The Love Yourself First series features phenomenal and resilient women who share their vulnerable, honest and heartfelt life experiences – shedding light on how these experiences bring a new level of self-realization and how making daily practical self-care practices a priority deepens self-love. This Phoenix is Nicole.
How do you love yourself first? What does it mean to you?
I love myself by embracing and accepting the woman I am, my strengths and graces but also my faults and falls. I’m an empath, so I strive for balance by being completely honest with my feelings, emotions, and thoughts. Coming to the center, the heart is where I want to be in love, laughter, and keeping it real. If I’m not good to myself, then I most certainly won’t be good to anyone else.
What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc.)
My true love is nature, within it I walk, listen to music, meditate, pray, read/journal, capture photos, and give praise and honor to the Goddess and to the Spirit which dwells within the woods. At home I have a sacred space with an altar adorned with items pertaining to my personal journey and the Craft. This is where I pray, center myself, and perform ritual. I adhere to the cycle of the moon by utilizing the New Moon for intention and meditation and the Full Moon to reflect, rest within and give thanks.
I love great conversation, good food and spirits, music, dance, watching movies of all genres, especially a romantic period piece, and a drive on a warm, clear night with the windows down and the music up.
During the day, I like hunting for treasures at thrift shops to put on my style and give as gifts. I also like to soak in the tub with smell goods and to pamper myself with lotions and potions. In all truth, sometimes I punch out the time card to the world and don my soft hoodie, retreat to the bedroom and sleep, ’cause it’s good to dream.
These uncertain times have given me more time to indulge, reflect, and appreciate.
Is there an obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?
Accepting myself for who I truly am in spite of what others may think or feel, this was a long, painful process for me because I wanted to adhere to the expectations of what others wanted me to be. Through a lot of learning, personal experiences and loss, I had to take a deep, intense look in the mirror and face myself – the dark and the light. I realized that this is my journey, and I came to it with an open heart, strong mind, and personal conviction. I have always been the person I am, but now I have accepted and understand my unique gifts and talents, and also how to share and celebrate in my own way.
What have you learned from self-love?
It has given me the strength and courage to be myself and embrace all that I am and all that I will ever be. Years ago someone once asked me what I believed in? The answer was the same as it is now. Love. If I don’t love and accept myself, I can never fully love others. I’d be holding back the best of myself and neglecting the best in them.
Join the LYFF community! Over 50 women have shared their self-love stories. Be the next one. 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.
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Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.