Self-esteem

Act Like You Have Children

Too many adults who have children behave in very immature ways that do not set a positive example for their children.  The level of maturity of many of these adults with children makes it difficult to believe they actually have children.  The reality is, however, almost anyone can have a child, but it takes committed, mature, and selfless people to be quality parents.  One would think that once people have reached adulthood they would evince the normative maturity indicative of adulthood.  Unfortunately, too many adults still do many of the same immature things they did as children in elementary, middle, and high school.  Sometimes one has to wonder why God would even allow immature people to bring precious new life into the world, especially when these immature people are going to be responsible for taking care of precious new life.

When you make the decision to have children, you need to understand that your immaturity should end with the discovery that you will now be a new parent.  If you knew you weren’t ready for children, then you shouldn’t have had unprotected sex.  It’s not like you didn’t know unprotected sex leads to pregnancy.

Women, when you decide to have a baby with a man who you know is no good, then you should be ready to suffer the consequences of having to rear the baby alone.  Before you start promulgating all of your frustrations about the challenges of rearing a child as a single mother, think about the foolish decision you made to have a baby with a man you knew was no good before he even inserted his penis in you.  You should have never been under any illusions that having a baby with a no good man was going to change how he acts—no matter what he told you before and/or while you were having the sexual encounter that led to you becoming pregnant.

Men, don’t have babies that you know that you don’t want.  Don’t have babies with women just to attempt to prove your masculinity or hypermasculinity.  One would like to think that bringing a child into the world would cause you to change the way that you act and think.  It would be nice to see you become a much more responsible person when you have a child.  However, many of you continue to allow your own selfish priorities to take precedent over the more important responsibilities that accompany the arrival of your child into the world.  Grow up fast!

If you want to be a real mother and father to your children, you must make a conscious choice to become more mature.  The last thing a new baby needs to be greeted with when arriving out of his or her mother’s womb is immature parents.  Now, you would think that a woman who has carried a child in her womb for nine months would act mature for her child, but many women don’t even begin to change their immature behavior while they are pregnant and after they have given birth.

When you are the mother of a child, you shouldn’t be on Facebook trying to start fights with people.  You should not be spending more time on Facebook than you do rearing your child.  Your Facebook statuses should not be bringing shame to your child.  It would seem that you would think about how you are presenting yourself as a woman when you are using social media.  The way in which you present yourself on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media vehicles can be significantly harmful to your ability to secure employment or advance in your career.  You never know who may view what you have said and/or posted on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

If you are Facebook friends with your parents, you ought to have enough respect for your parents to conduct yourself in a way that demonstrates good character, maturity, and a sense that you have good values.

If you made a mistake and had a baby with one man that you already knew was no good before you had the baby with him, then it’s just stupid to go and have a second, third, fourth, and so on with more no good men and/or the same no good man you had your first child with who has not changed at all.

Although it can be quite unsettling, unnerving, and may even temporarily unhouse you, you need to engage in some deep self-evaluations about why you’re not acting like the responsible adult you should be for your children.  Don’t try to pretend like you’re happy when you know you’re not.  Try to get to the root of what prevents you from being truly happy.  If you know that much of your immaturity stems from low self-esteem, then you need to seek the help you know you need to boost your self-esteem.  However, boosting your self-esteem does not mean getting on Facebook and other social media sites and distracting yourself from the deep internal and external problems you’re experiencing.

If you’re not willing to change for the better for yourself, please change for the benefit of your children.  Your children deserve for you to be at your best.  Be responsible.  Be thoughtful.  Be selfless.  Be mature.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Look Inward Before You Look Outward

We cannot be a help to others until we are a help to ourselves first. Far too often, broken people who need healing themselves are the main ones who like to criticize others and like to appear like they exude strength—when it’s really their weakness that radiates brightest. You cannot lead until you lead within yourself first. You cannot criticize until you have engaged in a comprehensive self-critique first. Never try to seem like you have made it to the mountaintop on your own, especially when you know that your ride to the mountaintop has been made possible by those who have assisted you.

