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I recently met with my new therapist and right off the bat, he picked up on how I beat myself up and also how hard I AM on myself. That shocked me a bit because I wouldn't have thought it would be exuding off of me so early in the conversation and our journey together. Granted, he was asking me questions about my life, things I have been through, and how I felt about certain things...but damn.

During our conversation he pointed out a couple things to me that I never considered. One, was my time in college...a moment in my life where I was the most depressed in my life, especially the first couple of years. I barely went to class, when I did go to class I didn't participate, I didn't do my assignments, failed classes, slept a lot, and didn't participate in school activities. I was just existing...afraid, lacked confidence, and had no idea who I was as a man, a person. It took me six years to finish college and get my bachelor's...embarrassing to say the least in my mind. To this day, my diploma sits in my linen closet under some sheets...I'm laughing right now thinking about it. After sharing the same story with my new therapist, but in greater detail, he stopped me and said, "Derek you finished, you have your degree." "Sounds to me like you persevered." I heard him, but the way my mind has been conditioned, I didn't comprehend...I didn't feel him. After our first session and giving it more thought, it finally resonated with me what he was saying. I did persevere! I finished college, I not only finished, but I made the Dean's list several times and earned my BS in Communications despite one of the most trying times in my life. After acknowledging my perseverance and affirming myself I no longer feel the need to hide my degree in the closet. I AM proud of my accomplishment.

As the conversation progressed and my therapist noticed how often I would beat myself up, he commended me for persevering as a black man in America. He reminded me of how this country already beats us up enough and how I don't need to add on to it. He also noted that I need to affirm myself more, be more conscious of self-validating myself...focus on my strengths. "You are a successful black have a degree, you own a home, you have a podcast, and a blog, among other things." Hearing him say these things to me provided me with confidence in that moment and gave me motivation to continue focusing on my strengths and the moments in my life I have persevered and can persevere. I AM A PERSEVERER. I AM PESEVERING, right now, in this moment!

I AM excited for this journey with my new therapist. In just that one conversation a part of me was healed and I know there's more to come...


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