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Psychologists have identified a number of distinct dimensions of mental health. These include self-acceptance, or self-esteem, characterized by a positive evaluation of oneself and one's past experiences; personal growth reflected in one's sense of continued psychological growth and development; a sense that one's life has purpose and meaning; positive relations with others; environmental mastery, the capacity to manage effectively in the surrounding world; and autonomy, a sense of self-determination and the ability to control one's own life. Self-acceptance, relations with others, environmental mastery, and autonomy usually improve as a person ages and gains life experience. However, many people find that their personal growth and sense of purpose in life begin to decline in midlife.
What This Means for Blacks
Self-Acceptance - To accept the fact that you are Black. Regardless of where you live, what school you went to, how much money you make, and how many white friends you have, you are Black. None of the above things make you white or any more white than you think you are. They make you a successful, well educated, prosperous, and sociable Black person, which is an achievement in itself, and not an accepted convert to whiteness. It is important that Blacks realize that they are and always will be Black.
Self- Esteem - The fact that you are Black should never determine how and what you think about yourself and others like you. The most defeating aspect of a Black person's concept of themselves and others like them is to be ashamed of their Blackness. This is a self-defeating attitude and will lead to bouts of depression and other types on mental deficiencies within one's self. A strong character is one that knows who it is and how it is defined. Knowing that you are Black and that you have unique characteristics that only you (or people like you) has, is important.
Reflecting on your past can be a good thing but also a damaging thing, depending on how you interpret yourself in your past and how you handled yourself. If you have a past that bears not remembering, this could lead to many, many acts of suppression, which then lead to acts that resurface in negative ways and into any point of your present life or in the future. However, if you take that which was bad and learn from it, and determining what situations made you stronger, then you are applying experience and strength to your character. This is a good reflection of your past.
Knowing, beyond a doubt, that you have a purpose in life is important also. Never allow circumstance and especially ignorant people to make you believe that you are not valuable to this society. (Whites, and negative Blacks) have a way of implying and subconsciously implanting into people's minds that there is no real point to their existence. If that were true, you would not be here or where you are standing or sitting right now. To realize that you are here for a purpose requires the next step, which is to search and find out what that purpose is. It is not a long journey, but one that does require honesty.
Relations with others are key to self-esteem. Always leave any room knowing that you have not offended anyone, ignored anyone purposely, and that you have gathered at least one name from that room. Leaving a negative impression of you to others is damaging in the way of conscience. In other words, though it may not bother you that you have offended someone because you are a "hard" person and straightforward, does not mean that your conscience will not return to thrash you one day. Once negative subconscious thoughts overload your mind about the ways you have treated others, this leads to overwhelming guilt, which leads to defensive behavior. Not good for the blood pressure.
Awareness of your surroundings and being able to handle the things around you, including at work, school, family, and in friendship circles, gives you an added advantage in life. Keeping abreast of national and world affairs keeps your mind open and aware of the changes in society that may affect you or your children at some point. Ignoring change and not desiring to learn any new things about new technology, trends, or laws and procedures, leaves you vulnerable to change and distances you from the future. A life distant from the future of civilization makes one stubborn and ignorant to societal and cultural improvements.
Once you know where you fit into society, this gives you the ability to direct you own life instead of life and change directing you. This means the difference between being defeated by life and you adjusting to life. With knowledge of purpose and being to your life, you open yourself up to improvement, which brings the self-determination to believe and to achieve anything you want. You have the power to know and not to know, in other words, choosing what you want to believe and knowing what you do not have to believe. Without this knowledge one is subject to bondage the rest of their lives.
Mastering the above aspect of your self will guarantee a longer life. Since health is tied to happiness, once you are confident and aware of who you are and why you are here, then you will be more able to cope, which has a positive effect on your physical well being. Life is not about the material only, because you can have it all but if you do not know what to do with it or how to use it to make you truly happy, it is no good and you are not complete in this life.
© Sep. 2017
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