Read on to find out how I went from being a “lost soul” to suddenly finding my spark
I was 31 years old when I got my spark. For those of you who have NOT yet seen the movie “Soul”, a spark is your life’s purpose, your inspiration and reason for living. It happened when I was watching HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”. This episode featured a young couple who were looking for their first home together. The coffee shop owners found a home for less than $100K and used the remainder of their budget to renovate their home and give it the personal touch they needed to make the home REALLY theirs. Your girl Joanna did her thing, like always! During the last shot of the couple in their home, they were welcoming friends over and telling the camera crew how delighted they were with their starter home, and that’s when I felt it, that twinge of “I want that“. The feeling of “this would make me happy” was shocking to me, you see because I always thought my life’s purpose was Writing.
By the time I was a teen, I knew I wanted 2 things out of life:
To make enough money to live in one of the most expensive cities in the World
To entertain people.
I have been on a quest of fulfillment ever since. That quest has caused me to start working at age 13. Since then, I’ve made my way through five industries and 12 jobs, all of which left me feeling unfulfilled. It didn’t matter whether they were reputable (some of them were) or if they helped me move out on my own (some of them did), none of them made me happy. That’s because I was making moves for all the wrong reasons. Your job isn’t supposed to be your happiness. Your happiness should exist outside of external instruments. Your life should make you happy and your life should not start and end with your work.
It took me up until now to realize a life of working isn’t living and it’s all I’ve been doing up to now. Investing all of my time and energy into my work and having no air around me. No time for fun, friends, or family just duties and then one day you look up and realize it’s all you have. I don’t want a life of completing tasks. I want to be able to conduct science experiments with my daughter, or to lay in bed with my Husband and talk about the theories of the Universe, or call my best friend and laugh and talk for hours, or visit my Grandmother on a Sunday morning and play checkers while we have our coffee. THIS is living folks. These moments are life.
I’m not telling you to quit your job, I’m encouraging you to make sure you exist outside of it.
Hey, we all have to make a living and frankly, I quite like being a Writer. I enjoy helping and entertaining people with my words but it’s not my life’s purpose because working isn’t living. Rapping JCOLE’s “Can’t Get Enough” with my Husband off of our terrace at 1 in the morning is an example of living (that’s a hook right thurr). Talking to my Mom about recipes I found on Pinterest is living. Reading books with your children, catching up with friends, and taking walks outside are all examples of living. Take the time to be alive. I hope you’ve found your spark. And if not, no worries! As the lovely George Eliot once said:
It’s never too late to be what you might have been
Looking for ways to encourage and upliftyourself AND your little one? Read on for recommended books, parenting tips and all things affirmation
I was December-2020-years-old when I realized the power of affirming yourself.
What’s an affirmation? Well, there are a few definitions but, for the sake of this text, it’s “something that is affirmed; a statement or proposition that is declared to be true.” An affirmation can be a statement or a quote. A saying or a phrase. Usually, it’s a form of text that uplifts and/or reassures you. It can be applied to any aspect of your life that needs the reassurance. For me, it was my self confidence: You see, the path to success can be difficult. In the pursuit, it’s easy to focus on all the things that AREN’T happening (yet.). At times, I felt like a failure and I would get really down about myself. So, in an effort to build myself (back) up I started turning to self help books. One of which was Becca Anderson’s “Bad Ass Affirmations” which was gifted to me by my Mother in Law.
(I recommend this book to literally every woman who needs an extra boost of confidence and morale. It has amazing stories and quotes from the Women who have paved the way before us: Marilyn Monroe, Michelle Obama, Harriet Tubman and Beyonce are just a few names that come to mind. As if to say: if SHE can do it, you can do it , too! Girl, get yo’ self one):
In this book, there are spaces dubbed “affirmation stations” which are intended for you to take a break from the text and focus on the affirmation put before you. The idea here is to reiterate the words as many times as possible until you start to believe them. It’s like, saying the words speaks them into existence and they become your reality. I recommend saying them out loud (10 pts for Gryffindor if you say them in the mirror ::smirk::) I will say, I felt a little silly at first but, since nothing else was working for me up until this point, I figured: why the hell not.
Before I knew it, it became a ritual! A daily habit! Now, whenever I start my day, I recite a custom made list of affirmations to myself and it’s been giving me quite the boost of self esteem.
But before I got to the point where I was saying them to myself, I pondered: “I wonder if there are any insecurities my child struggles with”. After all, she’s a girl just as I was a girl. And, as a girl, I recall being quite insecure. I can’t tell you if my insecurities stem all the way from early childhood, but, by the time I left middle school I had such low self esteem that at one point I developed an eating disorder. Also, just because it wasn’t MY experience shouldn’t imply that it wouldn’t be someone else’s. With this heavy on my mind, I took my 7 year old daughter and asked her a rather difficult question: “Do you have any insecurities?”
This was a tough pill to swallow. After all, as a parent you take that on: “Oh no! My child feels bad about themselves. Is it my fault? Is it something I did? Did I do something wrong? How can I do better?” I know, at least for me, I hate knowing that my child is feeling negative or bad about anything. Let alone herself. My first instinct is “how can I make this go away?“. The reality is: sometimes, you can’t. At least not on your own. Ultimately, it’s up to them to decide.
