Monday, October 9, 2017

How To Thrive Even Through The Fire

It's not all black and white....

These photos (along with the others with the same background) were taken by my girl Rolanda after an SF Picture Perfect event at The Women's Building in the Mission District.

The past few months (I could even say years) have been a challenging season for me. I am doing a lot better, but it's taken a lot of practicing of patience and self-love on my end to get through the fire. And by fire I mean depression, anxiety, fatigue, and recently eczema flare ups (I'll post more about my eczema separately). 

I'm very hard on myself. We've all heard the phrase "don't say to yourself what you wouldn't say to your friend," but it's a lot harder than it sounds. It's easy for me to stop myself from judging others, but it's so hard for me to stop judging myself and pointing fingers at my flaws...and I've come to realize that it's not all black and white. With whatever has been going on, I've learned that there are deeper rooted issues that it was caused by and that healing doesn't always happen overnight. And I've also learned that there is no healing without pain (and failure throughout the process).

It's been anything but easy, but it would be lying if I didn't say that I'M KILLIN' IT compared to yesterday, and I know that tomorrow will be better than today.

Here are a few things I've learned that help in moving forward throughout this journey:

1) Have grace towards yourself.
With everything. 
For example: I  haven't been putting in the time to work out as much as I used to. But saying that I'm not working out at all would be a lie. I've been making it an effort to walk or go running for at least 30 minutes every single day. It's not HIIT, but it's better than nothing. Sometimes, I don't do it, but for the most part, I'm doing a lot better. Baby steps are better than no steps, and that's something I need to remind myself on the daily.

2) Find a community and get plugged in.
This is something I've struggled with since I moved to The Bay Area. Finally, I'm part of an awesome group of bloggers and influencers and I'm also plugged in at church. I finally feel like I have a little family here in SF. Praise God! 
One thing I recommend is to start doing what you love, and you'll naturally find a community.
Search through Facebook groups in your city and the app Meetup.
At our core, we are tribal beings and need to be around people - not just for encouragement and support, but also to get your creative juices flowing and, eventually, executing them whether it be collaboratively or not.

my blogger ladies Jocelyn and Nallelie 
at Bare Snacks x Humphry Slocombe Scoops and Snacks social hosted by Lucky Collective

3) Accept help.
With the above being said, it's important to recognize when you are in need and to actually ask for it when others have their hands open. Pride has gotten in the way of me asking for help (or recieving it when it's offered) because I don't want to be vulnerable anymore. But I refuse to live that way anymore.
If someone is literally offering you a helping hand or a gift, and you know you could be blessed by it, why would you refuse it? I've actually been practicing the act of receiving and interestingly enough, it's humbling.
In the same way, be honest with yourself and ask for help when you need it. You'd be surprised how many people are actually happy to help.

3) Do something completely unrelated to the issues that you're dealing with.
Take a dance class, paint, get out of yourself. 
I did something I have always been scared to do - I auditioned for a model call! For me, this was a way of fighting my own insecurities and telling myself that I can be a model (and anyone with any body type can be a model)!
I have also been attending local storytelling (or spoken word) events in the city and that has been very helpful. 
Not only is it entertaining, but it feels therapeutic to hear other people's stories and struggles. When there, I feel like I'm being reminded that I'm not the only one with a crazy life haha.

At the Model Call, Brit + Co. provided us with coloring books and snacks while we were waiting to be called!

4) Bless others.
This one is hard to swallow when you're going through a lot, but it's not all about you. 
Yes, you're dealing with stuff and you shouldn't ignore it, but it's very healthy and helpful to get out of yourself and help others. Maybe it's volunteering at a local organization or it's something as simple as listening to a friend vent about his/her day. When I actively tried to help others is when I would forget about my problems (even momentarily) and focused on the person in front of me.

5) Pray.

I have to admit that I haven't always had the best prayer life, but I'm actively making prayer and meditation a priority in my day - whether that means praying throughout the day or spending time in prayer. I'm also approaching it differently. Rather than being meek and fearful to ask for big things, I pray specific prayers boldly. I have also come to realize that God cares about the details of my life. My faith has definitely grown. 

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

6)  Build your Joy muscle.
I used to let one negative thought lead to another and then sink into a deep depression that I didn't know how to get out of. Don't get me wrong, it's still a struggle, but now I'm aware of my thoughts and patterns. I realize that I have the power to say NO and practice positive thoughts. I tell myself that it's okay that I'm struggling, but I'm going to laugh and sing and dance throughout my struggle. Think of this as a muscle. If you keep engaging in depressive thoughts, you will build that muscle (trust me, I know). But if you practice joy, you're setting yourself up for positivity in the long run.

I'm still not where I want to be, but I'm working on it and I have hope. Please comment if you could relate or have other methods of thriving in a difficult season.

Thanks, again, for stopping by! xo

yours truly,

Outfit details:
Topshop Leather Jacket, Levis Jeans, Steve Madden Booties, Topshop White Blouse, Ray Ban Sunglasses


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  2. I absolutely adore your honestly and the relatability of this post. It definitely hits home for me in a lot of ways. Thanks for being open and sharing your thoughts and experiences. It's nice to know that we're not alone in our struggles. I too am trying to focus on more positive thinking. It's easy to allow negative external things to interrupt and mess with our internal well-being and peace.

  3. This is something I needed to read right now. There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first a little bit. We all deserve it. A little self care can go a long way. Spirituality and religion are great tools to help guide you to a stronger you. Keep killing it!

  4. Ani, you're wonderful and I not so secretly admire you! Thanks for sharing your journey, I can relate to it in many ways.

    How was that model audition? :)

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