10 Affirmations To Conquer Anxiety Like A Badass
Calling myself anxious would be an understatement. This year, I have experienced more restlessness, panic, and weariness than ever before. The compounded stress of our current pandemic, racial tension, and woes of being a working mom (from home) is enough to make anyone mad. Maybe I'm stir-crazy or feeling the weight of years of carrying the baggage of others and pursuing my pilgrimage of success. Like Drake said, "This shit got me in my feelings." I am over letting it run my life.
So what is anxiety? According to Anxiety.org, anxiety is intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Sometimes you experience a fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and feeling tired. Everyone has different triggers that cause bouts of anxiety—it's the never-ending laundry list of things to do for me. Identifying your triggers—or what I like to call "what's eating you"—will help you navigate these emotions. It takes time to determine what they are, but once you do, the power lies within your hands.
I understand that my feelings are fleeting, and the anxiety I feel may last more than a moment, but it won't stay for very long. So, I honor them because they matter, and then I make a conscious decision to move forward.
I'm a firm believer in affirmations—positive statements that can help you overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They can improve your mood, boost self-esteem, increase motivation, help you solve problems, and boost optimism. They work! I've used affirmations to tackle stress, increase my self-love and respect, and even find a man.
Here are 10 affirmations to tackle anxiety and be the badass you were meant to be:
1. I have everything I need within me.
Girl, there is no one coming to save you. Unless you have the blue pill or the red pill from The Matrix, there is no special pill to change things. The strength of our ancestors is embedded within you, waiting for use.
2. I breathe in relaxation and breathe out tension.
Ain't nothing to it but to do it. Breathing is free; inhale the good stuff.
3. I love and approve of myself.
Say it with your chest and say it often. Reaffirming self-love is necessary for growth. It's something we need to work at, and daily tune-ups won't hurt.
4. Every thought is creating my future.
Yes, thinking is a type of action. Taking ownership of our actions is a power move. Anytime you allow yourself to become overwhelmed by negative thoughts, it can erode your quality of life.
5. At this moment, I choose to feel calm and peaceful. Everything is unfolding as it should.
Have you ever stepped away from the crowd and into a bathroom to do some deep breathing? No? Just me? Find a place to close your eyes and remember all the times you felt victorious. With that, visualize another moment of success. Discomfort is normal. If you didn't feel anything, you would be without a pulse.
6. I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me. (Philippians 4:13)
For my saved and sanctified, this is the perfect time to remember you are capable of doing all things through Christ who strengthens you.
7. I am grateful for what I have.
Sometimes our thoughts about others can get the best of us. Focusing on what we lack in comparison to others—like thinking, "Why did they get the promotion, and I didn't?" instead of being happy for them and grateful for what we have. As the saying goes, "Comparison is the thief of joy."
8. I attract all that is good and beautiful.
When you remind yourself that you are the prize, you continue to attract great things.
9. I am safe at this moment.
There's no time like the present to reaffirm that you are secure in the place that you dwell. This affirmation will help you relax and help you master your feelings.
10. Today, I choose happiness and joy.
Each day, we have a choice to be happy. Even when something doesn't go as planned, you still have the power to change how you feel.
Argue for your limitations, and they are surely yours. That's a daily reminder that what you think and focus on will become your reality. While anxiety can affect your mental health, it does not have to cripple you. If you're dealing with debilitating anxiety, I suggest seeing a psychiatrist or a psychologist to help you achieve inner peace. Honestly, in a way, I feel like my anxiety was caused by not allowing myself to be free—free of fear, free of inhibitions, and free of self-doubt. There's always that little voice telling you that you can't do it again, that you're not worthy of success. It's time to let it go.
My final affirmation: I have nothing to prove to anyone, but everything to prove to myself.
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Ayana Iman is a certified life coach, professional speaker, and mama of one based in New Jersey. She's also known for her love of big hair, travel, and cooking. Find her across social @AyanaIman.
