Virtues from Motherhood: A promise for 2018

With 2018 just two weeks away I want to devote my last blog of the semester to a promise. A promise to smile more and laugh louder, a promise to stop and breathe life in a little longer and a promise to be a little kinder to ourselves in 2018. The last two years have been ones of great change and endurance and reshaping who I want to be as a woman. I have learned that the relationship I have with myself is by far the most important one there is and I need to protect and preserve that before I can do for others. Here are the promises I am making to myself for 2018….

  • Learn your limits: Sometimes you just need to say no and put yourself first, and that’s okay. You can’t please everyone all the time and you can’t neglect your own well-being for the benefit of others. Take a minute to take stock of your limits and don’t be afraid to put your foot down and protect them, people who can’t respect your limits, don’t respect you.
  • Be kinder to yourself: Everyone fails sometimes, everyone has a bad day and everyone is going to make a mistake. Don’t beat yourself up over this, own up to it, clean up the mess and keep going with your head held high. Your mistakes don’t define you, how you handle it does. Be kinder to yourself when you have a bad day, take a breather and do better tomorrow.
  • Aim high: Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Set goals for yourself and go for them, anyone who tries to stop you is threatened by your ambitions. If you want to go back to school, go, if you want to double major, go for it, if you want to change careers and start over, do it. Remember this is your life and you hold the reins.
  • Ask for help: Nobody likes to admit they can’t do something but every now and then we need a helping hand. It might be with a work project or it might just be a shoulder to cry on, either way know when to ask. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak or inferior it means you knew yourself well enough to know you were starting to sink.

As I look back on 2017 I think of all the goals I set last year. While some of them have collected dust this year other ones have blossomed. I think the goal I most achieved this year is self-care. I was finally able to admit I needed help and I got it; and I’m on the mend, yesterday, today and going forward. I still have so much time to grow and meet my goals but my main one right now, is making sure I live my best life, every single day.

I wish all my readers a happy and health holiday season, I’ll see you in the New Year!

Mask On

picture obtained from mindfuldragon.com

If you’ve ever flown on an airplane in your life I’m sure you have heard the following words:

“If the cabin air pressure changes dramatically, oxygen masks might fall from the ceiling directly in front of you. Follow the airline’s instructions in operating their masks. If a child is seated beside you, put on your own mask before helping to put a mask on the child.”

It is standard protocol that flight attendants recite these safety instructions to all passengers before takeoff. There’s a reason why. Your job, first and foremost, is to help yourself and take care of your own needs. Hence why the flight attendants encourage you to secure your oxygen mask first. When you ensure your own safety, you have a better chance of saving others: your family member, your child/children, the other people you’re traveling with, or another passenger. If you try to put the mask on someone else first, chances are you’re going to pass out  before you can even get their mask on them. You and the person you want to help have both lost.

The moral here is: You have to make sure you are taken care of first, and THEN you can effectively help others.

obtained from horizonmagazine.com

Whether it’s in your line of work, with family, friends, or anything else, we sometimes find ourselves giving and giving, and helping and sacrificing for others until we’re drained with nothing left. As someone who works in the nonprofit sector and is currently a Human Services major, I know how demanding it is to dedicate your life and career to helping others, and I take pride in it. We all have a common goal of ultimately wanting to make a difference in the lives of others. This doesn’t just apply to someone in nonprofit, I think it’s true for most people. Many want to make a difference in the lives of their friends and families, or in their community. Striving to do so, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the expectations and responsibilities that may carry.

Have you ever found yourself realizing you’ve committed to too many things but not wanting to drop any and disappointment someone, so you just let it kill you?
Have you ever stayed late at work because your boss asked, but you really needed to be resting?
Have you ever said yes to something or someone you didn’t have time for because it was your friend or family member?
Do you see where I’m going with these questions???

If any of this sounds familiar to you, or brings up your own scenario, you probably consider yourself to be selfless, giving, and helpful. There’s nothing wrong with that.
I wish all of humanity possessed these traits, but self care has to be your priority.
As indulgent as the phrase “self care” may sound, it starts with just a few basic habits that are crucial to your functioning. Making sure you get enough sleep, making sure you take time every day to dedicate to yourself; reading a book, taking a nice long bath. Those are some of the many basic things you can do to elevate your mindset, and mental and physical health.

Sometimes taking care of yourself often begins with saying “no” to others, and “yes” to yourself. That can sometimes invoke feelings of guilt because you’ve had to turn down helping or doing something for someone so you can enjoy that much needed nap;
but don’t apologize for making yourself a priority!
A better me, is a better me for me AND you!
You have to be a little selfish at times to be completely unselfish when it counts.

As a woman, I relate to naturally being expected to be a nurturer, a giver, selfless. This school of thought of woman expectancies and our “role” has been passed down through generations. We see our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and neighbors take care of their family, friends and significant others, and plop down tired at the end of the day. Who takes care of them?? We see them constantly putting themselves last and everyone else first. We watch them end up putting their health and well being onto the back burner to please others, and we tend to end up in that cycle ourselves. That doesn’t truly help you and in the long run it has its consequences. I’ve learned from my experience (and theirs) that helping others is almost impossible to achieve if you are going through turbulence in your own life.

When you’re in an angry space, the last thing you want to do is put on a smile for others.

When you’re in a negative mindset, you’re unable to make a positive impact on others because you are consumed by your own issues.

