This is my theme for the month. October is National Domestic Violence Prevention/Awareness month. For years this month has always been special to me. Not only have I experienced domestic violence – twice – but I’ve been a witness to it far too many times. Domestic violence goes beyond physical abuse. There are varying types: emotional, financial, sexual, mental, religious…the list goes on and on. There are women – and men, believe it or not – who are stuck in relationships today thinking they’re not being abused because their not-so-significant other hasn’t laid a hand on them. That’s the biggest stigma when it comes to domestic violence – that it’s only physical. It’s not! Any form of abuse that’s hurtful, belittling, and limits your quality of life can be considered abuse. There is no love is pain.
Amazing! Wonderful! Beautiful! Delicious, even!
Those are just a few words that can describe my week of self-Love! Never have I ever devoted so much time and attention to myself without an ounce of guilt being felt. To understand the depth and magnitude of how important of a milestone this is for me we need to go back to what started it all.
For three weeks I partook in an online Love summit entitled From Heartbreak to Wholeness. Hosted by Elisabeth Scheffer, it featured some of the nation’s top Love experts, coaches, healers – alla dat! Some of the presenters I’ve known and followed off and on from time to time. A few were new to me. In fact, it was a coach of one of the new presenters that sparked the idea of my self-Love week.
Her name is Nicole and she’s my new Love Mentor. She works closely with Dr. Diana Kirschner who’s a relationship coach. No, I’m not looking to get hitched again – yet! However, I have come to realize that while I’m so busy giving, giving, giving I’m doing very little receiving. And that, my dear rockstar, had to change.
So upon speaking with Nicole for the first time we got to know each other better. I told her of my past Love “lessons” and how they contributed to my personal views on Love as of late. During this 60 minute call she gave me several homework assignments (still makes me lol…I’m not even officially her student yet!). One of these assignments was to get a massage. I needed to show myself some TLC…with the same intent that I’ve shown to others.
And thus began the week of self-Love!
It’s funny because I was hesitant to even book the massage! Seriously, it took me almost an hour to click submit for payment. But I finally did it. It was paid for and all I had to do was secure a date. (That was on Sunday.) Since that day, I have done at least one act of self-Love for myself for the past seven days. I’m proud to say that, beyond that initial hesitation, I didn’t bulk once at spoiling myself with a little TLC!
Why? Because after speaking with Nicole I had an epiphany that night. I can’t keep giving 50 if I’m only at 5! Never mind the numbers (I’m not talking percentages or anything), focus on the message. We’ve all heard the saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Well that saying is beyond the truth and what I found myself doing – especially lately – is trying to pour into others (work, kids, business, clients, writing, etc.) from a space that was about as dry as the Sahara desert! I was so focused on forcing myself to give to others that I didn’t stop to see that I had nothing left to give. It was like squeezing water from a rock. It just wasn’t there. Add to that my internal issues dealing with rejection, exclusion, judgment – something had to give.
So I gave! More like I gave up! What did I give up?
- The need for others’ approval of my work.
- The need to feel included in events.
- The need for outer validation.
- The need for social media.
I let it all go for seven whole days! And it…felt…GREAT!!! I realized during this week the reason why I felt the way I did was because others were giving amongst themselves, but no one was giving to me. No one was giving to me because I wasn’t giving to MYSELF!!! While I can’t safely say that habit has been completely broken, I can say that it has been curved dramatically. No longer will I neglect myself nor hide my true being for the sake of others. Anytime I feel slighted by someone or something on the outside, I’ll know it’s time to go within and nurture my inner artistic Rockstarr back to health.
So what does that mean for me now? It means I’m at a point where I’m in the overflow! Yes, I can freely write, create, and coach effectively! I can goal set and plant good seeds for my next harvest. I can look at myself in the mirror and look 10 years younger because I eliminated the stress! I can be open and vulnerable to myself, to my clients, and – God willing – to my true Love! :o) I’m at a beautiful place, in a beautiful space, and I thank God for this week of heavenly bliss! If you have never done so, please take a week – or even a few days – and carve out time just for yourself. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful, light, healthy, and younger you’ll look and feel! It feels so good to give from this space! It feels even better to receive from it!
***This was originally going to be a Facebook Live presentation, but – unfortunately – FB Live is not my friend right now. *side eye* Nevertheless, I wanted to discuss a topic that I have been battling with for the past few days.***
We’ve all been through challenges, changes, and transformations that have pushed us to become better versions of ourselves. I know, personally, that I am a “challenge junkie!” If it’s about growth, evolvement, and increase I’m all for it. However, recently I’ve been wondering if, by strengthening my self-discipline, am I subconsciously experiencing self-deprivation.
