Be Yourself Movement

Let Your Blog Be What You Want It to Be

 

Black Man Writing

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with seeking and taking the advice of individuals about blogging, don’t let anyone place restrictive limitations on how you blog.  When you listen to advice given by successful bloggers, don’t take that advice as being a law.  You need to make sure the advice offered is appropriate to what you want to accomplish.  When you hear bloggers telling you that you have to limit your blog to a highly specialized niche, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to do it.

I have read in various places that people have a problem with individuals who are willing to cover any topic on their blogs.  They argue that readers will not be able to define what type of blog one has when he or she writes about any topic of choice.  Additionally, they contend that search engines will not find the posts on the blogs of those individuals who write about a diverse range of topics instead of topics in a highly specialized niche.  Revolutionary Paideia proves them to be wrong.  Revolutionary Paideia is a cultural commentary blog providing articles on a constellation of sundry topics.  This blog does not simply focus on politics, relationships, sports, education, music, or etc.—it covers diverse topics on all those categories and many more.

Revolutionary Paideia was featured by WordPress as the second fastest growing blog.  For those successful bloggers who say not having a highly specialized niche will cause your posts to not be picked up well by search engines, my recent post “Open Letter to Todd Akin”  was picked up so well by the search engines that it reached Rebecca Hamilton of the Oklahoma state House of Representatives.  She also blogs and “liked” the aforementioned post on Revolutionary Paideia.

I mention those things about Revolutionary Paideia because it’s one of those blogs that’s not in a highly specialized niche.  In two and a half years of existence, Revolutionary Paideia has amassed well over 250,000 readers.  Therefore, the search engines are picking up the posts quite fine without a highly specialized niche.

Don’t let someone force you to create a relationships, politics, education, sports, music or news blog if that’s not what you want to do.  Never be afraid to go against the recommendations of successful bloggers.  They don’t have all of the answers.  If you have your own innovative ideas, they’re probably going to be best served by not following all of the suggestions of successful bloggers.  Instead of concentrating on a highly specialized niche, produce great content.  Great content will bring readers to your blog.

Some successful bloggers will try to persuade you into writing pieces that fit only into a highly specialized niche because they’re not talented enough write about a range of diverse topics.  Their recommendations for you to not pen pieces on a range of diverse topics emerge from their belief that “some people try to do too much on their blogs.”  Just because people are writing about diverse topics on their blogs does not mean they “try to do too much on their blogs.”

For many of these bloggers who attack people because they’re not able to simply define what type of blog people who write about a variety of topics have, I could attack them for not writing pieces that reflect the use of good grammar and punctuation and careful editing and proofreading.  However, I choose not to do it at this point.

If you’re going to be a blogger who has real value, then let your blog be a blog that reflects who you truly are and what you truly want to accomplish.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

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Err on the Side of Caution and Watch Your Words

Talking Behind My Back

Individuals can sometimes make statements about someone that emerge from lapses in good judgment.  Before you make statements about someone, be sure you have all of the facts about what you intend to say so that you don’t look like a fool in the end.  Many people who are so quick to make comments about someone don’t have the emotional strength to handle the backlash their words can engender.  When you’re not having the best day and/or have an attitude, err on the side of caution with what you say.

The things you say have power—whether those things you say bring you positive or negative returns.

When you directly or indirectly make bold statements about someone, the person who often really has the problem is you.  Many people rather deflect their problems by attempting to attack others.  After you finish attempting to attack others, your problems will still be there.  What are you going to do about your own problems?  Why waste time trying to draw attention to other people’s problems when your life is a mess?  Clean up the mess in your own house before you focus on the challenges other people face in their houses.

It can be amazing how people think they know so much about someone when they don’t really know anything about him or her.  Don’t be foolish enough to say things to others and in public that you’re basing off an inkling.  You damage any credibility you have left when you do things like this.  If you feel confident enough to make bold statements about someone, why not ask him or her to confirm your statements?  Why not confront the person first about what you have to say before you express it to others?  Are you really as real as you’re claiming or pretending to be?

Your words can do damage to relationships and that damage may not be able to be repaired.  This may not matter for some or many of your relationships.  There will be, however, some relationships that you have damaged that you will regret.  Without question, there’s nothing wrong with being bold.  We certainly need more truly bold people in America.  Let good judgment guide your efforts at being bold and “keeping it a hundred.”  A person may never let you know you damaged your relationship with him or her.  He or she may seem to act different and you will not really understand why, especially if you thought something you said didn’t get to him or her or went over his or her head.

You will always end up having to pay for your reckless choice of words.

When you call people out about the bold statements they made about you, they begin to become defensive about what they said, as if they’re the victim.  Really?  You’re the victim?  The moment you made the bold statements about someone while you were “keeping it a hundred,” “being real,” and demonstrating how bold you are you should have thought about being the victim then.  You should, therefore, own what you’ve said and not try to present yourself as a victim when you are the victimizer.

