7 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before 2022 Officially Arrives
Something that I am really big on is doing things that will heighten self-awareness and tap into a deeper level of emotional intelligence. One thing that is sure to do that is self-introspection and one of the best practices for that is to ask yourself questions. While I’m pretty sure that, just like me, you can’t believe that we’re headed into — what in the world?! — 2022, before your calendar officially ushers in January 1, pull out one of your journals (‘cause I know you’ve probably got more than one) and ask yourself the following seven questions. If you’re serious about answering them, it could provide you with just the clarity that you need in order to move fully forward into a brand spanking new year.
1. “Did I Accomplish All That I Set Out to Do This Year?”
Something that I personally find to be pretty unfortunate is how so many people think that focusing solely on their looks is what will make them feel good about themselves when it’s actually setting goals and reaching them that will take their self-confidence to an entirely new level. Keeping that in mind, when you reflect on these past 12 months, what did you accomplish that you are truly proud of? For instance, for me, I set out to make real and complete peace with how some of my past trauma and poor decisions as a result of said trauma have resulted in some of my current outcomes.
An example? Being sexually molested as a child and teen definitely played a role in my abortions (long story) which resulted in years of healing which resulted in my being in my late 40s now with no children. I am not someone who will say I don’t have some regrets tied into all of this (check out “Why Regret Might Not Always Be A Bad Thing”) because I do. Regret means remorse and having remorse is a good thing. Anyway, even though my cycles (periods) are still on-point and I’ve got more than a few good eggs (I roll my eyes at my doctor whenever we discuss it), I’m at peace with not being a mom now — partly by circumstance and partly by choice. And because I set out this year to get to this space, I now look at where I am in life as a new season rather than replaying so many woulda-coulda-shouldas. And yes, that is a big accomplishment in my world because I am confident that I will make decisions out of wholeness, not fear.
I’m sharing all of this to say that an accomplishment doesn’t have to be professional or even huge. It just needs to be something that you wanted to get done and you did. When it comes to what you said you were going to focus on in 2021, what can you put a gold star on with pride? Whatever it is, pat yourself on the back. You’ve earned it.
2. “Am I As Devoted to My Purpose As I Need to Be?”
Let me tell you two things that I will fight to the death over — my purpose and my peace of mind. I don’t care what person, place, thing, or idea is trying to stand in the way, if you’re not an “ally” in those areas for me, you’ve gotta go. You just do. That’s how loyal I am when it comes to why I was put on this planet and what kind of mentality I need to have in order to manifest my purpose on a daily basis.
You know, one of the worst things that you can ever do with your time and really, your life overall, is to never really know, with complete clarity, what your purpose is (check out “5 Signs You Are Living Your True Purpose” and “How To Handle ‘Purpose Fatigue’”). The next thing is to allow so many other things to distract you that you never end up fulfilling it. Only you know if you’ve been as loyal and committed to the reason why you were put on this planet, to begin with. The good news is if you haven’t been, there is no time like the present to do some serious and significant rerouting. Make sure that you bring peacefulness along with you. Your purpose will not fulfill itself without it.
3. “Am I Spending? Or Investing?” (Across the Board)
I recently saw a tweet where someone was saying that we should stop investing in people who don’t really care about us. My immediate thought was, “If you’re not in something that consists of consistent reciprocity, you aren’t ‘investing’, you are spending. And honestly, you actually could be wasting time, resources, energy, etc.”
Mark 2:22(NKJV) says, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” This basically means that it makes no sense to put what is new into what is old because you’ll end up wasting (some of) it. Matthew 7:6(NKJV) says, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” For the record, one definition of swine is “a coarse, gross, or brutishly sensual person”; another is “a contemptible person”. When dealing with “swine”, it doesn’t know how to value you because, well, it’s swine.
So yes, when you put these verses together and you apply them to this particular question because time is short and life is far too precious, it is absolutely imperative that you reflect on who and what are actual investments and who and what is actually causing you to spend without getting much of a return or waste without anything to show for it at all. I don’t care if it’s personally or professionally, familial, platonic or romantic — you deserve to have people invest in you as much as you choose to invest in them. Is that currently happening in your life or…not?
4. “Who Do I Need to Get Closure From?”
The more I talk to people who prefer to ghost someone rather than get closure with them, the more I have come to the personal conclusion that far too many people function from a place of fear. A part of the reason why I’m such a fan of closure is because I communicate for a living and, even when something comes to an end, I think the dignity of communicating is important. Another reason is because oftentimes, bitterness, resentment, and unforgivingness can reside in people for years because they assume about what led to the breakdown of a relationship or situation rather than getting the information that will help them to truly know. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, the people in your future — the ones who have absolutely nothing to do with what someone else did to or didn’t do for you — deserve you getting closure so that they don’t have to overcompensate in areas that are absolutely not their issue or fault.