Unapologetically, Chlöe: The R&B Star On Finding Love, Self-Acceptance & Boldly Using Her Voice
On set inside of a mid-city Los Angeles studio, it’s all eyes on Chlöe. She slightly shifts her body against a dark backdrop amidst camera clicks and whirs, giving a seductive pout here, and piercing eye contact there. Her chocolate locs are adorned with a few jewels that she requested to spice up the look, and on her shoulders rests a jeweled piece that she asked to be turned around to better showcase her neck (“I feel a bit old,” she said of the original direction). Her shapely figure is tucked into a strapless bodysuit with a deep v-neck that complements her décolletage.
Though subtle, her quiet wardrobe directives give the air of a woman who’s been here before, and certainly knows what she’s doing. At 24 years young, she’s a “Bossy” chick in training— one who’s politely unapologetic and learning the power of her own voice.
“I'm hesitant sometimes to truly speak my mind and speak up for myself and what I believe,” she later confessed to me a couple of weeks after the photoshoot. “It's always scary for me, but now I'm realizing that I have to, in order to gain respect as a Black woman— a young Black woman— who's still navigating who she is. And you know, I'm realizing that closed mouths don't get fed. And if I keep my mouth shut just because I'm afraid of what people's opinions of me will be or turn into, then that's not any way to live.”
For Chlöe, the journey into womanhood is about embracing who she is, without succumbing to the perceptions of what others think of her. From the waist up she’s everything you’d imagine. A gorgeous goddess with the kind of sex appeal that some work hard to embrace but fail to exude. But unbeknownst to anyone not on set, her bottom half is covered by a white robe, surprising coming from the girl who boasts “'Cause my booty so big, Lord, have mercy” on her first hit single “Have Mercy.”
But that’s the beauty of Chlöe. There’s more to her than meets the eye. More than what a few sensual photos sprinkled throughout an Instagram feed could ever tell you. Just like the photo-framing illusion of her portrayed from the waist up, what we know about the songstress is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more beneath the surface.
Some hours later Chlöe leans back in a high chair as her locs are transformed from a formal updo to a seemingly Basquiat-inspired one. It’s pure art, and at her request, no wigs are a part of the day’s ensemble. She’s fully embracing her natural hair, a decision that wasn’t always a socially accepted one.
In the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, (Mableton, to be exact) Chlöe began to explore the foundation of her self-image. At an early age she and her younger sister, Halle, demonstrated a vocal prowess and knack for being in front of the camera that caught their parents’ attention. Soon after, they were sent on a parade of local talent shows and auditions, and eventually broke into the digital space with song covers on YouTube.
It was during these early years that Chlöe first learned that the entertainment industry could be unforgiving to those who didn’t fit a particular beauty standard. Despite the then three-year-old snagging a role as the younger version of Beyoncé’s character, Lilly, in Fighting Temptations, casting agents requested that her natural locs be exchanged for more Eurocentric tresses. Ironic, considering that growing up Chlöe saw her hair as no different than that of her peers. “I remember specifically in pre-K we had to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a regular straight ponytail, like how I would put my locs in a ponytail,” she says. “I just never saw myself any different.”
Chlöe would also learn the true meaning of a phrase that would later become an affirmation posted on her bedroom mirror: “Don’t Let the World Dim Your Light.” After attempting to wear wigs to fit in, the Bailey sisters instead chose to rock their locs with pride, which undoubtedly cost them casting roles. Yet they would have the last laugh when making headlines as the “Teen Dreadlocked Duo” who landed a million-dollar contract with Parkwood Entertainment, and the coveted opportunity to be groomed under the tutelage of a world-renowned superstar.
Credit: Derek Blanks
While that could be the end of a beautiful fairytale of self-empowerment, the reality is that it’s just the beginning of the story of her evolution. For most girls, the transition into womanhood takes place in the comfort of their own worlds, often limited to the number of people they allow to have access to them. But for Chlöe, it’s happening in front of millions of critiquing eyes just waiting for an opportunity to either uplift or dissect her through unwarranted commentary.
