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Why Personal Development Is The Best Project You Can Ever Invest In

In order to develop self, you must become better acquainted with her.

Inspiration

Can we agree that this life thing is about as predictable as IKEA furniture? The display rooms are so well-thought-out and color-coordinated and everything is picture perfect, like your social media feed maybe? But chile, the instructions. Are they supposed to be that confusing or is it just me? What if we use the comparison of life being that cute wall shelf you had your eye on? When God packaged your shelf, he created each step to play a critical role in the final piece. If you skim read, you miss the italicized note in fine print, that read, "Extra screw in tiny pouch. Do not throw out," right after you threw all that extra sh*t in the trash. It's okay, you didn't know what you don't know.

Self-development is the fine print at the bottom, covering your behind and making sense of the extra screws. In order for you to develop self, you must first get better acquainted with her. We already know there is no manual, just adults that spoonfed us whatever was taught to them. And then boom, you're an adult and you have very clear stances on everything, have zero baggage at all and understand why you have such an interesting taste in men. No?! I really wish that the process involved a lot less work, but you can't afford to skip steps on the most important project you'll ever complete. You just have to do the work, darling.

Understanding self leads to healthier and stronger relationships.

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Instead of pointing fingers and distributing blame, you look to introspection when dealing with a rift or disagreement. When you're completely aware of the environments that trigger you and/or why, you can begin to curate your life to reflect this. Instead of having a screaming match with a sibling because they press your buttons like no other, you can retreat for a bit and assess the situation. Now you're no longer resorting to your default setting of raging lunatic and also possess the knowledge and the tools to 'rewire' your mind to react appropriately. Now, when you and your beloved sibling sit down you will also have the words to accurately verbalize what you're feeling.

Whether the other person is open to hearing you out and taking your feelings into consideration is outside your control. But at least you've gained an arsenal of techniques to help you decompress next time around.

You learn to love all the kinks and quirks about yourself that you’ve grown to love in others. Self-love is just directing that energy inward.

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If you can think back to the last unbalanced relationship you had, there may have been something the other person had that you felt you didn't. Or they may have been able to make you feel a way that no one else could. Loved. Whole. Happy. Your perception tricked you into believing that you would only feel loved, whole and happy while in their company. Your lack of self-knowledge hid your own vault of good energy from you because you were too busy to take inventory of it.

You were drawn to these qualities because you possess them as well. They just had to be developed for you to notice. Now you can rid yourself of codependency and stop acting like the world is going to end when your best friend goes out with her other best friend. Solitude is never a bad thing when you love the company you're in.

You learn what you’re made of and how to self-motivate.

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I hate the gym. That's my confession and an area that I'm striving to do better in, so I'm in the ring with you. Last winter however, I went on vacation and was really unhappy with the way I looked in my photos. I got to work in the gym as soon as I got back. I knew that I would cheat after a long day at work so I went first thing in the morning. I know that I'm more prone to keep my promises to myself if I share the goal, so I told my friend to hold me accountable. I also know that music is the absolute easiest way to shift our moods, so I had a playlist with every twerkable song on it, from dancehall to trap. I fool-proofed the goal because I knew what my weaknesses were. I hit my goal, lost my love handles and finally fit into my clothes again. So now that it's a year later and I've fallen off my game, I know exactly how to pick myself up AND that I'm capable. I start over this time with that peace of mind.

You never get to a point of perfection, that's the joy of being human. It's the ability and the know-how to change your circumstance that holds power.

I could write about this topic for days because I truly believe it's the ultimate life hack. How do you improve your life? Study it. Note strengths and weaknesses. Regroup. Repeat. As you begin to grow mentally and spiritually, you'll notice the ripple effect as it spreads into other areas of your life. You'll notice more opportunities that are in alignment with who you are at your core, simply because you're now able to identify them. You'll be able to articulate your needs and wants and get more out of life as you gain clarity and strength in your voice. Most importantly, you'll find an inner peace that surpasses understanding. You'll remain unmoved in the midst of chaos because you've learned how to tame the storm within. The woman who knows who she is, who she isn't and everything she's capable of has a different kind of sashay when she enters a room. She knows her worth.

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

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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.

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
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