The Finish Line

Good Morning!!! Today marks several finish lines for me.
(1) It’s the official last day of my semester,
(2) it also marks the beautiful finish to my first successful semester with The Buzz Blog!
When I first started, I had no idea where to really begin and how to organize my thoughts into things that would make sense to you guys reading it.
You can kind of compare the way my creative brain works to that last minute of popcorn popping in the microwave. You think it’s done and then there’s that solo *POP* out of nowhere and you’re like “Oh! I guess it’s not done” lol. That’s how my ideas work, I think I’m all settled and decided and then I’m like “Oh wait what about this instead?! Let’s change the whole thing and start over”.

Throughout this process of improving and growing, I have learned so much about channeling the message, and even when it feels like it is about to gear off a bit, finding a way to make the underlying message clear. I hope that you have taken away whatever message was meant for you, in that moment, while reading my posts. Namaste!

So last week I told you guys to keep pushing for your goals (Be a GOALDigger!), and to keep striving for the things that help you define success and happiness in your lives. There’s no greater feeling than living your best life, or at least knowing you’re on your way there. In my group dynamics class, which focuses on leading groups: from support groups, educational groups, self- help groups, etc, I was asked to create an icebreaker that promotes and challenges self actualization. I want to share the icebreaker with you because all of the things that I’ve talked about in this blog this semester from self love, to self care, to self discovery, they all really focus on how much you know about you, and how in tune you are with yourself and your feelings.

The icebreaker is named The “I Know Me” Checklist and it’s actually not a checklist, but a sentence completion exercise (Don’t ask..a checklist is going down a list so it works). It is 12 sentences meant to be answered in the morning, or maybe at the beginning of your week to take time to do some self reflection, encourage yourself, and also goal setting. Positive self talk is one of the driving factors of happiness and well being. As human beings we’re constantly talking to ourselves whether it’s actually outloud, or the things we are thinking internally, and this dialogue directly affects our confidence and self-esteem.
So why not make it as positive as it can be??

list of sentence completion activity

Credit: Neffi

When you get the chance, check out the “checklist” and go through it yourself now if you can, completing the sentences with the first (positive) response that comes to mind.
Or save it for tonight before bed, whenever you can be clear to enter a free cognitive space. Reflect on the thoughts and feelings it brings to light.
How does the answers make you feel? Think differently?

Please feel free to go through this checklist or even create your own to use as motivation and a reality check for you. Maybe you have a moment where you just need to feel better about yourself. Maybe you need to realign and figure out what your next steps are and what your goals are. Maybe you just need to create a mantra and routine. Exercises like these are beneficial to your relationship with YOU.
There’s no one on earth we spend more time with than ourselves.
I don’t know about you but I need that relationship to be A1!
Like the quote in the picture says:
“A negative mind cannot produce a positive life. Speak your happiness into existence!”


Happy holidays and Happy winter break to you all!
With Lotsssss of Loveeeeee,
maybe too much love,
like overwhelming “Grandma get off my cheeks I’m grown now” love,

Neffi!

Photo Credits:
Left Photo
Middle Photo
Right Photo

 

GOAL Digger

person passed out with crowd looking in concernLive photo of me on City Tech campus lol. Just kidding, but that’s how I’ve been feeling. These past two weeks have felt like I’m walking down the street, but the wind gusts are so strong that I’m not even getting anywhere. As soon as I finished one paper or project, the next was due right after it. I’ve also been dealing with some personal things and probably have been the most overwhelmed that I’ve ever been in my life.

But I push on.

I push on because I know what I am working towards and I know the things you want most, do not come easy. I am a GOAL digger.

mug that reads goal digger on table with office supplies

I’m sure you’re familiar with the label “GOLD digger”, used to describe someone who seems to be using others for financial gain and opportunity. You could just call them ambitious, or someone who is able to strategically match themselves with partners who can contribute to their lives… but hey I don’t make the definitions lol.

A “GOAL digger” in my own definition is someone who too is ambitious and clear of the things they want. Goal diggers have dreams, goals and aspirations for independence, success, and their version of happiness. They “dig in” and do the work to become the person they strive to be.

Being a “GOAL digger” is all mindset really. It’s the basic of setting goals for your life and doing what it takes to achieve them. Whether they are goals set in your education, your career, your personal life, or some other area. You are setting goals for whatever it is you desire that will define success to you. Tackling obstacles and burdens that may get in your way, being determined, persevering, sometimes a little suffering with blood, sweat, and tears.