Many in her position wouldn’t be able to take that kind of pressure. But Chlöe is handling it with grace. “I feel like all of us as humans, we have the right to interpret things how we want,” she says. “I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
Chlöe isn’t the first artist to receive criticism for her carnal content, and she certainly won’t be the last. In 2010, Ciara writhed and rode her way to banishment on BET when the then 24-year-old released her video for “Ride.” In 2006, 25-year-old Beyoncé received backlash for “Déjà Vu."
"I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
So much so that over 5,000 fans signed an online petition demanding that her label re-shoot the video because it was “too sexual.” Even 27-year-old Janet didn’t escape critical headlines when she shed her image of innocence for a more risqué appearance with the 1993 release of janet.
It’s almost as if public reproach is a rite of passage for young Black women R&B singers on the road to stardom. Good girls seemingly “go bad” whenever they embrace the depths of their femininity, and fans only like you on top figuratively. But Chlöe has learned not to bow down to other people’s opinions, but to boss up and control the narrative. As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. If sex appeal is her weapon, she wields it well.
On set, Chlöe exudes the energy of Aphrodite in an apple red, off-shoulder dress with a sexy high split. In between shots, she mouths the lyrics to Yebba’s “Boomerang” as it echoes throughout the space in steady repetition at my recommendation. The hour grows late, yet Chlöe is heating things up as eyes stare in deep mesmerization of the girl on fire.
Credit: Derek Blanks
Through music, she explores the depths of her being, a journey that seems to be, at its foundation, rooted in self-discovery. Whereas their debut album The Kids Are Alright (2018) boasts a young Chloe x Halle empowering their generation to embrace who they are while finding their place in the world, their second album Ungodly Hour (2020) shows the Bailey sisters shedding the veil of innocence for a more unapologetic bravado.
What fans looked forward to seeing is who Chlöe shows herself to be on her debut solo album In Pieces. In an interview with PEOPLE, she confesses that releasing her first project without her sister was “scary.” "It was a moment of self-doubt where I was like, 'Can I do this without my sister?’”
Chlöe has never been shy about sharing her insecurities or her vulnerabilities, all of which are laced throughout the 14-track album. “I want people to have fun when they listen to it and to just realize that they're not alone and it's okay to be vulnerable and raw and open because none of us are perfect; we're all far from it. And I think it's healing when we all admit to that instead of putting up a facade.”
The gift of time has given the self-professed “big lover girl” more encounters with romance and heartbreak. Love songs once sung for their beautiful riffs and melodies become more than just abstract lyrics and are replaced by real-life experiences, which she tells me is definitely in the music.
In her single “Pray It Away,” for example, she contemplates going to God for healing instead of going at her ex-lover for revenge for his infidelities. “With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable,” she says. “I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
Has Chlöe been in love? That still remains to be said. Of course, she’s been linked to a few potential baes, but dating in the digital age isn’t as easy as a double tap or drop of a heart-eyes emoji. It requires a level of trust and vulnerability that’s hard to earn, and easy to mishandle. To let her guard down means to potentially set herself up for disappointment. “It’s difficult dating right now, honestly, because you really have to kind of keep your guard up and pay attention to who's really there for you. And you know, I'm such an affectionate person and I love hard.
"So when I meet the one person that I really, really am into, it's hard for me to see any others and I get attached pretty easily. And you know, I don't know, it's…it's a scary thing.”
Credit: Derek Blanks
“With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable. I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
While broken hearts yield good music (queue Adele), what’s in Chlöe’s prayer is the desire to be happy. What does that look like? Well, she’s still figuring that out herself. “Honestly, I'm the type of person who I don't truly learn unless I experience it. So it's like I can view and watch my parents and watch the loving relationships that I see in my life and be like, ‘Oh, I want that. I would love to have that.’ But then I also have to experience [love] on my own and see what my flaws or my faults might be or see what my good things about myself are. I feel like it's really all about self-reflection. And even though our base is our family and that's our foundation, we are still our own individuals and we have to find out specifically the things about ourselves that may be different from what we saw from our parents when we were growing up.”
