Yes, I Am. I Am Enough, PERIOD.

 Yes, I Am. I Am Enough, Period.

Took me a while to get here, though.
To recognize that quote, above…
To cherish myself.
Just because I could.

I was interviewing someone recently about her orientation, and the way she felt so ease with others; and how she came to”be”. How she just sort of realized she could finally begin to love herself.

One day, I think she just simply came to realization as I did, that ‘sometimes’ it just takes too much to try to be someone else, and please everyone else around you.’
I don’t know that I have all the answers, but I am using this platform to make sure I have enough to say about relationships, and how to make sure you fit within them, and not exist FOR them. there’s a difference and in that you find greater fulfillment.

So, I want everyone to know: You are enough, Period.

And if someone else tries to make you think differently, then they are flat out wrong.
So you are enough, and I am enough. I think I had an awakening during my first marriage. I realized I was depressed all the time, because I couldn’t own up to who I REALLY WAS, and since I didn’t know who I was,  how could I give a part of me, to someone else?

Not giving my best self to someone else, hurt. I mean, it just did.
And not being appreciated for the good I had inside of me, hurt, as well. So I decided to not ‘aid’ any more ( for lack of a better word…) in being in relationships in helping to destroy my authentic self.

Who was My Authentic Self ?

This woman who lived curled up inside of a “people pleasing body”… and she didn’t quite know it; ;who settled for less, because she was afraid to make decisions; and who was way too anxious an afraid to live with  JOY… for way too long, …? No, that wasn’t really who I was – but back then , you couldn’t tell me that.
I realized she was beautiful, she was funny, she loved laughing, and smiling, she loved the outdoors, to hear birds sing, and she loved being touched hugged and cherished with affection. Except she didn’t know that in her soul and body that told er she wasn’t enough. In fact, I found out after several years of not being lovingly embraced, that one of my primary ways to be loved ; my language of love was: TOUCH.
A-MAZING!!

Being held by my husband –  just does something for me. If you don’t know what the languages of live are, and whether you are getting that need met, you really need to find out what yours is, and how to get that need met. And loving touch doesn’t always mean sex,  is so important, either. Sometimes it’s a hand held, a smile and a warm embrace, and a cuddle.

“If your spouse’s primary love language is physical touch, nothing is more important than holding her as she cries.”~ Taken from the book by Dr. Gary Chapman The Five Love Languages

If this blog post blessed your soul, stay tuned for my posts on Soul Silence that will be out this summer.  And if you purchase a  course, you gain full access to  ALL of my ”  I am Good Enough Declarations.” I talk more intimately about love languages, self awareness & self care. and please check out my self care course at :  this link here.

And read more about the course here.

You shall love them…

Stay tuned!

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I am Enough Because I Endure.

It took a really long while.

Asking for help, that is.

I am currently in a situation with a knee injury, that causes me to  review that fateful day, back in 2004 where I was limited to only the use of one leg. I was hopping all over the airport in crutches, and here I am again. The airport!!? You may exclaim, wondering what the heck was I  doing traveling  with a sprain and  crutches! Yes,  I was very vulnerable, yet I was not going to  have a trip stop me from  taking care of myself and attending one of the most life-changing  conferences I had ever attended.

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You see, I  was headed to a leadership conference that was sure to boost my esteem and take me up a few notches in terms of who I am, but  I had to first believe I was capable of handling it for  a six day conference in another state.

I guess I should tell you how I  got the sprain: Yes, I was leaving someone’s home, and fell on the ice. As for my current situation, ( in 2015), I was sitting on the floor with a little girl in therapy, went to  stretch, and sprained it again!  So, in 2004,  I had an all -expense paid trip to a leadership conference spending time with amazing leaders and friends I tend to really enjoy  being around, and   i simply adore  spending time with people who love on me, and help me lead. That’s the most simplest way I can describe it.

So when I arrived,  at our very first meeting, in Washington, D.C. we checked in  and  had a small meeting to become reacquainted with one another, after years of absence. As the greetings were  coming around to me, and it was asked how I was, I  responded by  being absolutely honest with my group of deep and  emotionally  intelligent friends and mentors. I knew even if I tried, that I could not get by them for an entire week;  being fake for the next six days. I began to tear up and tell them How vulnerable I had felt, traveling form New York to D.C. and  how I constantly was in situations  where I  was not sure what to do and how to navigate the course I was on.

Our leader , suddenly realizing  I was in flux, and  had an entire week ahead of me; said to me: ” Jennifer, I want you to  look at each one of us in this group, in  the eye, and with great sincerity, and say: “Can you help me?”  And so , I did. I went slowly and asked. that’s all  I did. With every response of : “Yes, I will help you.”, I was empowered.

I learned how to ask for help for the first time in my life, at the age of 37. And all week, I was SO FREE.l asking for help.

