The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women to be Self-Love in Action

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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Cholia


Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s Phoenix is Cholia:

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

“Love yourself first” means choosing and loving myself first in the areas that matter most. That goes for areas of my life financially, and also time/energy, love, and commitments. For example, I used to be the woman that would spend her last dollar on a friend or significant other, but then that would mean I wouldn’t be able to eat well that week because I gave away the disposable money I did have. That’s not self-love or loving myself first in the areas that matter most.

You can’t just give, give, give and think that the universe is going to take care of you because of your benevolence. That’s not law of attraction and it’s certainly not healthy for your well-being.

You’re no good to anyone if you don’t make loving who you are your highest priority. It’s when you do, that the world starts taking you more seriously.

It respects you. You start getting back what you’re giving. I think that’s amazing self-love and care.

Sadly, too many women, especially women of color subject themselves to martyrdom and abandon loving themselves first. As a result, I think its really killing us softly. We end up carrying around emotional wounds because we feel unloved, unappreciated, and overlooked in spite of all the giving to others.

I know that as a health coach I really work to bring home how important it is to love yourself first when I work with women. You can’t begin to live your best life if you are abandoning yourself and not making self-love your primary concern. Self-love is self-preservation.

"I’ve been a long-distance runner for 23 years now and it is absolutely my meditation."

“I’ve been a long-distance runner for 23 years now and it is absolutely my meditation.” -Cholia, LYFF Feature

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul?

Without a doubt my number one self-care practice is cooking and eating healthy soul food. The actual act of cooking awakens my creativity, and having daily balanced nutrition of course leads to a healthier me on all levels.

Right behind cooking and eating healthy is running. I’ve been a long-distance runner for 23 years now and it is absolutely my meditation. I solve all of my toughest challenges and problems while I am running.

I also journal like crazy. Writing is another form of meditation for me. I was a freelance writer for a long time and it’s something that I truly love to do (accept the sitting down for long periods of time, because I LOVE being on my feet).

And last but not least, I do practice yoga. I love Bikram hot yoga, mainly because it helps me with mindfulness and increases my mental strength.

For me, they all lead to having a better understanding of and foundation for self-love and self-care.

Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?

There are actually two obstacles that I’ve overcome that have helped me have a deeper love for who I am.

First, I endured two unhealthy relationships that ended in betrayal which I believed were going to lead to “happily ever after” at the time, over the past two years.

Second, I lost my Mom a few years ago to a rare disease. She never really took the time to put herself first. She was a martyr and as much as that’s often deemed heroic, that can’t be all that you are when it comes to navigating through life.

Those two incidents the past three years have culminated in realizing that you have to always be yourself. In the moments when you’re not, and you don’t show up, so to speak, are the times when people enter your life that are not going to respect and love you. Being yourself, versus the version of who you think they will fall in love with, is the most selfless thing you can do.

When you deny yourself slow-down moments, alone-time days, solo vacations, and also neglect exploring your passions, all because you think you have to take care of everyone else, you will truly consume your spirit adversely.

That’s a toxic way to live. I am a firm believer that our emotions are also tied to our physical health.

By trying to live holistically, knowing that body, mind, and spirit are one, I am finally swimming in an ocean of self-love.

What have you learned from self-love?

I have learned that self-love also consists of self-forgiveness, self-respect, and self-compassion. They all work in concert with the other.

For a long time, I thought I was practicing self-love, but I was neglecting the respect, compassion, and forgiveness. You have to achieve a balance of them all to really receive the fruits from the labor of self-love.

The best thing I did, last year after encountering heartache too many times, feeling stuck, and sabotaging my dreams, was get a life coach. Well, we actually traded services, I am getting her healthier as a health coach, and she’s getting me stronger spiritually and mentally.

I think taking steps like that are also acts of self-love “in action” and totally worth the investment of your time, money, and energy.


Cholia is the creator of Kick Start Your Health Today and also the health + wellness contributor for The Phoenix Rising Collective.

Share your self-love story! Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories‬.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.

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Reconnecting with Yourself: 3 Powerful Ways to Start

reconnecting with yourself [the phoenix rising collective]

We are usually taught to focus on others needs before our own. There are articles about helping us build healthy relationships with our partners and loved ones, magazine covers telling us what we need to do to attract a man, and books on being a good mother, etc. I have no problem with any of this because I believe in creating happy and healthy relationships with others, but on the flip side I don’t hear nearly as much about the most important relationship in our lives: the one with ourselves.

As women we are more likely to compromise in our relationships, especially romantic ones. I see how easy it is for us to have more of an external focus and lose our sense of self, and I’m not okay with that…anymore. I say anymore because I had this self-sacrificing thought process at one point. From personal experience I know how easy it is for us to get caught up in others and not realize that we are disconnected from ourselves.

What happens when you don’t have a true connection to self?

One of my past downfalls in relationships was not having a strong sense of self. I got lost in my past marriage and other roles I played. Because of that I didn’t make conscious choices based on who I was and what I wanted. Instead my choices were formed around what others wanted and needed. I used to go along with it and in the end that approach never served me. This can show up in any type of relationship that we deem important and for that reason I encourage you to always stay connected to who you are.  Also, as a mother with a child who has special health-care needs (due to chronic illnesses), I learned very fast how important it is to make sure I develop a healthy relationship with myself first and foremost. Being a caregiver is very overwhelming at times and I need to maintain my overall well-being in order to take on what comes my way and to also be my best self in the relationships I value.

Have you been ignoring any signals that clearly show a disconnect with self?

Outside of relationships we also get lost in life. With all the tasks, people, and activities competing for our attention every day, it’s so easy to get misplaced in the routine and lose touch with ourselves. In the end, your life is about your journey and it starts with rediscovering a relationship with YOU.

“Having a good relationship with yourself improves your relationships with others.”

How you are living should be aligned with how you see yourself authentically. Reconnecting to who you are and showing up as your true self will make you happier, reduce stress, and also make your relationship experiences more fulfilling.

The following are some ways to start reconnecting with self:

1. Spend Time Alone

Life happens really fast and it’s up to you to slow things down. Therefore, the first thing you must do is take time for yourself. You just have to disconnect externally and go inward. Spending time alone with no social media or cell phone is a good place to start. Most of us are connected all the time making it very easy to get out of touch with how we feel. It’s so important to be alone every day for personal reflection and check-in. You can start off with just 15 to 30 minutes a day. If you stay committed to it you will start to crave that time.

2. Write

It’s inevitable that your mind will wonder about what else you can do during alone time besides just sitting with yourself, so take a journal with you to capture your thoughts. Writing is a great way to give what’s rolling around in your head some room to breathe. By putting your thoughts on paper you’ll begin to sift through mental clutter, process, and let go of stuff that needs to be discarded. Writing is a way of clarifying and releasing. It also reveals where you’re stuck. There are no rules. Just write!

3. Perform Self-Inquiry

After you move past your surface thoughts use these guided questions to get you on the path of reconnecting:

  • Are you really focused on what matters to you?
  • Is your life in alignment with what you believe and what you feel is really worthwhile?
  • Are you engaged in at least one thing that you love doing?
  • How are you relating to yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically and financially?
  • Are your needs being met in the most important areas of your life?
  • Are you happy with self and your life?
Answering these questions is just a start because this will trigger other questions for you. A heightened sense of awareness will develop and prompt you to re-examine your relationship with self much further.

Whatever shows up for you while answering these questions, I want you to practice self-compassion. If a painful thought or feeling comes up be understanding. Ask yourself the following: How would I respond to someone I care about if they were having a difficult time with something? What comforting words would I say to them? Then say those same words to yourself.

Self-exploration processes are beneficial to understanding who you are and how that transfers into making decisions in your relationships. When you have a sense of clarity you’re more likely to engage in relationships and experiences that enhance and improve the quality of your life, and I want that for you.

Let’s start a dialogue around this topic, leave a comment and let me know what’s most challenging for you to stay connected to yourself.

Meet the Contributing Writer:

MoniqueHalleyContributor[thephoenixrisingcollective]1Monique Allison is a Relationship Clarity Coach. Her personal experience, observation, and insight gained over the years allows her to help women release unhealthy relationships and heal from broken ones in order to love again from a more self-loving and authentic space. She is also the mother of 10-year-old son, Pharaoh. Monique’s background/experience is in the nonprofit sector working for United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta (UWMA) for 13 years; holding the position as the Quality Assurance Manager. She has achieved a B.A. in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University, is AIRS Certified as an Information & Referral Specialist, attained a Creative Writer Certificate from Kennesaw State University. Monique has also taught life skills to young adults for two years. Learn more about Monique’s work helping women build healthy relationships HERE.