Tag Archives: self-love

10 Tips on Staying Balanced in 2018

Like many of you, behind a pretty picture is a women that has struggled with identity, doubt, insecurities, anxiety, mental & emotional abuse, worry and fear, but what has kept me balanced and focused is the know-how that I was meant to be on this earth, to share my journey and to help empower others as they have helped to empower me.

I sometimes get texts thanking me for the motivational posts and upbeat attitude and along with those messages comes the questions: can you share what keeps you grounded, how do you stay afloat and/or can you share some tools that have helped you?

So after sharing some of this recently with a friend in a very private conversation in hopes that it can help her, I thought it would be great to just pay it forward! No one lives a perfect life my friends! Behind the pretty pictures and posts of happiness & “security” – many of us are living in turbulence; we have lost ourselves and/or are giving all of ourselves to others and/or our thoughts and not taking the time to breathe, to really breathe and to love ourselves! To know me and to follow me is to know I preach “love yourself first” but truth be told – we all get lost in the hustle & bustle we call life and forget to love ourselves! But look… how can we really lose ourselves? We’re with ourselves 24/7/365 – in fact, there’s just no way that can happen – just look in the mirror, look around you – YOU ARE ALWAYS THERE…OMG..lol!!

But really, I know it’s easier said than done and I totally, 100% get what it means to “lose ourselves”!

There are so many great tools that have helped me and continue to help me stay balanced, grounded and true to me, below are the top 10:

1. Community – surrounding myself with strong women & men who genuinely care for my wellbeing. They have kept me grounded, they have steered me in the right direction and have never been afraid to be honest with me, no matter how much it hurts or bites! You see, your community shouldn’t judge, speak behind your back and/or make you feel bad! They love and care for you unconditionally but also hold you accountable!

**It’s important to rid members of your community who aren’t aiding in your growth! If they are only around when you’re in a rut then chances are they are not for you – keep it moving!

2. Writing – writing has helped me to articulate my thoughts, my frustrations and my vision as it doesn’t always come out my mouth the same way. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always kept a journal and pencil near by; even at work! Thoughts come up for us all the time…don’t ignore them and don’t ever think you’ll remember them later (because you won’t)! Write and if you can, but don’t have to, share it. The beauty of writing is that you can read/speak your thoughts & visions into existence and/or let them go into the universe!

3. Music & Exercise – it brings life to my soul and lifts my spirits. It makes me feel safe … ever hear a song and it reminds you of something and/or it takes you to a place that’s safe? That’s what it does for me. I close my eyes and let the music feed my soul! So when you’re feeling off, or just need a breather or just need to rework what’s happening in that head of yours – put on feel good music! Exercise….well….it works wonders on your mind, body and spirit! It helps to reduce stress and many ailments. You feel amazing after a great workout and it’s just damn good for you – don’t cheat yourself from a healthy life – go workout!!

4. Laughter – because when you laugh you can’t cry! Ever laugh right after crying? If you have, then you know that you can’t cry immediately after; forcing you to think why you were crying to begin with! Put a comedy on, call a friend who you know can make you laugh (I have a few of those…) and laugh… where there is laughter rarely lives tears!

5. Reflecting & Meditation – reflection makes you realize that every obstacle: good, bad or indifferent has shaped us to be the person we are today. To know me is to know that I live a life with no regrets, no what ifs – just lessons learned! Look, we’re not perfect and just when we think we’ve learned a lesson, we make the same mistake again!! I can sit here and say “we’re human” but truth of the matter is that we all have a choice**! We do! I don’t care what you say! You have a choice to do something, to say something, to behave a certain way, to react… you get it! It’s a choice! Reflecting is a beautiful thing because it helps you realize your role in what’s happening in your life! Meditation – learning to sit in silence, with your thoughts, with your breath! It’s one of the hardest things to do and quite honestly I have yet to master this art but what I can tell you is that it has helped me countless of times to help calm the battlefield that happens in my head every now and then!

**The beauty of choice is that it forces you to create reason, to think critically and sadly for many, that’s too hard because living in the alternative is safe. We sometimes create this false illusion, an altered reality and would much rather live there because it feeds the ego, because we love to live in the box and fit into societal norms … because being average is safe and acceptable! Choice, it’s a beautiful thing we have – use it wisely!