Since endurance is  my word for the year and I have so struggled with myself this year, and my sense of vulnerability, I decided to write again on the word. It’s really been a while since I wrote on the topic, because I think I got lost for a few months. And that’s the truth.

The last time,  I sprained my ankle, my struggle was with asking for help. This time, it’s recognizing  my strength in coming into my own abilities. When does it stop?  The answer: NeverWe are constantly growing. And life is in a constant  demand of us proving we can handle its demands.

And so here I am . Growing and sharing gems of my worth in my first online course that leads  me to  share information on  what I know about self care, because it’s so needed, and so necessary, to thrive.  It’s the difference between life and death. health or wasting away,  Hope or  Sorrow. This quote by Sue Bryce, photographer, today, gave me perspective:  
“I’ve searched my whole life …looking for what is good self esteem and what is self love, and   self care…  .saying no when you don’t want to do something, being emotionally honest ( vulnerable), with yourself and others, and being self-sustaining and comforting yourself the way your comfort a child you love, & caring for yourself. We have to learn how to put ourselves first and then we can change our entire world
.”

I am also learning the power of vulnerability.

Vulnerability can push you forward maybe ten years in maturity,if you would only acquiesce to it. Allowing yourself to feel. Allowing your self to self-reflect and be self aware. Allowing yourself to be present and  notice life around you and take an honest evaluation of what is working,  and what isn’t, and  being willing to risk change, as a result. To try something new ad different because life requires that we do. and noticing the cadence of it. Not struggling, complaining or fighting that wave, but choosing to ride it , when it comes, trusting God will make all things new.

Amen. I believe that’s all I have to say..

So… the power of being vulnerable and allowing myself to make the necessary shifts and changes that present themselves before me, whether they be requests from friends, or  opportunities for advancement, I should learn to acquiesce and makes allowances, for myself to grow, and heal. So I can pass it on, to the next generation, and to the next few that  come along and desire to grow and  look to me, for mentor-ship, after I have also been mentored.

med on being enough 2

If you enjoyed reading this  excerpt, please take the time to  read the series: Completely Validated: A Compilation of  Meditations & Readings on ‘Being Enough.’ , which will soon be an Ebook series, coming soon, on Amazon. I am JennRene Owens, an author, photographer and life coach who likes to help people: “Life Their Best Lives with Calm.” Leave a message if you liked this post or contact me at jennrene.owens@icloud.com

jen best

I Am Enough Because I Care.

I decided to write a new series. I was in a  Celebrate Recovery group and  talking about feeling “helpless”. It was a process for me to discuss in group, because as soon as I  spoke about why I tend to feel worried and  procrastinate on some things, I realized that  This vulnerable space I often feel between  not worrying and trusting God  causes me to  feel way too vulnerable.     Have you checked your care barometer, lately? If you haven’t its likely you haven’t reached out to anyone in a thoughtful way, lately.  I  am a person who cares for others.  In may ways its my profession, yet also in several ways, its also my  calling.   I care because someone cared for me. To be honest, I am not sure caring would come as easily as it does, or had I not gone through a few  situations to  cause me to be cared for. And have people reach out to me, in very merciful ways. I am very thankful God is in my life, because caring took on a new meaning  for me when I met a few sisters and brothers who love God, in a very   caring and  completely  selfless way.   I remember a time when I was “car-less”. My car broke down,  and since I was separated from my first husband, I didn’t have an extra car…and I  was devastated. “How was I going to get to work?! How was I going to go grocery shopping? And how was I going to take care of all my business?” I already felt alone form being by myself that summer and things were looking pretty bleak. I believe it was a Friday, and my car caught on fire in the parking lot where I work. The engine just blew on me. I  remember having tons of hope, though. I was encouraged. Why.. I don’t know, but I just began to count my blessings, because there were so many things going well for me, that  I couldn’t complain.   I wasn’t working that summer, and I  found out I could get employment during the summer months, and I wasn’t even expecting it.  As surprised as I was, I was completely hopeful things would work out.  I went to church that Sunday with a smile on my face, and telling every one it would work out, just by a testimony, and  I as thanking God. After church, two people came to me and said , “Hey, I have a car you can use  its our second car, we don’t use it very much, but we’d like to bless you. Another friends, said:” I am going out of town for two weeks, and you are welcome to hold the keys to mine.” I was shocked! These two persons will be forever imprinted on my life and a part of my compassion  list of people who care..  I  still love them very much to this day. And not just because they gave me something, but because I saw God in their actions, and they made  me smile and believe God even more.

