All Articles Tagged "beliefs"
I remember exactly how I learned what a hypocrite was. I was young, maybe 7 or 8, sitting in my grandmother’s room, listening to one of her mini rants. In a state of mild annoyance, she declared with disdain that someone, probably my grandfather, her ex husband and favorite target, was such a hypocrite.
That was new word for me. So I asked her what it meant. She thought for a second and patiently told me that a hypocrite is someone who says one thing but does the complete opposite. Well! That’s interesting. Though, I didn’t realize it at the time, my grandmother had just dropped some serious knowledge about human nature on me. From that moment on, I was on a hypocrite hunt. And though I’m sure my grandmother didn’t mean for it to go down this way, it didn’t take long for me to find my first hypocrite, living within the walls of my own house.
I was eavesdropping on a conversation my mother was having about one of her co workers/associates. I’d seen these two together. Though there was something about them that was noticeably different, they seemed like they at least enjoyed each other’s company; but here was my mother talking about how tacky this woman was. I’d found one. My first hypocrite, my very own mother.
Not wanting to accept the fact that my mother was this terrible person, I went back to my grandmother for clarification. I told her the story, how my mother had talked about this woman but hung out with her as if they were friends. Then I asked, Does that make her a hypocrite? Again, my grandmother paused; but true to her nature, kept it real and solemnly said yes.
I would eventually come to learn that there was no need for me to be on such a hunt. There are hypocrites all around us, everyday.
There’s this teacher in my hometown who practically leads a double life. Some people know her as a devout Christian, a married woman who adheres to all the tenants of the Bible, attends church regularly and believes in educating her two children in the ways of the Lord. But in reality, she only wears a ring to hide the fact that both of her children were born out of wedlock, she lives with a man she has no intention of marrying and describes herself as a nymphomaniac. (True story.)
Though this woman lives a life of hypocrisy most sane people can’t even begin to relate to, many of us would be lying if we said that we always act according to our beliefs. Personally, I know I’ve wasted plenty of time judging people or writing them off entirely because they weren’t living according to my standards. As a Christian, I believe that’s not my job; but that doesn’t stop me from trying to analyze folks.
The truth is there was never a need for me to go on a hypocrite hunt. Almost everybody’s a hypocrite. It’s human nature for us to seek pleasure, whether in the moment or long term, and if that pleasure, just so happens to conflict with our core beliefs, we’re not always evolved enough to adhere to our higher nature.
These days, the only time I search for hypocrisy, it’s within myself and not others.
Ever since Tom Cruise made public his adoration for Scientology years ago in a bizarre fashion (by publicly scolding Brooke Shields for taking medication to battle postpartum depression), Scientology has been getting somewhat of a bad rap in every form of media. People have tried to call it a cult and say that members are being brainwashed. I don’t know about all that, but I do know that when Cruise’s wife Katie Holmes allegedly divorced him to keep their daughter Suri from having to study the religion, every ex-member of the Church of Scientology came out of the wood works on TV to denounce the religion. For a few good weeks there, the religion was just getting a lot of shade. But in the process of doing some research on it, I found that many prominent black celebs are members or have taken classes to get them through hard times. Here are just a few…
Your dad’s favorite singer, the award-winning jazz singer became affiliated with the Church of Scientology in the late ’60s. Back when people really started catching wind of the religion, Jarreau was noted as one of many celebrities who said that Scientology had changed their life for the better and even played a role in his success. However, these days, Jarreau is no longer affiliated with the Church of Scientology. Why he parted ways with it is unclear, but he’s just one of many who chucked the deuces to it all.
When one hears the term “low self-esteem” their minds frequently take them to the extreme images of a woman who walks around with her head held down or the woman with a eating disorder. Our minds rarely go to the well-dressed woman sitting across from us on the subway or the no non-sense businesswoman we see gallivanting around the office. These false assumptions are where our society has failed us in some ways. The truth of the matter is that low self-esteem knows no race, social class, or age group, nor does it hit a specific kind of woman. Even the woman who looks like she has it all on the outside could be doubting herself a great deal on the inside.
It does however, seem to be familiar with gender because it appears to impact women at a higher percentage than men. Studies show that 90 percent of all women want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance. But, why? The blame for poor self image among women in the United States can be blamed on a variety of different factors from pressures from the media to sexual objectification to internalized negative comments, and the list goes on. However, the true question should be: What is being done about it?
One thing that we should not overlook is that low self-esteem rarely just shows up during adulthood, but is something that is deeply rooted within many of us from childhood. According to a study conducted at the New York University Child Study Center, Dr. Robin F. Goodman writes, “Girls’ self-esteem peaks when they are nine years old, then takes a nose dive.” Studies show that 75 percent of eight and nine year olds like their looks; however, that figure drops to 56 percent once girls reach ages 12 and 13.
What happens between the ages of nine and twelve to make these numbers drop so drastically probably varies by case, but what we do know are the high-risk behaviors commonly associated with low self-esteem. These behaviors include but are not limited to drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, eating disorders and the list goes on. But what can be done to protect our girls? How can we somehow intervene and somehow rescue our girls from bearing the same burdens and battling the same demons that many of us have battled for large portions of our lives? While building up a child’s self-esteem by letting them know how important, smart, and beautiful they are is important, it is also imperative to communicate. Don’t just tell your child what you think of them, but also find out what they think of themselves and why. If you are able to uncover what the culprit is early on, chances are you can reverse its effects. Often times children are impacted by low self-esteem before they are old enough to even grasp the concept.
I was about 20 years old when it finally dawned on me that I had some self-esteem issues. Sadly, these were issues that I had been grappling with since I was about four years old. My mother whom I always shared just about everything with was shocked when I shared this revelation with her. She and my father had always been sure to share with me how important and beautiful I was, yet, somehow low self-esteem still crept in. There are many credited groups and organizations that are dedicated to the building up and empowerment of girls, but the truth is that the war on poor self-esteem begins at home. According to Crosswalk.com, “Girls are craving better communication with adult figures as they struggle with challenges in their lives. The top wish among girls is for their parents to communicate better with them, including more frequent and more open conversations, as well as discussions about what is happening in her life.” So, the next time you look at that special little girl in your life and think about how great she is be sure to share that with her, but don’t hesitate to get in her head and find out how she feels about herself. Start asking the right questions such as what she likes about herself, what she doesn’t like about herself, what she believes others think about her, etc. and listen closely. The first step to solving a problem is uncovering that there is one.
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While talking to my mother the other day, we fell upon the topic of men. We started discussing “my list” of characteristics and things I would hope to have in a mate. What I was looking for was the usual, however, my top five list failed to mention anything concerning religion. When I think about the relationship that I want, I often think that there are more important things to worry about in a relationship than a person’s religion. But when conversing with a married friend of mine, she mentioned that when she and her husband were dating, she realized that he was not as spiritually grounded as her–but she let it go. Looking back, it may have been something necessary to confront because their religious differences have had an effect on their relationship. It’s funny (well, maybe not funny exactly) how religion can matter so much to one person and not to the other, and how that can make and break a relationship. So I’m wondering, what role does religion play when you are looking for a mate?
Just to be clear, when I say that religion is not high on my list, it doesn’t mean it’s not on there–It’s just not in my top five. I would put things like trust, commitment and honesty before religion, but that’s just me. Whether a person is Catholic or a Christian and believes in the things I do, they can still break my heart because that’s not necessarily what a relationship should be solely based upon.
On the other hand, I’m a little torn at times because I have been going to church since I was a little girl and I do believe that going to church and being exposed to the word of God makes you a better person. Church teaches you the kind of person you ought to be. A man, who is familiar with a higher power, may have a different outlook on life and love. His relationship with God will teach him what kind of man and father he should be, and in the end, there is no better example.
I feel like every relationship should have the same foundation. Relationships should be based on love, trust, respect and commitment. While those things are integral to making a relationship work, not necessarily what both parties believe in, I do believe that a god-fearing man is the kind of man you want by your side when things take a turn for the worst. For example, if you’re going through a rough patch in your relationship, a god-fearing man will try to stay by his partner and dedicate himself to making it work. When trying to form a lasting relationship with someone, the hardest part can be trusting them with your heart. It’s much easier to trust someone with your heart when they have God in theirs.
Maybe I should move religion up on my list because when life hits you hard, it’s nice to have someone with you that has the same religious foundation. But, I also won’t let myself get fooled by every man holding a bible.
Would you be with someone if they didn’t share your religious values?
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Last week mega-church pastor Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria appeared on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight to discuss everything from faith and charity to wealth. Unsurprisingly, his biblically-based views on homosexuality accumulated the most attention. Osteen stated, “…homosexuality is a sin.” He went on to note that homosexuality is one sin among many and he has no desire to “bash” homosexuals. But, that wasn’t enough for Morgan, who obviously felt differently, as he continued to press the issue as if Osteen’s perspective would change. It didn’t.
As our world changes, for better or for worse, fewer and fewer people seem to stand by their core values—whatever they may be. In the case of Osteen, the normalization of homosexuality turned his once socially-norm Christian beliefs into words of controversy. Yet, instead of faltering to the pressures of Morgan, and society at large, he stood his ground with grace. For those who live according to the same doctrine, his actions invoked strength.
Only a small percentage of people have the tenacity to live life in black and white, most prefer to straddle in gray. It takes courage to believe in something wholeheartedly because it also means you disbelieve in something else just as much. There is a level of accountability that comes with such vigor and no one wants to be judged. But, would you rather be judged as a person of substance or half-heartedness? The ever-sparkling gay figure skater Johnny Weir expressed it best when he simply recognized Osteen’s comments as his freedom of speech and beliefs. Regardless of what anyone may say or think, these are several reasons to stand up for your beliefs: