A Little Gratitude Goes a Long Way

It’s something about the change of season. The weather is a little cooler, the leaves begin to turn and the decorations begin to make their way to your neighborhood homes. The holidays have a way of bringing out some of the warmest feelings in all of us. It also brings about the conversation of gratitude. Social media and the internet are then flooded with an age old question:

What are you grateful for?

To be honest, sometimes this question is not the easiest to answer. For many of us, tough times hit hard, and through all the pain and troubles we endure, a simple question such as what we are grateful for can feel like the one-million dollar question that you may have to phone a friend for.

The holiday season is one of the most important times of year, as it is when we most think of the things we’re most grateful to have. No matter how big or small, there’s nothing like the spirit of the holiday season that makes people really take the time to be open about what and even who they’re grateful to have in their lives.

Gratitude is something that can start off so small, and become something very significant and special. Lets take a look at a few ways gratitude takes us further than negativity would:

  • Gratitude helps us gain positive perspective: think about if you were more grateful about the things in your life. Wouldn’t it put things in a different perspective for you? A more positive perspective?
  • Gratitude helps you remember the simple things: sometimes, when I’m feeling low, I simply think of being grateful for the breath that I take. Even a simple thought such as that, can make you realize that even the simplest thoughts have a profound impact on the mind.
  • Gratitude makes you smile: take a moment and think of something you’re grateful for. Did it make you smile? Exactly!

So, when you ask yourself, “what are you grateful for?” do not allow it to consume you. It’s not a trick question, and it doesn’t require a long and complex statement. Your answer could be something as simple as ever, and still be the most important answer in the world.

Be sure to show gratitude in everything you do. 🖤

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Dear Love,

This is your month to shine.

You deserve to be present in all things you do this month. You deserve to feel good and be admired this month.

Everyone equates this month with love and happiness, so soak that in; embrace it. Put yourself first, then spread how you feel to others. Throw yourself into your passion, give it 110% of your efforts. Push yourself to higher limits this month, give yourself to someone who needs your support. Heal hearts and brighten souls.

This month, don’t allow anyone to tell you what you do and don’t deserve and what is best for you. Live your life YOUR way, and whoever doesn’t agree can make the decision to be apart of your life or not. Stand tall in your feelings and hold value to them. Do not allow anyone to tell you that how you feel, what you do or how you do it is not the “right” way.

You’ve already started the month off with the same drive and determination as last month, so do not lose that intensity. Do not lose the spark to make things happen and see good things happen to good people. Make February an intentional month of love and prosperity, and stay hopeful that no matter what you’re going through, love will get you through anything.

Self Love is Always Your True First Love

A lot of times, there are lessons that I feel cannot or will not apply to me, even being five years into my marriage; however, 2017 put me in a place where I was struggling with loving myself more than I ever was before.  In turn, that put a big strain on parts of my own marriage.  I am not ashamed of it; in fact, I think all emotions, whether good or bad are natural and human.  No one goes through life feeling perfectly happy all the time.  No one can go through life knowing exactly how to navigate their emotions all the time, no matter what stage of life they are in.  And just as I say that, I can say that even with a man that loves me endlessly, I still struggled at times with receiving that love, because there were things about me that I could not stand.
There were several points in my life last year that I had to definitely lean on the quotes I referenced above, and learn to dig deep down and find the things that I loved and enjoyed about myself, focused solely on those things in order to pull myself out of the depression that I was feeling about not truly loving myself.
Self-love is also something that is not just mental or emotional, it is also physical and tangible.  Sometimes it takes more than just praying, meditating or speaking positive thoughts to yourself.  Sometimes you have to dress yourself up, take yourself out on dates, treat yourself to a gift that’s long been overdue, do something that is completely “selfish” in society’s eyes.  Some people may think this is a self-centered concept; however, what it really is, is showing how much you value yourself, even when no one else does.  When the right person sees your appreciating your worth, they will make sure they put forth the effort to make sure they show their appreciation for you as well.
I believe that we take for granted the one person that we all should be falling in love with first, because we are so busy putting our efforts into someone else, when really, that person should be ourselves.  Once we realize that the truth to finding real love is rooted in falling in love with who we are, the possibilities will be endless.

Live, Laugh, Love; Repeat

Oftentimes, adults get so caught up with our responsibilities, that we forget one of the simplest things to do; laugh.  If you ask me, laughter is one of the simplest and rarest forms of enjoying life.

I’ve been known to bring laughter into any situation.  It’s just in my nautre.  I am someone who is known to be serious, but also knows that laughter is good for the soul.   Sometimes, in tense moments i like to make the situation better by allowing laughter to come in to the atmosphere.

I try to live life looking for the silver lining. I know sometimes that can be very difficult, but I feel like positivity and smiles can go a long way for some people. Even on my worst days, a good laugh can bring me out of the darkest times in my life. I thank God for the people he placed in my life, because that is one of the qualities I love about them; they make me laugh and thoroughly enjoy my life.