I have had aunts, friends,  and  people in my life who knew me and knew how devastated, broken unloved and  hurt I have been in situations and  man, when you are down, and you have even more to struggle with,  as a result of being down, it’s just good to have someone reach out and love on you.  It feels great to ave someone come and give you a makeover to your office when you feel  so disorganized; or someone to give you the keys to a car when you  have none, or for someone to by you a meal when you are starving and have no money. I was once even was kicked out of someone’s home, and had no place to go, and a friend stepped in and opened up their home to me.   I have been on the other end, and I tell you, as  great as it feel to receive, it feels even better to give.  So I tell you, WATCH who God has sent to cross your path. Be aware of those around you. Love on them.  Pay attention to detail in your life, and how you benefit from being in right relationship with them. Feel their sorrow with them.  Ask them if they need anything. Call them and tell them you love them, even if it does mean feeling vulnerable  for a moment. It’s ok.  And you will  see them turn toward you, or turn a little closer towards God, if that’s the hope you desire to give. I have learned so much from such giving people in my life about how to treat others when they are down.

                                                                              ~~~~

If you enjoyed reading this  excerpt, please take the time to  read the series: Completely Validated: A Compilation of  Meditations & Readings on ‘Being Enough.’ , which will soon be an Ebook series, coming soon, on Amazon. I am JennRene Owens, an author, photographer and life coach who likes to help people: “Life Their Best Lives with Calm.” Leave a message if you liked this post or contact me at jennrene.owens@icloud.comjen best

The most beautiful time of day…

Today, to start my morning right, I began it with quiet and the water, and meditation, it felt warm, inviting and like I was somewhere off in a foreign land. Quiet has that effect. It can whisk you away to places unknown. Perhaps that’s why it’s so powerful.  The next time you have an opportunity, spend time with yourself in quiet, Breathe, Pray, and be still and know… 

 I’m linking up with everyday eyecandy and lipgloss & binky for the Our Project 52 photography challenge please join me with them at http://www.everydayeyecandy.com

Self Awareness Can Be My Friend

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Self Awareness Can Be My Friend.

To Be able to be self aware is defined as:
“Awareness or having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self-awareness, plus the additional realization that others are similarly aware of you.

So I was led to complete a small exercise this evening I found online. I completed this exercise to clear my head and allow for some self-evaluation. I had no expectations, I only was intending to write to clear my head. What I found in this exercise strengthened and encouraged some things in my life I realize I need to continue to practice on a regular basis.

Perhaps by being transparent,here, I can also encourage your own personal growth.

Here is the exercise:

1.Across the top of a blank piece of paper write across the top the titles: (Character Traits, Needs, Values, and Strengths & Motivations).

2. Then add five to ten qualities beneath them:

My Character Traits: Cordial Introvert Fearless Leader Committed Peaceful

My Needs : Friends. To Write . Have Comfort. Rest. Be Silent. Prayer.

My Values : Balance. My Faith. Honesty. Integrity. Allowance. Stability

My Strengths: Trustworthy . Resilient. Personable. Encourager. Deep Thinker. Perseverance.

My Motivators: The Ocean. Hubby. Dreaming. Exercise. My Life’s Work.

I found it awesome to know I have ways to self –soothe and find myself again. One of the most powerful thoughts I had here was the realization that:

“I am the one that has power to take care of my needs.”

Are there people in your circle that ask you: “What do you need?”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have many friends like this. This is why it’s pertinent I ask myself, this question often. I find that I often struggle because I don’t take care of my needs and I don’t allow God to take care of them, either. I can find myself with a really bad attitude and feeling restless when I take care of everyone else before me. NOT a good habit to develop.

Taking time out for “myself” …will energize me FOR everyone else.

What Keeps You Motivated?

If you don’t know, you should find out. Motivation keeps your purpose fueled. It’s very important to keep your coals burning and never allow them to become cold. If you work on fueling your passion with great expectancy of what’s on the horizon… you will begin to find answers and possess clarity of thinking in grave situations.

Learn to live your life WITH GREAT EXPECTATION. It’s the greatest gift you can offer to yourself, your children, and your mate and to your future. God looks for expectation in you. Deut 4:29 – 31 says: “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.” God lives and breathes covenant. If you agree to fulfill His part of the bargain, he will deliver the goods to you.

I have experienced more miracles during a period of five years of my life- (from 2005 to 2010) than I ever have in my entire life. At first, I complained about these miracles, because the changes and transition I had to go through required too much adjustment and transition.

Later, I decided I would stay in EXPECTATION (of good) and strive to DO MY VERY BEST to endure, despite the odds. Luckily, I married the right person.  He helps to keep me motivated. Your life partner can be your saving grace.

Make certain whom you choose to marry can also lift you up when you are down.

True self-evaluation can help you to also  see your vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities as an adult,  can then sometimes enable you to be  amazingly strong. I placed under the “value column” the word: “Allowance“. Giving yourself permission to live and be free to enjoy life is SO important. To be tense-free and not always being in an industrious and dutiful mode …can  also be a huge motivator.