Your critiques of others need to come from a spirit of compassion, while still maintaining a commitment to truth. Always make sure that what you have to say is guided by a desire to promote uplift. I am not contending that uplift has to always come from the most polite words and actions—uplift does not always come from polite words and actions—but your words and actions should have the purpose of moving people upward.

Don’t overlook your weaknesses and flaws when you are critiquing others. Your weaknesses and flaws can be the very sources of the problem with how you are critiquing others.

Guard the way that you perceive others with great care. The way you perceive others can simply be a product of how you view yourself. People are different so you have to understand that you cannot impose your values, paradigms, and expectations for yourself on others. This is what makes the world such a beauty place to live. We all do things and view things differently—We are simply different! Although we are all different in many ways, we are all united by the reality that we are human. We must never underestimate the power of what being human can do for us and the limitations of what being human means.

I’m all for people judging others—have at it! I just want people to make sure that they have engaged in close examinations of themselves first. When you have an honest evaluation of yourself first, you will offer yourself an opportunity to see why you say the things you say to others, why you view people the way you do, why you question them the way you, and why you think what they are doing is wrong or right.

Spend some time with yourself. Learn yourself more. Learn how you might have to move beyond the limitations of yourself to understand others and to understand why they don’t do and say the things you do. Take a moment to rise above what you would have them to do and say and embrace the value of what it is they do and say.

The only way that you are going to get some of those inner problems and demons that you battle is to allow yourself to undergo a serious comprehensive self-critique. Always ground your serious self-critiques in truth. Be willing to acknowledge and embrace the lessons that you learn from self-critiques that are truly grounded in truth.

Love yourself for who you are. If other people don’t love you for simply who you are, then get away from them because they don’t matter.

Even though you don’t have to share everything with everybody to be a real person and an open book, I recommend that you be more transparent with people about why you are revealing what you do disclose to them. The reason why I recommend this is it helps clear thinking people to comprehend that there could be a vital personal reason involving your safety that is responsible for why you don’t divulge everything down to the most microscopic detail to them.

When we look inward first and not outward first, then we will begin to gain a better understanding about why things may appear the way they do. Inward evaluations bring us to an understanding of physical, social, and emotional realities that we never might have considered and discovered without true and comprehensive self-examinations.

By looking within before you look outward, you might just find what you have been missing all of your life. You might just find the answers to what you have been searching for all this time. You might even begin to muster the courage to simply be yourself.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Why I Never Desire to be a Failure

Of course, I have and will fail at things in life, as we all have and will. I will not, however, be a failure. I have resolved to never allow anything and anybody to cause me to be a failure. Although I have a number of enemies, I have many more allies, loved ones, and friends. Many of these friends, allies, and loved ones count on me to be successful and will not accept me being a failure. My decision to not be a failure begins and ends with my resolve from within to not settle for what is easy—failure. Without a doubt, if you want to choose the easy path in life, choose to be a failure. Just because you have and/or are experiencing some hardships does not make you a failure. I have found that many of us are simply too hard on ourselves. We don’t recognize just how great we are.

When you make this decision to be a failure, you are making a very selfish decision. There are people out there who need you to be a winner for them. There are people out there counting on you to be the success that they are looking for. Therefore, just before you get ready to throw in the towel and give up on life, I want you to think about the people out there you can be a help to. Think about the people out there who consider you to be a success and not a failure.

If people are looking for you to fail, prove them wrong! Don’t prove them right by simply surrendering to their negativity. When you are on your path to success, or when you are successful, people are going to attack you and long for you to be a failure. Never allow them to take away your greatness and your greatness can be found within yourself.

I want you to write down 3 things that you do well and think about how those things can help you to become successful or continue your success. Think about how those 3 things can be improved. I want you to think about these 3 things from now until the last day of this year, and I know that a focus on these 3 things are going to give you the strength, knowledge, and hope necessary to continue your success or place you on a path destined for success.

I encourage you to never allow yourself to have failure as your goal and to never accept failure as your destiny. God created us for success and for greatness. You cannot let what is going on right now in your life to discourage you from striving to achieve your goals. I know I’m never going to allow negativity, hate, and people to prevent me from continuing to experience success. Go out today and experience your success and greatness!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

People Always Want to Have Something on You

The more successful, popular, intelligent, attractive, articulate, athletic, and/or etc. you are, the more people will go to extremes to try to find something on you to use it against you. Even when you are transparent, open, and unbothered by negative criticism, people will still go to extremes to find something on you to attempt to bring you down. I would also like you all to be watchful of even jokes people make about you because jokes are often used as furtive vehicles for viciously attacking a person and/or trying to make the person feel uncomfortable, terrible, and/or degraded. For those of you who are tremendously transparent, open, and unbothered by negative criticism, as I am, you don’t have to reveal every single thing to people to continue to feel within yourself that you are still transparent, open, and unbothered by negative criticism. When you don’t give those who are seeking to critique or evaluate you the information they are so eager to receive, then don’t feel like you are wavering on your tremendously transparent, open, and unbothered by negative criticism nature.

When people attempt to negatively criticize you or attack you for not giving them the information they desire so that they can use it as a potential opportunity to have something on you, I recommend for you to take this as an opportunity to turn their malevolent attempts into opportunities to unnerve them. You can unnerve them by asking them questions about their motivations for seeking the information they are requesting and asking them why it is so important for them to get the information. When you are clear that they have intentional negative motivations for obtaining the information, go ahead and begin to unsettle them with probing observations and critiques about them. Let them know you know they are trying to hate on you.

What people who attempt to gain negative information on people to use the information against these people don’t understand they are wasting their time. When people have earned such a distinguished reputation and record, their reputation and record is difficult to sabotage. I am not suggesting that people seeking to destroy your reputation and record with negative information cannot succeed, but I want to comfort those of you concerned about people using negative information against you that you should not fear them.

While many of the motivations for people wanting to have something on you to use it against you are conspicuous, I will be spending a little time in the future just thinking about more complex motivations they may have. I will let you all know the fruits of my reflections too.

If you are a person who is always seeking to use something against someone, I would like to hear from you to better understand people like you. If you are afraid to place a comment on my blog, then feel free to contact me at antoniomdaniels@gmail.com.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Don’t Be All Style and Show and Have No Substance

Black Male Fashion

For all who know me well and those who have followed Revolutionary Paideia, you know I really don’t care too much for vain people. Too many people are all about being flashy in appearance and style, but lack true substance emotionally, intellectually, physically, professionally, and socially. It’s all about image for these people.  They are too consumed with the spectacle (see Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle to gain an even better understanding of what I’m saying).  While the spectacle may be entertaining and give you some instant gratification, the entertainment and gratification is ephemeral. Some of you try to act like you are so confident, act like you have it all together, act like you are a trendsetter, act like you are rich, and pretend like you are so attractive. When you are alone, however, you get an opportunity to reflect on just how unhappy you are and the reality of your low self-esteem or self-esteem problems rise to the surface. I constantly advocate for people to be themselves and not fusions of multiple people and identities.

In no way am I saying that having swag is not useful—it’s useful! You just have to know how to have more than just swag. Make sure that your swag is real too and not just a false image you are presenting. If you know that you don’t have the type of clothing in your closet you are claiming you have, then don’t lie about it. If you know you don’t have the money to wear the type of clothes, drive the type of car, live in the type of house, attend the type of school, and eat at the type of restaurants you do or claim, then just be comfortable in your spirit with what is within your means until you are able to afford those things. Don’t commodify and reify yourself. Some people have metaphorically turned themselves into things instead of the human beings they are. Resist embracing the image and favor substance.

When you have substance, you will find that you don’t need all of that attention you are seeking. You will find that attention will just naturally come to you. You will find that you will not have to let people know things about you and what you have—they will just know.

Some people want to be all that but they are not willing to do the work to be all that. If you are not willing to do the work necessary to be all that, then realize that being all that is not for you. Place your values in substance. Substance will fulfill, sustain, empower, comfort, and reward you.

At the end of the day, you simply have to love yourself. Love just being yourself. There’s absolutely no one like you, so you should be happy and fulfilled by this reality. When you realize that being yourself is already swag, style, and show, then you will be able to convert your swag, style, and show into substance. Don’t rob yourself of substance and don’t allow others and society to rob you of substance.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Black Men Masquerading: Part 1

One thing that gets my blood boiling almost more than anything else is Black men who are afraid to be themselves. In general, I really dislike when any individual is afraid to be himself or herself. I am, however, concentrating on the Black male in this piece. People who are afraid and/or unwilling to be themselves suffer from low self-esteem or problems with their self-esteem. In Black Skins, White Masks, Frantz Fanon communicates the provenance of the serious problems with Black masculinity, originating from the humiliating and barbaric treatment of Black men during slavery. Although I still see some of the impact that the legacy of slavery has on Black masculinity, I have a news flash for you Black men: slavery is over! No longer should you be allowing the problems that racist White slave owners created for Black masculinity to affect your insecurities about your sexuality in the postmodern epoch.

Many Black men have a difficult time admitting that they are gay or bisexual because of the high expectations of the socially conservative Black community. On matters of sexuality, I would have to say that the Black community is ultra-conservative. Many Black men have been reared in families that are fervently Christian and have been taught that being gay is a nasty and sinful thing. The Black community places such unrealistic expectations on Black men’s masculinity because it expects them to be the hypermasculine mandingo that racist slave-owning White women and men created. It’s unrealistic for a man to be hypermasculine but great pressure within and outside of the Black community demands that the Black man be hypermasculine.

Unfortunately, too many Black men have adopted and embraced the hypermasculine expectations that have been placed on them. This has led to many Black men being thugs (or trying to pose as thugs), the academic underachievement of many Black men, many being imprisoned, many getting HIV/AIDs, significant Black male poverty, high drug use, great domestic violence, increased gang membership, and I could go on and on. Too many Black males have not resisted the negative expectations placed on them by a society that has not wanted them to succeed. Many Black men have not taken the time to seriously consider their sexuality or sexualities. For example, many Black men who strive to be perceived as “pimps” have not given themselves an opportunity to have a long-lasting and meaningful relationship with a woman.

Regrettably, the Black Church has not been there to help Black men to develop a healthy sexuality. The Black Church has proffered too simplistic responses to the needs of men and their sexuality. Basically, the Black Church has simply told Black men not to be gay, get married, don’t fornicate, don’t masturbate, don’t look at pornography, be the head of their households, and don’t beat their wives. Black male sexuality, however, requires much more than that. The Black Church has simply been unwilling to deal with sexuality in a sophisticated, in-depth, and educated way. Many Black preachers are still simply spitting rhymes instead of nurturing, teaching, and cultivating a healthy Black male sexuality, a sexuality that resists the hypermasculinity that has been engendered to destroy Black men.

Many Black women are also responsible for Black men having to take on identities that are truly not authentic. Many Black women have placed unrealistic expectations on Black men: they want them to be both successful thugs and successful scholars—it’s simply not possible! One of the identities is going to cause the other to fail. Many Black women will say that they want a man who can take care of them, but by selecting a thug they often just get a baby and a baby’s daddy who is in prison. Many Black women think that the Black man who is serious about his education is gay; thus, not allowing him to be the “thug” they desire him to be. When a Black man dresses professionally and does not “bust slack,” then many Black women think he is gay—they will say, “His gay self—with them tight pants on.” Wake up you dummies, this is the type of man who can provide you with the home, economic stability, and quality family you long for.

The man busting slack is a man headed to prison, and this is the type of man you should be more concerned with being gay because his busting slack represents prison culture. He is advertising that his booty is available, and without a doubt his booty will be available when he gets to prison and has a ton of men waiting to get inside of that booty. Now, tell me, how much of a thug is he now? If you would open your eyes you will see that many of the Black men who are busting slack are the main ones giving you sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Be more sophisticated about how you perceive Black men—we are more complex than you make us out to be.