Her ideal beau, she tells me, is someone she can feel safe to be her fun, goofy self with, but who also gives her the space to be the boss chick chasing her dreams. A man who understands that just because the world compliments her doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear those words from his lips or feel it in his touch. A bonus if he shows up on set after a long hard day of work with vegan cinnamon rolls. You know, the basic necessities. “I like whoever I'm with to constantly tell me they love me and that I look beautiful because I do the same. I am a very mushy person, and if I see something or you look good, I will never shy away from saying it out loud. And I want whoever I'm with to do the same, be very vocal. Tell me that you love me. Tell me what you love about me because I'm doing the same for you because that's just the person I am.”
Until she meets her match she’s married to the game, and for now, that seems to be perfect matrimony.
Credit: Derek Blanks
On stage at the 2021 American Music Awards, Chlöe solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with. It was a full-circle moment. In 2012, bright-eyed and baby-faced Chloe and Halle would walk onto the set of The Ellen Degeneres Show and blow the audience away as they bellowed out their future mentor’s song. Ellen would present the sisters with tickets to attend the AMAs, assuring them that they would be back and had a promising future. Nine years later, Chlöe descends from the sky cloaked in a snow-white cape and matching midriff-baring bodysuit for her debut performance. It’s the first time she’s graced the stage of the very award show that she was once an audience member of.
As she shakes and shimmies and boom kack kacks out her eight counts, it’s clear that she’s in her element. Just like her VMA performance a couple of months prior, and the many more stages she’ll continue to grace, she brings an energy that has earned her comparisons to the beloved Queen Bey herself. An honorable statement, considering few R&B songstresses are getting accolades for their entertainment capabilities. It’s on these very stages, in front of hundreds of astonished eyes and millions more glued to their televisions at home, that she tells me she feels most sexy. Powerful, even.
But off stage, it’s a different story.
It’s more than just the commentary about her image and media-flamed rumors that get to her. Mentally, she’s in competition with herself. The desire to be the best burns at the back of her mind with every performance, every production, and every time she steps into the booth. Before, she could share the weight of this burden with her sister. Being a part of a duo meant she could turn to Halle for quiet confirmation and encouragement without a word being exchanged. But lately stepping on the stage means stepping out on her own. And despite being a breathtaking, five-time Grammy-nominated star, Chlöe doesn’t escape the reality that sometimes we can be our own worst critics.
Over the last year, she’s been coming to terms with who she is on her own while overcoming the fear of failing to become who she’s destined to be. While the world waits to see how Chlöe wins, the real triumph is in every day that she chooses herself and continues to walk in her purpose. “I don't really have anything all figured out, honestly. But what I try to do, a lot of prayer. I talk to God more and I just try to do things that calm my mind down and just breathe.”
To whom much is given, much will be required. She’s been chosen to walk this path for a reason. Once she fully embraces that everything she’s meant to be is already inside of her, she’ll be an unstoppable force. “My grandma, Elizabeth, she just passed away and my middle name is her [first] name. So I feel like I truly have a responsibility to live up to her legacy that she's left on this earth. I hope I can do that.”
There’s no doubt that she will. With a role in The Fighting Temptations at three years old, a million-dollar record deal, a main role on five seasons of Grown-ish, five Grammy nominations, a number one solo record in Urban and Rhythmic Radio, a debut solo album, and starring roles in recently released movies Praise Thisand Swarm (just to name a few), Chlöe’s certainly already made her mark, and she’s just getting started.
Photographer & Creative Director: Derek Blanks
Executive Producer: Necole Kane
Co-Executive Producer: EJ Jamele
Producer: Erica Turnbull
Digitech: Chris Keller
DP: Alex Nikishin
Gaffer: Simeon Mihaylov
Photo Assistant: Chris Paschal
2nd Photo Assistant: Tyler Umprey
Features Editor: Kiah McBride
Special Projects: Tyeal Howell
Hair: Malcolm Marquez
Makeup: Yolonda Frederick
Fashion Styling: Ashley Sean Thomas
For More: Cover Story: Issa Rae Comes Full Circle
12 Ways To Be Far More Self-Compassionate Every Day
Life is gonna life. Although that might not be the most warm-fuzzy kind of way to start an article, that doesn’t make the fact any less true — and real. And since, as the Good Book says (Ecclesiastes 3), there is a time and season for everything, including weeping, losing, mourning, and other challenges, it’s really important that we exercise compassion.
