“Don’t you know that,Patience is a virtue (yes it is),
And life is a waiting game
don’t you know that,
peace must be nurtured…”
~Seasons Change by Corinne Bailey Rae
Transition is the movement, passage or change from one position or state to another. The concept of transitioning reverberates throughout this blog in reference to my hair and to my life.
During my transition to natural hair, I had many days where I felt completely lost. Even now, I’m still learning how to handle the newness of my hair. I was relaxed for 15 years, and I’ve only been natural (as an adult anyway) for about a year and a half. Transitioning my hair has given me a new perspective on life. I’ve proven to myself that if there is something I want to do or change about my life, I can not only do it, but I can find amazing beauty in it.
From my experience, the following fundamental principles will see you through any type of life transition that you take on. We can’t rush through change. We must give ourselves time to learn and develop these qualities:
Patience. Anything worth doing requires patience and mindfulness. We live in an impatient world and we are programmed by our environment to expect immediate gratification. Life itself is an experiment in patience. Being a long-term transitioner, I was forced to slow down and pay attention to what was happening with my hair. As more natural hair grew, I took my time getting to know it through trial and error. Likewise, as I’m experiencing personal growth in leaps and bounds, I feel excited and I want everything to happen right away. But I realize that the gift is the journey of discovery. Where I used to see limitations and shortcomings, now I see creativity and possibility. Same with my hair. This change in perspective takes time.
Fearlessness. I used to be scared of everything. Scared to fail. Scared to succeed. Scared to try. Scared of disapproval. The only way to defeat fear is to stare it in the face and walk through it. Notice I said walk through it. Not over it or around it. Why? Because fear is an illusion. Think about the worst thing that could happen, accept it, and move forward. The first time I decided to wear my hair in a bush, I was so worried about what people would think and say. Since then, I’ve found so much freedom and self-confidence from wearing my hair big and natural. It can be fuzzy, bushy, and even frizzy – and I feel beautiful. Recently, a lady in a parking lot told me that I needed to go do my hair (long story). I immediately laughed at this lady and felt sorry for her. I love my big, unruly hair so much that I don’t care who doesn’t like it. As a direct result of this new found confidence, I now push myself to do new things in other areas of my life. What else have I been missing?? What used to be lofty aspirations of mine are now material goals that I am actively pursuing. I feel the uncertainty, but I am fueled by the excitement and the promise of more growth. I don’t want to live in fear. So, I won’t.
Consistency. Once we figure out what’s working and what’s not, we must make it a priority to maintain it. Stephen Covey says that it takes 21 days to make something a habit. Protect your routines ferociously. If you are seeking length retention, then set a low manipulation routine that keeps your hair moisturized and protected and stick with it. If you tell yourself that you don’t have time, then you won’t. I write everyday. I don’t always finish what I’m writing, but I make progress. This is protection and maintenance for my spirit and my purpose. For me, there is an undertone of action in the word consistency. If I’m consistently working towards something, then I need to be doing not delaying.
Resiliency. Be prepared to roll with the punches and be flexible. Keep getting back up everytime you fall down. All successful people have failed at some point. The difference between them and others is that they don’t allow failure to defeat them. We have to bounce back from plans that fall through, people who put us down, and inner doubts that challenge our resolve. When having a bad day or a bad experience, our defense mechanisms tell us that we never want to experience that again so we think that if we don’t try, we won’t have to hurt again. The way I see it, my feelings might be hurt for a moment; but if I give up, then I will only develop a deeper hurt that will linger on indefinitely.
Individuality. Don’t see yourself as less than worthy than anyone else. Sometimes I see someone’s hair and I think “Wow, my hair will never look like that.” Maybe it won’t. But my hair is, can and will be just as healthy and fabulous in its own right. There is enough abundance in this world for everyone to leave their own unique stamp and be memorable. The more you get to know your own strengths and weaknesses, the more you will be able to use them to affect the world. Instead of feeling envious of others, be motivated to find your own success. What works for others, make not work for you and vice versa.
What other principles have helped you transition your hair or reposition your life? What has been the biggest challenge for you? Share with us in the comments.