Love Yourself First! Friday is an interview series featuring phenomenal and resilient women who share their self-love stories – vulnerable, honest and heartfelt stories, shedding light on how life’s challenges bring a new level of self-acceptance and how making daily practical self-care practices a priority deepens self-love. You’ll find comfort in knowing you’re not alone when it comes to figuring out how to love yourself.
Here’s our featured Phoenix’s self-love story:
Ashley loves herself first by never giving up on her personal growth and dreams. “My motto is Get better every day. I am open-minded, and I love new experiences because I learn so much about myself and what I didn’t know I was capable of.”
When it comes to a personal routine, Ashley makes sure to incorporate some form of spiritual practice, so she prays every day because it’s very important to her. In addition to strengthening her faith through prayer, Ashley discovered yoga a few months ago and thought, “Where have you been all my life?!” She feels it could have saved her a lot of stress if she’d started sooner. “I am so happy to go to class once (and sometimes twice) a week.”
Ashley’s openness to life has also changed her definition of beauty; she returned to natural hair and loves taking care of it, as well as trying new styles. “It’s such a beautiful journey that has changed the way I define beauty for myself and others. I’ve inspired many of my friends to embrace their natural beauty as well.”
Her quest to get better every day doesn’t stop there. She is also a pescatarian. After getting sick with an unknown gastrointestinal disease, Ashley stopped eating red meat in college. She stopped eating all other meats almost four years ago, and the process has completely changed the way she feels. “I’ve not been sick with GI diseases since making those changes. I pay a lot of attention to what I eat and do because it has a direct correlation to how I feel; so simple, yet so true.”
A common theme in Ashley’s self-love journey is positive change, and she’s also learned it through the power of letting go. About a year and a half ago, she went through a rough breakup with her child’s father. The situation deeply hurt and emotionally scarred her, and it took a long time to understand how she was supposed to move on with her life. Fortunately, with help from wise, loving people, she eventually learned a lesson from the experience; she forgave herself and him. “I must admit that I am a better person because of it. I have redefined what it means to be a single mother. I am just so empowered by the fact that, no, I didn’t plan to raise my daughter as a single mother, but yes, I am going to make the best life for us.”
Ashley chose three photos that demonstrate self-love in action, and in one of them she’s standing outside the apartment she rented right after the breakup with her child’s father: “To me it means so much. I overcame. I could do it alone even though I didn’t think I could, especially with the help of God.”
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.
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.