What is more exciting than love? I am convinced that nothing is, because this emotion puts a smile on my face and sends delightful shivers up and down my spine. Love continues to be a wondrous roller coaster and journey for me, but I want to express the excitement in my new found glory! My life has become enhanced since I decided to look at it closely, in terms of who I am, through some pretty spectacular love goggles. “LOVE YOURSELF” is a trendy quote that is oftentimes misconstrued, and I want to help you find what it could actually mean for you. So grab your gear, sister, because I want you to pursue and rediscover Y O U R love with great admiration.
“I GREW UP AS AN ATHLETE”
I have always taken great pride in the statement above. I enjoyed sports growing up because they were activities that I thrived in. My parents supported me (sometimes too much), but hey, what are parents are for? My two favorite classes throughout grade school were art and physical education. Go figure, but those activities were where I always found my niche. They made sense to me, and I was really good at them. But did I pursue those passions after I graduated high school? Unfortunately, no. Friends, partying, and eventually, work became my priorities. Then, later, I became a mama. Every new phase was more important than my desire to stretch, shoot hoops, or break a good sweat. Eventually though, I found myself wanting to redirect some of my energy towards something that mattered to me. I walked myself into the gym, signed up for a membership, and hired a personal trainer. “TEACH ME HOW TO WORK OUT, PLEASE!” I had no idea what I was doing in the gym, but I knew that physical activity and the motivation from a professional trainer, were the perfect combination I needed to rewire my athleticism. And so my journey began. Sure enough, the place that once seemed filled with methodical machines needing mathematical equations to solve, became a familiar, home-like presence. Now I walk through as if I own the place (just kidding)! But I do understand how to use the once foreign equipment to target specific muscles, and achieve my goals. I reflected on the fact that I “was” good at sports growing up, and was hopeful that it would all come back to me through training and practice, but viewed through my spectacles of reality; the gym seems sufficient for this period of my life. Training makes me feel empowered and confident, not because of weight loss or muscle gain, which are natural benefits, but because I seek an activity that fuels my desire to set goals, and experience better health. Additionally, exercising releases endorphins that help make you happy! And who doesn’t want that?
“I AM COMMITTED TO A HEALTHY DIET”
This is from me, who used to consume pb & j sandwiches and protein bars as a second breakfast everyday; not to mention the 1-5 sugary treats out of the candy jar at work. Girl Scout Cookies? Sure, give me 2 boxes. I struggled to refrain from eating an entire bag of Doritos after work. And girl, do not even get me started with chips and dip or ice-cream. I justified these unhealthy choices because I made a few good ones throughout the day.… I drank a healthy smoothie in the morning and attempted healthy dinners a few times a week. Recently, however, my mindset shifted when I started a “30-days to healthy” program (details coming soon to this blog). All in all, I had not really conceptualized the impact that bad eating habits have on our mental and physical being until a significant change is made. I feel like a new woman! But please do not misinterpret my complete mindset here, because I can assure you that I would love to eat cheesecake, warm cookies, and Twix all of the time, but I am learning to embrace the importance of moderation, and am totally okay with it! Why? Because “loving myself” has reached a new level of nutritional understanding and benefits that I can’t wait to share with you! Learning about food; the way our bodies are nourished and respond to it, is absolutely fascinating. If you get as excited as I do about this topic, then I really hope you stay tuned for my 30-Days to Healthy Journey.
“I’M SOLD TO THE DREAM”
This is what I tell myself, anyway. I think there is power in determining the things that set your soul on fire. It seems as if I do a quarterly report on myself for accountability, too. It can be as simple as creating a to-do list for the day or week, or annual goals. I. Like. To. Strive. I have dreams, and they make me happy, so why wouldn’t I attempt to chase after them? Today as I was hopping back into my car after filling up my gas tank, I thought to myself: “At one point, this was all just a dream”. Because there was a time in the not-so-distant past that I wished for a new and dependable car; that I could fill up without having to check my bank balance, cautiously watch the dollar signs on the screen, and be terrified of causing an overdraft fee. Misery loves company, and I was the company. I definitely have God to thank for my achievements, however, I did not wake up one morning with a magical gifting of the luxuries I enjoy today. I had to put my feet on the ground each morning (and believe me when I say that, in and of itself was a challenge, as I am not a morning person), but I did it, and continue to do it. Why? Because I am intrigued by the power of our minds and work ethic to help us achieve our desired lifestyle. I am thankful for my car, my bedding, the clothes on my back, food on the table, and my ridiculous collection of shoes. But more so than all of the “stuff” that quickly loses value, I love how I overcame the idea that everything was owed to me, and learned to work hard for what I wanted while enjoying the process. You can’t put a price tag on that. It’s scary, to justify what others will think or the fear of “what if I fail?” But can I be honest with you? You probably will fail a couple times, and people may or may not think much of it. Being defeated is part of the process; it’s a matter of having what it takes to rebound and make corrections as you learn the ropes. If there is one piece of advice you can take from this rendition, I say, “GO FOR IT”, because (even if I am the only person to ever tell you this), you have what it takes! So, sell yourself the dream.
FORGIVE AND HAVE MERCY
The ultimate keys to our own contentment. Disappointments from those whom we care about and rely on are inevitable, but my favorite remedy is forgiving, healing, and learning mercy. At the end of the day, I truly believe that most people have the best of intentions, even if their words and actions seem to demonstrate otherwise. There are many bible scriptures that teach us the importance of forgiveness. One of my favorite examples is as Jesus was dying on the cross, with two criminals, one on the right and the other on the left of him. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” Luke 23:32-34. When I find myself upset with someone, I naturally focus on my valid feelings, however, I have learned to consider the perspective of the other person involved. Did they really mean what they said, and/or is there a reason beyond my understanding that caused them to be hurtful? My reflection on this has changed my life. It has reminded me that all humans are imperfect. We all make mistakes. We all do some things that could have been done better. We have all said something that we later regret and apologize for. The truth is, we do the best we can with what we have been taught through our own life experiences. My advice is to not allow people to walk all over you, but to give yourself the due diligence of wisdom and truth in lieu of anger and disappointment. Forgiveness releases unwanted weight, while mercy provides the means to understand and grow. I encourage you to let go of the emotional burdens that hold you down and out so that you can experience the freedom to live beyond others’ behavior.
NOW GO OUT AND
Loving yourself is more than buying “the things” or giving yourself kudos for having many Instagram followers. I find that loving yourself is valuing the creation of Y O U, and building a foundation that says “This is my dream and I will do whatever it takes to achieve it”. I have also learned through my health journey that our body is what protects the dream, and we must properly nurture it to reap the best it has to offer our frame of mind. Simple, yet powerful. You are loved right where you are; so I want you to prescribe yourself a pair of love frames, and begin seeing your life from a perspective that allows you to go far and do great things. Let “Loving Yourself” become “The New Black”.