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So I Tried Therapy…

Hi Guys,

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I hope you are well.

I never thought I would be glad to be writing a post about Therapy, but you know what that shows… growth! Earlier this year I got the point where I just had enough of feeling sorry myself, being overwhelmed with anxiety, and simply just not recognising myself. I had gotten to a place where I had so many insecurities that a simple journey to and from work would have my heart racing, comparing myself to every single woman I walked past, how draining.

Growing up like any other human being I had my challenges and insecurities, but through it, I was always bubbly, full of life and ALWAYS laughing. How I began to feel about myself in more recent years meant that I was deprived of simple moments I could just be happy in. I always knew self-love was valuable but this year I realised, it is CRUCIAL to love yourself in order to navigate life. It impacts your relationships, your career, your development, your social life, and skills… anything you can think of really. Through it all, it’s important you get to the place where you decide ENOUGH is ENOUGH. For me, that was when I decided to gift myself the greatest act of self-love. I simply decided I was going to stop crying (it’s okay to cry) and start trying.  

My Journey

Enough is enough but what next? I knew I needed to express how I was feeling and as much as I believe those around me love and care for me, people go through their own things and it was not their burden to carry. I needed to dig deep and really uproot these insecurities. So as a Christian one of the things that was weighing on me was the lack of relationship with God, so I felt I needed a shift. I decided I was going to move church… but as a “Pastor’s Child” that was a whole battle on its own and a whole other blog post too. Anyway, I began searching for a new church.

I knew God would guide me but I also knew I needed professional help. I had tried to get help through the NHS a few months back and had heard nothing and as much as I did not have the spare cash lying around I decided to go private. I began doing research on the type of therapy I thought would be best for me. I opted for a form of Psychotherapy called humanistic therapies – which encourages you to think about yourself more positively and aim to improve your self-awareness, whilst also being able to explore the triggers of the negative thinking. I used counselling-directory.org.uk to find a therapist that would be close to home. I knew I really wanted to speak to a black woman specifically, as I suspected they would better be able to understand myself and my life experiences.

I knew that in the hope of finding a church that fulfilled my needs and finding a good therapist, I would still need to do my own work from deep inside. So this was little things from, taking social media breaks, reading articles and blog posts online that would encourage me and teach new things about dealing with and changing how I was feeling.

The Results

After loads of trial and error and making an agreement with my parents to attend their church once a month, I have found a church that really makes me excited to go there and less than a 15-minute drive away from my house. One of the things I really wanted was a sense of community and even though I still don’t talk to many people at the church I feel a sense of belonging and focus. There is no familiarity, so when I go to church it’s just me and God and I can really go there to just have that me and God time. I have learned so much and I am excited about what is to come.

I found a therapist who was based less than a 10-minute walk away from my house. And guess what? A black woman! I remember going to my first session not knowing what to expect but determined not to cry. When she began asking me simple questions I welled up very quickly and began to cry. I knew this exactly what I needed. I needed to let all those tears out because it had been clogging my system for so long. I was in therapy for just under 5 months, after that first session I probably only cried in one other session. Sometimes I even questioned if it was working because there were still low lows while I was in therapy but something that remained consistent in the articles I was reading is that this is a journey and things can get better it’s just going to need a lot of being intentional. So when I would feel thoughts creeping up that would take me in the wrong direction, I would remind myself of something encouraging my therapist had said, slowly this began to transition into my own voice as I finally started believing good things about myself.  Through my time in therapy my faith came up and I noticed my therapist would sometimes even quote me scriptures. Wow… she was a Christian too. It probably was not “best practice” for her to show me that but boy did this help. I knew I wanted someone who understood my struggles and she REALLY DID, and for that reason, she was able to ask me the RIGHT questions and say the right things. I did not always feel like spewing my guts so she was able to use a range of methods with me, we did exercises, used cards, imagery… you name it. Sometimes it felt silly at first but I always left with a spring in my step giving me that glimpse of self-belief that I so desperately needed.

During all of this, I was doing a lot of me work. I was trying to remove things from my life that impacted me negatively. A social media detox here and there was so crucial. As much I believe social media is not a “bad” thing, I think when you are in a certain headspace it certainly is more likely to have a negative impact on your mental health than a positive one, so why take the risk? So what do you do with all your spare time? READ READ READ. I read so many articles on self-esteem, self-talk, personality types, and anxiety, believe it or not, it’s some really interesting stuff. Not only did it remove the feeling of loneliness knowing I was not the only one experiencing these things, but it also gave me a sense of hope; Reading stories of people who have felt exactly how I have felt and now can truly love themselves. I learned so many little skills and tools that I use subconsciously in my everyday life that have made such a huge impact.

