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A Tears to Laughter Story #5: Oyin Morgan

Tell us a little about yourself…

Hey! My name is Oyin, I am 26 years young and I genuinely love deep and meaningful conversations. My friends would describe me as passionate, thoughtful and extremely impulsive (though that’s changing this 2020!)

Tell us about a challenging time in your life…

If I could choose a challenging time in my life, hands down the award would go to years 2017-2018; my life (in every area) came crashing! So, to give bit of context, in 2016 I graduated from University. Life was seemingly happy – girl goes to Uni, gets a 2.1, gets the grad job of her dreams and makes her parents proud. What could go wrong? I mean everything seem to be working perfectly, I was making good money, someone’s son was making me happy (for the most part ha) and my skin was glowing. Things were genuinely making sense as they had been for the past 22 years. But then (and I don’t know why) I began feeling anxious. Anxious about everything but mainly about work. ‘You got this job by accident’ and ‘You’re not good enough’ were anthems on shuffle in my head. These words started getting to my head so much that I remember working from home for 4 weeks straight just because I wasn’t prepared to face any of my colleagues. This feeling was new to me, I was confused as to what was happening. Was I experiencing the preliminary stages of depression or was I just lazy? Was it just a bad day? A low mood? Can prayer fix it? and if I share will I be paraded with a bunch of “aww’s”, “sorry’s” and ‘I didn’t know you were going through that’ These were questions I didn’t have the answer to so I pretended it didn’t exist for a while.

So anyway, I quit my ‘good’ job as I thought it was the problem and trusted God to come through. I had no clue I was in for a journey of patience and resilience. For 7 excruciating months I was unemployed and although my savings were going down by the day, I continued to live a life as though I was employed 😂 I went to interview after interview but would always get turned down after the 2nd or 3rd stage. All in all I think I went to about 18 interviews only to be told that I was unsuccessful. Then one month, I received the news I had been waiting for- a company wanted to employ ME! So, of course I grabbed the offer with both hands, I was sure this was my big break. Boy was I wrong lol. Due to the fact that I was still in a terrible place mentally that job lasted for 4 months and there I was back to square one, unemployed again for a further 6 months.

Other areas contributed to the dark space I was in. In fact, I had no emotional stability which was affecting my romantic relationships. I kept leaving and re-entering toxic spaces that weren’t good for me mentally, but it was all I knew and therefore all I kept finding myself in. And as for spiritually? Don’t get me started on where I was with God. I left my Church for about 3 months and questioned nearly everything I believed to be true. I had no clue who I was anymore.

It hurt more because my elder sisters were great role models, they were married, had good jobs and had two kids each. I couldn’t understand why I, being the last girl was so different to them. Why I couldn’t keep a job? Why I was in situationship after situationship and why my relationship with God was on the rocks. It was no surprise that I thought my life was going to be an endless cycle of short-term jobs and failed relationships.

How did this affect you or make you feel?

My depression hit me bad. Many days I spent hours fantasying about being hurt, injured and dying altogether. It got so bad that I began envying people that would have the balls to hurt themselves, like why couldn’t I run in front of a car? Why couldn’t I overdose? And if I couldn’t, was I really depressed. I began telling myself that I wasn’t that depressed, I mean after all I wasn’t self-harming nor was I actively seeking therapy. I didn’t seem to have the qualifications for REAL depression in my eyes and the mismatch between what I was feeling and what I knew to be depression gnawed at me daily.

Coupled with the unpleasant thoughts, I stayed in my room A LOT and being so susceptible to my emotions, my room was the only safe place for the state I was in. I couldn’t afford to accidentally cry when I was watching TV with my mum or dad so I tried to avoid both parents at all costs. In fact, texting my parents who were just downstairs to confirm ‘I had already eaten’ was the norm for me. I had no energy to do anything- my room would be a mess for days on end and I’d sleep with clothes on my bed, books, my laptop- anything. My room was a complete reflection of my mind- cluttered, hazardous and in desperate need of a tidy up.

And although I’m not really a foodie in general nothing could prepare me for the lack of appetite I had over this period. I hardly ate and dropped two dress sizes. People noticed and kept asking ‘Oyin, how did you do it’ as if I had been on some amazingly life changing diet and I had to brush it off with ‘I don’t know’ when I fully well knew I weren’t eating.

