Updated: Jan 26, 2022
“Are you happy with who you are?”
As I looked in the mirror during a self-reflection of forgiveness, I couldn’t respond. Not because I didn’t know the answer, but rather because I knew the past trauma's I'd put myself through and what I was getting ready to admit to myself was going to be the truth and I wasn't ready to hear or receive it.
After a few suffocating moments of silence, the best I could do was shake my head “no” as more tears, now double the size, rolled down my face.
I didn’t like who I was or who I had been. It was evident I certainly didn’t love myself and it was in that moment I came to the crushing realization that it was all my fault.
It wasn’t for lack of trying. I wanted to love myself–desperately, but what I eventually came to understand was this:
When you’re making poor choices, choices that defy what you know in your heart to be right, you never will know Self-Love.
The red flags of domestic abuse - the drug addiction. I'd reached a truly low point in terms of my self-esteem, and it was all because of a series of choices I’d made–choices that I was not proud of, and did not reflect the kind of woman God designed or the person I wanted to be.
Eventually, those poor choices came rushing back to me all at once, swallowing me up in a tidal wave of shame and regret resulting in a dark space of suicidal depression. Sure, I might have cried first for my failed and failing relationships, but in the end, I cried hardest for the person I never allowed myself to become. I didn’t realize it at the time, but a series of subconscious choices had been made and it was time for a change. To start living up to my own potential. To start making myself proud. To start living my truth.
Everyday we make choices. We may not choose our circumstances, but we choose how we react. In fact, the only thing truly within our control is ourselves and our choices. It’s all we have.
When other people hurt us, whether verbally or physically, our pain is the direct result of someone else’s choices because the choice is still ours whether we let that pain suffocate us, or if we let it go. Move on. Forgive.
For far too long, I felt the pain and emotional bruising from distant moments I should have long-since forgiven as sharply as if they had just happened yesterday. For far too long, I held onto resentment, blaming others for my choices.
The choice to numb the pain with the over indulgence of drugs. The choice to binge on unhealthy foods knowing the risk it could be on my health. The choice to keep traveling when my body screamed to slow down. The choice to spend undue time and emotional energy on relationships that weren’t meant for me.
I was all too aware of my faults, and for far too long, I had done nothing to correct them. I was avoiding responsibility for the shitty outcomes of my poor choices which wasn’t doing me any favors.
The Courage to Leap
Almost 2 decades later during the pandemic, I had a rude awakening that it's time to start speaking out and I was the only one that could push that button--make that choice.
So FINALLY, I made the choice, the time is now--to put my passion ahead of my pleasures. I started by writing my 1st book Pray, Pursue, Persist that ranked Best Seller. There were many invitational distractions coming at me, but by the Grace of God, I purposely isolated myself. I sat alone in my home, many times with no tv, radio, social media, interactions with family and friends, for hours at a time listening for spiritual guidance and moments of self-reflection. I even found myself alone at dining tables when everyone else was out enjoying the lifestyle that I'd been blessed to build and became accustomed to for myself. But I'd made God and myself a promise, so I had to stay committed.
Funnily enough, I found plenty of time to connect with myself & learned who was and wasn't truly for me. I've grown to accept that I had to emotionally let go of the "reason"--"season" relationships that I tried to force to stay connected to. But the best part of it all was the sense of pride that arose from finally making choices that aligned with what I wanted in my heart--helping women to "become the best version of themselves". I’ve always had a passion to helping others thrive by overcoming their fears and limited beliefs, but now I was given the opportunity to making a business out of what I have personally experienced, to live a life of freedom and being my own boss.
When I finally began making choices for my betterment, my “Blessings" began to increase even more. I became a 3x's Best Seller International Author - Motivational Speaker and #MentalRESET Life Coach, The positive changes that came out of that was all the reassurance I needed to know that I was on the right path, that I was inching closer to living in my truth, to knowing myself, and ultimately unconditionally loving myself.
As time went on, personal development became my addiction. I dedicated late nights and yet still one of my challenges, early mornings to my passion. In my leisure time, I still love to travel, binge on eating Maryland crabs, meditation, listen to music and read self-help books. Not only did I read those books, I created The 30 Day Ultimate Self-Love Guide as well for women like you.
Much like the early lessons, the new lessons I was learning didn’t always register right away. Sometimes, it takes me a couple of rounds to get it, but all the while, I could feel myself changing. I could feel myself growing more aware of who I was becoming, how I acted, even what my heart wanted (some might call that “intuition”) and that awareness allows me to make better choices.
Good choices beget good choices, as it turns out, and what started as a painful personal challenge has now become something of a habit.
That’s not to say that life is fine and dandy as a result or that I don’t still experience deep pain. I endure bouts of crushing self-doubt on a near-daily basis. I torment myself with “what ifs” that have no right to take up headspace. I still sometimes wonder–and maybe I always will–what if I die alone--will I ever have the chance to fulfil the role of having my own family? My faith believes I will, so we'll just have to wait and see.
Self-Love is a process, one that will never be truly complete. There will always be more I could improve, more I can learn, more kindness I can show to myself and others. And in the vein of extending that kindness to myself, I constantly need reminding that yes, I am deeply flawed in many ways, but that is what makes me human, and I deserve love anyway.
At the end of the day, I am still on the path to loving myself and to knowing and living my truth. I can say in all honesty that I love myself now more than ever, and I know I will come to love myself more deeply in the future.
Most importantly, no matter where my journey is heading and where I am in the process of Self-Love, I will always remember…