The Phoenix Rising Collective

Inspiring Women. Empowering Change.


Leave a comment

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

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

I think that ‘loving yourself first’ starts off with being real with yourself (and others) about who you are – and accepting it. Whether that be certain elements of your personality or some feature on your body, accepting that this is the way you were designed to be and you are beautiful for it (even on your worst days). But I am also a firm believer in challenging yourself, because this is where we stretch and we grow the most. I’m not just referring to the cliché version where you challenge yourself to “be strong, be bold, be you.” While these are great qualities that we should aspire to possess, let’s start with tangible things that can be achieved daily: challenge yourself to drink more water, to look up a new recipe, to learn to play a musical instrument, to read a book that disagrees with something you believe in. The possibilities are essentially endless in this area – which is one of the reasons I love it so much. There is always room for improvement, and I have found that the more I improve in the little things, the better I feel about myself. This is the primary way that I have ‘love(d) myself first’ this year.

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

I set aside 30 minutes every day to read and journal – this is my time to unwind from whatever activities I had going on that day and just focus on me and my thoughts. I try to dedicate my reading time to books that will challenge something I believe in, and then I journal my reasons behind disagreeing with the author.

Exercise is obviously a must! (I try at least 20 minutes/day, 5 days a week) It’s a great way to get all that negative stress out of my body, as well as boost my self-esteem.

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

Growing up I always struggled with the feeling that I wasn’t enough: I wasn’t smart enough to make my parents proud or to get into a certain class (or university). I wasn’t pretty enough to make a boy like me or to get invited into certain friend groups. I wasn’t talented enough for anyone to notice something I was doing. Right about the time I was a senior in high school was when I realized if being enough meant being perfect – I could never achieve anything I wanted to do or lead the life I wanted to live, so now I love that certain things don’t come easily to me; it means I will always have the opportunity to learn. I love that I can be confident in the way I look, because I know that I was created this way, and there is not a single woman on this planet who has the same eyes that I do, or the same nose, or the same smile.

What have you learned from self-love?

There is always room for grace while you grow.


Love Yourself First! Friday is an enlightening interview series featuring the stories of phenomenal, resilient, and inspiring women who share how they are unapologetically self-love in action. The powerful, honest and heartfelt stories shed light on diverse ways to make self-care, healing and whole living daily priorities. You’ll get advice and tips you can use for your own journey, and find comfort in knowing you’re not alone when it comes to figuring out how to love yourself.

Join the tribe. Over 50 women have shared their self-love stories with the Collective. Share YOUR story. Send us an email. Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line of your email, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.


1 Comment

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

 

Love Yourself First! Friday is baaaack. I am so excited about it, too. Do you know over 50 women have been featured for this self-love series? That’s something to celebrate. When I created it in 2012 I had no idea what would happen or if women would even say yes to being interviewed for something that most certainly requires a great deal of vulnerability. Well, they’ve most certainly responded with a resounding YES, and six years later LYFF is still going strong sharing profound stories from some of the most phenomenal women who unapologetically love themselves and are dedicated to wholeness, happiness, healing and self-care.

About this LYFF Feature: Tiarra is a busy mama and wife who works in communications. She is a writer and contributor for Columbus Moms Blog and The Mom Edit. This Phoenix is a happy spirit who shares her perspective on life, love and family with authenticity, honesty, openness and lots of humor. It’s truly admirable…along with the fact that she does it all with such great style.

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

This year I made a commitment to dedicate time to self care. It’s not in the idea that you might expect though. I love a mani/pedi as much as the next gal, but it’s more than that. I’ve been focused more on getting out of my comfort zone. Whether it’s signing up for personal/professional groups or training, I’m finally making the time for it. I’m an introvert, so I have very little desire to network. Ever. And certainly not after I’ve already put in a full day at work. It seriously scares the heck out of me! But I’m starting to realize that executing on my self-growth goals is just as important and fulfilling as say, a massage, but maybe just in a different way. It’s like a mental weight has been lifted; it frees my mind for other things I really need to think about, not to mention the sense of accomplishment I feel afterward. Even better, I tend to drag someone along with me which has resulted in creating new bonds I wouldn’t have if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc)

