Happy Monday Pearls 💕

Here are my Mental Health Affirmations for the week! What are yours? Please comment at least one below! Have a great & productive week! 🧘🏾

Comment your affirmation below! 💜

Some Walls Are Meant to be Torn Down

Some Walls Are Meant to be Torn Down

Birthday Girl:

My birthday celebration is over, but I must admit it was more than amazing. Due to pregnancy pains & being overwhelmed lately; I had decided that I would not be having a baby shower or a birthday celebration. I decided about two weeks ago that I would rather be resting for my birthday this year, and I was doing exactly that when I noticed cars pulling into my driveway! To my surprise, my husband and family planned a surprise baby shower/birthday celebration with plenty of love, gifts, & all my favorite foods! The entire day was just amazing. I can admit there are days when I feel like I care and do so much for others, but that same energy is not always reciprocated and that bothers me. On my birthday I felt loved, appreciated, & thought about! Being able to see all my family coming together for me touched my heart. My birthday was a day of revelations to me. 

Revelations:

A revelation is a surprising and previously unknown fact, especially one that is made known in a dramatic way. There were a few revelations that came to me in that one day. One of the most important revelations is “You are deeply loved, & that love does not have to be perfect”. Trauma has hardened my heart more than I would like. Trauma causes me to keep distances from people I love deeply and trauma affects the way I trust anyone in my personal space. I want to give & receive love, but the first sign of being deceived, mistreated, or disrespected is when I immediately check out & place a wall up that makes any healthy relationship impossible. The walls that I have placed are to protect me, but they are also causing me to hurt & keeping me from receiving so much love. In relationships, friendships, and family connections there is a chance of being deceived, mistreated, or disrespected. Any relationship can lead to being hurt, but does being hurt mean cut that relationship off completely? I have a habit of cutting people off, or not dealing with them in a loving way when I feel unloved. During my birthday celebration, a surprising fact dramatically came to me & it brought me to tears. Each person in that room loved me, and although there have been times we acted unloving towards each other, they always seem to show up for me when it matters the most!

“You are deeply loved, & that love does not have to be perfect”.

Walls are not always needed…Empathy is:

I realized that building walls and detaching from people who love me has been the easy way out for so many years. Instead of having empathy & allowing myself to see another person’s perspective I have built a wall & allowed myself to display apathy (a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for others). The thing about having a revelation is that it can just show up unexpectedly, but more than likely when you need it the most. I needed this revelation sooner than later. Perfection does not exist and as I continue to grow and heal I must remember this. There are people I love that are far from perfect, but they love me, care for me, & are there to support me when they can! A loving relationship does not mean a perfect relationship and I realize that now. I cried tears of joy when I realized that some walls are meant to be broken down, and should not have been built from the start. Relationships are giving and taking. There have been times I have shut down and had nothing to give to those I love, but they still would attempt to check on me. The tables have been turned & I have not shown empathy at all for those I love, but that changes today. The last three months I have felt like I was mentally, physically, & spiritually struggling alone. The truth is some people love me & have tried to get through the thick walls I built, with no prevail. A part of healing and growing in life is taking accountability for yourself. I take accountability for all the times I was unloving, lacked empathy, pushed people away, & kept up walls from those that only wanted to love me. 

So I have learned:

A major part of maturing & self-development is holding yourself accountable when you are wrong. I am more than grateful for the revelation “love that is worth it, is not always perfect”! It is technically a new year for me, and I plan to partake in some serious self-development. You are never too old or young to work on yourself. Self-Development is lifetime work! My birthday wish is to always be better than I was the year before. I am sure that I will have plenty of revelations this year. The walls that I have built over the years are something that I would like to work on. It is okay to have boundaries for those you love, but remember not to cut those you love off completely without first seeing things from their perspective. Breaking down was does not mean allowing those you love to cross boundaries, it simply means being open to understanding and empathic. If someone you love makes a mistake and apologize, accept the apology only if there is changed behavior along with the apology. An apology without changed behavior means nothing. With that being said keep an open heart, and accept & give love abundantly. Life is too short & unpredictable to not be loving!

-Toni

Do your Absolute Best‼️‼️‼️

💙I am doing my very BEST‼️ I’ve been saying these words a lot lately!

Although I know I am doing my best, I’m my biggest critic & I have been the hardest on myself! I’m not sure if it’s the hormones or what! I’ve found myself crying, upset, worried, & completely stressed some days because I did not complete my to-do list for the day, or I’ve burnt myself out and now I’m mad at the world 🌎

It has been super hard because I usually get it done with no excuses! After my latest meltdown I have decided to just DO THE BEST that I can! If I do not finish something oh well! I’m done setting super high expectations & finding myself mentally & emotionally drained when I do not succeed!

