It’s the greatest love of all! At least that’s what Whitney Houston belted out in her eponymous rendition of the song that is synonymous with self-love.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve walked through a great deal of my life with rose colored glasses on. I’m the eternal optimist, the girl who sees the good in everyone and everything. It’s a great trait to have at times, but I have to admit that it may actually have been a fault of mine. Sometimes I see good that isn’t there, and sometimes I operate under the assumption that the people in my life love themselves. I mean, who doesn’t love themselves, right?
Well, I’ve come to learn as I’ve grown older that a lot of people don’t (and from the looks of the gif above, I should have realized that around the the tenth time I saw “The Breakfast Club”!) It’s sad, but it’s a fact of life that I’ve had to come to grips with. There are some people who hate themselves so much that they can’t help but be toxic in the lives of others. Their communication style is poisonous; they don’t know how to listen or speak, and frequently shut people out as punishment and never truly working at joint problem solving. They don’t know how to give love or receive it so they aren’t good at keeping sincere, close relationships. And they often blame everyone else for the bitterness and misery that they find in their lives instead of analyzing themselves and changing their own behaviors.
Perhaps you aren’t quite this far gone and you aren’t what people would call miserable or bitter, but maybe you battle with self-confidence or self-esteem issues. You let people take advantage of you and mistreat you and use you because you want acceptance and love, and you’ll sacrifice the acceptance and love that you have for yourself in order to find it somewhere else. That’s no way to live.
At the heart of the matter, it’s probably safe to say that we all battle with treating ourselves like the royalty that we are from time to time. But there’s hope for all of us.
Try incorporating these 3 simple things into your life.
- Write yourself a love letter. Yeah it sounds cheesy, but what’s the harm in a little cheese? Tell yourself all the things you admire about you, the things you might be dreaming of hearing from someone else. Write how much you appreciate your own uniqueness and inner (and outer) beauty. Do this any time you need to boost your spirits.
- Start a cleanse. Detox your body from the inside out. Eliminate processed and fast food and eat sensibly. Try a raw diet. Do something radical (but HEALTHY) with your diet. Drink lots of water. Literally flush your body of bad things and fill it with good things. Love the temple that you’ve been blessed with. You might decide to make the lifestyle changes permanent.
- Pamper the skin you’re in. Rub yourself down in shea butter or coconut oil with loving strokes. Speak kindly to your body, telling it that you’re grateful for the role it plays in your life. For example, as you slather your legs, thank them for taking you where you need to go. As you moisturize your hands, thank them for the work that they do preparing meals, caring for your family, doing the work at your job, etc. Basically, love yourself up while rubbing yourself down. I’m not saying to take it “there” but if that’s where it goes, so it goes!
I have loads more tips and life hacks on how to love yourself so fiercely that you completely change your life, and will be sharing them LIVE on Periscope on Monday, March 27 at 6 PM, CST. There’s also going to be a ton of good stuff in my upcoming book Queening – A Guide to Treating Yourself like Royalty and Radically Changing Your Life. Make sure to add me on Periscope and join in, and if you’re busy then, you can catch me pon de replay.
Once again with the madness in the title, but I think it fits. Can you all believe that it’s March already? At the end of the month, the entire first quarter of the year will be complete. That’s madness! Oh, did you think I was talking about NCAA Basketball? Nah. Not even with Northwestern in the dance. I’m just not into sports like that.
Anyway, it’s amazing how time flies, especially when you have so many goals to smash! And spring truly is an ideal time to get things in motion (if you haven’t been already), both mentally and physically. So, I’ve got a couple of challenges for all of you.
The first challenge is #MovementMarch! I challenge you to do some kind of physical activity every single day this month, and yes, dancing all night totally counts! I started yesterday with a trip to the gym where I ran a mile, biked 4 miles and did an ab workout. I’m beat today, but I’ll make sure to do something, even if it’s just some nice, easy yoga.
Why are we bothering with this? Well naturally we want to be healthy, but there’s levels to this. When the body is in motion daily, the mind must also be in motion daily. This movement makes room for growth, new ideas, and progress!
The second challenge is the #GrowSomething challenge. Gardening is life. And I want you to see for yourselves what has been revealed to me since I started gardening. Things like the fact that in life, often it looks like there’s nothing going on at all on a surface level, but beneath it all, there’s tremendous growth and development happening. There’s a season for everything, including rest, not just bearing fruit. All kinds of gems like that, but things you’ll see for yourself once you get started.
But there are two parts to this challenge. You’re not going to just grow an herb or flowers or a veggie, you’re going to grow something that can change your life! So here’s how it’s going to all go down.