Writing and exercise have been huge for me lately. There’s always so much swirling around in my head. It’s harder for me to push the thoughts away than it is for me to write. I write professionally, but there’s something about coming home and expressing what I want in my own voice. It’s so powerful. Exercise is the same idea. I could sit around wasting valuable energy procrastinating about working out or I could just do it. I also give myself grace about exercising. I used to have an all-or-nothing attitude: I had to do an insanely intense workout or nothing at all. Well, I’d rarely prioritize the killer workout, so I literally spent years not developing good fitness habits. Now, even if it’s a few pushups or my trusty 7-Minute Workout app, it all counts and makes me feel great. I use apps to track my progress (active hours, steps, weight loss, etc.) and it really helps me stay motivated. When I get off track, I know now that it’s not a deal breaker and that I’m really only one good decision away from getting back on track.

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

It’s mostly just getting out of my own head which is still a daily challenge. My daughter is six, and we have lots of conversations about confidence, celebrating victories, and playing for self-improvement and fun, not just competition. Then, it hit me one day how much I needed the same pep talk. I’ve talked myself out of more opportunities and beat myself up about the most random things. And why? What’s the harm in putting myself out there? I had to get to a point where that question was no longer rhetorical. There’s nothing bad that can come of attending a networking event with girlfriends or like-minded people.

What have you learned from self-love?

Lately I’ve been saying that I’m “jumping big waves” like my kids at the beach. I can’t think of a better way to describe my journey of self-love. They get really excited to go in the ocean, but as soon as they see the waves, they change their minds. Then, my husband or I will go with them; they squeeze our hands while we help them jump (or jump with them). Right on the other side of those big waves are joy, accomplishment, pride and so much more. I’ve jumped a few big waves in the last few months and experienced the full spectrum of emotions that comes with it, but I absolutely plan to keep jumping.

To keep being inspired by Tiarra’s self-love journey, check her out on Instagram.


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective and creator of Love Yourself First! Friday. As principal consultant and leadership development trainer and coach, she develops and facilitates dynamic women-centered workshops and programs with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates coaching seminars and training that support women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, sacred space for women to truly explore their personal and professional goals while gaining support and sisterhood from others who’ve also made a commitment to sustaining self-love.

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

Check out the Collective on Instagram and Facebook.


4 Comments

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

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

Loving myself is an everyday struggle. I have always had the ability to slap on a cute outfit, keep my hair done, and my lip gloss poppin’, but that’s all it was — just slap on, never matching the inside.

After having a major life change and wanting to set a great example for my son. I make it a habit to remind myself how DOPE I am. If I notice I’m walking around with my head down, I will whisper to myself, “Hold your head up, Boo, it will get better.”

Loving myself means accepting all of my flaws, imperfections, fears and life struggles, and not allowing those things to get in the way of living my life to the fullest.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc)

I have three habits I make sure I do once a week:

  1. I must listen to music that at some point feeds my soul. Be it hip hop, reggae, soul, house music or even some jazz. I need it like I need food.
  2. Dancing. I must dance!!! I’m no Debbie Allen, but I love to dance. My parents started the tradition that every Saturday night (after fish and grits) we danced. I have now passed that on to my son.
  3. My version of Super Soul Sundays. I wake up Sunday mornings before my son and make a very large cup of coffee, open the blinds in my living room, let the sun hit my face, and just BE, be happy in the moment, not worrying about what I have to do for the day, not focused on “Why me? Where’s my man, Lord? How much is this bill?” Just BE.

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

I would never give myself credit for anything I achieved in my life. I would always compare my accomplishments to other people’s accomplishments. I have learned that my accomplishments are a part of my journey in life, and I need to be proud of what I have achieved no matter how small it may be.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self-love is the hardest love to give, but it is necessary in order to receive the love you deserve from others.


Love Yourself First! Friday. Phenomenal women who fiercely and unapologetically demonstrate self-love in action share their stories – powerful, honest, heartfelt stories that shed light on diverse ways to make self care, healing and whole living daily priorities.

Join the tribe! Share your story. Send an email HERE.  Just put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line of your email, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.

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

1 Comment

img_20160424_222221-1.jpg

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 Lilac:

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

I love myself by practicing forgiveness towards myself on a daily basis. Life is so demanding, and we all have our goals we want to achieve, things we need to get done. I have the tendency to be hard on myself, which is not always a bad thing, until it goes out of balance. I have realized I take so much joy in being active and on-the-go, to the point where I can carry the world on my shoulders and just keep pushing, forgetting my well-being in the process. I am very driven by passion but I think still, at times, there is some perfectionism and fear involved, which can then easily make me ill if I don’t stop and listen. The love I practice for myself is through tuning back in, and listening to my mind and my body.