6. Know Your Self worth! What are you worth? What is your legacy? What do you want out of life? And what do you need to do to get there? What won’t you ever stand or settle for? What are your dreams and are you setting small actionable goals? It’s what I.V.A stands for (my fitness program pictured above – go check it out at http://www.ivafitness.com). Never forget your self worth and never compromise your soul for the fear of loneliness or in hopes you can change someone!

7. Self-affirmations: There is no perfect world, person or way of doing things – you just have to be the change you want to see! Positive mantras, self affirmations, vision boards, sticky’s everywhere that remind you of the amazing person you are. My mantra “I am fierce I am fearless”!

8. Therapy – don’t be afraid to ask for help! Therapy can provide useful tools to help you dissolve those rooted feelings that are not mixing with your current being. It’s someone to listen to you and make sense of all that comes out of your mouth (or not). Someone to provide you with resources outside the office setting. Therapy can be amazing if you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to trust the process.

9. Accountability Partner – having an accountability partner is different than having a community. They’ll be that one person, maybe two or three who will set you straight, be the voice of reason and tell you stop, wait, are you crazy, no and good job, you’re beautiful, keep pushing …. because at the end of the day, we all like structure in some form or fashion; we all want to be accountable to someone and we most certainly want to be held accountable!

10. Faith & Prayer: what ever and/or whomever you believe in – the power of faith and prayer works! I truly believe that when you believe in it and speak it into existence and take the necessary steps to make it happen – anything is possible! Love is energy.. keep your energy pure, honest and share it! The universe always delivers when you are true to you, when you pray and when you have integrity and have faith!!

Walks, biking, books, podcasts, blogs have all helped me – here are a few of my favorite books and author (there are so many others so if you need more, let me know): The Woman’s Book of Confidence by Sue Patton Thoele; The Four Agreements & The Fifth Agreement by Ruiz & Ruiz; I Got You by Rob Hill Sr.; Eckhart Tolles (subscribe to his channel on YouTube); God Where is my Boaz by Stephan Labossiere (audio or book); Disarming the Narcissist by Wendy Behary.

The only person you can control is you! You have control of your thoughts, your emotions, your choices and how you deal with all of it! Create a safe space, choose to be happy, choose to live in the present, in health, peace and balance, choose to smile, to learn, to give and to LOVE!! Take responsibility for your actions and inactions and lastly, be empowered by the power of you! You got this! Happy New Year 2018!!

Rise Up by Andra Day – song!!

Advertisements

No Coincidences in Life 🌴

They say that people come in and out of your life for a reason/purpose. Sometimes we know the purpose immediately, other times we don’t. And sometimes we don’t realize the purpose until they have left. Some stay in your life forever and others for seconds, perhaps minutes. 

I remember listening to an audio book years ago called “The 5 people you meet in Heaven”. I picked up the book after hearing Hoda Kotb, an NBC Journalist speak about the impact the book had on her and how it helped her get through some really tough times. I too took to the book thinking who will be the 5 people I meet in Heaven and why? 

In the book, the author speaks about Eddie, an older man who met his untimely death while trying to save a little girl and now he’s going through the five stages of Heaven, meeting a person in each of the stages. 

Each person means something and there was a lesson to be learned at each stage. I remember one of the lessons he learned was that there are no random events in life and all individuals and experiences are connected in some way.  Simply put, there are no coincidences.


As I lay here, writing and thinking – today (Monday, June 19th), marks the 1-week anniversary of a man I never knew, I never spoke to him, I never heard his voice, I never once saw him in the street, yet I was chosen by some divine force to witness his untimely death; to kneel beside his helpless and injured body. I just stood there, asking him for his wife’s phone number so I can call her – but no response (yet I wonder if he heard me). He was slowly drifting away. I can feel it, I knew it – I knew he was on his way to Heaven. Felt it coming when the bus I was on was traveling behind him, then next to him and then he was gone…. it was at that point that I felt this connection. I was immediately heart broken for this man and his family. I didn’t know why! I’ve played the scene over and over in my head – thanking God for sparing me the picture of seeing his body being run over by the 3,000 pound bus I was on. But it didn’t matter that I didn’t see the actual impact, I knew it was going to happen the minute we came to close and the bus driver decided to pass him. He was to my right – I can see him and then I couldn’t ~ 

I later learned he died and it felt like I lost a friend! I went home that evening and cried and cried – all night! Woke up hurt, confused and angry. I had to stay home. I began to think that there was something I needed to do besides tell the truth to the media who had the story wrong. So I reached out to the bus company to give my statement, but no call back – no call back till this day.