Compassion is all about seeing the stress and hard times that someone is going through and having a strong desire to reduce it in some way. It’s about extending empathy. It’s about showing kindness (more on that in a bit). It’s also about giving the kind of support and space for them to feel, then heal, then come out a better version of themselves as a direct result of whatever got them to a place of needing some compassion in the first place.
Don’t get me started on how many of us could stand to take a master class as it relates to extending compassion overall. Oh, but if there’s one “compassion lane” that very few seem to drive on through life at all, it’s self-compassion — you know, learning not to be so hard on yourself, coming up with ways to extend yourself some mercy and tenderness, doing things that will soften your heart towards your own self.
While recently reading an article on self-compassion, I peeped a line in it that said, “I am patient with the process of becoming who I am.” And honestly, I don’t know if self-compassion can be explained any clearer than that.
So, what if you’re someone who knows that you could stand to learn more about the process and practice of becoming more self-compassionate yet you’re not exactly sure where to start? If that’s what’s going on, you’ve come to the right place. While these 12 tips only scratch the surface of how to give yourself more compassion, I think it will help you to get off to a really beautiful start.
1. Do Affirmation Meditations
Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with a friend about how much they overthink. When I asked them if they ever meditate, they said, “Every day. But after like two minutes, I have to do something else.” Umm…no. LOL. Believe it or not, for meditation to be truly effective, you need to devote somewhere between 20-45 minutes — still, calm, quiet.
Here’s the thing, though. You don’t have to sit in complete silence (if silence is a struggle for you). ASMR nature sounds (like rain, ocean waves, etc.), listening to guided instructions, or practicing mantras qualify as quality meditation too.
As far as mantras go, something that I sometimes recommend to my clients is doing affirmation meditations — you know, verbally reciting positive expressions about themselves. There are plenty of studies to support the fact that repeating things over and over can literally train your brain to think a certain way and even reprogram your subconscious. If you add to that the fact that meditation also helps to de-stress you, remove anxiety, boost creativity, keep you mindful, and help you to cope with “life life-ing”…why wouldn’t you want to love on yourself this way more often?
If affirmation mediations are something that interests you, over the next few days, come up with 10 sentences that will speak positivity in your space. Make sure that they are about building your self-esteem (like “I am rare and that is amazing”) and/or cultivating the kind of reality you want to have (like “I am in my purpose and my needs will be met because of it”). The more you declare these things, the easier it will be to become confident — and that can help you to feel good about yourself…no matter what may be happening around you.
2. Spend More Time in Nature
Every couple of years, I will revisit one of my favorite books —The Celestine Prophecy. One of my favorite takeaways is how important it is to spend time in nature in order to absorb some of its energy. Since taking a walk outside, doing some journaling outdoors, or even enjoying a sip of wine on your porch after dinner can help to calm you, improve your concentration, lower your risk for heart disease and give you a good dose of Vitamin D (which is a nutrient that an overwhelming amount of Black women are deficient that actually increases the chances of having bacterial vaginosis) — it is very clear how/why being outside as often as possible is truly an act of self-care.
3. Let Yourself Off of the Hook More Often
I am a firm believer that a part of the reason why a lot of people suck at forgiving others (check out “Are You A 'Bad Forgiver'? Read This And See.”) is because they suck even more at forgiving themselves. Just think about it — there is a certain level of awareness, humility, and understanding, when it comes to the mercy that you must have, to be able to grasp that if you want to only be around people who are not going to ever make mistakes, hurt your feelings or disappoint you, you might as well prepare to be mad on a daily basis because NOT EVEN YOU can pull that off with yourself (some of y’all will catch that later).
Without a doubt, forgiveness is an act of compassion because you are literally saying to others, “I get that you aren’t perfect and sometimes I need to not punish you for that fact.” This is such a profound way to live because it also means that you know that, sooner or later, the same forgiveness that you extend to others, you will need them to grant you — that’s how relationships work. Healthy ones anyway.
And here’s the thing — a great way to get some practice in this area is to forgive yourself — to literally “let yourself off of the hook” for things that you’ve done. It’s not about refusing to hold yourself accountable and/or not accepting the consequences that may come with your actions. It’s more about not rehearsing what transpired over and over again to the point where you build up resentment, humiliation, or even anger toward yourself. Because really, what good is that going to do?
Being compassionate by letting yourself off of the hook is taking time to feel what you feel and then choosing to learn from it and move on with the full intention of doing better the next time. I promise you that the more you learn to forgive, the less suffering you will experience — when it comes to how you deal with yourself and how you interact with others too.
4. Intentionally Reprogram “Negative Biases”
A couple of years ago, I penned an article for the platform entitled, “10 Ways To Keep Social Media From Triggering You (So Much).” One of the things that I mentioned in it is something known as negative (or negativity) bias. The science behind negative bias is that we’re basically hard-wired to lean toward negativity instead of positivity. This is why, if you ask someone to name five things that they like about themselves, they will probably mention the not-so-good stuff first or if a good news story pops up in a Twitter timeline, folks will skim over that and look for the entertainment gossip instead.
Another interesting thing about negative bias is it causes us to make decisions based on negative experiences instead of positive information that we may have received beforehand. In short, negative bias encourages us to take in intel that really isn’t beneficial — just easier to process because we naturally look at life from a glass-half-empty perspective.
So, now that you know what negative bias is, you might be curious about what you can do to avoid allowing it to consume you. One thing that you can do is take breaks from negativity — people, places, things, and ideas. Another thing that you can do is intentionally fill your being with positive things — upbeat music, positive conversations, and activities that make you feel good about yourself. Also, try and learn to see situations from a positive perspective — you know, like instead of constantly asking yourself, “Why is this always happening to me?” reframe your psyche by saying instead, “How is this going to work for my good?”
Working through negative biases requires quite a bit of intentionality and effort yet when you master putting the positive over the negative, it really can make you unstoppable on so many life-related levels.
5. Set Better Boundaries
There is a motto I made up some time ago that I have been rocking with that has brought me complete and total peace for a while now — “Be okay with being someone’s consequence. Sometimes you’ll be the best lesson that they will ever learn because you were the only one who followed through with a firm consequence for their actions.”
Listen, you don’t have the time and I don’t have the keystroke energy to get into how extreme I’ve had to go on setting limits with certain people because they were insistent on violating the boundaries that I set. It had gotten to the point where even hearing their name triggered feelings of anxiety and stress and that’s because not only were they not honoring my boundaries, but other people would try and make me feel bad for setting the boundary with them in the first place (which is just another form or revictimization).
If you don’t get nothin’ else out of this article, please hear me when I say that you should NEVER FEEL BAD FOR SETTING BOUNDARIES WITH OTHER PEOPLE. Boundaries convey limits. Boundaries are a form of protection. Boundaries are what help you to make the most out of your time, effort, energy, and resources too.
And just how can you know that you are someone who exists with healthy boundaries? Good question.
- If you don’t have a lot of toxic people in your life, chances are, you’ve set good boundaries.
- If you don’t struggle with making choices that are best for you, chances are, you’ve set good boundaries.
- If you don’t go through life feeling triggered all of the time, chances are, you’ve set good boundaries.
- If you have no problem saying “no” and verbally stating your feelings and needs, chances are, you’ve set good boundaries.
- If you don’t allow people to gaslight or manipulate you, chances are, you’ve set good boundaries.
It’s a wise person who said that the only people who hate boundaries are the ones who have every intention of violating them once they are set. That said, never feel bad for placing limits that will help you to live your best life in a space of tranquility and harmony. After all, doing what will keep you safe is one of the best forms of self-compassion that there is.