Yes, there’s nothing wrong with being yourself—just make sure you’re committed to owning up to all you do and say.  When you say things about people, they’re going to retaliate—be ready!  It’s only fair for those who you attempted to shame to give you a little of your own medicine.  Fair is fair, right?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sometimes You Need to Cry

Black Man Crying

I’m not shame to cry in front of you!

Many people see crying as a weakness.  You’re going to face times in your life when you will need to cry.  It’s healthy for you to cry occasionally.  When you allow yourself to let the tears roll down your face, this can be a moment of emotional and psychic cleansing.  This moment can also provide you with the clarity you need in your life.  Do not, however, allow crying to become your answer to all of your problems—let it be a part of the process of how you deal with many of your problems.

Even for those of you who say you don’t need to cry sometimes, it’s time to stop fooling yourself—you need to cry also!  Don’t let your “tough guy” persona or “strong woman” persona cause you to end up at the nearest insane asylum.  Life presents us with many heartbreaking and vexing experiences.  We have to be wise in our response to those experiences.  Shedding tears during the process of handling heartbreaking and vexing experiences can be cathartic.  Your tears have the potential to help you to see that things are going to be okay and a brighter day will come.

Your tears can cause you to engage in the critical thinking you’ve not given yourself time to do.

In no way am I advocating for us to turn into a nation of crybabies.  When you overly rely on crying, you end up losing the power of engaging in an appropriate amount of crying.  You can make yourself seriously ill by crying too much.  You will find that crying about everything will result in you feeling quite depressed often.  Crying is not a solution to your most challenging problems.  It is, however, a part of the process of successfully addressing many of your most challenging problems and it’s crucial to the healing process.

Have you every cried yourself to sleep?  Did you wake up feeling better the next morning?  I’m sure you felt at least somewhat better, considering your tears allowed you to release some of the emotion invested in what led you to cry in the first place.

If you experience a moment in public where you have to cry, don’t feel horrible about it.  Your emotions are your emotions.  You can always quickly excuse yourself to a restroom or private area (if one is available).

Recognizing that you don’t have to be afraid to cry in front of people is recognizing it’s great to be yourself.  If you’re too embarrassed to cry in front of people, you’re too embarrassed to simply be yourself.  What a shame!

People are going to do things to you that will make you cry.  Your enemies are going to do things to you that are going to make you cry.  Don’t think you’re weak when you feel compelled to cry.  Your crying is going to assist you in defeating the negative things that made you cry.

When you feel the need to cry, go ahead and do it!  Crying can be a vehicle for liberating yourself!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Value of Your Funk: Part Two

Funky Smells

In The Value of Your Funk: Part One, I defined “funk” to mean one’s imperfections, disappointments, vexing past, professional and academic inadequacies, physical shortcomings, mental imbalances, low self-esteem, failures, utter unhappiness, and all of the other things unpleasing to him or her.  For those who did not have a change to read Part One of this series, I encourage you to read it because we all are funky—always have been and always will be.  If you’re in a serious relationship with someone, you should not withhold important information about your past and present from him or her.  Your girlfriend or boyfriend deserves to know about things you have done in the past and things you’re doing now.

If in your past you have been considered “whorish” because you have had sex with numerous people, you should feel compelled to inform your partner about this.  Your partner deserves to know that you’ve had such an active sexual intercourse history.  He or she may not want to be with you after you disclose this information to him or her, but it’s only fair to let him or her know this.  One thing about your vexing past is details about it that you don’t want to come out can emerge at the most inopportune times.  It would, therefore, be useful for you to go ahead and engage in discourses with your girlfriend or boyfriend about things from your past that could negatively affect him or her or things you know he or she would not approve of if he or she knew about them.  You will set yourself up for failure later on in your relationship if you elect not to deal with troubling things from your past and present up front.

Don’t run away from your past!

Your past is an essential part of who you are and what you have and will become.  Details about your past help people to understand more about you, even if you’ve completely turned away from living a certain type of life.  People will honor how you have changed your life, reject you because of your past, or they may be indifferent but don’t try to hide your past.  Be yourself.  Be honest with people.  No matter what you attempt to do to cover up your funk, it’s inevitably going to rise to the surface.

In no way am I saying that you should share everything with your girlfriend or boyfriend.  It probably is not appropriate to share everything with anyone.  You should, however, share essential information with your girlfriend or boyfriend.

For those of you who have had sexual intercourse with members of the same sex, and you’re now in a solemn relationship with someone of the opposite sex, you have a responsibility to tell your girlfriend or boyfriend that you have had sex with members of the same sex.  You know this is something that is going to worry you for the rest of your life if you don’t reveal it to your mate.  You will always fear he or she is going to find out.  Why not let him or her know up front?  Go ahead and combat any consequences and/or challenges of exposing the truth from your past in the early stages of your relationship rather than later on in your relationship.  If you wait until later on in your relationship, you mate is probably not going to be able to forgive you and may never be able to trust you again.  You run the risk of making yourself even more miserable about your past.

