Congratulations! You’ve made it! Despite everything you’ve endured, you’re still here. I hope you appreciate just how amazing you are, especially after the year we’ve had. Despite a global pandemic, economic upheaval, social and civic unrest, and increasingly dangerous weather events thanks to climate change, YOU ARE STILL HERE! Go ahead and celebrate this win, Sis. You deserve it.
I know it doesn’t feel like it, but you’re actually doing better than you think. You may not have hit your goal weight, but you’re still trying, right? You may not have gotten your dream job yet, but you’re still working towards it, aren’t you? Stop focusing on what you haven’t done or achieved, and congratulate yourself for still being in the game! If you haven’t given up, you’re still in a position to win.
Listen. Life is hard. Really hard. And even though your peers seem to have it all together on social media, they’re struggling just as much as you are. Sure, some have it better than you. But others don’t. And they don’t matter, anyway. Because you’ve got your own journey to travel, and your own victories to claim. Like the elders say, “comparison is the thief of joy”. So stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, and focus on your own dreams and aspirations.
More importantly, give yourself a break. Show yourself some grace. Recognize that you manage to live a pretty decent life under some very extraordinary circumstances. Give yourself credit for doing what you do every single day. After all, not everyone can do what you do. You need to appreciate yourself more. Because you are incredible!
Do me a favor. When you’re done reading this, make a list of 15 things you love about yourself. I got this idea from a YouTuber who is less than half my age, and it changed my entire outlook on life! Like you, I spend too much time berating myself for everything I haven’t done or accomplished. I’m also really hard on myself, so I know how hard this will be for you to do. Honestly? It took me three whole days to finish my list. So I get your hesitancy.
But trust me, Sis. Make the list. Think of 15 things you love about YOU and write them down. You can include physical characteristics, personality traits, anything you want! Go ahead and be conceited. Compliment yourself and gas yourself up! Write down all of those beautiful things you know to be true about yourself, but are often too modest to admit to anyone else. Be as vain as you want, since you’re the only person who will see this list.
If you love more than 15 things about yourself, great! Make your list as long as you’d like. Just don’t go below 15. Don’t stop at 5. When you hit 10, keep going. It may take a while, but don’t stop until you list at least 15 things.
Why 15, you ask? Well, anyone can make a Top 10 List. But you’re better than that. You deserve more. So keep going until you hit 15.
When you’ve finished your list, read it out loud to yourself. But when you do, start each statement with “I love that I …”. For example, one thing I love about myself is that I’m a good friend. So I would say “I love that I am a good friend”. This part is important because you’re telling yourself why you love yourself. And how we talk to ourselves has a huge impact on not only our mood, but our self-esteem, too. Saying each thing out loud, declaratively and with purpose, forces you to speak kindly to yourself, and changes the narrative in your head.
Think about it. Don’t you love it when someone you love tells you why they love you? I mean, hearing “I love you” is always grand. But hearing specifically why someone loves you just feels extra special. Shouldn’t the person you hear this from most often be yourself? Makes sense, right?
Start making a habit of reading your list out loud to yourself on a regular basis. You can do it after your morning prayers and meditation to kickstart your day. Of you can read it every Monday morning to start your week off on a positive note. Whenever you choose to read your list aloud is fine, as long as you regularly do it.
Do it even when (especially when) you feel your worst. Read that again.
Let the wonderful words you’ve written about yourself replace those negative, self-hating words in your head. Let the sound of your voice singing your own praises become your own personal anthem. We all need regular reminders of our greatness, if only to give us the fuel to keep going when times are hard like now. And who better to remind you of your awesomeness than the woman who knows you best: you?
Sis, we live in a world that under-values US. We spend every single day justifying our existence, proving our worth, and fighting to be seen and heard against the backdrop of systemic racism and virulent misogynoir. That’s why we MUST fight for and protect our happiness and emotional well-being. Let your own words of affirmation and self-praise be another weapon in your fight. Because you and I both know, we may not ever hear such kind words from anyone else. So we better learn how to speak them to ourselves.
We often remind each other to “speak life” to our children and loved ones. Let’s not forget to speak life to ourselves. Make the list and read it out loud. Then go on out there and continue to shine!
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