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First Impressions

First impressions are not always accurate. We make assumptions about people all the time. Sometimes pre-exposed to information about them through another voice or lens that colors our perspective.

Some things will always look gray when it is white because you were conditioned to believe that. Mental associations are real and vivid. They often trigger memories of past experiences. One small detail that’s unfavorable can take you down the rabbit hole of negative thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, we just pull people apart in our minds… humans! We are quite interesting. We create mental images from someone’s speech, attire, demeanor, or vibe. Don’t get me wrong, there will be many times our intuition is correct, but we don’t like to admit the fact that there are many times that we are wrong. I am a firm believer in getting to know someone for myself. To get to root before a conclusion about their leaves and fruit.

Have we ever stopped to think that maybe something was wrong at that moment or someone has changed? Life can truly humble a person and its lessons are often transformative. I met a young man at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Due to seating, we were placed next to each other. This gentleman seemed to be my type. He was well dressed and articulate which is a sure way to catch my attention. He talked about several of his personal and professional accomplishments but never truly seemed interested in my life. This monologue went on for some time. Ten minutes in and I was already turned off and the birthday boy was nowhere in sight. Eventually, I roamed the room (mostly to show off my amazing outfit) to greet others and get as far away from my table as I possibly can. Eventually, when I made it back, he was silent and so was I. I made it my duty to be polite but not to engage. Luckily, another woman caught his eyes. Years passed and we crossed paths again. I pushed him away while he pursued my attention. He was gentle, he asked questions and listened. I got to know him, and he explained why he was arrogant and self-centered. His culture and background taught him to be a certain way coming from a prestigious lineage. He had to develop certain skills and life did humble him. This gentleman eventually became a great friend. Imagine is my first impression was so ingrained that I never took the time to listen and learn?

How many of us do this with our own lives? The impressions of ourselves that we obtained from our environmental encounters still very prominent. Those initial stages are often hard to let go. Impressionable ages where development was still in progress and events of misfortune, trauma and unfortunate circumstances that molded and shaped our thinking. It is the ingrained way we perceive the world and people we encounter slightly fragmented perspectives. All the “you’ll never amount to anything’s” and the list goes on from childhood and adolescence that lingers. The mental battle ground and inner dialogue that is often conflicting. Life sometimes is unkind and it’s our resilience, faith and determination that has given us strength to continue. We often burry a lot of unwanted memories and mental pictures. However, my questions still stands. Did you give yourself another chance? You have learned and overcame but are you still haunted by invisible labels and tattoos? Many of us walk around with low self-esteem, self-fulfilling prophecies and with the imposter syndrome. Let’s talk about it.

A self-fulling prophecy is when we allow the negative expectations of others infiltrate our heart and we eventually believe it and act them out. Someone says, “you will be just like your father and do this” and you believe it to be true and fall right into the same trap. You could have been the change but everything around you pointed to the same road so you followed it. Create your own path? How? So, we do what is least challenging because it comfortable.

The imposter syndrome is quite interesting. Its feelings of inadequacy despite success and achievement. It is self-doubt that speaks louder than the reality of what you have attained or accomplished. Where did this voice come from? What happened? The root is something to address. These mentalities will turn your internal labels into tattoos if you let it. It often requires some form of intervention, therapy, or self-realization. I implore you to speak positively to yourself. The impression of you introduced to you is NOT you. Give yourself another chance. Every day you have life is another day to make a change. No its not an overnight process but one that requires practice. Practice affirmations and declarations in the mirror. Recite them until you believe them. It’s a hard reboot that’s necessary. That same energy we give to others when we develop an we allow to evolve or change, give to yourself. I’m here to say give yourself a break, applaud your efforts and be reintroduced to the new you. The overcomes, winner, the determined and resilient you. We all have a story but the fact your still standing says a lot.

No one is perfect but develop a growth mindset. A growth mindset is embracing of facts but with courage and determination to make a change with some effort. Approaching what was once a challenge for you with fresh eyes and believing that favorable results will be your new norm and outcome. Do away with the fixed mindset. Your failures, shortcomings and struggles or past is not innate. Even if you mirror a loved one. You can’t keep telling yourself that you are like them. You can and will be better. Your roots are a part of your story. Roots are dark but leaves and the fruit of who you are is vibrant, tasty and beautiful. You have the opportunity to become photosynthesized by the shift of your mindset and live life in color. You’re the flower of your generation. Be great and BLOOM!

In the words of Jay-Z, “allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is ——”. You fill in the blank with positive adjectives.

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