All Articles Tagged "negativity"
Is hip-hop destroying black America? To answer this question fairly, we must first discard the distorted image of hip hop that mainstream media has passed off for the past 20 years.
Hip-hop is a movement consisting of four main artistic elements: DJ’ing, rapping, breaking and graffiti. But at its core, it is a philosophy based on the idea that self expression is an integral part of the pursuit of peace, love and unity. It was created by young visionaries who tapped into their greatest potential and gave birth to one of the most important cultural phenomenon the world has ever seen.
Shaped by the spirit of Africa, The Carribean and black America, it is a culture that binds us under the belief that we must strive for excellence through our respective art forms, as well as within our souls. It’s a lifestyle that unites people from the U.S to Nigeria, France to Brazil, Japan to Mexico, often unable to speak each other’s language but fully capable of understanding all that makes us who we are.
Read more on TheGrio.com.
Even in the best of relationships, you may find that your inner mean girl comes out to play; you know the one who’s full of doubt, jealousy, and negativity. But, this inner girl can easily sabotage your relationship and before you know it, the whole thing can be done and over with. If you fear that you may self-sabotage your relationship, here are 15 ways to avoid doing just that.
Let your inner fears out
We all have fears, even when we are in stable and healthy relationships. As women, we have certain feelings that we often suppress, but eventually they come to the surface. Instead of avoiding these fears, voice them, write them down, or talk about them with your man. Are you afraid of having your heart broken? Do you think you aren’t lovable enough? Let it out; you’ll feel better.
I have vowed to quit trash reality tv for months now. But after the big ghetto disaster seen ‘round the world that was Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, I meant it more than I ever had. I was so embarrassed for the cast and shaking my head at myself for not being able to turn away from the train wreck that happened on my television screen, every week like clockwork. It was a conversation piece. It was my small chance to play psychologist and try to determine what made these folks get up here on national television and act a plum fool. It was entertainment. And it was filling. Not filling in a “Girllll, that did my soul good!” type of way. Filling in a way that left me kinda sick, frustrated and disgusted. Weekly I was seeing beautiful, talented, broken, misunderstood, hurt women invite me and millions of other Americans into scripted portions of their lives to judge, suck our teeth in disdain, laugh uncontrollably, whatever – as long as we were watching.
I wasn’t learning anything from what I was seeing and I suppose that is the point of most reality television; to simply entertain with little to no educational or uplifting value. It’s just something to do. Something to see. But something clicked and I was no longer satisfied with simply “being entertained.” I can see how it may seem to be blown out of proportion but I have to tell you, once I started reining in my reality television intake, life started to carry a little more hope. I substituted Dr. Steve Perry saving our sons, T.I and Tiny raising their beautiful kids and Tia and Tamera navigating motherhood and Hollywood for those crazy, foul-mouthed mob wives and those catty, overbearing housewives. I started looking for substance and it has been one of the most rewarding investments of time I’ve ever made where entertainment is concerned. The positivity I was looking for was always here, I just had to break my gaze from the debauchery to head toward its light.
In being totally honest, I do catch an occasional episode of Basketball Wives LA (Miss Jackie Christie is six separate shades of crazy and it blows my mind!) but trash reality tv doesn’t hold an ensconced place in my entertainment schedule anymore. I’m looking toward what uplifts, motivates, inspires and showcases folks who have or are walking the same path as me. To each her own. But I’ve given positivity a permanent home.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change. Her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
A Love Letter To the U-S of A: Despite Our Problems, No Matter What People Say, I’m Proud To Be An American
“You Americans are so dumb. You take education for granted.”
“I’ve never seen this much poverty in MY country. I was so shocked when I came here.”
“I love MY country. In MY COUNTRY we don’t have to worry about the stuff you worry about here.”
All of the above comments are compliments of various conversations with people from various countries. I’ll begin by stating that I was born and raised in the United States. I haven’t visited other countries to know firsthand the parallels or the dissimilarities. All I have, at this point, are an open mind, the desire to seek out international information from objective, credible news sources and the honest truth about the good ol’ US of A.
As an honest American I can say that yes, 46.2 million Americans are considered to be living below the poverty line, an issue that the 1% could easily alleviate by… Never mind.
Yes, the average private non-profit institution cost of tuition is $28500, leaving unlucky students with an overwhelming amount of debt, of whom I am one.
As an American woman who happens to be Black, I weep for and can attest to the crimson thread of racism that runs through the tapestry of US history like an unwanted yet tolerated intruder, too deeply ingrained to wholly pluck out. As a bleeding heart and socially aware citizen, I can bite the bullet and admit that America has yet to put as much effort into controlling domestic ‘wars’ as it does in the Middle East. US cities are riddled with gun violence and homelessness. I can admit that Hurricane Katrina highlighted the intense lack of governmental forethought, clearly demonstrating to the world that some Americans are but an afterthought, some of whom are still waiting for ‘relief.’ There is no denying that America’s faults are spread wide, piled high and often overlooked by those who have the most power to effect change.
However, the line between our landmark rights to “freedom of speech” and the vehement, calculated criticism of America by international acquaintances begins to get blurry at fragile points. And I won’t lie – I get mad.
Over my 20-something years of life I have learned how to take criticism like a champ. It hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes I want to wring folks’ necks. Sometimes I have to wait until I get by myself and cry away the hurt. Either way, I’ve learned how to take what is spoken to me; take what is true and will lend itself to higher understanding/growth and then leave the unhelpful thoughts alone. As Bishop T.D Jakes said, “Eat the meat and throw away the bones.”
But what I can’t get down with is the intense disregard for and stereotyping of ALL Americans based off of what a few capitalist snobs, a few greedy CEOs, a few gang bangers, a few unscrewed citizens, a few unconcerned politicians do/have done. The ‘America’ conversations even with FRIENDS from other countries can create deep resentment because if I came out and said, “Well, hey if America is SO much worse than your country, why don’t you go back?” I’d be wrong. If I did some objective research of some of their home countries or even just listened long enough to their personal descriptions of the degradation some of them came to America to escape and recited it back to them, I’d be a racist, a bigot. My character would be questioned.
Everyone can tell the ‘truth’ about Americans but Americans have to bite their tongues to be, you know, PC.
So, I sit and endure jabs at my community, my home, when in all honesty, I have been blessed to grow up in America. Are there rough and jagged edges to this country? Yes. Am I disappointed daily, by the varying demoralizing events that litter the 6 o’clock news? Absolutely. But there are always two sides to a coin, aren’t there?
I’m blessed to have running water, heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer. A full roof over my head, paved roads. I’m a product of many years of a Tri-State public school system in which I thrived. I’m a product of a country where the practice of my faith is not threatened with imminent death. At night I sleep with no fear of my home being bombed or of my private parts being mutilated. I travel the width and length of this country not having to ‘show papers’ without which I could be incarcerated for only God knows how long. I can proudly say that the America I so freely roam today is a result of ancestors who came here – some willingly, some in chains – and decided to make the best of the hand they were dealt. While I have no doubt that there are ample other countries who enjoy these same freedoms, America is all I know firsthand, for now. And I count myself blessed.
Do unspeakable things happen here? Yes. But those unspeakable things, however horrible they may be, do NOT discredit the warm blanket of freedom under which I sleep comfortably at night, (respect to the American soldiers who spread that blanket over me with each tour of duty). Those unspeakable things that happen in America and the people who carry them out do NOT discredit the vast amount of good-hearted folks in this country who walk in their calling of reclaiming civility, generosity and compassion to the United States.
It may be the unpopular opinion, in an age of increasing ‘political correctness’ as opposed to speaking the raw honest-to-God truth, but yes, I HAVE recommended to those who have NOTHING but negative comments to spit on the red, white and blue: “You can always go home.” Why stay someplace where you have absolutely NOTHING good to say about it? Why subject yourself to such alleged detrimental and sub par living conditions? Why scrounge up the money to attend an American college when in YOUR country you can attend for free, as you say? Why sit and watch American news every day with its looming cloud of bad luck, death and destruction when in your country little to none of the above plague the people? True freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? It allows others to run down ‘The Great Melting Pot’ for whatever their reasons while also allowing me to dole out a piece of my mind. Thank God, and my American rights for that.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change through her writing. Check out her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and her thoughts/jokes/rants on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
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“You’re wearing that?”
“She looks crazy in that outfit. Don’t she have mirrors?”
“Why does she walk like that?”
“Hmph… she’s soooo ugly, what does he see in her?”
Preface and/or follow these acidic remarks with extreme eye-rolling, sucking of the teeth and sometimes hours of people-bashing and you have a poisonous landfill of negativity brought to you by one of my former best friends. We’ve all had a toxic gal pal. Rude. Judgmental. Always talking down to others under the guise of wanting to “help,” yet totally oblivious to the mangled mess that is their own life. They have an opinion about EVERYTHING. They even have an opinion about opinions. Nothing good to say. And some days if we knew no charges could be filed we’ve all wanted to take a bat and Barry Bonds the ever-loving snot out of them and accompany it with a maniacal, “SHUT THE [your choice expletive] UP!”
At first, in my mind, that was just her personality. She was the big mouth of our circle. And didn’t every circle have one? I would be hypocritical if I fronted like I never joined in. Why did I take part in the gossip? I don’t have a solid answer; just a mashup of inexcusable but honest reasons: It made me feel better about myself; I truly didn’t like some of the people we discussed; there wasn’t much else to do sometimes. Lame? Yes. But 100 percent honest nonetheless.
I had my ‘Aha!’ moment one day when it dawned on me that we had been talking about (aka, tearing apart) the SAME girl for a little over THREE hours. Annoyed didn’t even scrape the surface of how I felt. I said, “Well dang, y’all! Can we talk about something else? That girl is going on about her business and we’re sitting, doing nothing but talking bad about her.”
The initial shock of my outburst rolled out waves of silencing guilt to everyone in the room. Everyone except who? My brazen bestie. She continued like I never said a word and pretty soon everyone else joined back in. I complained of fatigue and left to spend a few hours alone thinking about it all. I decided that enough was enough. I was absolutely finished with the bad-mouthing round tables. No one was helped and nothing was solved by them. All we were doing was trying to elevate ourselves at someone else’s expense, stupidly following the ringleader – my best friend and her big mouth.
