Yeezy Taught Me: An Essay on the Importance of Self-Awareness
Neither should you strive to be Kanye West. Instead, take strides to have a Kanye West mentality. Where the seeds of self-confidence and self-awareness can bloom.
Yes, I did use Kanye West and self-awareness in the same sentence. Both statements are also in the title of this post, which may have intrigued you enough to click-to-read.
My hope is that by the end of this post, you’ll have some type of understanding of where I’m coming from.
What does Kanye West have anything to do with self-awareness? For someone who is blanketed as a narcissistic douchebag, self-awareness doesn’t even come to mind.
However, Kanye is a self-loving, self-aware artist whose main mission is to push past the critics.
In short, if you don’t want to read the rest of this post, Kanye implants the basic idea that you can be most proud of your work, that you can love your work, and that you can love yourself.
A post on self-awareness and I am using Kanye as a primary example, ironic, I know. But please hear my case on not only how I was able to find self-awareness through Kanye, but also how we can all take lessons from Mr. West and apply those lessons to our lives.
Let’s start off with this line from a past interview, titled “Kanye West Reveals Why He’s So Blunt”:
“I think I’m just lazy. ’Cause when you have to put on some type of façade and make up a bunch of lies and stuff, you gotta think about that stuff so hard and you gotta remember what the lie was,” he explained “And I just be like, ‘F it, I’m a just go ahead and tell the truth. ’Cause I don’t wanna have to remember no shi*t”.
If that doesn’t scream or yell self-awareness then I don’t know what does.
The definition of self-awareness is the knowledge of self, your strengths, and weaknesses, vulnerabilities and passions, peculiarities and normalness. Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of your own character, feelings, motivations and desires.
In this instance, Kanye explains that his intuitive response to be blunt in most situations comes from his awareness of his self to be truthful in most matters, even if the truth hurts.
Most of us don’t have this tendency. We are too worried about being placed in uncomfortable situations, even if the truth leads us there. We would rather not take the direct route, which stems from a lack of awareness. By being aware, of your emotions and actions, there would be no need to put on a façade — even if that means being blunt.
Kanye knows that it is not only his character to be blunt, but it is also his brand. He plays on both.
He is aware of his brand. He is aware that he isn’t supposed to say the things that he says but he makes art of it, “out of the universal curiosity about what would happen if everyone started communicating in truly authentic ways.”
“We’re all self-conscious, I’m just the first to admit it”.
You may or may not be aware of my extreme love-hate relationship that I have with Mr. West. He has been a prominent figure in my life; from the first time, my ears were graced with the soulful samples on College Dropout at the early age of 13, to his outlandish rants, where I often try to mask his boastfulness as being misunderstood.
When Kanye came out with Yeezus, it was during a period where I had given up on him. Sick of his antics, I threw in the towel on Yeezy. I was the anti-Kanye, but later on, three years later to be precise; I would begin to understand him.
Most importantly, what he meant by “I am a god” and his moniker/album title Yeezus.
It happened when I moved to New York.
New York does something to you. You grow from the city in every way possible, physically, emotionally, and in this instance spiritually. Not really spiritual, in the essence of religion, but spiritual, in the way that you find yourself.
The city is a self-awareness breeding ground. I began to find myself, I began to understand Yeezus, and not only recognized what he was preaching but started to live what he was preaching.
In finding myself, I also found a new love and respect for Mr. West. A few years after Yeezus was released, I understood.
I got it. I became Yermzus.
“I am a god”.
Meaning that we all have this divine power within ourselves. To be a god is to have a deep belief in your ability and to be passionate enough to carry out whatever you were put on this earth to do.
I got it. I understood it.
It may have taken me three years and three thousand miles, but I was beginning to understand Kanye’s message.
Kanye pushes self-confidence and self-consciousness, which are all rooted in self-awareness. And he has inspired.
“It’s not a matter of me believing in myself that’s so scary to everyone, it’s the idea of everyone else starting to believe in themselves just as much as I do that’s scary” Kanye West.
Kanye understands his purpose. He understands that his vision is greater than most people can comprehend, and like most creative geniuses, realizes that the world will see him as crazy.
This doesn’t stop him from pushing the boundaries and constantly pushing societies buttons. In every instance, making us uncomfortable. Because extreme self-awareness and confidence are in fact, uncomfortable.
Especially, when it is extremely rare.
Kanye is a polarizing figure. There is no denying that.
But yet, there are many lessons that we can all learn from Kanye, love him or hate him.
You can’t deny his work, and you can’t deny his extreme confidence in his work and in himself. A certain confidence that strikes a nerve within a society, especially coming from a prominent African-American male figure.
He calls himself a genius because he is one. His music has changed the sound of hip-hop.
You love to hate him, but he talks a big game because he is playing one.
“They say your attitude determines your latitude
I’m high as a mother f*cker — fly as a mother f*cker
And still the mother f*cker you love to hate
But can’t — because you love what I make”
“I refuse to accept other people’s ideas of happiness for me as if there’s a ‘one size fits all’ standard for happiness” Kanye West.
I often write about happiness because I hope to believe, that we are all struggling to find our own definitions of happiness. Blinded by a constant bombardment of what it means to be happy, from the media, music, culture, and even from our family, our vision of happiness is often constructed from another point of view and not our own.
Like Mr. West’s statement above, there is no one form fits all standard for happiness. In fact, we all probably have different versions of what happiness looks like. Don’t let your ego or society define happiness for you, create your own happiness. What does it look like for you?
As I still try to figure out what happiness means for myself, I hope that my constant search for self-actualization can help guide me in the right direction.
This is the main issue that critics have with Kanye, his confidence in his ability to be great and belief in himself as a creative genius. The hate on Kanye for his self-confidence usually stems from a lack of awareness and confidence in his critics.
We are plagued by a lack of confidence in ourselves. Often told and taught that being average is okay. That you can’t really do that because it’s out of your limits.
“Most people are slowed down by the perception of themselves. If you’re taught you can’t do anything, you won’t do anything. I was taught I can do everything” Kanye West.
There is a definite correlation between self-awareness and confidence. Confidence is being aware of your strengths and weakness. It is doubling down on what you’re good at, which will help you navigate the situations in life, with the knowledge that you can deal with it skillfully.
Kanye preaches, in his rhetoric and in his music, to not only to reach for the stars but to create your own universe and be the god in it. You have the ability to be a supreme creator, your own god. Whether you are a musician, writer, artist, and entrepreneur.
“You’ve got to be really dialed into exactly who you are to the one hundredth power or you’re just everyone else” Kanye West
Become aware of your own awareness of yourself, as it may be false. It may stem from who you thought you were before you actually knew yourself. But once you find out who you really are, anything is possible.
“Kanye’s real problem isn’t self-awareness or self-confidence. If anything, he has too much confidence in other people. He thinks he can keep making great art, speaking his mind, and people will start to change their attitude about what people are and aren’t supposed to say and do”
The main problem is that he has too much confidence in society, in that we will see and understand his vision.
However, we are conscious beings, meaning we’re capable of conscious change.
If you aren’t where you want to be in life, simply find yourself, find your happiness, and everything else will fall into place.
Find your inner Yeezus.
Quadruple down at what you’re good at and do your best thing.
Be grateful for what you have and don’t worry about what you don’t have.
Start breaking rules and bet on your strengths.
Or just take this from Yeezus himself:
“Someone will always be prettier
Someone will always be smarter
Someone will always be younger
But they will never be you.”