A GOAL digger never stops working towards their goals.
What have you done to get better today?
Think of every single move you made in the last 24 hours.
Was everything geared at taking steps towards your goals?
Do you have a clear idea as to what your goal really is?
You need to do an honest self evaluation of where you are right now.
Then you can focus on shaping (or re-shaping) the path.
Then once you have your eye on THAT prize don’t lose sight of it.
Fight for it! Because us goal diggers, we don’t give up.

So as I finish up this post and will then have to re-direct my focus to the 3 finals I have the rest of this week, I’m not panicking, I’m actually celebrating. I celebrate because that means this semester is practically over and I’m one step closer to my goal.woman holding out hands excited and quote picSo continue to be the GOAL digger that you are, whether you’re goals are big or small, short term or long term, doesn’t matter. Sometimes my goal is simply to NOT finish the entire party size bag of Lays’s chips on my own. Lol just saying no shame.There’s a reason you want to accomplish these things, so respect that desire and do something about it. Set them, write them down, stick to them, and the reward is all yours.

Love ya, Neffi
quote picture

 

 

 

Inspe

This morning I’m taking inspiration from one of my favorite blogs, Inspe.
Inspe is ran by one of my friends, a divine being, a gem, Lauren Purnell. In Lauren’s words, Inspe, a twist on the word inspiration,  is “the art of getting your life. Anything that speaks to your soul and brings you joy. Spreading the vibe of authenticity. Create your life. Dream it. Speak it. Live it.”

I met her at my current job, where she no longer works because she wanted to pursue her entrepreneurial dream and abandon our friendship lol.

Just joking we’re still “amigas4life”. Inspe is a daily photo blog email. She sends out this email at 4 am with memes and gifs that have no specific story to tell, but you get to create your own story and interpret them how you please.
If you follow my posts you will know that I am a MEME QUEEN.

If you’ve ever texted me you will know that I am also a self proclaimed GIF connoisseur lol. So this blog is like heaven in an email. The thing is memes and really gifs really speak their own language. It puts imagery to feeling which is interesting because most people are stimulated by visuals. It’s almost like when you’re texting or talking on the phone and you can’t see someone face to face, you let them express your emotions for you. I love it!

So anyway, Inspe is unique in the sense that it leaves interpretation up to the beholder. Sometimes it’s just interesting or eye-catching aesthetics, funny stuff, sometimes you’re like “that is so trueeeeeeee!”, sometimes you have no choice but to screenshot at least 3 of the images because they hit something on the nail and send it forward.
You never know what you’re getting which is the best part.

As like a little preview, this was today’s inspe email:

There was a few gifs as well that I can’t add here but you get the gist.
Awesome Randomness.
If you want to subscribe, which you should lol, you can at this link and you will start receiving the emails.

Hope you decide to sign up, just sharing something I adore♥

Love ya, Neffi

‘Tis The Season

So let me guess, you’ll be having salad and water all week right? lol. Yea sure, me too.
I don’t know about you but I think during thanksgiving weekend I ate enough for me and you and your family too. I feel sick right now thinking about all the things I ate, or I should I say, overate. I actually got sick! Just shameful.

So anyway it’s like a holiday countdown at this point. One down, one more to go.
Me and my family have been bombarding our group chat with screen shots of things we want, providing “gift budgets” lol, and checking off what we’re getting for who.
My 6 year old niece started off saying she only wanted one thing, a Barbie dream house, and I thought “oh what a simple girl!”. As of sunday, her list is now at 6 or 7 items. What changed? I don’t know lol.

As the holidays approach whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, It’s always my favorite time of the year. It’s a festive time of tradition, happiness, and gift giving between family and friends. Everywhere you go you hear cheery music and see bright beautiful lighting, it gets annoying lol but I appreciate it.

                              * cues Mariah Carey’s  “All I want for Christmas is you” *

Granted it isn’t this “great exciting time” for everyone. For some this may be a time of recurring sadness due to events like the loss of a family member, current living circumstances, current financial status, or other burdens. That’s why it’s our job to use our privilege to spread love and cheer, as corny as that sounds. Take this time to maybe donate gifts or a blanket to your local shelter or agency. Those old clothes and coats you don’t wear, donate it. As the weather gets colder, consider helping someone who can’t afford winter clothing so that they can stay warm. There is more than enough local charities and volunteer groups hosting coat and blanket drives for homeless shelters and families in need. I’m sure there’s even one on campus. No gift is too small.

Bring donuts to work for your co-workers one morning. Hand out christmas cards with personalized messages this year. There’s so many simple ways we can make this time better for someone; and remember not everyone’s sadness is visible.

