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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Don't Rush Me

It was nitape’skw who put me on to Jean Grae. Admittedly, I was late to the hip hop party when it came to the early work of the lyricist. Though I’m not a fan of her later content, I’m grateful enough for Grae’s album This Week than to complain.

The joint features a track produced by the skillful producer 9th Wonder, entitled “Don’t Rush Me,” which serves as the namesake for this post. Regarding the intro to the track, Grae advises:

Sometimes, you got to get to know yourself. You gotta travel a little bit; look at yourself from another perspective, so I try to do that.

Examining matters closer is something I appreciate. Though there are varying versions of the parable, when practicing Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) I use the tale of the blind men and the elephant to emphasize the importance of perspective.

Summarizing the lesson, a number of blind men surround an elephant and each attempt to describe to the others how their assessment of the animal perceivably represents truth or reality. The man who examines the front then disagrees with the examiner at the rear of the creature.

Likewise, the man on the side of the elephant contradicts the report of the other two. Depending on the version told, the men eventually become frustrated and bicker with one another.

Per one source, the moral of the tale is that “humans have a tendency to claim absolute truth based on their limited, subjective experience as they ignore other people’s limited, subjective experiences which may be equally true.”

Grae promotes the idea that in order to better understand herself, she needs to travel and examine her perception of life from different perspectives. “Don’t Rush Me” continues:

Listen, there’s nothing like knowing yourself, like the way I know that smoking’s kind of broken my health. Like, the way I know my flow don’t make appropriate wealth. I can’t change that. But, funny I’m saying that when it’s money I’m aimed at. I don’t give a fuck if you frame that or quote it (Shit). I meant what I said, ‘cause I wrote it—point noted. I know I’m overly sensitive when it comes to, well, just about everything. And I’m so hardheaded, I don’t need your help. Like, no advice for these records ‘less it’s me and myself. Like, I don’t ever wanna breathe if it requires assistance—just, just shut down my system.

Here, Grae uses unconditional self-acceptance (USA) by acknowledging her own fallibility. She begins by admitting her choice to consume tobacco products has had a negative impact on her health.

A person could self-disturb over such a matter and assume a victimhood narrative—blaming others for introducing her to smoking, the tobacco companies for making products, or life for being unfair. That’s an easy though irrational perspective.

Instead, Grae uses personal ownership by accepting that she’s responsible for her behavior and ultimately she will remain accountable for her actions, even if it means shutting down her system towards an inevitable death. Wordlife!

Grae further acknowledges that while she would like to earn more money through the practice of her craft, she’s unlikely to do so. Her use of unconditional life acceptance manifests with the lyricist taking pride in her art without rigidly demanding that the world owes her anything.

Additionally, Grae recognizes her oversensitivity and hardheadedness. Make no mistake about it; Grae isn’t a Mary Sue character—personifying perfection—as I find her honesty and vulnerability refreshing. The song’s hook states:

I know I’m on the right path to who I’m gonna be at last, so don’t rush me, nigga (Just try). I know I’m wrong and right. At the same time, both—I’m the dark and light. And they say, “Life means everything to live.” At the same time, I got everything to give. Just don’t rush me (Hey, get your hand off me, man). Don’t rush me (You stupid? I’ll cut you).

In her own humorous way, Grae confesses that she’s heading in a direction of her own choosing. Along the way, she prefers not to be rushed.

Quite often, we allow ourselves and others to needlessly evoke a sense of urgency which is typically generated through should, must, or ought-type of commands. “I shouldn’t be late,” “I must be on time,” or, “I ought to hurry up,” are the sorts of narratives that drive emotional responses.

While it is true that there are times in life when speed and intensity are necessary, Grae appears to embrace the notion that life moves at its own pace. She’s on the path of her choosing and there’s no need for unhelpful beliefs which may circumvent her success.

As well, Grae accommodatingly professes that she isn’t all good, bad, right, wrong, light, or dark. Rather, the lyricist accurately portrays herself as “dark and light,” utilizing a healthy perspective concerning the imperfection of life.