Follow me here!
We all know that self-discipline is the act of controlling your thoughts, actions, and the like for improvement. Self-deprivation, on the other hand, is the act of denying yourself the basic needs of life (food, water, shelter – all that good stuff)! When I speak of self-deprivation in this instance though I’m going deeper than the basics. In my comparison, I’m referring to the little joys of life that we like to experience: television, treats, splurges at the store. Things of that nature.
In my case, one of my current self-disciplines is to exercise more for increased energy. Yet, lately, I feel like I’ve been depriving myself of rest because – God forbid – if I skip an exercise day then all of my prior workouts have been in vain. Now intellectually I know that’s not the case, yet I’ll deprive myself the occasional *bonus rest day* because I’m determined to stick to my exercise schedule.
Here’s another example. Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE CAKE!!! Since I’m exercising more I’m also working on changing my eating habits. Now, prior to this newfound love of working out (*snickers sarcastically*) I used to scarf down an entire box of Little Debbie snack cakes without blinking an eye. Now, I feel like if I eat even one I’m setting myself back and wasting months of workout time. Yet another exaggerated excuse to not have a snack cake, but that’s my current mental state.
This got me to thinking: what is the difference between self-discipline and self-deprivation? Here’s my answer:
Self-discipline is the act of controlling your thoughts and actions for the betterment of your overall goal. AKA…resistance!
Self-deprivation is the act of forbidding harmless pleasures for the sake of your overall goal. AKA…restriction!
Resistance VS restriction. One can move you two steps forward. The other can set you two steps back. Resistance is what allows you to strengthen your self-discipline. It’s the art of knowing how to determine what’s good for you and in what increments. Restriction is like a stern parent; it doesn’t allow you to enjoy the process of self-growth and increases the chance of self-sabotage.
How can you tell if you’re experiencing self-discipline or self-deprivation? Look at the end result. If you buckle, how will it affect the end goal? How will it affect how you feel about yourself? Will you still be able to achieve your desired results? If the answer still leads you to success, then it’s a mere act of self-discipline. If the answer leads to guilt and shame, then it’s self-deprivation.
Increased self-discipline is a healthy goal; increased self-deprivation is not. The best way to counteract the latter is to reward yourself while strengthening the former. A bonus rest day…a bonus snack…a bonus gift is not going to throw you off course. When you set rewards for yourself you reduce the risk of self-deprivation. When you reduce that risk, you also reduce the chance of self-sabotage. Know your starting and ending points, decide what counts as a true risk to your goal versus a harmless treat, and move accordingly. Knowing what you’re facing ahead of time helps to stick with improving your self-discipline while eliminating the experience of self-deprivation.
We’re rounding third base in our self-love series. By now, you should have a better understanding of self-love. Once that understanding is solid, the next step was to make the declaration of accepting self-love. So what’s left? Here is where we go back to the basics. In the quest of reclaiming our self-love, we must remind ourselves of the different ways we can express self-love.
Below are ten ways you can reclaim your self love:
- Mirror Talk. In this exercise, you’ll have a loving conversation with yourself. It doesn’t have to be long or detailed. It’s a private moment for you to express your true feelings of love and appreciation. No one knows about this moment but you.
- Write yourself love notes. Leave them in inconspicuous places. As you come across them, you’ll be reminded just how fantastic you really are.
- Take a brisk 20-minute walk. Here is an opportunity for you to spend some quality time with yourself. You can think about anything, everything, or nothing at all. This time block is strictly for you and cannot – and should not – be interrupted.
- Take yourself out on a date. Dinner, a movie, bowling – find something that you love to do and haven’t done in a while and make a memory of it. Snap a few selfies while you’re at it. Create memories…that’s what it’s all about.
- Buy yourself something nice. It can be as extravagant as a $10,000 ring, or as simple as a $0.25 sucker. Whatever tickles your fancy. The premise is to give to yourself, from yourself.
- Go on a vacation. Whether it’s across town or across the country, shell out a few bucks and give yourself an opportunity of a lifetime. Visit somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, or a place that reminds you of who you are. Whatever you do, make the most of this trip.
- Get a massage. After all you’ve been through to get to this point, it’s time for some R&R…rest and relaxation. My personal favorite is a deep tissue massage with lavender and chamomile aromatherapy. Talk about heaven! There are plenty of massages to choose from. Find one that suits you…or better yet, experiment! Who says you only need one massage?!