You Can Do It Too

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I am a long way off from perfect but I am sooooo overwhelmed with joy to say I am better. I am bubbly again and I laugh more often. I mean, I still cringe at pictures of myself but at least I am even taking them. I have made leaps of progress and if no one even notices, my spirt does. I don’t feel so heavy any more, I don’t feel unstable, I don’t feel like at any given moment I can burst into tears. A lot of people including myself feel like these changes happen when… you lose all the weight, you get that big pay rise and promotion, you get that relationship, you get recognition. Fact is not much changed in my “outside life” yet I wake up so much happier. Your “inside life” is so much more important, and trust me, it impacts the way good things are drawn to you in your outside life. That confidence means, I enjoy the gym more now rather than just seeing it as torture, I perform better and have better relationships at work, my romantic relationship is no longer anxiety-inducing and I just live more in the present moment.

If you are facing anything similar, you can do it too. Start the work today.

“If you are not happy with something, you should change it. So I went to a lot of therapy, and finally, I am able to speak up for myself…”Katy Perry

“Learning how to love myself and my body is a lifelong process. But I definitely don’t struggle the way I used to. Therapy helped me realise that maybe it’s okay for me to communicate my feelings. Instead of literally stuffing them down with food, maybe it’s okay for me to express myself.” Kerry Washington

Kind Regards,

Sis x

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A Tears to Laughter Story #4: Renee-Louise

Hey,

I hope you are well.

My name is Renee-Louise and I’m a 23-year-old Economics graduate and serial traveler! My friends would describe me as a brave, adventurous and definitely spontaneous.

While I was at University, I went through some character-building and life-changing experiences. The biggest change that happened and potentially knocked me while at University was my parents splitting up. I never saw the day coming as they had been married for 21 years. Besides, that was all I knew (them being together). Being young and naive I obviously took my mum’s side and got way more involved in my parents’ relationship than I should’ve done.

This became a major distraction and had a knock-on effect on my degree. I felt so overwhelmed at the time since I was consumed with negative emotions that I ended up failing a module and taking an involuntary gap year. At my University, you are not allowed to progress to the next stage unless you pass ALL modules, so I took it on the chin and turned lemons into lemonade.

Within the next week of learning that I would not be progressing to my 3rd year, I landed a job. This was a sales role that I found online with attractive pay. I mean, I’d never done sales before but since I like trying new things I thought, ‘why not?’. Initially, I was only supposed to stay at the job temporarily until I found something in my field that would at the very least contribute to my experience later down the line. However, once I got going in this job, I quickly became one of the top saleswomen and ended up staying there for the majority of my gap year. At one point I was earning more than my own mum and she’s a dentist, so you do the math!

At the time, I was so comfortable in this job and the money, that I even started having thoughts of just doing this sales thing full time and quitting University altogether. However, God had other plans.

After being at the company for about 9 months, sales started to take over my entire life since the job was very demanding. It was so bad that I even forgot about my own personal business that I had at the time and even ended up missing my retake exam because I was so consumed in making money and traveling.

Once I realised that I had missed my exam, I was actually petrified. I thought ‘RIGHT, that’s it I’m getting chucked out, they’ve had it!’. All of a sudden, when my University degree was almost ripped away from me I wanted it more than ever and I was willing to do whatever it took to get it.

I frantically enquired with my University about whether there was another opportunity to resit before September started and thank Jesus there was. At this point, I knew something had to change. Despite the good money I was making from being a sales consultant, I decided to step down from this demanding role so that I could focus on my exam. I moved to another role within the company I was at. This role was far less demanding and target driven so I was able to focus on studying for my exam more.

After a while of being in this role, It was made clear to me that I wasn’t that valuable to the company anymore, so when things started getting a little tight for them financially, they had no problem letting me go. Of course, I was distraught by this because that was my main source if the income at the time. However, again I turned lemons into lemonade and used those months of being unemployed to travel some more and focus on my upcoming exam.

Soon after being laid off, I visited Doha in June 2018 for a solo trip and then went on a family cruise in August 2018. The day before my family cruise was the day of my final chance to retake the exam that I had missed. So, my nerves were all over the place. It wasn’t long before I got back my results and had secured my place I third year again. I had a major sigh of relief because I’d never felt so close to losing my degree before. It was definitely the wake-up call that I needed to value my degree again and regain focus.

When I rejoined University in September, I knew it was time to SMASH it. I wanted to finish with a 2:1 at the very least and to do this, I had to put in serious work because I ended up with a 2:2 in my second year due to just not caring anymore about my degree.

For 9 months, I had to suspend all travel plans, put my head down and actually WORK. I also got closer to God at the start of the academic year which really really helped to give me the drive and determination I needed to take me to the finish line. My third year is when I truly saw what God was capable of doing. He gave me a forgiving heart and I was able to move past my ill-feelings towards my dad and he even rewarded me with first-class grades across the board which helped to drag my grade all the way up to the 2:1 that I’m so grateful to have achieved.