From that day until the subsequent demise of our friendship some six months later, I made it my mission to shoot down every negative opinion/insult she hurled out, especially when the person on the receiving end did nothing to deserve such treatment. I started complimenting everyone and calling my bestie out on her behavior. She made excuses. Typical. And I made other friends. *Shrugs nonchalantly*
She didn’t like my newfound independence so we drifted further apart, but inwardly I cheered like a death row inmate getting a pardon call from the president. I was free, not constantly being dragged down by her storm of female-bashing. It was to the point that others hated ME because I was friends with HER. I was tired of enduring her big mouth to keep from hurting her feelings. I was tired of making excuses like, “Well, she really is a good-hearted person once you get to know her.” But I was more sick of her than anyone else, so it was a relief and an almost instantaneous drop in my blood pressure when our friendship disintegrated.
I haven’t looked back in regret. It was absolutely draining trying to keep a perpetually negative friend happy. It was an uphill battle I was undoubtedly going to lose. Why? Because there was something about herself that she hated, couldn’t forgive, was insecure about, etc. It was an internal struggle that wouldn’t end until she found the courage to self-evaluate and CHANGE. It’s easy to project negativity to others but it takes a huge measure of humility and strength to take a look in the mirror. Whatever is in you is what comes out. That’s the same for negativity and positivity alike; a lesson I learned the hard way.
Allowing that one big-mouthed friend to spew negativity is the worst thing you can do because not only will the negativity spread, but you’re also enabling her behavior and actually proving to be a horrible friend just like I was. True friends lift each other to meet and operate according to their higher nature and standards. They don’t go along with basic behavior for the sake of sparing feelings, and sit back and watch them hurt others for a quick chuckle.
Now, all these years later, I’ve been blessed with some true, positive, straight-shooting girlfriends. Are we perfect? Absolutely not, but we refuse to allow negativity to dwell among us and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am, we each are, a better friend and woman because of it.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries with Natural hair and lots to say. Her writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself and a passion for young women’s empowerment, La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and positive change. Check out her thoughts/jokes/rants on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
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By Jazmine Denise
“Your standards are ridiculous. The man that you’re holding out for doesn’t exist. You are going to die old, lonely, and bitter!”
This is what my ex from over three years ago said spitefully through the phone. “Okay. Thanks for the dating advice!” I calmly replied before ending the worst phone call ever. “Old and bitter. Oooh scary,” I thought to myself sarcastically. Old, lonely, and bitter is a kryptonite that looms in the back of just about every woman’s mind, because when we think of our futures, we like to envision love and happiness. As a result of this fear, many women are willing to offer up their time, energy, money, body, and God knows what else to men who aren’t actually worth their time. These relationships usually end in turmoil (and possibly with children in the picture) and the woman is left to pick up the pieces wondering where she went wrong. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It is my personal philosophy that this theory should be considered in all aspects of life, including dating and relationships.
Women are often accused of consistently assuming the role of the victim when it comes to relationships because we constantly put ourselves in the same types of situations with the same types of men, which ultimately deems us the same results. However, when a woman has an “AHA” moment, recognizes her worth, and sets standards for herself and the men she dates, she is accused of being bitter and too picky. Although these “AHA” moments often come after she’s broken free from a negative relationship, I in no way feel that this has anything to do with bitterness. Bitter could be used for the woman who sits around saying (and saying on social media platforms made to be soap boxes) that all men are dogs, but when a woman tries to raise her standards to increase her happiness, why is she bitter? It is my opinion that “bitter” is a derogatory term that is often used improperly and hurled at women to wound their self-esteem and make them doubt themselves and what they thought they wanted in a relationship.
While I am not encouraging anyone to go out and develop a ridiculous or unhealthy set of qualifications for the men that they date, it is my belief that standards are crucial. Standards are what set the foundation for any dating relationship. They set the ground rules for what you will and won’t accept. They help you to get what you actually desire instead of settling for whatever he wants and any old Johnny that comes along looking to waste your time. To take it a step further, it is my belief that it is not standards that make women bitter, but lack thereof. Can you imagine getting to the end of your life and realizing that you’ve never had success in the love department because you’ve been dealing with the wrong men all of your life since you never set any standards? You let them treat you any kind of way, do anything they pleased and talk to you every kind of way because you didn’t want them to leave. I could see it now. Someone’s old aunt sitting around on her front stoop drinking a Coke and smoking a cigarette talking about, “Child, none of these men ain’t no good!” Depressing, I know. But, honestly, are all men no good or did that person possibly make poor dating choices? So the next time someone accuses you of being bitter because you have standards, proudly reply, “I’m not bitter, I’m better, and I’m not looking back.”
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If you’ve ever found yourself in the company of an exceptionally negative person, you know how draining it can be. It will literally weigh on your spirit. Once you’ve detected a hint of “not right” in a person, you have to make the decision of whether you’re willing to handle their negativity or deciding to next them in order to make room for some more positive people.