Let’s Not Play the Comparison Game

Comparison is the thief of joy” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I try extra hard not to compare things happening in my life to the things that happen in the lives of those around me and in my circle. I would say that out of all of the days in a month, over half of them I succeed in that mission because I know that we can never see what someone else does in their everyday life to achieve whatever level of success they’re having at the moment. In reality the truth is that most of the time, if you are not succeeding at whatever dream you are chasing the problem isn’t someone else’s efforts on their journey but perhaps your lack of effort in your own, or it could just simply not be your time. Most days I remember that. Most.

There are some days, maybe a little over a handful, where you truly feel like you are doing absolutely everything that you possibly can, and you see someone on a similar path as you and everything seems to be working out in amazing fashion for them. Frankly in those few days the shit just feels unfair. You’re working your ass off, pouring everything you’ve got into this dream and vision you have, and sometimes pouring things you don’t have in the emotional tank and still…nothing. You think, how much damn adversity is one person supposed to go through before they just break. That whole notion where it’s just not your time and your time will come just seems like utter bullshit on those days and you’re just mad at anyone who is on the adjacent path and are just traveling along with no bumps or obstacles that YOU can see. Does any of this sound like feelings you’ve dealt with? No! Just me?

Well, I have had a few of those days already for the month of January and I’m telling you, sometimes it just makes me want to throw in the towel and give up on everything. But then I look at my vision board and see this quote I put on there for this very eventual moment. It says, “You didn’t come this far, to ONLY come this far”. I need the constant reminder that I’ve come so much farther than I have to go (at least I hope so because truthfully, I can’t see the entire road ahead of me) and that if I quit now, it will have all been for nothing. Honestly if I didn’t believe in my dream and my vision so emphatically, I probably would have given up on it a very long time ago, but I believe in this and I know this is what I was put here to do.

This is what I need to remind myself of when I start comparing my journey to the road that other people are on because the only thing that accomplishes is it makes me resentful of that person (and that’s not who I am) and it plants seeds of doubt in my own mind about my journey. I have different abilities and limits than the next person and I can’t map out my journey according to someone else’s level of effort and ability because, once again, their journey and mine won’t be the same.

So, when you have those bad days where everyone’s road starts to look so much easier to you than your own, just remember that while it’s natural to have those feelings, you have to put into perspective that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. As the quote says at the top of the post, comparison is the biggest thief of joy and I for one want more joy in my life, I don’t want to be the one stealing joy away from myself. Don’t you allow yourself to be the thief of your own joy. Just make sure to keep watering the grass on your own side of the fence.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeBold #BeMindful

Jimmetta Carpenter

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To Pretend or Not to Pretend…That is the Question?

I did a lot of pretending when I was younger. In elementary school I had to pretend the home I went back to everyday wasn’t broken and abusive. In high school I had to pretend I was not crumbling on the inside and like I wasn’t constantly thinking of ways to just end it all. In college and early adulthood, like most young adults, I had to pretend that I knew what the hell I was doing. With people I came in contact with back then I would pretend that I was outgoing and like I thrived on being around lots of people when in reality people drained me and any creative energy I had, and I really just wanted to be left alone. Not alone in some lonely, woe is me type of way either, but rather in a way that actually refilled my creative well.

I mean that’s what life is mostly isn’t it. Pretending! Going along to get along. Trying to fit in with people you probably don’t actually like just so that they don’t classify you as difficult, weird and awkward or just think that something is wrong with you altogether. You pretend to understand things you really don’t because you don’t want to appear like you aren’t knowledgeable and capable. It gets to be a little tiring to pretend all the time. To always have to be “on” and faking that you feel something you don’t or faking that you’re happy if you’re not.

When you get to a certain point in life you just want to be surrounded by people and live a life where you can just simply be. Where you can express how you feel about something or someone without having to hide your emotions and feelings. Where you don’t have to apologize for being a person who wears their heart on their sleeve and whose emotions show up all over your face. You want to not have to explain yourself to people who you thought you didn’t have to explain anything to because it was thought to believe that you were accepted just the way you were.

The simple truth is, at least the truth that I’m coming to realize, is true acceptance doesn’t really exist. No matter what situation you find yourself in, no matter what circle of people you surround yourself with, there is always going to have to be some manner of pretending. Sometimes it hurts to realize that but it’s best to live in reality than to have blinders on and think something is true that isn’t. Even those that are closest to you, that are your closest friends, aren’t going to always accept everything there is about you. We are all deeply flawed, and sometimes vastly broken individuals and that means we have things about us that others just can’t come to terms with and that they would rather adjust or change about you than just simply accept without question.

Let’s be honest, you probably have some things that you would change about the people in your life as well. I suppose the real question is who in your life are you willing to make adjustments for and who are you willing to pretend around? Can you really ever go through life without having to pretend something? Is there ever going to come a time in life where you can remove the mask and just be yourself without having to rationalize who you are to those you love and call friends and found family? I thought it was possible but now I’m not so sure. I guess the jury is still out on that one and only time will truly tell.

Until next time… #BeBold #BeFearless #BeYou

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Can There Be Grace In Failure?

Last week I felt like I was failing on multiple levels. I couldn’t seem to get anything to go right or work out right and I wasn’t saying all the right things to the people around me. It was just not my best week. However, when I go back and look at my footage for my writing vlog on my YouTube channel that I filmed all last week I see that while yes, everything didn’t go as I had planned it or wanted it to go, I also didn’t completely fail at everything. And what I did fail in, I learned some lessons from what I didn’t do right. I guess that’s the thing about the way we perceive things and how it may be seen to the outside world.

The thing that I can’t seem to get a handle on is how to have grace with myself. I try and sometimes I think I have a handle on a good self-care routine that allows me to have that grace. But most of the time it’s my own expectations of myself and my abilities that make it hard for me to cut myself any slack. I don’t typically worry about the expectations others have of me and that is because my own bar for myself is so unattainably high that I can’t seem to get over or around it. I want big things out of life. I want to leave a big legacy for my daughter and in this world. I can’t do that playing things small and yet I constantly feel like that is what I’m doing.

It seems that I’m always having to adjust my goals because I simply can’t seem to reach them, at least not in their entirety. It’s like I come close but fall short on so many levels. When I saw the above quote, it made me think about the fact that even in my losses perhaps there are still some wins in the lessons that I am able to take away and apply towards the next attempt that I make. It reminds me that as long as I at least give it a solid try and truly put in the effort to achieve the goals I set out to accomplish then I haven’t really failed because there are so many people who just don’t try at all.

I suppose the point in all of this is to say if you too struggle to allow yourself grace, if you also beat yourself up for the goals that you don’t get accomplished, that you are not alone in that mental tug of war. Try to remember, as I will also, that it’s not about how many times you get pushed back from the goal line or get knocked down. It’s about getting back up and pushing through towards that goal line. It’s about not giving up and letting the doubts in your mind win. it’s about taking the lessons that you learn from the initial blow and applying them to your next attempt. Make sure that you are taking some mental breaks from the pressure that you put on yourself and remember that taking care of yourself is also a win. It’s a win for your mental health.

If you are looking for some suggestions of some things you can do to show yourself some grace and maybe take better care of yourself, I just did a video last week, mostly for writers, but it applies to anyone really, about ways to better take care of your mental health in high stress periods of time. I hope that you check it out and I hope that you make just as much of an effort to show yourself some grace.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeHopeful #BeMindful

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Never Give Up On You

In case you missed the talk of the Emmy’s last week, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph won her first Emmy at 65 years old for supporting actress in a comedy series. Only the second black woman, with the first black woman having won 35 years ago. Now the fact that she finally won an award that she is overqualified for and should have won a long time ago isn’t the takeaway of the night for me. Her acceptance speech, in which she sang a song about being an endangered species and knowing where her voice belongs as an artist, and then went on to tell the audience that that moment was what believing looked like and that if you ever have a dream, you should never give up on yourself. I think I replayed that speech about a dozen times that night and probably another two dozen since then. It was something that I didn’t even realize I needed to hear.

The last couple of weeks I have been feeling quite defeated and a bit kicked around by the universe. It’s been making me question my talent and my abilities, and even someone with as much faith as I have can get bogged down by self-doubt. I’ve been wondering with all the hard work that I put into writing and being a creative individual why success seems to continually elude me. Now my definition of success is not the typical fame or fortune, which I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want just a little bit. Rather what success looks like to me is accomplishing what I set out to do in this world, fulfilling the purpose I truly believe I’m here for, and taking care of people who need to be cared for. Success to me would be having an impact on others in some meaningful way.

I have never had an easy road on this journey we call life. Things have definitely been rough at some points, damn near unbearable at others, with a few bright spots along the way. Sometimes I forget that just because things don’t happen as quickly as I want them to, or think they should, doesn’t mean that they are forever out of reach. I also tend to forget that what I do does matter to some and acknowledgment can come from even the most surprising places.

I don’t think that I have ever quit at anything in my life. Not anything that meant anything to me anyway. I may have had moments where I took a break, had to recharge my drive for just a bit, get my bearings together after a big letdown, but never have I quit. I’m just not made that way. When I heard that acceptance speech from Sheryl Lee Ralph, it just reinvigorated me and reminded me of what I already knew deep down inside. That I can never, ever give up on me. So, if you need someone to tell you that it’s okay to rest and recharge but don’t stay down. If you need someone to remind you of what you’re working towards and to keep pushing through. Then let me tell you, get up and look in the mirror and say to yourself “Never give up on you.”

Until next time… #BeDiligent #BeRelentless #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Are We Going To Just Stare At the Wall or Find A Way To Climb Over It?

I’ve been staring at a wall lately and that wall has time written all over it. Time is not my friend. There is never enough of it and yet it feels like the time I do have can’t be adequately balanced in a satisfactory manner. I’ve been struggling lately with this balancing time thing with taking on something non-creative in order to pay the bills and having the creative side of me, that being writing which is like air to me, suffer drastically.

I mean I won’t say that I’m not able to write ever, but it’s a far cry from the amount of time I was once able to put into my writing and as I said, writing is like air to me so right now I quite literally feel like I am not able to breathe. I feel like I’m suffocating and all I can think about is writing but it’s the one thing I’m unable to do as freely as I need to. But I think that I’m looking at this the wrong way.

I’m staring at the wall and instead of figuring out a way over or around that wall I am just stuck, looking up at this massive road block, and wondering what the hell am I going to do. I’m not going to pretend I have the answer for this problem at this exact moment but I do know that giving up is not an option. We spend so much time staring at the wall rather than climbing over that wall and that is tantamount to giving up. I say we because I can’t be the only one who gets stuck at the road blocks that you come across.

Your wall may not be writing. It could be whatever you’re most passionate about and have been struggling to weave it into your schedule. If you are struggling too then I want you to know that you’re not alone and that we are going to climb this wall together because quitting is never an option when your dreams are waiting for you beyond that wall. We may need some time to assess the wall, to make a plan of action on how we are going to get over or around that wall, but one way or another, we will overcome the wall that is blocking our way.

Until next time… #BePatient #BePersistent #BeDetermined

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Find the Joy in the Simple Things

I was having an interesting conversation with a friend yesterday and he pointed out something that I was doing and hadn’t even realized I was doing it. In being so focused and frustrated by the place that I was not at in my life, at the age that I thought I should be there, I was not showing my gratitude for how far I have come and for the accomplishments that I have achieved and the battles that I was fighting that I have made it through. I want to be clear; I am very aware that I was in a much rougher place when this year started, I mean to the point where I didn’t even know if I would still have a roof over my head come the midway point of the year. My situation has changed dramatically and that hopelessness that (even though I was trying not to show it) was starting to set in is gone now. If I didn’t have a whole carload of other things to be grateful for (because I do) that alone would be enough.

It’s really good to have a circle (however big or small) of friends around you that will check you and tell you hard truths when you need to hear them. Or those that will tell you when you need to take stock in what you have instead of focusing on the things that you haven’t attained just yet. My friend (who is amazingly awesome) made me sit back and really think about how I sounded and more importantly made me realize just how much I’ve overcome in this year alone (we won’t even get into what I’ve overcome in my whole life—that could take forever) and I am so thankful.

There was a time, not that long ago that, although I tried my best to have complete and total faith that things were going to work out for the best, I was truly starting to get worried. For the first time in my life, I didn’t really know how they were going to turn out okay and that scared the shit out of me.

All of this is to say that I know times get hard, that times have been hard, especially in these last couple of years, but you have to make sure that you celebrate the little and simple things. Find the joy in the small things that make you smile and things that get you through the day. Also make sure that you have friends around you that won’t let you sit in “what if” land and will make you aware of all you have to be thankful for. The battles we are all facing, even if they are just in our mind, don’t have to make us lose sight of the moments of joy we experience along the way. We win those battles by not allowing them to hold us back and by not forgetting to conquer one thing at a time.

Until next time #BeCourageous #BeMindful #BeGrateful

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Our Limitations Cannot Limit Us

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few weeks about the things that limit me, whether it be in my writing career or my personal everyday life in general. Then I was listening to a motivational message this past Saturday and something they said struck a chord. They said we may be limited in a lot of ways whether it be physical limitations or mental limitations, but our limitations cannot limit us. That sparked something in me. They went on to expand on that point saying to think of all of the limitations that you have and the fact that just because those limitations exist does not actually stop us unless we allow them to. In essence, if we don’t allow them to those things may slow us down but they cannot stop us.

I thought about that, especially as it pertains to my physical limitations that have gotten worse over the course of the last few years. They are a pain (literally) and they slow me down for sure but nothing that I absolutely need to get done is going to be left undone just because those physical limitations exist. They might take longer to get done but they will get completed.

I suppose that I should approach that way of thinking in terms of my writing career as well. I may be limited whether it’s financially or even just lack of energy one day or another but that does not mean that my goals cannot be accomplished. They just won’t get achieved at the pace that I would’ve originally liked them to. With self-publishing there are a lot of limitations when it comes to having the monetary needs to do what needs to get done but it just means the pace has to be slower. It doesn’t mean that I stop. It doesn’t mean that I give up.

We get hung up sometimes on the things that we are limited by and it’s human nature. It’s natural to focus on what obstacle is being thrown in our way. But we can’t let that stop us in our tracks. They are tests to see if we really want what it is we say we want. We don’t give up. We don’t have to allow our limitations to limit us and limit the achievements that we are destined to make. Keep moving forward. Your progress may be slow because of the limitations that you have been dealt with but don’t count yourself out.

Until next time… #BeBold #BePersistent #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Rest If You Need To But Just Don’t Quit

The journey to fulfill your dreams is not going to be a road without obstacles. In fact, it often feels like the closer that we get to those dreams that we’ve been striving towards for so long, the harder they seem to be to reach.  I’ve said it here before, but anything worth having, any goal worth achieving, is going to require hard work and tenacity to attain.  However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be days in which you will want to quit.

I know it doesn’t seem like it here or if you follow me anywhere on social media (particularly my YouTube channel) but I grow exhausted with the amount of effort I have to put into this dream of mine. I grow increasingly weary at times with the fact that every time I take two steps forward, it seems to be followed with three steps backwards. I get frustrated at the fact that I’m not anywhere near (at least in my mind anyway) where I think that I should be with my career or life in general. I have wanted to quit so many times that I’ve lost count. But I can’t quit so I just rest.

We all have our moments where things get so hard that we just want to throw in the towel. You think to yourself sometimes that if this is something that you were meant to do, if this is truly your calling then it shouldn’t be this damn hard. You think about all of the people who, things seem to come so easy for them, and you have that quick thought questioning why it’s not that easy for you.

The truth is that we have no idea what someone else’s journey has been like. While it looks like they might have had an easy go of it, their journey could have been just as rough as yours seems to be now. We should never compare our journey to someone else’s because each of us has a different hill to climb. Nothing worth having is ever going to be easy so if it’s something that you really want, that really matters to you, then be prepared for the hard road ahead. I believe it will make actually accomplishing your dream that much sweeter.

When you get weary and grow tired and feel you’re stuck in reverse, don’t quit, simply rest. Rest so that when you have sat with those frustrations and feelings of doubt, you can then get back up and keep climbing up that hill. Eventually you will reach the top, but only if you keep moving forward. Our dreams are worth holding on for.