If there’s any advice I’d give to anyone reading this or been in the same predicament as me it’s this:

  • Never take an L as a loss but as a lesson
  • Talk to people on your travels. You have no idea what you could learn
  • Turn lemons into lemonade always. Looking at the brighter side of things always leads to better outcomes!
  • Try new things that are out of your comfort zone, because you have no idea what could be waiting for you outside that zone
  • Don’t get involved in anyone else’s dramas while at University. FOCUS  It’s only 3 years and anyone that loves you will understand that.
  • Travel at any chance you get!
  • Take everything one step at a time while at University. There’s plenty of time to live out your dreams the way you REALLY want to when you’re done!
  • ALWAYS have faith that God knows what he’s doing, even if it doesn’t feel like it. (He wants and knows what is best for us)
I’ve now graduated and living out my dreams of being a travel content creator and it feels great! In fact, as I write this I’m currently on a plane on my way to Nigeria to see my dad and make up for the lost time. So, head over to my blog and follow my journey where I post daily travel, lifestyle and news content.
Thanks for reading!
Kind Regards,
Renee x
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You Are a Bully!

Hi all,

I hope you are having a great day.

There is a popular principle that originated from a Bible Verse – “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31. Simply stating that you should treat others how you would like to be treated by them, under the assumption that people like to be treated well by others. I very much agree with this principle, however, I have been thinking lately that we can expand on this and apply it to ourselves. How about we also treat ourselves how we would treat others? Or we treat ourselves the way we would like others to treat us? 

Constructive Criticism 

Despite my frequent raised eyebrow at the existence of humanity, I think it is safe to say the majority of people still desire to treat others with human decency. With that comes an element of consciousness with what we say to others. In-fact when people fail to adhere to these standards they are often labeled negatively, for example – a bully. I would like to assume most of us were raised with a sense of emotional intelligence in that we should aim not to upset people with our words. The notion of “Constructive Criticism” was introduced to prevent negative feelings or emotions even when what we want to say is not particularly “nice” in other words being able to point out where someone may have gone wrong politely, and potentially outlining how they could do better going forward. Great right? Polite honesty without sugar-coating or rudeness, brilliant. And it works! When this is applied right especially in places like the workplace it saves a lot of negative emotions and conflict.

So my question is, why are so many of us just straight up critical towards ourselves, not constructive at all, just critical? For others we can apply emotional intelligence and think about how our words may affect them but for we say the nastiest things towards ourselves.

I am fat. 

I am ugly. 

I am too skinny. 

I am not smart. 

I have no talent. 

I am not loveable. 

I am not good at my job. 

You are a bully! A bully to your very own self. For any of you who may have unfortunately been bullied, you will know that words said to you can really follow you for a long time, make you doubt yourself, and really hurt your feelings. We want others to have the decency not to bully us but we lose so much power by bullying ourselves. When you say nasty things about yourself it is not productive, it’s harmful.

Constructive Criticism: Application

As human beings, we are all “imperfect” in one way or another and for that reason, it is important to be reflective and see how we can improve on things. With that being said, whenever you notice something you think you can improve on rather than beating yourself up with your negative words and thoughts… stop! Think! How would I communicate this to someone else avoiding hurting their feelings? …Then say it to yourself that way.

Positive Affirmations

A way to combat bullying yourself is by replacing those negative words with positive ones. Many people struggle with positive affirmations as they feel distant to message because they do not believe these things to be true or it just feels more wishful than realistic. But like many things in life we aim to improve, it involves repetition and practice. The same way our physical health may be reliant on CONSISTENT exercise and healthy eating, the same way our mental health is reliant on CONSISTENCY with mind “exercises” that help us renew our mind and transform our thinking patterns for the better.

Positive Affirmations: Application

I recently re-watched Girls Trip (love that movie!), and one thing I really loved is whenever the main character felt a negative emotion she would say the opposite about herself – “I am strong, I am beautiful” and I think that is an amazing way to apply positive affirmations. Although I believe we should not always wait for a negative stimulus before we speak positively about ourselves. If you are struggling to use positive affirmations it is a great place to start.

A few examples:

  • My work will be recognised.
  • I can do this!
  • I am successful.
  • I’m grateful for the job I have.
  • I’m bringing a positive attitude to every aspect of my life.
  • I am happy.
  • I am moving forward.
  • I am loved

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

You can not have a positive life and a negative mind – Joyce Mayer 

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.” 
― Roy T. Bennett

“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.” 
― Roy T. Bennett

 

Kind Regards,

Sis x

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For Better, For Worse?

Hi guys, 

I hope you are doing well. 
 