You can make a difference without spending a penny. You can donate TIME. There are always ways to help in your local community. Even if it’s just for a couple hours, the time that you give will make a difference to at least one person and that’s really what the holiday season is about. Heck, babysit your neighbor or your friend’s child for an evening if they look like they need a break.

One of the most important things to do in order to spread joy to others is to appreciate the joy in your own life. We have so much to be grateful for, but sometimes we get caught up in our busy schedules and forget about all the blessings in our lives. Even the things that stress us out the most are usually our biggest blessings: our jobs, family, school obligations.

I am grateful for my annoying family members that no matter how many times I tell them their gift cannot cost more than $50, they continue to send me pictures of things that cost $120 lol. I am grateful to be stressed out with term papers and studying for finals. It took me a long time to get back into school and I’m grateful and definitely not taking it for granted. I am grateful for this platform and even if only one person reads my post each week, I know they are taking something positive away from it. When you are grateful it seeps from your pores and everyone around you feels it because it reflects in your attitude and how you treat others. This holiday season, reflect on the joy in your life and intentionally take time to feel gratitude for those things and pass the feeling on to someone else.

Love Ya, Neffi
picture of quote


 


Potluck of Life: What do you bring to the table??

My department at work had our annual Giving Thanks potluck this past Friday. Everyone had to bring something to contribute to the meal.
People brought different food dishes, desserts, appetizers and eating utensils.
Some people went over the top and brought 3 dishes (me), some brought stuff that couldn’t possibly be for the 25 plus staff to all have a taste of. I mean three crab cakes? Really?

Two people did not bring a thing but their empty stomachs, AND the person who was supposed to bring the drinks didn’t even show up to work! Yes! I am 100% serious, we were back and forth to the water fountain with those paper cone cups, it was really a fiasco! Everyone kept asking me “who was supposed to bring the drinks?” LOL.
I just can’t.
People crashed uninvited from other departments, ate and left.
Just BOLD, and you know what, honestly, I think this is a PERFECT metaphor for life.

What role do you play in your life and others around ? Are you a contributor? The over selfless contributor? Are you the shameless freeloader? Are you doing the bare minimum just to say you did something? Are you the inconsiderate one who does not hold up their end or crashes the party unexpectedly?

Oh wait. Maybe….you have too many of these types of people in your life.

Here is what I think of when I think of these people.

The Contributor- Always thinking of, or giving to others. Gives without needing to receive and enjoys harmony among their peers. They can be counted on. Would like to consider themselves selfless. Helping others comes natural to them. Loves to set a positive tone for others around them.

The Over Selfless Contributor- Loves to give but maybe a little too much. Finds extreme satisfaction in making someone else happy, despite what it may take out of them. Risks ending up feeling unappreciated but still goes over the top for the sake of others.

The Shameless Freeloader- You often wonder if this person thinks of anyone other than themselves. They will know its your last and still ask you for it, and it seems it just doesn’t register to them that maybe you actually need it. Not necessarily a bad person, but definitely a selfish person.

The Bare Minimalist- This person does the absolute least expected of them only to be able to gain from others. You technically can’t say they haven’t done anything to contribute, but you almost feel like you’d prefer they not be a part of anything. They get to appreciate the fruits of others labor while others often feel cheated by them.

The Inconsiderate- There’s a very thin line between being selfish and simply just not caring. This person crosses that line. They are careless when it comes to considering other people’s feelings. They make the conscious decision to not think of anyone but themselves and only see things from their own perspective. Maybe they are unaware of their actions, but calling them out about it them tends to be pointless.

Any of these people sound familiar to you??

Imagine life and your relationships are a potluck. Everyone should be doing their part and bringing something to the table. That is how it is most successful, when people give, and people receive. It’s unfair when one person is holding up their end and has to overcompensate for someone else who hasn’t or isn’t contributing.

Do you bring something positive or negative to the table? Do you drain from the energy or contribute to it? Think about your friendships, family relationships, relationship with your significant other.

What role do you play and what role do you allow others to play in your life?

Do you need to re-evaluate your own actions or maybe re-evaluate your relationships?

Food for Thought.

Love you, Neffi


 

Self Discovery Series Part 4:…This Is Who I Am…..

You have now entered the finale to this series! If you need to catch up here you go>>>

Part Uno
Part Dos
Part Tres

The main goal of this series has been to stimulate your thoughts. When you hear the words “self discovery”, people tend to think it means to find yourself.
Nope, the big deal is not to
find yourself, we are already found.
What does find yourself even mean?

