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The Real Reason You Can't Be Happy For Her

What About Your Friends?

An acquaintance and I went for lunch the other day. We did the usual banter and bullshit, and then the convo became a vent session where she shared that she felt she should be further along in her journey. While discussing her pain points, my journey was mentioned as a subtle comparison. Comparison isn't the thief of joy -- it kills the thing.

I did my best to encourage her, share a few resources and remind her that everything isn't as it seems. Building my personal brand has been a long time coming, but I can't be expected to post every missed shot, and all of the failures that led to this moment. When you're looking at the tip of the iceberg, you really have no idea how much of it you don't see.

If we choose to envy our sisters instead of seeing their own successes as inspiration, we all lose.

I identified with my IG friend's current state of mind all too well, before I had the epiphanies that introduced me to purpose. She was in a space of giving too much time and attention to people that didn't believe in her and questioned her abilities. I empathized with her because I know that our feeds, the comments and the smoke and mirrors can blind us to the greatness that lies within, but between you and me - she's really freaking dope. Chances are, you are too.

Here are 3 reasons you feel envy where you should feel inspired:

1. You haven’t discovered your own purpose.

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It can be difficult to hear your bestie gush over her new promotion at work when you've been floating between meaningless desk jobs for the past 12 months. You hear the little voice in your head telling you that you should be happy for her, but the words never come out that way. You purposely scroll past her New Job posts on social media because showing her love would mean that you're only getting further from your own purpose...no? If that sounds a little crazy to you - it should.

Learning to be happy for others in their season of winning can do the complete opposite. The energy you exude while embodying those negative feelings will never attract happiness. Instead of being miserable in a corner, you could see the seed of opportunity and ask her how she got there. As friends are supposed to support each other, she may let you know of an opening you could take advantage of, etc.

Spend time with yourself (an energy cleanse of sorts) and allow yourself to find what it is you truly love. Being upset with others because you haven't tapped into your potential is not the answer. Your purpose isn't always tied to your profession. Your happy could be found teaching art therapy classes at an old folks' home. Whatever it is, your sister's purpose has nothing to do with yours but your attitude towards it may be postponing you finding your own.

2. You have too many people in your ear convincing you that winning is a myth.

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Let's be honest -- you wanted to have a career as a beauty influencer too. Someone along the way got in your ear and convinced you that it was all a lie. Someone you valued shit on your dreams and you accepted their limited perception as truth.

Just because it didn't happen for you doesn't mean it's impossible. Just because it hasn't happened for you YET doesn't mean that it's impossible. When I changed my environments to get close to the winning team, I realized just how small I was actually living. I was able to see that it really was possible to turn one's annual salary into a month's income. I was able to see that one really could travel the world and get paid to do it just by being themselves (amongst other things).

I learned to spend less time with the people that convince me my dreams are too big lest I adopt their paradigms. I've brainwashed myself to believe that winning is the only option. We think/act and operate on the level of our perspective. Be mindful of the perspectives you adopt.

3. You aren’t busy enough with your own life.

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This new Screen Time feature on the iPhone put into perspective how much time I spent on my phone per day on average. Sadly, I must admit to spending five hours on the device itself daily, and half of that is social media. I'm a content creator so I have a legitimate excuse but that's almost 20 hours a week of keeping up with the Joneses. I'm a mommy, have a full-time hairstyling business, am a part-time writer/ghostwriter and STILL somehow find the time to mind other people's business via the gram.

What prevents me from getting caught up in the whirlwind of social media is being present in the activities I enjoy outside of scrolling. When I am with my hair clients, we talk about their new jobs, pregnancies, boyfriend drama, etc. And my phone stays in my hair drawer until I'm done and ready to take pics. When I'm mommy-ing, I get my son in the kitchen for a little entertainment. When I'm writing, my phone is on Airplane mode with an instrumental playlist in the background.

You need to live a life so full that you no longer have the capacity to play the comparison game.

I don't live a reality TV-worthy life but shit, it's mine and I love it. And because I love it, deeply, I can meet another on her best life journey with a genuine, "Yassss, girl yasssss."

Can we make celebrating our sisters even when we're in the trenches our new hashtag goals?

Featured image by Getty Images

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

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