“Pledge that you will look in the mirror and find the unique beauty in you.”
—Tyra Banks, American television personality, producer, businesswoman, actress, author, model, and singer
Dear Badass Black Girl,
When you hear the word talent, the first image you see might be something artistic or creative—knowing how to play the drums, dance, paint, cook, or create super rad jewelry. What if you’re not the creative type or the next Maya Moore on the basketball court? What if you’re not like your best friend Deja, whose slender ballerina body moves with a mixture of grace and precision, her hair, dark and soft, swept back in a smooth roll? And what if you really have no idea what you’re good at, and you feel like you carry this heavy uncertainty like an extra body, a cloak, or a mask that hides you from the world?
Of course, there are online tests to help you identify your strengths, but there are three no-fail ways to find out what you’re awesome at. Don’t forget—your best allies are the people who support you and encourage you to excel at what makes you shine.
One, two, three..Yolo! Here are some steps to help you focus your thoughts:
What are you doing well today?
ASK YOURSELF: What do I do naturally, easily, that feels like fun? It may sound obvious, but how often do you really think about some of your skills, especially the simple ones—organizing your schoolwork or planning the best sleepovers or girls’ nights out? Maybe you don’t take things personally when people around you are upset, or you know how to keep calm in stressful situations: those are incredible talents. Maybe little kids can’t get enough of your funny stories. Maybe your family raves about your apple pie or upside-down cake every time you make it. What do your sisters, brothers, teammates, parents, and the old lady across the hall always call you for help with? What do you have fun doing that seems effortless but other people struggle with? Which of your skills and talents make you the happiest or give you the most pride? Which ones do you most admire in others? Which ones would you like to develop?
What have you done well in the past?
NOW, TAKE A STEP BACK, and think about five times when you were particularly proud of yourself—whether these successes were small (you were Fortnight’s last “man” standing) or totally brilliant (you shined at the National Spelling Bee in Washington DC). What did you do to succeed? What attitudes and behaviors did you use? What similarities exist among these experiences?
What positive feedback do you get all the time?
CHANGE THE POINT OF VIEW and ask five people you trust the following question: If you had to rely on me for something important, what would it be? Once they’ve answered the first question, go further: What makes you think that I could do it? However, ask them to answer positively. We’re not doing this to point out your weaknesses. This activity’s goal is to reveal your strengths.
Easy Enough? In the words of Lorraine Hansberry, Black American playwright and writer, “Never be afraid to sit awhile and think."
Kenbe (Be strong), MJ
*Excerpt from Badass Black Girl: Quotes, Questions, and Affirmations for Teens
Original post found here.