- Give yourself a hug. Yes, it’s that simple. Wrap your arms around yourself and enjoy that warm embrace. You’ll know it’s authentic because it’s coming straight from you.
- Volunteer. If you’re a giver by nature, what better way to reclaim your self-love than to express your love for others? Spend time with the elderly, volunteer to be a big sister, donate blood. There’s a great need for givers. Fill that need and yourself at the same time.
- Give to a cause you care about. When you have a healthy level of self-love it’s easy to give to others. Pick a charity or cause – or even a person – close to your heart and do what you can to be a healthy reflection of self-love. Do this especially if it’s with a person. Don’t try to push your values onto them. Rather, show them what it means to love oneself. Be an example of healthy self-love. You’ll do them and yourself a world of good.
I’m sure you can think of many other ways to reclaim your self-love. What are they? Share below and inspire someone else. You never know who’s in need of reclaiming their own self-love. If you need help finding creative ways to reclaim your self-love reach out to me and we’ll get you back on track!
“To thine own self be true.” –
Let’s be honest, how many of you can say this statement represents our life? Are you being true to yourself, or are you living a façade? Most of us are the latter, but swear we’re living in the former…especially in the sector of self-love. Now hear me out, ladies! We have a very warped perception of the true definition of self-love. We’re led to believe that it means having our hair laid out, nails on point, toes on fleek (do people even still use that word?!), body snatched, and clothes cycled out every season for the latest trends. While this may be a 100th of a 10th of 1% true, it is by no means an honest measure of self-love. It may be a representation of your Love Language, but self-love is on another level.
First, let’s break down the two words (thanks, Merriam Webster!):
Self: the entire person of an individual
Love: unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another
Combine these two and you have the overall meaning of self-love: the act of being unselfish, loyal, and benevolently concerned for you. That sounds good, right? Is this really all there is to it?
In a word…no.
Self-love is so much deeper than a combined Merriam Webster definition. It goes beyond the physical appearance and resides on a deeper, cellular level. How we think…how we act…how we treat ourselves is an indicator of how much – or how little – self-love you possess. The way you carry yourself in person and in private are a direct reflection of how you value yourself. Before we dive in to what self-love is, let’s clarify what it is not.
Going back to my examples, these are not true signs of self-love. Yes, we all want to look good and personal care is a must, but that doesn’t equate self-love. In fact, we as women are notorious for using our outer appearance to hide our feelings. If we feel our body isn’t up to par, we wear clothing that hides our shape. If we dislike our hair, we cover it up with wigs and weaves. If our skin is less than perfect (God forbid we have a pimple or scar) we cover it with make-up. We look great on the outside, but it’s only to cover up the emptiness and inadequacy we feel on the inside. And who causes these feelings? Family? Friends? Lovers? The media? We can point as many fingers as we want, but the bottom line is WE are the cause of these feelings. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt stated this truth some decades ago and she was spot on. We’re so concerned about how appealing we are to others so THEY will love us, that we neglect to love our natural self. What do we end up doing instead? We hide behind the disguises of painted nails, false hair, compromised complexions, and uncomfortable clothing – all for the sake of love.
Ladies, this is not true self-love. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good so long as you’re doing it for YOU and not THEM!
Here’s what real self-love looks like. It’s proper rest and nutrition. It’s laughing and smiling genuinely because you’re happy with yourself. It’s complimenting other women in a positive light. It’s living the life that you desire. It’s being grateful for everyone and everything in your life. It’s spending quality time with yourself doing what you love. It’s practicing your beliefs. It’s being you…unashamed and unapologetically!
When I first understood self-love I was on the other side of the spectrum. In fact, I was so far on the other side I didn’t even bother to hide it. My focus was on everyone else: kids, family, not-so-significant others. Everyone got a piece of my love except for me. As far as receiving it…that was a foreign concept. Do you know what it’s like to never be told that you’re loved? That you’re beautiful? That you are appreciated? Now imagine that being your entire life. Growing up, these words were non-existent. It was just assumed, I guess. So, of course, the first time someone told me they “loved me” I was ecstatic! I didn’t bother to think if they were telling the truth or why they said it in the first place. I don’t even think I knew what the word “love” really meant. I was just so enamored a the fact that someone finally – FINALLY – told me they loved me. Too bad that person lied…and so did the next one…and the next one…and on and on and on.
