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Category Archives: Words to Live By

Catch and Release

Was just sitting and thinking about all I am grateful for and one odd thought that crossed my mind is that I truly appreciate now recognizing the messages—the unhealthy messages—that repeat in my mind and likely have for a long time. I know it seems like an odd thing to note, but it is really a great thing when you come to place of living consciously aware of the tendency of your mind to interpret situations, interactions, etc. to mean the same thing over and over, or to reinforce a message that you’ve likely held since childhood.

Some messages that repeat for people are: “I am not enough,” “I am not good enough,” “I am in this by myself,” “No one will ever love me,” “It will never get better,’ and even “I am just like my ______.” In a time, when positive affirmations are so prevalent, one can only imagine what repeating negative phrases such as these can do to shift the trajectory of ones life.

A few months ago, I came to the realization that one of my “messages” is “I am not enough” (and the other version “I am not doing enough”). It stung when I realized how many areas I repeat this horrible phrase, but it was such a gift to my life to see it and now make a conscious decision to acknowledge it and dismiss it as not true.

CATCHNRELEASE

A lot of times we think that ignoring the negative is the way to stay positive, but the truth is that while we are ignoring it, our mind is often storing and embedding the message deep within us and it will come wafting up in so many situations. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to acknowledge the negative message—the horrible phrase that our “inner critic” says about us that makes us feel bad about ourselves when we make a mistake, someone blames us for something, or things just don’t turn out as we planned. The more that we become keen to catch those thoughts, the sooner we can overcome them.

Now, when I find myself feeling bad about something (usually an interaction with someone else that didn’t go as planned), I think to myself, “Oh, that’s just another “I am not enough, which I know is not true. I’m awesome!” and I let it go.

So today, as I created my list of gratitude, I find myself grateful for the ability to catch my negative messages and release them. So that is my my advice to you. Begin to catch and release the irritating, self-defeating messages of your inner critic and release them knowing that they are no longer your truths.

 

>> Positive affirmations are an amazingly powerful way to retrain our minds to believe good and empowering truths. These mugs can be personalized with your own affirmations for no additional charge. Visit http://bit.ly/affirmationmugs to view the whole collection!

#Proud2BNaturalMe Affirmation Mugs on Zazzle

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Even My Scars Are Perfect

It is a blessing to be loved… an even greater blessing to be loved as is. I have the most amazing friend who taught me the most valuable lesson of self-acceptance. See, I have this scar on my foot… it almost appears to be like a bunion (gross, I know) and it bothers me. I look at it… stare at it.. hating it, EVERY DAY, several times a day. Whenever I wear sandals, I hope by some act of God or the alignment of the Sun and the planets, he will not notice this disgusting, discolored, blemish on my skin. I know, it’s such a silly thing, but it really bothers me. After all, I have always prided myself in having the most beautiful feet. I even remember a time when a guy I was dating in college, looked down at my feet one day and referenced a scene from the movie Boomerang, (where Eddie Murphy inspects his date’s feet to see if they are beautiful, or not). After taking a gander at my feet, he pretended to wipe imaginary sweat from his brow, with a “Whew!” like he was happy to have dodged the pretty-girl-ugly-feet bullet. lol

"Hammertime Feet" scene from Eddie Murphy's movie Boomerang

Anyway, my point is, I have always adored how perfect my feet are—no corns, all in proper height order, and definitely no blemishes. Well, that is no longer the case. And this new truth has brought me much frustration. I have done homemade sugar scrubs, rubbed my feet with lemons, Bio Oil and everything under the sun to return my feet to the beauty they once knew. However, today, I finally got to understand why with all my efforts, the blemish has remained. There is a lesson in my scar that I need to grasp.

A few years ago, I was living in “poverty” in a sense. I had no money, no income, and no real home of my own. We were staying in a transition house in Georgia, where a very kind lady offered temporary housing in her home to couples and singles who needed to get on their feet. While living there, I only had two pairs of shoes and one pair of flip-flops. The shoes I had were very uncomfortable, but I still wore them everyday because I didn’t have a choice. And the continuous rubbing of those shoes against the joint of my big toe formed a large dark scar. Yesterday, as I was talking with my friend, I shared with him that although I am generally pretty confident about my appearance, the blemish on my foot is something I am very insecure about. His response was both shocking and hilarious. He texted, “You are such an IDIOT!!!!! Your imperfections are perfect.” His words completely caught me off guard. His acceptance of the thing I attempted to hide from him constantly, his total acceptance of me “flaws and all,” helped me to see how silly something like that really is. I mean how many guys (worth my time) are going to look down and say, “Dang. You were the perfect catch ’til I saw that dark mark on your foot.” lol It’s silly, but we do this to ourselves. We pick a random unique trait and make it bad.

Follow Garcelle on Instagram. She posts and is doing amazing things!

So let’s fast forward to today. Spending time together, he discovered something that very few people know about me. I have two auburn strands of hair. My natural hair color is black and has never been colored, yet I have always had two strands of red hair. He saw them today, I guess because the light hit them in a new way. He was so fascinated, tugging gently at them to see how long they are. I, of course, begged him to “be careful” and not accidentally yank them out. I told him that they are “two cool, unique things I like about myself.” He smiled at me, and sounding like Sherlock Holmes, sarcastically replied, “Ah… an imperfection.” I rolled my eyes…

When I thought about his comment later, I said to myself, “What does he expect me to do, look at this thing on my foot like it’s my cool, unique, thing?” Then I thought, “Hey. That’s not such a bad idea. What if instead of secretly hating my right foot for not being perfect, I choose to look at this blemish from now on as an awesome imperfection?” I could  practice what I preach and … drum roll please… accept myself “as is.” This “blemish” can forever (or at least ’til I find the right fade cream) serve to remind me of where I’ve been. When I look down and see the callous, I will remember that I am a survivor, that no matter how challenging things may be at the present moment, they are nothing compared to being homeless. Having only thirty dollars in my account now, pales in comparison to cutting receiving blankets into triangles so my baby could have diapers. Having only a quarter of a tank now, is not the same as running out of gas while driving uphill in GA, and having the gas station attendant take $2 out of their own pocket to buy enough to get us home, since I had already spent our literal last penny the day before. Our “scars” in life help us to remember times we’ve overcome. Maybe you have some scars that up ’til now have caused you much pain when you look at them. I challenge you to give your scars a new, empowering meaning.  When I look down at that blemish, I will now remember that every state of life is temporary and the rough times don’t last always. Even my imperfections have a purpose… and so do yours!

 

Scared Great

“Always do what you are afraid to do.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have spent most of my life paralyzed by fear, making choices based on what others would think, what I felt I was expected to do, and what I believed I could do perfectly. I rarely challenged myself to go outside of my “box” for fear of failure, criticism, rejection, … you name it. Well, yesterday, as I read my Facebook friend’s status, I realized her month of gratitude had come to a close. For the entire month of November, she posted a status each day of something she was grateful for. I thought it was an awesome idea and a real challenge. I mean, it’s a lot easier to gripe via Facebook than to be positive and find thirty things that you’re happy about, much less to commit to doing it publicly. So I thought to myself, “Hmmm… I wonder what can I commit to for a month.” Then I heard, “do it afraid.” The words of my dear friend—and fellow blogger—Danielle Navonne, rushed back to me from our conversation earlier that night. We had talked about how fear was keeping me from making major advances regarding my new children’s book. So, I decided last night that I will commit to facing my fears every day for one month.

For the entire month of December, I will push myself to do one thing each day that freaks me out, totally terrifies me, and pushes me forward, exposing the greatness within me. I am going to “scare myself great!”

Why don’t you join me? For the entire month of December, do something each day that you’ve been putting off because of fear—something that you know you should be doing, or have wanted to do, that will push you forward (not backwards ;)). This month just started so just do two things today, that terrify you and you’ll be caught up. 😉 Whether it is to join a meetup group for songwriters, sign up for that half marathon, finally say “hi” to the cute chick in your building, or pass out flyers to strangers for your upcoming book signing, do it.

I learned yesterday, as I walked up on strangers handing them flyers, that the stories we tell ourselves about what is going to happen when we put ourselves “out there” are typically far worse than what actually happens. The gas station attendant didn’t yell, “GET OUT OF HERE! NO SOLICITING!” and throw my flyers on the ground. She actually said, “Good for you! I’m glad to help. Put your flyers here on the counter, where people can see them.” Surprisingly, most people were very happy for me. I’m glad I overcame myself and did it.

Publicly outing myself about this on my blog was my challenge for today, although, I may do a few more terrifying things before I go to bed. (It’s a little addictive once you get going.) I think this will be great for you as it is already paying off for me. So, what will be your terrifying thing, today? Tell me below, how will you scare yourself great?

