Self-Love: Take Your Power Back

As many of you know, I’ve been on quite a little journey of self-discovery over the past twelve months. I worked hard to forget past hurts and discover what makes me happy. In fact, at the moment, my heart is so filled with joy that I may burst.

Our journey through the Rules of Self-Love ends today with a great piece of advice: Take Back Your Power. If anything, this was the best piece of advice I received during this year-long journey. I have often wondered why it wasn’t the first rule, because frankly, it was the one step that empowered me the most. As I realized, I had to work on the other rules first before coming to this one. All the different rules helped me gain footing and empowered me along the way. Each rule I employed gave me back some power until now; in the end, I can say that I have learned not to give away my strength again.

So, I’ll share some of the ways I learned to take back my power over this journey, and I’m sure that you may have some of your own to add.

  • I forgave past hurts. I forgave my ex-husband for behavior that I don’t think he is capable of changing. I forgave my now-relationship=guy (what do we say at almost 50? Boyfriend? That seems so adolescent-ish-y) for things that happened nearly 30 years ago. I excused myself from making decisions out of fear. I just decided that I would start all over with everyone in my life with a clean slate on October 1st last year.
  • I cut people out of my life. Since I decided to give everyone a clean slate and forgive past hurts, I also permitted myself to use tools at my disposal to protect my life from energy vampires. If I wouldn’t sit down with them to have a cup of coffee face to face, they didn’t deserve to be on my friends’ list on Fakebook. I permanently blocked numbers on my phone and Messenger. I even went so far as to write “Return to sender” on a letter I received – never opening it or giving one fuck what it said.
  • I got my financial house in order. I’m fortunate to have a job now that pays me more than I really need. But that was not always the case. The last three years, I’ve scraped by wondering why I was stupid enough to leave a job that paid me very, very well. But I realized now that I had to live like that for a while to learn how to budget, save, say “no” to things I didn’t need. Once I got my new job nearly one year ago, I knew I couldn’t spend money the way I had in the past. I set up my 401(K). I set up another fund for emergencies. I worked with my attorney to develop an estate plan to protect my son and provide for him should I die.
  • I saved for, and took, a vacation all alone. I used to travel with my job as a consultant a lot so traveling alone wasn’t the issue. Traveling alone with no plans at all was strange – and exciting. Google maps told me it would take me ten hours-ish to get to Perdido Keys. It took me 16. I meandered my way through Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. If I hadn’t, I might have missed meeting the person who has inspired my novel because ‘Jake” was a stranger I met while eating fried catfish in Bay Springs, MS. I slept a lot, soaked up the sun, listened to the waves, ate a shit-ton of shrimp and watermelon (to the point that I haven’t eaten shrimp since), and did it all by myself. I can’t wait for my next adventure.

  • I scheduled a photo shoot with Cory Powell. And I am so glad I did this. I dropped a bit of cash on myself to see if I could see myself through the lens of someone else (Pun, much?) instead of my own distorted view. I asked him to not jack with the proofs much. I wanted to see each wrinkle, the pooch of my tummy, the color of my eyes. It was probably the single-most empowering thing I did for myself.
  • I focused on my mental health. I’ve mentioned before that I battle generalized anxiety disorder, which, if left to its own devices, can spiral into depression. Last year, I hit rock bottom during COVID, and somewhere around mid-October a good friend implored of me to see my doctor. I also looked into some complementary medicine and techniques, including meditation, breathwork, Yin yoga, and regular massage therapy. When I start getting anxious, instead of plowing through, I stop what I’m doing, go sit outside, start my breathing exercises and scan my body for what’s really going on. As with most things that invoke an anxiety attack, I know it’s most likely something I can’t control or something that won’t happen (the basis of GAD is irrational fears), so I can usually find the root cause. Once I find the root cause, I can work through the feeling. Oh. And Xanax. That helps, too.

I believe there is nothing more important in the journey of Self-Love than taking back your power. It will look different for everyone, but I hope my five examples can be a stepping stone for you. I’d love to hear from you about how you plan to take back your power, or if you’ve already done so, then how you did it.

As always, I’m leaving you with a song. I couldn’t decide so here’s the first one and here’s the second one. May you be blessed abundantly this week. Consider yourself hugged.

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