Mental Health, First. Success, Second.

For forever we have been told the standards in which we should gain & pursue success. Whether it is to go to school, start our own business or obtain a 6 figure job someone has always projected the image of what success should look like for us. Despite the various avenues we take to obtain that success; the overall expectation appears to remain the same– work yourself to the ground, because if you don’t, you don’t want it bad enough. But let me tell you, this way of thinking is outdated & it doesn’t respect you as an individual.

Unbeknownst to many of us, we push theme often because the message is everywhere. It is even in the “inspirational” memes we continuously repost on social media. But today, I am telling you to define your own success & how you obtain it. Narratives that shame you on how you utilize every waking hour of your life is probably one of the most toxic narratives you can receive. Because as you’re hustling to keep up; your mental health is depleting & the reason for your hustle gets forgotten.

What value does your success offer if you lack wholeness? How much can you contribute to your purpose if you are mentally & spiritually depleted? If achieving success at the expense of your mental health is the only option you have, have you actually achieved it?

I say the same thing over & over throughout these memoirs. Live your life by your standards & do not feel bad when you live outside of the confines someone else has imposed. There is nothing wrong with working hard. However, if working hard requires that you sacrifice everything- including yourself; I urge you to re-evaluate your steps.

Life is meant to be lived fully. We are supposed to enjoy the journey we take to get where we are going. If our noses are to the ground & we do not take a moment to enjoy all beautiful things around us; we lost the thing that’s most important…

US.

Nothing, not purpose, not finances, not anything is worth that.

You are the priority.

Everything is A Choice

Remember Loves,

This week is yours to do what you want with it.

It is up to you to make active choices to —

Be happy

Be confident

Start fresh

Love without conditions

Start establishing boundaries

Make intentional & deliberate decisions that elevate you & others

Learn something new

Make someone smile

Engage in positive conversations

Tackle unforeseen obstacles

& tap into your tribe, if needed.

(because you shouldn’t go through life alone)

Life is all about choices & often we get so caught up with what is in front of us that we forget that every decision we make, every action we take, is an active choice we choose to make. We have to be willing to accept that although there may be instances where choices are not clear; how we react to any given situation, whether good or bad, is still a choice.

You are too powerful to not recognize that you have the ability to make a choice in everything you do. Just take a moment, sit back, be slower to react & pick the option that bests suit you & what you stand for. Determine if whatever you face (whether good or bad) deserves the energy you want to give it.

Make every choice count.

Friendship; God’s Reminders.

Today is a reminder to consistently have people around you that pour into you. Amongst my friends, it has been very evident that the past few months things have been pretty difficult for me. I am blessed that in their own way, they have been there in different capacities; capacities that have exceeded my expectations. Many people tell you they will be there however, I am truly amazed at the capacity people have been. Without a thought, without a question & without missing a beat, they have been there.

As time progresses, I am reminded that meaningful friendships help make life rich. Unfortunately, society has made us think that isolation for the sake of success is normal. Instead of creating sustainable & healthy relationships with the people we love, we have started to put our professions, finances & material desires first. Although those things do matter, the amount of love you receive & the memories you create with the people you love are most important.

Life has a ton of things to remind you that it’s worth living. God put intricate details into everything he has created & in the midst of chaos, if you’re open to it, you will notice things that will make your heart smile. That is how quality friendships are; God’s gentle reminders that it is going to be ok. Regardless of how hard life can be, there are still people here that love you. When you find yourself most ugly, there are people who see your beauty as it is, who love you & are willing to run the obstacle with you.

I pray you have been open enough to receive & recognize these genuine relationships in your life. I pray that you understand that all obstacles weren’t made to be tackled alone & sometimes their willingness to step in takes away the burden of having to do it all alone. I have been immensely blessed because my loved ones made a conscious decision to seek me out when I felt isolation was best. Their interference allowed me to look at the brighter side of things & although things are not perfect now;things feel a little better because I am not alone.

I want that for you. Feeling supported makes a difference in our ability to tackle the things that are stressing us. So if you have a “healthy” someone that wants in when you’re struggling let them in. They see your worth when you can’t & will love on you when you feel unlovable.

It is quite simple, really. Life is too short to go through it alone. So, don’t.

Accept Those Blessing

God has a special way of making it very clear that every one of my experiences serves to be a lesson. As I continue to experience new things as a single woman & adult; I realize that life is a revolving door that keeps me guessing & having to re-adjust. Depending on the kind of student I am, these lesson are either, painful, eye-opening or humbling but a lesson is always learned.

Currently, my experiences have been uncomfortable & humbling but necessary all the same. As someone who’s life purpose is to be a blessing to others; I learned that just as I bless others I MUST be willing to accept when others bless me. I have been doing a lot of self reflection & since I am incapable to do the things I use to do for people; I am realizing that I struggle with accepting the same treatment from other people. Therefore, out of discomfort, I often reject the blessing their affording me. I stubbornly choose to suffer unnecessarily because I struggle with accepting things that people genuinely offer me from the kindness of their hearts.