The Reverse Bucket List

After reading my daily Shine text this morning, it inspired me to make this post because there was an awesome article (that you can check out here) that accompanied it about how “reverse” bucket lists can be just as cool as creating a regular bucket list!

While we all get caught up in the excitement of making a list of all the things we want to accomplish in our lives; trips we want to take, things we want to do and see, fears we want to overcome and milestones we want to achieve, we tend to forget to highlight the things we have accomplished along the way. Sometimes, even making the list and looking back over it may appear to be loftier than we imagined and sometimes it makes us wonder: are we really going to get through our bucket lists?

In the spirit of writing this post, I decided to create my own reverse bucket list of some of the things I’m proud to say I’ve done lately. I listed out the top 5 things I’m proud to say I’ve done in the last 2 years (in no particular order):

  • Published 2 books
  • Reached 350 followers on my blog
  • Posted 500 posts
  • Launched a publishing company
  • Featured on another blog in the last year

Just as the article says, doing a reverse bucket list does three things; it makes you proud of what you’ve done, gives you a sense of gratitude and shows the progress you’ve made in life and on your personal journey. Just by looking at my list, I feel a sense of empowerment in the things I’ve achieved.

Knowing myself, there are things on this list that the old me would have never had the courage to step out and do before. I am beyond proud of my list and the things I’ve done. I have so many more things I would love to do to add to this list, but every now and then, if I feel myself getting overwhelmed with the abundance of things I have listed, I will take a few minutes to reflect on my reverse bucket list, and remind myself just how great I’m doing so far!

If you want to get your own daily Shine texts sent to your phone daily, go to http://www.shinetext.com to sign up today!! 🙂

Living in Unapologetic Intention

When was the last time you did something unapologetically for yourself? I’m not talking about doing something for yourself by happenstance, or because it was an occasion; but just on a random Tuesday, you did something simply for yourself because you’re entitled to do just that?  Or maybe, you just wanted to sit around and do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty about it; but you knew that somewhere deep down in the corners of your mind, there was a little voice telling you “you shouldn’t be doing that because you have ‘x,y,z’ you need to be doing.”

Why do we as adults make it our intention to make our lives feel so hard?  Why don’t we find more time to do things for ourselves or cut ourselves some slack?

Why do we not take the time to enjoy life’s simplest things?  I ask these questions, and in my opinion, I believe there are three one-word answers to this question:

  • Time
  • Responsibility
  • Priority

I feel like these three things hinder us from enjoying simple pleasures of life.  Time is simply what we tell ourselves what we don’t have enough of.  We plan out everything for everyone else and leave little to no time for ourselves.  We tell ourselves we have a responsibility to our spouses and children, family and friends; but who is responsible for us?  We prioritize others’ needs, wants and emotions over our own constantly, and wonder if anyone does the same for us.

Im not saying that this is done all the time, but I know I am personally guilty of several occasions where I have gone leaps and bounds for my family and friends, and told myself that I don’t matter, or that they are more important when in actuality, my wants and needs are just as important; if not more!

Being intentional about living an unapologetically free life is very difficult, because you have to tell yourself simply that you don’t owe anyone anything, nor do you have to feel sorry for doing for yourself.  Many people call it being selfish, myself included; however, even I have had to get out of the habit of considering it a selfish act.  It is actually more of a necessary act.

You absolutely have to make time for yourself in life or else how else would you be able to be your best self for the ones you love?  How will you learn your likes and dislikes? How else will you learn to love yourself first?  All of these questions are answered simply by being unapologetic about allowing yourself to be your number one priority and being intentional about not being sorry about doing for you.  I’ve made a few posts about a couple of tips that I feel are ways that you can start living an unapologetic life:

Here are a few other things you can do to  start being intentional about treating yourself with just as much importance as you do your loved ones:

  • Carve out time for yourself each day, even if its five minutes.
  • Keep positive and motivating people around you.
  • Meditate, pray, or repeat encouraging words to get you through rough times.
  • Adopt a mantra for your life!

 

#50Days50Questions: Happy is….

What and who makes me happy?

My daughter’s laughter.  My husband’s unconditional love and support.  My mother’s tough love.  My sister’s strength and faith.  My grandmother’s presence.  My nephews resilience.  My best friend’s support.

My endless collection of books.  My favorite set of G2 pens.  My notebook.  My USB flash drives (even though my best friend says I need an external hard drive LMAO).  My meditation balls.  My oil diffuser.  The 20 minutes of meditation I take in the morning.  Working out in the morning.

Eating healthy.  Coffee.  Wine.  Whiskey.  Mimosas on Saturdays and Sundays.

Headphone blasting.  Migos.  SZA.  2 Chainz.  Drake.  Cardi B.  Beyonce.  Jay-Z.  The Friend Zone.  The Read.  Gettin’ Grown.  #BlackTwitter.  Snapchat.  Instagram.  Love & Hip Hop.  Insecure.  #TGIT.  Basketball.  Football.  SVU.  Blackish. Empire.

Love. Laugher. Smiling. Positive vibes.  Energy.  Growth.  Success.  Wealth.  Prosperity.  Faith.

Life.

These are a few of my favorite things…