6. Give Yourself a Head and/or Foot Massage
Something that I treated myself to a few months ago is a battery-operated scalp massager. Although the initial intention was so it would help with hair length retention, I’m also aware that giving myself a scalp massage does everything from increase blood circulation to my head and reduce tension to relieve headaches and help me to relax better before turning in at night.
Another way to treat yourself along these same lines is a foot massage. Although there’s nothing quite like booking a professional reflexology appointment, even if you warm up a mixture of a carrier oil (like sweet almond, grapeseed, or avocado) along with a few drops of a calming essential oil (like lavender, bergamot or chamomile) and rub your feet with it, applying gentle pressure to them will help to relieve tension, improve blood circulation to your feet, keep the muscles and tissues in your feet healthy, improve your quality of sleep at night and give you an energy boost during the day too.
7. Get on Some Sort of Subscription Service
A single woman was telling me recently that one thing that she hates about her relational status is her top love language is gifts and she wants to receive things from someone who she loves. “So, why not sign up for a subscription service?”, I asked her. She rolled her eyes and said, “That’s not what I mean.”
Girl, I know what you’re talking about but if you’re gonna wait for a man to send you some flowers, a bottle of wine, or your favorite self-care products — who knows when that will be? Not only that but you are actually volunteering to bring more stress and anxiety into your life by acting like you should put nurturing yourself on hold until someone else decides to do it for you.
Since these days, there are services that will mail you things on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis, why not budget to get on somebody’s list? These days, subscription services have become so popular that you can find one for make-up, hair care, clothing, jewelry, snacks, aromatherapy, plants — you name it (a list of some currently popular ones is located here, here, here, here and a list of Black-owned ones are found here)!
Hey, getting something in the mail that’s not a bill is always bomb…even if the item is actually coming from yourself. Feel me?
8. Spend Time with Your “Inner Little Girl”
As I’m currently getting certified to life coach in the area(s) of trauma, it has been…tragically wild to see how many other students have been traumatized due to having a toxic mother in their lives (past and current). I mean, you’ve already taken in so much information, so I’ll just say that if you can totally relate and there are areas where you know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that your mother dropped the ball as you were growing up and it has caused some “holes” in your life because of it, something that can help is to nurture those very areas of yourself.
For instance, if you grew up with an emotionally abusive mother, there is no way around the fact that it did a number on your self-esteem. And that could be why, whenever someone teases you, even if it’s in jest, you find yourself super triggered, perhaps to the point of even throwing a mini-temper tantrum — it’s a wounded space where you are still emotionally “stuck” in a way.
So, what do you do? Journal about it. Pray about it. Speak to your space people about that being a “tender area” for you, so that they can be more gentle while interacting with you. Also, ponder what you wish you had received at the time, from your mother (or whoever caused the pain), and then accept that because you are now in complete control over your space and psyche, you can give your own self those things — then do just that.
There are plenty of studies to support that wherever a person was traumatized, they emotionally remain that age until they address it and heal from it. Therapy can be one way to do it. Another is to seek out those “inner little girl” places and give her the attention — the right kind of attention — that she never got before.
9. Speak to and About Yourself Without Violence
Hands down, one of my favorite things about this season of my life is a course that I’m taking on nonviolent communication. I’m telling you, the more that I deep dive into the topic, the more I see just how VIOLENT folks are while interacting with others.
Case in point. When I asked my instructor to break down what it means to be a nonviolent communicator to someone who may not be studying it at the level that I am, she shared something with me that I’ve been telling just about anyone who will listen. She said, “Shellie, if you are speaking to someone or they are speaking to you without the following three things being present, there is some form of violence that is transpiring, whether you realize it or not: safety, respect, understanding.”
Pretty powerful, right? In communication, people should feel safe enough to be their authentic selves, should know that their thoughts and feelings are going to be respected, and that the person who is listening to them is going to do their best to understand where they are coming from. Otherwise, there is more force, aggression, and stress in the exchange than there needs to be.