Without question, Black men have the most difficult time divulging they are gay or bisexual.  Many Black bisexual men who are involved in meaningful relationships with women are too afraid to unveil they are bisexual or once were bisexual.  Your bisexual past and present is a critical dimension of your identity.  Why are you attempting to bury it or camouflage it?  You’re always going to be uncomfortable with yourself when you’re unwilling to deal critically with your funk.  Hiding who you truly are from people only results in you denying yourself from living a liberated and happy life.  Why withhold from yourself a chance at living a truly free and happy life?  Is pleasing your family, friends, and society that vital to you that you’re willing to surrender who you really are for them?

Stop living a lie.  Stop presenting yourself as heterosexual in public when you’re really gay in private.  Your public and private self will always be in conflict when you’re not willing to be honest with yourself and those around you.  Stop people pleasing and simply be yourself.  What’s wrong with being yourself?

Now, there are people who will claim they are themselves but are unwilling to live a life reflective of truly being themselves.  Being yourself takes more commitment than simply saying and writing it—it takes a willingness to face the backlash of those who overtly and subtly despise you because you’ve made the choice to be yourself.  You’re not being yourself when you do and say things just to please people and to prevent them from calling you names that will offend you.

If you’re not truly committed to being yourself, stop saying and writing “be yourself.”  You severely distort and damage the essential message of those of us who truly are ourselves.

An unwillingness to be yourself will inevitably not make you any good for yourself and your boyfriend or girlfriend.  Be a real man and real woman and face your funk.  Your funk is not going anywhere so don’t spend your entire life running from it.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Value of Your Funk: Part One

Too many people attempt to bury their imperfections, disappointments, vexing past, professional and academic inadequacies, physical shortcomings, mental imbalances, low self-esteem, failures, utter unhappiness, and all of the other things unpleasing to them. Those aforementioned things are what I call “funk.” All human beings are funky because no one is perfect. We all, therefore, are funky because of our inability to be perfect. People have to face the reality that their funk will always be present—there’s no escaping it. What can I do about my funk? You should never try to mask, hide, replicate, and ignore your funk. A significant number of individuals fail to understand their funk is valuable.

When you never deal frankly, boldly, critically, and thoroughly with the things about yourself and your life that are unpleasing to you, then you’re not only missing a meaningful opportunity to capitalize on the value of those unpleasing phenomena, but also you’re preventing yourself from being truly whole and liberated. You cannot truly be a whole and liberated person when you’re carrying life’s funk with you that you refuse to deal with in such a serious way that your funk is no longer a liability but now an asset. More people are going to have to deal with their low self-esteem or the problems with their self-esteem. Self-esteem problems are at the root cause of many of the important problems people experience in America.

People who are overly sensitive about the most infinitesimal phenomena reveal the disadvantages of living a life without an appreciation of the funk. Their self-esteem quandaries cause them to see their funk in only a negative light. Many people are constantly trying to hide from who they really are because of the fear they have of what people in their environment will say about them if they elect to be themselves. You will never prosper when you run away from who you really are. Moreover, you will never know who you really are when you never give yourself a chance to be real with yourself.

People know you’re phony when you always attempt to present yourself as perfect—like there is nothing in your past and present that doesn’t stink.

Funk stinks—face it!

Too many people are overly focused on doing and saying the things pleasing to those around them. They neglect the precious time each day presents to move closer to understanding themselves more and to engage in the critical self-examination necessary to becoming the best human beings they can be. When people are doing better than you, don’t let envy and jealousy consume you. The time you’re investing in being envious and jealous can serve you better if you devote it to working on your own progression. When you’re concentrated on your own progression, you will not have time to hate on others. You might find that you will become a happier person when you’re happy for other people doing well.

For the things negative things in your life that you’re responsible for, it’s time for you to own those things. When you try to transfer your funk over to other people, it’s still your funk, although an attempt to transfer your funk may result in others having to share the burden on your funk. Please, therefore, don’t make efforts place the encumbrance of your funk on others. If you’re miserable, don’t go around attempting to make others miserable. You’re miserable because you want to be miserable. If you’re miserable, don’t deny it—do something about it! Recognize that who you really are is someone special. However, if you don’t know who you really are, or have intentionally made yourself a fusion of multiple personalities to appease society (and your family and friends), you’re not special. In order to be special, you have to be willing to be yourself.

What’s wrong with being yourself? Nothing!