I have not written about relationships since Red Flags vs Insecurities
 
When I wrote that post I knew I was falling for someone. I was trying to tell you guys and myself that loving or liking someone comes with a risk but the reward when it is right is beautiful. I still stand by what I say, however, over the last couple of months I have realised that the beauty that comes with love comes with a lot of other things; vulnerability, honesty, openness, responsibility, reflection and so much more. 
 
Truth is relationships are work! Hard work! Not just on the union, but a lot of work as individuals. Getting into a relationship has made me realise a lot of things that had changed me as a person from previous relationships that I did not even realise. It has made me more self-aware than I have ever been; in my body, my thoughts, my interactions; my friendships, my family dynamics, my faith, my career, my finances, my social life…EVERYTHING. I have honestly felt like there has been a magnifying glass on my life. And for me, that has been terrifying. 
 
“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” – James Baldwin  
 
When you become very close to someone and are committed to loving them openly and even consider spending your future with them it becomes very difficult to hide parts of yourself you even hide from yourself. Like I said that can be terrifying… but is it worth it? Surely! 
 
You don’t need to be perfect
 
I think the message that you need to be “whole” before entering a relationship is one that we should all adhere to, however, a lot of the time we misinterpret that to mean we should be perfect before getting into a relationship. Truth is we can always be more confident, we can always be better Christians, we can always be better partners, we can always be richer… my point is as humans reaching “perfection” is a facade. When you are in the right relationship(s) (Not just romantic), they do not hinder you from becoming the best version of you, they help you! 
“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” – Swedish Proverb  
 
Like you have that friend or parent who will love you no matter what you go through, there are partners who are able to do the same. Not to encourage people to be toxic in relationships in the name of “love”… I am talking about genuine life problems that we will all face at one time or another. In fact, if you are looking at your boyfriend or girlfriend like your future husband or wife it is crucial that you are confident this person can be with you and help you in whatever way they can. “…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health…” remember?
 
“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” – Oprah Winfrey  
 
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12  
 
 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

“Your partner is not your therapist”
 
With all that being said, it is important to know whatever issues that do arise when the magnifying glass is on you, it’s not your partner’s job to provide you with all the answers. They “should” be there to love you while YOU do the work to find them. Whatever insecurities arise from a relationship is not necessarily your partner’s fault either, so do not blame them. It is important to look inwardly and possibly seek help outwardly from people who are qualified to help you. 
 
Your growing as in individual or reaching your potential or fulfilling your purpose certainly does not stop because you are in a relationship, love your partner enough to be able to spend time alone and working on you and what makes YOU happy. Your relationship is only one element of your life and while it is a huge one it’s better one when you are a better person. 
 
“Don’t lose yourself whilst caring for others, the most important relationship you will have is the one with yourself” – Anonymous 
 
“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.” – Anthony Robbins  
 
Kind Regards, 
 
Sis x
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The Process

Hey,

Hope you are well.

If you are anything like me, you will make up your mind to achieve something and almost expect the results instantly. I am totally aware these things can’t be achieved instantly but I will put so much pressure on myself to obtain the desired result instantly. Often, I will put other aspects of my life on pause until I have achieved what I want. “I’ll be happy when I get a new job” “I will love my body when I lose 10kg” “I will have peace when my skin is perfect”.

So how do I feel in-between? The process that should be great and exciting becomes miserable and draining. Not to get confused, being focused on the end result is a good thing, at the end of the day that is why we are in the process in the first place. We should not allow the end goal to consume and overwhelm us. When the end goal does consume us the goal becomes less obtainable; unhappiness and feelings of defeat will only slow you down if not stop you completely!

                            “You can’t build joy on a feeling of self-loathing.” – Ram Dass   

The Process Has a Purpose 

The process exists to teach you, to grow you and to help you appreciate where you are coming from and the hard work it takes to get where you are. Imagine the world if we could all just click our fingers and have what we want… might actually sound good for a minute but I imagine the world full of arrogant and ungrateful pricks to be honest. I was actually listening to a sermon recently and the message outlined that the very thing robbing us of our peace is our insistence on perfection even though God tells imperfection is exactly how God can make us perfect.

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:4 

The same sermon also outlined how Jesus himself came into the world in the most imperfect circumstance yet that never stopped him from being who he is or achieving his purpose. Do not let what you perceive as your imperfections stop you from being who you are or maximising your potential. Instead, use your imperfections as mark points for your growth.

Embracing the Now 

It can be difficult to fully embrace one’s self when everyone around you seems to be flawless but you. The truth is we all have our insecurities, some we are even too embarrassed to point out to our closest friends. I know to tell you other people have things about themselves they do not like does not take away your own insecurities… it is to rather remind you that you are not alone… if the next person can live happily despite not being exactly where they would want to be or looking exactly how they would want to look then so can you! Truth is there are some things we may not be able to change but our process, in this case, is how we respond to the things out of our control. Do we embrace it and live happily or do we continue to be overly self-critical and live miserably? My advice? Chose you! Chose to love you regardless!

“Self respect, self-worth, and self-love, all start with self. Stop looking outside of yourself for your value.” – Rob Liano

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” – Bob Moawad

While we are changing, developing, evolving and growing into the people we desire to be it is crucial to appreciate who we are. While we are working on what we do not like, channel your energy to the things about yourself you do like or you are good at or you just enjoy. You may not have your dream job yet, you may not have lost all the weight yet and your skin may not have cleared up yet.. but you are on a journey to these amazing things and these amazing things need an amazing person to celebrate them. Our happiness can’t be dependent on things that are ever-changing because that will leave us unstable. Find your confidence, happiness, and peace in your heart and remember that every second you are alive is a chance to change your situation.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. – 1 Peter 3:3-4

Sticking to good habits can be hard work, and mistakes are part of the process. Don’t declare failure simply because you messed up or because you’re having trouble reaching your goals. Instead, use your mistakes as opportunities to grow stronger and become better.- Amy Morin 

Through a long and painful process, I’ve learned that happiness is an inside job – not based on anything or anyone in the outer material world. I’ve become a different and better person – not perfect, but still a work in progress – Alana Stewart

Ways to Embrace the Process:

  1. Track Your Progress – Take progress pictures, save milestones, write down your accomplishments regularly.
  2. Clap For the Wins – Big or small you should learn to congratulate yourself and be proud of yourself.
  3. Do Not Beat Yourself Up  – Do not be too hard on yourself. We all make mistakes or fall off track remember the sooner you get back on track the quicker you will get to your destination.
  4. Enjoy Yourself – Do not hide because you are working towards something. Two words – balance and discipline. You can still do the things you love and spend time with people you love to ensure you are laughing through the process.
  5. Seek Encouragement – A lot of the time when the process begins to feel challenging is when it seems impossible. It is great to get yourself examples of people who have done it before to remind yourself that it is possible!

Sometimes we make the process more complicated than we need to. We will never make a journey of a thousand miles by fretting about how long it will take or how hard it will be. We make the journey by taking each day step by step and then repeating it again and again until we reach our destination – Joseph B. Wirthlin

Kind Regards,

Sis x

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God + Fulfilment > Self

Hey,

I hope you are well. I feel like my last couple of posts have started with “it’s been a while”. This time it really has.

I love blogging but I have found writing impossible this entire year. When I started the year I would have never have imagined I would go through all the things I have been through already. Like I am sure we all had, I had so many plans, goals and visions for where I wanted to see myself this year. Unfortunately for myself, I have not been able to tick off many things from that list just yet, despite starting the year on such a high after launching the Tears to Laughter Journals.

“I am going through it” 

I am sure my friends are tired of hearing me say this. That is not even to invalidate the difficulties or battles I face, it is to acknowledge I may not always deal with my battles the best way. My “natural” response to difficult times is to become unavailable, not even just for social events or meet-ups but for simple things, like not taking 3 days to reply to a message, using social media, showing active support, my passions/hobbies, my career,  and so on. It is not like I do not want to do these things, it is just that every small task becomes incredibly draining because I am so consumed and exhausted by my own thoughts.

Back to this blog… something I LOVE doing and find plenty of fulfilment in… becomes extremely difficult to uphold while I am “going through it” despite the irony it was started in the midst of a difficult time for myself.

“I am not worthy”

Guilt. Procrastination. Self-doubt. Fear. More procrastination. As much as things that I/we may sometimes go through are things beyond our control, sometimes it is a result or consequence of decisions we ourselves have made. I have felt my fair share of guilt this year. Guilt and self-doubt are extremely crippling feelings. For myself, my mind would be consumed with things like “Who are you to help others?” “you need help yourself” “won’t you be a hypocrite?”. Thoughts like this are exactly what has kept me stagnant and put me in a worse position because as well as the challenges I am facing because of procrastination, I have now been dealing with the feelings of unfulfilment, neglect, lack of passion and even emptiness.

“I am undeserving”

These last couple of months my relationship with God has been so hot and cold (lukewarm), exactly what God tells us he does not want. When I feel guilty or undeserving, it is extremely hard to communicate with God or even say “I am sorry”, because I feel I should not know better in the first place. All of this despite KNOWING God knew my decisions before I even did, despite KNOWING God will forgive me if I come to him. But am I deserving of his love and forgiveness? The answer is NO, but he still loves me anyway.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Hebrews 8:12

God + Fulfilment > Self

The last couple of months have taught me that life is a consistent journey, even for those who have “made it” you have never really “made it”. This explains why people like Kim Kardashian still want to get a Law Degree after out earning way more than the average lawyer. As humans, there is always a search for betterment, most especially fulfilment, which often may not link to monetary reward. You and I must actively chase who we are and who we want to be DAILY. Not just wait and hope for things to get better but to work our ass off so they do.