It would take years of disappointments, let downs, and false illusions to finally accept that none of these claims (made by not-so-significant others and friends) were true. It would take just as long to rebound from the hurt and confusion it caused me to feel. If they never really loved me, did that mean I was unlovable? Did I even know the true meaning of love? Again, it would be years before I finally GOT it.
You see, where most of us as women go wrong is we look for others to love us instead of learning to first love ourselves. In order to love ourselves, we need to know ourselves. In order to know ourselves, we need to spend time within ourselves. Only then are we capable of self-love, and it isn’t until we master self-love that we are truly able to love others. Otherwise, we’re simply lost souls seeking a “feeling” that we think is love, but we’re not quite sure because we don’t really know what love is ourselves. Once we get that understanding, we become force to be reckoned with!
This week, I want you to spend some time defining self-love. What does it mean to you? Are you living out the true meaning of self-love, or are you covering it up with distractions and illusions to mask the pain? What will it take to improve your self-love? Share your story below. This blog isn’t just about me…it’s about US! Look for the video blog expounding on this topic in a few days. You can view my current and previous videos here.
Honey, listen…I get my lessons in the CRAZIEST ways, do you hear me?!
Earlier today I was driving. I wasn’t thinking about anything in particular, just out handling my usual Sunday business. I’m waiting at a red light and notice a bird – a pigeon to be exact – crossing the street. The light turns green and, obviously, we began to drive. But he’s still…walking…across…the…street. Luckily, myself and the car next to me have some sort of conscious because we both slowed down to let the bird continue to walk…across…the…street.
In a flash, this blog was born. Now here’s the thing. This pigeon is a bird. (Duh!) He has wings. (Duh!) He’s not injured to the naked eye so he has the capability to fly. ( Double duh!) He could have used his God given abilities to get wherever he was going, but instead of flying he chose to walk. Yes, this pigeon was strutting his stuff across that street.
Why make a seemingly simple task complicated? Why not use what God given abilities you already have – and KNOW you already have – to make your journey easier? He could have flown, but he didn’t. Instead, he decides to walk…across…the…street. (I will forever put emphasis on that statement!) Putting himself in unnecessary danger, causing unnecessary delay in his life and others (I was ready to gun it!). Something so simply resolved was made unintentionally, yet obviously, difficult.
But you know what? We do this every day! We walk…across…the…street.
We have all the capabilities to go after what we want (and in some cases, who we want) yet we choose the most lackadaisical route to obtaining it. And then…AND THEN…we have the nerve to catch an attitude when it comes to us in the same speed! You can’t cruise your way to your goal and expect the results to reach you at lightening speed. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t neglect the tools you possess to reach your goals faster then wonder why it’s taking eons for anything to happen. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t take the path of least effort then complain about the participation award while watching the winners celebrate. It doesn’t work that way.
So how DOES it work?
It works when you make the PERMANENT decision to go after what you want. It works when you put your excuses to the side and push through – even when life pushes back on you. It works when you access your tools and use the to PROPERLY and SWIFTLY propel you forward. It works when you not only move YOURSELF forward, but you take OTHERS with you. It works when you STAND for your belies – the ones that benefit ALL HUMANKIND. It works when you STOP…WALKING…ACROSS…THE…STREET!!!
Put a sense of urgency into your goals. Put a sense of necessity into them. Light a fire under your arse and get going! Whatever you have to do, be INTENTIONAL about getting to your intended destination, but please…for Pete’s sake and for the love of Mike…
Don’t walk…across…the…street. FLY!!!!!!
How do you plan on flying into your destiny? Share below! Need help spreading your wings? Contact me today and let’s get you going!
This is such a broad statement to make, but it’s true. As a society, we have been “conditioned” to believe that more is better. We want more money, more fame, more clients, more options, more opportunities, more cake…(okay, that last one is just me!). My point is we spend every waking hour of every day satisfying our gluttonous desires to get more. We do this with aggression. We do this with fervor. We do this as a means to an end. “When I get more X, then I can Y!” Our intentions are good, but our perceptions are piss poor wrong.
More does not equal better!
Better equals better!
Let me break this down for you. I want to use a practical example; let’s go with friendships. I don’t know why we all desire to be Facebook celebrities, but “likes” don’t equate fame. Yet we do everything in our power to gain those likes…and those friends…and those comments…and those shares. All for the sake of numbers. Now, unless you can transform these numbers into something useful they don’t mean much outside of this social media platform. These “friends” that you’ve accumulated over the past few weeks, months, or years – do you know three things about them that CAN’T be found on their profile? Have you ever met them in person? Do you know their middle name (like, the government name…not the OhSoSweetandSassy listen on their profile)?
