level of engagement my pics are getting. what a horrible way to perpetuate #forthem. shut it down. only thing i'm allowed to post are poems for now. these are truly you. no more pics baby girl, at least until my need to be validated is a thing of the past.
no makeup challenge going 6 mos strong. i'm not stopping this any time soon or honestly probably ever. giving away all of my makeup pretty soon. #flawsandall
before i get dressed, the clothes we wear have to be #forme. i know what my figure looks like, so if i find myself liking the jeans or leggings because they accentuate certain assets (lol), then clearly i'm doing it for them and not for myself. change into something else or modify the outfit to reflect who you really are.
change your relationship to the mirror. stop looking at your body like it’s not enough after you get out of the shower. you are beautiful now and you will be beautiful later. stop looking in the mirror so much. you don't need reminders. you need to know in your heart. that's the only reflection you need to care about. trust the process and just stop doing that.
those old "body goals?" they were never yours. they’re someone else’s. body goals should be about ability and not about appearance. whatever my body looks like at its healthiest and strongest is what my body goals are. stop giving a shit! when you try on clothes from now on, focus on if the outfit represents your values, not if it reinforces an image that was never yours to begin with. those body goals should have died with that old you. kill them now.
be patient. it will all make sense soon. just keep doing what you know you’re supposed to be doing. keep learning and seeking out new information. keep improving. keep serving others. keep honing your strengths and discovering your gifts. keep adding tools to your arsenal. the money will follow. it was never about the money. security is extremely important, but money - in and of itself - is not. purpose is important. impact is important. create impact, and the financial security will be a non-negotiable.
ef a fixed mindset. who cares about finance and stats and econ and whatever other courses will undoubtedly be challenging for you. take August to prepare (like you said you would) and don’t set yourself up for disappointment. you were never meant to be a finance or Econ guru (and who tf cares lol). you pursued an MBA so that you can build your business acumen, not so you can be a chief financial officer. see the forest for the trees. some things will matter way way way more in this experience, get yourself ready to care less about the less important things.
you are not allowed to feel stupid. you will put yourself in positions that challenge you and make you uncomfortable. you will meet with people (professors, advisors, students) during August to learn and absorb their advice. but you are not allowed to let anyone or anything make you feel like you’re not here to kill shit.
you are going to kill shit. whatever comes out of your mba will be the biggest thing you've ever done. and you’ve already done some pretty dope things. you are creative af. your mind has always worked far differently than 99% of people you know. in order to walk in your strength and power, you really should start seeing that as your greatest asset. stop being so insecure about it. stop dimming your damn light. stop second guessing your intuition. just stop. you keep getting in your own way and god keeps getting you past it to remind you how powerful your purpose is. your purpose is more powerful than your self doubt. get rid of these unnecessary roadblocks so you can really make the most out of this experience.
raise your damn hand and say what you want to say. ask the question. write it down and practice it in your head beforehand if you have to. but don’t you dare walk out of that classroom without raising your hand. idc how anxious you are. the anxiety is for the past life. train yourself for this next one.
this 90-day challenge is going so well. i’ve been doing such an amazing job and I’m so proud of myself. so proud that it doesn't bother me one bit that my body is responding as quickly as i expected. i am doing it for me, so if this 90 day challenge needs to continue through September and October, so be it. it’s easier than i thought it would be because i'm finally focused on the right things. i want your habits to be on point before starting school. just keep doing the damn thing.
morning and nightly routines without a cell phone. come back to this in August once i've decided on a feasible routine. something’s gotta give. and it’s not my sleep or peace of mind.
girl bye. i was never supposed to be doing it for any man. thank GOD and all things above that i made a commitment to myself years ago to stay in a monogamous relationship with myself until i was whole. can you imagine being in a romantic relationship that depended entirely on a man for validation? all bad.
i am not doing this whole #forme thing so that it could lead to anyone. nobody is my destination; nobody but me. i am a destination: my purpose, my potential, my wholeness. that's the only way to find a soulmate after all. soulmates don’t prepare for each other. they prepare to be their best selves, and if that leads them up to one another, then that’s how they’ll know it’s right. stay focused. get ya mind right and your heart will follow.
i'm allowed to like people. people are likable. but i need to like myself more right now. i need to think about myself right now. you of all people can control your emotions and thereby your thoughts. you have so much to look forward to, stay focused and all else will take care of itself.
& here I am, a whole month into school, fully in the eye of this quiet storm. I honestly haven’t re-read this post since i originally wrote it, and I’m so proud of myself for prioritizing the things I know will be pivotal in helping me become who i’m trying to be. this next couple years, above and beyond all else, are about personal growth and leadership development for me. with that being said, I will be much more active on here, using this platform to help me stay true to all of these promises.