One thing that often stops us for working hard is guilt or fear, both of which are often a reflection of insecurity. Guilt tells you the things about yourself that you already thought. Guilt/fear wants to hold you back and remind you are not good enough. Well, you are good enough, you are great! Especially if you keep putting in that work to make sure you see yourself in a positive light. I recently heard Sarah Jakes Roberts share the reason why we feel guilt or do not chase our purpose… we feel as though we should be ashamed of our story or we fear we are no better than the next person, not knowing what we have been through is exactly what another person needs to hear to get them out of a rut and that who we are is exactly what people will connect to. Your story will help people!

For me, I often suffer from insecurities regarding my physical appearance. Though I am nowhere where I want/need to be I thought I’d share something I wrote and made me screensaver so I can remind myself daily;

Today I am a new being. Today I decide to be better. Today I choose to love me. Today I am positive. Today I am happy. Today I am grateful because I realise I am blessed.

I will take care of my body. I will eat healthily and exercise. I will not put pressure on myself to be anyone but the best version of myself. I will stay focused and committed to the process and love me every step of the way. I will take care of myself inwardly and outwardly consistently.

I am beautiful, I am smart, I am loved, I am destined for greatness. When I am in doubt of these things I will remind myself of what the Lord says about me.

The last sentence that I have highlighted is so key because it sums up the entire message I am trying to pass on – God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us, in which I believe we find a sense of fulfillment. These plans are good, despite what our current circumstance may say or how we see ourselves. God + Fulfilment > Self 

Whenever you think a negative thing about yourself, where you are in life, the decisions you have made and so on… remind yourself that what God says about you is more important! Working towards fulfilment and achieving your life goals is more important. Especially as a creative, it can be easy to fall in the trap for not putting out content because you are not in a good place, but that does not excuse not working on your content, let the what you’re going through inspire your craft. Lastly, as we enter a new month I want to remind you it is NEVER too late, this year can still be amazing for us, we just need to put in the work and trust the process.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

Kind Regards,

Sis x

 

A few sermons that have helped me below: 

 

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Level Up #1: Gratitude

Hey guys,

Feels like forever since I have written a post and boy have I missed it!

As some of you may know Tears to Laughter recently released its first product which is a journal/planner for 2019. Each month includes a monthly declaration where the reader is able to choose the state of their month. For January the theme was gratitude. I know I am a little late since it is now February, but I will touch on that a little later.

What is Gratitude?

“the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”

Benefits of Gratitude:

  • Gratitude opens the door to more relationships – A simple thank you here and there may allow you to form relationships with people easier.
  • Gratitude improves physical health – Psychological studies have shown that people who are grateful experience less pain and aches and take better care of their health by exercising/eating better which aids longevity.
  • Gratitude improves psychological health – When you are grateful you are less likely to spend time dwelling on the bad and comparing yourselves to others negatively.
  • Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression – Psychological studies have also shown that grateful people are less likely to display anti-social behavior even when provoked.
  • Grateful people sleep better – Completing things like the daily gratitude reminder in your Tears to Laughter journal right before bed, helps you place things into perspective in order to have a better nights sleep.
  • Gratitude improves self-esteem – Again, grateful people have been said to be less willing to compare themselves to others negatively. So instead of low self-esteem that often comes as a result of comparison, grateful people can be happy for others and their successes.
  • Gratitude increases mental strength – Gratitude has been said to help improve the ability to get through difficult times. Grateful people tend to still find positives in negative situations.

Why Gratitude is Important For Me 

“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly, I will show the salvation of God! – Psalm 50:23

In a world where we constantly want and strive for more, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the future and not appreciate the present. There are blessings all around us even in the moments when it seems impossible to believe. The mere fact we are alive is something to be grateful for, because every minute you are alive is an opportunity for your situation to change.

A popular African Christian song says “count your blessings name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done” – simply implying sometimes we are not even aware of the magnitude of our blessings! So if this applies to you in any way I want to encourage you this year to remain grateful, in fact, note something every day that you are grateful for.

The irony or rather the hypocrisy is, during the month of January, I have been so busy with my 9-5, starting the business side of Tears to Laughter, attending events and so on,  that I began to find myself in a low state because of feeling drained and not doing things I wanted to do like blogging. Although things have not been particularly perfect everything that has been wearing me out have been blessings, but because I became so wrapped up in being busy and tired I forgot to spend time being grateful for it all.