Now that my situation has changed, I am humbly reminded that what you put out into the world will come back to you. Life is a journey & in that journey I may not always be on top, I may not always be the giver; sometimes I will need to be the receiver. Just as I have poured into others, God will ensure that others will pour into me. When I reject the blessings he’s made a way for I tell God that I’ll find another way aside from the way he has set aside specifically for me. I am working on that. It has been a long journey but I am grateful that I am learning this lesson & that things have been aligned to help me through my difficult times.

I write this memoir to share this message with you. I know many women who struggle accepting from others; unsure of what’s needed in return or out of fear of being disappointed. But today I tell you, YOU are deserving of the assistance you give other people, you are worthy to be blessed & it’s ok to pray for a solution, be provided a solution & accept it when it’s provided. You cannot always do it alone. Take it with gratitude (whatever it may be) & pay it forward when you can. Rejecting a blessing can be the rejection of the very thing that may turn your situation around. Accepting does not change who you are or your ability to deliver on your own; it just allows for someone else to be blessed for blessing you while helping you in the process. A blessing is God’s favor & protection over you & your life.

Accept it.

Life Isn’t A Coincidence…

Life has a way of giving you confirmation for the things you aspire for. However, many of us spend so much time focusing on our routines that we fail to slow down & pay attention to those nuances that serve as confirmation for the things we desire. As I get older, gain experience & begin recognizing the power of manifestation; I am learning that everything comes around full circle— every action has a direct consequence, every desire has the ability to be more & most of us miss opportunities that are right in front of us because we are too busy NOT looking & not maximizing on the opportunities in front of us.

Therefore, today we begin being intentional. We start manifesting with expectation. We begin lacing our expectation with confidence & become readily available to receive. Every action step we take will give us favor. Every word we speak will gain the attention of the person who has influence. Every room we step in will be an opportunity to showcase ourselves & every door we close, readily prepares us for another to open. Today we stop selling ourselves short, stop thinking we aren’t enough & we stop missing out on our dreams while making someone else’s come true.

Nothing we experience, nothing we aspire to be, nothing that suddenly inspires us happens by coincidence. It is in God’s divine timing, his deliberate mission & our ability to identify the things that are for us that will allow us to take heed of our greatest desires. The foundation has been established. It’s on us not to lose on it.

Say It With Me…

I am a connoisseur of positive energy.

radiate a spirit of growth that encourages others.

I am focused & clear minded.

I have the power within me to make things happen for me & those I love.

My dreams & goals obey me.

Every wrong decision is a lesson learned.

My actions set me up for prosperity.

I am growth minded & results driven.

If an opportunity does not sit right with me,

I will use the word “No”.

I will be the best advocate for myself.

However, I will be surrounded by those who will advocate for me, as well.

I love what I do.

If I don’t,

I will pursue something I love to do.

My determination motivates me.

I am resourceful.

I am a vessel of resources & I will maximize them.

I am manifesting a full, abundant life.

I am free from stress & anxiety.

I will master the art of listening to my body & what she is telling me.

I will acknowledge her. I will respect her. I will nurture her.

I will not be crippled by fear.

But I will be motivated by possibility.

Opportunities are endless.

However, any opportunity that isn’t centered in love is not for me.

My life is amazing & it is because I made it that way.

I will enjoy this life.

Make Your Own Narrative.

Happy Sunday, ladies. I am going to write something below & when you read it, take it in, meditate on it & make some adjustments to how you talk to yourself & how you allow other people to talk to you.

The negative narrative you have been telling yourself about yourself is often the narrative someone else told you about you.

Don’t believe it. It is not true.

As someone who had to fight against the narrative people have applied to me; I tell you first hand that nothing is true that you do not want to be true. I have come from being told that I will be at the bottom of the social hierarchy, that I will be a teen mom (even though I was a virgin) & that I will be in jail simply because I had a smart mouth. Instead of taking the time to understand my actions or cultivate characteristics that could have a positive impact; they somehow decided that the best way to motivate me was to prophesies their false narratives over my life. Although, none of what they said has come true; the negative narratives never truly stop coming. As I got older and began managing romantic relationships & more adult-centered friendships; they kept coming. Although the context of the narrative was different; other people’s narrative about my life never stopped coming.

People’s emotions are fickle & they will use those emotions to tell you about you. What they say about you says more about them than it could ever say about you. They are projecting their own insecurities, their own discomfort & their own discontentment on you. That has nothing to do with you. You are not required to be a character in the story they are narrating.

You are the ultimate narrator of your life.

If you want to be a good person, be a good person. If you want to define what success looks like in your life, define it. If you want to make an impact, then make it. Just because these narratives start being told to you young; it does not mean that you have to fall into that storyline. You can be whatever YOU want to be. The possibilities are infinite. They are yours to pursue & make of it what YOU wish.

Remember, God will prepare a feast for you in the presence of your enemies. All those people that narrated negatively over your life, that defined you before you could & who beat you down to motivate you will watch as you enjoy the fruits of what YOU made of your life.

Begin writing your story the way you want it written & enjoy the journey. It is yours. Start narrating it.

