Quantcast

If You’re Going Through A Major Setback, Remember This.

There are a few things to keep in mind before completely throwing in the towel.

Life & Travel

A little while back, I wrote an article about how I'm not a fan of using the word "damaged". And I'm not; not when it applies to people, anyway. If you're wondering what my issue is with that word, you can check it out here. Anyway, as I was engaging in a conversation with someone not too long ago about life's disappointments, I realized that there's another word that I'm not too fond of either—setback.

What's my issue with it? It's not that I don't believe that setbacks are real; it's just that, I think that we give them way too much power. To actually experience something that makes us feel like it's totally preventing us from making progress? Maybe it's just me, but that sounds more like a choice than the direct result of any situation or circumstance.

A blindside? Sure. A challenge or obstacle? Absolutely. But any time something happens as we're trying to move forward in life, that catches us off guard, hurts our feelings or even potentially devastates us, there are a few things to keep in mind before completely throwing in the towel and actually ruling it a bonafide setback.

It All Ultimately Serves a Profound Purpose

media.giphy.com

It was just 2016 when our own EIC Necole Kane was going through a major life test and challenge. Social media outlets everywhere were talking about how broke she was and how much of a mess her life was in. Interestingly enough, it was right around the time when she was making the transition from being Necole Bitchie to becoming xoNecole (check out "Necole Bitchie Opens Up on Pain, Success & New Beginnings" when you get a chance). I'm pretty sure that even though some hope was just a few months (in the form of a couple of years) up the road, that that was probably one of the bleakest moments of Necole's life.

And then, at the top of 2018, the media started telling a different tale—"Will Packer Media Acquires Women's Lifestyle Site xoNecole". Just this past April, she was featured in Essence and, as they say, the rest is history!

It may not feel like it now, but if things are super difficult, it's only getting you ready for something else. Not just "else" but better. Transition can be uncomfortable, but if you're committed to the process, it always—ALWAYS—serves a purpose. Typically, a mind-blowing one at that.

Some Things Are Simply “Labor Pains”

I'm a doula (which is basically a birthing assistant) and, let me tell you what—it is right when the pregnant mom is at her most painful point in labor (which is usually when she's around 7 dilated cm, by the way) when she is like, "You know what? I'm done!" Yet it's also around that time when she is closer than ever to seeing the little miracle that she carried for (technically) 10 months.

Speaking of labor pains, there's a Message version of Scripture that I really like and appreciate during the hard times: "All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along." (Romans 8:22-26) According to this, waiting makes us larger and eventually gives us more joy.

Challenges can feel like real delays. When the delays are really trying you, remember my all-time favorite quote by a pastor by the name of John Piper—"God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them." The pain is not for naught, sis. It too has some sort of miracle attached to it. Push on and push through.

Negativity Only Makes Things Worse

media1.giphy.com

If it feels like you're going through a major life hurdle, it's important that you protect your energy at all costs. One of the ways to do that is by minimizing the amount of negativity that you are around—negative people, trollers on social media, draining news and gossip, you get the gist. When you're going through a season like this (and it is just a season; more on that in just a sec) the last thing you need is to make matters worse with complaining and pessimism. And yes, negativity definitely makes things worse (articles like "Why Negative People Are Literally Killing You (and How to Protect Your Positivity)", "This Is What Negativity Does to Your Immune System, and It's Not Pretty" and "Scientific Proof That Negative Beliefs Harm Your Health" all co-sign on where I'm coming from).

You already know how I feel about the word "setback", but I will say this about it. If you decide (and it is indeed a choice) to feed yourself with negativity, that is a surefire way to end up having one. Real talk.

Everything Has Its Season

Something that I dig about the Bible is, whether we want to accept it or not, it addresses just about everything we're wondering about; it prepares us too. Even though it tells us that "it rains on the just and the unjust" (Matthew 5:44-45), when difficult times come our way, we tend to think there is some personal attacking going on; like it's automatically about us not doing something right or, it's the direct result of doing something wrong.

The Bible does also tell us that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-10), so sometimes our struggles may be consequences-related. But there is something else to consider too. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NKJV) says, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven...a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance..." It goes on and on. My point? Everything uncomfortable is not some conspiracy to ruin your life. Some of us love summer and hate winter; others of us feel the opposite. Guess what? Summer's here and winter is coming. Seasons change. Soon enough. So will this one for you. Also, summer and winter both have a purpose in getting nature and us to other stages in life, so does what you're going through.

You’ll Be Stronger on the Other Side

media1.tenor.com

This time last year, I had one of the biggest heartbreaks ever (I mean, EVER). I also lost one of my main writing gigs, so I was just about spent. Literally. All I kept hearing the Holy Spirit say to me is, "You are giving birth to yourself." You know what's a plum trip about that? My middle name is Renee' and it means "reborn". Anyway, fast forward to this year and, somebody please cue in Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle's "A Whole New World"! The things I've learned about myself. The toxicity that I've released. The standards that I've set. I'm not just stronger, I'm better. Yes, even reborn!

The things we don't like or want to do are the things that stretch and evolve us more than just about anything else. Just like working out doesn't feel good, this probably doesn't either. Guess what, though? It really is true that what doesn't kill you will make you stronger. Strength is what sustains us. Let this mere moment in time do its job. It's not for naught.

You’re Not the First or the Last to Have One

I get it. It's a fair assumption that the last thing you want to hear when you're going through a tough time is that you're not the only one. I didn't say that to dismiss what you are going through; I said it so that you won't isolate yourself and feel that the entire world doesn't get it or is somehow against you. I also said it so that you'll be willing to open up and share your feelings with someone that you trust.

Sometimes, one of the best remedies for life's challenges, obstacles and hard times is to receive words of comfort or even testimonies from others who've experienced something similar. The comfort can reassure you and the testimonies can remind that that there are more chapters in your story to be written. (Spoiler alert—when this is over, it'll probably only feel like a page or two in your book of life; if that much.)

This Too Shall Pass

media0.giphy.com

Contrary to popular belief—and/or poor biblical teaching—"this too shall pass" is not a verse in biblical Scripture (neither is "money is the root of all evil", "the Lord works in mysterious ways" or "cleanliness is next to godliness"). From what I've researched, it's actually a Muslim proverb (or a verse from a Persian poet). Nonetheless, it is still is a powerful thing to always keep in mind because, as I once heard an actor say on television, "Like all things, even despair, exhausts itself."

If you need something to get you through in the meantime, let me take you to praise and worship for just a moment. I'm pretty sure you all are familiar with Yolanda Adams, but what y'all know about Crystal Lewis (she's a sangin' white girl, boy!)? Many years ago, Yolanda and Crystal did a duet entitled, yep…you guessed it—"This Too Shall Pass". Listen. Cry. Scream. Throw something (light and soft) if you need to. But remember that this thing you're going through won't be forever. Then hold close that, by enduring it, you will come out on the other side, so much better for it.

I've been there. This not a setback. This is a life-altering-for-the-better moment. Endure it. Better is coming. It really is.

Featured image by Getty Images

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Every Major Win In My Life Came After A Breakdown

11 Women Share Their Biggest Career Mistakes

About To Break Down? Here Are 7 Signs You Need A Mental Health Day

Originally published on June 29, 2019

Featured image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

August invites you to shine bright like the sun which requires you to leave behind the sob stories of being the underdog. Recognize your power as a reflection of the Divine and watch how far you can go. Be mindful of that inner critic when Mercury enters Virgo. For every negative thought, counteract it with three compliments about yourself. When Venus enters her home sign, relationship matters get a whole lot sweeter after the wild ride that was Mercury Retrograde.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Lawd, lawd. I'm assuming that I'm not being too presumptuous when I start this all out by saying, I'm pretty sure that more than just a few of us can relate to this title and topic. I know that personally, there are several men from my sexual past who would've been out of my space a lot sooner had the sex not been…shoot, so damn good. And it's because of that very thing that you'll never ever convince me that sex can't mess with your head. The oxytocin highs (that happen when we kiss, cuddle and orgasm) alone can easily explain why a lot of us will make a sexual connection with someone and stay involved with them for weeks, months, years even, even if the mental and emotional dynamic is subpar, at best.

Keep reading... Show less

This article is in partnership with Staples.

As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.

Keep reading... Show less

"Black men, we're in constant warfare. Every day is a fight outside of my house, so why would I want to come home to more fighting when that is the very place where I should be resting? There are loved ones who I don't speak to as much anymore because they aren't peaceful people. A huge part of the reason why I am happier without my ex is she was rarely a source of peace. The older I get, the more I realize that peace really is the foundation of everything; especially relationships, because how can I nurture anything if I'm in a constant state of influx and chaos? Guys don't care how fine a woman is or how great the sex may be if she's not peaceful because there is nothing more valuable than peace. If the closest person to me is not a source of it, that can ultimately play a role in all kinds of disruption and destruction. No man wants that."

Keep reading... Show less

When Ngozi Opara Sea started Heatfree Hair almost a decade ago, curly and kinky extensions weren't the norm on the market as they seem to be today, especially if you wanted those textures in quality human hair. Beauty supply stores mainly sold synthetic curly hair, and there was a surge of renewal for women who were just beginning to embrace natural styles, taking to YouTube to experiment with new techniques and styles.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive: Find Confidence With This Summer Workout Created By A Black Woman For Black Women

Tone & Sculpt trainer Danyele Wilson makes fitness goals attainable.

Latest Posts