Self-love is also practiced through sharing my struggles with others, instead of trying to prove I can do it all by myself. I know if I forget, they can quickly remind me and help me get back on track.

IMG_0430What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body and soul?

A 30-minute daily morning session of meditation and yoga really helps in listening, focusing and maintaining balance. I have also learned to accept those days when I feel like I just can’t get anything done, so instead of battling it and getting even more frustrated – I just take the day off and go outside, watch some telly or cook something. I absolutely love cooking great healthy recipes with my partner; eating healthy is so gratifying. Friday is my Spa Day. I do yoga, Pilates, and then a spa session of steam room and Jacuzzi. It brings me back to life.

At times of need I am loving myself by creating change in my life and opening new doors of possibility through therapy sessions, guided imagery and holistic therapy. I have recently started a free Sunday meditation group, and I find the collective energy of people meditating together and sharing experiences, unique, powerful and even healing.

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

My childhood was immersed in trauma of different sorts and that has put me on a long path of self-abuse through different eating disorders and over exercising. These also led to other physical issues such as IBS, lower back pain, torn knee meniscus and arm tendonitis. I have had to undergo different types of therapy and treatments over the years to help re-shape my core of self and learn to forgive the past and move on from it as a stronger human being who is compassionate and accepting towards herself and others. Throughout my life, music has been a core strength in this process: writing, composing, playing, singing, performing. It’s given me an identity and a sense of self. I am still learning how to enjoy the healing power of music without focusing on material success.

What have you learned from self-love?

Self-love teaches me something new every day, in learning to accept others and myself. It has taught me to look at myself first – for better AND for worst. The love starts from within, and if I want my surroundings to change, I first have to change my own perception, behavior and patterns. Self-love has taught me to tune-in closely on judgment, and realize that the things I dislike about myself – will be quickly reflected back to me through others. I have even learned self-love and inner peace from my cat, who easily shows me how life can be joyful and relaxed when you can give and receive unconditional love. By learning to love myself, I can completely change the way I view the world every day, which eventually results in a better world for myself. Because I deserve it.

—-

Lilac Sheer is a singer/songwriter; learn more here. Her new project Zoe, is a music video created to promote women’s self love and acceptance for International Women’s Day 2016. “The song refers to those days when we don’t love the reflection in the mirror, only to realize that our imperfections are exactly what make each of us unique. 40 courageous women chose to take part in this project with me, to help create a heartfelt human testimony, for which I am both humbled and grateful.” Check out the video.

 


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.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.


4 Comments

IT’S LOVE YOURSELF FIRST! FRIDAY: This Phoenix is Tathina

LYFF_Tathina[thephoenixrisingcollective]

Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of our 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 wholehearted Phoenix is Tathina:

I am learning to love, accept, and allow everyone freedom to simply be…however they are in the moment.

lake1

“I am in peace with being alone. I would not have thought this could be possible for me years ago though! Aloneness is different than loneliness. Aloneness is innate to each of us. We are connected through this Love-space.”

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

I was taught, like many of us were taught: to put others before Self, to put myself last after everything and everyone else. Taking care of myself was seen as selfish and wrong. With this social conditioning, I felt like I needed to be punished or perfected because I wasn’t okay or good enough as I was. I wasn’t allowed to simply rest in the moment. Some goal always needed to get done first and I had to postpone this deep rest I was yearning for. For years I tried to do this. I tried to put myself into a box of “doing it right.” I tried being what I thought others wanted. I sought to please others and to also help others through studying psychology in college. But during my senior year, I realized that I was not fulfilled. I had a lovely mask on. I may have tricked others into thinking I was happy, but I was far from it. I realized I was not giving myself love and seeking it outside of me. I truly didn’t know how to love anyone else because this love was not discovered within me yet. I sought to find true fulfillment through relationships, spiritual paths and texts, careers, material things – everything that came across my path – but none of it lasted.

