5 Ways to live your best life

  1. Know yourself

As cliché as this may sound, knowing thy self is a very important aspect of one’s life. Self-knowledge just does not stop at the basics—one’s likes and dislikes. It’s about knowing who you truly are as a person. Make sure that you seek at least a couple of hours out of the day to get to know yourself. We are human, we change daily and that’s why spending hours at a time a day is so important. The more you know about yourself, the easier it will be to love yourself.

  1. Have no expectations on life

The only way that you’ll be able to enjoy life to the fullest, is by simply not putting expectations on how your life should be. Learn how to go with the flow day by day. I can honestly say, that after 26 years on this earth, I have learned that nothing goes as planned and at this point, I can honestly say I’m okay with that. I cannot get upset, throw temper-tantrums because something does not go my way. At this point of my life, I’ve learned to smile, improvise and make use of my time on this earth.

  1. Practice being grateful

To feel or show an appreciation of kindness, thankful is the definition of grateful. We often times are more susceptible to show an attitude of ungratefulness towards any and everything, depending on our moods. Let’s focus on not getting caught up in our own sense of entitlement. Be sure to always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, give compliments freely, do things for others without expecting anything in return. Showing acts of kindness will take you a long way in life and will also make one feel better about themselves.

  1. Acknowledge your past

It’s always easier to practice what you preach. But this nugget has been one that I continuously struggle with each day.

Acknowledge your past, the good-the bad and the ugly! Without acknowledging your past, you carry it over into your present which will hinder your growth and decrease blessings. Learn from your past, heal from your past and be ready to receive all that God has waiting on you. The first initial stage in constructing your best life is to get rid of everything that you no longer want.

  1. Slow down and just enjoy life

We are all guilty of this, we all get caught up in the meaningless hustle and bustle of today’s world. We have reached the point where we are too busy for our families, friends and relationships but we always have time for social media, gossip and work. At the end of the day, we must take the time out of our busy lives to interact with each other for the simple fact, we need to have fun and enjoy life. We need to disconnect from our lives to reconnect with the ones who mean the most to us. Stop trying to capture every minute you spend with someone..to post about it on social media. Enjoy the time that you’re given.

Your life only gets better when you do better. Work on yourself and the rest will surely follow!

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28 Lessons I learned within 28 years

Happy to birthday to me! Thank goodness for God reigning down his Grace and Mercy on my life for me to live to see my 28th birthday! Every birthday always has me emotional for the simple fact there are a lot of experiences, trials, and tribulations that I’ve endured from one year to the next. However, the majority of that year wasn’t full of storms, each year brought forth numerous blessings and an abundance of lessons that I will forever be grateful for. Like any other birthday, I want to take the time to do some self-reflection but also to recap some of the most important lessons that I’ve learned in my 28 years of life.

1.     Spend your alone time in prayer and building a relationship with God.
2.     Enjoy your time with your family because life is short.
3.     Train your mind to think positive thoughts.
4.     Take care of your body!
5.     You become the best version of yourself every year. Give yourself credit for the work you’ve done to reach each new level.
6.     Accept the things you cannot change and change the things that you’re able to change.
7.     Check yourself! Check your mindset, check your attitude, and check your demeanor.
8.     Remove yourself from things or people who do not mirror your ultimate goal(s) in life.
9.     Do not allow other’s opinions or perception taint your goals or ideals. No one else was given the vision for your life except you.
10. Trust your instincts!
11. Love freely!
12. Live freely!
13. Acknowledge and make time for your friends.
14. Travel often.
15. Find some hobbies that you thoroughly enjoy outside of family, friends, and work.
16. NEVER settle for less.
17. Believe in yourself.
18. Read often.
19. Educate yourself constantly and be knowledgeable of what’s going on around you.
20. Don’t carry anyone’s stress, mistakes or selfish decisions.
21. Speak up for yourself!
22. You are responsible for your own happiness.
23. Create meaningful relationships and partnerships.
24. Do things out of love without thinking twice about it.
25. Heal from past experiences and relationships.
26. Therapy is okay!
27. Nobody knows you, like you.
28. Each interaction with someone or any experience is meant to teach you something about yourself or the world.