Self discovery is about knowing yourself. So I wanted to stimulate your thoughts on getting to a place where you are in tune with YOU underneath all of the outside influences. Your thoughts of how you perceive others and how others perceive you, and how easy it is to get it all wrong. Thoughts of knowing your truth and owning it. Thoughts of finding assurance, security, and happiness in knowing who you are, defined by your own standards.

The easiest way to get to know yourself is the same way you would get to know anyone else right? Questions, listening, paying attention. Trust me it’s okay if you haven’t been. We barely make time for intentional self-discovery. We’re just bombarded with messages from other people: what they want for us, what they think of us, how they perceive us; and we forget to listen the voice that matters most, our own!

I am no expert but I know what works for me, and only hope that the things I share may work for you as well. Through this process, I have learned more about myself as well. Part 2: Perceptions meant a lot to me. It threw back into my face how I can also be part of the problem. Assuming things about people I don’t know, writing my own story about them before one word of conversation. Creating snap judgements of people based on their expression or clothing, or how I (and this one I do a lot) create a character and personality for someone after simply reading an email from them.

I asked a few of my friends: my “sister friend” of over 11 years Mone, and a few of my blogging sisters Sam, Pebbles, and Cherishe to really dig deep like we talked about in Part 1, and tell me who they are, and I created a video montage of their responses. These women inspire me everyday and I am humbled to know them.  Embarking on a journey of self discovery is one of the most rewarding paths in life you will ever take, and one of the most beautiful things to witness happen in someone else’s life.

Don’t believe me?  Just watch. Click the video below to hear their self written stories :).

*VIDEO*

Just want to say thank you to these ladies for being vulnerable and open and muses for me and others around them all the time, I love you guys.

woamn with tears on face

Photo Credit

Although the journey of self-discovery never ends, you’ll know you’ve reached a good place when you’ve developed a greater sense of self-pride. You will be proud of the person you are and embrace even the ugliest things about you, because without them, you wouldn’t be you.

Teach yourself how to accept and love yourself for you who you are, no matter what you’ve been through and what you’ve learned in the process.

Acceptance makes all the difference in your confidence, self-esteem, and overall sense of self love. Love is loud and infectious and it stands out. Love yourself and others will have no choice but to fall in line hunny.

Own yourself, own your thoughts and your mind, and know that there’s nothing anyone can do or say that can take you away who you are, who you define yourself to be, from YOU.

I hope you enjoyed this series and it inspired you to get to know the “man (or woman lol) in the mirror” more.

Love, Neffi.

 

Self Discovery Series Part 3: Show Me What You See

Uno, Dos, Tres! Let’s get part three of the Self Discovery Series going! If you haven’t gotten with the program, you’re seriously under a rock and it’s not okay lol.

Catch up here by clicking on the links to part 1 and part 2.

So last week we talked about perceptions and how easy it is for people to have misconceptions of who we are, or perceive us incorrectly. They are seeing us through their own eyes, but we have the power to control what they perceive because their perception relies on what we are showing them.

A few weeks ago my blog sisters Brianna and Sabrina came to me with THE dopest idea! They found it here and it’s an experiment where a girl decides to let her boyfriend dress her for a week because he doesn’t seem to see her the way she sees herself. I decided to do this experiment with family members because as I mentioned in part 2, perception starts with external appearance. I wanted to see myself through my mother’s eyes, my brother’s eyes, and niece’s eyes. I felt like these were three great perspectives. My mother has her own image and expectations of me, my brother is super nonchalant and rarely compliments me lol, and my 6 year old niece idolizes me and is SUPER GIRLY so I knew this would be interesting.

So I asked them to dress me for work the next day. The only direction was to choose something that they feel is reflective of me through their own eyes. After they chose the outfits I asked them WHY they chose that outfit, and what did they think others would be able to perceive of my image on first sight.

I started with my 6 year old niece, Sanaa. This was interesting, just like I thought it would be. Let me start by saying she demanded everything from chokers, rings, makeup, shoes, I mean the whole 9.
blog author neffi young niece rummaging through clothing drawer
She landed with leopard cat ears (No it was NOT halloween), a gray camisole, brown suede skirt, olive blazer, brown choker, and furry platform sandals. I mean… look at her outfit in the picture above, she wears tutus and tiaras all day, I knew she would be over the top!

So umm yea… I mean impressive sense of style for a 6 year old, but I would NEVER go to work in those shoes or randomly with cat ears. When I asked her why she chose this outfit she said I am a beautiful person and the outfit makes me seem like a “nice beautiful girl”.

