Want To Lead A Fuller Life? Set These 10 Intentions
If you were to ask another person or even yourself what a full life means, you will probably get a million different answers. As for me, I used to think that a full life just consisted of a life with a lot of material things. You know the six-figure salary, designer bags, shoes, and cars. But as I grow and evolve, I realize that a full life to me is more than that. I think we all can agree that a life where we are happy, fulfilled, loved, and have no regrets is the ultimate goal. I recognize that if I am happy and live life with no regrets, those other things like my dream job, dream closet, and dream man will undoubtedly come too. For example, I'm shown time and time again that if I practice gratitude for what I already have, I am constantly blessed with more.
So, how do you lead a full life? Well, I've found that setting intentions for myself helped get me started on the path to fulfillment. Intentions can be set daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. It's truly up to the individual. To get started, first think about who you are at this very moment. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made but, are we operating as such? Oftentimes we are not. Now, think about who you want to be and how you want to show up in this world. This is where intention-setting comes into play. Intentions are simply hopes and manifestations of who you know that you can be and who you truly are. By setting intentions and then operating as such, you open yourself up to a deep sense of inner fulfillment that cannot be touched.
So no matter what your definition of a full life may be, these 10 intentions are sure to be a great start on the path to the full life that you were destined to live.
1. "I intend to forgive myself and others."
If you're anything like me, you probably find it easier to forgive others than yourself and that's saying something because I have been known to hold a grudge or two. But listen, it is so important to give yourself the grace that you so graciously extend to others. Some of us can be our own worst critics. You made a mistake. It's not the end of the world, no matter what it is. Learn from it, grow from it, forgive yourself, and release it.
As for forgiving others, it's indeed more for you than the person that needs forgiving. Holding anger and grudges in your heart isn't good for you. Forgive. Practice this intention until it becomes second nature.
2. "I intend to love myself unconditionally."
This may be cliche but self-love really is the best love. This intention is one I set for myself daily and sometimes multiple times a day as it can be easy to forget as we move throughout the day. Vowing to love yourself no matter what sets the tone for your life and your life's experiences. I once heard someone say that self-love is the bridge to where you want to go in life and how you show up, and I couldn't agree more.
3. "I intend to not let fear stop me from trying new things."
My good sis Beyonce said it best when she said that none of her fears can go where she is headed. So many amazing things are on the other side of fear. Last November, I decided to move to a new city. I had been in my previous city for almost 20 years. It was scary leaving the city that I was so familiar with and where all my friends lived to a city where I knew a total of about three people. This decision turned out to be one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. Set the intention to try a new thing every day and watch your life transform.
4. "I intend to practice gratitude."
I believe in this one so much. I feel that when you practice gratitude, it immediately puts you in a better mood because you are no longer focused on what you lack but instead focused on what you have. Also what better way to tell the universe that you are ready to receive more than to be thankful for what you already have.
5. "I intend to see the goodness around me."
It can be hard to see the goodness around you when there are so many things going on, especially this past year. We've had to deal with so much in 2020; COVID-19, death, sickness, quarantine, political unrest, inequality, and racism just to name a few. But despite all the negative things going on in the world, there is still so much goodness. You just have to look for it. I know that some days will be harder than others to see it but I promise it's there. Set this intention and begin to see all the good that is happening all around you.
6. "I intend to be happy."
Happiness is a choice. Tough times and not so great things are a part of life and often out of our control. It's how we choose to respond to them that is up to us. It is human to be down or sad about the things that happen in our lives. But it is up to us how long we stay in that place. When I am going through a tough time, I allow myself time to feel my feelings but then I set the intention to be happy regardless. I surround myself with the people, places, and things that make me happy. If you set the intention to be happy, you will be happy.
7. "I intend to listen better and not just react off of emotions."
This one right here. Pray for my strength, y'all. I have a bad habit of listening to respond instead of listening to understand. I know, I know, I'm working on it though. We all think that what we have to say is more important than what the other person has to say. But I have to admit that I have learned more by listening than by talking. Not to mention, setting this intention will make you a better friend, employee, employer, spouse, and/or partner.
8. "I intend to let go of the past and things that I cannot change."
It happened. You can't go back and change it no matter how much you wish that you could so you might as well make peace with it. Setting this intention will save you a lot of anxiety. Trust me. Learn from it and then release it.
9. "I intend to trust that I am where I am supposed to be."
