Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I’m officially one year older (23), and I realize now that I’ve spent a great deal of my time combating self-doubt and self-imposed negativity. While I’ve had some exciting experiences like traveling to NYC and Cape Town, South Africa (both for the first time), this past year was also filled with it’s own trials as well (i.e. health, relationship, family business, and passion project drama). It’s safe to say that God’s helped me overcome lots of challenges. Luckily, I’ve not let life’s woes completely shut out my fire because of some lessons that I’ve had to remind myself constantly. And these, I’ve decided, will definitely be some habits that I will take with me through the next year. If any of you have had similar experiences recently, I encourage you to read on.
KEEP IGNITED YOUR INNER CREATIVE
We were all conjured from the image of the Creator, right? It’s absolutely natural for us to need to create physical or emotion-driven impacts–to prompt change in our lives. Honestly, I’ve had to really find things that I’m willing to do alone, without anyone else’s approval or permission. I get a kick out of enriching or artsy activities that help me find beauty in simplicity (i.e. designing, writing, singing, etc.). The moment I stop expressing myself in this way, I imagine I’d shut down emotionally.
Let’s be real, all days aren’t made equal, every day can’t be solved with a pretty sketch or a simple rhyme. Some days, my biggest impact on the world could be as simple as mustering up a positive attitude or new words to assert peace, despite undesirable circumstances. And, honestly, that’d be enough creativity asserted for that day. Think about it. Have you ever thought of new ways to put some trifilin’ individual back in their place in a respectful manner that keeps you 1) from losing your religion and 2) setting it OFF in public? Trust me, that takes so much wit and creativity.
I’ve learned that whatever your creative outlet, you should create for yourself. If you wait on people’s approval to create something beautiful, you’ll be waiting a lifetime only to be disappointed.
MIND YOUR BUSINESS
When I’m not creating and minding my own business, I become easily distracted by ever-refreshing social feeds, always finding people that easily prompt in me feelings of worthlessness. All those carefully curated posts on the coolest travel adventures, job opportunities, venture developments, and relationships tend to look really enticing too, I admit. Not so long after, I’m completely absorbed in those people’s lives, even comparing my life to theirs.
I’m like, “DANG! Why’s my life so BORING?” Jealousy isn’t so much of what gets me as my devaluing myself and my own experiences. The standard of how I self-examine my progress should never include others. PERIOD. But, I admit, I’ve been guilty of doing just that, especially during low points.
To sum it up, don’t let your free time become idle time as you could slip into that very same rabbit hole of insecurity.
DOCUMENT THE BLESSINGS
My motivation for doing this was to transform my attitude to be more hopeful through a spirit of gratefulness, so that I can start to see God’s providence work in my life. I keep all the blessings(significant ones that I can remember) in a journal. Some days, some stranger might buy my lunch or spend some time helping me find my way through public transport. Things like that keep me aware of God’s presence through the people he sends my way.
MAINTAIN HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS
This one hasn’t been too much of an issue lately, but I have known people who have gotten bogged down in unhealthy relationships (friendships or romantic). As they grew closer to the person, they become less recognizable to me. Their character and personality started to shed layer by layer with every passing day.
Sometimes, you’ve got to love at a distance. Everyone isn’t meant to be in your life. So, the key here is to invest in relationships that are healthy and keep you accountable to your values. Look for those friends who aren’t afraid to hurt your feelings and speak up when you get off course. Loved ones who are really for you don’t want you to fall.
SUIT UP IN SCRIPT
When all else fails and I’m feeling less than confident, I have to just trust that God’s got me, even when I can’t see him moving. I have some go-to scriptures that can comfort my spirit when I’m starting to emotionally unravel. I’ll share my faves with you all:
Matthew 6:25-34 NIV
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Jeremiah 1:5 NIV
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…
Psalms 27:13-14 NIV
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
All in all, I want to continue to grow into my best self. Part of that growth requires me to stay sharp, constantly investing in my spiritual and mental development. I’m excited to see what this next year brings.
What are some ways that you stay spiritually and mentally suited to handle tough times? I’d love to hear from you.
For this post, I’ve featured my first editorial photos. I shot and edited these images myself for practice. I call these “Her America”.