Next up was my Mom.

blog author neffi's mother pictured holding up burgundy pantsShe chose a burgundy tunic, black jeans, and black boots. Also I don’t know what’s their obsession with chokers lol but she chose a choker.

She said she chose this outfit because it looked more sophisticated than I normally look (I disagree lol) and that at my job I should be setting an example and looking the part. I teach young people ages 16-24 work readiness skills at The Door, a Nonprofit organization in NYC, and she feels I am more effective if I look more serious and sophisticated. I think I teach just right in my sneakers and sweatshirts but hey, perception is everything right?

Lastly, I asked my brother to select an outfit for me for work. All I can say is Lord have mercy lol.blog author neffi brother pictured holding up pants

This young man put in jeans with THE BIGGEST holes… for work!!. I looked like I was headed to a bar-be-que in the summer!

His thoughts behind the outfit was I looked stylish and “fashionable” and looked like “the people he sees when he goes to the city”. In his opinion, the outfit set a relaxed chill tone and he likes chill people. Younger brothers lol. He dressed me as a reflection of himself, how HE dresses, jeans and basic top.

This experiment went easier than I thought but I guess it was slightly biased because I only buy clothing I like (duh). It was interesting though to really pay attention to how much clothing is used to measure perception. My niece said my outfit made me look like “a beautiful person”, my mom said I was being a “role model” and my brother said I was “normal and approachable”. Although we have been taught not to judge a person solely by his or her outward appearance, even now as adults it remains to be one life lesson we hardly ever comply with. People tend to associate a specific clothing style with a certain personality, job affiliation, social status, and actually….our status period.

So as we are working to create our own narratives and take charge of how people perceive us, like I talked about in Part 2, knowing that perception starts from the outside is key.

quote photo

The homework for this week is to test out this experiment yourself., it was super fun and interesting! Ask a family member or friend to pick out an outfit for you for an specific occasion, such as work, school, a date, wherever. Ask them why they chose what they chose, ask them what is the message the outfit sends?. This concept of perceiving people at first sight is one I find to be unfair and sometimes pretty hurtful but the truth is, that is really how it works. People say things like “dress the part”, “dress for success” or “dress for the job you want” and when you do the experiment this week it will open your eyes to your clothing language. We already have a clothing language for the most part right? Sweatpants means “I’m relaxing”, a tie means “business”, so when you are more aware of your message, you continue to control your story. Let me know how it goes in the comments after you do it!

Until next week!

 

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

– Rachel Zoe

Self Discovery Series Part 2: Perceptions

Woman allowing other woman to see her through her eyes

photo credit: Jezebel.com

Last week in Self Discovery Series Part 1: Who Are You?, we talked about uncovering your true self and defining who you are on your own terms.
I hope you did the homework!
This week I want to get into
perceptions and how to handle the discrepancy between external perception: how others see and would describe us,
and
self-awareness: how we see and describe ourselves.

How many times at one point or another has someone perceived you totally differently than you believe yourself to be. You may have heard something like:
“I thought you were mean when I first met you.”
“I thought you were quiet”
“You seemed like…”
And you just wonder where they get these ideas from? lol

How people see someone vs how they really are (facial expressions)

photo credit: buzzfeed.com

Or the other way around: you met someone and created an image of them that totally differed from the person you grew to know. The biggest factor in someone’s perception starts with a first impression. The discrepancy this causes is that our image only partially reflects our personality.

I’m sure you’ve already been told time and time again how important first impressions are and how hard they are to reverse, and that’s true. People’s perception of you is initially their reaction of the “surface”or “top layer” of you, based mostly on your external appearance.

a self discovery pyramid

artist: Revalatori; https://www.instagram.com/revelatori/

You end up being pre-judged solely on your facial expressions, demeanor, your clothing, those sorts of visual factors, and not the real you. A person can create an entire judgement and story for someone else without speaking a word to them. You look at someone who appears angry and think they had a bad day and that they are NOT the person in the room you’ll ever approach. Then you talk to them and they say they’re not angry at all, that’s “just their face” lol and they’re actually having a great day.

All of our interactions are opportunities for us to see more deeply into who we are, who we are showing to people, and how we can begin to refine ourselves and make sure we are narrating our own stories. We should view every encounter and interaction as a mirror through which we can discover something important or new about ourselves.
We can then use what we find as valuable information in the process of arriving at a deeper self-understanding and self awareness.

