Tag Archives: self-love

The Grace To Fail By Sophia Ned-James

The recent demise of Senator Kamala Harris’ U.S. presidential bid got me thinking about how Black women and other women of color are rarely ever allowed to “fail up”. White men do it all the time! You need look no further than the current occupant of the White House for the most glaring example of this.

Even Black men are allowed to “fail up”, or at the very least, are afforded enough redemption to make money. Yes, Black men have it a lot harder than white men, because of white supremacy. But for every Colin Kaepernick that can’t catch a break, there are 10 Chris Browns out here flourishing. Yes, the same Chris Brown who has a nasty habit of beating up women is still out here selling out shows. That’s how patriarchy works.

Black women and other WOC don’t have it like that. Senator Harris, the only Black woman in a ridiculously large field of Democratic presidential candidates, certainly didn’t get to “fail up”. Hers wasn’t the only campaign with organizational and money issues. Yet she still suspended her run for the presidency way sooner than many of her lower polling, lesser known white male counterparts. Even if, as some hope and predict, she ends up on the ticket as the vice presidential nominee, that she “had to” quit so soon is telling.

Anyway, this whole thing got me thinking about how Black women and other WOC don’t get to “fail up” the way that men do. And I realized that a big part of the reason for this is that we don’t allow ourselves to do so. We’re our own harshest critics, and are often the loudest voices telling us what we can’t or shouldn’t do.

I really wish that Black women, in particular, gave ourselves the number of chances that mediocre white men give themselves. After all, we’ve proven time and time again that, when it comes to beating the odds, Black women truly are undefeated. By the time most of us reach adulthood, we’ve learned how to make a way out of no way and overcome obstacles that would have flattened anyone else.

Yet, when we make mistakes in our careers, our families, or in life itself, we beat up on ourselves harder than anyone else. Sure, we pick ourselves back up and keep it moving, but we often carry the baggage of those mistakes with us, limiting how far we allow ourselves to go.

I just think we need to get better at forgiving ourselves for the stumbles we make in life. I mean, aren’t we supposed to learn and grow from our mistakes? Aren’t we often better people for them? So why are we so hard on ourselves?

Today I implore you to allow yourself the grace and freedom to make mistakes and grow. You are the sum total of your experiences, both positive and negative. You wouldn’t even be YOU without the tears you’ve shed, the pain you’ve felt, or the stupid stuff you’ve done.

Mistakes and pitfalls are part of the process and integral to your journey. You’re stronger because of them. You’re better equipped to take on even tougher challenges because of them. Now you only need to believe that you’ll ultimately win because of them.

So when you fall, pick yourself back up and reach higher. Don’t just keep it moving, keep it moving on up (cue The Jeffersons’ theme song here). When you reach one goal, aim even higher for your next one. And when you reflect on your life, be sure to celebrate the fullness of your journey, because you couldn’t have gotten where you are without being where you’ve been.

We all fail sometimes. That’s just how life goes. But as Black women and other WOC, we have to realize that we can “fail up”, too. We can falter and then climb higher. Because we really are that amazing.

Sophia’s Sunday Uplift for December 1, 2019

SOPHIA’S SUNDAY UPLIFT

Well here we are: at the beginning of the last month of 2019 and the last month of the decade. If you’re anything like me, you may feel like you’re not where you want or need to be in life. You’re probably fretting about what you haven’t yet achieved and what you still need to do. You may even be comparing yourself to others, worrying that you’re being left behind in this race called life.

But my sister, please clear those negative, defeatist thoughts from your mind. You’re not in a race against anyone but yourself, and your own dreams and ambitions. So stop being so hard on yourself! You may not have reached all of your goals for 2019, but at least you’re still here and still fighting. You’ve made it this far, and that’s quite an accomplishment.

Think about it: so far, you’ve survived 100% of all the bad stuff that’s happened to you this year. 100%! So relax those shoulders and unclench that jaw. Take some deep, cleansing breaths, and as you do, inhale love and exhale all that negativity that’s rattling around in that brain of yours.

And remember that guy you just couldn’t live without? Well, you’ve survived every single day that’s passed without him. You may still be hurt … you may even still be heartbroken. That’s okay because it’s perfectly normal to mourn the end of a relationship, and the loss of love. But what’s not okay is allowing your mourning to keep you from moving forward in life.