I remind myself that this too shall pass! I will not be pregnant & miserable forever! Until then Oh well‼️‼️‼️

keeponkeepingon #imtrying #mindsetreset #beyourbestself #maketimeforyou #selfgrowthjourney #selfawarenessjourney #trustyourpath #expectations #vulnerabilityisstrength #trustyourself #createthelifeyoulove #youtime #chooseyou #livefortoday #quietmoments #makeyoursoulhappy #controlwhatyoucan #relaxandrecharge #takethetime #smallthingsinlife #youareenough #empoweryourself #beyourbestyou

Know your worth & be unapologetically you!

Know your worth & be unapologetically you!

There was a point in my life when I was not aware of my worth. I was unaware that I was the prize and that it was a privilege for anyone to have me a part of their lives. Imagine being co-dependent and walked all over for years without having any insight into who you are and what you were capable of. One of my favorite bible verses is Proverbs 31:10 “For her worth is far above rubies.”  I read the entire book of Proverbs during the summer of 2018 and I wish I had read it sooner. I was going through a tough time in my personal life, and I realized after reading Proverbs that I am the prize! As a woman in general there is already so much to deal with, and it is easy to lose sight of your worth. I can openly admit I have lost myself so many times. To give love, be mentally okay, & live a purpose-driven life it is important to know your worth. Until you know who you are & all you have to offer you will not live your life fully and will remain vulnerable to being treated unworthily. So why is knowing your worth so important?

A worthy woman believes in herself and has high self-esteem. High self-esteem makes you comfortable with who you are as a person. Being comfortable with who you are means you are comfortable with everything about YOU! Learn to love all of you, especially your flaws. When self-esteem is lacking, it is a chance that others will not value the person you are either. It is easy to read the person that lacks true confidence because 9/10 they are uncomfortable, and it shows. I am my own biggest critic and there have been times when I spoke down on myself, and because I lacked self-esteem, I always felt so uncomfortable in my skin. There was a time that I would not wear certain clothes, hairstyles, or go to certain places because of low self-esteem. To be a woman of worth work on your self-esteem first. Once you have worked on your self-esteem everything else slowly falls into place.

As a woman always remember what YOU bring to the table! High self-esteem is amazing, but to value yourself is priceless. The value that you place on yourself starts with what you will or will not settle for. Have you ever sat back and thought about mistreatment or boundaries that you have allowed being crossed? To value yourself and show others that you know your worth there must be boundaries. Boundaries are created because of the love you have for yourself. Without those boundaries, it leaves the door open for another person to treat you less than you deserve. It is important to know that worth, and value is not determined by a man, money, or looks. It all starts with your inner beliefs of yourself!

My favorite affirmation that helps me remember my worth is “be unapologetically you, & know you are worthy & enough”!

For me being unapologetically you means knowing that you are enough and living with no regrets and not apologizing for how you are deciding to live your life or how you are deciding to set the boundaries for your life. Being unapologetically you means you know your worth, and you are living in your truth. It takes an evolved woman to LIVE an unapologetic life. It took me almost ten years before I was unapologetically myself. I know for a fact in my twenties I was not evolved or aware of my worth enough to live my life unapologetically. Once I learned my worth, and how much I had to offer it changed my entire view of myself. I look back today and laugh or even get embarrassed by some behaviors and mistreatment I allowed ten years ago that I would not tolerate today. I often reiterate how important self-worth and self-love are because without them you have no value as a woman or a person.

This blog was honestly inspired by me looking back at an old picture of myself from twenty-two years old and in the picture, I can remember like yesterday how unvalued I was. I remember how I was mistreated, and how I allowed boundaries to be crossed because I did not know that my worth was far above rubies. There have been times when became upset with me because I wasted over six years of my life being unvalued, unloved, & treated unworthily. Today I understand that without the lessons of my past I would have never learned my worth. So, if you are being treated unworthy, 🛑 stop reading this and go to your closet mirror right now and tell yourself “be unapologetically you, & know you are worthy & enough”! Say this affirmation to yourself every day at least three times out of the day. Whatever you believe about yourself is how you will treat yourself and allow others to treat you. I know that the self-love journey is not easy, but for the journey to start a step must be taken. Take that step to loving yourself & knowing your worth!

April Blues

April Blues!

Tomorrow we enter into to April 2021, & since April of 2018 when I lost my father I have always experienced what I call “April Blues” . The entire month of April I usually feel fatigued, sad, depressed, discouraged, & angry because I feel like a piece of me is missing here on earth and I want him back! My father was a funny man. He was the type of guy to walk in a room and immediately make you laugh because he would say a random of the wall joke! When I lost him my first thought was why now? Why right now when we have built a bond, he has changed his life, and my babies know & love their Papa! So, every April since then I would sit in sorrow & grief and just not allow myself to enjoy the life that I still had to live. This year I will be 32, and I guess you can say I have grown mentally, spiritually, & emotionally because I do not want to sit in sadness & grief this April! This April I will be following the theme of “A healing April” So how will I focus on healing instead of grief and sorrow in April? Let me tell you!

 

The 1st issue I will be focused on in the month of April!

Firstly, I am one of the most open and authentic people ever. I am open about my life, and I am transparent because I know there is someone experiencing the exact same issue. One of my flaws that I am aware of is impulsivity!  I have the tendency to act without thinking. Acting without thinking has been one of my flaws since I was a teenager. I am the woman that will send that rude response out of anger, and feel bad five minutes after, or I will make an impulsive purchase that I regret later. Acting on impulse is something I am working on intensively within myself. In the month of April my 1st goal is to stop being impulsive, examine motives carefully with regards of my current circumstances and in regard to others who may be affect by my impulsiveness.

 

The 2nd issue I will be focused on in the month of April!

Believe it or not I am one of the most confident women I know, but I also am my biggest critic. I am harder on myself than anyone else around me. Confidence is a topic I preach on, but I am not always confident in myself. Although I have accomplished a lot, I often question if I have done enough? or am I doing enough now? Enjoying the rewards of my work & uplifting myself is my second goal for the month of April. I will encourage myself more and speak prosperity over my life. Speaking prosperity over my life includes rewarding myself, congratulating myself on creating resources that will allow me to reach goals for my future, and allow myself to enjoy those small accomplishments and all the little things in life!

 

The 3rd & biggest issue I will be focused on in the month of April!

I will not allow sorrow to keep me depressed or shut off for a long period of time. Grieving, feeling overwhelmed, or depression are common, but I do not want to experience another month of full sadness. Life is short! There will be sorrow, disappointment, & moments when you feel completely burnt out. Which is why my 3rd and most important goal for the month of April is to avoid becoming trapped in negative thinking. I have accepted my situation, and I know something better will emerge in place of what was lost. Depression has been a struggle for me because I have trauma and I have experienced some major losses, but I want to try something different this year and see how I feel at the end of the month.

 

Final Thought:

Life is hard! It does not matter your circumstances, who you are, or where you are from…We all have troubles, pain, & unspoken issues that we deal with every day. My only hope is that you take some time to reassess and allow yourself room to heal! Healing does not happen overnight. I have remained in trauma recovery therapy for over six years, and I know for certain I am not healed completely, but I am striving to heal every day. I hope you are too! Healing is worth not Hurting! I promise!

 

If this blog resonates with you, I also suggest you read the following:

Love is NOT always COMPLICATED

Love is NOT always complicated.

Believe it or not love does not have to always be complicated. I was that young girl that believed if my boyfriend did not argue with me then he was boring and the relationship would not last. I remember my 19-year-old self starting petty and unnecessary arguments with my boyfriend of 2 years who in all honesty was an amazing guy. Besides my husband, mt ex-boyfriend is the only man I have met that has a pure and genuine heart. The guy would open my door, never cursed me out or called me out of my name, he was always gentle and respectful… but I would in return purposefully piss him off and try to make him mad. I can speak on this now because I have been in therapy over 5 years and I now know I was the problem! The sad thing is I left that nice guy for one of the worst men I ever have encountered, and had two amazing kids with him, but suffered 6 years of unhappiness & abuse, and I still today have to co-parent with him. So, I mentioned that to say I have received the karma for mistreating a good man. I received the karma, and I learned a life lesson that love is not always Complicated, and love can be simplicity and just you and that person with no arguments or stress! There does not have to be conflict in a relationship for it to thrive. Because of the relationships I seen growing up, I did not know the difference and I thought conflict in relationships meant love.