Loving myself first means putting myself first. This means not taking care of other people, but really taking care of myself, as only I know what I need and only others know what they need. This means allowing myself to be however I am in the moment, and allowing myself to feel however I feel. It means not fighting with fear, but using it as an invitation to really discover what cannot die in the moment. Self-love is stopping when I know I need to stop. It is allowing mistakes and not trying to be perfect. This means ignoring the idea that I am not good enough.

What I have discovered is that when I love myself first, put myself first, cherish the Life that is expressing itself through and as me, this is inspiration for others to do the same.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy, eating, spiritual practice, etc.)

I am always learning how to take care of myself more in all areas as Life guides me. Meditation has been a blessed key – not just sitting for a few minutes and then going back to giving attention to the thoughts and stories in the mind for all the other hours in the day (though it definitely started this way). This is also not meditation where I am striving for something to happen or appear. It is very simple. Along the way, I discovered Satsang, which means coming together in truth or meeting in truth in Sanskrit: Sat means Truth and sangha is being in company. I see my whole Life as Satsang now. I see every experience as an invitation to simply be in the moment, to discover the truth of myself. So, meditation for me is simply being in the moment. We do this by ignoring the thoughts, and using the feelings or the breath to bring our attention back to the moment. To really be in the body grounds us in the present, in presence. This is good for all parts of us. The body gets to relax and simply be. The thoughts are allowed to be (not being fought or clung to). The feelings are allowed to be. Everyone is given this permission to simply live in freedom. Also, being present encourages me to listen more to my body and what it wants or doesn’t want. I listen as to where there is a ‘no’ or a ‘yes’ coming from the truth of the moment. I give myself full permission to simply be a human being, this particular human being, and this particular flavor. Self-care can reveal this peace to us again and again.

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

As I mentioned, after college I was searching for truth, fulfillment, and a way to take off the mask I was hiding behind. I was ready for healing, and I discovered that healing came from letting go of my story of suffering, a narrative I would tell others and myself over and over again. I had hidden behind painful childhood experiences (and experiences passed down through generations); this story of not being good enough, needing to fix myself until I was perfect enough to love. So, I adamantly searched, and Life crushed all my lifelong dreams of going to graduate school to be a psychologist. Life had something else in store and brought me to a point of retreat. Life stopped me, gave me a break, and brought me face-to-face with my true Self as if It was saying, “You wanted freedom and healing so here is this spiritual detox.” I was also being invited to make peace with aloneness. I had been trying to help others through my professional career choice, but the truth was I wanted to really help myself. I can’t help others to discover the tools to nourish themselves if I am not nourishing myself.

I was brought to a challenging point. A lot of resistance and all types of feelings like depression, anger, fear, and everything we feel as humans came for me to finally make peace with them. This was self-love even though it did not feel like it in the moment. Because through feeling my feelings, I took power out of this story of being a victim. The feelings brought me into the moment. They brought me into the space that is unshaken by any storm, by any emotion. I asked for real help at the end of 2012 in a moment of total surrender and was mysteriously led to my true teacher. He pointed me back to this moment where there was no one seeking; there was just infinite peace and love. This love is unconditional and it can be ruthless when it wants to free you from the limitations and chains of the conditioned mind. All the challenges of my Life always bring me to a deeper recognition of the love that is here, the love that I am, you are, and we all are right now.

Through loving ourselves as we are, unconditionally accepting the cards we were (are) dealt, something powerful and mysterious begins to happen that I cannot write about. It cannot be spoken. Only you can experience it for yourself in this moment.

beach88

What have you learned from self-love?

Through self-love, I have learned how to love. Period. Loving myself when I was in a personal hell or when I was considered wrong or when I was stripped of everything I once used as a distraction taught me how to love all of existence. Compassion started to grow. I have discovered that when I’m taking care of myself, everything else is taken care of (even when my mind judges it to be wrong). Yes, some who are not in peace with this change may not be happy with my self-love/self-care and will get their feathers ruffled and think I’m selfish. This is their issue to make peace with.

Selfishness is expecting others to do for you what you should be doing for yourself. Self-love is our sole responsibility and freedom. It is empowering for all! I allow those that don’t accept me for who I am to leave my Life; this is their freedom and mine to be ourselves. Namasté.

About Tathina’s LYFF Collage:

These three photos are when I am in nature, meditating, enjoying, simply being and/or playing/exploring – bowing to the mirror of Life’s vastness and Love everywhere (Namasté meaning).”

 

Thank you for sharing your self-love story with the Collective, Tathina. You are definitely a Phoenix rising!

Learn more about Tathina’s journey; she is the author of The Invitation (to Live) (the Truth). Want more? You can also get info about Satsang and how Tathina gives herself permission to just “let go of all the defenses and BE” by following her blog, HERE, for self-love/meditation challenges that mirror some of the practices in her LYFF story.

 


 

Join the Collective. Share your self-love story with us. Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and we’ll send you follow-up info. Sweet. Short. Simple!

Love Yourself First! Friday is a bi-weekly 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.


Leave a comment

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

LYFF_Feature_Meaghan[thephoenixrisingcollective]

Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of our 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 brave Phoenix is Meaghan:

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

Loving myself first means three things to me: forgiving, showing up, and sharing.

  1. Forgiving myself: Since I was a child, I have been told I am just too sensitive, thin-skinned, needlessly vulnerable. I have always felt things incredibly deeply, and it shows. For a long time, I allowed others to take advantage of this part of me and even chastise me for it, telling me it was a flaw, a softness that needed to be hardened. But loving myself started with forgiving myself for these perceived weaknesses, which then opened up the opportunity to protect my vulnerability, and even, to insist upon it being something helpful and constructive.
  2. Showing up for myself: Once I learned to embrace the complexities of my emotional life, I was more ready to defend, preserve, and nurture it. This meant being more verbal when I felt I was being mistreated or ignored or emotionally abused; it also meant coming to the difficult and liberating conclusion that no one else was going to do this for me. As it goes, when I began articulating my worth, I lost some people who I thought were my friends. But the process has left me with a small, strong group of people I consider my chosen family. They respect, love, and appreciate me.
  3. Sharing myself: Once I learned to accept, appreciate, and defend who I am, I became more ready to share myself with the world. Part of loving myself means using my talents, intellect, and skills toward something that fulfills me: right now, it is through teaching and contributing to Human Rights scholarship. I hope to continue doing this once I graduate: I wish for myself a fulfilling life, and it’s my intention to show up and make that dream a reality.

 

11081257_10155272567220562_3293165339274864587_n

“I am learning how to embrace the beauty of my body…” -Meaghan, LYFF Feature

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

My favorite part of self-care has been creating rituals. My oil baths are legendary in my household, my partner understanding that this time is my time: I use organic oils and salts in a warm bath, and sink into the water with candlelight flickering around me. I light incense, and on a particularly tough day, smudge the space with sage. It is my moment with the divine, where I cleanse and nourish my skin and my mind after work. It helps me shed the stresses of the day.

I have discovered great solace in yoga, and practice at least 3 times a week staying present, feeling graceful (sometimes clumsy!), and building strength. This, in addition to weekly cardio, helps to keep my mood elevated and my mind clear. My personal fitness routine has helped me build a completely new self-image: instead of the un-athletic gym class dropout I thought I was, I know now that I am, in fact, made of poetry and sinewy muscles that can balance, extend, and flex.

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

So, I am going to overcome an obstacle just by writing this answer, and in so doing, I hope to demonstrate my idea of what self-love is. I live with depression, a mental illness that affects women and men around the world. As I grow and change, my depression changes with me. It has had different iterations, and manifests itself differently at different stages of my life. One of the most difficult stages was when I was a freshman in college: I was feeling profoundly alone, and with no one to confide in, I began having thoughts of suicide. I had no desire to eat, was losing weight rapidly, and did not leave my dorm room for days on end, save to go to class. It wasn’t until I had the courage to call my mother, and tell her that I was not doing okay, that I had been thinking of ways to quietly end my life. I told her how I was feeling, and asked her for help (Thank you, Mom, I love you). That was seven years ago, and I could not be prouder of my 18-year-old self for reaching out, and for continuing to struggle. While many may think that this was a time of weakness, I see it as a display of strength. I wanted to keep fighting, and fight I did.

I am writing this now because I made that phone call. I helped save my own life.

I reject the notion that we need to be quiet about these experiences: no one should ever suffer in silence or isolation. Our cultural stigmas around depression and other mental illnesses breed silence, and I refuse to perpetuate this damaging norm. If you are suffering, please tell someone. There are people who care about you, who want to help you leave this pain behind, and want to help you embrace your beautiful life for everything it could and will be.