If you find yourself stuck, unable to break free of that post-breakup, fugue-like, all encompassing funk, then please get some professional help. If you can afford it, or if your insurance covers it, get some therapy. If that’s not an option, talk to your pastor, imam, rabbi, minister, priest, or whomever you turn to for spiritual guidance. Find and join a local support group. Lean on your friends and family. Do something so that you can start your new year in a better place.

The fact of the matter is you have to go through it to get through it, and that includes heartbreak. Whether you need professional help or not, know that ultimately, you’re going to be okay. You will get past this. It just takes time, patience, and support.

In the meantime, try to focus on the good that’s happened. Turn your thoughts to the positive and remember that in 2019, you’ve conquered every single fear you’ve faced, and overcome every single obstacle that would’ve kept you from getting to where you are right now. So give yourself some credit, Girl! You did that!

Also remember that no matter how alone you may feel at times, you’ve got people: family, friends, and friends who’ve become family. They may not always be in your presence, but they’re always in your heart and you’re always in theirs. Someone is praying for you or thinking loving thoughts about you, even when you don’t realize it. Take comfort in that.

I guess what I’m trying to say as we approach a brand new decade is: you’ve done too much and come too damn far to give up now. You are a bad-ass warrior who’s faced down her fears, overcome insurmountable obstacles, and kept going when others would have faltered. As Lizzo says, you’re 100% That Bitch and you’re gonna be just fine.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Growth and Expansion by Sophia Ned-James

First of all, my sister, your beauty is boundless! Everything about you is lovely and lovable, so don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. You’re already a work of art, made in God’s image, so love who you are right now!

That said, you must continue to grow and expand. And that means letting go of anything and anyone that no longer serves you. Just like your hair won’t grow unless you trim the dead ends, you won’t grow unless you get rid of the dead weight. It’s way past time to unload all that unnecessary baggage, lighten your load, and expand!

Don’t worry, though. A lot of that dead weight will fall away naturally. Because as you continue on your journey of growth and expansion, you will alienate, intimidate and even infuriate some people. And that’s okay! Not everyone will be able to handle the new you. Truthfully, some of them don’t deserve the current you, either.

So stop wasting your emotional energy on people who are never emotionally available to you. Instead, devote your valuable time and energy to those who feed your soul and help you grow.  Just keep moving forward and trust that the right people will love and encourage your journey, even when they can’t travel it with you.

#growth #expansion #selflove #selfcare #BlackWomen

Sophia’s Sunday Uplift for June 9, 2019

Self Love Is Everything!
Stop letting the opinions of others determine your self-worth! You’ll always be “too much” for some or “not enough” for others. Instead, focus on embracing who you are right now and loving yourself unconditionally. That doesn’t mean you should stop trying to improve yourself, only that you should love yourself as you are now. 
When you learn to love who your are regardless of what others think about you, you’ll live a happier and more fulfilled life. Self love is everything!

~Art is “South African Woman” by an unknown artist and I don’t own the rights to this image

 

Sophia’s Sunday Uplift for June 2, 2019

Sisters,

Strive to be a better person than you were yesterday, and stop viewing other women as your competition. There’s enough shine out there for everyone, Sis. You don’t have to take down another Black woman in order to rise. In fact, you don’t have to “take down” anyone! Remember, you can put your best foot forward without stepping on anyone else’s toes. And you can shine brightly without dimming another woman’s light. 

#SophiasSundayUplift #UpliftBlackWomen #BlackGirlMagic #BelieveBlackWomen #SupportBlackWomen #ListenToBlackWomen #HonorWomanhood 

~Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Sophia’s Sunday Uplift: April 7, 2019

It takes real courage to be different in a world where conformity is expected and valued. That’s why you’re so special: there’s truly no one else on this earth as unique as you! So take some time today to celebrate your bravery and your individuality. You are a refreshing break from so much sameness. Be you and love who you are!

(Artist is unknown. Neither SuzyKnew! nor Sophia Ned-James own the rights to this artwork.)

Sophia’s Sunday Uplift, March 23, 2019

The moment you stop looking elsewhere for love, acceptance, and validation is exactly the moment when you’ll find those things within yourself. Learn to love yourself as deeply and as fervently as you love those around you (especially the ones who don’t even deserve you). Trust me. When you begin to believe in your own beauty and brilliance, you won’t have any time for the naysayers or the negativity they bring.  You’ll be too busy basking in the warmth of your own light and truly living your best life! #SophiasSundayUplift #SundayUplift #SelfLove #Love #Acceptance #Validation #BelieveInYou

~Sophia Ned-James (Art is “Teenie Weenie Afro” by Melanoidlnk)

 

 

 

ASK JANICE 2014 Valentine’s Day Message For Ladies Without Valentines

Are you dreading Valentine’s Day this year?  Does the approaching “holiday” remind you that you’re single, unattached, man-less?  Are you already sick of the Hallmark and jewelry store commercials throwing ridiculously happy couples in your face?  Does all the hoopla around the day make you feel lonely and depressed?

