Month: March 2016

Seven Ways to Love Yourself More this Week

Happy Tuesday, Lovelies!

This is a post that I wrote quite a while ago, but felt like we could all use as we navigate through this week.  Enjoy!

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A good friend of mine asked a group of women recently, “What do you really think when you look at yourself in the mirror?”  As I watched woman after woman answer the question, I began to notice a pattern.  More and more, I saw that the women in the thread stated that they often recognized the beauty in their reflection, but quickly digressed into pointing out whatever flaws they saw as well.  I wondered, as I listened to sister after sister repeat this same pattern, what would happen if we instead focused on ways to love ourselves more throughout the week.  Loving and appreciating yourself is a huge factor in creating a sustainable self-care routine.  However, many of us have a hard time figuring out where to start.  Here are seven things that you can do to encourage self-love this week!

  1. – Refuse to weigh yourself

We all know that weight is just a number.  In and of itself, our weight has no power.  However, sometimes it is difficult to remember that, especially if we step on the scales and see a number that is slightly larger than we would like for it to be.  Instead of focusing on that little inconsequential number this week, make a promise to yourself that you will stay away from the scale and instead focus on all of the wonderful things that you love about yourself.

  1. Pay yourself an awesome compliment

Too often we go through the day doing the work of superheroes, and never give ourselves credit because we see it as just something that we do.  Take some time this week to recognize how amazing you are as a person. Whether it’s congratulating yourself on doing well on a class or work assignment, or simply acknowledging the effort you put forth into everyday life – give yourself the congratulations you deserve.  You are worth it, sis.

  1. Be grateful

When you wake up each morning this week, before you do anything else to start your day, take five minutes and acknowledge aloud some of the things in your life that you are happy to have.  This can be any number of things, including your family, your friends, your job, your killer body, a great relationship… the possibilities are only limited to what is inside your mind.  When you focus on the things that you love about your life, it becomes increasingly easy to love yourself and your place in it.  So go ahead, tell me – what are you grateful for today?

  1. – Get moving!

Nothing lifts a mood better than the positive endorphins generated from a good workout!  No, you don’t have to spend the week impersonating a gym rat (unless that’s your thing!), but spending a few extra minutes to go for a brisk walk around your neighborhood or taking a quick break to dance to your favorite song on the radio can do wonders for your mood.  Those awesome feelings will continue to flow through you long after you’ve stopped moving and will help light up the rest of your day.

  1. – Re-evaluate your priorities

As women, we tend to put ourselves last on our list of priorities.  Often we become wrapped up in things we don’t really want any part in because we feel guilty for saying “no”.  Take a few moments this week and evaluate where you are spending the most time, and what activities make you feel the most amount of burnout.  Once you’ve done this, begin cutting away some of the clutter.  I know that sometimes it feels cruel to do this, but the truth is that everything cannot be a priority to you.  Take some time to determine which things really matter and pour your energy into them.  Don’t forget to put yourself on the list!

  1. – Write a love-letter to yourself

This is one of my favorite self-love exercises, because I find it to be personally so effective.  On a day when you’re feeling really good about yourself and your life, write a letter to yourself acknowledging that.  Tell yourself how beautiful and worthwhile you are and remind yourself how much you appreciate your life, at whatever stage of the process you find yourself in this moment.  Then, fold that letter up and keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again on days when you need a little reminder about how wonderful a person you really are.

  1. – Re-evaluate the messages you consume daily

This one is a personal challenge for me, and one that I find myself working on daily.  There are so many negative messages that we are inundated with on a daily basis, and it is difficult not to internalize them all.  Even if we don’t realize that we are consuming these messages, they show up in other areas of our lives through the words that we speak, the music we listen to, the television shows we watch, etc.  Do a quick inventory of the messages you consume on a daily basis this week and determine whether those messages are providing you with spiritual nourishment or if they are sucking the life out of you.  If it’s the former, excellent – but if it’s the latter, maybe you should think about choosing some different messages that will help speak life into your world.

I hope that these suggestions have helped you.  For more great tips on incorporating self-care into your everyday life, please subscribe on the welcome page.  Thank you for reading – see you soon!

-Kioshana

Love vs. Value

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Several weeks ago, I posted this status to my personal Facebook page after an especially trying experience with someone who is very important in my life.  Over the last few weeks, this one sentiment has been the topic of many conversations that I’ve had with those around me, as the truth in it resonated with many.

So, what does it mean?

My parents divorced when I was 13 years old, after 15 years together.  There were several things that “caused” their split (none of which I’ll detail here), but at the base of it, it was obvious to everyone around them that they loved each other.  This fact made their breakup especially painful for me, and kept me wishing and hoping until I was well into adulthood that my parents would get it together and get back together one day.