I spoke to my mom minutes after and it was at that moment that I realized I needed to connect with his family, at least to hear their voice, see a picture, to tell them that he did nothing wrong – he was an innocent cyclist riding to work that morning. It brought me some peace when his wife immediately responded to me and later his two friends. I spoke to one of them several times since the accident but I know they need to heal – so I give them space. 

I suppose I’ve done my part in telling the truth, in giving peace to his family… but still, this man weighs heavy in my thoughts and I ask myself why? 

It’s taken me a week to start writing, to process, to reflect – I know I have to begin to heal and move away from this but I’m just not sure how and if that’s even possible. My bus mates ask how I’m doing and I am grateful. Some ask “what happened?” and it conjures up ill feelings but I know they mean well. My friends and family have been supportive and I’m blessed. Some don’t ask because they know it’s hard.

My anxiety goes through the roof the moment I take my seat on that bus, the moment he/she presses on the break, the moment I see us come close to a bike – I close my eyes! It’s wicked I tell you but I fight through it, every morning and evening since the accident.  

But I ask myself as I lay in my bed – “why me?” 

Why me? As the book stated – there are no random incidents. Something I’ve often stated in my writings “everything happens for a reason”….

But still, why me? Like I haven’t already lost people who have meant the world to me either through death or separation. Like I haven’t gone through enough shit in my 44 years of life! Like I haven’t cried and hurt enough! Why the fuck me and why now? 

Why do I have to lay here and cry – why? (I have no idea why the eye doctor said I have dry eyes – I swear they have no problems producing tears!! Lol – now stop crying – I want you to read past this…we got this far and because truth be told, it’s also hard for me to write if I’m balling.. this is going to stop now!) I think…maybe not! 


(Con’d… 6/20) 

So back to why? I initially thought (and still believe) that I was meant to be on that bus to be his eyes and ears! To speak out the truth to all who got the story wrong. To be able to tell his wife that her husband was the victim of a bad accident and that there was nothing he could do to avoid it (he didn’t see it coming). But there’s more to the why, there has to be. 

I now realize that the why also means that I needed a reality check! That I needed to open up my eyes and see this beautiful world we live in and that no matter the bad apples who come into your life to deplete your energy, there are so many beautiful apples (seeds) to be planted, groomed, to be picked, savored and enjoyed. 

That no matter how bad things may feel or get, that your perception of those times are flawed by the circumstance and doesn’t means it’s forever!

That life is filled with so many beautiful things, people and opportunities, and that WE MUST make time for those we love, WE MUST make time to take care of ourselves first and others, that WE MUST appreciate the good, the bad and the ugly because it teaches us so many lessons, that WE MUST live each day as if it was our last because we NEVER know when it’ll be our last and lastly, WE MUST always do right by our neighbor! It doesn’t matter what, why or how; when someone needs you or when you are called to the aid of someone by some divine calling – you just go! 

So that’s my WHY! 

Rest in eternal peace the friend I never knew – you join the many amazing men I know in Heaven 🌴 

#DanHanegby #06122017 – Thank you for opening my eyes once again! ❤️🙏🏽

  

Don’t apologize for it! 

This is deep…. 
As much as I preach to “own your truth”, to “live outside your comfort zone” and to “love yourself first”, it’s easy to allow outside noise influence what goes on in your brain and the choices you ultimately make! 

This note reminds us that what we know to be the truth, and the knowledge we store in our minds, that what we feel to be true in our souls and hearts – – that is never to be dismissed! 

You are/we are who we are: smart, beautiful, wise and loving (and so much more) and it’s so important that we never dumb ourselves down for anyone; that we not loose who we are and what we are meant to be, that we not be intimidated by the weakness of others and lastly, that we not forget that a mind is a beautiful thing to waste simply because those in our circle may be too weak to accept and appreciate it! Ladies, work on that circle you keep because not everyone is meant to be in it and/or stay there! 

As our wonderful First Lady Michelle Obama said “don’t apologize for it”! Be true to you and always #ownyourtruth because as I’ve said before, the world will adjust! Sometimes I even need to be reminded and there ain’t nothing wrong with that! Now let’s be #AMAZING #MUJERES #LADIES 

Follow my blog at http://www.lovingmefirstblog.wordpress.com ❤️🎤

Deeply rooted 

What does this tree symbolize to you? While the palm tree is my favorite tree (and I’ve written about it before), this tree however, resonates so deeply with me! To me it tells me that when you are deeply rooted, you can branch out in any form but your root, that’s your foundation and nothing (not even a storm) can uproot you! 

