We made it. Here we are — it’s 2014. We are only one year away from 2015, which will mark us at the 15-year mark since the infamous Y2K scare.
Yeah, do you remember that? Everyone felt like technology and electricity was going to shut down. Now we have all sorts of technology and gizmos that keep us connected, engaged, and moving forward. I highlight this period of time because it brought forth a level of fear, inferiority, complacency and evolution.
Now, we need to understand all these concepts to understand how we as Black folks must improve our own selves. This is the essence of being mentally and emotional fit. Too often we commit to our physical fitness during this time of year. Some of us make good improvement on our bodies. Others of us end up reverting to our old habits by March.
Every New Year we also say such things as, “I am going to stop messing with all the fake people,” “No more haters in 2014,” and “New year, new me!” However, how much has really improved for you (us)? How have you evolved from year to year? What keeps us stuck repeating these same things over and over each December and January?
Fear and complacency
Fear is a natural element of life. I contend that fear is one of four primary emotions we as Black people function with in all areas of people activity, which are economics, education, entertainment, health, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war. In all of these areas, Black people have significant amounts of trauma due to being subjected to systematic racism, cycles of abuse, confusion, and a lack of information.
Fear is active in our conscious and subconscious minds continually. Fear is the glue that keeps many Black people from doing anything to change their current position. This essence of being stuck is called complacency. This is where we develop a level of comfort with our current condition regardless of how detrimental, harmful or inefficient it may be.
That is a large view of how fear keeps us complacent. A smaller view of fear is the many of our New Year resolutions we make and fail to keep every year. Our complacency keeps us smoking one more cigarette, staying in unhealthy relationships, trusting people who continue to do us harm, and not passing up on that extra slice of cake.
When we are comfortable, we will continue to do what we have done time after time. This is why we must be mentally and emotionally fit!
Evolving your fitness
I encourage you to look at this year as an opportunity to make a change that will affect generations to come. Your children, your grandchildren, and their children will benefit from the efforts you make today. This is part of what is called healing generations.
In order for us to heal, we must become mentally and emotionally fit. Therefore, here are four daily exercises for you to make the changes now. I am confident that if you implement the following suggestions, you will say, “I have grown. I have improved. I have evolved.”
Honesty: Be honest with yourself. The hardest person to keep it real with is you. Once you are being honest with yourself, this is the ultimate sign of self-respect.
Clarity: Get as much information as you can on what you intend to engage in. Often we fail at things simply because we do not know enough.
Focus: Slow down and analyze what you are planning. Take your time to understand your thoughts, speech and actions.
Encouragement: Surround yourself with people who can and will push you to the next level. Support is more than just being present; it also about being clear, direct and patient. Find at least one person who can provide that for you.
Brandon Jones M.A. is a mental health practitioner. He welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter@UniversalJones.