Motivation Monday: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Happy Labor Day! Since today is a holiday, I know a lot of people are off from work/school but tomorrow is the start of a brand new work week and the start of school for a lot of individuals so I wanted to start the week off with an inspirational post. I want everyone to aspire to be the best versions of themselves and one way to do that is to take risks and step outside of your comfort zone to attain the things that you desire. Many times, we become so complacent in life and are used to our everyday routine that we are afraid to step out on faith and believe that we deserve so much more than we are currently receiving that we settle and mistake being content for being happy. It can take a life changing experience for us to see things the way they really are and at that point, it is clear that a major change needs to be made in order to see different results.

My bff Felesha recently lost her job of 5+ years unexpectedly. Even though it wasn’t her dream job, she made decent money and was content in the role and place she was in at this point in her life. It took being fired to reignite the fire and passion inside of her to push her to challenge herself. She was so used to settling for what she thought was okay when in reality, she knew that the knowledge, skills and experience she has meant that she could ask for more not only from a career standpoint but in all aspects of her life. She was upset for a day or two but brushed herself off and went on the job hunt. Within a week after losing her job, she interviewed for another position and was offered the job. This position paid almost double compared to what she was earning before which will help her in accomplishing other goals she has. Her being fired was definitely a blessing in disguise and it took Felesha being outside of her comfort zone of having job security and unsure of what her future held for her to go after what she really wanted. Even though being fired is one way for you to end up outside of your comfort zone, that extra push may not come unexpectedly from things outside of your control. Sometimes, not being satisfied with your current circumstances and life choices is enough to inspire big changes that will shake things up!

I was stuck in a position where I was unhappy with my life and I took steps to get to the point where I am now. Settling for “just okay” was the worst thing I could do and being okay in fact was miserable. I wasn’t able to be the best version of myself because I wasn’t living to my fullest potential. I had to leave a toxic job, a toxic situationship and go to therapy in order to find clarity and purpose. I am well on my way to achieving everything that I dreamed of but I have experienced many uncomfortable moments along the way including loneliness, uncertainty and the absence of funds (being broke is a mentality so I don’t want to use that phrase anymore lol) but I know that being uncomfortable means that I am on the right path because nothing worth having comes easy!

I want all of you to step outside your comfort zone (if you haven’t already) to find happiness/love/success or whatever it is that you desire! I have discussed some of the things I’ve done to get on track to achieving my goals (check out my previous posts on going to therapy and being my own biggest fan for more details) but I plan on talking about more of those steps in future posts so be on the lookout for that. My next post on Wednesday will be based on a question that I posted on my social media so check me out on IG (@amoreluxe_) or on Facebook (Angela Cherai) if you want to share your thoughts on the particular topic;) I hope you have a great week and always make sure to love and live luxuriously!

Advertisements

Fearless Friday: What I Learned From Therapy

After receiving such great feedback on my last post, (click here if you haven’t read that post) I decided that transparency is my new thing. With that being said, I wanted to touch on something that I spoke about briefly in past posts but feel that this topic deserves its own post. I have been going to therapy on and off for 2 years and I feel that I have benefitted greatly from my sessions. It hasn’t always been easy and at one point I was hesitant to even admit that I needed help but I am at a point in my life where in order for me to become the best version of myself, I can’t be afraid of what others think or feel about the decisions I make that are in my best interest.

I started going to therapy 3 weeks after my grandmother passed away in 2017 and immediately questioned the decision. Even though I was depressed, I wasn’t suicidal or anything like that so why couldn’t I get out of the funk I was in? After many discussions with the therapist, it soon became clear to me that I was living in a state of constant fear and could not think about the future because I was too hung up on what happened in the past and how I was handling (or not handling) my emotions and how I responded to things out of my control. I always assumed that therapists were there to tell their patients what they should do but what I realized is that they are more like sounding boards where they listen to what you have to say and interject with questions that make you view the situation from different perspectives but they should never force any of their personal feelings on you. I’ve dealt with anxiety regarding my family, worries about relationships that have gone wrong and how I contributed to them and my fear of failure and feeling stuck and complacent in life instead of living it to the fullest.  I’ve had 3 therapists and with the exception of the second therapist, I have felt that I was being heard and that my feelings were valid which means a lot when you feel isolated from others because of the issues that your are grappling with. It’s okay not to be okay but don’t give up on yourself.

I feel like therapy is medicine for my mind and soul. Talking to an objective source who doesn’t know me personally outside of what I choose to share is comforting and has been helpful in easing my anxiety because I am able to share the things that I am stressed or anxious about without worrying about anyone judging me. It is medicine for my soul because every time I leave therapy, I feel lighter as if a weight has been taken off of my shoulders. Even if I leave without knowing exactly how I am going to confront an issue that I may be dealing with, I know that I am capable of handling it and just about anything else that comes my way. I don’t see myself going to therapy forever but it is an essential part of my life at this point especially since I am in a transitional period and being able to completely let go for those 45 mins each Tuesday has helped me to stay focused on my goals for the week. I hope that the stigma that’s attached to therapy can be eliminated in time especially within the African American community. Getting help from a qualified outside source for any issues you may be dealing with should not be perceived as weakness but strength because you know that you can be better and do better in life with a little assistance along the way.

How do you feel about therapy? What are your experiences if you’ve been to therapy before? Let me know in the comments! Side note: Make sure you subscribe to my new podcast with my homie DJ called “Weekend Friendz”. Click here to listen and subscribe! New post coming Monday but until then, always be sure to love and live luxuriously!

 

Thick Girl Blues (Spanx Not Included!)

Me in 2008 and me in 2018…crazy right!