I am always adjusting, self-evaluating, yielding, purposing, helping, serving, adapting, and changing because change is how I grow. I find that I often desire to be in a state of growth, to challenge myself to evolve  and be a better person. What I never realizes is that this challenge – can also cause me to be quite intense. It makes me feel like a turtle in its shell that sometimes wants to go away, to hibernate. Yet this is where my “deep thinker” identity thrives.

I gave birth to depth in my writing skills, and more hopes and dreams to write for others, as well.

Dreams come true when you can recognize to WHOM you belong, and HOW you are motivated from within. You begin to travel outside of the norm and seek out new paths and re- ignite your passion and purpose on a higher level. Good self awareness causes one to grow – a lack of self-awareness or inability to be transparent and open minded can stagnate you.

Dream. Motivate. Inspire. GROW.

Today!

Loving The Use of Silence

 

lebh shomea  palm

“I LOVE the use of Silence!” the instructor exclaimed, about my therapeutic approach from my example I had to enact before a roomful of people, that week.

I was practicing an open role play in front of my peers at work with my “challenging client”, and I had to gain positive feedback about my therapeutic approach from he instructor. I was at a conference learning about the impact of trauma on our decisions; and how our traumatic experiences often dictate our ability to be less aware of our actions. The instructor was teaching several important points and I was glad to spend a full day in her presence. As nervous as I was in a room full of people looking at me, I determined within,, I would act as if my client and I were the only two in the room. My silence to a few of her responses caused her to contemplate, I noticed. To come to a conclusion. To find relief and release her thoughts more freely. I was determined not to think for her. To allow her to think for herself.

I wasn’t aware of my silent technique, at all, until the instructor mentioned it. One of my greatest pleasures in working with my clients is seeing them have conversations with themselves and figure out their own dilemmas with very little prompting.

Self-discovery can be freeing.

I began to think about why I used this approach. I thought to myself:”I absolutely love silence.” I didn’t realize how much, until the very moment when she exclaimed that powerful sentence. At that point I began to think about all the ways I have learned to “use silence” as my Comforter over the years.  Many times, I just sat  in a room;  listening to myself.

I have had literal silent years that spoke volumes to my soul. (My soul being my mind, will and emotions.) I recall how quietness has brought me a certain peace. In another  thought,  as an adult, I  filed through thoughts in my head about all those nights I stayed up and cultivated the voices my spirit spoke to me in quiet. Those knowing , telling ones…

“Be still”  I heard.

Follow Your Heart.”

” Trust.”

“Follow Me.”

And  I began to create filters in my mind that  would catch those words,  build them, center them and  cause them to  remain.

Those words would began to dictate my peace.

Another Silent episode I heard: “Create Joy, Jennifer.”

Yet Another  would firm up my soul by saying:”

You are worth more than you know.”

Another: “Seek peace and pursue it.” (Ps.34:14)

Little did I know these filters were God’s word rising up in me – and would protect my mind from self defeating thoughts, attitudes and behaviors.

It was then, that I realized I wasn’t really speaking to myself…

I was simply giving God space to speak to me.

Perhaps, I thought:  that’s what I offer my clients as well.

Interesting shifts happen in your life when you give a God space to speak. So now…being much more mature and “well versed” in my solitude, I take the time to listen…because I’d rather know what my spirit says any day,  rather than listen the unrelenting banter of the television and other external  conversations.

I looked up the word silence and do you know I  in the dictionary, and found it to mean: “to put doubt and fears to rest.”

Hmmm… I though.

Is it possible to practice an approach and not be aware of its Power?

But of course.

There are three major instances where I recognize in the Word of God – where silence was used as an extreme advantage.

Jesus used it all the time. He was silent when they accused the prostitute of having sex with several men and required in judgment that she be stoned. His very first response in John 8:6 was to bend and write on the ground.  Then, Silence. Then Jesus said: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And then… again, He stooped and very silently wrote again on the ground. On another occasion, Jesus was silent when He was falsely accused and put to death on the cross. I don’t recall many words… and the words most powerful actually, were the ones that were the most potent: “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.

Yet first, came silence.

A powerful release for those stuck in unforgiveness… if they can only begin to notice the freeing power of letting go.

And one more example… Elijah… his response to God after running and hiding and in his worst state of mind and his depression and fear. (I Kings 19:12)

Elijah found God in a quiet space, after all the clamor surrounding him.

So… I thought about where the silence began for me.

It began in a place of trying to understand. As a child, there was a lot I could not understand. Coming from an alcoholic home, there was lots of turmoil from about the age eight until eleven years old. So, of course – (the ones who are sane) try to make sense of it by talking to themselves Let’s say I spent a lot of time back then trying to make sense of a lot of things my body, mind and spirit spoke to me. I learned early on that fear and anxiety were very powerful emotions and that I also had to learn to talk to God in my spirit, to calm my spirit and cope. Good practice.

