When In Doubt, Trust Yourself (Unless You Make Bad Decisions As A Rule, Then Don’t) » VSB

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When In Doubt, Trust Yourself (Unless You Make Bad Decisions As A Rule, Then Don’t)

Fox Searchlight Pictures screenshot

 

Disclaimer: The following words do not work if you are allergic to common sense or if Chris Brown or Kanye West are your spirit animals. They work only if you have pledged allegiance to good decision-making.

I’m feeling motivational again.

Until I saw the movie Brown Sugar in the early aughts, I’d never heard the term “trust yourself.” That might sound crazy, but it’s true. In the movie, Sid Shaw (played by Sanaa Lathan) tells Andre Ellis (played by Taye Diggs) a few times to trust himself, always in those moments when he feels unsure about a decision he’s about to make, like leaving Millennium Records or starting his own label. The idea being that you are the master of your own destiny and know yourself better than anybody else; believe in your instincts and they won’t lead you wrong.

Today, church, I’d like to talk about trusting yourself.

One of the hardest and easiest things to do in life is to trust other people. It’s hard because many of us are guarded with our emotions and vulnerabilities because we don’t want others to use those things against us. This makes total sense. I personally hate it when I trust somebody who then screws me over in the very way that they know I have issues. We usually call these romantic relationships. Typically, this results in violence and damage to personal property, though my lawyers have cautioned me against sounding as if I condone such things. For the record, I think that if somebody drives you to potential criminal acts, you should probably do yourself a favor and put your hands up on your hip, and when I dip, you dip, we dip.

Roll out.

But it is easy to trust people, too. When you meet people and they say the things that open your heart and soul and make you say things out loud that you’ve never said before, it becomes easy to trust in those people and believe that the feeling they brought you is unique and that you can confide in and open up to them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s the beauty of life. I’m the type of person who trusts first, then pretends you don’t exist after you burn me. It’s one of my greatest flaws while simultaneously saving me from unwanted nonsense. I’d call it very Tupac-ian, except I think its the Gemini in me. Plus, Tupac caught some hot ones and I’m not about that life.

What I’ve found in my travels with Gulliver is that trusting yourself is the hardest of all for some people. Self-confidence can be your greatest asset in life; it can have you walking around in colors and patterns that clash, but nobody is the wiser because your vibe is the one wearing it. And your vibe is kicking ass and taking names. Self-confidence, or lack thereof, can also be one of the biggest burdens in your life. Constantly second-guessing yourself is the quickest way to Nowheresville, USA, population: you, bitch.

Now, nobody is immune to bouts of self-doubt. We all go through it. There are times when I write something and reread it and wonder whether I should share it with the community or masses because maybe it won’t be received right. Or it will be received the way I want it to, except everyone thinks it’s trash because maybe it is. What if I’m not as funny as I think I am or as witty?

What if I’m like Rafiki talking to Simba by the water, not knowing who I am? Don’t be Simba.

But here’s the thing about momentary bouts: They’re momentary. Usually, my self-doubt pisses me off to the point where I become overconfident and remind myself who I am and just how awesome I am. Nobody is better at being me than I am, and I’m good with me, for better or worse.

See, I trust myself. I trust that when it comes to sharing pieces of me, I’m adept enough to put it out there and take what comes with it. I believe in who I am as a person and what I bring to the table enough that I can live with the outcome. I trust me to be the best me I can be, but I also trust that who I am is good enough to have a best me. I’m like a personal trust exercise with myself who never lets me fall. I’m nice like that.

And I trust that everybody else has a “best me.” You have two feet, which means you’ll always have a best foot to put forward. You have a voice and words that are unique to you, which represent a thought or belief that you have, and nobody can take that from you. If you wake up feeling like a million bucks even though you only have 2 dollars and some lint in your pocket, then that 2 dollars is worth a million.

One of the hardest things to do is not focus on what other people think about decisions you make. In Brown Sugar, when Dre wanted to start his own label, his self-doubt was created by the fact that he was leaving what to many people was probably a dream job and taking a leap of faith that he knew what he was doing and that he would be successful. Ultimately, he didn’t want to fail and allow people to view his initial decision as a stupid one. Nobody wants to look stupid.

But here’s the fun part about trusting yourself: You can never look stupid if you trust yourself enough to make the best decision for you and your heart and carry it that way. If you are doing what you need to do, what can anybody say about you? It only never works when you make a decision even though you aren’t fully invested in it. If you half-ass a decision that causes you consternation, chances are you failed before you started.

But if you trust in who you are and what you bring to the table and in the fact that you wouldn’t make a decision you aren’t prepared for, then you’ve won before the game even started.

Nobody is perfect and nobody is above a moment of self-doubt or making mistakes. I know first, second, through ninety-ninth hand. But if you trust who you are and in your instincts and the stuff that makes you a valuable human being, there really isn’t anything you can’t get done. Or anybody you can’t be.

Unless you want to dunk a basketball and you’re 4 feet tall. That s–t is impossible, or at least improbable. But if I have hops and trust in myself to be able to do it, who knows what I’m capable of?

I trust myself as a writer and a thinker. I might not know where I’m going, but I trust that the decisions and choices I make are leading me toward a road of prosperity because what else would I be doing?

I’m awesome. And you are, too. So trust yourself to be so.

Disclaimer: Again, unless Chris Brown or Kanye West’s decision making appeals to you in which case don’t trust yourself. Ever. 

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    First off….
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8-IffBKzd8

    Dunno why they don’t play this at parties more often….just as fun as doing the Cupid Shuffle.

