A few weeks ago I was chatting with my bestie just having our normal girl chat and recapping the wonderful birthday dinner that I had with all my closest friends. She said she didn’t get a chance to tell me at dinner but what she admired most about me, She told me how she admires how self-aware and how I take the time to really grow as a person and do the self-work.
I believe I knew where she was going but I asked her to fully explain anyway just to make sure I was on the same page as her.
She said, “You’re aware of yourself and you're always doing the work to be better. You recognize where you need to grow and then you take action. Not too many people do that. You’re always doing the work you talk about and you hold yourself accountable. When you realize that there’s an area of your life that you want to be better in, you do it and I see you doing it. And I can only think of one person that does that.”
I understood exactly what she was saying and I had to agree with her.
Where I started
Several years ago I felt stuck in every single area of my life, physically, spiritually mentally, emotionally, you name it. I honestly believed that I would always feel that way and that change wasn’t going to happen for me. Maybe I was just dealt some bad cards and I would have to accept it and settle.
Yes, I was married, had 2 kids, house and “good” job, but I still felt stuck because I was just existing and going through the motions feeling incomplete.
I didn’t like how I felt at all. It was a constant nagging feeling that I couldn’t shake. One day I had an aha! moment which more than likely came after watching Oprah, that I was responsible for my life, yes me, and if I wanted my life to change I had to do something about it. That's it.
It was like a light bulb went off in my head and I shifted into action. Now let me point this out I have always been a driven person and when I set a goal I went after it, but almost 100% of the time that was based on the end the result like getting a good grade in school or a promotion at work. Never did I apply the same effort into developing myself.
The first step I took was finding a therapist because I knew I needed to deal with the emotional baggage that I had been holding on to for over a decade. After 4-months of group therapy, I had learned so much about myself and started to heal from the inside out. I committed to personal growth and that I would continue to do the self-work in each area of my life. I changed my eating habits, started running, reading personal development books and kick-started my journey to becoming the best me. I am still doing the work, day in and day out.
Because I was tired of being tired I made a decision that I wanted my life to be different and I would commit to changing everything that I was unhappy with.
Doing the self-work, really works
When I reflect and think about what my life used to look like in comparison to today, I have to pause and say thank you. I am reaping the benefits of the work I’ve been putting in and I like the woman I am becoming, she looks really good.
I shared this example on the podcast of how my husband had said something to me and I totally had no interest in what he was talking about and so I dismissed it all together. Based on my response he made a comment that was true at that moment and walked out of the room.
After he left the room, I thought about our conversation and immediately did a self-check and realized that I was wrong. I needed to apologize to him because that was poor communication on my part and I didn’t handle the situation in the best way. I told him I was genuinely sorry and even though I didn’t want to have the conversation it was rude of me to disregard him altogether. I hugged him and we went on with our day, with good energy.
The only way I was able to acknowledge my actions and quickly fix things was because of the self-awareness my friend mentioned earlier. I knew that if I didn’t handle the situation right away there would have been tension and negative energy, and I don’t have time for that. Y'all that’s growth! :)
Embrace the process
Self-work isn’t easy in fact it’s very challenging at times but I always think to myself if I am not working on me then what else would I be doing?
I am choosing to show up for myself and give 100% effort towards becoming the best me that I can be. I am excited to see how this story will unfold as I continue to grow and do the work on myself and help women who are on a similar journey.
In order to grow, pursue your dreams, live life to its fullest and be free, you first have to do the self-work, there’s no getting around it. Self-work starts on the inside and it’s a necessary part of your self-growth. I see women all the time put so much energy into their outer appearance but lack putting the same effort into their inner self.
Where to start
When I started doing the self-work I was on the journey alone and I had to Google and YouTube everything and it took forever. I wish I had a go-to guide to simply help me with starting the process. As I was thinking about writing this post I thought about what did I need when I started out that would be beneficial for my audience. I want you to think about the following...
1. Identify the area in your life where you feel stuck the most
2. Journal what you feel and why you feel the way you do
3. Focus on one particular area of your life that you know needs attention first
4. Trust the process and know it will take time and that’s ok because this is your journey
5. Keep your word and don’t give up on yourself
This is your life to live, no one else’s but yours. Let go of what society, family, friends and maybe even coworkers have said you should do and cultivate a life that feels good to you.
Stop telling yourself it’s going to be too hard or you don’t have time to do the self-work. Yes, you do! You make time for what’s important to you. Your life is your priority and you’re responsible for how your life will turn out.
When I started my journey I was working in Corporate America, in graduate school, had a family and my life was busy. However, I would take my lunch breaks to read, listen to a podcast in my car and sometimes just sit by myself and think. I focused on taking small steps and over time I started to feel better.
Key things to remember:
- You’re responsible for your life. No one will come and save you this is YOUR life.
- You’re on an endless journey. You’ll always be working on some area of your life. And that’s ok.
- Stop hiding. Don’t avoid doing the work. Face your fears and press forward.
- You’re powerful. You’ve overcome other challenges in your life, this is not the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do.
- Believe in yourself and that you have what it takes to change your life.
- Let go of the stinking thinking. We all deal with negative thoughts so be prepared to shift your negative thoughts into positive thoughts.
- Each day you get a fresh start. You’ll make mistakes and you won’t get it all right, you’re not perfect. Take it day by day and be easy on yourself.
Resources to help you do the self-work
- Black Girl In OM
- Hey Girl
- The Friend Zone
- Gettin Grown
- Therapy For Black Girls
- Dear Sugar
- Myliek Teele
- Super Soul Conversations
- The Lavendaire Lifestyle
- Girl Be Free
- Own Your Glow by Latham Thomas
- The Gifts of Imperfection by Bene Brown
- The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
- Living Over Existing by Alisha Robertson
- All The Joy You Can Stand by Debrena Gandy
- The Crossroads Between Should And Must by Elle Luna
JOURNAL, WORKBOOKS, PLANNERS
- Free Your Mind Journal
- Writing the Layers
- The Five Minute Journal
- I Love My Hair Coloring Book
- Level Up
- Cultivate What Matters Planner
- The Visionary Journal
- Girl Be Free (affirmation cards)
- Cards on the Table -journal prompt cards
- The Universe Has My Back Gabby Berstein
- Affirmators 50 Affirmation Cards to Help You Help Yourself - without the Self-Helpy -Ness!
WEBSITES & INSTAGRAM (self-care, minimalist, holistic lifestyle, positive energy, crystals, consciousness, retreats, etc)
Want to get all the resources in a printable guide? Of course you do, click the image below.