The world can sometimes make you feel like you are behind but please trust that you are not. There is no magic age for getting married or having kids. Nor is there an age limit on finding your passion. Setting this intention is a beautiful and necessary reminder that what is meant for you won't ever miss you and will happen when it is supposed to happen.
10. "I intend to appreciate and enjoy life."
If I've learned nothing else in 2020, I've learned that life is precious. Set an intention to be appreciative of the life that you have and actually enjoy it. Too often we forget that life is meant to be enjoyed because we are so laser-focused on work and building empires. Don't get me wrong, those things are important too but you can't forget to live. I once read an article that talked about some of the regrets that people on their deathbed had. One of them was that they wish they hadn't spent so much time working. Enjoy yourself from time to time. Work will be there when you get back.Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!
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This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
A hill that I am forever going to die on is nothing, and no one (including your spouse or your kids) should come before your purpose — ever. The reason why I say that is because your purpose is literally why you exist. And so, aside from the Creator who assigned you to one, there is nothing and no one greater.
And because of that, you should be laser-focused on surrounding yourself with people, places, things and ideas that will help you to manifest “the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.” (one definition of purpose) as it relates to you specifically and then you should be intentional, both daily and consistently, about manifesting “an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal” (another definition of purpose) when it comes to elevating in that very space.
In order for all of this to happen, you definitely, without question, need to surround yourself with purposeful relationships: relationships that exist, largely in part, to help you reach certain intended aims and desired results. And in order for that to happen, you’ve got to be highly selective about who those people are — and it needs to go well beneath the surface of merely having certain things in common or enjoying someone’s company.
Keeping all of this in mind, let’s explore what it means to have purposeful relationships and why you are doing yourself a serious detriment if you don’t prioritize having them in your life. Ready?
What Is Your Purpose?Giphy
I once read an article that said that only 25 percent of people actually know what their purpose is (a lot of other articles say that it’s actually lower than that!). To me, that’s alarming because, again, since purpose is literally why each of us are here, it’s important to prioritize discovering what your own purpose is all about. It’s basically what Oprah Winfrey once said: “Your real job is to figure out what it is that you are called to do” because, once you know that, it helps you to know what direction your life should actually take — including when it comes to your relationships.
And so, before getting into anything else — what is your purpose? If you’re unsure, a “purpose hack” that I recommend is to think about what you were put on this planet to do. If you can explain it in three words or phrases, you’re probably right on the money.
For instance, my purpose is “marriage, sex, and the Sabbath” — all are biblical covenant principles (that folks, en masse, are totally flippant about), and all are things that I study, research, and talk about on a daily basis and all are things that I have been told, consistently, that I seem to have supernatural insights on. You know, in Hebrew and African culture, names speak to purpose, and I discovered in my 30s, from an Israeli, that my name is Hebrew and it means “Mine; Belonging to Me,” which basically means that my name even means “covenant” (Ezekiel 16:1-14).
And you know what? Even if I didn’t get paid to write, public speak, and life coach on those three things, I would still do it because, for me, those topics come so naturally to me that they are like breathing; even when I’m tired, it still feels like a huge life source.
Okay, so what do you feel this way about? If you’re still unsure, there is a leadership website that features over 132 questions that you can ask yourself here. Also, if you go to your favorite search engine and put “find my purpose quiz” in the search field, there are all sorts of (free) tests that you can take. You might also want to see a life coach for some clarity because we are trained to ask certain questions that can lead you to some pretty profound “ah-ha moments.”
Whatever path you decide to take, it is super important, critical even, that you know what your purpose is. So many people waste valuable time, effort, and energy, not just on the wrong career path but with the wrong partners and in the wrong friendships because they have absolutely no clue.
NOTHING Should EVER Come Before Purpose FulfillmentGiphy
Although I touched on this in the intro, before getting into how you can know if you’re in truly purpose-filled relationships, since this revelation may immediately cause you to do some reassessing and reprioritizing as far as certain folks are concerned, I need to speak to the part of you who may feel guilty about shifting and realigning, perhaps even after reading all of this. Yeah, please hear and hear me good when I say that you are doing yourself the ultimate disservice if you are out here living your life without fulfilling your purpose in the process.
So, what are some signs that you are, indeed, in a state of purpose fulfillment:
- Your gifts and talents are being utilized.
- You feel a sense of holistic wholeness and calm.
- Even on the hard days, you enjoy many moments within it.
- Others are directly benefitting from what you do.
