One night during my third year of college, some friends knocked on my dorm room door proclaiming, "We're going country line dancing! Let's go!" In which reality would you see a Jamaican going country line dancing in the middle of Connecticut? Apparently, in the one where your friends offer to pay for everything.
For 2 hours straight, I sat at our table at this huge dance club refusing to help my friends make a mess of the formation of people on the dance floor. They had no clue what they were doing but were having tons of fun. I, on the other hand, didn't want to embarrass myself.
Just when I became bored, I noticed there was a mechanical bull at the back of the dance floor. Eager to harness my inner John Travolta in "Urban Cowboy", I ran over to the mechanical bull, paid the operator, and held on for dear life. While riding the bull, the operator increased the speed every 8 seconds. About 30 seconds in, people started cheering me on. I lasted just over a minute before I fell off the mechanical bull to a flourish of applause. The operator then told me most people don't usually last as long on the mechanical bull as I did.
Not only did I have fun; I also felt a sense of achievement! I was as happy as can be and that glee finally took me to the dance floor to join my friends. I ended up also enjoying country line dancing so much that my friends had to wait on me to end the night.
Five years later, I knew all the popular country line dances; got to the second-highest speed allowed in clubs on the mechanical bull; and proudly owned 3 cowboy hats, 2 belt buckles, cowboy boots, cowboy boot shoes, and a bolo tie. A couple of my friends even nicknamed me the Jamaican Hillbilly!
To think that if I never went out with my friends that night back in 2002, I would never have discovered the joy of country line dancing. It goes to show you can find joy where you least expect it.
#selfcare #selflove #minfulliving #joy #lifelessons #authenticself #havingfun #trysomethingnew
Human beings are social by nature. There isn't a person on Earth whose thoughts, emotions, actions, and beliefs are not impacted in one way or another by people. Faced with that reality, one of the best forms of self-care is creating for yourself a network of people who make us feel loved, safe, and supported at all times: your tribe.
Your tribe members are honest with you and allow you to be honest with them. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, your tribe accepts you for exactly who you are and encourages you to live authentically always. Your tribe feeds your soul with compassion and helps you navigate life lessons at every turn.
The members of your tribe can include family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, teachers, and counselors. They fill the roles of nurturer, problem-solver, protector, playmate, and motivator. Each member can be either available at all times for every situation or have strict boundaries for how and when they show up for you; but, what is important is that they show up in times of need.
It's perfectly fine for your tribe to change over time just as your needs do, so long as it honors and serves your highest good always. And your needs will always be met so long as you honor and love your tribe.
If you've been ignored, dismissed, berated, taken advantage of, belittled, or underestimated, you may have felt like a waste of space, subhuman, unloved, or like a doormat. But, if you were to remove your culturally-created self, the part of you that identifies with everything you've been told you are by your parents, relatives, coworkers, the entertainment industry, government, religion, news media, what would you be left with?
You would be left with your authentic self, the part of you that is kind, smart, brave, loving, dependable, powerful, protective, loyal, adventurous, and open-minded. The part of you that was manifested on Earth as beautifully as the trees, mountains, butterflies, and dolphins. The natural not-messed-around-with you is pure and lovely. You know it's true.
So, commit to forgive those who try to create doubt in you about your worth. Because most likely, they are doing it to offset the same doubts they have about themselves.
Many say that the most powerful word amongst all the languages of the world is Love. But not enough energy, education, and appreciation has been given to its first runner-up, NO.
NO packs quite a punch. It can break hearts, deplete self-esteem, and start all-out war. However, when used for good with grace and without fear, NO is one of the most powerful tools in self-care. It is a shield against the people who will suck you dry. You know who they are.
Whenever I decide to make gumbo, Bolognese meat sauce, or oxtails, it's after I build myself up physically and mentally for the process and remind myself the results are worth it.
By building myself up, I mean thinking through all I need to do throughout the process and commit to it. Commit to setting aside time to buy the ingredients, clean and season meat, clean and chop vegetables, combine the ingredients in the right order to get the best out of them, and let them simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours. I then just take a deep breath and get to it. As I leave the pot to simmer, the smell of the food wafts throughout my home, letting me know the fruit of my labor is almost at hand; but, I still have to clean up the kitchen, wash dishes, take out the trash, etc. Then, when the food is cooked and I take my first bite, I'm reminded it is all worth it.
The process is the same for going after anything that you feel is your life purpose or makes your heart sing. Creating a fulfilling life involves grueling work when preparing and taking action. Regardless of what you choose to strive for, the journey will be littered with doubts and moments that fuel your passion. So, if what you really want is truly worth it, accept the process for all it is and get to it.
I hate to break it to you; but, our lives are built on failure. You wouldn't have known how to walk without falling on your diapered baby bum a few times first. So, if failure is required to learn the basic human function of walking, why is failure considered a bad thing?
Thomas Edison failed ~1200 times to create the light bulb; but eventually, he and his team created one that worked and brightened billions of human lives from flashlights to photocopiers to the screens of our smartphones.
Failures become successes when you see each one as a learning opportunity and are open to the possibility of successes greater or different from the ones you imagined:
What does success look and feel like?
Why did this not work?
What have we not tried so far?
Who can help?
When is the better time to act?
Where can we get what we need?
How will this change create success?
When your work performance takes a plunge, the seam you stitch on that pillowcase is not straight, or you do not pass a test, remind yourself that you've failed many times before, and those failures eventually led to a success. Look at the situation as a learning experience, and you may achieve a greater success than you bargained for.
There are no two people who are exactly the same physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Your soul is unique and far reaching, affecting more souls than you know in more ways than you can imagine. Your impact can be the care you gave, the words you spoke, the smiles you shared, and the words you wrote.
A hug you gave may have soothed someone's weary soul, stearing them from a deep depression. Your achievements, no matter how small, may have inspired a perseverance in others that drove them to successful careers. Sharing stories about yourself may have helped someone who can relate to them feel less alone in this giant world. Offering a child a piece of candy may have been the first moment they realized they truly matter. The things we do that seem simple or insignificant can have a majestic impact on another's life.
So, if someone doesn't understand your grief, that is fine. It simply means the impact of that lost soul was meant specifically for you. That departed soul had a meaningful purpose to fulfill in your life's journey. They fulfilled that purpose, and your grief is a painful yet pure, non-discriminating, and boundless appreciation for what that departed soul made possible for you.
Kelly Nembhard is a certified health coach, Reiki therapist, and aromatherapist with experience as a clinical research professional and developmental biologist. She currently lives in Durham, NC.
Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.