Chances are, unless you know them personally, the answer is no. So why do we put so much emphasis on having the most number of friends online? Why is it a badge of honor when we’ve maxed out our two thousand friends and have to create a “fan page?!” Sure, you have all of these people linked to you, but how are they benefiting you? How are you benefiting them? Are you really that concerned about their overall well-being, or are you concerned about the overall number of friends that you’ve accumulated? What’s going to happen when shit gets real and life happens? How many of these people are doing to do more than just post, “Praying for you!” under your status?
Think about it for a moment. What’s more important – knowing you have true friends that have your best interest at heart, or knowing you have a high number of individuals on your profile page? In the thick of it, which one really matters?
This concept can be applied to so many other areas of your life as well. Just because you have the MOST of something doesn’t mean you have the BEST of something. More isn’t always better…neither is bigger always better. Sometimes, the less you have the better off you are in the long run.
It’s time to take inventory over your life. Where are you weighing heavily because you have too much of something? How can you scale back so you can really reap the benefits? Let me know in the comments below. If you need assistance with assessing your quality versus quantity let’s chat! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary 30-minute call.
My friends have a way of inspiring me without even knowing it. During said friend’s morning radio show (Shout out to Miss Thang from Power 95 in Bermuda!!!), she was reading an email she received from one of her listeners. He stated that he was a long time listener of her show and, recently, his wife started listening in also. Long story short, he stated that his wife’s outlook on life, work, and other areas began to change and she was more positive and optimistic due to advice my friend would give during her show.
Now, I’ve been listening for about couple of weeks (now that I finally found an app that works!) and I can attest to the power of her advice. Not only is she kind, funny, and a great host – but she’s REAL! The words she speaks are powerful because they are true. When it comes from the heart you can just tell; when she gives her views on a subject, advice on how to overcome adversity, and her final thoughts before the show ends she’s just being her genuine self.
That’s just it thought. When my friend is speaking on the radio she’s not aiming to change lives, but she does it anyway. People, whether you know it or not, someone is always listening and watching – some are even waiting for an answer to a prayer. You never know who will be touched by your words so it’s best to use them for good. Not only does it help those that may be listening to you, but it also helps you directly. There are enough people in the world spewing envy and hatred. As weak as that energy is, it’s easier to gravitate towards because it’s a low vibration. However, when you speak kindness, love, gratitude, and appreciation you vibrate at a higher level. When other’s receive your words and believe in them they, too, begin to vibrate higher.
As a writer at heart and a true lover of words, I know that each one comes with it’s own energy. The combination of these words, in addition to the intent used behind them, will determine how this energy is used – and received. Each energy has a message behind it. If it’s a negative energy, there’s a cry for help. (I need attention. I need love. I need to be heard. I need to be understood. I need to understand.) If it’s a positive energy, there’s a presence of gratitude. (I love you. I am here for you. I believe in you. I can help you. I will listen to you.)
Even if you don’t speak to be heard, every time you do speak someone close by can hear you. You may not be talking to them, but your words – and their vibrations – are being picked up by those around you. Think about it for a minute. Have you ever walked passed someone during an argument, or heard someone receive bad news, or listened to a tragic story? How did you feel? Bad…sad…horrible? That’s the effect words have on you…on me…on everyone. So not only do you need to be careful with your own words, but you also must be mindful of the words spoken TO you and AROUND you!
Language is a beautiful way to communicate. It’s like water…a necessary element of live that can create and sustain life…or destroy it. People are silently listening to your every word. Be intentional with your words…and be very, VERY careful.
How do you feel words affect you? Comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
They say it takes 21 says to change a habit 30 days to solidify it, and 6 months to a year to make it second nature. If that is true – and I believe it to be so – then any habits you’ve set out to change – or resolved to change – are now in the green!
*hi-five up top*
So what is there to do now? Keep going! The temptation will be easier to ward off. The desire to backslide will be less and less. That doesn’t mean you won’t be tempted to go back to your old ways, but let’s think about this for a second.
You’ve gone 21 days – TWENTY-ONE DAYS – into your new lifestyle. How do you look? How do you feel? How is your energy…your drive…your determination? Are things going for the better? Do you feel as if you’re on the right track? Or did you slip up along the way?
No worries! You still have time to get back on track. It’s still early in the game. Bottom line…NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO QUIT!!!
Keep moving forward and before you know it you’ll have better days ahead of you and a bad habit behind you!
I believe you!