If any of this sounds like you, you’re not alone.  Commercials and magazine ads would have you believe that everyone is “boo’d up”, and that single people are rare and miserable.  Well, don’t believe the hype.  In the U.S. alone, 43% of all adults are single, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.  That’s almost half of all adults!  In 1950, that number was only 22%.

Singlehood is a growing trend in the US and elsewhere, and it no longer carries the same stigma it did in the past.  No one says the word “spinster” anymore.  No one really questions why a woman is still unmarried at 25 years old, or 30 or even 40 like they used to.  And when you factor race and ethnicity into the equation, women of color are even more likely to be single until much later in life.

So single ladies, rejoice!  You’re no longer the pitied oddballs you used to be!

Don’t get me wrong, though.  I know it’s real in these single streets.  While some women choose to remain single for a variety of reasons, many still prefer to be in committed relationships.  For the most part, everyone wants love and companionship.  But not having love and companionship doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.  It doesn’t mean your life is empty or incomplete.  In fact, if it takes another person to make you feel complete, you’ve got bigger issues than being dateless on Valentine’s Day.

Remember that line from the 1996 romance movie, “Jerry Maguire”?  The one where Tom Cruise stares longingly at Renee Zellweger and says, “You complete me”?  While it made for great romance on the big screen, it kind of made me cringe, too.  Because in real life, you really don’t want some piece of a man so pathetic that he needs you to “complete” him.  Sure, you want to feel wanted and even needed, but to complete him?  Uh uh.  No, thank you.  I’d rather have no man than an incomplete one.

And any man worth his salt feels the same way.  A real man doesn’t want the responsibility of “completing” his woman.  He wants to feel wanted and even needed, but he doesn’t want some little piece of a woman that he has to complete.

The truth is you need to be “complete” by yourself before you get involved in a relationship.  Needing a man and wanting a man are two different things.  And you don’t ever want to be someone who NEEDS a man.  Don’t be one of those women who build their entire lives around their guy.  They give up their friends, their interests and themselves to be whatever he wants at all times.  They lose themselves in their men, becoming mere shells of who they used to be.  And when those guys leave, as they inevitably will do, those women are left broken and barely able to survive on their own.

So, don’t look for someone else to make you feel whole.  While you’re single, use your time wisely.  Be the best version of yourself at all times.  Find yourself.  Get to know yourself.  Improve yourself.  And most importantly, learn how to enjoy yourself by yourself.  Stop filling your days chasing after the perfect man.  Instead, use your days to develop yourself into someone so wonderful, so fabulous, the good men will start chasing after you.

Embrace your singlehood as your opportunity to continue working on the masterpiece that is your life.  Treat yourself well and focus on making yourself happy.  Stop listing all the things that are wrong with you as the reasons you’re alone.  Instead, work on making improvements in your life that will make you feel fulfilled.

For example, you’re not single because you’re overweight.  Maybe you’re not happy with yourself because you’re overweight; and maybe your weight is affecting your self-confidence.  If you work on losing weight in order to make yourself happier, then you’ll get a lift in your confidence.  And that’s what will attract a man, not the weight loss itself.

Do you see the difference?

You don’t need a man or a relationship to make you happy and whole.  You need to find a way to be happy and whole on your own, first.  Yes, having a man can enhance your life, but he shouldn’t BE your life.  He should be your dessert, not your main course.

If you haven’t found your Valentine yet, don’t despair.  That just means you have more time to build your life around YOU before you meet HIM.  Remember, you can’t properly love anyone else until you love yourself, first.  And when you truly love yourself and learn to make yourself happy, you’ll attract the person you’re supposed to have in your life.

In the meantime, if you’re single, feel free to enjoy this Valentine’s Day with the best date ever: yourself.  Treat yourself to some candy or flowers.  Buy yourself something sexy to wear just because it makes you feel good.  Treat yourself to dinner and spend some quality time celebrating yourself.  The best love is self-love, and the best day to celebrate self-love is the day of love itself: Valentine’s Day.