So I am going to lead by example and telling you a few of the things I am grateful for so far this year:

  1. Even though work may get stressful I am grateful I have a job and one I like.
  2. I am grateful for everyone who bought a Tears to Laughter Journal
  3. I am grateful for booking holidays (even though my bank balance probably does not feel the same)
  4. I am grateful for the feeling after a good gym session – even though I would like to go more often.
  5. I am grateful for the speaking engagement opportunities
  6. I am grateful for all the birthdays of my family and friends (Again my bank balance may not feel the same)

Finally, being grateful for where you are in life at the moment, does not mean you will get complacent or you are suggesting your life is perfect. Often at this point of the year, many of us beat ourselves up for not achieving the things we have set out to or keeping up with the new habits we promised ourselves to have, but it is all part of a process, you only fail if you give up and giving up is so much easier when you are negative. Practice gratitude!

“Sticking to good habits can be hard work, and mistakes are part of the process. Don’t declare failure simply because you messed up or because you’re having trouble reaching your goals. Instead, use your mistakes as opportunities to grow stronger and become better.”Amy Mornin

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

Kind Regards,

Sis x

Reference: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude

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Reflect, Don’t Regret

Hey,

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

Towards the end of the year, a lot of us begin to look back at what we have accomplished throughout the year. For some of us looking back, we are able to recognise just how far we have come and the great things we have done. For others of us, this time of the year is daunting because when we look back we feel like failures, we see a lot of pain we have endured throughout the year and goals we were not able to achieve.

REGRET

This was me in December 2017, I was just starting to get on my feet and not be miserable anymore but this could not undo the last 7 months I had spent miserable and unproductive. A lot of people around me were doing amazing things; and whilst I was happy for them, I always wondered why it felt like I was being left behind and why I hadn’t I made better life decisions. Regret.

Whilst I think looking back and doing an end of year reflection is certainly productive, if we find we have not accomplished all we had set our eyes on that can often be a very quick and slippery slope into regret.

Regreta feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over an occurrence or something that one has done or failed to do.

Regret is unproductive. If you are sad and disappointed chances are you will continue to wallow in your sorrows and as a result, make more bad decisions.

“If you spend your life regretting things in the past, before you know it… you will have wasted your life on regret “

REFLECT

Reflection – serious thought or consideration.

Look back and see what has been good about the year (there must be something! Even if it is the mere fact you made it to the end). Also look at what has not been great and how you can improve yourself and your circumstances (in a way that you don’t put yourself down).

Before the 1st of January 2019, write down your Goals for the year, what would you like to achieve? What are your personal goals, financial goals, physical goals, career goals? What steps would you take to get there? Are you able to set yourself short-term goals; weekly, monthly? Will you make an active effort to be positive and give yourself positive affirmations? What are your techniques to stay motivated?

IT’S TIME TO LEVEL UP

I believe 2019 will be an amazing year for a lot of us, but only if we make it. We need to hold ourselves accountable for all the promises we make ourselves at the very beginning of the year. We need a healthy way to keep track of our goals. We need to remain grateful for the little we do have. We need to stay organised and on track. It is one thing to say yes we will do these things, but how?

I have created a Journal / Planner / Diary (pick your fancy) to help you and I do all these things and more.

Check it out here: PRODUCTS

“Your Journal is like your best friend, You don’t have to pretend with it, you can be honest and write exactly how you feel” 
― Bukola Ogunwale

Kind Regards,

Sis x

 

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Game NOT Over

Hey,

Hope you are well!

I thought I’d write this post for the people who have given up on 2018 and are planning to start making things happen next year. Or for the people that have called 2018 the year of L’s, or even the worst year of their lives. If any of this rings a bell in the slightest. I have written this post for you.

I have found once the last quarter of a calendar year commences people begin to speak and reflect on the year as if its the 31st of December. While I think it is great to reflect on the year frequently, in my opinion, people seem to judge the year way too early. Yes, you may be correct in that you have had some low moments, however, 3 months (92 days), 2 months (61days), 1 month (31 days) is more than enough time for things to turn around.

Happy New Year

Whilst I agree that a new year is an amazing opportunity to get a fresh start, why can’t we apply that principal from now? Admittingly, there is a buzz that comes with a new year, that buzz represents the feeling of a clean slate and new beginning. But why should we limit that feeling to once a year? If you are so adamant that the year has ended and nothing new can good can come from it, why not start the new year today? Get ahead… start the business plan today, apply for the jobs today, book the holiday today, attend the events today, dye your hair today, start that YouTube Channel today, enroll in that course today, save that money today, make that investment today, speak to your boss about that promotion today, start therapy today! Some of these things may not be able to manifest until the new year but why delay? The longer you take to sow, the longer you wait for the harvest. 

A Lot Can Happen in 50 days

I would not be saying any of this if I had not experienced it personally. A lot changed for me in the last month of 2017 and to be honest I am hoping and praying the same will happen for me this year.