But, you can certainly help.
Affirming them is one way to do that.
After I explained to her what it meant to be insecure, she answered that sometimes she gets down about herself when it comes to her schoolwork. She said that, when she’s called on during her Zoom sessions in school (we opted for remote learningfor this school year), she often feels shy or scared.
“THIS CAN GO ON NO LONGER!” I thought to myself, and with all the intensity of this guy right here,:
I taught my daughter about affirmations. I told her we would create an “affirmation station” somewhere she could easily access it (we ultimately decided on the first page of her notebook) and, anytime she was feeling down about herself, she was to turn to this page and say the words out.loud. We customized it with some of her favorite anime characters (just look at Ochaco’s adorable smile ^_^), wrote it in bright and vibrant colored sharpees for aesthetic, and customized her affirmations so that they spoke specifically to her and her insecurities. We opted for
“You got this!“,
“You can do it“,
and my favorite: “You are smart and capable” which was HI KEY giving me Viola Davis vibes:
And with that, I sent my daughter off to continue her day of learning. And you know what? She actually followed suit.
Delilah told me that she was called on during class that very afternoon. She said before she spoke, she took a deep breath, turned to her affirmation page, and said the words out loud just as I instructed. After she was done, it gave her the confidence she needed to speak up during Zoom class and, in a nice, clear and booming voice, she gave the answer her teacher was looking for.
I was so proud. You go, Delilah.
When raising a daughter, I feel like building self-esteem is of the utmost importance; it can avoid so many future issues like having her seek fulfillment through external sources which, of course, will never fill the voids of insecurities. Self esteem is internal and, if we start building them up early, they’ll have the necessary tools they need to carry themselves throughout their teen/adult lives. I recommend affirming all of your little ones, but girls especially. Depending on the severity of the case, affirmations may be used when necessary or reiterated daily. In Delilah’s situation, considering that she was just feeling down about one specific instance, I told her to use it when she needed to. But for me? I do it everyday. And remember, when choosing your affirmations, be sure to:
Customize them to adhere specifically to YOUR goals and/or insecurities (most of mine deal with beauty, business and self esteem)
Have as many of them as you need, and, say them as many times as you need in order to convince yourself they’re true (most effective when said out loud)
Keep them in a place that’s easily accessible and/or viewed (I use a new one everyday as the wallpaper on my phone’s locked screen)
Let’s build up our princes and princesses, young! After all, they’ll be Kings & Queens one day 🙂
*Happiness-over-everything is an affiliate of Amazon.com. Any purchases made through links on the site may result in compensation. Thank you for your support!
Simply, it is the effort you dedicate to an idea in order to bring it to fruition.
By literal definition, it is “the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity“. The two keywords in this definition are “required” and “sustained“.
This means energy isn’t optional, It’s a prerequisite.
Energy is the difference between completing a task right away and putting it off until tomorrow, between a business taking off and it never leaving the drawing board, between a dream and a goal. (My definition of a goal is, a dream + energy + money.)
Seems like a really simple algorithm, doesn’t it? It’s harder than it seems.
That’s because a key component of producing energy is self-motivation and being self-motivated is something you have to constantly work on.
It’s very easy to falter or be distracted when you’re the only one doing the pushing but, I’m here to tell you, it’s worth the effort.
Where you may be going wrong
Lack of energy is the reason why you’re still at your 9 – 5, stuck in the dreaming phase instead of doing your dream job: we’re still giving entirely too much energy to things that don’t matter to us.
When you choose to give your energy to your day job instead of your dreams, your dreams are being starved.
Think of your dreams like a plant and the energy its life source; give it the energy it needs and it will flourish. Deny it? It will dwindle and shrivel up until there’s nothing left.
I’m not saying to up and quit your job as you read, what I’m saying is, you want that dream life? That dream house? To reach a certain amount in savings or to travel?
No matter the goal,give the idea energy and see how much of a difference it makes.
Talk about it. Every chance that you get and in as many ways as possible.
Think about it. Have it in the forefront of your mind. What does it look like? Feel like? What would you do if you had it?
Write about it. Make it real by putting it into words. Try journaling, a diary, a To-Do List or a Not-to-do-list.
*Here’s one I found online: Click to access Not-To-Do-List-Printable.pdfInstead of looking at the things I NEED to do, I did as assessment for what I DON’T NEED which made space for the things that matter. Like my dream of being a Writer!
The Bottom Line
What ever it is that’s occupying your energy and preventing you from achieving that special goal, let. it. go. (I call this releasing. )
So, what are you willing to release?
Start by asking yourself what you can do without so that you may apply more energy to your dreams and make them a reality.
How much or how little is entirely up to the individual but, I decided that there’s nothingthat I wasn’t willing to sacrifice to achieve my goals and here I am writing for you ^_^
How many of you can say the same?
I’d love to hear from you:
What aspects of your life do you think could improve by giving or taking away energy?