Start a garden – It may be too cold outside where you live (it’s too cold in Chicago) but it’s not too early to start some seedlings off indoors. Herbs are super easy to grow and you’ll really save a lot of money growing them yourselves. Mint practically grows itself, and basil is pretty easy (and is reputed to be a money blessing plant, ca-ching!). You can always grab some dirt, throw it in a cup, toss in a dried lima bean or a black bean or any bean and cover it with dirt, then water when the soil feels dry. A plant will grow, one that produces more beans. Really.
Start a project – Pick something that will take 2-3 months to complete. Writers, this is the perfect time frame to craft a short story or novella, complete a work-in-progress, or edit a completed project. Others might lose weight, start a fitness program, take a course or stop smoking.
Water your garden daily – This is a double entendre. Commit to your garden and your project. When you’re done you’ll have a completed project and something lovely to look at (or eat!).
If you haven’t been as productive as you thought you’d be at the onset of the year, it isn’t too late to get cracking. Plant some seeds now so that your garden will bloom in the next quarter!
During the next couple of days, things are going to be quite active in outer space. Some of you are wondering what the heck I’m getting at, LOL, and that’s okay. I’m going to explain.
Tonight is a full moon, and through parts of tonight and tomorrow, there’s a green comet blazing through the sky (the New Year’s Comet or Comet 45P), and there will be a penumbral lunar eclipse, which means the Sun, Earth, and the Moon will align in an almost straight line (learn more about exactly what that means here). But what else does that mean besides the fact that things will look like the set up to a perfect trick shot on a pool table in the sky?
It means that it’s the perfect time to invoke change, growth and spiritual transformation in your life!
The lunar eclipse, the full moon and the comet mean that the sky is going to be pretty active, even if we can’t see it. And I believe, like many, that as above, so below. So if the stars and planets are doing a special dance in the sky, that means things are going to get shaking here on earth. Let’s break that down a little more.
Comets are really interesting. Comets always get people up in arms. Will it hit us? Miss us? Is it a sign from God of a bad omen or a good one? Is the world going to end? We really have no way of knowing (well, there’s NASA but you know what I mean, right?) so I don’t particularly like to focus on that. I don’t like to get too easy to get caught up in doom and gloom. But one of the most fascinating things about comets is that they are made up of all the elements (fire, air, earth, and water) existing together and releasing themselves in various ways and at various times. Dust combines with ice and gas and is then combusted by fire and everything releases into the atmosphere.
(Comet 45 P)
So I like to think of comets as a method of release, of letting go of things that are frozen inside, things that are dusty, things that drown us and things that set us on fire. We can release it into the ether and let the bad go and allow the good to manifest. We can literally set the skies on fire with our power, ideas, dreams and light!
And that leads me to the moon…
This full moon is also in my astrological sign Leo, (for all you Leo’s who want to know how this will affect you, click here) so I’m kinda stoked about that, but even if you aren’t a Leo, this full moon and eclipse can be really special for you.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this month’s full moon is called the snow moon or the full hunger moon, because February is usually the month that the most snow falls and is difficult for hunting. But that doesn’t mean that this full moon has to be difficult for you.
The moon represents our inner selves: our emotions, desires, dreams and the person we long to be but can’t always be. When it’s full, sometimes we feel pretty full ourselves. Full moons are a time to unleash those dreams we’ve held inside and let creativity and imagination take over. With the full moon being in Leo, the sign that rules entertainment and creativity, it’s a superb time to let your artistic side loose and use it to make your life better and help make our crazy world a better place. After all, that’s what art and creative manifestations do.
And with a lunar eclipse taking place, now is the time to move past, to literally eclipse ANYTHING that has been holding you back or keeping you in the dark. When you move past something you transform. You change.
So how do you invoke this amazing transformation? Do you let the stars do what they do or are there action steps that can be taken? You already know what I’m going to say, right? Let the stars do what they do but TAKE ACTION!
• Reflect. No matter where you are on your journey, look back to see how far you’ve come. You’ve probably done so much to be proud of that you didn’t even realize. Make a list. Journal. And give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve earned it!
• Be Grateful. Thank the universe, God and the people in your life who have helped you to get to where you are. Oh, you thought you did it all on your own? Nonsense. You had help. Gratitude is a surefire way to increase the flow of blessings in your life and to vibrate higher.
• De-clutter. Clean up a little. Get rid of clothes you don’t need and make room in your closet. Cut off negative people. Been hanging on to a friendship or relationship that isn’t working? Let it go. Getting rid of things (and people) that aren’t useful makes room for new things (and people).
• Venture out. Mythology says that the full moon is the time when evil spirits like demons, werewolves and vampires walk the earth. Well grab some Florida water, silver bullets and a garlic necklace and go out anyway. Try something new. Go to a new place. Expand your horizons. If you keep doing the same old thing you’ll never transform.
• Strut your stuff! Don’t go out without looking your best. If the moon and the stars are gonna look all fancy, flashy and sparkly, you should too!