Spoiler alert:  they didn’t.

I’ve often heard people say, “Someone desiring you is not the same as someone valuing you,” and for a long time, I didn’t understand what this meant.  I have always been a hopeless romantic, and dreamed about the kind of love that I’ve read about in the many books I’ve lost myself in growing up.  For me, it was all very simple – if you love someone, then you’re with them and that’s all there is to it.  My parents loved each other long after their divorce, so why couldn’t they make things work?

It wasn’t until I was an adult and navigating my way through my own relationships that I understood that sometimes love really isn’t enough to sustain a relationship – romantic or otherwise.  Humans are complex creatures and we all have different needs.  However, one of the things that we all require in order to have a successful relationship with someone is to be shown the respect that comes with knowing that person values you.

And, unfortunately, these things are not necessarily mutually inclusive.

I’ve been party to relationships (both romantic and platonic) in which I always felt a certain level of dissatisfaction with the way that I was treated.  At times, the other person in the relationship would gaslight me into believing that I “was being difficult” or “wanted too much”, and that they “loved me” so why wasn’t that enough?

The answer is simple – love is easy.  Love doesn’t require much effort because it happens naturally.  That doesn’t negate the importance of love in a relationship dynamic; it just means that there’s more to it than that.  The thing about successful relationships is that they are built on more than “just” love.

A sustainable connection to someone requires time and effort and a commitment to understanding him/her/them.  And when someone demonstrates to you that they aren’t interested in putting in the work to establish and maintain that type of connection, they’ve shown you that they don’t value your place in their life.

My parents were like that – they loved each other dearly.  However, it got to a point where my mother no longer felt that she was valued in the relationship, even beginning to question her value to herself.  Instead of allowing those feelings to take root long term, though, she decided to make a change for herself and leave the toxic situation.  She (and her children) were better for it in the long run, although it was very painful at the time.

I’ve learned from my mother, and from watching other people’s relationships and interactions over my lifetime, that we truly do teach people how to treat us by what we choose to accept, and people show us how important they are by the things that they say and do to us.  The person who prompted the status that you see above did so by demonstrating to me that he did not find value in me – and I responded by moving away from the person and situation. While he may not find enough value in me to treat me the way I desire and deserve to be treated, I do see that value in myself.  And because of that, I am unwilling to settle for anything less than my standard of acceptable treatment.

Ultimately, that is the most important thing – when we recognize the value of what we bring to a relationship, we understand how detrimental it is to accept someone who reduces our value in order to fit into what’s comfortable for them.  Real love doesn’t look like that – real respect doesn’t do that.

And if it isn’t the real thing, then what’s the point?

 

Love and light – Kioshana

On Forgiveness- Part Two of Two:

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Last week, we worked on forgiving ourselves – today, I encourage you to make it a point to forgive someone else.  So many times in life we hold onto hurt that is unnecessary and harms us in ways we’ve never imagined.  We find ourselves reaching back and reliving pain over and over again – giving ourselves fresh cuts in wounds that we should have let heal long ago.

 

Why are we still doing this to ourselves?

 

Today, I want you to think about someone who has hurt you deeply.  Allow yourself to feel the pain that that person caused you one last time, and then use it.  Write them a letter outlining all of the ways that they’ve hurt you, every single thing – pour your heart out and leave it all on the page.

 

Then, seal it up and get rid of it.

 

If you want to send the letter, fine. If you want to rip it up or burn it, that’s fine too.

 

But whatever you do – Let it go.

 

And as you divest yourself of that physical representation of hurt, let go of the mental/emotional ties you have to it as well.  We have to get to the place where we understand that reliving painful situations over and over again in our minds harms no one but ourselves.  While you’re carrying the mantle of this pain every day, that person is likely living in a space where he or she has let it go and moved on.  Even worse – it may have never occurred to them that they hurt you in the first place.

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Stop waiting on an apology that may never come. Maybe they’re afraid to – maybe they don’t think you’d offer them grace and forgiveness.  Maybe they just don’t care.  It doesn’t matter if they’ve never apologized – doesn’t even matter if they aren’t sorry. Forgive them anyway.

 

You aren’t doing it for them – you’re doing it for yourself.

 

And as you let go, let yourself enjoy the feeling of that terrible weight being lifted from your shoulders.  Relish in the lightness that accompanies laying burdens down and walking in your own truth. Free yourself, sis – you deserve this.

 

Wishing you all the love and light in the world –

Kioshana