 

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Just Do It!

Last month I challenged myself to spend all of December scaring myself into my greatness. In short, I made a conscious decision to do things that I normally would avoid because they were “too scary” or just “not me.” So last month I took my introverted self to a huge natural hair event (organized by Rachel O.), the following weekend I hosted my first book signing for my new children’s book (I’m Proud to Be Natural Me!™), and my scariest undertaking of all… drumroll please…. I registered for Fear Experiment 4!

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What is Fear Experiment 4?

FE4 is an amazing opportunity for people like myself to face our fears in an environment of support and … mutual terror. I, for example, am completely terrified of doing anything that I am not great at. I’m a bit of a perfectionist. So every time I find a typo in my blog (I know you’ve already found some), I fight the urge to crawl under a rock and never blog again. I like to be prepared, rehearsed, and virtually incapable of failure at all times so what better class to sign up for than improv? Yeah, I signed up for IE3, which means that on Friday, April 5th, at 8pm, I will be on stage at the Park West intentionally making a fool of myself, in front of seven hundred plus people! I am so excited and completely terrified at the same time that I can hardly wait for Thursday’s rehearsal. I’m looking forward to sharing this awesome experience with 17 of the most amazing people who, like me, dared to scare themselves great.

Fear Experiment 4 - Improv

IE3 – 17 of the most courageous people on Earth!

So, enough about me. What are you going to do to scare yourself into your greatness? What decision will you make today that will push you a little bit closer to your goals? How can you challenge yourself to do the thing that you’ve been telling yourself for years is “too scary” or just not you? I had a dream the other day where I told someone “every decision you make either brings you closer to your dreams or farther away from them.” Stop wasting time thinking of every reason (or excuse) for not doing something challenging. Just do it. My thirty-day journey in December helped me realize that scaring myself great is the way I want to live my life. I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to guide my 2013 by Nike’s signature phrase, “Just do it.” Being afraid is not an excuse anymore. I hesitate each time I tell a new person about my children’s book, and quite frankly, I am terrified about getting up on that stage April 5th. But I am more afraid of living a life that is less than what I want for myself and my family. So the next time a great opportunity comes your way, don’t talk yourself out of it. If it’s going to move you forward, JUST DO IT!

If you’d like to come out and support us in April at the Park West in Chicago. Click the link below for more details! I’d love your support. Maybe it’ll inspire you.

*** TICKETS TO FEAR EXPERIMENT 4 ON SALE NOW! Click here for tickets and information.***

************* UPDATE *************

The show was beyond awesome! We received a standing ovation. The experience shook me so far out of my fears I can barely recognize the person I was before. It has been tremendous for me socially and in networking. Find away to shake off what’s inhibiting to you.

We now join the list of greats who've performed at the Park West!

We now join the list of greats who’ve performed at the Park West!

(Hint: if it doesn’t feel REALLY uncomfortable, it probably won’t do the trick.)

Oh, and we got a standing ovation. :)

Nothing like a standing ovation from 700 people.

Read my previous post “Scared Great” to hear the full story.

 
 

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Always Expect More

Last night, as we were heading to bed, my little one said to me, “I’ve got fifteen dollars.” I smiled, knowing that the pennies, nickles, and dimes in her coffee can probably did not equal fifteen dollars, then replied, “No. You’re gonna get three million dollars.”

So let’s fast forward to today—a few minutes ago, actually. I was sitting at my computer typing a blog that once again sounded great in my mind (but was just awful onscreen), while listening to the encouraging stories of teenaged entrepreneurs on the tv show Biz Kids. My daughter was sitting on the floor behind me going through one of my purses. She was fully entertained because I had smaller handbags inside the big purse she was investigating. After a while, she discovered some change in one of the pockets and began saying, “Fifteen dollars, fifty-six….” I thought it was adorable. I smiled at her and continued typing away at the computer. Then, she began to bring me various items she discovered and place them on the table before me. “Here, Momma”—she placed an old Mary Kay make-up sample in front of me—”fifteen dollars.” Then she ran back to find something else. She came again, shoved an old receipt at me, “fifteen dollars,” then ran away. Finally, she came back and handed me an envelope, “fifteen dollars,” she said, and ran off, again. I flipped it over, wondering if this time she really had discovered some money. I quickly opened it to see what was inside. To my surprise, it contained three million dollars!