• Stay POSITIVE! Many believe that full moons magnify the heart’s intentions. If that is the case, why not intend on something wonderful happening? Don’t let whatever’s been getting you down keep you down or worse, magnify! Write down all the wonderful things you’d like to see happen and start working towards them coming true.
Now, I’m gonna hit the gym. I’d better look great for all this magic that’s about to go down!
Enjoy your weekend! I hope something magical happens for you!
Peace & Positive Vibes,
For example when my guy does something that upsets me I will run it over and over in my mind. I’ll pick it apart and find every flaw in his words or actions. I’ll examine and assign motives without even communicating with him and before long I’m swimming in a cesspool of negative emotions. I suck right? You better had said “No!” Because I don’t suck! And neither do you because I know you do the exact same thing. C’mon. Admit it!
But what good does filling my mind with negative thoughts do? NONE!
It doesn’t change the situation and only serves to make me re-mad (I know that isn’t a word but I say it all the time and you know exactly what I mean). So I’m basically fuming and fussing (and cussing) about the same thing on multiple occasions. By this time, my guy has tuned out because that’s generally what people do when they get nagged about the same thing over and over again. And nothing changes. At least not for the better.
But I’ve noticed that things definitely not only improve but transform when I stop focusing on what is making me angry or upset with him and turn that focus onto something wonderful that is going on in my life. Because filling up my headspace with something that I’m happy about is so much more productive than filling it with negativity!
This change in focus isn’t just a relationship fix though. Guarding your thoughts and making sure that the bad ones don’t get in your head works miracles with your career and your finances!
Imagine how much a salesperson can sell if they meet their clients with an upbeat and positive attitude instead of appearing defeated before they even make a pitch. I’ve known quite a few successful salespeople and they always walk into their meetings the picture of confidence and capability. They claim the sale before they set foot on the client’s premises.
And we’ve all heard the saying, “It takes money to make money!” That’s because money is a magnet if you look at it properly. Some people look at that saying from a totally skewed perception, and think that they can’t prosper because they don’t have enough money. But the saying doesn’t say, “It takes a lot of money to make money.” It doesn’t even say you have to have enough money. It just says it takes some. So even if you’re down to your last penny, you still have some money and the ability to make some more. Don’t you know someone who always seems to land on their financial feet no matter what comes their way? I bet they didn’t have a negative attitude!
So how do you do it? After all, filling your mind with positive thoughts when your world is falling apart ain’t easy. Or is it? It can be!
Here are some tips to keep your mind overflowing with positive thoughts!
Identify negative thought patterns
Chances are you already know the negative self-talk you engage in. Thoughts like, “I hate my job and I’ll be stuck here forever!” or “I’m never going to find a man.” Be honest about all the bullshit you tell yourself about yourself, your life situation and about others. Journaling is an excellent way to monitor the things that go on in your head.
Stop that stinkin’ thinkin’!
There’s no good in identifying negative thoughts if you aren’t going to stop thinking them. You’re not identifying them to dwell on them! So when the dark clouds start to gather in your head, send in a gust to blow them away! Distract yourself with art or poetry or music. Bust a move in the living room or the bathroom or your car. You can even literally say out loud to yourself, “STOP!” Do what you must, but cut the crappy cerebral action STAT!
Retrain your brain!
Identifying negative thought patterns isn’t enough. And stopping the thoughts isn’t enough. (Yeah there’s a little work to this filling the mind with good things, but it’s worth it!) You’ve got to replace those negative thought patterns with positive ones. This may mean saying out loud or writing your replacement thought. I’m a big fan of writing things because it also trains the brain that you are acting on something. It makes things more tangible and lasting. Instead of complaining that you’re overweight, try saying, “I’m eating healthy and working out and I feel great! My body is changing already from the inside out.” Maybe you aren’t really doing these things, but if you keep saying it or writing it, you will start to! It’s like the great prophet and Funkateer George Clinton said, “Free your mind and your ass will follow.” (*Young heads, please look up George Clinton and don’t make me feel old!)
Use your words!
Your vocabulary is everything! Change the way you talk, change your life! Stop saying things like “I can’t” and “I don’t have” and “I don’t know how”. Statements like these are really limiting and have no business coming out of your mouth! Say “I can” or my favorite “I AM!” I think that those are two of the most powerful words in the universe because what ever follows you must become. You’ll feel great, I promise! Try it! Say, “I am beautiful!” “I am wealthy!” “I have a great life!” Feels good huh? If it doesn’t, keep on saying it until you start to tingle a little.
Make some Lemonade!