    Secondly…you just came through in the clutch with this one. I was just talking to PhlyPhree the other day about this. I’ve been unsure of myself since my childhood and as an adult, I know full and well my inability to believe in myself consistently is what keeps me trapped mentally where I am now. But like you just said..those days when I remind myself on who the fuck I really am, what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve survived, and what I’m made of…..there’s not a force on this planet that’s phasing me afterwards.

    One thing I can say to any and all though is…..no matter what you believe, even when you are hard on yourself (and honestly, who’s your biggest critic but yourself), just remember you can’t be pointless. It’s impossible. If you’re capable of self-reflection, you’re capable of self improvement. You just need to know how to do it first, or better yet, admit you need the help.

    Thanks P. I’m probably gonna bombard you with e-mails this week. Please don’t be mad at me. I just got ideas I wanna run before Black History Month is over.

  • brothaskeeper

    I needed this. Great article, PJ. There’s also a song I like that I think parallels. Like ta hear it here it go!

    https://youtu.be/EemXwm3v2Qg

  • TheCollinB

    “One of the hardest things to do is not focus on what other people think about decisions you make.”

    I haven’t finished reading yet but this would be the part in the sermon where I stand up with my arms folded across my chest listening intently because gems are beginning to be dropped all over the place like a clumsy jewelry thief.
    You better take this home P.

  • TheCollinB

    “But here’s the fun part about trusting yourself: You can never look stupid if you trust yourself enough to make the best decision for you and your heart and carry it that way.”

    *walks outside of pew into the center aisle*

  • OSHH

    When you have self love and your self esteem/worth/image is healthy it is easy to trust self, sometimes this is a process. As you get older it gets easier I have found.
    Trusting others can be quite the challenge, because generally, I don’t. They say respect is earned and, imo it is trust that has to be earned as well . If you have demonstrated you are trustworthy through consistent right actions then you earned both respect and trust. Like I respect folk that keep their word, because they have shown me their word is bond, I can trust and depend on them to keep their word. I wish more people realized the significance of something that simple.

    • miss t-lee

      I can dig this. I think respect and trust both have to be earned as well.

    • PDL – Cape Girl

      “If you have demonstrated you are trustworthy through consistent right actions then you earned both respect and trust.”

      This was my first thought when I started skimming.

    • Asiyah

      Yup, that’s what I’m missing: self-love and self-esteem.

    • PDL – Cape Girl

      Folks keeping their word is HUGE with me. You can’t keep your word? you ain’t………..

  • Ess Tee

    “I’m the type of person who trusts first, then pretends you don’t exist after you burn me. It’s one of my greatest flaws…”

    I refuse to believe this is a flaw, and that’s in large part because it’s also how I operate.* See what I did there? I’m flawless, heaux!

    *But I’m a Libra, too, so…

    • I’m also a trusting person. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

      • Ess Tee

        Yup. I just find it easier for me to be that way.

        • Tiffany Green

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      • AnzieM

        I’m the same way, but lately I’m running out of people to give my doubts to.

    • Bleep Gilliam

      Classic libra quality. I think its a strength to be honest. #Libra

      • Ess Tee

        Libra season year round! lol

    • Asiyah

      I would admire this if it wasn’t for the number of Libras I’ve met who do this but, if the other person flatters them enough, accepts that person back in their good graces, acting like what they did wrong never happened. I’m there like “huh?” But I’m a Virgo. I hold grudges lol

      • jolly

        Right. I’m an Aries and while grudges are increasingly not my thing, I mean I don’t forget repeated shady burn behavior so I’m struggling with thegood graces shtick. Too much pride in this too short life. Sue me. That’s why I try not to burn people.

  • LeeLee

    “See, I trust myself. I trust that when it comes to sharing pieces of me, I’m adept enough to put it out there and take what comes with it. I believe in who I am as a person and what I bring to the table enough that I can live with the outcome.”
    Same here. I recently met someone who is very guarded. She projects a fierce, strong face to the world but all I see is vulnerability and the fear of getting hurt. As if she feels trusting the wrong person could utterly destroy her. I, on the other hand, understand that I’ve been hurt before, will likely be hurt again, but refuse to let the hurt destroy me. My love and loyalty is fierce, but my indifference is fiercer. I’m not afraid to walk away, drop all contact and be alone, because I’m all I’ve got :)

  • TheCollinB

    Can’t be any realer. I half-asses a decision to leave a great job to do something I felt I wanted to do because I thought it would be best for my family. Totally f*cked my life up because it was a fail move from the gate. I’m a people pleaser by nature and it doesn’t always pay off to take care of others before you got yourself squared away. Luckily God’s got me and I’m gonna get one of these three crazy great jobs I’m in the running for.
    But yeah, trust yourself and know your worth. Word to Aubrey the cotton dragon.

  • That disclaimer is hilarious by the way. LOL

    I’ve made some major decisions like that over the years that required a major leap of faith. Everyone comes across those decisions from time to time. The best way to do things is to do them. There’s no way to know every potential outcome of a decision, so the best way to move forward is to pick a direction, stick with it and be willing to live with the consequences. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, but you can often pick one with a price that you’re willing to pay. Just pay for it and keep it moving.

    • We all make gut decisions…reason and rationality are what you develop in non-emergency situations and low-pressure environments. It’s kind of like sports and being in the flow or being hot. However, if you are unreasonable and irrational most of the time, like in basketball you might get lucky once in awhile, but in the long run, the odds aren’t in your favor.

  • fxd8424

    Experience has taught me to be guarded first. I always trust my instincts tho. Always. They’ve never led me wrong. Never.

    • OSHH

      Yep my intuition has never lied.

      • fxd8424

        Interestingly, an ex taught me that from some of his shenanigans.

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