Love Yourself First! Friday invites 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 is a first for the series (and hopefully not the last). We’re featuring two women at the same time. Best friends. Authentic, loving and honest friendships are to be treasured, and these Phoenixes definitely understand that. Trina and Valerie share how being friends has healed and transformed their lives:
How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?
In 2015 Valerie and I decided to radically transform our lives. We have been best friends for over 41 years and have always felt there was a greater purpose for our friendship. Both of us were at a crossroad in our lives. Around late February, we met at Barnes & Noble and developed a plan that would give us the power to take back our lives. We were burnt out and had to shift our mindset from seeing ourselves as just moms, caretakers and breadwinners going through life with no real joy or sense of fulfillment.
We began to utilize our friendship as a means for keeping ourselves accountable for the changes we were implementing to live lives of self-love. Self-love meant learning to establish firm boundaries with our families and friends, and in our careers:
- We learned how to say no. If we can’t do it we no longer beat ourselves up about it.
- Our children are now young adults so we have had to learn how to be of assistance to them but no longer plan our lives around their schedules as much.
- We don’t bring work home in the evenings or on weekends from our 9 to 5 jobs.
- We don’t spend time with toxic and negative friends any longer.
- We freed ourselves of the duty to cater to everyone else’s needs before our own.
Our lives now exemplify the peace and joy we could not find because we had given our power away to other people and things.
What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body and soul?
Through our friendship we have demonstrated self-care, spiritually, by attending weekly Bible study together at our church. We also attend Sunday services at Word of Faith Worship Cathedral, volunteer with P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens) Ministry, and have participated in their youth conference as facilitators. Every Tuesday is our fast and pray day; during this time we are praying, reading the Bible and seeking direction from God on being better women and awesome friends to others, growing our business, parenting our young adult children and any other matters that come before us.
We love to travel and had never been to the west coast, so in April we visited San Diego and Los Angeles, California for eight days. It was a wonderful adventure and so much fun to decompress and leave everything and everyone behind. We are great travel buddies because we don’t always have an agenda, and we also don’t require a lot from one another. For example, there are times when we just sit in silence and take in all the beauty of our surroundings, and there are other times we have gut-busting laughs about something that has happened.
We also demonstrate self-care through reading, something we have always had in common. We go to the bookstore, get coffee, find all the books we want to take a look at during the visit, and talk about our findings. We’ve actually purchased the same books for one another! It’s like our own book club.
Through our friendship we have demonstrated self-care by creating our business, Power of the Pair. Our mission is to educate, empower, and encourage women to become accountable and committed to meaningful friendships. We take time every day to work on our business, putting a message out to the world that we are better together. We believe in the power of friendship because it has helped us to find our way back to loving ourselves first.
Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?
Trina’s Ephiphany – My unhappiness from a former marriage caused my blood pressure to spiral out of control, and I also had chronic insomnia. I was afraid to face the truth and did not want to hurt my ex-husband, but in the end I was hurting myself. I internalized my pain and became quite ill in the process. My blood pressure was so high the doctor asked me if I wanted to live. This was not due to diet or lack of exercise. This was due to STRESS. I knew I had to make some changes in my life and realized I had to love myself, mentally and physically, in order to live a quality life. I had the conversation, moved on with my life and never looked back. I started exercising at least three times a week, watched my sodium intake, and I am no longer on blood pressure medication. Yes! Yes!
Valerie’s Epiphany – I was so unhappy with my job that I resigned with no job offer to fall back on. I did have some cushion, because I was living with my mom at the time. So financially my basic needs were met, but there were no resources for anything else. By the new year of 2015, I had a heaviness and pressure on me to complete my dream of becoming an author and speaker. The pressure was so heavy I could not sleep at night. I felt if I did not do something to accomplish it, I would suffer in some way. In addition to becoming an author, I also wanted to be a professor, so I enrolled in school and began to work on my doctorate. I felt that if I went to school I could at least teach on the collegiate level. This would also satisfy my need to write.
Shortly thereafter, Trina and I met for dinner one evening and I mentioned to her that we needed to collaborate on something together. After dinner I suggested we go to Bible study. When leaving church we talked so much about starting business together that Trina stated, “Val, if we don’t do something this time then shame on us.” Her statement really resonated with me. She also shared a dream she had; God had given her our business name. We were to be called POWER OF THE PAIR. She saw us as spiritual twins, a pair in spirit. Something immediately went through me, and I knew it was divine. I knew in that moment we were meant to embark on our purpose together and join forces as one in business.
What have you learned from self-love?
As friends we have learned that if we don’t put ourselves first, we will not be able to fulfill our purpose for being here. We have to do what is right for us. We may be judged for it but stress, financial struggles, health issues and worry are not the answers to living quality lives. Coming together and working towards living spectacular lives are the best things we could ever do in our friendship.
Are you inspired by Trina and Valerie’s LYFF story? Share in the comments. We’d love to know how healthy, supportive friendships have helped to transform your life.
Do you want to share your self-love 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. Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.