At this time in my life, I feel very comfortable about who I am and where I want to go. This wasn’t the case 15 years ago. During that time I still felt the need to do and be what people wanted me to do and be. One of the reasons why I drank and did drugs may be because of my uncomfortability.

Since being sober for the past 22 years, I’ve been searching for the best tool I could use to help my kids avoid this character flaw.

Everyone wants to be liked and well thought of. It can become very dangerous when we can’t define that fine line when we are people pleasing or just being ourselves.

For me the change began those 15 years ago. I had been sober 7 years and I was just beginning to learn who Wendell Jordan was. There were the obvious things I had to stay away from like not going visit those good friends in bars and at get high spots. Had I not followed this, the most important rule of sobriety, I would have been right back to wondering how I get myself in this spot again.

It was there at that time that I learned that saying no would not mean the end of the world. There were relationships that ended because I used the word no. There were other relationships that became stronger because of that word. I truly began to understand that most who had an opinion of me would continue to think that way regardless of what I did or said. I feel that this is so on both ends of the spectrum. If they thought negatively about me, they would continue. If they thought positively that would also continue. In all cases I have to always move forward.

As a positive parent I am constantly looking for ways to give my kids this same knowledge so that they will understand that it is OK to be them. Kids are under a great deal of pressure to do a variety of things. These include doing drugs, drinking and smoking just to name a few.

My oldest son Wendell Jr., has firsthand knowledge of what it was like to live with someone who was addicted. My other two sons Deshawn and Jonathan only know of my past from the stories I tell. What I need them to know is that they can accomplish their goals without the use of any of these things. I also want them to know that it is not necessary to do what the crowd is doing unless that crowd is moving in a positive direction.

If they are thinking about robbing a bank and the crowd thinks that going to school is better they should follow the crowd. If the crowd is thinking about becoming Bonnie and Clyde then they should not follow.

I am always telling my kids to follow their dreams. I feel that by finding their niche in the world they can find happiness and live meaningful lives. I am a strong believer that if you truly like what you are doing and it is honorable, the money will come that will support you with your everyday life.

My dad has a saying and that is “Be your own best friend”.  Up until 15 years ago I had not been my own best friend. In fact I was trying too hard to be everyone’s best friend.

Being friendly is not a bad thing. It becomes a bad when I place my concern for others over the concern of myself.

15 years ago I decided to make a concerted effort to be more selfish. I don’t mean that if I had a plate of food and you had none that I wouldn’t share what I had with you. No, what became clear to me was that I, at all costs, should pursue my own dreams and do things that made me comfortable.

One of the things that I did was to vote against who everyone else was voting for. As an African American, it is expected that I vote for all those in the Democratic Party. It was expected that I cast my vote regardless of how I might feel about those candidates.

I voted for the Republican candidate who became the 43rd President of the United States. I voted for him in 2000 and again in 2004. He, I felt, was the best choice.

I received a lot of teasing for my choice but I was able to give strong arguments for why I made that choice. I also had to remind my critics that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 did not say I could only vote if I voted the way the rest of the African American population voted.

My critics got worse when WorldCom collapsed in 2002. They blamed President Bush but most of them didn’t know that WorldCom was a multi-level marketing company that bought MCI in 1998. They were the largest long distance phone company in the country. Their demise had nothing to do with politics. They fell because of faulty accounting practices.

This is just one example of how I followed through with my thinking despite what everyone else thought. I felt comfortable enough in my skin to not worry what others might think or feel about my decision.

I have come to the conclusion that in order for my kids to feel good about the idea that is OK to be comfortable in their own skin, I have to put that idea into practice. 

Are you comfortable in your skin??

I’m the guy whose glass is always ½ full.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Derick

    Great points. I particularly like this part,

    “My dad has a saying and that is “Be your own best friend”. Up until 15 years ago I had not been my own best friend. In fact I was trying too hard to be everyone’s best friend.”

    I’ve never though about my situation in this way, of being comfortable in your own skin. But it seems like it applies to me very well, sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not. I struggle to always better myself, and sometimes it’s stressful.

  2. Jeff Guest

    A very honest post and I appreciate the candour, it’s difficult to admit your flaws to the world, but you have a very perceptive view of your inner self and what caused you to behave in certain ways. I wish I had half the selfknowledge and strength that you have, but after reading your post I feel I need to find the answers….
    Thanks, mate.

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