My dad took his life almost eight years ago. The amount of people who hurt him over the course of his life is endless. Some of those same people have hurt me, so I get it. Yet his approach was to ghost, internalize and use substances to ease the pain. Mine was to confront as many as possible to, at the very least, get the reasons behind why they did what they did. And because I got that closure, I know to not expect every person to be like those people. I know not to put a residue of pain onto everything. I also know the kind of foolishness that is in my bloodline, on both sides, that I absolutely and proactively need to avoid.
It takes courage to get closure. There ain’t no way around that. However, I am a personal testament to the fact that getting it is better than running from it. Standing firm rather than running is better across the board, actually. That’s another article for another time, though.
5. “Where Am I Spiritually?”
You can check out articles that I’ve written for the site like “What's The Difference Between Being 'Religious' And Being 'Spiritual', Anyway?”, “7 Signs You're Spiritually Compatible With Someone”, “7 Spiritual Principles About Sex That Married Couples Should Never Forget”, “Here's Exactly How To Start Protecting Your Spirit” and “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul” and know that when I speak of “spiritual”, I am not talking about religion. What I do know, though, is if you don’t put your spiritual health and well-being above, pretty much anything else, everything else will suffer — if not immediately, eventually.
And just what are some telling signs that you are in a good place on the spiritual tip?
- Prayer and meditation are consistent practices.
- You function from a place of boldness rather than fear.
- You respond more than react.
- You would rather be happy than right.
- You know how to take accountability for your actions.
- You extend the kind of mercy and grace that you wish to receive.
- You make time for creativity.
- You see humility as a strength, not a weakness.
- Empathy and compassion are important to you.
- Your vibration is high.
If there’s one thing that this world doesn’t want you to be, it’s spiritual. After looking at some of these signs of spirituality, I’m pretty sure you can see why. As you think back on this past year, where did you flourish spiritually and where is there still a lot of room for improvement? Focusing on even one of these 10 things can make you such a better person. That, I can guarantee.
6. “Where Can I Improve When It Comes to Self-Care?”
Please sis, if you don’t do anything else in the upcoming year, free yourself from the bondage of thinking that maintenance is pampering. I speak from very up close and personal experience when I say this too because, prior to getting pedicures and waxes on a monthly basis, I used to see those things as a way to pamper myself. Nope. Those are maintenance. Pampering is about being self-indulgent for no other reason than you are worth it.
I believe that’s a good way to introduce this particular question because self-care is so paramount. And yes, it includes consistent maintenance, pampering, and also doing whatever will keep your mind, body, and spirit thriving. When it comes to what self-care actually means, one wise person said, “Be enough for yourself. The rest of the world can wait.” A mental health expert by the name of Katie Reed once said, “Self-care is giving the word the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.” And civil rights leader Audre Lorde once said, “Self-care is not self-indulgence; it is self-preservation.” Shoot, even Christ himself has gone on record as saying, “Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF.” (Mark 12:30-31)
If you look up dictionary definitions of self-care, you will see words like “soothe,” “comfort” and “attending to one’s physical and mental health.” There are a lot of us who run on fumes, constantly, because we are finding ways to do these things for everyone and their grandma but ourselves. Shoot, some of us even struggle with feeling guilty for even contemplating putting ourselves on the top of our “care” list. If you are one of them, don’t. You can’t be your best genuine self without self-care and yes, that includes pampering. If you didn’t do it enough last year, make it the ultimate priority in the year that lies ahead.
7. “What Can I Do to Avoid Experiencing a ‘Rerun Life’?”
Y’all, I haven’t watched that Sex and the City reboot. For what? I barely even watch the reruns of the original show now…because I’ve pretty much outgrown them. The entertainment and sometimes ah-ha moments that they provided many moons ago, they don’t now. I’m a different person. I’m in a different headspace. What’s next? WHAT’S NEW? (Yes, I am yelling it because all of these reboots, chile, are doing THE most!)
A lot of my life is similar. These days, very few people, places, things, and ideas from my past hold my attention. Not because they didn’t serve their purpose or at least a reason — whatever that was — at the time; it’s just...very few people, places, things, and ideas are just so monumental to me now that I want to replay them over and over again. Sometimes I reflect for nostalgia’s sake and that’s cool. Other than that…again, what’s next? WHAT’S NEW?
Whenever I think of a “rerun life”, I think of that doggone hamster, running for dear life, in a wheel that is getting him absolutely nowhere. Listen, I don’t care if it’s at work, at home, in your friendships, when it comes to your spending habits, your church life, your health, sex, communication — y’all pick one…if you know that you are in your own hamster wheel, right now, jot down some ways where you can break all the way out in 2022. It makes absolutely no sense to spend (or is it waste?) all of that time, effort, and energy, blood, sweat, and tears on stuff that really isn’t getting you anywhere…isn’t expanding the quality of your life.
2022 is right up the street, y’all. The answers to these questions can help you to enter in on a higher plane. And who doesn’t deserve that? New year. New you. Let’s do this!
Featured image by Getty Images
After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
Chief Mom Officer: 23 Quotes From Working Moms Finding Their Balance
The truth is, Black moms create magic every single day. Whether we're juggling motherhood with a busy 9-5, a thriving business, or staying at home to run a household, no day is short of amazing when you're managing life as a mommy. This Mother's Day, xoNecole is giving flowers to CMOs (Chief Mom Officers) in business who exemplify the strength it takes to balance work with motherhood.
We've commissioned these ladies, who are pillars in their respective industries, for tidbits of advice to get you through the best and worst days of mothering. Here, they share their "secret sauce" and advice for other moms trying to find their rhythm.
Emmelie De La Cruz, Chief Strategist at One Day CMO
"My mom friends and I all laugh and agree: Motherhood is the ghettoest thing you will ever do. It's beautiful and hard all at the same time, but one day you will wake up and feel like 'I got this' and you will get the hang of it. After 4 months, I finally felt like I found my footing to keep my kid and myself alive, but it took vulnerability to take off the cape and be honest about the areas that I didn't have it all together. The healing (physically and emotionally) truly does happen in community - whatever and whoever that looks like for you."
Alizè V. Garcia, Director Of Social & Community Impact at Nike
"I would tell a new mom or a prospective mother that they must give themselves grace, understand and remember there is no right way to do this thing and have fun! When I had my daughter three and a half years ago, I was petrified! I truly had no clue about what to do and how I was going to do it. But with time, my confidence grew and I realized quickly that I have all the tools I need to be the mother I want to be."
Nikki Osei-Barrett, Publicist + Co-Founder of The Momference
"There's no balance. I'm dropping sh*t everywhere! However, my secret sauce is pursuing interests and hobbies outside of what's required of me and finding time to workout. Stronger body equals = stronger mind."
Lauren Grove, Chief Experience Architect, The Grant Access, LLC
"I try to give myself grace. That’s my mantra for this phase of motherhood…grace. I won’t be able to get everything done. To have a spotless house. To not lose my cool after an exhausting day. Those things can’t happen all of the time. But I can take a deep breath and know tomorrow is another day and my blessings are more plentiful than my pitfalls."
Rachel Nicks, Founder & CEO of Birth Queen
"You have the answers within you. Don’t compare yourself to others. Curate your life to work for you. Ask for help."
Tanisha Colon-Bibb, Founder + CEO Rebelle Agency + Rebelle Management
"I know love doesn't pay bills but when I am overwhelmed with work or client demands I take a moment to play with my baby and be reminded of the love, energy, science, and Godliness that went into his birth. I am brightened by his smile and laugh. I remember I am someone's parent and not just a work horse. That at the end of the day everything will work out for the good of my sanity and the love within my life."
Christina Brown, Founder of LoveBrownSugar & BabyBrownSugar
"Learning your rhythm as a mom takes time and can be uncomfortable when you’re in a season of overwhelm. Constantly check in with yourself and assess what’s working and what’s not. Get the help you need without feeling guilty or ashamed of needing it."
Mecca Tartt, Executive Director of Startup Runway Foundation
"I want to be the best for myself, my husband, children and company. However, the reality is you can have it all but not at the same time. My secret sauce is outsourcing and realizing that it’s okay to have help in order for me to perform at the highest level."
Jen Hayes Lee, Head Of Marketing at The Bump (The Knot Worldwide)
"My secret sauce is being direct and honest with everyone around me about what I need to be successful in all of my various "jobs". Setting boundaries is one thing, but if you're the only one who knows they exist, your partners at home and on the job can't help you maintain them. I also talk to my kids like adults and let them know why mommy needs to go to this conference or get this massage...they need to build an appreciation for my needs too!"
Whitney Gayle-Benta, Chief Music Officer JKBX
"What helps me push through each day is the motivation to continue by thinking about my son. All my efforts, though exhausting, are to create a wonderful life for him."