To you Black men who know you are gay but elect to have sex with women just to cover up your homosexuality, be real with yourself and stop doing this. I am not saying that you have to go ahead and admit to the world that you are gay, but stop commodifying and reifying women as your trophies to cover up the reality that you are afraid to be who you are. Many Black men are married to women, dating women, and having sex with women just because they are afraid of what their families and friends are going to think about them if they don’t have a woman or women in their lives who they are sexually involved with. I often see Black men, whether they are pretending not to be gay or not, denying themselves of the lives they want to live because they feel obligated to be with women who they are really not interested in being with sexually. Many Black men have devoted their lives to proving how masculine they are by having sex with so many women, but they are denying themselves of who they really want to be: simply themselves.

In no way is this article written to try to suggest that all men are gay or bisexual, but what it does suggest is many Black men are denying themselves the opportunity to simply be themselves because of their low self-esteem or problems with their self-esteem. I have resolved to pen a series of on this topic, “Black Men Masquerading,” to address the aforementioned issues and others in a little more depth. I believe that addressing the various ways in which many Black men masquerade—not just with their sexuality—is important to ameliorating the progression of Black men in the postmodern moment. As always, I hope that there is something I have said in this article and in the future articles that will be written during this series that will unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse you. More importantly, I hope this article and this series will help at least one person. If I am able to help at least one person, then I feel like I have done my job.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

What the Bishop Eddie Long Sexual Allegations Have Reconfirmed for Me about Many Blacks

It seems like almost all Black people have some type of opinion about Bishop Eddie Long regarding the sexual allegations that are being claimed by now four Black men. What is most troubling for me about this situation is what it reconfirms for me about many Black people: Many Black people are eager to tear one another apart. Now, what I have observed is many White people are willing to stay united behind members of their own race, even in the most horrible of situations. Black people, we can learn something from White people on this issue—let’s unite more behind our people. Now, I am not saying that we should simply unite behind Bishop Eddie Long no matter what he does and has done, but what I would like to see is for us to not be exploiting him like the media is doing. Before we make up our minds up about what happened, we need to allow the presentation of all the evidence to come forth.

Beyond this issue about Bishop Eddie Long, we need to be more loyal and united to one another. We have a history that demonstrates what we can do when we are united. It was our dominant unity and loyalty to one another that was instrumental in helping to defeat slavery and Jim Crow. Don’t just assume that this man is homosexual just because four men are claiming that he forced them to have sex with him. How many times have people claimed false things about you? How many times have people mischaracterized you? I am not suggesting that this is the case with these four men, but I am saying that it is a strong possibility that what we are hearing and reading from media accounts is not the complete truth. Let’s let truth prevail in this case, which means that we are going to need to gain more facts before we can intelligently start throwing this man of God under the metaphorical bus. No matter what is ultimately concluded about these allegations, I will not demonize this man of God.

What is it about so many Black people that make them want to hate on one another? What is it about so many Black people that make them enjoy seeing members of their own race suffer? I know whatever it is it needs to stop. It seems like many Black people do not want to see other Black people succeed. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in the city of Madison, Wisconsin, I have had the opportunity to experience many Black people who have tried to derail my success. Fortunately, these individuals have failed miserably, but the larger problem with their attempts is that they should be happy to see a Black man doing so well, especially considering many of the horrific statistics that exist about us.

What I’m going to try to do is have a conversation or interview with one of these Black people who hate on successful Black people to gain an understanding about why they hate on successful members of their own race. I think that the core problem that they have lies in their low self-esteem. The Black individuals at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in the city of Madison who have hated on me all have the common problem of low self-esteem. As I reflect on all of the people who have hated on me throughout my life, I realize that they too have suffered from low self-esteem.

Black people, we are already a racial minority in America. Let’s not further complicate our situation by continuing to allow self-defeating mindsets to undermine one another.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison