Greetings, and welcome back to The Barrage. This Monday’s edition is dedicated to the freedom we can find within the appropriate personal boundaries we set for ourselves in, there’s Liberation in Limitation. I was delighted to have participated in a conversation with celebrated author Angie Thomas whose compelling debut novel, The Hate U Give, is taking the country by storm. I talk about that in The Emcee.
Finally, I briefly discuss how to work toward overcoming the fear of public speaking in Glossophobia.
Thank you very much for reading and I hope you enjoy!
1. Liberation in Limitation – Setting Proper Boundaries
How do you define the concept of freedom?
I suppose most folks would say that it is the act of doing whatever you want, with few barriers and little restraint. However, just because we are free to do something, doesn’t mean that it is advisable or even beneficial to our overall health and well-being.
What is the opposite of freedom?
Well a few words immediately come to mind, such as captivity – and my capitalistic friends might say Communism. But there are also less provocative words like restraint and limits. Ahh, limits – now there’s a dirty word! That’s one of those “wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap” words.
Ask almost any kid what they think about limits, and they’ll tell you that they suck! And they’re supposed to suck, right? Going to bed early, not being able to eat all the candy you want, and having to cut screen time short, are all prime examples of the limits we impose on our kids for their own good.
The problem with limitations is that no one is particularly interested in not being able to do what they want to do. It’s human nature to want to rebel against restraints even if those things may be good for us. If we only understood that placing self-imposed limits and boundaries on our actions and behaviors could actually lead to greater personal growth and success.
Step Inside Your Box
A very important component of life management is considering and setting limits. Limits can be simply thought of as the various minimums and maximums we use to organize our daily lives. The idea is to not overdo it in any one particular area to avoid hurting ourselves.
The challenge always lies in the fact that limits don’t often align with our learned behaviors or instinctive needs. We may crave sweets, greasy foods, TV, alcohol, or abundant screen time, but the only way to overcome these things is through setting some boundaries through self-discipline.
The Sky’s the Limit?
The sky’s the limit! This has always been a popular saying which indicates to each of us the idea that anything goes. However, if we are to achieve our dreams and goals in life, it would be helpful to set strategic limits. The following are 9 Limits That Will Drastically Improve Your Quality of Life:
- Limit the Amount of Food You Eat
- Limit Your Yearly Goals
- Limit Yourself to One Important Thing for the Day
- Limit Your To-Do List to Important Tasks
- Limit the Amount of Time You Allot to Each Task
- Limit the Items You Add to Your Schedule
- Limit Yourself to Working on the Task at Hand
- Limit Your Work Hours
- Limit Your Belongings
Life is full of tradeoffs. The minute we decide to do one thing, we’ve simultaneously chosen not to do something else. What’s most important is that we choose to dedicate ourselves to the things that will bring about our greatest good!
Setting limitations and appropriate boundaries is not an easy task, so the most important thing is to take it slow and easy – one step at a time. Remember, you gotta crawl before you ball! Attempt to make small improvements at first because everything is like a muscle, it all builds with time.
Enjoy one my favs – Innercity Boundaries, by Freestyle Fellowship
2. The Emcee
It was my privilege to be asked to act as moderator for an event that featured the award winning author of The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas, followed by a student panel discussion with local high school students. Ms. Thomas is truly a one-of-a-kind gem to interview, and the panel of brave and well-spoken students was simply awesome!
The Hate U Give, addresses many themes including:
- double consciousness,
- the power of language,
- family & community,
- the cycle of poverty,
- and it inspires the notion that we can each take action to make a difference.
The book, which also touches on racism and police brutality as well, forces us to look at some of the ugly realities we still face each day in this country.
There have been many high-profile cases of people who have fallen victim to police violence.
This country has made tremendous progress in all areas of daily life, yet more needs to be done! And we all have a part to play. We must continue to advocate for change.
We must continue to reject the actions of those whose purpose is to create division and disseminate HATE.
We boldly declare TO THEM, that we will rise above THE HATE U GIVE!
Although Emmet Till was credited as an early inspiration, it was the video of Oscar Grant’s shooting, that in her anger and frustration led a young woman from Jackson, Mississippi, named Angie Thomas “to pick up a pen and write a short story about a boy (named Khalil) who was a lot like Oscar and a girl named Starr who was a lot like her.”
And let me tell you, A book that could have received a lot of HATE, has been getting tons of LOVE – through many accolades and rewards.
The Hate U Give or THUG, received the William C. Morris Award for A Strong Literary Debut in Writing, a Michael L. Printz Award for The Year’s Best Book Written for Teens, and a Coretta Scott King Award for Most Distinguished Portrayal of African American Experience in Literature for Children or Teens…just to name a few.
You see we all have a part to play in bringing greater awareness to the issues we face today.
- We Can Volunteer
- We Can Speak Up
- We Can Take Action
Or – like in Angie’s case, we can write!
The greatest fear in the world is the opinion of others. The moment you are no longer afraid of the crowd, you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart. That roar is freedom. – Osho
Okay, so I did the moderator gig and afterward, I was told I did a good job. However, I must admit that no matter how many times I read or talk in front of an audience, I still have to overcome a perpetual and persistant case of stage fright.
Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking, and as you probably already know, it’s quite common. No matter how prepared I am, I still feel like I’m going to croak before I get up there to do my spiel! I’m fine once I begin, but the build up to the main event is what always gets to me.
Since public speaking is something I obviously plan to continue doing for years to come, so my intention is to continue to improve in that regard. I’m working on controlling my negative thoughts associated with public speaking by using examples like the ones provided by healthline.com:
- Instead of thinking “I can’t make any mistakes,” accept that all people make mistakes or have omissions when presenting. It’s okay. Most of the time the audience isn’t aware of them.
- Instead of “Everyone will think I’m incompetent,” focus on the fact that the audience wants you to succeed. Then remind yourself that your prepared material is great and that you know it well.
I’m also incorporating positive affirmations before I hit the stage. Here are ten examples of the 20 Affirmations for Public Speaking with Ease listed by Spirituality Health dot com:
- Speaking to this group, I find myself becoming energized and excited.
- I have so much to say and can’t wait to share it.
- Words and thoughts come effortlessly to me.
- I connect with the audience so naturally.
- I am courageous on this stage.
- My message is so important, and the group wants to receive it.
- There is a powerful flow of energy between me and the audience.
- I enjoy hearing the sound of my own voice.
- I am grateful for this opportunity to connect with others.
- Today, I am fearless.
We all have something to share with the world and public speaking is one of the ways to accomplish this. Let’s just remember that when we become afraid to just keep telling ourselves – “You got this!”