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 But let me tell you, this way of thinking is outdated & it doesn’t respect you as an individual.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.

Imposter Syndrome

Let’s talk about Imposter Syndrome. There have been many times I have experienced this in my lifetime. However, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I started to recognize that the feelings I had associated with this actually had a name. Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon that causes people to doubt their abilities enough to make them question if they belong at the table they are seated. These emotions are often feelings that cause people to invalidate their successes as if their hard work was not enough for them to be deserving of where they are. So many of us work so hard throughout our lives to ensure we provide the life we desire for ourselves and our families. However, despite how hard we work or how prepared we are; many of us combat (at some level) the anxiety associated with imposter syndrome.

Today, I am here to tell you to avoid succumbing to this warped perspective & claim the things you worked so hard for. You don’t have to work harder than the next person to prove you belong there. The fact that you are there, sitting at the same table, in the same room is all the confirmation that you need. You are not there by coincidence or happenstance but because God’s favor opened the door you chose to walk through & that’s enough reason to be where you are; doing what you’re doing.

Baby girl, those late nights & early mornings you invested were not for nothing. The education, the brainstorming & the creating got you there. No one knows the sacrifices you have made to be where you are & no one lays down at night being accountable for your choices and actions but you. Everything you ever wanted & received became a manifestation that you worked for. Don’t take that from yourself.

They told you the world is yours. Don’t doubt it.

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.

Preserve YOU.

Sometimes we are so busy working hard to make things work for us that we settled for, outgrew or that were never meant for us in the first place. When this happens, we often fail to acknowledge how each experience & interaction makes us feel. But today I tell you, never want it that bad. If it does not feel right with your soul — DO NOT CONTINUE TO PURSUE. Everything that appears promising may be the very thing that disrupts your soul. If it disrupts your soul it doesn’t belong. Recognize disturbing energy by what your body tells you & leave whatever that energy is attached to alone.  Anything that disrupts your peace is not worth the expense. I mean that with anything — work, relationships, friendships — ANYTHING. 

A few years ago I dated a guy that had a dope personality, had a genuine moral compass & was an overall good guy. Despite how promising the time spent appeared; my spirit was extremely unsettled. The anxiety I felt (for no apparent reason) was almost crippling & I could not understand the reason if the picture I was looking at was so pretty. Now hear me when I say, I don’t struggle with insecurities, I take time to myself after every serious relationship & I spend a lot of time pouring into myself; so when I stepped into this I had a clear mind, unburdened emotions & genuine intentions. However, the anxiety that creeped in should’ve been a clear indicator that I was trying to put two pieces of a puzzle together that did not belong. If I would have listened to what my anxiety was telling me, I could’ve eliminated the amount of time it took me to recover from our encounter.

Listen love, your instincts, intuition & emotions are there to protect & add value to your life. If your emotions are out of whack, something has impacted them enough to disrupt your peace. If your body is giving you indicators that make you unsettled, your best bet is to listen to it. If “something just ain’t right”, that something is all the reason you need to evaluate & determine what is robbing you of your peace. There are options in the world babe, never should any option be the reason you lose your peace.

Preserve You.

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.

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.

Your Employer Needs Boundaries Too!

I want to preface this memoir by stating that this is not a memoir on quitting your job or changing your streams of income without a plan. In fact this memoir, is about maintaining a healthy work-life balance that allows you to establish boundaries, empowering you to put your self-care first while being a productive contribution to your employer. Do not get me wrong, I admire the bold tenacity of the person who said, “eff this” & created their own standards of their employment. However, as a person still subscribed to the 8-4, 9-5 work schedule & probably will be for a while; I can only speak from my experiences & those like me. So instead of challenging the choices of the bold entrepreneurs (all of which, I know, have been successful in their businesses); I urge you to identify the organizational behavior of your employer & determine if you have allowed it to put restraints on your life.

Many people wake up every day with crippling anxiety unsure of what awaits them. Others have sacrificed the time spent with their families & loved ones to be able to manage the high demands of their jobs & salary employees spend many nights working past their scheduled time to ensure they can, at minimum, meet their daily expectations. Often times, we discuss establishing boundaries in our personal lives but fail miserably with establishing in our professional career. I am not oblivious– I understand that most of us, if not all– rely on our employment to pay our bills & provide for our families. But how good are we to our families, if we allow the stress of our employer to leak into the various facets of our lives that make us, us.

It is imperative that you advocate for your self care. Because if you have nothing else, your self care is what will allow you to keep giving unto the world in the capacity that you want to. Too often, we lose ourselves in our jobs. We become disgruntled, unhappy, anxious, disconnected & unmotivated trying to keep up with a race that we did not agree to run in. If you ran yourself to the ground, your employer (hopefully) will leave your position unposted for a week but once the demands of that position require fulfillment; you better believe that you become a memory. People will mourn you, show face at your funeral, give their condolences to your family but the job must go on. All the work & time sacrificed will not matter anymore a month in to the position being filled. So be mindful of this. Pour extra time into those that love you. Reserve that time for those that will mourn you long after the first week of your passing. Give them more opportunities to create memories with you by creating your boundaries.

Boundaries are not simply for the people in your personal life. Boundaries can be respectfully established & enforced in your professional environment & you do not necessarily have to explicitly state them. Many of these boundaries you have to enforce, coincide with the employee handbook they provided when they were trying to convince you that you were working for the best place on earth. How effective is working late, if you still have to face the problem tomorrow? Detach when needed. Use your mental health days. Take your hour lunch. Clearly communicate your needs & stand on that with expectation. Show your families you love them by giving them the best thing you can give them- your time. Most importantly recognize when the boundaries you establish are being violated & move accordingly. There are so many opportunities out there, you do not need to restrict yourself to mistreatment or anything that is not conducive to your evolution. Remember- YOU first. YOU deserve to be FIRST.