So the questions of focus are:

How do people see you?
and
Does it match who you feel you really are?

Now, does it really matter what others think of you?? Some would say nope, just do your thing doesn’t matter what people think. When you’re talking about perceptions and what “people think of you”, you tend to meet resistance because most people feel strongly about not living for the world where everyone is too judgy anyway, and they shouldn’t care what anyone thinks. I know I’ve ran the “you think I care what they think of me?” line too many times before LOL.

Which is right…but to an extent. There is nothing wrong with having the confidence and free spirit to ‘do your own thing’ and live without the pressure of caring what everyone thinks of you; but it’s dangerous to disregard other people’s perceptions of you.
Imagine believing that you come across as a confident person. You speak clearly, you “don’t beat around the bush”, and you have no problem sharing your thoughts right However, people actually see you, not as confident, but as cocky, arrogant, inconsiderate, conceited, insensitive, or “feeling yourself”.
What are the consequences likely to be? How many relationships can be broken..or never formed? How many opportunities could pass you by? How many people would you be rubbing the wrong way?

Getting to the bottom of how people perceive you is one of the essential elements of understanding how you come across to them. Does how you represent yourself daily match who you say you are/ who you want to be? Once you know this, you can start to think about adapting your behavior so that their perception of you is what you want it to be, not what they have assumed or decided for themselves.
Put yourself in a position to control their perception of you.
This is YOUR show, direct it.

Let’s say you had a candy company and the candy was A-Ma-Zing but the wrapper was so unappealing and un-engaging that no one ever really brought it. Customers looked at that wrapper and assumed the taste of the candy was just an unappealing as that wrapper. First thing you would think is “ change the wrapper” so customers wouldn’t have the incorrect assumption and end up knowing it for the amazing candy it is. Make sense?

I challenge you to think seriously about how others view you.
This week’s homework is: Ask a diverse group, a few friends and family members, to tell you what they think of you? What did they think of you when they first met you?
Also reflect on some of the misconceptions and pre judgements people may have had of you, and you of others. If you are not happy with some of the conclusions you come to, then you know what to work on. This is not for you to feel ‘judged’ or misunderstood, because that can happen. They have some nerve to see you differently from the way you see yourself, how dare them? Lol.
Seriously, appreciate the honesty as it comes your way.
A life with all YES men has NO growth.

The thing is, if you’re willing to be honest with yourself you will quickly realize that you may have some things to work on.  If all their perceptions seem so far fetched, what has led them to these conclusions? Self- reflect on THAT. What changes can you make to reverse the perception and set a new tone?
That is how you continue to make progress on your journey to self discovery.

Until we meet again next week for part 3!

“How you are isn’t always as important as how you are perceived. Perception is the gatekeeper between your essence and your image. And your image is the only thing others truly see. Changing yourself is at best half the battle. Changing how you are will give you peace, but changing how you are perceived will give you power.”
– John Bastien

 

 

Self Discovery Series Part 1: Who are you??

For the past past few weeks I’ve been meeting a lot of new people and I have been put into several situations where I’ve had to introduce myself and give this sort of “quick spiel” of who I am. Also, I have some upcoming assignments that have been forcing me to really dig deep and look into myself. One major assignment is a personal essay of why I have chosen the career of Human Services, helping people.
A few months ago I had to give a speech that asked just that question: Who am I?

I remember brainstorming about being the middle child of 7 siblings, my cultural background, being an aunt, my job, and blah blah blah, and I landed on basing the speech on my zodiac sign, Leo. I find that I use that to define me a lot. I’m comfortable in finding comparisons between myself and a female lion/ queen, and that starts the basics of how I would describe my personality, actions, determination, and confidence. The truth is, I think that question “who are you?” may just be the most complex question on earth. It’s so vague and so heavy. I asked my best friend what is the most complex question on earth, expecting agreement from him, and he said “if you’re talking to a female it’s what do you want to eat?” LOL. There is some truth there, I’m not gonna lie. After that I asked him “who are you?” and he answered “ I don’t know. Who am I meaning what?”, and that response only proved my point.

I decided to do a four part series, this being part 1, on self discovery and the concept of self defined identity because we’re always discovering ourselves right? We’re such fascinating, diverse, and ever changing creatures that a question like “who are you?” at any given time can have the possibility of so many different answers. The American English Dictionary defines self-discovery as “a becoming aware of one’s true potential, character, motives, etc.” It can also be defined as “the process of acquiring insight into one’s own character”.