I think the worst effect of all is that I actively self-sabotaged every potential relationship that came my way. There would be times I believed I was happy enough to date, so I would. I’d get to know someone, like them but when it started becoming real and by real, I mean they had a duty to check in on how my job search was going, I’d literally want to terminate the conversation. At the time, my emotions were all over the place and the last thing I wanted to do was talk about being unemployed for more than 20 seconds. But of course, due to the caring nature of who I was talking to, they would probe and press to see how my mental state was. Looking back I can see why any loved one would do this but the truth is, it really just made me feel embarrassed and powerless. So, as a result, every talking stage ended in ‘I don’t think I can do this right now’

Are you in a better space now? How did you overcome this? 

A much better space. I am at PEACE.

If I’m to be honest, I think it all happened so fast that I’d be lying if I said I knew the day things got better. However, I do remember having a deep conversation with my Pastor in which I just cried. Literally there were no words just tears (he must have thought I was mad lol) but he literally encouraged me that all would be well. That week I must have had extra faith boy because I went from having 0 offers to 3 offers and even one from a job that had previously turned me down. I’ll spare you the details but the takeaway from here is that I knew that my story was about to change because my job breakthrough came with such heavy vengeance.

I had seen the results of faith so this allowed me to further trust in God even though areas in my life still needed improvement. I went back to my church, I got involved in serving and committed to coming every week despite how I felt. Low moods became manageable because I realised, I had power over it and it didn’t have power over me. Having a job gave me an in-explainable confidence boost because I was interacting with people for 7-8 hours a day again and not to mention how the pay rise made me feel lol.

My family and friends played a HUGE part in my growth too because they constantly encouraged me, were patient with me even when I was unresponsive or snappy. They took time to educate themselves on what was going on with me and I can honestly say every single person in my life was helpful in their own little way.

What good came from your challenging period? 

Now, I can honestly say I am genuinely happy with where I am in life, I mean I have my ups and downs as any human would but I’m honestly in a great place. I’m in a better space with God, love my job and I’m in the process of healing from emotional scars. That’s a sentence I thought would never come out of my mouth!

Upon reflection, I learnt that I had to be patient with myself and let God do his work in me (Read Philippians 1:6). I didn’t create myself so I was sure he had the manual for ‘fixing’ me. As unsettling as it sounded, my job was just to be STILL. I didn’t need to force conversations about my situation or update people on how I was feeling because that  wasn’t therapeutic to me – and that was OK.

A big one for me was I had to unlearn my impulsive nature. I verbally told myself “you can’t just quit a job because you aren’t feeling it Oyin”. I pushed myself to ‘dig deeper, what don’t you like? What can be done to improve how you feel?’ Because in life, you’re gonna face trials and sometimes it be your own personality type preventing you from overcoming.

All in all, I learnt that with depression, the help you receive is so dependent on how well you can communicate your pain but many people (including myself) do not understand their pain let alone know how to articulate what they’re feeling to someone else. They just know it’s heavy, it’s real and can’t seem to get out of it. So I put together some bullet points for anyone going through a hard time below.

What advice would you give to someone currently going through a difficult time?

  • Tell your loved ones to be present but not intrusive
  • Write down things you’re grateful for and make it visible
  • Don’t force yourself to be happy (You’ll be frustrated at yourself)
  • Take a social media break for at least 28 days (Too much of social media when you’re depressed is unbelievably damaging)
  • Most importantly PRAY (I can’t stress how much this changed my life- God hears and cares)

Remember: what you’re feeling has an expiry date

Any last words?

Confession: I took a while to write this because writing in the past has never been therapeutic to me. I used to hate writing and cried as I did it because it reminded me that my pain is real and isn’t just some thoughts I’ve put together. It’s a compilation of my realities and the experiences concerning the not so nice things life has thrown at me; ones I’d rather forget. I also felt at one point in my life that writing made me feel like a baby, a baby for even feeling the way I do, a baby for complaining and a baby for needing help. But writing this has honestly stirred up a well of gratitude in me, I have been able to reflect on my journey through this one piece and hopefully I have given hope to those who are on theirs. It gets better – I promise you.

Kind Regards,

Oyin & Tami

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19 Things I am Leaving in 2019

Let’s jump straight in…

1. Negative Self-Talk

For those of us that have struggled with one insecurity or another, we will be all too familiar with this one right here. “I’m not smart enough” “I’m will never lose this weight” “I am the ugly friend” “I will never get promoted”. Negative self-talk is just evidence of fear. It’s the easy route to believe the negative, that way you never get disappointed right? Actually, it means we set ourselves up for a life we don’t really want.. how about we believe good things about ourselves and say those things instead of the negative? Bye bye to jatti jatti!

