From the age of 16 to 26, I hated my life. When I say hate I mean HATE! I would really walk around smiling but I was internally MISERABLE. I thought nobody in this world could be going through anything like what I am going through. I was being teased in school, gaining weight, losing friends, begging people to be my friend, burying almost every matriarch in my family, losing weight and then gaining it again, begging my biological father to be in my life, and struggling to find out who I am. I completely missed out on truly enjoying the fact that I was one of the top students in my high school class, a licensed nurse at the age of 18, speaking at my LPN pinning ceremony, later speaking at my Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated initiation ceremony, and graduating from college cum laude. It was almost like for every positive moment I have had, I purposely found a negative reason as to why I did not deserve to feel good!
I sit now and think about the fact that if I would have had a different perception through those years, I would have realized that the happy days were more prevalent than the days of sorrow. It’s okay, though, because happy days are here and happy days are ahead. I have made a conscious effort to look at my glass half full, and instantly my happiness has improved. I mean it has gotten so much better that I want to share with you the top three tips that allow me to continuously change my perception on life. It is a fact that whatever we perceive becomes our reality, so imagine if we all decided to see ourselves as happy, healthy, and deserving of all the love that this world has to give (ALL OF IT!!). Lets take a look at the top three things I practice daily.
LIVE ON PURPOSE
Okay this might sound like common sense, but the first change that I made was that I became very intentional with how I live my life. It is so easy to get caught up in the routine of waking up, going to work, and coming home just to do it again. This can lead to feelings of depression and feelings of goals being unobtainable. It leaves us wondering if we will ever be able to improve our lives with only 24hrs in the day. How can I ever start my business? How can I ever write my book? When will I ever be noticed for my creative talents and abilities? Well, my friends, 24hrs is enough time in a day when we start to use the hours more productively. The same amount of energy we place into that bi-weekly check we should be placing into ourselves and our happiness. Life has more to offer us when we are not just going to work and coming home. If you are trying to lose weight but you are struggling to transition to the gym after work, which was one of my biggest struggles, set an alarm to wake up 1hr earlier to work out before you get ready for work. That work out could be at the gym in your apartment complex, the local gym, or even at home do not get caught up in the need to have machinery to get that heart pumping. Look up different exercise routines. Look up 30 minute circuits. Purposely plan to add that exercise into your daily routine and stick to it. I promise that this hour sacrifice will provide you with more energy than that sleep you are missing! If your job is demanding and you feel like you do not have time to start your own business, but you come home and watch TV to unwind, cut your TV time in half (even if it is just one hour) and begin to write the business plan! These sacrifices are actually easier done than said (YES I KNOW WHAT I WROTE). Use every day you wake up as an opportunity to reach new goals and try new things. Get off of social media and stop looking at people living their lives and start to get real serious about living yours I promise you will not regret it. My daily affirmation for this is “I have all the time I need to reach my personal goals and I am disciplined enough to use this time purposefully.” I say this daily over and over again.
WRITE IT DOWN
Yes it! All of it! lol no seriously when we start to write down all the positivity happening in our lives, it makes us have to think about it. Every morning when I wake up, I write a positive or happy moment from the day before. This makes me reflect on the good from that day even if my job stressed me out. It allows me to start the new day with a positive feeling that keeps me even if my day is stressful again (can you guys tell I work in a high stress environment lol!). Some days that positivity might just be that my morning smoothie tasted good, but that makes me have gratitude for the fact that I can afford my chia seeds, berries and almond milk.
Now this is me taking my purposeful living to a whole new level and maybe taking 2 minutes out of your morning routine to add some positivity into it does not work for you, but on a day you do have time start to write out the things about your life that are going well and look at them often. Add to them. cut them into small papers add them to a jar and open the jar and read a few on days that you are struggling with unhappy thoughts or feelings of not being enough. When we put positive words on paper, we start making our brain think more positive. There is muscle in the brain, so just like our muscles everywhere else, when we start to train it positive, it becomes more effortless. In the moments that I start to think negative, I pull out my book if I am home or I use my muscle memory to rethink of all the good and realize how much easier it is for me to operate with gratitude. I don’t stay sad long. I never thought I would ever be able to say that but here I am typing this next to an empty bottle of water in the apartment of one of my best friends in the world just so happy to be able to do so. You too can get to this place. We are in this together. Healing takes time. Healing takes consistency. My affirmation for this is “I have so many positive things happening every day and for that I am grateful.” I say this every day over and over again.
Self-love. I have so much to say about this one. I will likely make a post in the future all about tips to improve self-love because MAN I have truly come a long way. I remember in college I made some videos nude in front of the mirror crying telling myself how sloppy and unattractive I am. I mean I was really going in on myself and I would watch that video and cry some more. I am glad that phone fell into a huge puddle of water because what in the world was I thinking???? How could I have so much hate for the one person I have to literally spend 24/7 with. Popping pills and smoking weed did not take me far from me and in moments once I was back sober I would be more sad than I was before I tried to drift away. Like dag I’m still here girl I’m actually you and you and I will be together into eternity. I said then that if I were to make it into my late 20s I would work hard to change how I feel about myself because by then I would have to be tired. Well, I knew myself more than I gave credit for because not too long before my 28th birthday I sat in my car in Los Angeles with my best friend down to visit and I told her that I was tired. From that day on I made major strides to change how I feel about myself.
Now, I can not get enough of myself!!! I am in the mirror just smiling and affirming how beautiful I am in this moment right now. Every freckle every wrinkle every roll and every pimple on this body is beautiful. Although there is always room to grow and improve, if nothing about me ever changed from the me that I am now outside and inside, I am ENOUGH! GOOD ENOUGH! STRONG ENOUGH! BEAUTIFUL ENOUGH! INTELLIGENT ENOUGH! DISCIPLINED ENOUGH! This is my actual affirmation that I say every single day over and over again. In the beginning I didn’t believe what I was saying. Some moments the words would make me break out in tears. To this day, I sometimes have to repeat it a few times more because I stalked an Instagram model’s page or I gave into my pizza cravings instead of eating my plant-based meal prep, but I don’t stop. I will never stop. I know that if I keep affirming my beauty and my worth, my reality will keep becoming more beautiful and filled with all the love the world has to give.
There is plenty more that I am currently doing to improve my quality of life. I have a therapist. I tell my family and friends I love them more. I live in the moment and move away from focusing on the past and worrying about the future. I am working to keep my apartment clean and finding the perfect facial cleansers. I lotion as soon as I get out the shower. I make sure to speak up while at work instead of holding in feelings of being overwhelmed due to a need for process improvement. Most importantly, I speak up when something is bothering me or I am feeling like I have no reason to be happy. As a bonus tip, I urge you to speak up as well. If your support systems do not know that you are hurting, they will not know when or how to help. If you are struggling with depression or low self-esteem please know that you are not alone and you are loved. If nobody else has told you, I love you!!! You are here to contribute to the world something that only you can give. You deserve to heal! You deserve to be happy!