Let’s be realistic, sometimes life can suck on a major level. For many, there are days where it feels like no matter what you do or how many different approaches you take nothing ever lines up in your favor. I get it! I was once in a cloudy space where peace, genuine happiness and true success were far from my reality.
It was evident that in order to find these, I needed to not only change my expectations of life but also create personal strategies to achieve the level of greatness I desired. I made it a goal to create five personal strategies in order to find my own place of peace, happiness and my version of success. Here are my life approaches that I attempt to follow religiously.
- Own Your Happiness
In order to find a place of peace you must own your own happiness and your personal journey. Acknowledging that the “Joneses” are not your friends and there is no need to keep up with them is the first step. We live in a society where, money, glitz, and glam equates to success and happiness.
Ask yourself if the people who have reached this status are truly content and happy with life? It seems many have mastered the projection of happiness. The key to this step is for you to decide what makes you happy. I challenge you to create your own personal definition of happiness and success and strive for just that.
2. Save Yourself
Recently, one of my best friends effortlessly diagnosed her mother with having a case of the Strong Black Woman Syndrome. Strong Black Woman Syndrome is a crippling disease where we (Black women) shoulder the burdens of others while slowly losing our ability to be the greatest us we can be. In this process we eventually lose who we are because of our role as superhero and earthly saviour of all things.
You must make a mental commitment to put yourself first and not internalize the pains and the responsibilities of others. This doesn’t mean you need to stop sowing seeds or block out the people around you that you love. However, it does mean that you need to invest in things that make you happy and give you peace. I urge you to commit to doing at least two things a month that makes you happy and focus solely on yourself.
It could be something as simple as purchasing a Groupon for a massage and facial or soaking in the tub while sipping a glass of wine and listening to saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa playing in the background. It’s imperative that you make the choice and say I choose me for a change. It doesn’t mean you love your children, siblings or friends any less. Rather, it means that sometimes you have to love yourself more.
3. Learn a new language
Life can throw us tremendous curve balls, some of which we have no control over. What we do have control over are the words we speak into the universe to overcome these challenges. Life and death are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18: 21 KJV). Consider your words in your day-to-day interactions.
Sometimes, a simple, “How are you doing today?” from your family or friends can turn into an insurmountable venting session consisting of everything that has gone wrong with your day. A session that brings about a woe is me attitude and ends with an “I can never catch a break” statement can sometimes disrupt the flow of your blessings and quickly ward off positive energy.
No matter the amount of hardships the world may present you with, your words are an element that you have total control of. When your day isn’t going as you want it to or those curve balls are coming so fast you can barely jump out the way, try speaking life and positivity into your situation and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised.
4. Expect No’s But Know A YES Is Coming
This strategy is very straightforward and to the point. Don’t let a million NO’s discourage you. All it takes is that one yes that can change your life forever. Hearing NO can be hard on you. It can make you believe you’re not good enough while lowering your self-esteem in the process. As I reflect on the one million NO’s I received while on my journey, I realize that each one eventually brought me to that one YES that placed me in the United Arab Emirates.
To me, those one million NO’s should have all been a YES. I now realize that those same NO’s brought me to the exact place where I am now. Those no’s opened up an opportunity for me that may have never been presented to me if any one of those NO’s had been a YES. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. A NO today can take you to a life-changing YES tomorrow. This one YES can easily catapult your life into a space that you never knew you were capable of existing in.
5. Globalize Your Vision
Unfortunately, most of us are “domestic” thinkers by nature. We dream and build visions and goals based on what society and media says we should expect and what is meant for us to have. We’ve been trained to believe that the American dream consists of having a career, exchanging marital vows, having 2.5 children, purchasing a home with a fence and, if you’re feeling frisky, owning your own business. After you’ve worked your fingers to the bone and paid for the home and cars, you retire at 70 or later and try your best go at traveling to see world.
This thinking never once takes into account that people get sick, people die, people divorce and sometimes people are just not happy. If we live life based on this programming, we can hinder ourselves and limit our goals. Personally I didn’t think it was possible for me to live a productive life outside of America. I wasn’t aware that it was okay and possible for me to travel the world as a black single mother.
My thought process and vision was contained domestically. I never allowed my thought process and the vision of my future to become global, until it did. Once I changed my thinking from domestic to global, doors opened up. It is time for you to become an out of the box thinkers and no longer allow the world to define the way our lives should be lived.
Image Credit: Jakob Owens