Self-discovery means many things. You do not get to know yourself simply by growing up and growing old. Knowing yourself is a conscious effort; you do it with intention and on purpose. It means finding your purpose in life, it means digging deep into your childhood and revealing experiences that shaped you…good and bad. It means realizing what your beliefs are and living by them. The effects of self-discovery include happiness, clarity, fulfillment, and even enlightenment. It can end with you completely changing the course of your life, and starting to follow your true passion and purpose.

The journey however is not always an easy road. The journey includes fear, doubt, confusion, misunderstanding, and literally re-visiting all your choices and experiences in life, including choices that were made FOR you, but ‘whoo’ I’m not gonna go there yet.

The journey starts with basically interrogating yourself.
To begin with, do you know yourself well?
Are you clear about what you want in life?
Do you have a sense of purpose?
What defines you?
What makes you happy?
If you stop to think for a second, you may find that you have answered “no” or “don’t really know” to some of the questions above. Which is fine.

If I were to ask you who you are, what would you say?
Would your answer include your name, sex, or ethnicity?
Would it include your job, relationship status, age, or faith/religion?
Would you include your parental status: “I am a mom, dad, I have no children”?
Would you list character and personality traits? Take a minute to think about it.

Would it be easier to recollect someone’s else perspective or description of you? What about recollecting what your parent’s want you to do or be, which defines your current life? Example: “I’m going to school for nursing, my mom says I will always have a job once I’m in the medical field” Is it easier to recollect your shortcomings and how you’re not the person you want to be right now? In my experience it always seems to easier for people to list things they regret or wish happened, than to state confidence and firm belief in who they are now in this moment.

I’m asking a lot of questions but it’s only because I really want to get you thinking. My biggest goal for this series is to challenge you to dig below the surface. What if the condition of answering the question “who are you?” was that you could not include any of those outside factors I just mentioned. Yes they are a part of you, I’m not taking that away, but what those things are, as I like to call them, are “molders”. Those things have molded you into the person you are. We have many different people in us. There’s you at work, and there’s you in social environments. There’s you with family, and there’s you with friends. Sometimes there’s a different person for different friends!
Then there’s
YOU. Underneath it all. In private moments. What is that person like, what do they want out of this life, what do they believe? What is his/her core values?

artist: Revalatori; https://www.instagram.com/revelatori/

Up until now, it is very possible that you don’t have a clear idea of who you really are. Self discovery should be an important goal for everyone. It’s only through discovery of self that we can identify our purpose and fully actualize and maximize our potential. Maybe you haven’t spent enough time getting to know yourself. Maybe you’ve been defining yourself by the things mentioned earlier, or the things you do or don’t have.

What are the steps to self discovery? How do you burrow below these things in the picture above and find that true self?

I love sharing outside sources because they give me more insight into topics I find interesting and I know can provide you more insight and follow up on the topics touched in my posts. Today I want to share these posts with you A Journey to Self Discovery, Simple Steps to Self Discovery, and hope it can help you begin your journey or continue to navigate your journey to knowing you, and creating your own identity profile.

To get the most out of this series it’s going to be important to be open, honest, and committed with yourself. Until we meet again next week, I want you to find 15 minutes in your down time to do the following:

Find a quiet place/ time where you won’t be distracted for the time. Take the first 5 minutes to enter a space of relaxation. You can close your eyes and just breath, or meditate, whatever it is that will get your mind clear.
Next, reflect on these three questions:

Who am I? Why am I here? What makes me unique?

I would suggest you speak your answers out loud as they come to you as though you are outside yourself, talking to yourself. Or write it down, which I always prefer by the way, visualization is everything. It doesn’t have to make sense, just whatever consciously comes out, make note of it. Do so for 5 minutes. After a few minutes if you possibly draw a blank and feel like “that’s it”, no. Don’t get uncomfortable by the silence and keep thinking. Now take the final 5 minutes to reflect on how this made you feel, what did it give you insight into? What memories came up? How have these things contributed to who you are today? How much of it can you say is your identity?

Okay, that’s your homework and it’s the first step to clearing the blur and getting down to the real you. The posts I shared also give you other soul searching exercises and thought provoking questions to help you as well.
Until part 2 next week, Safe and fruitful travels down your journey 🙂 Love ya!

 

“That wonderful and terribly frightening journey of self-discovery. That process of growth, of being an independent person, of learning who you are and what you want from life, is the real secret of life, happiness and beauty.” – Diane Von FurstenBurg

“You is Kind. You is Smart. You is Important.” Affirmations 101

You is Kind. You is smart. You is Important.

