How I Learned To Be At Peace With Not Having It All Together
We're all pretenders, you know. As I walk around with a smile on my face and a timeline of poppin' Instagram photos, I often secretly carry a burden of feeling left behind on the success train. Can you relate?
Although you still have large goals and visions, the daily struggle to stay positive when your situation isn't changing is quite draining. One day you're killing it, but the next day you're sitting in a dark room, wondering what went wrong with your life. It's a constant rollercoaster ride of doubt, anxiousness, and fear and you're ready to hop off immediately.
This has been my biggest struggle after college. I have constantly battled with the crazy emotions of not feeling good enough to experience the life I desperately want.
When I look at my favorite role models, they make it look so easy. “Just grind and be patient," I read in interviews or hear during their acceptance speeches. And as motivating as it is to see them and my peers thriving around me, I feel stuck and overwhelmed.
I want you to know that you are not alone. So many people struggle with the fear of wasting their life away without accomplishing their dreams.
But there's light at the end of this tunnel. Yes, you may have not totally “arrived" yet, but there are so many life-changing lessons you can experience along the journey. Since we all want to win at this adulting life game, here are nine incredible ways to feel happy and successful without having it all together.
Enjoy the journey
First things first, you are never going to make it to your destination.
If you study the greats in any field most will say that “making it" is a huge myth. True success comes to those who consistently strive to improve themselves.
Think about your favorite one hit wonders. They changed the world with their song but when the fame hit, they lost focus and threw away the opportunity to really be something big.
Success is not measured by the wins but by the ability to sustain them once you get there. You may hit some major goals down the road but you will always run into a bigger vision that requires you to push even further.
Get Clear About Your Intentions
I've found that when I feel off track it's because I am not clear on the goals I'm trying to achieve. I was not only lost in the sauce with finding purpose but also lost in understanding who I was after college. A powerful exercise I started doing was writing three pages of my thoughts every morning. No matter if it sucked, I pushed past my rebellion to always get the three pages done.
What I found woven between those lines was my true and authentic self. I discovered my passions and what gives me fear. Understanding who I was and letting go of the need to force an answer drastically changed my struggle. Relax, get some thoughts on paper, and uncover what really makes your heart flutter.
Take Needed Breaks From Your Family and Friends
We value our family and friends' opinions more than anyone else. It's why we text them pictures of potential baes or beg them to start a new workout plan. These relationships are very important but they also have the biggest potential to discourage us when we are fighting for our dreams. It's not that they are trying to be hurtful, but many times they can only see the vision from their own eyes.
I had to realize that what God told me is not meant for everyone to understand. When I am struggling with self-confidence or confusion, I often try to make my life as quiet as possible so that I can hear the next direction. Silent the noise. They will be okay, I promise.
Passionately Work On a Side Project
Studies show that most millionaires are ballin' because they have multiple sources of income. When we get caught up in the security of our post-grad jobs, we often abandon what we love for a steady check. But the more we deny our real selves, the more lost and insecure we feel.
You were made to create. Find ways to exercise that characteristic by indulging in a side hustle. From starting a blog, doing makeovers for cancer patients, or even joining a book club, making time for your thing will burst open the doors to finding your purpose. Personality tests like Meyers-Briggs have helped with identifying what I love to do.
Take Notes From The Successful
Energy is transferable so take advantage of it by following people that truly inspire you. No this doesn't mean replicate someone's idea but it does mean to study their habits. I often watch interviews or read how someone got started before they became successful. Incorporating techniques that worked for them into your empire-building will help to create a road map that won't have you feeling lost.
In addition, go to conferences where boss women attend. Just being in the room will change your perspective and inspire you to keep going.
Get Schooled By Someone Older
We like to run to our peers or Youtube gurus for advice but some of the most valuable wisdom comes from the elderly adults in our lives. Try sitting down with a grandparent or visit a senior citizen home and listen to their advice. This is powerful because it often reveals many risks they didn't take that they wish they would have.
Let Go of “The Best Four Years of Your Life"
The message that college is going to be the best four years of your life is such a trap to stay stuck in the past. In order to be content with the journey, you have to let go of the highlight reels of undergrad life. During this season, you are going through major inner transformation from who you used to be and you won't fully embrace that if you continue to hold on to old memories.
Identify Your Bad Habits
Here's a hard truth - you still have habits that suck. It's not that no one will give you an opportunity, it's that you haven't learned to handle the current blessings you have. Take some paper and write down every bad habit you still entertain. Big ones for me were work tardiness, not keeping my word and procrastination. Draw a line down the middle and write the habit that's opposite. So, for example, a good habit to replace tardiness is picking a new time to leave my house every morning. Practicing new habits will be a challenge but they will help you step your game up and feel more confident.
Document Your Wins
Whether it's a picture, nice email from your boss, or a text saying that you inspired someone, keep your wins close to you. You can create an album in your phone or folder on the computer to save them. Having easy access to these will give you a get your life boost when you start to sink into the struggle woes.
I don't know about you but I want to know what freedom looks like. This requires me to release the need for pretending that everything is okay.