Million Dollar Bill

Let me explain. A few years ago, I was watching The Secret—a video about utilizing the Law of Attraction to create a better life—and doing various things to apply its principles. In an attempt to keep reminding myself that resources could come to me unexpectedly, I copied and printed several fake million dollar bills, put them in envelopes, and mailed them to myself. The envelope my daughter found was one of these, and it ironically contained three million dollars, the exact amount I told her last night that she would receive!

Now, I don’t know how deeply you feel me on this—and, no, the money is not real—but, to me the message is clear that there is some kind of power in our words, especially when we believe. When I told her last night that she would receive that money, I meant it. I expect great things to come from her in her future so I believe that one day millions will be minor money to her. I didn’t, however, expect it to “happen” so soon! 🙂 Of course, when this happened I had to tell somebody who I knew would “feel me “on how powerful (and weird) this all was. So I instantly called my dear friend, and fellow blogger, Danielle Navonne. As I was telling her this amazing story, I noticed that there was something written on the inside of the envelope, and I will leave you with this powerful thought,

"Always expect more."

"Always expect more."

 

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But Who Does God Say I Am?

Yet another day spending countless hours before the computer, only to realize that a new day has already begun and I still haven’t completed my to-do-list. Every night for the past three weeks, I have “burned the candle at both ends” (and in the middle) attempting to whittle down my huge laundry list of have to’s, forgot to’s, and I-didn’t-get to’s. So when I climbed into bed around 3:30 the other “night,” carrying all that anxiety, I got straight on my knees and with no “Our Father…,” I cut to the chase. “God I am so overwhelmed. I feel like I am constantly behind, like I’m failing You, like I’m failing at my purpose….” I paused in frustration, and just sighed and asked, “Is that how You see me?” It was such a vulnerable moment, but as that question flowed out of my mouth, I immediately heard my words parallel that Scripture I remember from growing up in church. It’s the one where Jesus asked his disciples, “who do men say that I am,” and the follow-up question “who do you say that I am?” And I immediately knew the answer. God does not see me the way I see myself. God believes in me. He placed all these gifts in me for a reason. He is confident that I will actualize my potential.

And that’s the message I want to share with you. Be confident in yourself, because God is confident in you. He proved it by placing talents, skills, passions, and interests in you. If He did not believe in you, He would not have invested in you. No one puts money on the horse that’s not expected to win. They invest in the one they believe will make it to the finish line.

God looked beyond our journey and invested in our arrival. He knows every step we will take: some forward, some backwards, and some completely off the path. But with all that knowledge, He still put His money on us. Be encouraged.

Confidence Mugs by MDillon Designs

"God is confident in you so be confident in yourself." –M. Dillon

 

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It’s Okay to Be Happy

A good friend of mine recently sent me a song tribute—Beautiful Flower by India Arie. It’s the perfect song for me—a person who struggles every day to be confident and expose my greatness. It speaks to the fact that we all have unique strengths that make us valuable, and that we can succeed in this life because we are “brilliant, … powerful, … [and] resilient.” This is now my theme song. I play it when I need motivation to walk in my greatness. (Needless to say, I’m playing it on repeat right now as I type.)

All week I have struggled to write my blog. I felt stuck, restrained, and frustrated because I received an email a few days ago expressing that my Happily Single design was rejected from becoming a U.S. postage stamp—in short, because it disrespects marriage. I was hurt because although I am balanced enough to see how my design could be misconstrued, “marriage bashing” is not the intention of my design.

My Happily Single design is about celebrating the blessings of singleness, not about saying that marriage “sucks.” It’s about encouraging people, who, like myself, had a marriage “fail,” see that there is life after divorce—and it can be a happy one! It’s about letting people know it’s okay to celebrate when you’re happy. Being Happily Single is about recognizing that the state of being single is just as valuable as the state of being married….

The great thing about having my design rejected is that it helped me to realize, and fine tune, the intended message of my collection. The purpose of the Happily Single Collection by MDillon Designs is to encourage singles to enjoy life—to not spend our days longing when we can be living. It gives validation to those who at this time choose not to be coupled. Being single is a great opportunity to actualize your dreams freely (that is, unless your only dream was to be married, lol). Your purpose in this life was clearly written before you fell in, or waited for, love. So live your life on purpose, happily.

*Thank you for reading! Please check out the MDillon Designs Happily Single Collection and please share it with a friend.

Happily Single Tee by MDillon Designs

"It's totally possible to be Happily Single."

 
 
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