It’s amazing how many women love Beyonce’s Lemonade but aren’t aware that they don’t actually have to be Yonce (See what I did there?) in order to manifest their own experience of turning a negative to a positive in their own lives. Lost your job? Start a business! The work you have to put it won’t give you enough time to cry over the spilled milk of a gig that is now a part of your past. Broke up with your BF or GF? Relish being single! Travel and do all the things you planned to do with your significant other by your dammy! When things don’t turn out quite the way we desire the first time, we can try again or adjust or dreams (by making them bigger – I don’t believe in downgrading my fantasies!).
Well ladies and gents, I hope you’re feeling full of positive energy! Oops! Let me adjust my language. I KNOW you’re feeling full of positive energy. You’re ready to tackle anything that comes your way. So what are you sitting around reading for? C’mon go-getters, get going!
So folks, we now have a new president elect of the good old U. S. of A and lots of people (myself included) aren’t all that thrilled about it. But what was especially surprising to me was how impactful the results were to some people. I am seeing a lot of really emotional responses (and throwing a few into the atmosphere myself) to the election. All over my various social media timelines were people whose feelings ranged from disappointment, to anger, to hopelessness, to fear, to complete and utter depression. I understand those feelings, so I hope that you understand me when I say that we must not let our emotions get the best of us. We must transform those emotions and that passion we feel into fuel to continue whatever missions we’re on in life.
*in my Iyanla voice* Oh beloveds! I know how difficult this is to process. I know it feels like a giant setback to progress that began 8 years ago. But try to process those emotions quickly and definitely don’t allow who sits in the Oval Office to determine your destiny. Yes, the President and government have a lot of power, but ultimately, you are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul (I taught my students Invictus the other week; it’s still lodged in my brain!). You may be feeling like the progress you or your community made was all for nothing, and you were set back 1000 years. But it is only that way if you let it be.
You see, setbacks and disappointments are often doorways to life’s biggest opportunities. When you don’t get what you want the first time around, you find alternative methods, you become flexible and more creative with problem solving. You find other means to your end. You become more self-sufficient and you also find and bond with those who are meant to be a part of your tribe.
My Uncle, Chief Monroe Smith, always said that when he was told he couldn’t have or do something when he was the fire chief of Compton, that he had the same response: “Don’t tell me what the fuck I can’t do! Tell me what you’re going to do to help me get what I want!” Ah, spoken like a true Smith. We’re a feisty bunch. But we get shit done.
I’m definitely feeling every bit my uncle’s niece right now. Don’t tell me what I’m going to lose or how I’m going to hurt or suffer because of the regime change. Don’t you dare put that evil on me Ricky Bobby! Speak life over my life, not doom and gloom! Tell me what you can do, what we can do to make things better.
Do you truly want change, or just to wallow in unhappiness and dissatisfaction? If you aren’t happy with something, you can either complain, or you can mobilize and continue fighting to make a difference. I think that the latter option is the better one.
Life isn’t over today, regardless of who won, not if you’re reading this. So if you’re alive, commit to making a difference in the ways that you can and connect with people who can help you. Don’t give up fighting for justice (or peace-ing for justice), don’t give up hope, don’t give up on life or on love.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
What are you waiting for?
Do something wonderful and don’t let anyone stop you!
Normally, I am waaayyyy too vain to allow anyone to see me in this state! I have HUGE bags under my eyes, not a lick of makeup on and my hair is a mess. I’ve been sweating and I have on a Planet Fitness t-shirt. Not one of my finer moments! But I’m not a get-cute-to-work-out kind of girl! (I always feel like those girls are trying way too hard and doing way too little working out, but to each their own, right?) And that’s what I had just finished doing.
I filmed this video on Tuesday at an ungodly hour, before heading to work at the University, but I’m posting it today, on Saturday morning, at what’s kind of an ungodly hour, at least for a Saturday. And I’m doing so purposefully and not because of procrastination, because I’m trying to make a point.
When you’re aiming for success, sometimes you have to work while others sleep. You have to toil away while everyone else is guzzling Bloody Marys and Mimosas at brunch. Because you have a dream, a vision. And dreams and visions are nothing without action. You have to see what you want then ACT to create it. And the action doesn’t always take place at a convenient time. Some sacrifice has to happen – not forever, but for a while (but that’s a story for another post). The work seems especially hard when you’re focused on building a solid foundation, but that’s when it’s most important. You have to keep going, even though you’re tired and the results you desire aren’t coming quickly enough. Because that’s the difference between someone who is successful and someone who isn’t: the successful person didn’t give up when the going got tough!
So yes, it’s Saturday morning, and I’d rather be cuddled up with my man, watching reruns of bad reality TV and stuffing my face with leftover food to nurse a slight hangover, because that would mean that I didn’t spend Friday night on a date with my laptop instead of my baby. But I’ve got some goals that aren’t going to achieve themselves, so I’ve got to put in this work! I’ve got to sweat! And speaking of sweat, I’m off for another run! Something I hate to do, but again, that’s a story for another post.
Peace & Positive Vibes,