‘National All Or Nothing Day’ Reminds Us That Sometimes It Needs To Be Just That

Love yourself enough to get all of what you want or leave all of it alone.

Life & Travel

It's kinda funny that, while I'm not really big on holidays, I will sometimes run on over to the National Day Calendar, every couple of months or so, just to see what other "special days" I might want to observe. As July comes to a close (and really, where did it go, y'all?), one that caught my attention is July 26 which is National All Or Nothing Day. How cool is it that there's a 24-hour moment in time that's especially set aside so that we can literally go all carpe diem, take big risks and make things happen?

If you read what the day is originally all about, it talks about doing things like quitting your job or mending a broken relationship; it's about taking the all or nothing approach to putting your pride or fears aside in order to make things happen. As for me, when I think about all or nothing, what comes to my mind is loving yourself enough to require that either you get ALL of what you desire out of something (or someone), or you leave ALL of it (or them) alone. ALL OR NOTHING. No more or less than that.

I will admit that it takes some balls to make this kind of boss move. So, before you consider making that phone call or sending that email, ask yourself the following questions. That way, you'll be moving forward responsibly rather than impulsively.

What Do YOU Want?


I'll be the first to say that Nicholas Sparks gets all kinds of side-eyes from me, if for no other reason than I don't recall ever seeing a Black person (with a lead role) in any of his films. Still, that doesn't mean that The Notebook isn't a movie that can still make me watch it whenever it pops up while I'm remote surfing. One scene that I like is when Noah (played by Ryan Gosling) asks Allie (played by Rachel McAdams) what she wanted, both from him and, ultimately for herself. Because really, how can any of us create the kind of life that we wish for without first knowing what we want…what we really want?

The last emotional situationship that I was in, in hindsight, a part of the reason why it lasted—and by that, I mean dragged out—far longer than it should have, is because I wasn't honest enough with myself about what I wanted. Well, what I mean by that is I wanted him without first assessing what kind of relationship I desired first. What I really wanted was to be in something that would be heading towards marriage. But because I focused more on wanting him than wanting that, I put up with all of his commitment-phobic issues.

When I got to the point where marriage meant more than keeping him in my life in a way that was compromising my truest desires, while it did hurt, it was easier to let him go. Being true to what I wanted was worth not staying in something that didn't truly satisfy me, just so I could have a piece of him that wasn't really fulfilling me anyway. Feel me?

What do you want? WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT?

What Do YOU Need?


So, why did I put "want" before "need"? Because, let's be real. Most of us are in the circumstances that we're in now because our wants are what mattered more to us than our needs did. Knowing this about humanity has brought me to the conclusion that when we're trying to figure out what to do in life, it's OK to think about what you want first and then decide if "it" complements what you actually need.

Now remember, when you need something, that means it's something that is necessary and essential to your life. What that means is a lot of us don't need as much as we think that we do—or that our wants try and make us feel that we do. That guy that I just mentioned? In order to learn some of the lessons that I did while being involved with him, for a season, I did need him. Now? Not so much. It was necessary to see some things about my patterns, my level of codependency and my overall self-worth. Now that those issues have, for the most part, been resolved, he isn't essential for my life. At least, not right now.

So yeah, while trying to figure out if it's time to take an all or nothing approach to a person, place, thing or idea, figuring out if you need it or not is crucial.

Are You Compromising, Sacrificing, Conceding or Resenting?


I know a lot of people who put compromising and sacrificing in the same boat. I personally don't because I don't mind either word. The reality is that in order to get to where any of us want to be, whether it be personally or professionally, some compromising and sacrificing are going to be required. The key is to make sure that if you are choosing to compromise, it doesn't include your principles, values or self-worth. Also, if it involves another person, some mutual comprising must be going on. And, as far as sacrificing goes, all that means is that you are giving up one good thing in exchange for something that's even better. Yeah, there's nothing wrong with sacrificing, so long as you're applying the true definition of the word to your decision-making process.

Conceding and resenting are a little different. On the concession tip, if all that you're doing is acknowledging or admitting something, that's one thing. But if you are all the way at the point of yielding to pressure or accepting defeat, over and over and over again, how is that—whatever "that" is—benefitting you? And resentment? If you're constantly displeased or bitter, or you're in a situation that is constantly adding insult to injury, so to speak…really, why stay?

It took me a while to get to this point too, but I must say, accepting that healthy compromise and worthwhile sacrificing are good while always conceding and resentment are not, that has definitely helped me to make wiser choices in the "all or nothing" department.

Is It a Straight Road, a Cul-de-Sac or a Dead End?


There's a verse in the Bible that I promise you, I hear God repeat to me sometimes—"And the Lord said to Moses, 'Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.'" (Exodus 14:15—NKJV) It's a reminder that life was designed to be lived with a mindset of forward movement. Moving forward is about advancing and advancing is about progressing, improving and increasing.

If you're in a dilemma, whether it's personal or professional, and you're not sure what to do, ask yourself if "it" is taking you straight forward, if you're going around and around like a cul-de-sac or if it is actually nothing but a dead end? You'll know by whether you are progressing, improving and increasing—or not.

How can you tell if it's probably a dead end? This brings me to my next point.

Is It Teaching You How to Be Patient or How to Waste Your Time?


If there's one thing that's a total game-changer (if you learn to master it), it's knowing the difference between being patient and totally wasting your time. Because, indeed, while good things do come to those who wait and, patience is, no doubt, a virtue, the purpose of patience is to mature us as we wait for something that will prove to be beneficial to us.

So, how can you know if all you're doing is wasting your time? Are you waiting on something (or someone) who is already benefiting your present and shows clear signs of also benefiting your future? Is the waiting process evolving you as an individual or is it causing you to remain stagnant in your personal development—or worse, go backwards? Do you have peace or anxiety during the waiting season? Are you waiting because you are afraid to try something else or new? Is the waiting season that you're in giving you a stronger sense of self or is it actually putting you on an emotional roller coaster ride?

The reason why patience is a virtue is because it's designed to make you a better person. If you know that the waiting that's going on really isn't doing that, then…well…you kinda have your answer—don't you?

Are You Staying Out of Love or Fear?


Love never fails. That's not a love song lyric; that is Scripture and it's the truth. If you don't retain anything else that we discussed here, remember this—the love you have for God and yourself, that should inspire you to want all of the good that this life has to offer. If you are remaining in a state of lack—again, whether it's personally or professionally—does that sound like a manifestation of love or remaining in a cycle of fear?

A writer by the name of Marilyn Ferguson once said, "Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom." If it's time to look something or one in the eye and say, "We've reached the 'all or nothing' portion of the program", remember that love always has an abundance to give you. Don't be so fearful of walking away from something or someone that you stay unfulfilled and, eventually, begin to suffer.

On the other side of moving on is freedom. Love, and all that it has to offer you, is never too far away from that. Happy National All Or Nothing Day, y'all!

Feature image by Giphy

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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.


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

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