This beautiful Phoenix is Ashley, and she loves herself first by never giving up on her personal growth and dreams. “My motto is: ‘Get better every day’. I am open minded, and I love new experiences because I learn so much about myself and what I didn’t know I was capable of,” she says.
When it comes to a personal routine, Ashley makes sure to incorporate some form of spiritual practice, so she prays every day because it’s very important to her. In addition to strengthening her faith through prayer, Ashley discovered yoga a few months ago and thought: “Where have you been all my life?!” because she feels it could have saved her a lot of stress if she’d started sooner! “I am so happy to go to class once (and sometimes twice) a week,” she expresses.
Ashley’s openness to life has also changed her definition of beauty; she returned to natural hair and loves taking care of it, as well as trying new styles. “It’s such a beautiful journey that has changed the way I define beauty for myself and others. I’ve inspired many of my friends to embrace their natural beauty as well.”
This inspiring firebird’s quest to get better every day doesn’t stop there! She is also a pescetarian. After getting sick with an unknown gastrointestinal (GI) disease, Ashley stopped eating red meat in college. She stopped eating all other meats almost four years ago, and the process has completely changed the way she feels. “I’ve not been sick with GI diseases since making those changes, she says. I pay a lot of attention to what I eat and do because it has a direct correlation to how I feel – so simple, yet so true.”
A common theme in Ashley’s self-love journey is positive change, and she’s also learned it through the power of letting go. About a year and a half ago, she went through a rough breakup with her child’s father. The situation deeply hurt and emotionally scarred her, and it took a long time to understand how she was supposed to move on with her life. Fortunately, with help from wise, loving people, she eventually learned a lesson from the experience; she forgave herself and him. “I must admit that I am a better person because of it. I have redefined what it means to be a single mother. I am just so empowered by the fact that: no, I didn’t plan to raise my daughter as a single mother, but yes, I am going to make the best life for us,” she happily shares.
Ashley chose three photos that demonstrate self-love in action, and in one of them (top right) she’s standing outside the apartment she rented right after the breakup with her child’s father. “To me it means so much, she says. I overcame. I could do it alone even though I didn’t think I could, especially with the help of God.”
This Phoenix’s courage to embrace change in all aspects of her life is beautiful. Well done! We are inspired by her commitment to living the life she wants, and so happy that she shared her self-love story with us.
Happy Friday. Love yourself fiercely!
Love Yourself First! Friday is a weekly self-love series created by the Phoenix Rising Collective. Beautiful, diverse women of color tell their stories of triumph, share their personal affirmations, and declare their love for their own lives! The series is meant to inspire and empower women to fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self-esteem. Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.