Lifestyle » Empowerment: Real Men » Pulling Yourself Up By The Bootstraps

Pulling Yourself Up By The Bootstraps



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A few decades ago when the life and history of the personal computer was being established, there was a phrase used to describe the mechanical processes needed to crank the machine. The phrase was called "booting up", and to this day -- we continue to use such terminology as "boot your computer" and "reboot your computer". This designation was given life through a century-old expression that means: "to pull oneself up by his bootstraps".

The language is far-reaching for many Black men who may find themselves struggling in today's world. The need for self-encouragement and self-motivation is obvious, and being encouraged is a necessity if men wish to live with confidence and inner-strength. But the onslaught of life's headaches can sometimes wither a man's desire to charge forward.

At the root of these headaches are the familiar culprits: lack of quality employment, social injustices, crime and poverty, and the inability to achieve and maintain a positive social status. Each of these issues can negatively affect the male ego and a man's determination to succeed.

During the undefined growth period when males progress from boys to men, we often experience a variety of social ills. Many plague us all at once, and usually at the most inopportune times. As a consequence, emotional stability suffers and some Black men become discouraged by their current situations. In fact, an emotionally distraught man is one factor that may negatively affect his relationships. Black men are profoundly aware of their social and economic statuses and if negative -- can be highly influential in dominating their self-esteem.

When men feel good about themselves, confidence is rampant. We walk more upright, speak more fluently, and our level of security is higher. Other signs of high self-esteem are:

  • trusting your own abilities
  • having confidence in your decisions
  • being able to provide your own encouragement
  • feeling mentally and physically strong

When self-esteem is low, many men feel unimportant and inadequate. Other signs of low self-esteem are:

  • feeling lonely
  • bouts with depression and fatigue
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • believing that goals and aspirations are impossible

It is important for men to understand that life's problems are inevitable. Relationships may fail; injustices will occur; jobs can be lost; and money may become scarce. These types of circumstances may be unavoidable, but how a man handles troubling times is what helps define courage and inner strength.

To help cultivate a more meaningful sense of self-encouragement, and to "pull yourself from your bootstraps", many psychotherapists suggest:

  • remaining dilligent in your quests to attain goals
  • believing that you are important and that your contributions are respected
  • learning to adapt when rules change and circumstances take you in different directions
  • letting go of past mistakes, and learning from yesterday's bad decisions
  • never forgetting that your purpose on this planet can only be nurtured by you

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