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 Nicole

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.

Photo by Nicole. Taken on her nature walk.

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.

Check out the Collective on Instagram and Facebook. You can now watch IG TV interviews with our self-love features.


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.

 


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

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.

About our featured Phoenix:  Tia is full of life and unapologetic in her commitment to being herself; it’s something you recognize right away. She’s real, and her authenticity allows women around her breathing room to do the same. Tia is also a university professor, filmmaker and storyteller; she understands the importance of positive, balanced representation and “uses media to share stories about the lived experience of Africana people.” Here’s her LYFF story:

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

I do not love myself first; however, I am doing the work to get there. For many years, I believed that loving myself FIRST was self-indulgent and filled with shame. As a child growing up in a Baptist Church, I  was trained to be of service and that meant I needed to  be self-sacrificing and other-centered. To be a good Christian, it was my duty to not complain or inconvenience anyone. I am in the process of unlearning this toxic notion, and I am in the early stages of redefining self-love and self-care.

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

I am a filmmaker and storyteller, so to me there is nothing better than sharing a meaningful story.

I love to ride my bike in the park or take long walks while listening to podcasts.

I also embrace pleasures like impromptu sex, and having a glass of wine or a cupcake without beating myself up.

To sustain this life, however, I call up my girlfriends to laugh, cry, sulk, or cheer about my day.

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

I can recall several challenging life moments that resulted in my appreciation for self-love: fighting for tenure, miscarriage, losing a friend, death of family, divorce, hysterectomy and more. Yet I don’t think it was the challenges that guided my personal practices toward loving myself first. When life is challenging, I am trained to go to work and help others – to serve. During my divorce, I suppressed my own frustration and anger to meet the needs of my children. When my Aunt died, my anguish was suppressed by the planning of the funeral and ensuring everyone else was okay. As a university professor, the journey to tenure is all about self-sacrifice and over-commitment. I learned to shift my behavior, to see myself, and to love me when I started dating after my divorce. The process of dating was fulfilling. Since I was newly divorced, I wasn’t looking for long term – just having fun and enjoying life. I began to let go of control and open up to invite goodness and joy into my life. I stopped overthinking and rationalizing. I cared about my pleasure without discounting others. It was nice. And because I invited goodness in, I made room for love. I am now happily remarried and practice loving me first (at least making a large effort).

What have you learned from self-love?  

I am learning to be okay with embracing pleasure for the mind, body, and soul. I understand that to have pleasure and to be joy filled I must attend to my whole self.

Self-love is a process, and it ebbs and flows, but it is essential to make the attempt to love yourself abundantly because it feels so damn good when you do.

 

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.

Check out the Collective on Instagram and Facebook. You can now watch IG TV interviews with our self-love features. 


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.