In class last week my professor reminded us that we are now approaching the halfway point of the semester.​ Excuse me??? As someone who re-entered school last semester after 5 years, I honestly still get amazed at how fast it flies by! These past two weeks I’ve been one paper or presentation, (or blog post lol) away from yanking out a few hairs, I swear. It’s been this cycle of work, school, homework, meet with my group, argue with my group lol, have a life, work harder, school, repeat. Weekends have become GOLDEN, but yet I spent all of mine studying for a midterm that I thought was yesterday and it wasn’t! Delusional much?? Lol. I had forgotten how intense and stressful this time can be if you let it, and as I looked at my peers faces in our
“MTA packed train” style elevator, I could tell I wasn’t the only one. I like to think I can handle pressure pretty well and make sure I always have my game face on, but me needing Tylenol in the middle of class says otherwise lol.

First of all I want to applaud us all for making it to the “halfway finished” line. Whether you think you’ve been floating, sinking, or swimming, you’re here and that’s what matters. Secondly, it honestly doesn’t have to be stressful; it’s only as stressful as we allow it to be. It’s super important that through all this stress of midterms, and priorities, or whatever else we have going on in our personal lives, we stop.

Stop and take a second to look up at the sky, take time to talk and listen to people, sit and eat a REAL meal with a friend or family member and don’t start complaining about how school is killing you.

Photo Credit: fullcupthirstyspirit.com

(Sidenote: If I were you I would screen shot this bad boy right here^^^ good stuff 🙂 )

I want to share with you this one simple thing that has been keeping me motivated and grounded. Daily affirmations. An affirmation is basically a statement of support or encouragement that you tell to yourself. It is defined by Dictionary.com as “emotional support or encouragement”.  You know how right before you start a test, or approach something new, and you’re hyping yourself up, telling yourself “ you got this” or
“you can do this” ?? That’s an affirmation right there.
A resource I’ve been using for a nice variety of creative affirmations is a FREE app called “
Unique Daily Affirmations.” It’s an app that sends you out a daily positive affirmation to basically “help you succeed in your endeavors and make positive changes in your life.”

There’s tremendous power in affirmations. They are you being in conscious control of your thoughts. They are short, powerful statements and when you say them, think them, or even hear them, they become the thoughts that create your reality.
Research has shown that we have about 35,000 thoughts a day,
more or less
(Leading Edge Journal).
Imagine the impact on your life if most of those are negative. It gets worse. Our thoughts carry over, so whatever you are thinking about, gets carried over to the next day’s 35,000 thoughts. So, if you’re thinking majority negative thoughts, you will only cause yourself to think
more negative thoughts, if that makes sense. It takes you back to what your parents and friends and other people may have told you like “ be careful what you wish for” or “What you think is what you get”.
Now, imagine if most of those thoughts were positive, motivating, uplifting and
self building??
Aha, there’s the magic.

Photo Credit: The HoodWitch

My affirmation for today was”:

“I will succeed because I am focused and passionate about my goal.”

Shoot, I only said it once and I believed it!  

You can set the app to alert you at any time of the day you choose. My affirmation releases at 12 midnight every night. So whether I’m writing a paper at that time, preparing for the next day, or I even just end up waking up to it, it always comes right when I need it. We all need that extra push here and there. That extra “you are confident and can do whatever you set your mind to boo” and it’s exactly what I love this app for and think you will love it for too.

The app is available for Apple and android users.

If you’re not into apps or you just prefer the old school black and white press, here are some websites that simply list affirmations that you can peel through and find your own gems.
https://www.prolificliving.com/100-positive-affirmations/
http://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/
http://dailyburn.com/life/lifestyle/instagram-positive-affirmations/

Print a few and in the morning randomly select one. Let your heart guide you to the words you need. That’s one way to be blessed by them. Or you can simply search for the one that connects with you.

Remember, The key is repetition so you want to flood your brain with the positive thoughts. Say it over and over throughout the day. When you feel yourself slipping, when you’re washing your hands in the bathroom mirror, when you’re taking a selfie. The way you choose to think is just that, a choice; and the beauty is that choice is yours!

So no, unfortunately I didn’t give you the “abracadabra” to make midterms and homework or stress in general go away, I simply gave you the “push through, you’ll be fine, you got this”.

Your life may not turn around overnight, but if you’re consistent and make the choice on a daily basis to think thoughts that make you feel good and affirm yourself, (because face it who can love you better than you???) you’ll definitely make positive changes in every area of your life.

Remember who put you on, Love ya!

Photo Credit: Politico.com