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by Jennifer Brown Banks

"Perception is Reality"?
7 Ways to See Yourself in a Better Light

I once worked for a supervisor who told me I wasn’t good at multi-tasking. When asked, she couldn’t provide any reasonable basis for her assessment, which was totally unfair and unfounded.

At the time of her statement, I was successfully holding down two jobs, attended college at night, owned my own home, and was a single mom to boot! I maintained honor-roll status in school, was never late to work, kept an immaculate place, and even participated in some volunteer activities on the side.

Everybody’s entitled to an opinion, but that doesn’t necessarily make it valuable. Truth be told, finding a single, black mom who’s not a good “juggler” is as likely as finding a cop with an aversion to donuts!

It's often said that “perception is reality”. But is it real? One must always consider the source, and whether the perception is “valid” before taking comments to heart or implementing change.

Think about it.

How many times have we fallen victim to feelings of frustration and doubt due to someone else’s “vision” of who we are? Whether it was a parent who limited our dreams because they thought we didn’t measure up, a boss who belittled us to keep us “in our place,” or a lover who made us feel less than worthy?

What matters most is how we see ourselves. To quote Anwar El Sadat “I was brought up to believe that how I see myself was more important than how others see me.”

No matter what you’ve been through, or where you come from, if you can transform your thoughts, you can transform your life. So, If you’ve been haunted by dark thoughts or feelings of inadequacy, here’s how to see yourself in a brighter light!

1. Keep a Victory Journal
Far too often we forget the many daily victories we have to celebrate. Not to mention, the many obstacles we have overcome to arrive at the place we are today. Things like surviving a divorce, recovering from unemployment, raising a single kid, not being broken by a bad boss, avoiding bankruptcy, buying a home, triumphing over a broken heart, being a strong person, keeping faith, being a good friend, not selling out, losing weight, going back to college… the list is endless! Start taking an inventory of both your personal and professional accomplishments, and you’ll be amazed at just how much you’ve been successful.

2. Read Positive Affirmations Daily
Quotes and words of inspiration help to uplift the spirit and feed the soul; make them a part of your daily diet. I go even further by posting them in visible places, so I am reminded daily of God’s greatness and my awesome potential!

3. Surround Yourself with Positive People Who are on Your "Team"
One of the things that I am most grateful for is the ability to attract and sustain positive forces in my life. My friends and family are generous with their words of support and praise, and serve as “cheerleaders” when I’m up against tough times, or venturing new territories. They are also brutally honest when I need a reality check, which helps me to grow.

4. Never Compete or Compare
Truth is, nobody has it totally together. No matter how “polished” they are on the outside, how many titles they have behind their name, or how many dollars they boast in their bank account. Learn to work on your shortcomings, but don’t forget to acknowledge just how wonderful you are right where you are! Never lose sight of the fact that you were “created” to be different. And that perfection is an unworthy goal.

5. Learn to Pamper Yourself Regularly
Whether it’s through bubble baths, sipping champagne, pedicures, or a candle light dinner for one; the better you feel, the better you see yourself and the world around you.

6. Never Enter Romantic Relationships with Individuals that do not Honor and Respect You
So many people suffer from poor self-image as a result of relationships sustained with others who devalue them. It’s hard to feel “whole” if you spend your intimate time with someone who’s constantly tearing you down with harsh words, cutting comments, and mistakes mentioned from your past. One of the best ways to see yourself as being a “beautiful being” is to associate with someone who shares that opinion!

7. Recognize that how Others See You is Often a Byproduct of How They View Themselves
Have you ever run across a person who never has a word of encouragement? Who’s always spewing words of criticism, and is quick to share mean gossip? Someone who makes it a point to magnify the negative? This type secretly harbors feelings of inferiority and envy. Operating from a hidden agenda, they put you down so they can feel elevated by comparison. Don’t buy into it or be led astray!

Be your best "you". Go forth today and let your light shine and dazzle the world.

> - The best approach to find the one. <

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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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