Every time I hear the cliché saying: “treat others how you want to be treated,” I almost want to scream back: “and treat yourself how you need to be treated.” Except, I’d be screaming it to myself.
Because spreading love is not possible without first assuring that our own jars are filled with it. And when it runs low, we need to keep refilling it.
It sounds so simple, right? Love yourself. Fill. Spread. Repeat.
Except, the society we live in conditions us to look at our jars half-empty, which, in turn, causes us to believe that we just don’t have what it takes to carry a full jar. And if we believe that we’re never full, we may also believe that our love is not worth spreading to begin with.
So we fill. Yet always unfulfilled. And our jar begins to break down. We become constantly dissatisfied with the way it looks. The way it’s shaped. How it’s too small or too big anyway. How it doesn’t have enough volume. And the point of filling ourselves becomes elusive. So we stop.
And to avoid spreading what’s left of ourselves too thin, we limit or displace the love that we give to others, our careers, our relationships and most importantly, to ourselves.
It wasn’t until I began the pursuit of my career in the media industry that I realized I was breaking down. I’d stop filling my jar without even realizing it, and the pressures around me had no problem reminding me that I was always “half-empty.”
Before moving to New York City, my ego was a plant that was regularly nourished by the friends and family I had close to me. I was so spoiled and accustomed to the way people made me feel about myself that I had neglected to form a discipline of my own self-nourishment.
So once I got here, every day I’d go throughout my day finding something new to beat myself up about. Whether it was my body image or my work ethic, I was never fully satisfied.
Thankfully, I would put all of that energy into my productivity to distract myself from further self-infliction. But like anything you sweep under the rug, however, the wound was still there, waiting for the world to throw salt on it.
I knew that in order to survive both in life and in this industry, I had to stop retreating, learn to heal and protect myself from future harm.
And though a gradual process, here’s a few of the ways in which I’ve learned to nourish myself on a daily basis back to a full jar of love:
- Every day, I take a moment or two to put the technology aside, take in my surroundings, breath and self-reflect. This has become a crucial part of staying in contact with myself, which has become an important factor in my self-fulfillment. When I make contact with myself, I listen to the wants and needs of my mind and body and I then tend to them accordingly.
Affirmations, Compliments and Self-Conversation
- Turns out that talking to yourself isn’t so crazy, after all. On a daily basis, I make it a point to uplift myself by pointing out the positive things I love about me. I remind myself of my blessings, I compliment any progress I’ve made and I also thank myself when I’m just doing the damn thing. In the mirror, I talk to myself like I would talk to my girlfriends with a sprinkle of a “yassss girl” and “you are everything” to top it off. It has made all the difference.
- You’re probably thinking, “OK, and? We all dance.” But when I say I dance, I mean I really move…alone. I sometimes have a party in my own room. I put on my favorite tunes, maybe pour some wine, and I dance and twirl and move my body in ways that make me feel good. Why? Because when there are other people around, we put too much pressure on ourselves to “look” good as opposed to “feeling” good. And honey, I came to feel great.
I Surround Myself With Positive People
- There’s nothing better than surrounding yourself with people who love and admire you just as much as you want to love and admire you. The kind of people that send you random text messages to tell you how great of a person you are and that they appreciate who you are. The kind that compliments you every time they see you. The people that inspire you to be better. Those are the people I live to fill my jar for.
I Forgive Myself
- It’s unrealistic to think that one could go through life without any failures, mishaps or mistakes. And we all know how much “failure” gets a bad rep, though we could not succeed without having the failures to help stir us in the right direction. Because of this, I make it a point to always acknowledge the error in my ways, learn from them, and then thank myself for being the bigger person within myself, by forgiving and letting be.
Major Key alert: you are always half-full. When you remember that, you’ll remember to treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated and subsequently treat others the same.
Now, can I get a refill?
The fact is: YOU DO MATTER
“I’d be happy if you killed yourself.”
Those are the words of a complete stranger, finding out I was transgender in a KIK chat room. Sometimes it is difficult to talk sense to a person like that. While it can be quite overwhelming, I know I have the strength within myself to no longer allow hurtful words by others affect me. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. Studies have shown in 2014, there were nearly 3 suicides for every homicide. What people fail to realize is that sometimes we can be our own worst executioner, holding in thoughts and emotions we don’t allow anyone to know.
However, we can also be our most merciful savior. I know there’s a young, beautiful, and purpose driven generation that may sometimes feel overwhelmed by a hurricane. That hurricane throws work, bills, heart-wrenching breakups, gossip, judgement, and a slew of other issues people just don’t understand. While everything may seem great on the outside, people can really be hurting on the inside. For instance, Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, just recently cut his life short at 41 years of age. What this individual meant to people was beyond the words he invoked on a stage or in an album. Here he was inspiring people for years through his lyrics, letting people know it’s okay to feel pain but also understanding that together we can get through it. Yet, little did we know here he was battling his own demons. Gratefully, his legacy will continue to live on through the positive impact he’s left on his fans and loved ones.
Some may think it is next to impossible to convince yourself when the mound gets too thick that
“I will come out of this”
That’s why you shouldn’t let yourself suffer alone. The fact is, you DO matter.
Often times, people compare life to that of being a book.
You write the book of your life.
Filling it – editing it – adding characters – removing characters.
All in order to make sure you use your story to grow and learn from.
If there were no obstacles or life lessons added to the chapters, ultimately the book is just one big bore.
Yes, at times it may seem really difficult but don’t let your story end this way. Continue pushing forward to change the narrative. Continue pushing forward to change the ending. You have it in you to make your story a great one.
This is something that took me a while to learn. Thankfully, in the midst of my own struggles, I sought out help even though all I felt like doing was being alone. I want you to know that no matter how deep it goes, you are cherished and are loved.
We need to change the fact that suicide is the second leading cause of death among people from ages 15-24. If you are not in a position where you feel like you are suffering, then you are in a position to embrace and help someone. You don’t need a degree or special certification to be there for someone in need. Just offer someone a shoulder to cry on, an embrace to hold onto and a smile to share. It may not seem like much but those simple actions can really help in some way.
Believe it or not, these small actions can cause the biggest impact in helping a lost, wounded soul find resolve and purpose.
For all of those that are suffering in silence, do not be afraid to reach out and get the support and closure you need. You need to keep writing the next significant chapter in your inspiring life.
In case you or someone you know needs support, here are some resources:
Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
Crisis Text Line, the free, nationwide, 24/7 text message service for people in crisis, is here to support. For support in the United States, text HELLO to 741741 or message at facebook.com/CrisisTextLine.
For support outside the US, find resources at http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html
5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself During Your Mid-20s
Growing up the phrase, “life is too short”, really boggled me. “We have 80+ years to live, how is life short?” I thought. But, once you get into adulthood, it’s impossible not to realize how fast life can pass you by, making it seem, indeed “short”; therefore, don’t spend the short time you have miserable at a job you hate, eating away your stress and not enjoying every minute of your life as it is. As you approach and explore your life in your early to mid-20s, ask yourself the following:
- Are you happy at your job or are you just working to make a living?
Sometimes we don’t see our day jobs with the level of magnitude we should. The jobs we choose are a huge part of our lives; therefore, don’t limit yourself to where you’re comfortable, but miserable. Find a place that makes you happy, because when you’re happy, you make better decisions, when you make better decisions, you tend to work on yourself, and when you work on yourself you become unstoppable! And, well when you’re unstoppable, the world is yours!
- Are you taking care of yourself mentally?
It has never been more important to take time each day to unwind and reflect on ourselves. Life can be busy, stressful, and unpredictable to say the least. We must take time to reach our happy place and let everything go for a few minutes. It’s the brains way of recharging in order to get things back in order and ready for another day. You probably charge your phone every night, right? Let’s not forget to recharge ourselves as well.
- Are you taking care of yourself physically and internally?
Are you still skipping breakfast, like those high school days, eating a bag of chips when you’re hungry in between meals, or slouching on the couch for hours, binge watching your favorite show? Although these things might not be so harmful done occasionally, they are harmful if done often. The older we get, the more important it is to fuel our bodies with the right nutrients and exercise! Fruits, vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, plenty of water, and staying active. The more we take care of ourselves earlier on, the better chance we have to live disease-free lives in the future.
- Are you focusing on the present or worrying about the past?
“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.” We tend to dwell in the past forgetting that the time has gone and we have the present and future in front of us. Don’t dwell on the past. Allow yourself an allotted time to be upset, but move past it once the time expires. Accept the fact that you cannot change anything about the past, there are no time machines, get over it. One thing you can do, is change what the future holds. Get out in front of it and own it baby!
- Last, but not least, are you in control of your life?
Yes, are YOU in control of your life? No, the aliens don’t control your life, neither do other people, or abstract forces. YOU do! You get to make every decision that regards your life and how you want to live it. You choose if you want to be angry for 1 minute or 1 day, you choose what you eat, you choose what you wear, you choose how you want to feel daily. YOU are able to control your life, so are you? If not, now is the time! Don’t spend any more time wishing you could do something, get out and do it! Put yourself in CONTROL!
How You Can Speak Up During Domestic Violence Awareness Month
There’s a famous quote that was conceived during The Holocaust that ends with, “then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
It’s a statement that silently resonates with so many of us, who, at some point in our lives, have shied away from speaking up for someone or speaking out against something that was morally wrong.
And who have also experienced what it has felt like to be the person who, clouded by doubt, fear, or loneliness, has been cornered into believing that he/she has no support system.
That’s why awareness efforts are so important.
As everyone becomes hyperaware of the many issues concerning our country due to the coming election, we’d like to speak up on behalf of so many silent Americans by taking the time to acknowledge that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
This month, one way we can all support those who are suffering in silence is through Safe Horizon’s #PutTheNailInIt campaign.
Safe Horizon is the nation’s leading victim assistance organization. Their #PutTheNailInIt campaign encourages men, women and children to take the vow to end domestic violence and can be supported in three easy steps.
The steps are as follows:
- Donate to Safe Horizon to support services that help victims become survivors.
- Paint your left ring fingernail purple — the color of the anti-domestic violence movement — to signify your vow against domestic violence and that you donated.
- Share your vow with the world on social media with the hashtag #PutTheNailinIt.
To emphasize the impact of your support, every single day women, children and families seek Safe Horizon to help them find safety, a place to lay their heads at night and/or for support after leaving a domestic violence setting. Safe Horizon launched the #PutTheNailinIt campaign to spark a national conversation around domestic violence so that victims of abuse may know they are supported.
“Domestic violence has no place in our society. We shouldn’t have to wait until there is a famous case in the news or a fatal incident to let victims know there is support available,” said Safe Horizon CEO Ariel Zwang.
Domestic violence thrives in environments that become nurtured by silence. Let us speak up by supporting the organizations that help to shatter that silence.
View below the PSA featuring NBC’s and Investigation Discovery’s, Tamron Hall.
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