Jay-Z on Compassion, Self-Awareness, and the Importance of Knowing Your History

We all make mistakes, but the burning question is: what did you learn? Often we try to hide it for fear of being ridiculed, punished or rejected. We feel stupid for making mistakes as if the act of making a mistake measures our intelligence. Mistakes are NOT a bad thing; they are a necessary part of growth.

When we make mistakes we have the opportunity to learn something about ourselves and others– you learn the true meaning of love, compassion, and empathy. Equally important, your mistakes give you a chance to dig deep into the root of your transgressions. Once revealed, you will become more aware of your emotional triggers, insecurities, and fears. This insight provides us with the awareness we need to ward off harmful thoughts that negatively influence our behavior.

Contrary to popular belief, people can change. We are evolutionary beings. Some of us change for the worst, others for the better, but change is happening in our lives every day.  For a positive change to happen, we must first be mindful of our emotions.  Having this understanding of why we do the things that we do, gives us the power to make positive changes in our lives.

“The most beautiful things are the things that are invisible.” –JayZ

I recently watched Jay-Z’s interview with Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of New York Times magazine. In this interview, Jay-Z spoke candidly about his self-destructive behavior in his marriage with Beyonce. He stated that he didn’t know how to love someone; however, through thought therapy, he learned that “everything is connected.” Everything meaning our thoughts and behaviors in the now connects to our perceptions and interpretations of pain from our pasts.

Our negative thoughts have a destructive way of seeping into our lives.  They manifest in our perception of ourselves and our actions towards others. Some of our attitudes are passed down from generations; others are developed from cultural mores and social interactions. Regardless of the inception point of these thoughts, they have a mirroring effect on our behavior. If you think that you are not enough, your ego will prove to you that you are not enough. The proof will result in the way we make the people around us feel, the way we respond to perceived slights and the way we misrepresent our self-image.

There is a reason Jay-Z cheated on Beyonce –an explanation that is deeper than mere selfishness, stupidity or misogyny. Perhaps, deep down inside, he felt that he wasn’t deserving of her. Maybe, Jay-Z thought that one day she was going to wake up and realize that she can do better than him. And to avoid that emotional turmoil, he found himself in situations that he thought would give him the upper hand, but it only acted to prove that he was not good enough for her. “Am I good enough” raids all of our minds from time to time, regardless of our race, color and social status.

“You can’t have a solution until you deal with the problem; what you reveal, you heal.” – Jay-Z

There comes a time in our lives when we have to have an honest conversation with ourselves about our beliefs and attitudes. We have to take ownership of the way we behaved and hold ourselves accountable for the pain we’ve caused others and continuously cause ourselves.

In this process of becoming emotionally self-aware, we realize that what people do to you has more to do with them and less to do with you and vice versa. There isn’t a person on this earth who has not been negatively affected by a friend, associate, colleague, family member or classmate. Hurt people are all around the world. And we all know, hurt people hurt people.

Jay-Z’s interview with Dean Baquet, Executive Editor of New York Times magazine.

It’s not easy for us to accept the pain we cause others. Growth takes time–years, decades even. It’s an ongoing growth process that many of us stunt because many of us are in a constant state of survival mode. The lies we create about ourselves protects us from feeling and processing our emotions. But, those of us who walk with the understanding of how our mind works to protect us from pain (emotional and physical) gain a sense of clarity that affords us the power to change.

Q: What do you think about what Jay-Z is saying about self-awareness and compassion for others? Share below…

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