Yeah, the healthiest of trees have been uprooted; even the most solid & aged trees – but that doesn’t happen often (there’s usually some circumstance beyond our control and sometimes we are simply not taking care of it [ourselves]).

You may have some dead branches or perhaps some of the leaves have dried out and are holding on by its last vein, or maybe it simply falls off, but the root, well that only grows deeper in the soil. Rich in nutrients that continue to add to the life of each branch and leaf and perhaps flower.

This tree is soaring, dancing, living, growing and is simply beautiful! If there is anything that we can learn about trees, it would be that we need to appreciate them (ourselves), we need to take care of them (water it and cut off old branches to allow for further growth), we need to breathe them in (take in the beauty that you are) and lastly, allow it to grow (don’t let anything hinder its potential)!

Trees can prosper without sunlight but imagine what a little love and light can do!! So my peeps, take a deep look at this gorgeous life (the tree & you) and reflect – think about the beauty and it’s endless possibilities! #peace & #love to you all – always ❤️🏝 

What is Self-Love? 

To my daughter and the women I love ~  

  
The key to learning to self-love is that you must first fully understand and make a decision that your “self-love” is not dependent on the approval of others! 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog, a blog I created to share my journey and to hopefully share pointers, advice, and/or a simple reminder that you are not alone. That as women, we face and overcome so many challenges and barriers, but if we have community, a platform to share, love and the support of each other and others who believe in our growth and evolution – then we can truly grow! 

Self-love! I see the words everywhere. I hear the words spoken by so many, but do we really know and understand what it means? 

I’m convinced that while there’s a recurring theme – that one thing we can all agree on when it comes to what self-love means; the fact is that self-love, much like success and relationships, is really defined by you! 

What does it mean? I can’t speak for others but to me, it’s really learning how to put myself first in a world that has defined our roles as women. We have so many ever-changing titles/roles and to choose one over the other can sometimes feel impossible, let alone overwhelming! We are mothers, wives, partners, sisters, daughters, employees, employers, doctors to our families, caregivers, mentors, therapists for our family and friends, friends, best friends, hosts, lovers, givers, doers, etc etc! Shhheeezz….that’s a lot! 

If I were to ask you or if you asked yourself “who am I?” chances are you would list these titles/roles… but rarely do we answer “I am a woman – strong, empowered, smart, beautiful, giving, balanced, driven…

Self-love to me is being able to say all these things before I say that I am a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, etc etc… It means to me that I hold these self-attributes, strengths, actions more important so that I can successfully be all those titles/roles that the world has clearly defined for me/us without feeling guilty or ashamed! 

Self-love takes time, a long time! I’ve been blogging and writing for years and just when I think I have it, I realize I’m not quite there yet! I’m constantly evolving as a woman: reading, meditating, reflecting, learning, expanding my intake of readings and Ted Talks that reaffirms my feelings and adds to my growth and writing. 

Self-love is not easy! We are taught to stand strong, to put others before ourselves no matter what! We are warriors, we are doers and yet we often fail to see in ourselves and our fellow sisters how strong we truly are! Self-love to me also means that we have a community responsibility of building our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our youth and our communities! To work hand-in-hand in sharing, nurturing and building all that is a woman! 

Self-love is work in progress… It has to start with you and has to be about you before it can be about others, and once you understand that, then only then can you begin to help build others…

For so long, I was guilt ridden! Felt horrible at the idea of putting myself first! How could I do this? What will others think or say? I bet you know this all to well… It’s hard as hell!

I recently read that “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.” 

The author shared and I now share with you, her Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love: 

Become mindful. People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them.

Act on what you need rather than what you want. You love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life, instead. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.

Practice good self-care. You will love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.

Set boundaries. You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.

Protect yourself. Bring the right people into your life. I love the term frenemies that I learned from my younger clients. It describes so well the type of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. My suggestion to you here: Get rid of them! There isn’t enough time in your life to waste on people who want to take away the shine on your face that says, “I genuinely love myself and life”. You will love and respect yourself more.

Forgive yourself. We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsiblity for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you are not perfect), before you can truly love yourself. Practice being less hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Remember, there are no failures, if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.