If she were to place the unreasonable standard on herself, “I must be perfect,” Grae would inevitably violate her own condition. This perceived failure could lead to awfulizing and suffering.

However, using USA, Grae can flexibly believe, “While I’d like to envelope perfection of light attributes, I know there is darkness within me, as well, so I accept myself as I am.” Of course, people are free to place irrational requirements on themselves, others, and the world, though to what end?

Grae truthfully declares that while her life has value (“Life means everything to live”), it will eventually pass (“I got everything to give”). Whether by use of a rational or irrational approach to life, our inevitable end can be met with an embrace or by way of kicking and screaming.

The lyricist seemingly understands that, as one source adequately explains, “One not only needs to learn how to live, but also learn how to live knowing death is inevitable; therefore, one must learn how to die.” Perhaps to die having lived a purpose-driven and meaningful life is to live unrushed. Grae continues:

I gotta be more disciplined. I’m listening more to straight logic, blocking random shit that’s drifting in. Age is a motherfucker (Damn right).

In what could otherwise be overlooked as a throwaway line, Grae advocates discipline, use of logic, and filtering out unreasonable noise as she ages. Three points arise from this single line.

First, and admittedly little more than an anecdote, I’ve noticed a growing trend whereby people stand in opposition to discipline—the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.

In both my personal and professional life, I’ve heard people outright rebuke discipline. Imagining Grae’s perspective, as she uses “gotta,” which is a must-type statement, it appears as though the lyricist advocates self-discipline as a means of achieving growth.

Though we may desire to control or change others and the world, each individual simply isn’t capable of doing much more than influencing anything outside of ourselves. If the reader grants this premise, I propose that personal discipline to achieve improved adaptability isn’t necessarily bad, wrong, or evil.

Second, Grae’s reference to logic is something I appreciate. Often, I use syllogisms in my blog as a means of demonstrating how logical or illogical principles work. A syllogism is largely based on a major premise, minor premise, and conclusion.

Here’s an example of a syllogism based on a flawed premise:

Premise 1: Zebras are black and white.

Premise 2: Some old television shows are black and white.

Conclusion: Consequently, some zebras are old television shows.

The logic follows, though it’s predicated on a faulty major premise. If we neglect to think critically about the information to which we’re exposed in life, we may disturb ourselves with beliefs based on unfounded logic.

Now, here’s an instance of a syllogism based on an accurate or reasonable premise:

Premise 1: All humans are mammals.

Premise 2: Deric is a human.

Conclusion: Therefore, Deric is a mammal.

Even when a correct premise exists, we can still question our beliefs as a means of gaining perspective. By engaging our beliefs through critical analysis, we may be less likely to react to situations in an emotional or disruptive manner.

Last, Grae mentions “blocking random shit that’s drifting in.” One is uncertain as to whether or not the lyricist is referencing the technique of thought-stopping, which has limited effectiveness. Rather than promoting that tool, I invite my clients to use disputation.

By disputing unhelpful and unhealthy beliefs, we can gain perspective and shift our attitudes. This may then impact our emotions, bodily sensations, and behavior by producing a more manageable response to beliefs than those of the self-disturbing variety. “Don’t Rush Me” continues:

I yell too much, get stressed too quick. But the best thing about it? I can change that shit and still remain who I came down to Earth to be. It’s not Jean Grae—that’s just a name, you’ll see.

Grae accepts that she disturbs herself “too quick,” which is likely why she pleads for others not to rush her. Perhaps one of the most helpful things we can do in life is advocate for our needs. This may be done through requests and not demands.

Not always—or in fact, maybe not even most of the time—will others listen to our requests. All the same, the ability to say, “I need time to think this through,” is—if nothing more—an acknowledgment to ourselves that we need to slow down and use perspective.

REBT uses the ABC Model to illustrate that an Action occurs, we Believe something about that action, and as a result of an unhelpful belief we experience unpleasant Consequences. Slowing down our beliefs and reassessing an event is the moral of the parable concerning the blind men and the elephant.

Grae appears to understand that although she is quick to stress herself out, she can “change that shit.” Say word, son! We have the ability to change ourselves and become more than a mere label can identify. We have the potential to be so much more.

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


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