I look back on that time, that person, with compassion and sadness. I see now I rarely allowed myself to dream: I was so enveloped in my depression that I could not see myself growing up or growing older. I did not think I would make it so far. I am learning now what it’s like to have a vision for my future, and it is overwhelming and wonderful and absolutely terrifying all at the same time. I see a social worker for therapy, practice mindful meditation, and read books that address the sources of my depression: for me, it is shame. Shame is a very powerful thing, as an emotion and as a socially constructed tool to keep women caged. Brene Brown’s book I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” both articulates this struggle in the context of womanhood and provides some resources for how to cope with shame. It has provided me new ways to protect my vulnerabilities and use them constructively, to build a new idea of who I am and who I want the world to know.

What have you learned from self love?

Oh, I have learned so, so much from self-love, and continue to learn more. I have learned I am worthy, that love for myself multiplies and becomes love for and from others. I have learned that treating myself with compassion means I am more ready to treat others with compassion. It has given me a sense of belonging and community, a sense of possibility and a lasting relationship with myself.

Meaghan_Photos[Phoenix]

Meaghan also tunes in to self-care through writing and receiving love from her cat, Chickadee.

Meaghan’s LYFF Collage:

Here’s a little more about the photos she selected:

Top Right + Bottom Left: I have a lot of fun trying on different types of self-presentation, and I think style is a great way to express a multi-faceted personality. It is something accessible and fun for me, and helps me to take myself not-so-seriously.

Bottom Right: I am learning how to embrace the beauty of my body, to celebrate its strength and accept its flaws. This is a new concept for me, one I’m still exploring.

 

Thanks, Meaghan for sharing your LYFF story! You are definitely a Phoenix Rising.

 


 

Join the Collective. Share your self-love story with us. Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and we’ll send you follow-up info. Sweet. Short. Simple!

Love Yourself First! Friday is a bi-weekly 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.


Leave a comment

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

PhotoGrid_1426205449439

Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of our 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 inspiring Phoenix is Monique:

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

Loving myself first means realizing my own value and walking in that light at all times. Loving myself first means understanding that I am worthy of all of the positivity, joy, and PEACE of mind that I can experience in my God-given 24 hours – without guilt or hesitation. Loving myself first means believing I am worth it not because someone else told me so; because my Creator made it so!

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

I demonstrate the love I have for myself by making sure that what I take in physically, spiritually, and mentally is beneficial to MY health. From drinking water and walking to daily prayer and keeping a positive circle around me; I strive daily to honor the God within by treating myself well. Some days are more challenging than others, but with each new day, there is another opportunity for me to improve in self-love, and for that I am grateful!

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

Experiencing separation, divorce, and the challenges of rebuilding my life showed me where I needed to grow as a person. I had time to reflect on the mistakes I made and the reality that I really didn’t love myself, making it impossible to truly love someone else. Through those experiences, I learned that in order to heal and move forward, I had to first love myself enough to forgive – forgive others, and most importantly, forgive myself. Guilt, shame, and doubt were like weights around my neck. Once I shed those, I NEVER looked back. I knew God had more for me, and I was ready to go after it.

What have you learned from self-love?

From self-love, I have learned that as a woman I have the power to attract who and what I am into my circumference. All of my relationships are mirrors of some aspect of me, whether good or bad. Negativity doesn’t just magically appear; I either cause it or allow it in my life. Period. Love for self doesn’t produce victims; it gives birth to survivors. Once love for self became more than a cliché and actually became my way of life, I began to repel what didn’t add to my life, and I attracted genuine love in return. On June 17, I will celebrate 3 years of marriage to the man I believe God sent to me.  And I am enjoying the journey of finally meeting the Monique I never knew. When I look at myself five years ago and now, all I can say is God is the Greatest!

 

Monique’s LYFF Collage:

We asked our Phoenix, Monique, to submit photos demonstrating self-love in action or even photos that radiate the feeling of loving who she is. We created a collage (shown above) of the images she wanted to share. Here’s what she had to say about why these authentically reflect her self-love:  “The photos I have chosen are a powerful testimony of the transformation that loving God and myself have caused in my life!”

Thanks for sharing your self-love story with us, Monique. You are definitely a Phoenix Rising!

 

______________________________

If you’d like to share your self-love story with The Collective contact us here.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a bi-weekly self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Beautiful, diverse women tell stories of triumph, share personal affirmations, and declare love for their 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.