Now overall, I’ve learned much more than 28 life lessons, trust me BUT these were the ones that have helped me evolve into the woman I am currently. I am so grateful for each experience that has shaped and molded me, the people’s path I have had an opportunity to connect with, and testimonies that I can share with others and ultimately, I am just thankful for life. I must say a year ago today, I was at work, happy as I can be, no cares in the world and content with life. Today, I am just thankful to be alive! It’s cliché but a year from now things will be different.

To the girl I use to be

It is truly amazing how much things can change over a year’s time. Closely paying attention to not only my circumstances, but I have also had the opportunity to catch of glimpse of those close to me alter their lifestyles due to personal growth, relationships and/or careers. All I can say is that because I know these women personally, I know they are all beautiful and strong, it is not easy for me to watch the environment in which they’ve known for so long become obsolete. It’s truly heart-breaking but a catapult for growth. And only highlighting traumatic events with my friends, I recognize my circumstances and acknowledge that it, too, will only be used for personal growth. Although, I would love to share each of our personal situations for the sake of helping other women but I will just simply write a letter to the girls whom we all use to be.

To the girl I use to be,

I know right now you are currently struggling, crying and confused about the current events going on in your life from finances, family, friends, romantic relationships, and career and just wanting to be a better you. However, realize that this too shall pass and you will be a whole different mindset shortly. As a woman, you struggle with life every day and because of that you are a true warrior. You fight with yourself to make sure you are the best version for yourself and those around you all while trying to figure out how to remain strong. You don’t want to be a burden to your close friends, so you conceal your hurt, pain, frustrations, insecurities and mental issues to remain as a strong woman whom they know. You deal with not being the best woman for a boy/man who isn’t equipped to love you in the way in which you need to be and desire to be loved. You sacrifice your time, your mental and emotional space, your energy and love to be only treated second or as if your emotions are irrational. Be strong young girl! Please know that strong women don’t have attitudes, we have standards and boundaries. You are more than just a pretty face, you are more than someone’s second option, you are more than you know and think. Continue to keep the desires of your heart close. Don’t allow others to dim your light, set personal and professional boundaries and live your truth. You only have one life to live and if you live it just right then once is enough. Don’t give up on your dreams or goals because it doesn’t fit in vision of anyone else’s idea for your future. Continue to motive your sisters and continue to seek peace within yourself. Life is hard as it is but once you find a network of individuals who genuinely love you and have pure intentions, you will be thankful as well as full. Cheers to you and other girls who will remain dedicated to their personal growth and strong enough to not allow their current circumstances change their hearts. Good things can take time, so much time. So let life unfold. Don’t force it. And find beauty in the bliss of waiting!

Mid Year Self Reflection

Can you honestly believe that we are halfway through 2019? Whew, chile, what a year it has been so far. Thank goodness for God’s grace and mercy!

It has been a minute since I’ve blogged about much of anything, I thought that I would take the minute to do a little self-reflection. You’ve heard it here first, accountability, at it’s finest!

You can only grow when you learn to love yourself before anyone, implement time out of your day to self-reflect and redirect your focus. As I look back on where I was in my life this time last year, I am so happy for my evolution as a woman! Please do not get me wrong, this time last year, I was very happy–enjoying my life with family, friends, traveling, cultivating a strong sense of self-love, learning more about myself each and every day.

Fast forward to this day, I am still enjoying my family and friends, living life at the beat of my own drum, growing, and cultivating my future! I’ve made it my mission to be happy and successful, something that is very personal. There is literally nothing anyone can say, nor do that will make me doubt myself, question my morals or values in any aspect. I’ve come too far in life, experienced plenty of lessons in addition to blessings and I have a lot to prove to myself. Each and every day I strive to be my best self that I can be even with the weight of the world on my shoulders, at times. I know where my power and purpose comes from, learning that I am worth so much more and I will not settle for anything less.

At this age in life, as well as my mid-year self-reflection, I’ve learned two most important lessons: 1) When you know yourself, no one can make you question yourself, and 2) set boundaries in your personal life as well as your professional life.

  1. When you know yourself, no one can make you question yourself! When you love yourself, you’ve done the work to achieve complete happiness and you’re capable of not relying on anyone in life to be happy, you’re at a new level. Spending time alone you learn so much about yourself such as likes, dislikes, insecurities, morals, values, and your mental state. People who are knowledgeable of self-awareness are powerful individuals, they are kind and humble but firm in their beliefs and display confidence. Some confuse this as being prideful or having an ego. Although this may be true, you’ll be able to tell who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
  2. Set boundaries in your personal life as well as your professional life! This one took me some time to figure out but I am proud to say that I have learned my lesson. Allow me to introduce to you to how to establish boundaries in your professional life: “learn to say no, period”. It’s that simple, do not put too much on your plate that you’re not able to complete. Do not burn yourself out because you feel as if everything has to be completed today, you live up to your daily potential but prioritizing things of most importance to least importance can help you so much. Finally, establishing boundaries in your personal life. Again, at the end of the day, you are the only one who is responsible for your well-being. You have to make yourself a priority!! You do not have to apologize for not going against your morals, values, or your gut-feeling just because someone does not agree with your perspective. You do not have to jeopardize your self-worth to appease anyone. If your loved ones or friends can not respect your decision of you turning down the opportunity to hang out, saying no to a phone call that is going to result to your energy being drained, acknowledge your feelings, question you or make you feel bad for anything you do not want to do, redirect your focus! Whether you establish boundaries early or later, you must establish them. Take a few minutes to yourself every day and re-evaluate your boundaries, should you need to. When boundaries are not set, people become too comfortable with disrespecting your time, your energy and the beauty of being around you. Love your self enough to incorporate this lesson within your life.

Again, 2019, thus far, has taught me a lot about self, my purpose, my drive and most importantly, my ability to never underestimate myself. All in all, I will be successful, I will continue to grow and I will continue to love myself.

Love at the end of the Rainbow

Like many people, some of you may be thinking to yourself, “Yikes, this one here really needs to speak with a therapist” or the infamous saying that I hear all the time, “Wow, this girl is still dealing with this”. Well the reply is still the same just as it was several years ago, “I love you still, I always have and I always will”, point, blank, period! For those who are familiar with my recent blog posts, I have been transparent about the loss of my early adulthood boyfriend. This man was everything to me, he inspired me, believed in me, and taught me things about myself that I never would have known if I were never to have met him. Most importantly, he loved me for who I was and not what I was or what I could do for him! I say all of that to say this…2

While watching the memorial for Nipsey Hussle, it has really put things into perspective for me such as the love between him and his beautiful girlfriend, Lauren London. I sat at my desk in my office watching the live broadcast on my cell phone I was overwhelmed by emotions. I laughed, cried and smiled during a man’s memorial that I never met. All of his loved ones, friends, and the city of Los Angeles along with fellow artists had nothing but beautiful, kind and positive words to say about Nipsey Hussle. From listening to his mother speak of her son, she dropped gems, not about his life but life in general that will forever stick with me. Hearing his father, as well as his brother, speak about his life was very touching. Really what to know what did it for me? You guessed it! Hearing Lauren London speak about the love of her life, seeing Lauren being that brave to stand in front of thousands of people tell the world about the love she had for this man, allowing those to know how great of man he was not only to her but their family and being able to relate to the pain that Lauren was currently in. Now do not get me wrong, I cannot say that I know how she felt exactly but I can closely relate because in the end, the death of a boyfriend, spouse or life partner is something that will always impact you.

It is crazy that the day of the memorial for Nipsey Hussle, it marked the date in which I met my early adulthood boyfriend, Preston. My feelings had been all over the place that week, that Thursday I was very emotional and I could not process my thoughts for the life of me. One thing that got me through the week and especially that day was plenty of prayers, love from my loved ones but the support of my current boyfriend! Had it not been for listening ears, prayers, talks with God, crying and my supportive boyfriend, I would not have made it. It’s somebody somewhere thinking “So you’re just going to skip over ‘my current boyfriend’ part as if that’s something that you have talked about previously”. Well, you are right, that’s the part that I was getting to…

After having a plethora of time to devote to myself—ensu1ring that I was spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally strong, I began to get back in the dating realm, it took several years…whew, chile! Needlessly to say after praying for myself to be the best version I can be as well as for whoever God brought into my life, I prayed for my future partner and for God to remove relationships that were not purposeful! Patiently waiting and believing in God’s plan for my life, knowing my worth and again, waiting patiently, I received God’s blessing for my life. Despite having doubts, feeling that I was not worthy of another love, or having reservations about a relationship with anyone else, I had to open my heart and learn from my past in order to correct my behavior for the present and the future.

Till this day, obviously, I still have those rough moments but yet I have to remind myself that if I continue to pray, I should not worry. The same way God provided some of the most precious moments with an amazing man, he will ensure that I have other precious moments to look forward to with another amazing man. No one could ever and will never take the place in which Preston held in my life! And because of that, I am forever grateful for his presence, the lessons I learned, the happiness and the sadness with that part of my life.

I am always reminded that there is love at the end of the rainbow!

The Lessons and Blessings of 2018

Truly, what a year 2018 has been! Personally speaking, I have lived my best life due to allowing myself to live outside of my comfort zone. At the end of each year, I allow myself time to sit down to do some self-reflecting on my life. When re-evaluating my life I was able to highlight the areas in which I saw tremendous growth for me as a person, such as my ability to evaluate people in my life–either you’re uplifting, supporting and motivating me; Seeking new hobbies–stimulating my mind and locating new/hidden talents; Spending money on experiences and not things; lastly, Having the ability to forgive and love freely. For those who know me, can attest to the fact that I am a true ‘stick to the plans type of gal’ and if things go array then, to me, things are wrong! To some degree, this can be a good and a bad thing but when you apply that stick to the book type of mentality to all aspects of life, you become stagnant in your growth.
First and foremost, I truly love my family and friends with every ounce in me, however, I have reached a place in life where I will not allow anyone to bring negative energy, discouragement or finding every reason to speak negativity into those around, near me. When you truly love people, you will speak words of encouragement, uplift, support but also provide ‘tough love’ and constructive criticism, when it is needed! I am a firm believer that your circle shouldn’t be filled with ‘yes men’ but those who are going to aid in your growth. When I am out-of-pocket, I need for someone to hold me accountable for my actions, words, and thoughts, in addition being honest with me. Truly I am making sure that my circle of friends and loved ones align with my goals and vision for my life. Not everyone can come with you on your journey in life and I understand that, however, the timeframe in which you’re in my life, will be a pleasant experience!
Secondly, seeking new hobbies that stimulate my mind and identifying new or hidden talents. This was my top priority of 2018! I began taking some courses at my alma mater that will really propel my career. Let me just reinstate that I took the courses and completed them within six months. In addition, I also took myself seriously as a blogger! Blogging about serious issues—African Americans and the broken justice system. I also began dabbling in podcasting, photography and bike riding. Currently, I am still perfecting my craft as far as the whole blogging and podcasting thing goes but I am loving every minute of this new found craft. I am also in the process of beginning a book club for those who love to read literature created by black authors. I am so excited to share this with the world!! PLUG *If you are in the Columbus, GA/ tri-city area please contact thembrowngirls2018@gmail.com for further information regarding the book club called Black Reads*. Although my hobbies and talents may seem like something anyone could have started, it was definitely a stepping stone for me.
If you’re an avid TV watcher then you will know exactly what I mean when I say I use to be like Julius from Everybody Hates Chris or Mr. Krabs from Spongebob SquarePants when it came to my money. However, things have changed drastically, and I must admit I really like it. I have fallen in love with the idea of taking spontaneous trips, attending my favorite artist’s concert or buying whatever I want to buy at even given moment. This past year alone, I’ve attended a concert or some type of event, at least one weekend out of the month. During the summer alone, I’ve taken trips to St. Augustine, FL, Dallas, TX and Las Vegas, NV. Each trip, I’ve learned so much about myself and grew more, in terms, of being the person who God has designed me to be. One of the most important lessons that my father has taught me, is that you only live once if you live it right, you leave no room for regrets. My mentor taught me that you should always spend money on experiences because you’re learning lessons and making memories, rather than spending money on clothes and other silly items because they don’t last long! The year 2018 does not owe me anything, especially summer 2018!
Lastly, this past year has taught me to forgive and give love freely! No matter how anyone has treated me or what life has thrown my way, I should never allow any of that to taint my being or my heart. Despite the countless attempts of failed relationships either romantically or friendship wise, it has almost always led to disappointments. Well, not disappointments but a lesson and that’s okay because I’ve gained great things out of it all. It is hard when someone who you thought would be in your life forever or someone who you’ve done a great deal for leaves your life abruptly BUT in the end, God no longer has a need for them along with your journey. Just know their absence in your life has nothing to do with you but everything to do with them. I am so grateful that certain situations or relationships with certain people did not turn out to be what I desired for them to be, if it did, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today. No resentment, no hatred, no bad blood but a lot of well wishes and prayers! Never allow a situation or a bad relationship to change your heart, continue to love, live and forgive freely.
Although 2018 was a year of me living my best life, in addition, it humbled me and allowed me to grow in the same breath. I would never want to trade any of my experiences and lessons for anything else in this world. I would not be the person I am today if it never happened to me this year.

The Importance of the African American Vote

With elections being held tomorrow, are we ready to vote? For the past couple of months, I have had the privilege to witness Stacey Abrams, campaign to be the next governor of Georgia, img_4945who looks like me— a strong, educated, melanin woman. Although I am not a resident of the Peach State, I am excited to see what is to come. November 6th is literally tomorrow and my question to you, are you ready to rock the vote? To be able to vote as an American is such a privilege but to be able to vote as an African American is something extraordinary. Just the other night, I had a wonderful conversation with a few young professionals and of course, the topic of politics was introduced to our conversation. Truly, it is astonishing to be around individuals who share the same beliefs and opinions as yourself, in addition, having someone who challenges others to think outside of the general norm. From that conversation, I was left pondering on number of ideas— What is the importance of the African American vote? Why is this election so imperative at this present time? What does this mean for African Americans? How many will rock the vote?
Again, we have the privilege to take action in America during a time in which truly needs it the most. During this year, our country has definitely had trials and tribulations, in addition, our African American community continues to be perceived as a threat to American society. There is a laundry list of concerns that need to be addressed as soon as possible, however, the only step that we can take at this very moment is activating our right to vote. As African Americans, we need to understand that we hold so much power but when we unite, we are a force to be reckoned with. When we look back on how far we have come, we understand things such as the 15th Amendment. The 15th Amendment, which was adopted into the United States Constitution in 1870 allows African American men the right to vote. In the late 1870s, discriminatory practices were used to prevent African Americans from exercising their right to vote. In later years to come, the 19th Amendment was introduced and this amendment granted women the right to vote.
Before the Civil War began, African Americans had only been able to vote in a few northern states, and there were no African American officeholders. Shortly after the Union victory, there was an extensive mobilization within the African American community, with meetings, parades, and petitions calling for legal and political rights. Within the first two years of the Reconstruction Era, black organized Equal Rights Leagues throughout the South and held state and local conventions to protest discriminatory treatment and demand suffrage, as well as equality before the law.
We also understand other things such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 known as one of the most far-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in United States history. This particular act was passed in response to Jim Crow laws and various restrictions of minorities’ voting rights. Civil Rights activists worked diligently for years to obtain voting rights for all Americans but due to the national attention from the murder of activists in Mississippi and Philadelphia, acts of violence and terrorism, these events propelled the movement forward. This act bannedRock-the-Vote-Shows-Results-2 the use of literacy tests, provided for federal oversight of voter registration in areas where less than 50 percent of the non-white population had not registered to vote, and authorized the U. S. attorney general to investigate the use of poll taxes in state and local elections. Well after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, state and local law enforcement were weak and it often was ignored outright, mainly in the South and in areas where the proportion of blacks in the population were high and their vote threatened the political status quo. The Voting Rights Act has definitely evolved but is the foundation for protecting our right to vote. This act has allowed African Americans voters the legal means to challenge voting restrictions and vastly improved voter turnout. Make sure that you know your rights when you are at the polls! (If you experience any issues, please contact your local civil rights attorney.)
With a brief glimpse of our history, let us all be reminded of how things used to be in order to get to where we need to be. How amazing is it that we are able to reap the benefits of our ancestors working diligently because they believed in equality amongst all individuals. Again, due to their hard work and determination, we are able to make sure our voice is heard. So it is not enough that we only talk about how great the next governor will be if we do not take action and get to the polls. It does not do any good if we only speak of voting amongst our co-workers, family, and friends. We must take a stance and go to the polls!

Consistent

What does consistency mean to you? To many of us, we define our own definitions of what certain phrases or words mean by simply what we see or have viewed by either ourselves or others. While having conversations with other like-minded individuals, I was able to gather a variety of definitions for the term consistency: “Doing what you said you were going to do when you said you were going to do it”; “Reliability and/or repeatedly doing it”; “Displaying reliability on a continuous basis”; and lastly, “Continuous”. Each definition provided the term reliability and/or regularly in it. Being consistent is stability, reliability, dependability, orderliness, evenness, steadiness or regularity. Are you consistent with circumstances in your life?
As any human, we all have some point articulated goals, whether long term or short term goals, in our work life in order to ultimately achieve oimg_3705ur dream career. In high school, we were taught to further our education so we would be able to achieve the career of our jobs. For most of us, we were fully unaware of what that career would entail, let alone, we had no idea of which college we would go to. However, along the way, we were afforded examples of careers by mentors, family members, friends or significant individuals in our lives. Along with our journey, we remained in a constant state of learning and hungry to see what the next step in life would look like. By networking, volunteering, and high school/college jobs we were able to hone in on what we would see ourselves doing in our adult life. Being constant in our endeavors on bettering our lives for personal gain, financial gain and/or life’s desire is the overall goal of being consistent in our work lives.
Having the opportunity to obtain a career in the field that you strongly enjoy and brings fulfillment to your heart, is something that not everyone can say. However, for those who can closely relate, how do you maintain your happiness while having constant disputes with other avenues in life? By maintaining a healthy mental state, focusing primarily on your job duties, having a positive attitude and emphasizing the importance of what you as a person can provide to the company, as an asset and not a liability. Always provide positive features to group settings and companies in which they are unable to find anywhere else. The positivity that you exude cannot be located in anyone else, the work ethic, the energy, and the dedication cannot be duplicated. Apply what you know, seek ways to come bigger and better than your current position to amplify you to the next level. Consistency is key!
We are all well aware that it is very important to keep work life and personal life separate. While in college, I was told by various individuals, who knew me so well, ‘Never be so busy work your work life that you forget to have a personal life.’ To this day, I have to remember just that. In order to remain important relationship in life, I must dedicate time and energy to them. In order to stay fit, I must be steady in the gym, in order to see the world, I must take time off and travel and lastly, in order to have a peace of mind, I must disconnect from the world and focus on my mental health. Your personal life should be just that, yours! Live the way that YOU want to live, never seek out validation from anyone on how your life should be. We all have an ideal and/or goal of how we ultimately want our lives to be. Be consistent in ways that will catapult you to that next level in life. Inspiration comes from various shapes and forms in life. However, we must forth put in the time, dedication but most importantly hard work to see our goals and/dreams come to past. Nothing in life just comes to you without consistency and persistence. If you want to want to see a change in anything that you do in life, consistency must be in the equation!