A few years ago I lived in an apartment in Southfield, MI with my family. We didn’t love the place but it got the job done and helped us accomplish some things that we needed to do, so no complaints this way. If you’ve ever lived in an apartment, you know that there’s a possibility of drama that you may overhear, willingly or unwillingly. Hell, sometimes it comes from your own place and you know that your neighbors are quiet trying to find out the tea. Don’t ask me how I know this, just trust me. Well, one day, we’re minding our own business watching Family Feud when we hear a ton of arguing coming down the stairs. Me being the good neighbor that I am, I put my TV on mute immediately to make sure that everything was OK. I hear this guy from upstairs and his girlfriend going at it and from the sounds of it, the girlfriend got her verbal jabs in while they were in the apartment because he was on fire. As they near the front door I hear the boyfriend yell out, “YOUR SHIT AIN’T A-1 EITHER”.
When I tell you, I laughed for at least 10 minutes at this statement and to be honest, I’m laughing now! Even though this continues to be a running joke in my house, I completely understood and understand the seriousness of what he was trying to communicate to her. See, we live in a time when we like to hold up mirrors to other people but never like to turn it around to look at ourselves. We spend a lot of time critiquing the choices of others when in fact; we know that our shit ain’t A-1. Now don’t get me wrong. I think when you love someone, regardless to the relationship type, its imperative that you have the freedom and comfort of being able to express yourselves to them about decisions that they are making that could be counterproductive to their goals and ambitions. You’re supposed to be able to call your people out when they’re fucking up. That’s not being a hater; that’s love. But you better make sure of the following before you do:
1. That you’re coming from a genuine place or love and respect.
2. That you aren’t guilty of doing the same things that you are trying to correct with someone else.
People are more receptive to what you have to say when you’re walking the walk and not just shooting off at the mouth.
Another thing is, EVERYBODY-AINT-HATING-ON-YOU! I couldn’t put handclaps between the words so I had to improvise. There is nothing I despise more than grown folks walking around talking about oh they’re just hating. No. No one’s hating. But the people that love and care about you should be able to communicate their concerns to you without fear of being labeled a hater. But don’t get it twisted. If you haven’t shown any love to this person, feel free to keep your mouth closed. You have to show a genuine interest in the person wholly and not just in their faults. We get being judgmental confused with genuine care and concern. When someone is saying something that you agree with its cool, but when they’re saying something that you don’t agree with, they’re being judgmental and all up in your business. You can’t have it both ways. If you respect and love this persons opinion and know that they have the best intentions for you, listen to them. You don’t have to apply their message to your life, but don’t turn them into something that they’re not because you don’t like what they have to say.
The lesson that I’ve learned is to watch how you deliver criticism and always remember that time when I couldn’t get a car financed in my name. Life and its experiences go full circle. Sometimes your shit is popping and other times its not. If you remain humble during all periods, understanding and enduring the ups and downs make you stronger and more empathetic to your friends, family and strangers. But if you’re walking around like your shit don’t stink, someone will quickly remind you that YOUR SHIT AIN’T ALWAYS BEEN A-1.
Stay humble my friends.