Ezinne Okoro, Global Chief Inclusion, Equity, & Diversity Officer at Wunderman Thompson,
"The advice I received that I’ll pass on is, you will continue to figure it out and find your rhythm as your child grows into new stages. Trust your nurturing intuition, parent on your terms, and listen to your child."
Jovian Zayne, CEO of The OnPurpose Movement
"I live by the personal mantra: 'You can’t be your best self by yourself.' My life feels more balanced when I offer the help I can give and ask for the help I need. This might mean outsourcing housecleaning for my home, or hiring additional project management support for my business."
Simona Noce Wright, Co-Founder of District Motherhued and The Momference
"Each season of motherhood (depending on age, grade, workload) requires a different rhythm. With that said, be open to learning, to change, and understand that what worked for one season may not work the other...and that's okay."
Janaye Ingram, Director of Community Partner Programs and Engagement at Airbnb
"My daughter's smile and sweet spirit help me to feel gratitude when I'm overwhelmed. I want her to see a woman who doesn't quit when things get hard."
Codie Elaine Oliver, CEO & Founder of Black Love
"I try to listen to my body and simply take a break. With 3 kids and a business with 10+ team members, I often feel overwhelmed. I remind myself that I deserve grace for everything I'm juggling, I take a walk or have a snack or even head home to see my kids, and then I get back to whatever I need to get done."
Jewel Burks Solomon, Managing Partner at Collab Capital
"Get comfortable with the word ‘no’. Be very clear about your non-negotiables and communicate them to those around you."
Bridget Bogee, Marketing Lead At Meta
"Ask for help and always prioritize making time for you."
Julee Wilson, Executive Director at BeautyUnited and Beauty Editor-at-Large at Cosmopolitan
"Understand you can’t do it alone — and that’s ok. Relinquish the need to control everything. Create a village and lean on them."
Salwa Benyaich, Director Of Pricing and Planning at Premion
"Most days I really try to shut my computer off by 6 pm; there are always exceptions of course when it comes to big deals or larger projects but having this as a baseline allows me to be much more present with my kids. I love the fact that I can either help with homework or be the designated driver to at least one afterschool activity. Work can be draining but there is nothing more emotionally draining than when you feel as though you are missing out on moments with your kids."
Brooke Ellis, Head of Global Marketing & Product Launches at Amazon Music
My calendar, prayer, pilates class at Forma, a good playlist, and oatmilk lattes all help get me through any day.
Courtney Beauzile, Global Director of Client and Business Development at Shearman & Sterling
My husband is a partner who steps in when I just can’t. My mom and my MIL come through whenever and however I need. My kids have many uncles and aunts and they will lend an ear, go over homework, teach life lessons, be a presence or a prayer warrior depending on the day.
Robin Snipes, Chief of Staff at Meta
"Enjoy the time you have to yourself because once kids come those times will be few and far between."
Monique Bivens, CEO & Founder at Brazilian Babes LLC.
"For new moms, it is very important that you get back into a habit or routine of something you use to do before you were pregnant. Consider the actives and things that give you the most joy and make the time to do them."
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This Is Why Your Bright Under-Eye Technique Is Not Giving
If you are a fan of the bright under-eye, then you have the legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin to thank. The bright under-eye is only one of the major techniques that Aucoin brought to the forefront of the makeup industry in the ‘90s. The purpose of concealing the under-eye area is to hide blemishes and discoloration, redness, dark circles, and under-eye bags. However, according to Aucoin’s techniques, its main purpose is to lift and sculpt the face adding a new level of dimension.
The bright under-eye can be difficult to achieve. These are some of the common mistakes that are holding you back from sculpted bright under eyes that are giving!
1. You are not using the correct concealer shade.
Using two concealers makes a huge difference. Start with a shade 1-2 shades lighter than your skin tone. Followed by a shade that is 3-4 times lighter and placed closer to the inner eye to do the heavy lifting and give the bright effect.
Two shades diffuse well into each other and give a cohesive result.
2. You are not blending enough.
Don't underestimate the power behind a complete blend-out! Blending your concealer fully is a make-or-break step for the bright under-eye look. Fully blending allows for a seamless transition between the areas of the face meant to be highlighted, and the areas meant to create depth and shadows. So take your time and make sure there are no harsh lines.
3. You are not properly setting the under-eye area.
Set the under-eye using a loose setting powder or brightening powder. The key here is to choose a powder complementary to your skin's undertone and proper placement to prevent creasing. Focus the majority of the powder on the inner eye and defuse the remaining powder to the rest of the powder under the eye.
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