Live intentionally. You will accept and love yourself more, whatever is happening in your life, when you live with purpose and design. Your purpose doesn’t have to be crystal clear to you. If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose. You will love yourself more if you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do. You need to establish your living intentions, to do this.

These 7 steps, together with a host of other resources are what has helped me to further understand what self-love is for me and in turn, learned to live it. I hope it can help you. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s work in progress but the key words here are “work” and “progress”! By simply working on one thing, you are well on your way to building strength and in turn – SELF-LOVE! 

Peace & Love 

Excerpt above is from this article if you care to read in its entirety! 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love

One year anniversary 

One year ago today I embarked on the biggest, most impressive, indulging, evolving, fruitful, emotional, life-changing, scary, happiest, challenging and eye-opening experience ever – I left a marriage and moved into my very own apartment, alone! Let the journey begin!

In that year, I met an amazing man, I dealt with really difficult situations with my children, I lost one of my best friends to suicide, my family home was lost in a fire, I dealt with the loss of people whom I thought were my friends, I gained and reconnected with old friends, bonds with existing friends became stronger; and I was becoming and growing into a new me – facing new and interesting challenges!

Shoot, I’m still learning a new me, but then again – isn’t that what life is about? Learning, recreating, testing the waters, challenging your thoughts – it’s never about complacency or living in a comfort box!

I have new found faith in God & this universe and as I look around my apartment, I realize and appreciate my blessings and the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me this past year! I know that when one door closes others open in some form or fashion. As I sit here on my deck the entire day and I meditate, reflect, write and recount this past year – I know that I am blessed and thankful for everything that has happened!

I am a stronger woman, mother and human being. I’ve learned so much and while I know that I’m not perfect, I do know I’m a great person with the capacity to love and give selflessly – I’m happy to be me! I’m proud of me because I did it! Yeah me 👍🏼☺️

What’s especially cool about being me in this place is that I’m growing and most importantly, I am willing to grow & for that I’m proud of me. ☺️

To those that have been by my side this past year, listening to my cries & worries, pushing me on days I felt hopeless & helpless, loving me when I felt I wasn’t deserving, for showing me what a great & loving relationship can look like, for giving me chance after chance when I screwed up, for empowering me and telling me “you got this”, for those who simply said “you inspire me; your strength and resilience is empowering”, for those who kicked my ass and set me straight when I needed it no matter how much it hurt, and lastly to everyone who loves me despite my flaws; who truly love me unconditionally – I thank you because truth be told, I could not have done this if not for your love, trust and confidence in me!

Humbly thankful & eternally grateful!

Here’s to another great year filled with love, laughter, health, prosperity, cries, lessons, growth, happiness and smiles! Yes smiles and happiness – it’s what I want and will make sure to have!

Special homage ~~

To my childhood best friend for helping me stay grounded & your honesty even when it hurt!

To my friend who is no longer here ~ gracias por tener fe en mi ~

To Love All

20140215-103742.jpg

I’ve realized that some people do and say things just to be accepted.

They need to tell the world that they are okay, that they love life, that they love you, that they love community, that they love it all – love is the answer!!

For some, this is actually true – kudos to you! These are the people whose actions speak louder than words!

But for many others, however, they are not okay with “self/love”, and this is the scary part because the only disservice they are doing, is a disservice to “self”. Saying and acting otherwise, really fools no one but yourself.

In fact, it can be perceived by others as fake, untruth, not genuine, not a real friend – a story teller.

It’s totally okay to say that you’re not good, you’re not feeling well, and while you want the best for others (love all), that perhaps you’re not in the right place.

This is not about telling the world that life is not perfect, that perhaps there are some things in your life that are not working the way you want them to be, or that perhaps your heart and your life isn’t as fulfilled as you let the world know it to be, but rather being true to you.

Like I’ve stated in other posts, other writings, and in conversations that I have had with some; before we can preach love, act love, live love, we need to “self” love!

I created this blog for many reasons, those reasons are in my bio – those reasons are explicitly stated in the dozen or so writings I’ve shared. But as life continues, and lessons are learned, I continue to grow and experience some real hard lessons – life.

I don’t mask with “love all” but rather challenge you, empower you, challenge the mind with thought, remind you all to be strong, to fight those inner thoughts that can often cloud your judgement, and finally, to love yourself first!

Don’t confuse the word “love” with “self-infatuation”! But more “love” in lenses of reflection, actions, behavior, problem solving…

#lovingmefirst

20140215-104133.jpg