So, take a moment to ponder and process. Whether it’s your personal or professional relationships, who are the people you communicate nonviolently with? Who are the ones who communicate nonviolently with you? Honestly, a part of the reason why a lot of people struggle with self-compassion is they are constantly suffering at the hands of those who don’t engage them in a way that they should require — in a way that they should also…deliver. This includes speaking nonviolently to yourself.
10. Schedule Pampering, Leisure and Sleep Time
If you can’t remember the last time that you did something to treat yourself and also to get off of the grid (which is not necessarily the same thing, by the way) and your reason — which is really more like an excuse — is you’ve been too busy or you haven’t had the time, frankly, I don’t believe you. The saying that we make time for what is important to us doesn’t have exceptions; it’s true across the board. Besides, if you don’t “have time” to pamper yourself or do something that you truly enjoy, simply because you enjoy it, that’s a bit of a red flag, wouldn’t you say?
And don’t even get me started on sleep deprivation. So many folks are walking around here being moody as hell, totally unproductive at work, and with a weak immunity…and the root cause is they think that getting five hours of sleep is actually doing something. You’re not. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you’re under 60, you need at least seven hours — not every once in a while…each and every night (if you’re over that, 7-9 is ideal).
So yes, scheduling in time for kind indulgence (pampering), relaxation and definitely sleep are sho ‘nuf acts of self-compassion. That’s why they should never be seen as luxuries; they are definitely necessities in life.
11. Learn the Differences Between Nice and Kind
I’m not big on the word “nice.” Honestly, I never really have been because it always feels so…performative to me. If you add to that the fact that even the Bible doesn’t say that “love is nice” but “love is KIND” (I Corinthians 13:4) — sticking with kind is the kind of hill that I am perfectly willing to die on.
Think about it. Being nice basically means that you’re an agreeable person and while there is a time and place for being that way, sometimes that’s how we get ourselves into situations where folks are out here taking advantage of us, where we’re not showing our genuine selves because we’re so focused on walking on eggshells or “going along to get along” and/or we end up in situations where people literally mistake our kindness for weakness (le sigh).
On the other hand, being kind is all about being gentle, helpful, considerate, friendly, and not harmful to other individuals. Here’s the thing, though — when you’re kind, it doesn’t have to be at the expense of your own boundaries, needs, or feelings. You can gently set a boundary. You can help someone without it always being at the expense of yourself (meaning, you can do it when you have the time, energy, and resources). You can feel good about knowing that any grown person (family or otherwise) who tells you that taking care of you should not be as important as taking care of them is a form of gaslighting — that you aren’t harming someone simply because you won’t do whatever it is that they think that you should.
I’m telling you, when it comes to getting on the path of self-compassion, it is a real game-changer to know the differences between being nice and being kind. Try it and I’m pretty confident that you’ll see just what I am talkin’ about.
12. Toast Yourself Every Day
There really is no telling, just how many articles I’ve written (even on this platform) where I mention that I make it a point and practice toasting myself on a daily basis. Why? Well, even though I’m pretty sure that everyone reading this has been a part of a formal toast before, I’m not sure how many of y’all have actually sat and thought about what a toast represents. It’s a way of wishing someone future success, happiness, and health; it can also be a way of celebrating someone’s accomplishments.
Listen, at the time that I’m actually penning this, it’s not even noon yet and I already know that I’m gonna toast myself later because I didn’t straight up cuss out someone who’s been trying me for the past couple of weeks — and yes, that is worth celebrating, chile!
The reality is that a lot of people stay in the cycle of self-induced suffering and it’s because all they think about is their weaknesses and/or shortcomings and/or mistakes and/or all of the things that they need to do that they haven’t done (which can induce stress, overthinking and feeling completely overwhelmed). Toasting yourself reminds you that although you have a ways to go, you’ve also come a long way too — one step at a time.
So, as we bring this finally to a close, determine that tonight, you’re gonna pull out a flute, pour yourself some bubbly (even if it’s sparkling cider), and verbally toast yourself for some sort of reached goal or internal triumph. It’s another way to extend yourself some compassion — in a way that you probably never thought you deserved or even needed before. Salute, sis. SALUTE.
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