- No one is doing, what you are doing, quite like you are doing it.
- You are constantly feeling challenged, inspired, and motivated.
- You can connect what you do to a profound sense of spiritual elevation.
- You are becoming a better, not worse, person.
- Money is merely a bonus.
- You feel fulfilled.
Fulfill: to carry out, or bring to realization, as a prophecy or promise; to perform or do, as duty; obey or follow, as commands; to satisfy (requirements, obligations, etc.); to bring to an end; finish or complete, as a period of time; to develop the full potential of (usually used reflexively)
Synonyms: accomplished, satisfied, pleased, crowned, gratified, realized, perfected
- Feeling fulfilled has so many layers to it.
- Being fulfilled has a spiritual element to it (prophecy, promise).
- Being fulfilled means that you are being led to execute certain things.
- Being fulfilled means you are here to complete something.
- Being fulfilled means that your full potential is to be developed.
- Being fulfilled brings a sense of accomplishment, gratification, and supreme realization.
And when you break all of this down and then really let it set in — how in the world could — or should — you let anyone or anything come before all of this? You shouldn’t. Yet, because this isn’t taught, nearly enough, folks end up (for example) miserable in marriages because they didn’t choose someone who complements their purpose. People end up on roller coaster rides in their friendships because they are not connected to those who complement their purpose. People never really learn who to hold on to and who to release because they don’t get how important it is to stick with who complements their purpose and to let go of who…doesn’t.
And just what do I mean by that? I’m so glad that you asked.
Who in Your Life Complements Your Purpose?Giphy
An article that I wrote for the platform a few years back that people will sometimes still write me about to this day is “If He's Right For You, He Will COMPLEMENT Your Life.” A part of what inspired it is a verse in Scripture. The Classic Amplified Version of Genesis 2:18 says, “Now the Lord God said, It is not good (sufficient, satisfactory) that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper (suitable, adapted, complementary) for him.” Yeah, it’s kind of a message for another time how, nowhere in this, does it say that God would give Adam someone to “fall in love with;” it says that he would bring him HELP in the form of his COMPLEMENT. Nothing’s wrong with love, yet some of y’all are hinging too much on Disney and rom-coms and not enough on who complements you. Like I said…another time.
Okay, yet even beyond your life partner, what does it mean for someone to complement you? If someone is your complement, they are able to bring forth some sort of completion in your life. Not in the Jerry Maguire (film) “You complete me” kind of way (that’s basically an inside job) — more like in the “You help me to bring certain things together in order to COMPLETE things” instead of “You are so much work to deal with that you are taking time, effort, energy, and resources away from me being able to COMPLETE things.” Make sense?
I’ll give you a personal example (not with graphic details, but enough). There was someone, back in the day, who used to really try to be my friend. Another matter for another time? I’m not big on that. Life and discernment have taught me that if you’re “trying hard,” you usually have an agenda. Friendships should happen…organically. Anyway, one day, out of the blue, she decided that we fell out (LOL). I know this because she told someone we mutually share without ever talking to me. Fast forward to now, and we both have platforms; ones that couldn’t be more different.
I mean, what she talks about is so diametrically opposed to what I do, and because she is so opinionated to the point that no one else can really get a word in unless it’s to praise or applaud her — I already know that we would’ve had a lot of conflict. So much time would’ve been spent via her trying to get me to see things her way that I wouldn’t be focused on what I am called to do…over here. She’s simply not my complement; not as far as my close inner circle is concerned. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that it’s a good idea to see folks for who and what they are so that you know where to place them in your life.
So yeah, if you’ve got people in your life who contradict your purpose, challenge you about your purpose, try and gaslight you out of your purpose — they do not complement it.
Now let’s see and raise this point.
Who in Your Life Helps to Elevate Your Purpose?Giphy
A couple of weeks ago, my godchildren’s mom treated me to a trip where she spoke at a moth. What is that? Long story short, people from all over the country get to share a 10-minute story, based on various themes, before audiences. If they go over 10 minutes, they’re kind of “Apollo-ed off” (the real ones know what I mean by that). Anyway, the main reason why she wanted me to come was because she wanted to publicly thank me for planting a seed into the platform that she has now, which is advocacy for Black and brown people in country music. My role? Telling her to start a podcast for it in the first place (because she was wearing me out talking about country music history all of the time!). I stayed on her for a couple of years, and she finally followed through. Since then, it has taken off in ways that she never imagined, and now there is a major resurgence in her career. Love to see it!