Silence can also be used to protect us. Just like Jesus protected the prostitute. Elijah was comforted in the small whisper of God’s voice and we are comforted by Jesus’ penetrating silence and humility on the cross.

It is pertinent for us to LISTEN to our souls. Prompting ourselves to listen to ourselves can be extremely freeing. To silence your soul, you must practice the skill of listening. Your spirit always speaks, you only need to learn to cultivate a listening ear.

Perhaps you might find this freedom, too.

Introverted Productivity.

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I am an Introvert.

It wasn’t until I packed up, moved my  entire life and homestead from the East Coast to the Midwest that I realized this  was true about me. I was getting married, and moved from Maryland to Texas. I was happy, yet overwhelmed. Completely.  I was getting married, had to find a new job, and  absolutely stressed out because I left my entire family behind, of whom I was at least used to seeing  twice a month. It was at that time, my new husband to be, noticed me. He recognized that I was very stressed and  handed a book to me about introverts.

After reading two chapters. I realized I wasn’t going crazy after all, and that my life was in transition. Yet I still needed to keep a certain momentum, in my life. Over the past seven years I have crafted and shaped a new life for myself, because  I gain and preserve my energy completely different than most.   I love that I am one who  loves to listen to myself think.  I have learned the person with the most important things to say, is myself. And if I haven’t heard it first, then it hasn’t really been said.

I am going to share with you the  completely creative ways I prevent inertia and  maintain my productivity, because it’s total self-care and provides mental  productivity – which  then  preserves my physical,  psychological, workplace and spiritual  self care, as well.

1. I value my inner voice.  I just can’t believe it’s taken several years in order for me to  find it. In order to hear it, though I must  listen. Cultivating  listening takes skill.  And it won’t happen unless we make that space in our lives for it.

2. I listen to my soul. I can truly say I appreciate cultivating the skill of maintaining a balanced  peaceful and happy state of mind. Let’s face it, mental health care is not something everyone focuses upon, yet something everyone NEEDS. without it, we would  lose  a lot of things and  not all of them are material. Emotional  and spiritual care reigns high on my list of priorities because they SUSTAIN my inner being, and not only do others like me, I like myself.

3. Finding myself in nature and nothingness.  I find stopping the “rat race” helps me to be more productive. Once I pull away, and become refreshed, then I can  regroup and focus better. What sustains me, in those moments are: walks in the park, “quiet”, friendships, prayer and meditation, getting a kiss from a child that does not necessarily belong to me; but is happy to see me when I walk through the door. Simple, sometimes planned, and sometimes unplanned events that make me smile.

4. Remaining grateful. I have taken to over the last few years to being grateful, because  I love noticing the things I wouldn’t necessarily notice unless  I  was slowing down.  How sun feels on my face, for instance, and how citrus calms my mood and  help some to be a bit sprightly… noticing how a nice cup of tea soothes me and helps me to relax. Or to notice how much more refreshing it is to have a cup of ta  while I read my favorite book on  a nice, relaxing  chair on my porch. when I place everything in perspective, I see the combined effect of being able to bring several of those instances of warmth and comfort to my soul in one place, and then I recognize I can say to  the universe: “thank you.”

5. Intentional celebrations and rewards. Celebrations have been a rewarding tradition in my family. Growing up, I have fond memories of  going on simple rides in the country,   treating ourselves to ice cream, ‘just because’ as a family, or  traveling once every summer  to see distant relatives  after  a long season of work for my parents.  Today,  rejuvenation looks like  the same. I am glad I have carried this tradition and  ritual of celebration into my family life and legacy. When I married my husband Tim, rewards became even more important. He believed even if you didn’t have money, you still  had to  find a way to enjoy the moment. Carpe’ diem, became a regular occurrence, and I was on my way. Some of my best moments imprinted in the fiber of my mind have been when I slowed down and then would rise and be encouraged, because either obtained great resolve in my decision-making; or had a ‘creative jolt’ that was out of this world, and  helped launch me to another level of success, in my career. I have a very fond moment of when I made a final decision to get out of an unhealthy, unproductive relationship that wasn’t satisfying for me. It came after going to a bookstore, buying my favorite book, and treating myself to Red Lobster, and eating alone.

I could tell you many more restful, productive moments for me. Yet, this may become a really long article. One of the greatest blessings of productivity may have  just been taking the time to find myself and enjoy the moments in between.

And for that, I am grateful.

 

“There are so many ways and companies like Kabbage, who provides small business loans, that help people and businesses increase their productivity.” ~ Kabbage.com helps with small business loans.

The Beauty of Being Self Aware.

Self-evaluation can help you to notice your vulnerabilities. What’s good about recognizing where you are a bit weak? Vulnerabilities can help you strive to be less self-centered and more in tune with your life goals.

It also offers you a sense of humility and gratitude about where you are in life.

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I often have to give myself “allowance“ to be who I am . Sometimes being who were are can be conflicting, if we are still trying to determine who that is. Giving myself ‘allowance’ gives me “permission” to be FREE to make decisions regarding my life. When I allow myself to grieve, to hurt, to smile, even… I am embracing my ability to be who I am. As a young woman, am always transitioning, self-evaluating, yielding, purposing, helping , adapting and changing because change is how I grow. When allow change, I allow or welcome peace on another level in my life. (Although it may not initially look like peace, it can lead to another way of being and doing with the lesson learned during this season. ) So as I challenge myself to be in a continual state of growth, I welcome altruism. I am evolving into the person God desires me to be. But most of all, I notice I can be something I didn’t realize I had the power to be.

There are at least three wonderful benefits that come self-reflection and self-acknowledgement:

1. You can recognize and build upon your dreams.

As you become aware of yourself and how you operate in the world and the influence you have on others you become selfless and find a way to connect. Connection recognizes good will and intention and opens the door for a spirit of giving. Living our dreams isn’t always about getting, sometimes it involves recognizing what we can give.

2. Dreams come true when you can recognize WHO and WHOSE you belong to. Knowing your identity and taking time to honor and embrace it, turn can into an amazing reservoir of strength.

You begin to explore and cherish paths unknown and as they energize you, you can begin to observe the purpose of living on an even higher level. Like self-awareness causes one to grow – a lack of self-awareness or inability to be transparent and open-minded can stagnate your growth.

3. You open yourself up to MORE.

Some of my greatest opportunities have come from deep, intense thought and prayer. Spending time with my hobbies and like-minded people who have similar goals and sharing these thoughts have offered me the privilege of being a part of great teams and sharing great synergy.

4. You learn how to self-nurture and care for yourself in body mind and soul.

When you learn how to self-soothe, you can begin to prioritize and acknowledge how to keep an element of sacredness in your life. What do I mean by this? You allow yourself to cherish life, and be cherished, and you also welcome reverence into your life. When you are revered, you shine. You remain special in everyone’s eyes, because you acknowledged that you were special first. When you learn how to meet your own needs, no one else comes before the ones that are important. One of the biggest mistakes we make in life is: we substitute people, places and things – that are not beneficial for us – for what we can do ourselves. or either God can do.

Here is the exercise I completed to find out more about myself:

Being my own best friend looks like me noticing my needs and desires before anything else.

Do you daily ask yourself: “What do you need?” How many times do you actually answer it? How often do you actually taken action to move into obtaining what’s needed by actually doing something intentional about it?

For instance, I may need REST, but do I always reach for it?

I may need to be ENCOURAGED, but do I actually determine to spend time with a friend or listen to music or an encouraging word or affirmation that can actually meet that need for me?

I may need HOPE, but if I don’t reach for hope daily and inspire myself, it may hard to capture with each passing day.

I wind up struggling when I ignore my needs . When I ignore my needs, I don’t give God the opportunity to meet them. Usually, I wind up in a bad place, sometimes because then I tend to take care of everyone else’s needs before my own. And this is not a good habit to develop. Taking time for “me” helps me to notice and re-energize myself.

Self- motivation helps to keep your purpose fueled. What are your motivators? Do you know what motivates you? If you don’t know, you should find out. It’s very important to keep your coals burning and sparked, never allowing them to go out. If you work on fueling your passions you will begin to find your answers meeting you at the front door.

When you begin to expect good, good is embraced. Expectation looks good on you. When you introduce expectation, it encourages one to transfer influence, and when you have influence, miracles can bring about the CHANGE that that offers you more in life.

Your personality characteristics help you to note why you are responsive to people and life the way you are. Read more about personality factors here – by Raymond Cattell.

How Well Do “You” Do Self Care?

SELF-CARE ASSESSMENT

retreat candleRecently, I received this awesome self-care assessment from someone; and I can truly say I appreciate it. It taught me to take  note of how to maintain a balanced  peace and happy state of mind. Let’s face it, mental health care is not something everyone focuses upon, yet something everyone NEEDS. without it, we would  lose  a lot of things and  not all of them are material. Emotional  and spiritual care reigns high on the list of priorities than does it to have a home and a a care to get me  to where I need to go.  Those  conditions of having such belongings are important, but they don’t SUSTAIN my inner being.

What sustains me is: walks in the park, “quiet”, friendships,   prayer and  getting a kiss from a child that no necessarily belongs to me; but is happy to see me when I walk through the door.

I don’t want to alarm you, but if you aren’t doing ANY of these, your emotional, spiritual and  mental health life may not be in order and you actually may be actually quite stressed. I have completed quite a few self-care assessments, but this one, I actually like because it’s really thorough and gives you several examples. It even includes workplace self-care; which we often don’t think about because sometimes  at work we tend to lose our voices.

Well, here we are… It’s time to assess yourself  and find out how you are doing, and remember this should be something you evaluate every two weeks, because its something that you should do regularly for good mental and emotional health.

Rate the following areas according to how well you think you are doing: 0) Never occurred to me 1) Never 2) Rarely 3) Occasionally 4) Frequently

PHYSICAL SELF-CARE

__Eat regularly (3 meals)

__Healthy Eating

__Exercise

__Preventive Medical Care

__Seek acute Medical Care

__Take time off when sick

__Dance, sing, playing sports or other physical activity

__Getting enough Sleep

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL SELF-CARE

__Get massage

__Mani/Pedi

__Take Vacation

__Wear clothes that you like

__Disconnect from Media

__Make time for self-reflection

__Seeing therapist

__Journal Keeping

__Reading fun stuff

__Decrease stress

__Attend concert, sports event, theatre production

__Practice receiving from others

__Be curious

__Say No sometimes

__Make time to be sexual

 

EMOTIONAL SELF-CARE

__Spend time with friends; ( or join clubs, etc. to  meet them) 

__Stay connected to others

__Give yourself affirmations

__Engages in comforting activities

__Allow yourself to be sad; to cry.

__Laugh

__Play with children, pets

__Listen to music

 

SPIRITUAL SELF-CARE

__Make time for self-reflection

__Spend time with nature

__Engage in spiritual connection or community

__Sing/Dance

__Read inspirational literature or a devotional

__Try at times to NOT be in charge or the expert

__Be open to not knowing

__Meditate/Pray

__Attend religious/spiritual retreats or  events

 

WORKPLACE SELF-CARE

__Take a break during the workday

__Take time to chat with colleagues

__Make quiet time to complete tasks

__Identify projects or tasks that are exciting & rewarding

__Set limits with patients, colleagues, friends, etc.

__Balanced caseload

__Work space is comfortable and comforting

__Receive regular supervision/consultation/feedback from peer mentors or supervisor

__Negotiate for your needs

__Peer support group

 

BALANCE __Strive for balance within your work life __Strive for balance within your personal life

Balance just means just taking time to  evaluate whether you are doing these  things regularly and with consistency.  

A Self Care – “Kind of High”

I am just writing this morning because I am ever so grateful. I just couldn’t sleep, because I came to a realization about myself and how I obtain and renew my sense of peace and well-being in life.  And I had to tell you.

Some things in life just  don’t come  free.

Picture by Jennifer Rene

Sometimes I fail to think about how challenging life is; although I was once there.  I once was in a place of constant regret, where I faced day-to-day wondering:“Why am I alive? And why does life have to be so darn challenging?”

To tell you the truth,  I got tired of thinking this way and decided to try to find out more about my purpose. Life is so much easier when one can find a reason for which to live. seeking your purpose, just makes sense. I believe I am close to finding some truths, because I am finding new meaning in using my hobbies to find pure joy.  What is joy? In  the Merriam Webster, dictionary, it’s defined as : “success in doing, finding, or getting something.”  So every now and then, I have to check in and ask myself have I found something? Yes, I would say I found pleasure and contentment, within.  In managing better relationships, loving on myself a bit more, and not taking things for granted. Maybe that’s what  gratefulness is called. These are regular occurrences that assist in making me happy and healthy, so I suppose that’s joy. I also found resolve. Self acceptance. Not everyone has that. Maybe that happens when you stop fighting what life is, and allow yourself to be. Not too much pressure for what everyone thinks, and what everyone else finds more important. perhaps it’s also when you stop comparing yourself to others, and simply live your own life in peace..

Being close to God helps me to relax, no doubt – but finding time to  nurture myself has been one thing God has taught me to do with regularity. I work in a very stressful field of work,  ( mental health) and it fulfills me. Therefore, it’s pertinent I find time for  self-nurturing. However, that’s not what this is post is about. I don’t want you to think that you have to work in a stressful field of work, in order to  find time for self care.

You should find time for self care simply because you are WORTH the effort and investment.

Finding time for self-nurturing helps me to  find joy.

I am finding that through my hobbies and interests, meaning is developing in  my life. I recently bought a new camera and it’s pure bliss for me. I have to tell you the history around cameras, for me. I have always had one since high school. I have always cherished them since I was a child. I was fascinated that you could capture a memory in time, so simply. It seemed to amaze me that pictures could take me to a time and place in my mind and past, that I could literally feel like I was there. Camera’s in my family are like an icon. My mom has several photo albums in her attic, today that when I go home, I find a space in time to  go back to that place and reminisce. It’s funny that my mom would catalogue the pictures, but my dad would take them.

So I bought an SLR– a really high-tech camera, with special features that challenge me to learn and capture more behind the scenes. Above, is the first batch of photos from my  new ( lack of a better word), “toy”. (However, “using the term “toy” makes it sound less important, so don’t be surprised if you come back here and you find a new word, much later.) Buying this camera this past week, has shown me that I have a place where I transcend even how I feel. I can go outside,  grab my camera, and enter into an entirely different and wonderful head space, just because I have my camera, that lightens my load – making the world feel like a better place.