Fast forward today and I am remarried to a man that has loved me more than any man on this planet besides my father. My husband is the most unproblematic man I ever met. He loves simplicity, and he does not deal with drama. My husband groomed me into the woman I am today and taught me the meaning of “Love does not have to be complicated!” He has shown me a different type of love. The type of love you crave for after we have been apart too long. My husband went through some rough times with me. He met me fresh off a deployment, and I was going back and forth in the courts with a toxic ex over our children, and I was angry as hell! I was definitely the angry black woman and I can admit it. I was not particularly angry with anyone but myself. I felt like I had been used, and abused, so I was angry that I allowed it for so long. My husband seen a light in me. Since I was a young girl I have always been told “There’s a light around you” or that I have a glow! I used to laugh about it because my first thought was “Yeah Right!”

I can admit with all of me that I did not fully love myself when I met my husband. I would punish myself on the regular by telling myself negative affirmations about myself, and by not allowing myself to be happy. When I met my lover, I knew he had pain and he had been hurt in some way and we connected on our traumas and pain. We did not really have a foundation, we just felt good when we were together and that was all we both ever wanted. I put him through the ringer the first 3 years because I was still healing and forgiving myself for failing myself. I felt like I did not deserve him, and although I knew I had so much love to give, I was scared.

Going on 5 years later and I can say I have learned so many life lessons, and I know now from therapy, research, and a lot of self-help books that conflict in relationships is okay, but it should not be normalized to enjoy relationship conflicts. Most conflict starts because inner anger that we are holding onto from our past. We become defensive towards the closest person to us due to lack of compassion for ourselves. If you have more compassion for yourself then, it is easy to be less defensive and open for communication with the person you love. Giving compassion for your lover, and yourself allows vulnerability.

 

Below I have listed the top reasons men/women start conflict in their relationships and I will also discuss ways to stop/heal these issues.

If you want a LOVING and UNCOMPLICATED relationship I suggest you….

  1. Focus on the positive things in your relationship. This could mean stop nitpicking about small things that are not a big deal.
  2. Have compassion for your partner and try to relate to them before you judge them. For example, stop criticizing them and pointing out all of their flaws before you point out your own. Give them positive affirmations to uplift them and make them feel secure.
  3. Stop, listen, & think before you react to your spouse out of anger. Taking time to reflect, can prevent words being said that you cannot take back.
  4. Be honest with your spouse & always express how you are feeling. For example, if you have an issue with your spouse today, discuss it today. A lack of communion and holding back feelings can lead to a huge blow-up that could be prevented with open communication & honesty!

Conflict can skyrocket during the holidays, but it does not have to! Do not ruin your holiday by having conflict with the one you love the most. Keep an open mind and remember Love is not always Complicated!

Always Choose YOU!

November is supposed to be the month of “NO”vember, and if you are not aware of the meaning, it stems from the opinion that November is the month of saying no to people, places, and things that drains your energy. I told myself in October, September, August, and even my birth month of July that “this month will be all about me”, “I will only focus on myself & my happiness” … If I am being honest with myself, I say this every single month. Each month I end up stretched thin because I am too busy helping others and not myself. I am a Cancer, and I am naturally an empathic person. I can sense when others are hurting, and I always have this Superwoman persona and I want to save everyone but myself!

I asked myself yesterday, are you choosing yourself? And the honest answer is no! It is now the third week of November and I am a feeling stretched thin. My fear in saying NO is that I will hurt someone I love feelings, or what if that individual can not get help elsewhere, or what if they desperately needed my help more than I know… Should I just stop what I am doing and help them just because they are needing me? I deal with depression, anxiety, and PTSD on the regular. On top of my mental health, I also have some physical ailments that flare up and all those factors together drains me emotionally. I have become conscious of when I overdue for others it is cause me to feel emotionally drained, physically hurt, and mentally not okay… It feels great and rewarding to help others, but I accept that I am not a Superwoman and I cannot save everyone I love.  I had a major epiphany yesterday, and it me lead me to the realization that I can no longer be a lifeguard, counselor, financial advisor, confidant, or hero to anyone else, before I am those things for myself

The biggest issue in changing this is that I know the process of stepping back will not happen overnight, but I am setting a goal for the rest of the year to focus on saying NO more often, and focus on my needs & wants before I focus on others. People who genuinely love you will understand that you must put yourself first. People in your life who are self-centered and co-dependent will become upset about you choosing yourself first, do not let that deter you from your goal…Because sometimes people, places, and things that drains your energy must be removed. If you are not ready to remove a person, then simply give them a break from your day-to-day life.  It may be family, friends, co-workers, over-eating, drinking, smoking, social media, or a relationship. Whatever is depleting your energy or stopping you from choosing you please cut it/them off.