Nourishing Isolation

Sometimes life takes a lot out of us. Especially with the drastic experiences we have encountered. there is no wonder why so many of us are drained & exhausted. We get so caught up with the hustle & bustle of every day life that we tend to forget about our needs & desires in the process. Lately, I have been relishing in positive isolation. I have specifically set aside time to isolate myself that allows me to pour into myself, recharge & regroup.

I wholeheartedly believe that we were not created to run ourselves to the ground, yet so many of us do. So many of us are functioning to get by & failing miserably at our purpose. We are to make a difference in this world while having experiences that make our lives full. We were never destined to wake up & dread what lies ahead. Life has so much more to offer than that. Instead most of us have been forced to take the route that presents “burn out” as a reward. Work harder, strive harder, go harder & all life’s promises are yours. We got so accustom to this process that we fail to realize how toxic this process is & that most of us contribute to this toxicity that drains us, kills us & keeps us from our loved ones.

Sometimes, we just need a moment to ourselves. Sometimes we need to isolate so that we can come with a new perspective. We need to understand that life will go on after we are gone; therefore we MUST make life give us its very best instead of the opposite way around. We do not need to kill ourselves to get to the finish line. But what we need to do is give ourselves the time to receive what life will offer us. If we are running ourselves ragged, we will likely miss the opportunities presented to us.

Sitting in isolation, processing our various experiences & being still can be the most wholesome thing we can do for ourselves. Isolation is a loud expression of self care.

Allow yourself the new perspective & enjoy life’s guilty pleasures that allow you to be the best version of you for you! Stop pouring into others without pouring into yourself. Give yourself the same love, the same affection & give yourself grace. God is good. Let him show what time set aside for isolation will do for you. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

You Owe Yourself Patience

Good morning, Loves.

As we prepare to start a new week, I want to encourage you all to be patient…with yourselves. Often, we set these timelines of expectations & beat ourselves up when we do not reach those expectations. We often fail to take into account the things that may have restricted us from reaching our goal or recognizing the that the initial timeline was unreasonable. We are also extremely critical of ourselves. We allow ourselves little space for errors & fail to recognize that the mistakes we make always serve as opportunities to learn something & readjust.

So before this week, I want to remind you– just as you strive to be patient with your co-workers, your employers & family members, be mindful to include yourselves in that group of people. Patience is one of the ingredients to being compassionate. Therefore, I ask you, why does everyone else deserve your compassion except you? Why don’t you recognize that just as someone may need a moment to readjust, so do you? Make conscious steps to take it easy on yourselves. Give yourself some leeway to not be perfect & allow yourself to accept that “your decided” failures are reinforcements that contribute to making you a better version of yourself- spiritually, productively, personally… in every aspect.

The thing about life is we never know what we are doing & how what we do impacts us in the future. But I do know, mistreatment & the lack of love we give ourselves does not create a positive trajectory we can look forward to later. Understand life, will have it’s loops & turns. Many of the setbacks we experience, can very well get us to our desired goal. If we show ourselves patience, compassion & gentleness–we are guaranteed to be better people overall, not only to ourselves but to others, as well.

Have a great week.

Taking On More…

Sometimes it feels like we are biting much more than we can chew. I know many times we feel like we are running a race on a hamster wheel, against ourselves. Because when one thing is sorted out; another thing happens. I personally have been feeling that way lately & it has been extremely uncomfortable. These past few months, I have been very transparent about being in one of the most unique & uncomfortable faith tests of my life. If I were to be honest, I hate it. But my faith (hence, the current faith test I am in) tells me it will all be sorted out & God holds me near. I am sure, with the current times, many people are feeling much like I am; especially with the holidays close & our inability to gather in the ways we are use to.

Normally, I will start talking about how we are going to get through this time & that God will not put us through anything we can’t handle. Although that seems promising & sounds good; I recently heard a different perspective on this. Pastor Tony Evans told his congregation that often times, God gives us more than we can handle because it helps shape us into the very person we are supposed to be. This resonated with me because every time, in the mist of my chaos, God met me. Every time, when life was too much, God has shown me that he was able to relieve me from the stresses that were too difficult for me but never too difficult for him. My drama has taught me empathy & has molded my ability to encourage those who will be where I am; after me. Because the truth is, our testimonies are not for us. They are for someone else. Someone who will be in the same place we are in now; who is having a difficult time getting through, moving forward & functioning solely on faith.

I am able to write these memoirs every week because they are MY experiences meant for YOU. Life is a classroom; sometimes you will be the teacher & many times the student. We just have to be willing to accept the role we are assigned in that particular time of our lives. Our ability to be the teacher to someone else comes from being the student, failing the test & trying again. Therefore, along with the theme of every other memoir, I am going to remind you that this obstacle is temporary & that your life has purpose. To give up & to lose faith is not only a disservice to you but to the lives of those that will follow after you. Even when life gives you too much to chew, know that you are not chewing alone. There have been other people where you are now & God stands with you in the midst of it all.

You are history. You are a story. You are a trailblazer. You are power. You are strength. You are light. You are life. You are love.