  1. In December 2017, I got offered a job.
  2. I started this blog on the 17th December 2017.
  3.  I had a break out that cleared up the last week of the year, in turn boosting my confidence.
  4. I saw and got to spend time with family I had not seen in years.
  5. I went to concerts and made some amazing memories.
  6. I lost weight.

To some of you these things may be no big deal, I understand everyone’s circumstances are unique but I am confident a lot of what some of you are waiting for / working for / trusting God for can come to fruition before the end of 2018.

Game NOT over

So don’t write 2018 off, work hard and believe each and every one of the 50 days left in the year. All it takes is 1 for your circumstance to change! It’s great to plan ahead but don’t take advantage of the time you have today because tomorrow is not guaranteed.


 

“Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not cliches but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path.”    – Phillip Sweet

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

“There is no substitute for hard work. Never give up. Never stop believing. Never stop fighting.” – Hope Hicks

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:29-31

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

Kind Regards,

Sis x

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Red Flags vs Insecurities

Hey,

Hope you are flourishing.

For a couple weeks this topic has been on my mind so I thought I’d share a couple gems I have picked up on the way.

Red Flags vs Insecurities

For me the thought of the process of getting to know someone romantically is exhausting. Not fun, not exciting, not endearing. Just exhausting and terrifying. As I have shared on my blog before, I have been hurt in the past, so I know all too well that the beginning stages are always “good”. When I think of getting to know someone new, I think of letting someone in all over again only to end up hurt and disappointed.

For the past year or so I have convinced myself that I am over the heartbreak and ready to move on. Delusional. Although I have not missed being a relationship or the people that hurt me, there were scars that cut deep and I kept putting a plaster over it convincing myself I was healed. I had to come clean with myself and admit – I did not trust men at all, not in a healthy “guard your heart” sort of way. I literally believed everything they said was bullsh*it. Even to the point, simple compliments made me uncomfortable because I was convinced all they do is lie to get what they want. Truth is I was projecting all my insecurities. I recently saw a tweet saying something along the lines of “if you don’t heal, you’ll bleed on people that didn’t hurt you”. The negativity I was carrying around was seriously toxic.

This whole time I thought my toxic behavior was me being the smart girl for once. Being heartbroken twice is no fun, so this was how I knew best to protect myself. If I don’t let them in how can they hurt me? Truth is I was hurting myself, numbing myself from connecting with people and enjoying genuine moments. I am an all round loving person, to friends, family and even strangers. I like to let people know I care, I like to do nice gestures, I like to make people laugh. Numbing myself meant I was depriving myself of myself. Draining.

So how do we draw the line? How do we learn from our past experiences without becoming insecure? Is this a red flag or am I still wounded?

Guard Your Heart vs Trust

“Above ALL else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it”

Proverbs 4:23

If I am honest with myself, if I really look back, there have always been RED FLAGS right from the very beginning when things were “good”. But I was so emersed by the IDEA of falling in love that I let things slide. I have since realised guarding your heart does not mean never giving love away, but not being QUICK to give it away. Really taking time to know people and what they stand for, BEFORE falling for them, because only some will be willing to catch you.

“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”

John 7:24

….“Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 

1 Samuel 16:7

I shared with a friend how I was feeling (unable to trust/let my guard completely down) with a friend, who advised me to pray about it. So I did. I kid you not, the sermon the following day at church was “Ability to let go”. I picked up some amazing points I’d thought I’d share with you guys.

  1. The seed can’t grow if you don’t let it go – In order to get the beauty of the plant, you have to let the seed out your hand and put it in the ground. The seed will have to die first before it begins to grow. Let the pain die so love can grow.
  2. Express yourself – bottling up how you feel will have you going crazy and being on edge. Express yourself to people around you, you trust. If you have no one cry onto God.
  3. Stop being a victim – Examine yourself and your character. Why do people have the opportunity to hurt you?
  4. Focus on the present and future – LET GO. It is hard but it is the only way you’ll ever truly love/trust again. You can’t change the past but you can the future.
  5. Forgive them and yourself – Post I wrote on forgiveness – Forgiveness Begins at Home

Lessons vs Love

I see love as a beautiful room full of all the things we crave as human beings, but the door to that room is extremely narrow. With loads of baggage that room can be extremely difficult to enter and sometimes even impossible. Some people will take another door to a room not so beautiful because the entrance is wider. Some will avoid either for fear of what is on the other side. For us who want to see the full beauty of the room, we have to take the most valuable items from our baggage (the lessons) and let go of the rest so we can walk through and experience the room (love) in its true beauty.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you or I will never be hurt again. But to avoid it we need to trust ourselves and trust God rather than never letting anyone in.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3 5:6

Kind Regards,

Sis x

(men are still trash, stay woke)