The Key To Healing & Being In A Place Of Wholeness
My healing began the day I decided it was too painful to remain the same.
At some point you get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
It's March but my New Year begins now. I quit smoking on January 1st and picked the habit up again a few days later. The ever-mounting stress of life made me return to my comfort zone. Note to self: Never do that. Don't. Go. Back. Nothing healthy grows from the comfort zone, so make it a point to never return.
You get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You sit in the hurt and you go through the motions and become reacquainted with self.
Up until this point in life, I had been focused on everything but me. Everything, but the healing. Everything, but growth. And it clearly wasn't working. Every single winter, I found myself plagued with depression. I had gotten better at managing the stress over the years, but I was coping and coasting.
I hadn't healed the hurt.
And it manifested in the physical, every year, without fail as the cold weather set in. While I didn't realize it – it was all in my head. I was the bag lady Ms. Badu, so eloquently spoke of. I carried with me, each year the depression that had plagued me all my life. I carried the hurt of failed relationships, family stress, and my inability to hold down a consistent job. I carried the drama of old friendships and a past life I no longer wished to revisit. And sis, them bags are heavy.
It was only when I embarked on the road of wholeness and healing, that I was able to enter my season of The Almighty Glow Up.
Below are three major steps I took to begin my healing and returning to a place of wholeness within my self.
I Wrote Myself A Love Letter
It went something like, "I love your broad nose. I love your fat ass. I love your wide hips. I love your outspoken nature." And I pretty much just shouted myself out for loving every single part of me that I was taught to hate. You know the features everyone is spending big bucks on these days.
Ya. That part.
It took me a while to begin the list, which was interesting as I sometimes spoke the language of compliments fluently and they rolled off my tongue on a whim. Whether I was complimenting a sister on her poppin' twist out or complimenting a peer on their perseverance, I needed to learn how to compliment myself. Encourage myself. Be my own cheerleader.
I Allowed Myself To Feel The Hurt
I needed to understand my emotions if I wanted to master them.
Why…did I feel so hurt when people abandoned me. Why…did I find it so hard to forgive and/or say sorry. Why…was it so hard for me to accept things as they were.
At the root of my problems, I knew that I was standing in my own way. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. And I had a whole lot of people to forgive. I started with the apologies I never got and probably never will. My peace was an inside project. I then went on to forgiving self for being too naive to know any better. I started to trust myself to make better choices, to choose my friends more wisely the next time around, to find a partner that actually loved me for me and all of the parts I was still learning to love. PS. Unicorn men do exist.
Let the tears flow – so your soul can open up.
I Made Personal Development A Personal Project
I read every book I could find. I sought out every mentor that embodied what I wished to become, and I clung to them for dear life. Listen, you are going to have to humble yourself on this journey to healing and peace. No one has all the answers and if you knew what you were doing, you wouldn't feel broken on the inside.
I attended every church service I could make it to because I knew my soul would be fed each week. I gobbled up the Super Soul Sunday episodes that Oprah would air on the OWN network ever so fittingly for my Self-Love Sundays. I devoured Iyanla Vanzant's Fix My Life until I could finish her sentences. Did y'all catch that episode with Neffe and Hubby? Chileeee, Iyanla. Does. Not. Play. And you shouldn't play with your life or healing either.
Wholeness is something we should all seek. When you are broken, it's only so the
light can reach you.
Now, I'm no therapist BUT these are the steps that worked for me. This is what catapulted my journey on the road to healing and wholeness. These are the steps I repeat as often as need be, so I never ever find myself chained to a hospital bed being force-fed medication to be happy. I've found a peace that surpasses all understanding and have subsequently attracted a wonderful man after years of dealing with abusive men who only wanted that one thing Lauryn sang about in "Doo Wop". I also have friends that embody traits I can be proud of and life's G R E A T.
I implore you to join me in the land of Happily Ever After. Now, shit is still going to happen because God laughs when we tell him our plans but I can assure you the universe definitely does not want you to sit and wallow in the valley of sadness for the rest of your life.
We. All. Gon. Get. This. Healing.
Featured image by Getty Images
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Danielle Smith is a Toronto-based Personal Development Junkie on the gram @youbettaglowgirl. She keeps her hands full as a Writer, Speaker, Stylist & Non-Profit Founder, all while doing her most important job as a full-time mama of one. Marching to the beat of her own drum and a playlist of her favourite 90s R&B, she's blazed a path of her own.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood