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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.

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A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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