Before I bought the camera, my office space  had been a mess for about three months. I had a project I needed to  work on that involved cleaning out my closet and making room for more. I had absolutely no motivation to  do anything, much less clean it. The day after I  bought my camera, I was in the closet and  all about my desk trying to make things work. I felt like my life was back on track, because I had something to throw positive energies into, once again. Whenever I am stressed or overwhelmed now, I just pull out my camera, and go for a walk or pilfer through the latest shots and smile with pride with what I am learning!  Now, I was surprised, because finding peace never felt so easy.  This may sound too easy for you. How can something like a camera make someone feel so happy and empowered? Well, it feels like an accomplishment, because long before I  bought a camera, I saw myself with it in hand. I was reading all I could about SLR’s and  learning about them online and even joined a photography club online to enhance my learning. I was determined that long before I bought a camera,  I would have the skills to maneuver this wonderful art. And… I am so glad I did.

Luckily, I had my husband’s wisdom in helping show this to me. I never even knew  how pertinent it was for me to do self care. He and I recently had a conversation about my self care, because I had been so stressed and overwhelmed he noticed I didn’t seem to be my normal joyful self.  He says to me:” Babe, what would help you to find yourself, again?” I smiled, because he had just found joy in taking piano classes, and he knew investing in himself was  worth it and he was on a ‘self-care’ kind of high.  I knew immediately, because of his recent investment, that he was at peace because he took care of himself and made a recent  investment in his peace of mind, and I knew it was my turn to do the same. I had gone five months without a camera, and for me that was like being in a desert int he hot sun, for five months and not being able to have a drink of water!

Today, self care looks like finding peace through a photographic lense. Imagine that!

So, my comment about how things sometimes aren’t free, has to do with a little self- investment. I had decided after my camera broke ( and I was in meaning-less slump after a month of crying),  I had to  invest in myself. So I saved up and did a few things to move this into action. I wanted  to have more fun with my hobbies and wanted to invest in myself and projects long-term and I  believed I  worked hard for the money and nothing was worth more than finding a place in which  I could remain young and free. I am surely not saying you need hundreds of dollars for an investment and a little peace in you life, but I AM saying that everyone has their own little spark that ignites them and pushes them towards purpose. Invest in yourself and take a dance class, pay for a ceramics class if you’ve always wanted to do that. Join a book club or a bowling team and LIVE, a little.

What’s your little magic or super-power that you can invest in, today? Have you explored that in your life?

What makes you happy and feel a little more free?

I guarantee you, if you just take the time to do a little self investment, you may find out more about yourself and have a little more peace and joy. Take the time today. take the time, explore and do a little soul searching and find your  joy.
You deserve it.

A Vision For Self Care

I have some  REALLY good friends. By no choices of mine, I am certain. I believe all friendships are divine intersections and  appointments in life. Some we meet and we connect, others we  leave behind after a season, but some we reain in contact from afar. But anyway, that’s not the point.

This  blog is about self care.  I really couldn’t BELIEVE when I searched through my archives I couldn’t find one on “self care”, being that I concentrate  very carefully, on this subject. It must be an indication that I must write MORE on  the subject.
Well, first I  shall define it… then I will send this wonderful email my friend send me… ( apologizes …source  unknown.) but while I was looking for it on the net.. I cam across another little blog about  30 Things to Stop Doing To Yourself.
 So here’s a really cool definition of Self care I found some place in my work I do with women:
“Self-care means honoring and respecting the miraculous being that you are. Self-care means learning to listen with the ear of a dedicated mother to your physical, emotional, spiritual, and relationship needs, and then taking full responsibility for getting them met. Self-care means taking 100% responsibility for creating an environment that nurtures your physical, emotional, and spiritual selves.”
WOW…. ok! Pretty neat, huh?
So here’s what she sent me and I love how they break it up into several paragraphs for clarity’s sake.
Taking Care of You
Drink plenty of water. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. Eat more fruits and vegetables and eat less that is manufactured in processing plants. Avoid eating food that is handed to you through a window. Live the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy. Play more games. Read more books than you did in 2009. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Sleep for 7 hours. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.
Your Outlook
Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Don’t have negative thoughts of things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment. Don’t overdo. Keep your limits. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip. Dream more while you are awake. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind others of their past mistakes. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present. No one is in charge of your happiness except you. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime. Learn a new word every day. Smile and laugh more. You don’t have to win every argument.
Your Relationships
Call your family often. Each day give something good to others. Forgive everyone for everything. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6. Try to make at least three people smile each day. What other people think of you is none of your business. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
By Tre Lathon- Lathonphotography