Monday Motivation: Why is it so uncomfortable to take pleasure in our success?
So every Sunday I have a strategy call with a group of close friends and family who have donated their time to helping me build Yes Queen up from nothing. And let me tell y'all these calls are #TooLitToQuit -- they are always filled with love and laughter, and are such a great way for me to start transitioning into thinking about what I'm planning for the week.
And it has now become a tradition to end every call doing what I call the “YAAASS QUEEN” ceremony in which we all share one thing from our week that we are proud of accomplishing, be it big or small, so that everyone else on the call can scream “YAAASS QUEEN” in celebration.
“Okay so who's sharing their Yes Queen moment first this week?” I will shout exuberantly over the phone.
And, sadly more often than not, a silence thicker than Texas toast will flood the same space that was once filled so jubilantly with laughter and excitement.
“Don't all jump up at once now,” I will facetiously say, which will likely break the awkward silence with a few chuckles, but still end with us settling back into silence.
Now if this happened every now and then, I’d totally be more understanding. When you're out here being a Boss Queen on the regular, you're definitely going to have some weeks where you just have so much going on that you just can't remember all the dope stuff that you do.
But the fact that it had happened more often than not whenever we get to this portion of the call really started to make me think that the silence was more so coming from a place of discomfort about the self-acknowledgement of our worth.
So that made me wonder what was it about acknowledging our own personal greatness that made us all so uncomfortable? Why was it so hard to find something in the past seven days that we existed that made us proud to exist? Why are we always taught to wait for others to acknowledge our worth before we can see it ourselves?
So eventually either after choosing someone to go, or someone scraping up something to say, we tended to create a snowball effect where that same excitement from earlier in the call would start to build back in to the conversation, and people would have more to share.
But to have this happen week after week started to make me realize just how often women are not taught to recognize their own power. And instead, most women are shamed and condemned for showing any ounce of self-confidence, so that then someone can swoop in and teach us how to be empowered.
For those of you that are new to Yes Queen, here's something to know about me -- I hate the word “empowerment”… at least in relationship to Yes Queen because in my eyes Yes Queen is not about empowerment.
Yes Queen is about reaffirming the power that lives in all of us; it is about connecting you to what you've always had, and reminding you that only you can determine the extent of your greatness in the world.
I don't like the word empowerment in relationship to Yes Queen because empowerment implies that somehow I managed to accumulate all of this power that I am now bestowing upon my audience. And let me tell you that could not be further from the truth.
My audience is full of fiercely unapologetic women who have a beautiful and strong sense of power surging through their veins, but that society has actively tried to disconnect them from it. Society thrives on us not being in touch with the power that lives in us so that they can sell us things to "empower us"; to sell us back what we've always had, and that they've worked so hard to keep us from. It's a sick game, really. But that game stops here.
The power that I have within me is not because someone empowered me. It is because I finally acknowledged the power that I have had within me all along, and have now decided to step into it; I am now choosing to bask in my power and light, and as your big sistah auntie queen, I would love to encourage you all to do the same.
And I know how uncomfortable it can feel at first. I vividly remember the days in my past (and #RealTalk some days in my present) where I never wanted to acknowledge a compliment (especially if it was about my looks), or how having extra attention on me (even if it was well deserved) always made my skin crawl. But I also remember being so confused by it as well.
It's not like I didn't want to be successful. I have always loved doing my best, and being recognized for it. And yet even then, I always felt there was this presence that made me feel like I needed to dull my shine a little bit; that it was always important for me to not get too bright because I didn't want to come off as the dreaded “b word”: a bitch.
But you see, this is the trap that society has placed us in for so long; the selfless or selfish false dichotomy. Either I remain humble and unseen, or I'm a conceited bitch always looking for attention even when it's deserved -- and there's never any room for an in-between… until now.
In my eyes, after the 2016 election, we shifted into the unapologetic age of women; we now don't have time to be sorry or scared about the choices we make, or the way in which we are perceived. Yes, we always want to make sure that we are not overstepping our boundaries, but the era of second-guessing ourselves and feeling trapped in ridiculous false dichotomies is over.
So as you go forth and reimagine your Monday, and the rest of the days in your week, I hope that you can take some time to feel good about acknowledging your worth, and basking in your amazingness.
I hope that you can take some time to find some clarity on why acknowledging your own success can sometimes make you uncomfortable if you find yourself feeling that way.
And more importantly, I hope that you can find a moment everyday for these next 7 days, even if it is a small one, where you can be proud of yourself and what you bring to the world, and shout out your own “YAAASS QUEEN!”
Don't wait to be empowered by someone else. Reaffirm your own power!