When you’re unhappy, you don’t have the will to try to make someone else’s day, or hear about someone else’s problems, because you’ve got your own problems to worry about.

When you’re TIRED, what energy do you have to put into someone else?? You aren’t doing anyone any favors by not showing up for them fully because you’re exhausted.

You are absolutely useless to anyone else if you are depleted and gasping for the time and energy you’ve completely given away before you’ve met your own needs.
What can be poured out of an empty cup? Nothing.
What happens to a battery you never charge? It doesn’t work!
You will get to the point where taking care of others will consciously, or unconsciously, feel like a huge burden if you aren’t taking care of yourself as well, and will eventually lead to resentment. This isn’t good for anyone and this is what harms relationships.

I am a “me time” cheerleader. I always put myself first because when I am full of energy and happy, it spews out to everyone around me; at work, at home, wherever. When I’m walking around with a smile, I’m brightening people’s day, and I’m present and able to help and be my best self. I’ve also realized that on the other hand, when I am doing too much, I end up complaining about all those things and blaming them, when I should be looking at myself. Self care isn’t just important, it’s crucial. It’s the number one driving force of all around healthy living.

Self care is the best care. Put your own oxygen mask on, then you can assist others. THEN you can be fruitful at work without over exerting and burning out.
THEN you can do favors for your friends and loved ones without regretting that you agreed to do it.
THEN you can continue to make your positive impact.
It has to be done in that order or you will end up burned out with no energy left for yourself.

Everyone I know, myself included, can do with a little bit more self care and self love. Where do you begin? That’s a question a lot of people have because they assume self care means go out and shop, or take a day off work for a spa day. Those are great (seriously!) but it can be much simpler. You might know exactly what it is you need to do for you that you have been neglecting. If not, or you just need motivation, I want to share these two posts that really highlight the importance of self care and the simple ways you can start to show yourself more attention. I hope they inspire you to take care/ better care of yourselves so you can live your best life and in turn inspire and be better for those around you.

50 ways to Practice Self Care
Help Yourself Before Helping the World

obtained from i.ytimg.com

P.S I watched a video last week of an interview on the Humans of NY facebook series. It is an older woman proclaiming how much she loves herself first, and then she loves you second, and I said “who found this video of me in the future??!” Lol. Her words really spoke to me because it is exactly what I believe when it comes to self care and putting myself first. Check her out, seniors are the precious gems in this world, they carry all the wisdom 🙂 Video

Virtues from Motherhood: A reminder about love

Too often we find ourselves in toxic relationships, both men and women, and question how we let ourselves fall into this unhealthy pattern when we know better. Sometimes we’re able to tell other people the things they need to hear to be strong and pick up and move on but we cannot seem to grasp it in our own lives. In my own life and even that of the people close to me I’ve found such amazing people in some unfair situations but rather than write a traditional blog post about it I’m going to write an open ended list of what love is and I hope my readers will add to it. Also, always remember love starts with YOU, love yourself, love your body, love your strengths and weaknesses and love every day you wake up with the chance to shine!

LOVE IS,

Compassion

Understanding

Learning

Trust

Excitement

Sharing

Lazy Sundays with take out and TV

Enjoying one another without words

Forgiving imperfections

Helping one another grow

Good Morning notes

Bringing home their favorite snack after a bad day

Cuddles

Forehead kisses

Understanding their past without prejudice

Letting go of fear

Experiencing new things together

LOVE IS NOT,

Condescending

Judgmental

Controlling

Painful

One sided

Abusive

Ultimatums

Conditional

Stressful

 

Remember that no matter what you’re going through or what you’ve been through you deserve love. Love takes work, commitment and a desire to build with each other and most of all it takes time. Nevertheless there is never ever an excuse for love to consume you life in negative ways or to break you to the point of losing who you are. Love should be the harmony of two lives living side by side it is not a force that rules your life. Love is happy.

 

So tell me, what is love to you?

 

 

If you or someone you know is struggling visit halfofus.org for ways to help.

Get Your Head Out Your Butt and Put It High

a woman of color wearing a shawl and purple booties

Are you, or someone you know, insecure? Do you, or someone you know, feel most happy when all attention is on you? Do you, or someone you know, seek to discredit others and their relationship to find self-worth? If you answered yes to any of the previous statements then I have unprofessionally diagnosed you with low self-esteem and you need to seek therapy or start to love yourself a bit more.

I am unsure who is to blame for the lack of self-love that I come across on individuals. Is it the parents, whether neglectful or having enabling characters? Is it the individual, their lack of experiences or stubbornness to change? Either way IT DOES NOT MATTER. As a person, one must “find” themselves eventually. With finding oneself one shall LOVE ONESELF. I do not mean latching on a group, drowning in music, or seeking religion just to make yourself feel better or to find an excuse for your F’d up ways.

Unfortunately, I do not have a concrete answer. Heck, life isn’t concrete! But I do wish to bring awareness to the lack of self-love and bitterness that is within people. These same people carry hatred in their hearts and make it spread like wildfire, which inevitably cause things like war, slavery, provocative youth, suicide etc.  I am no genius but I am pretty sure hate and Donald Trump supporters are directly proportional. And for a little laugh, I dare you guys to go to Loser.com .


QUESTIONS TO THE AUDIENCE: Do you agree or disagree? Why/Why not?