Earlier this year, a little girl in our neighborhood started a kiddie bowtique to sell accessories to the children in the local area. I decided to take my daughter to the bowtique. My decision came for two reasons, the first was simple – her accessories were super cute and affordable, so we had to take advantage. However, the more important reason was to partake in a teaching opportunity. This was an opportunity to teach our little black girls how to support one another and be happy for each other. I know I’m not alone when I speak on this, but often times black people do not know how to genuinely show support. In fact, once I sat and thought on it, I concluded on 5 mistakes black people make when supporting others. See if any of them sound familiar to you.
Mistake # 5: Jealousy and/or envy
To be envious is to want what someone else has. To be jealous is to fear someone else having what you have. Nevertheless, jealousy and envy are the root cause of lack of support in the black community. That’s why it’s kicking off my list of mistakes black people make when supporting others.
Unlike other ethnic communities, black communities have been systematically oppressed. More than too many people are just “getting by.” So, when one person steps up and dares to be different, everyone else reacts as if they’re afraid this person is going to have something they don’t.
They’ll toot their noses up in that “who she think she’s supposed to be?”, manner, or talk amongst themselves, “oh, he think he’s better than everybody else.”
Someone trying to get ahead doesn’t mean the next person has to get behind. It may sound cliche, but everyone can win! The more people we can help rise to the top, the more they can be there to guide a path for the rest of us. It’s a team effort, but the crabs in the bucket thing has to go.
Mistake # 4: Projecting our fears onto one another
Ever shared a bright idea with someone close to you, and they hit you with the, “you’re not going to be scared to do that?” or “you think people going to just let you..blah blah.” These are examples of people projecting their own fears onto you.
The emotion behind this phenomenon is the same one that makes parents tell their artistic children to choose a more practical career path. It’s fear. We fear rejection for one another. We fear success for one another, too. An unfortunate but direct result of oppression – we fear obstacles for one another and we fear out-casting and discrimination for one another.
Something may not sound logical to you, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t logical to someone else. There are people out there who have more willpower, more determination and more resilience than you could ever imagine. To project our own neglect of these qualities onto someone else and their dreams is wrong and it is discouraging. We need not to continue such things…
Mistake # 3: Negativity
We’ve all met Negative Nancy. In my experience, Negative Nancy is always the person who only decides to speak up when there is something negative to say. Negativity will rear its ugly head the moment you start feeling too happy or inspired about something. All of a sudden there’s a critic here or a hater there.
Negative people tend to be extremely pessimistic about the situation overall. A negative person will have you second guessing something you thought you were sure about. They will highlight all of the flaws, shedding zero light on the positives. Negativity is usually a side effect of being jealous or envious of someone. It’s also common when people are projecting their fears onto each other.
When we find ourselves being negative, we need to do some self reflecting to figure out why we are holding this hostility towards this person. If someone is being negative with you, calmly express to them how it makes you feel. Sometimes people are negative on purpose, but often times, people don’t even realize they’re doing it.
Mistake # 2: Making it about yourself
We are all guilty of this one. Its that time your friend had a good idea and you said, “you know I was thinking about doing that”, and then took off with their own story. Stop. Doing, That!
When your friend comes to you for feedback on a project or business idea, you may want to start by responding with actual feedback. There’s nothing wrong with you thinking about it or having a similar idea, but there’s a time and a place for everything.
Often times, people want genuine input on their ideas/plans, they don’t want you to turn it into something about you. You can explore your idea on it afterwards or at a later time.
Another way of making it about yourself is by passing judgement on someone and their ideas because it isn’t how you would do it or how you like it. You can always offer your suggestions, but they should be regarded as just that, suggestions.
Don’t make someone else’s dream or vision a personal problem to you. Understand that your style is yours and their style is theirs.
Mistake # 1: Asking for handouts or discounts
Mistakes black people make when supporting others: #1 – ASKING FOR FREEBIES! Friends and family are usually the main ones that ask for discounts and freebies. We link our loved one’s success with all the beneficial outcomes for us that we can think of. Then we get upset if or when they say, no. It’s as if we feel entitled to their gains.
I have a personal experience with this. Some time ago, I quit my job to focus on braiding hair professionally and building MentalMake-Up.com. Initially, it would upset me when people asked me to do their hair for free because I depended on the money I made from doing hair. If it were anyone else, they would pay – and I took offense to that reality.
When someone takes on a new business venture, there are start-up costs, meaning it costs them money to get their business running. Often times, it takes even longer before the business takes off enough to provide steady income. During the beginning stages, your loves ones are probably investing more into their business than they are profiting from it.
The most supportive thing you can do for a friend who just started a business is to pay them in full for their service/product. It shows you value their work and their worth.
Next time you’re showing support for a friend, try to make sure you aren’t making any of these 5 mistakes. You may end up discouraging your friend. Be sure to engage with them and give them genuine feedback.
Through our actions, we provide the best teachings to one another.
Comment below and share your opinions on mistakes black people make when supporting others and how we can overcome this trend as a community!