You know, confession time: It took me a long time to fully rest in the fact that another huge part of my personal purpose is to be a “doula” for people. Yes, I am one in the traditional sense. However, the Most High has also used me, so many times over, to help people with “creative pregnancies” (Romans 8:22-29 — Message) — to get them to see them, to help protect them, and then to provide support in the execution of them. And on this side of really getting that, it’s an honor.
Anyway, it wouldn’t make sense to write on this topic and not also mention that when you are in purposeful relationships, you should also be seeing some sort of elevation as a direct result of being connected to those individuals. It doesn’t always, automatically or necessarily have to be monetary yet— yes, you need to be growing, thriving, flourishing because they are in your life. So should your purpose.
It’s kind of like something that I recently heard the comedian Earthquake say on Drink Champs. He was talking about splitting assets in relationships and he basically said that if you help him to acquire more since being with someone and there’s a break-up, sharing makes sense. At the same time, if you leave with the same amount that you came in with, why is anyone else owed anything? My favorite line in his narrative: “We didn’t prosper.” Boy, if that ain’t a way to end stuff: WE DIDN’T PROSPER. LOL.
To prosper is to be successful. To prosper is to flourish. To prosper is to thrive. And I promise you that if you are linked up with people who are a complement to your purpose — whether it be personal or professional, romantic or platonic — you are going to see some prospering going on. Things are gonna multiply. You’re gonna produce some newness. Progress, yielding, and advancing are gonna be a given.
Hmph. Don’t get me started on how some of y’all need to “relationally demote” some of your own familial relationships because they are some of the greatest enemies of you fulfilling your purpose. STRAIGHT UP.
Closing out this point by saying — no YELLING — that when you are in purposeful relationships, one way to know is, one way or another, your purpose is gonna elevate. Now, think about your relational dynamics as they currently stand. Is that what's happening? Are you sure?
Why You Should Prioritize “Purpose People” Above All OthersGiphy
When it comes to relationship-related stuff, something else that time and maturity will (hopefully) teach you is there is a ton of space between “friend” and “enemy.” What I mean by that is, even if you realize that someone doesn’t need to be in your inner intimate circle or even that they shouldn’t be deserving of the official title “friend” (check out “Allow These Things To Happen Before Calling Someone 'Friend'”), that doesn’t mean they can’t be a cool acquaintance, a seasonal connection or simply someone who you enjoy getting drinks with from time to time. Y’all, some people can be pleasant additions without being highly prioritized. Always remember that.
Who should you prioritize, though? Your purposeful relationships. Now that you know more about what those people look and act like, it should be a given that your spouse would qualify because surely you wouldn’t choose a partner who doesn’t complement your purpose…CORRECT? And, of course, your kids would fall into this as well because two people in purpose create children with purpose…RIGHT? And then there’s the rest of the folks in your world who make you manifest your purpose clearer and easier.
Me personally? I know exactly who those individuals are for me. They’re the ones who can call me at 4 a.m. They’re the ones who can get money even when it’s a bit inconvenient for me to give it (check out “Life Taught Me That True Friendships Are 'Inconvenient'”). They’re the ones who I am happy to lend my gifts and talents to. Why? Because they would do the same for me. How can I be so sure? It’s because we have both agreed that we are in each other’s lives, in part, to make sure that our individual purposes are indeed fulfilled — and whatever it takes to make that happen…so be it. We’re in this thing until manifestation transpires. And those are the kind of people who deserve to come above all else. Truly and fully. And they do — without hesitation or reservation. To this day, I’ve never regretted it.
The late and oh-so-great Dr. Myles Munroe’s purpose was largely about helping others figure out their own purpose. That’s why he used to say things like, “Purpose is when you know and understand what you were born to accomplish,” “We were placed on earth to fulfill a purpose, which gives meaning to our lives; you were sent to the world to make an impact and a difference,” and “Your purpose can be fulfilled only during the time you are given on earth to accomplish it.”
And you know what? It would be a shame to have wasted so much of your time trying to make relationships work and last that never really were supposed to, all because they have nothing to do with you fulfilling your purpose, and you never realized that therein was the supreme disconnect.
It can’t be said enough: purpose is why you’re here. So, make sure that you’ve got relationships that help you to live your best life — IN PURPOSE…until you complete it.
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Featured image by Willie B. Thomas/Getty Images