Until next time… #BeMindful #BeTenacious #BeSteadfast 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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It’s Not in How You Failed, It’s in the Way You Keep Trying

“My greatest concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

~Abraham Lincoln

Feeling like a failure is inevitable. At some stage in your life, depending on how ambitious your goals truly are, you will repeatedly try new things and while some of them will work out brilliantly, some of them won’t. Trial and error is a very normal part of life but sometimes those errors just seem like they keep coming, one after another, after another. To put it plain and simple, failure can be, at times, relentless and exhausting. Last week I felt like I was failing at life in general but specifically in the area of my writing business.

However, I was reminded last night when I was watching the History Channel’s Documentary on Abraham Lincoln just how much failure is ultimately a part of eventual success. After all, Abraham Lincoln had a lot of losses and he suffered from severe depression after a lot of those losses. But what he never did was give up. He never gave in to those losses and he kept trying.  In the end he still won the ultimate goal he was going after, being the office of the Presidency.

I suppose I keep thinking about failure in the wrong manner. I tend to think of failure as this immovable boulder that just abruptly landed right on my path to my goals and me not being strong enough to lift it out of my way or to even work around it.  Therefore, it leaves me stuck right where I am, most likely feeling weak and incapable. Of course, that’s not the way that failure should be looked at.

What failure really amounts to are mistakes that can and should be used as lessons to navigate us through the rest of the journey forward so that we, provided we actually learn from those particular failures, can avoid making the same mistakes again. Failures allow us to know what we are doing wrong so that we can course correct and get things right. I know I’ve written this before and perhaps I repeat it because I need to keep reminding myself as well (because on the really hard days I tend to forget) but if you are failing it generally means that you at the very least, tried to do something in the first place and as long as you are trying you are not failing.

It’s all about mindset and the ability we have to change ours. Instead of seeing the obstacle on the road, we need to see the multiple paths that lead us around that obstacle. They are detours from what you originally had planned but they are alternate paths that still can lead you to where you want to go with knowledge you didn’t have before. You will still have that lesson that you learned to carry with you into the next stage of the journey and with each mistake you may make, you will pick up even more knowledge. The key is seeing the mini failures along the way as opportunities and not necessarily as obstacles that need to be dodged. Just remember, when you are feeling like everything is going wrong and you aren’t getting anywhere, that you are not alone and that trying is what matters most.

Until next time… #BePersistent #BeResilient #BeFearless

Jimmetta Carpenter

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Give Yourself Some Grace

The mind is a funny thing. Sometimes you can find yourself slip back into old habits and old ways of thinking without even realizing it. I try to maintain optimistic because my spirituality has been a way for me to be assured that everything is going to work out the way that it is supposed to in the end. However, lately I have heard myself sink back into my old ways of thinking and have found myself saying things like ‘I know that the other shoe is going to drop soon’, or ‘when it rains, it pours, or just yesterday I said ‘the Universe is working against me’.

Now instinctively I know and believe deep in my heart that God is going to make sure that I’m okay, even if things don’t go as I planned them to, or even remotely the way that I want them to. But my old anxiety and self doubt creep in and I realize I still have some work to do to get rid of that self-sabotaging nature. Without realizing it, I have been, once again, giving power to fear and doubt about what I am capable of achieving.

I think that it gets lost on some, those who don’t struggle with mental health issues or constant anxiety and overwhelming and crippling fear, just how hard it can be to stay in a positive mindset. I constantly get from people how positive I am and I don’t mind that at all but make no mistake, it is work to try and keep a positive frame of mind. Some days are astronomically harder than others and the good days can start to feel like they don’t happen often enough.

I’m writing this post today because I want people to give themselves grace, as I am trying to give myself some. Grace when you’re not feeling at your best. Grace to make the mistakes you need to make so that you can do it better the next time. Give yourselves grace to let yourself cry when you feel like it. Allow yourself some grace to just be honest when you’re not doing okay to be able to say so without any feelings of guilt. Give yourself grace to, on those days when things are just too overwhelming, simply do nothing but be.

Until next time… #BePatient #BeCourageous #BeKindToYourself

Jimmetta Carpenter

CEO/Writer/Editor

Write 2 Be Media/Write 2 Be Magazine

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