Learn that being uncomfortable is a powerful place to be in.
No, you won't let your family down and no it all won't make sense. But one of our greatest setbacks is using our struggles as an excuse to stay the same.
Your journey is begging to stretch you, challenge you and shine light to the areas that you need to develop.
So stay the course. The world is waiting for you.
Alaina Curry is a Las Vegas publicist, freelance writer and owner of her website The Glow Up, a post-grad survival blog for the lit and educated. Embracing the raggedy moments of adulthood, she is always looking to push the narrative of loving your truth and chasing your dreams. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter at @hotlaina_.
Featured image by Getty Images
- Stop Chasing What's Next, Enjoy Stillness Happiness - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Having It All—and Hating It - The Atlantic ›
- When You Don't Have It All Together – Thrive Global ›
- The Myth Of 'Having It All Together' | HuffPost ›
- What "having it all together" really looks like ›
- 7 Secrets Of People Who Have It All Together ›
- Be Honest: You Don't Have It All Together | WomenLeaders.com ›
Alaina is a Las Vegas freelance writer and founder of the website GlowSZN, a post-grad survival blog for the lit and educated. Embracing the raggedy moments of adulthood, she is always looking to push the narrative of growth in God, becoming financially free and owning your truth in your 20's. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter at @hotlaina_.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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If you haven’t scrolled upon Olivia McDowell's TikTok famous dinner parties, you may need to reconfigure your "For You Page."
What began as a passion for hosting aesthetically themed meals for her closest friends has quickly become a viral sensation. With an astonishing 12 million viewers, women describe Olivia’s picturesque dinner parties as the “dream girls' night,” complete with classy cocktails, beautiful table settings, elegant outfits, and, most importantly, food plated to perfection.
Seemingly reigniting the feminine urge to host fancy dinner parties, Olivia has perfected the finer details. Overlooking the skyline in her beautiful NYC apartment, she never fails to make her signature handmade pasta dishes while simultaneously looking effortlessly chic in the wardrobe of dreams while doing so.
Replying to @nara0630 what should the theme of my next dinner party be? #minivlog #nycliving #dinnerpartyideas #caviarinnewyork
What I love most about hosting intimate dinners for close friends are the connections and relationships that form over food. They don't require a caviar budget with a high-rise apartment, it just takes determination and a little creativity. Watching Olivia’s journey inspires viewers to be a part of a community of positive and uplifting women who share common interests and tastes in food, fashion, and decor. Simply stated, she’s raising the bar of friendship goals.
If you’re aspiring to host a holiday-themed dinner party this season, check out the four tips that will guide you along the way.
Choose Your Theme
Replying to @emz.life.tsv what was your fav part? 🤍 hope this gives you some inspiration to host a fancy friendsgiving too! #hostingtip #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Set the ambiance with a thoughtful theme, which will indeed be your guiding light for less stress during the planning process. Establishing a theme sets the tone for everything else to fall in place, such as menus, table design, and presentation. For example, a holiday-inspired dinner party is a perfect occasion for elegant all-white decor paired with draped table cloths, pillar candles lit atop luxe holders, floating floral arrangements, and, for a personal touch, handwritten place settings.
Utilizing free resources such as Canva for menu templates and creating a “Dinner Party” moodboard via Pinterest is perfect for gathering dinner inspiration for themes, decor, and recipes for the special occasion.
Simplify the Menu
How to host your own pasta making dinner party — part 1: pasta making from scratch 🤍 Hosting dinner parties has become my favorite thing to do this year. More goes into it than you expect, the prep, planning, guestlist, tablescape, etc. but it’s always worth it in the end. What do you guys want to see next? #hostingtips #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Don’t overcomplicate the menu. A simple dinner party formula to use as your guide to making sure your guests leave full of food and joy is appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts, and beverages. As a starter, assemble an aesthetic spread that your guest can nibble on while awaiting the main course with starters such as bread, cheese, jam, nuts, and fruit. A simple salad will do, complete with a light dressing right before your entree. For a main dish, pasta recipes always go a long way and also allows your guests to interact with one another, which leads to McDowell's third dinner party hosting tip.
Include an Interactive Element
Replying to @itstai.tv 🖤 #girlhood
To break the ice and encourage guests to get to know one another, introduce interactive elements to the evening. Moments of interaction allow everyone to connect, like capturing content for social media or memorializing the essence of the night through fun Polaroids. Olivia also encourages her guests to participate in the pasta-making dinner process as a group, or if hosting a brunch, her friends indulge in building their own coffee bar as an opportunity for forming connections and conversation starters. Group board or card games are also great for laughs and healthy competition to help get the vibes flowing.
Don’t Forget the Dress code
Replying to @samantha_mendiz when all of your friends are the main character 🖤🥂 #dinnerparty #nycfashion
Tis’ the season for glamour and sparkles, so why not go all out with a super chic dress code? You can’t have a picture-perfect holiday dinner party without the coordinating attire to match. When planning, make sure to make the required attire specific yet broad enough for a range of personalities and preferences to comfortably partake while looking stunning doing so.
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Featured image by Justin Lambert/Getty Images