2. Fear

Speaking of fear… not only does it create a space for negative self-talk, but it also creates a space that leaves us stagnant. The “what ifs” in our lives are always negative, but how liberating would it be if the “what ifs” became positives. “What if my business thrives” “what if my event sells out” “What if I get a new job” “What if I nail that exam”.

3. Pride 

I would say I am someone with quite a bit of pride. It’s taking me a while to admit that I guess because of my… yup you guessed it. But when it comes to the relationships you have with your loved ones there is no room for it. Fall out’s will happen… but I am determined next year to try and put my pride aside as much as I can and resolve issues through effective communication.

4. Camera Shyness

I have said this one the last couple of years, but in 2020 I am dedicated to sticking to my word. I am expectant to make so many beautiful memories with my loved ones and wouldn’t it be great if I could actually have pictures to look back on? And I…

Oop…

5. Balding Edges

I never thought I would be one of those people with hair issues especially in relation to my edges. My forehead was always known for being small because my hairline was so far forward … now with constant wigs, slicked edges and got2be glue… my edges are vanishing and my forehead is growing. So I am promising myself in 2020 to not take my hair for granted, and make more of an active effort in taking care of my natural hair.

6. Inconsistency

This one could literally relate to anything but the three main inconsistencies I would like to put a focus on in 2020 is God, Blogging / Tears to Laughter and Gym. The thought of the outcome of staying consistent in these three things really excites me! What in your life with a little more consistency could be so amazing?

7. Stale Friendships 

I don’t mean to be bad vibes with this one, I am definitely not one of those cut people off for the new year sorta people. However, I think it’s important to know who are your REAL friends.. not the people you were close to a couple years ago, not the people you have known the longest but the people who truly value you and vice versa. For me nothing dramatic needs to happen, it’s just about knowing at the back of my mind who those people are that I would go above and beyond for.

8. Lateness

For me this is just about adding an extra 30 mins to my get-ready time… because more often than not something seems to go wrong and I end up leaving later than planned. And if by some miracle I get ready with extra time… Picture time! Hello punctuality!

9. Pessimism

“It’s much more fun to be full of hope than pessimism any day of the week” – Lemmy

10. Procrastination

That’s it. That’s the bullet point.

11. Disorganisation

For me this is anything from… being on time to things like doing my meal prep for the week. It all boils down to disorganisation. To-do lists will be my friend in 2020.

12. Poor Money Management

I never thought I would say this… but… not every event needs a new outfit. Yes, I said it. I have found that when I buy things impulsively for a particular event I tend not to get much wear of it later. So taking my time to shop for things I like with a budget rather than ordering clothes every other week. Again, there are so many things poor money management could relate to… so I will try my best with those too.

13. Laziness

It gets so easy to blame everything on external factors, but I have learned in 2019 we have way more control than we think! It’s just about being determined to get up and make those moves.

14. Forgetfulness

I like to think of myself as a thoughtful person, however sometimes when life is being.. well life… it’s easy to get caught up in your own little bubble. This year I have forgotten a few birthdays and felt really crap about it. 2020, I will aim to stay on top of things by writing things down and setting reminders.

15. Perfectionism

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”― Ecclesiastes 11:4

16. Ungratefulness

“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette

17. Indecisiveness

If you have ever been to a restaurant with me or even just Tesco, you’ll know the vibes. Because I am such a perfectionist it means I struggle to make decisions a lot because I am always scared to make the wrong one. I have learned that indecisiveness is just the cousin of procrastination and fear. So in 2020, I am going to be confident and concise in my decision making.

18. Irresponsibility / Carelessness

I can’t even count the number of times I have lost my bank card this year. I have lost my driving license, my keys… you name it. I think at 24 there is no excuse to misplace things so often. So in 2020, I want to prove to myself that I can be a responsible adult by being more careful and cautious.

19. Comparison

The new age of media / social media makes this one very difficult. But there is so much peace found in being grateful for WHO you are and WHERE you are. Comparison only robs us of peace and not in a way that’s productive at all. So try appreciating someone else’s looks or achievements, WITHOUT diminishing your own.

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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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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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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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Stuck In The Mud

Hey,

Hope you are well!