Muster the courage to handle your funk and you will live a better, freer, and happier life.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Drop Out of Popularity Contests

Don’t waste your time in life trying to get everyone to like you.  Additionally, don’t worry about trying to keep those who like you now to remain liking you—just do you.  You will find that you will live a happier life when you’re more concerned with doing things that please you.  When you devote too much time to attempting to figure out what is going to satisfy every single person around you, then you will lose who you are in all of those efforts to please everyone.  You cannot be all things to everyone.  In no way does this piece advocate for you to be a selfish person, it just acknowledges you have to take time for yourself to enjoy the things you love to do.  You have to appreciate yourself.

When you periodically do things that are totally for yourself, this does not make you a selfish person—it makes you a person who understands that you cannot truly know how to be happy for someone else until you’ve made yourself happy.  Don’t depend on other people to make you happy.  You have the ability within yourself to make yourself happy.  When you depend on other people to be happy, then you’re going to face a significant number of disappoints in life.  You may never be truly happy when you wait on others to create true happiness within you.

True happiness originates within yourself.  Yes, others can and will help your happiness to mature but don’t let others be the foundation of your happiness.  If other people are the foundation of your happiness, it will inevitably crumble.

Too many people are far too focused on how they can get everyone to like them.  You must understand that everyone will not like you.  Some people will not like you without any rationale—don’t try to force them to like you because you won’t win them over.  It’s better to have one or two good or great friends than to hang around a thousand people who you’ve fooled yourself that they’re your friends just so you can tout you have such a large number of friends.  It certainly does not seem like you’re attempting to truly please yourself when you do this type of thing.

Participating in popularity contests will leave you exhausted, empty, disappointed, and unhappy.

Live in your own spotlight!

Have enough confidence in yourself to believe you can do whatever you desire to do.  When people tell you that you cannot do something, transfer their negativity into positive energy.  You don’t have to settle for doing the popular things that will gain you instant approval from people who are looking for microwave success.  You have to know that if the path to success you have carefully planned takes years and not days, that you’re going to reach your goals and you’re no lesser of a success story than those who were fortunate to achieve success in a shorter period of time.  For those who achieve success in a shorter period of time than you, please be sure that they’re truly successful and not putting on a visage of success.

Worry about yourself sometimes.  Stop looking for approval from other people.  People who win popularity contests really lose tremendously in the game of life.

Enjoy life.  Be stress free.  Live free!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

There’s Nothing Special About Phony People

When you are afraid to be who you are and never show people the real you, there’s nothing special about you.  Unfortunately, phony people try to pretend like they are living happy lives, and many of them want you to envy their false identities.  What’s to envy about living a phony life?  A life that’s not grounded in truth is a life that’s not worth living.  Phony people never have an opportunity to rest because they always have to put on a performance for an audience—that has to be an exhausting way to live.  What’s to envy about never being able to just relax and enjoy being yourself?  You shouldn’t count on people not discovering who you really are inevitably.

Although many people are fooled by the falsehoods of phony people, there are many people who can see right through those falsehoods.  What’s going to happen when there are moments that arrive in the future that don’t give you an opportunity to put on your falsehoods as quickly as one can put on makeup?  When you live a life that is a lie, you are not qualified and prepared to live the type of life you are currently trying to live.  When you are living a life that hides who you really are, the longer you live this type of life the deeper you move yourself into getting exposed in such an embarrassing way that you may never be able to recover from the shame associated with being exposed.

Far too often, individuals living a phony life assume that people who are living authentic lives are trying to expose them and hurt them intentionally.  Phony people will often assume that things people say and write are about them.  This results largely from the reality that phony people are never in a safe place, considering they always have to be concerned with being exposed.  What phony people need to realize is they shouldn’t feel shame about the things that they are attempting to cover up.  The things you are trying to conceal are things that are a part of you.  Have enough love for yourself to love all of the parts of your comprehensive composition.

In no way does this article advocate for people to tell everything about themselves to everyone—that would be unwise.  What this article does contend is you should not get up every morning having to plan out how you’re going to hide the aspects of your live you don’t want people to know about.  Phony people have to think about how they’re going to hide who they really are each morning even before they are able to think about taking a shower and brushing their teeth.  Now, why would someone want to be envious and jealous of this type of life that phony people live?

Dear phony people, you’re living a miserable life and no one wants to live a miserable life, so stop thinking that people are envious and jealous of you.  Envious and jealous of you for what reason or reasons?

Even when it may seem that you can gain a competitive edge by not being who you really are, resist this temptation.  Make up in your mind that you’re going to be yourself no matter what other people think.  You will have an easier life when you decide to be who you naturally are.  Live the life you want to live and not the life you feel you need to live to please other people.  When you resolve to be who you are, say what you want to say, and do what you want to do, you are going to receive some serious criticism and resistance.  Don’t let this criticism and resistance keep you from enjoying who you genuinely are.  Live free.  Be yourself.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison