On Not Looking Like What You’re Going Through

Life can truly, honestly get the best of us -- throw us curveballs, press pause on what we THOUGHT was going to happen, and derail plans like nobody's business! Obstacles, challenges, trials and tribulations -- we expect them. However, every now and then we tend to look like the storm that life is taking us through. But this doesn't always have to be the case.

Let me be honest … the last three months of my life have been TUMULTUOUS. Career wise, financially, personally -- I'm exhausted. And I have a feeling this season is not yet over but I'm rejoicing that it's temporary. So how am I not looking like “who shot John and why”?

Prayer

There's no easier or quicker way to present my worries and stress to a Way Maker than through prayer. I will literally lay prostrate on my bedroom floor and cry, journal, worship to my favorite worship song (listen to Trust In You by Anthony Brown & group therapy!), or simply have a conversation with Him -- pouring out my heart and mind. If you believe in the power of prayer, you know the empowerment and energy it can provide, especially the reassurance, knowing He's a good, good Father that has His kid’s back.

Revisit my Vision Board

Now this can sometimes discourage me if I'm not exactly “checking boxes” or where I thought I'd be, but knowing that there ARE goals I've accomplished and bigger pictures I'm working towards helps! My back straightens, I clear my mind by writing daily or weekly goals, and I march on! Sometimes revisiting the “why” behind your journey is motive to press towards the mark!

Eat Healthy

How many of us emotionally eat or need comfort food every day? *raises both hands* I've had to discipline myself to not eat my emotions. And trust me -- I know it's harder said than done. I've gained 30lbs in the last 2 years and it doesn't feel great! But knowing that I can work on eliminating one stressor (health and weight concern) by simply eating healthier, fulfilling meals settles my heart and stomach! ;) Also, let's give it up to WATER! Whether it's flushing out the bad or clearing up stress acne, water is the #GOAT. I heard a quote once that suggested we should “eat until we're content, not stuffed full”. Whether it's contentment with our portion in life or with food, practice this balance.

Pamper Myself

#SelfCare right? LOL But honestly, having a bomb wash and go, giving myself a pedicure, or wearing a red lip to dinner can do something for the feminine woman in me! I really love a good face mask or exfoliating scrub for that optimum skin care, head to toe! When I feel I look my best on the outside, I feel better on the inside.

Selfies

How can a good selfie session with some bomb lighting and maybe a Snapchat filter or two not lighten the mood!? Feeling super confident: post it!

Music

The soundtrack to my life usually reflects the season or mood I'm in at the moment. Whether it's We’re Blessed by Fred Hammond or Bodak Yellow by Cardi B, No Fear by Dej Loaf or Broken Clocks by SZA -- change the record on the soundtrack of your life, change your perspective, change your mood.

Trust me, these tools and many others can keep us on track to reaching our goals and looking less like what we're going through. Don't fake the funk, change your narrative one self-care strategy at a time.

Journey Beautifully!


The Power of “No”

If you’d ask me to describe my 21-year-old self, I’d include “yes woman”. Whether a request from work, a new task at church, or a favor for family and friends, my answer was always “yes”. For me, feeling needed or specially requested was fulfilling -- I found validation and affirmation in providing myself and my gifts for others. Even to the point of saying “yes” to toxic relationships. I’ve learned that once you practice saying “yes” to everything, you’ll say “yes” to almost anything. And that’s where your “yes” loses it’s power.


Didn’t think I’d acknowledge “yes” as much in a post about the power of “no”, did you? Well, that’s where the power of “no” transfers. It’s in appropriately practicing your “no” that your “yes” regains  power. So, where’s it start? The ability to say no? Introspection. Reflect on the “yes” answers you may or may have not received growing up. Did you feel validated and affirmed growing up? Was your genuine self, exploring self, evolving self truly embraced or was there a space of accommodation you had to enter to feel accepted? It may seem cliche, but rejection can birth a void in all of us that causes the initial “yes” to turn into a lifelong drain. We feel the emptiness of rejection and seek the fullness of validation, so we compromise. Have you ever felt like you had to say “yes” to something you may not have been comfortable with just to be accepted by a group of friends in high school? What about saying “yes” to every new project or task at your job to dispel assumptions that you don’t value hard work? Want to keep it real? How many of us have said “yes” to a relationship with a partner we knew was toxic for us, but the loneliness without someone was too heavy to bear?

It’s in this compromise to fill a void that we begin to lose power and drain our energy. Our energy is our currency in life. Imagine every “yes” as a $20 bill. Can you imagine how quickly and painstakingly empty your bank account would become if you always said “yes” to every request? Don’t get me wrong -- there is ZERO issue with saying “yes” to a request or giving your time, gifts, and self to someone or something. However, the same way we budget our bank accounts, we must budget (boundary) our “yes”. Boundaries: understanding that everyone does not and cannot handle our best.

Once someone has access to you and your gifts, they will misuse and abuse them with your permission. Set boundaries! Developing the discernment to understand when to say “yes” and even more importantly, “no”, will empower you! Taking back the power of your “no” can breathe power into your “yes”.

So, how do we start the empowerment journey?

Reflect

What is causing you to almost always say “yes” to others? Are you seeking validation or affirmation? How can you affirm yourself to strengthen your inner validity?

Practice

Begin with self-affirming statements and routines. Then continue by saying “no” to something once a week. How do those around you respond? What do you notice about their respect for your “no”? Here you may begin to discern who and what deserves your best -- your “yes”.

Self-Care

Say “yes” to something positive for your wellness (emotional, mental, spiritual, financial, physical) and say “no” to something toxic. Take note of how your mind, body, and heart respond. Notice a difference?


It’s a complex balance -- knowing when to say “yes” or “no”. And the journey isn’t one traveled overnight. But you’re also not on this journey alone. There is a community of strong, empowered, and evolving women seeking to find, develop, and proudly say a resounding “no” when necessary. Channel you inner Congresswoman Maxine Waters (the G.O.A.T.) and proclaim your strength! It’s in the respect for your “no” that the gratitude for your “yes” is cultivated.

Journey beautifully!


20 Lessons 2016 Has Taught Me.

1. There is no such thing as an overnight success. WORK for what you want.  

2. You deserve every great thing headed your way. 

3. Had to let go of something good? God will always provide a way for something greater. 

4. Never doubt yourself, and if you do, take a leap of faith and trust the God in you.  

5. Your heart is resilient and you are strong.

6. Be gentle and grateful for your journey's paths. 

7. It's ok to ask for help. Vulnerability does not equate to weakness. 

8. The universe has a way of removing toxins from your life.  

9. Every member of your tribe has their role and season -- honor that.  

10. Your body is yours to own and manage, but most of all, yours to love. 

11. The only person you have to prove yourself to is ... yourself.  

12. Opening your heart takes time; healing takes time.  

13. Healthy conflict is a nutrient to grow healthy relationships.  

14. Change is good; embrace it. Being a change agent is greater; radiate it.  

15. Even when you're uninspired, write. Let your thoughts breathe.  

16. Your tribe is reflection of the woman you are now and the woman you are growing to be.  

17. Be present -- time is fleeting.  

18. Don't ignore the red flags -- they often signal a way of escape from a person, place, or thing not meant for you.  

19. Save your money -- life happens.  

20. You are meant to lead, so don't shy away from the challenge.  

Life's lessons won't stop their teaching, so here's to 2017 ...

21. Write your vision for 2017, make it plain -- 2016 was just a taste of what destined for you.