I have not been consistent with blogging at all, but I have been adamant not to put out content just for the sake of it. I was explaining this to a friend last week and she asked “why do you think you have writer’s block”… the thing is I have been writing posts just none I saw as worthy of posting. I started this blog when I was in a really challenging place and beginning to overcome those challenges. Now I feel I am in a place where nothing is really “wrong” so I have no groundbreaking testimony to share with you all. She said, “why don’t you share your current situation, it might help someone who feels the same”. So here we are…

I am in a weird place…

I am at a place where I tick a lot of boxes on paper but nothing feels completely right. A lot of the happiness I encounter feels very short lived. I feel anxious about the future and I am still healing from the past. My relationship with God is requiring me to submit more and more as I can’t seem to hide under ignorance anymore. I appreciate and love all my friends, but there is a void there. I lose and put on weight faster than I typed this sentence. I have a good job, but I feel unfulfilled. I have a blog and I rarely post. My skin has a mind of its own and the list goes on. Each of these “issues” on their own may seem very minor but combined can be very draining.

That’s exactly how I’ve felt… Drained. I am constantly tired both mentally and physically. I feel stuck; I am constantly torn between ‘be content your life is good’ and ‘fight and have faith you can achieve anything’ the latter of the two is very difficult when the time is not on your side and your relationship with God is suffering. The former is difficult because you are constantly trying to decide whether you’re really content on just complacent.

Stuck In The mud Mind. 

I recently turned a year older (Virgo szn) and as much as I had A LOT to be grateful for I am quickly realising time waits for no one. Yes, past triumphs are great… but next? I can keep being proud of yesterday’s victory but today is a new day, what will I achieve? How do I keep momentum? How do I ensure I do not fall behind? Where will I be in 2 years time? Where will I be in 5 years time? What do I really want from life and what steps am I taking to get there?

Unlike many of my other posts, I am not writing this one as something I have been through and successfully overcome but I am definitely in the process. So I thought I’d share some things that have definitely made me feel better over the last few months.

  1. Honesty – This one is simple but difficult. I have been cutting off delusion and just being honest with myself (and sometimes others) with exactly how I feel. Accepting my thoughts is the first step to bettering them.
  2. Prayer/Word of God – This one is the most important for me. Whenever I am distant from God is when I am at my worst. I have been making more of an active effort with my relationship with God. I have been listing to sermons on YouTube as often as I can, listening to Gospel more and praying more. I found when I am just letting life live itself I tend to let go of certain disciplines, so taking control of what I do each day has really helped. On a Sunday night, I really carve out time to go on my knees to pray and worship God. This often brings me to tears, but I start the week on the best possible note, and God has really been showing his face! Matthew 6:33 | But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. 
  3. Gratitude – When I am talking to God now, I am always sure to mention I am grateful for where I am now and where I am going. Even in the midst of all you go through it is so important to acknowledge how God is still blessing you.
  4. Work on The Physical – One thing that often makes me feel crappy and blah… is my body. I love junk food but the love is certainly unrequited. Making sure I make a conscious effort to eat better; meal prepping, green tea, 2+ Liters of water daily. These things really do make a huge difference, once my body feels good I really do start to feel like a bad b. I have also recently signed up to the gym again, and because of the way my schedule is set up I can only go before work, and waking up at 5am is no fun, and sometimes I fail but I am refusing to give up! The feeling after the workout always makes it worthwhile.
  5. Being Better – One of my goals this year was to work on my relationships with people. Over the years people have been upset with me regarding my lack of / delayed responses to text messages or my inability to maintain relationships. So I have really been putting in more effort to check up on people and make regular contact with people. We can get very consumed with our own life and pursuits but I find great joy in letting people know how much I love them and maintaining healthy and positive friendships.
  6. Enjoy Moments – For some people this is second nature but for someone like myself who has a Ph.D. in overthinking and suffers from [social] anxiety, this can be challenging. But I have decided to just let someone moments happen, to live a little carefree and to “go with the flow” and for this reason, I have created some amazing memories this year.
  7. Be Realistic – A lot of time, when I start to feel down it is because of my worries for the future or my comparison to others I perceive to be doing better than myself. But what does this worrying, doubt and fear do? … nothing but hinder me! I have learned if I want things I have to make them happen. I am realistic about my goals and what time frame I can achieve them in. I write a to do a list of what I can do each week, I stretch myself but not to the point I feel overwhelmed.

Philippians 4:6-7

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. 

Matthew 6:25-27

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more value than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Jeremiah 29:11

 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.

So even if you feel stuck in the mud, pull your feet out, you’d be surprised at how much strength you actually have. Sometimes this may mean leaving your shoes (baggage) behind, but the freedom is absolutely worth it!

Kind Regards,

Sis x