I challenge anyone reading this that may feel stretched thin, to pick YOU for the remaining of 2020! Say No and pick YOU! Do not feel guilty or pressured by others because you decide to focus on your mental, physical, and emotion health. Yes it is the holiday season, but who made a law that you must be surrounded with people during the holidays, who said you cannot cancel gift buying for everyone else and purchase yourself something you always wanted. For once put yourself first and update me in January 2021 to let me know how choosing you made your life better! I will be following up in January to personally let you know my results.

-Toni

Body Positivity starts with Self ❤

Love Yourself ❤💕💜

Wikipedia defines Body Positivity as “a social movement initially created to empower and shed light on plus size women and men, while challenging the ways in which society presents and views the physical body. The movement advocates the acceptance of all bodies regardless of physical ability, size, gender, race, or appearance”.

Body positivity. (2020, November 07). Retrieved November 11, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_positivity

Although I agree with most of the definition, I also believe that body positivity does not means you have to be plus size. Being Plus size is beautiful, but also being smaller is beautiful too. My definition of body positivity is loving all & everything that you see in the mirror. Body positivity is treating your body in a positive matter, loving your body, speaking positively about your body, and thinking positivity about your body. It is my opinion that all people have flaws that bother them. Even skinny or small build people have insecurities about their body. There are some heavy set or plus size people that have more confidence & body positivity than the smallest person next to them.

Photo by Jennifer Enujiugha on Pexels.com

I have always been insecure about certain things on my body. I had insecurities about my appearance, and I can say for sure that none of my insecurities begun until someone around me pointed them out. It all started in elementary school when I was constantly bullied because of the gap in between my teeth. I was aware of my gap, but it never bothered me. Because of the flaws that my peers pointed out, I always smiled with my mouth closed during my teenager years & early twenties I. My negative thoughts about my body & image started with the perspectives of others, not myself.

Body positivity starts from within. You cannot focus on your friends, celebrities, or anyone else’s body. My biggest advice to women or men who deal with negative thoughts about their body, or insecurities about their looks in general is to learn to love all your flaws & learn to NEVER COMPARE yourself. My biggest issue through different phases of my life was comparisons. Do I still compare? Yes, but today I am older & wiser, and I understand that it is only a thought that I am having, and it does not determine anything else about me as a person. When I had low self-esteem in the past it stemmed from me not knowing and loving myself enough to recognize how amazing of a person I was.

My body positivity attitude started to change about 5 years ago. I had just returned from Bagram, Afghanistan leaving a deployment and I was the smallest I had ever been in life; but because I had birthed two big babies via c-section I always was self-conscious about my mom pudge. I hated the way it looked, and how my clothing fit so I went and sent 4,000 on CoolSculpting. CoolSculpting is meant to target fatty areas, and it was the biggest mistake of my life because after that procedure I only became fixated with other flaws on my body. One day it clicked in mind after a rigorous workout and me standing in my long sliver mirror nude. It hit me that my body was not the problem! I had seen how beautiful I was and realized the problem was I did not love myself.

Self- Love & Body positivity coincide with one another! My self-esteem, my thoughts about myself & my body all change once I started to genuinely love me. Loving me consisted of not tolerating mistreatment from others, not accepting and acknowledging the negative opinions from others, not allowing others to disturb my peace, eating healthier, exercising on the regular, & making sure I always put myself first. The self-love lead to me loving each and every stretch mark, embracing my cesarean pouch that welcomed beautiful & amazing children into this world, my gap in between my teeth, my forehead, & any small or big flaw that I used to focus on. I have moments of insecurities still, but I do not dwell on my image like I once did in the past.

Before I loved me…& After I discovered Self-Love 💜

In the past I did not even understand I was thinking negatively & being pessimistic towards my body. Body positivity will not work if you have a pessimistic attitude. Body positivity requires having a positive mindset towards loving your own body no matter what your size, gender, race, or appearance may be. You are beautiful inside and out! You are beautifully flawed! Embrace everything about who you are! Do not change or alter yourself because of others. Anatole France quote on being flawed is the best quote to repeat when you are not feeling good about yourself. “Cling to your imperfection…Your imperfections are the very essence of your being!” Remember your imperfections makes you the person you are. Your soul, inner self, & heart, are more essential than any flaw!  I encourage you and challenge you from today forward to stand in a mirror and tell yourself at least three positive affirmations that you love about YOU! You are more that your outer shell, love your inner self & your outer self will appear just as beautiful as you are inside!

“Cling to your imperfection…Your imperfections are the very essence of your being!”

Anatole France

 

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