In the past, I’ve had writer’s block and I always used the excuse of not having anything going on in my life to write about. I realized that the issue wasn’t that I had run out of things to write about  but the real issue was because I put restrictions on my writing. I wanted my posts to focus on triumph and overcoming obstacles without actually discussing the process. For example, I wanted to post about having a healthier lifestyle without actually discussing where I am health wise now and what occurred in my  life to get to this point. Even though I am anxious to get to the finish line, I have to acknowledge what is happening in the present and be completely honest with my readers and most importantly, myself.

I’ve been considered “thin” ever since I could remember. I could eat what I wanted without gaining weight and although I didn’t have a super flat stomach, it was flat enough for me not to have to suck it in while putting on jeans and I could wear tight clothes without having the appearance of a pudge. Although I always wanted to be a bit thicker especially when I was younger and was teased for being skinny, I eventually came to terms that I would never be super curvaceous and I was okay with that for the most part. When I turned 30 though, things started to change.

I started gaining weight slowly but surely. It wasn’t that noticeable to anyone but I could see the difference. My clothes started to fit a bit tighter and I went up a bra size but it was still manageable and because I was still technically thin, it wasn’t a big deal. However, between the Summer/Fall of 2017 and Winter 2018, it’s like my body went through a crazy change and I put on an extra 15 pounds which hit my boobs, stomach and thighs the hardest. Leggings didn’t look as good on me anymore in a size small and although my favorite pair of jeans still fit because they were super stretchy, holes developed in the thigh area from rubbing together. I came to find out that a lot of thicker women have this problem but I always had a thigh gap so I was oblivious to this issue. My boobs went up another size and although I’m still small compared to a lot of my friends, I’m definitely not flat chested like I was in my younger years. This new body that felt like it came out of nowhere was foreign to me and I wasn’t completely comfortable in my own skin anymore. I had to buy new jeans, bras and even a pair of Spanx because with the new weight in my boobs and thighs came an unwanted present in my stomach area in the form of a pudge/gut whatever you want to call it!  I know that a lot of women gain weight as they get older but my mother was always small and so are many of the women in my family so I felt like an oddball of sorts. I can’t say that anyone made me feel bad about my weight because I’ve received a lot of compliments on how good the weight gain looked on me and when I did the 10 year challenge (as seen in the pic above) I realized that the extra weight makes me look more mature and womanly. Even though most of my old clothes don’ fit me anymore, I do like the fact that the new clothes I’ve bought enhance my curves and make me feel sexy/cute/mature etc. depending on what I’m wearing. With that being said, although I don’t want to go back to the size that I was in my 20’s, I do want to be fit and more toned and for that to happen, I have to eat better and exercise more. I walk a lot but I eat terribly (dairy, pasta, bread and rice are my weaknesses!) and I don’t drink enough water (can’t stand the taste or lack thereof!) I’ve been on diets, cleanses and changed my eating habits but usually around the 2 week mark, I give up. I know it’s mind over matter but I haven’t been completely ready mentally yet to let go of comfort foods and bad habits in order to get to my goal of being slim/thick lol

This post is definitely not a pity party cause I do work with what I have and I like what I see for the most part when I look in the mirror at my shape. I am not at the love stage yet and I know that diet and exercise aren’t the only things that have to change for me to completely embrace the new me. I have to stop comparing myself to others (especially on social media) and while it is good to always work on yourself, being overly critical will keep negative energy around me and I definitely don’t need that. I always say that I am a work in progress and when I get this whole healthy lifestyle journey together, I will definitely share it with you guys! If you have any suggestions on what has worked for you, let me know in the comments:)

I’ll be back on Friday with a new post but until then be sure to love and live luxuriously!

Motivation Monday: Learning How To Be My Biggest Fan

Good Morning! I was inspired to write this post after the amazing night I had last night at a taping of the 2019 Black Girls Rock Awards. I was surrounded by beautiful black women of all shapes and sizes and was in the presence of Hollywood Royalty such as Regina King, Brandy, Monica, Issa Rae and THE Angela Bassett! I am so inspired by them and their stories and I started thinking to myself, as much as I am a fan of all of these women, in order for me to get to where I want to be in life, I have to see power and strength within myself before anyone else can believe in me and my dreams. In other words, I have to learn how to be my biggest fan.

Now anyone who knows me knows I know how to be a fan of someone who’s talent and drive I admire. In middle school and high school it was Usher (people still ask me if I am obsessed with Usher to this day!) and in my 20’s, it was Trey Songz (had the nickname Visa cause I was everywhere a Trey fan wanted to be lol) While I am still fans of both of these artists, I realized that I have to go as hard promoting myself and my talents just like I did for them early on in their careers. That means I gotta post consistently on social media about what I’m up to, don’t hesitate to talk about myself and what I do at networking events and in casual conversation and most importantly, carry myself like the shining star that I’m destined to be! Dimming my light in order for someone else to shine is no longer an option for me because I know what it feels like to not live up to your potential and to have people ask, “Where have you been?” or “What happened to the site/hosting/discussions?”  Even though people may not have said anything to me about what I was doing while I was in the midst of it all, they were still watching, observing and talking about the moves I was making to others (in a positive way for the most part!) so my hard work did not go unnoticed. The thing is that in order for me to be consistent and persistent in achieving my goals, I can’t do it for onlookers. As supportive as my family and friends are, I can’t do it for them either. I have to push myself to be the best version of myself in order to bring my vision to life and it starts with knowing who I am and what it is I truly want out of life and not letting anyone or anything get in the way of that.

Angela Bassett had many gems during her acceptance speech last night but one of the things she said that stuck with me was “You aren’t just enough, you are more than enough!” and I realized that being my biggest fan means knowing my worth and not accepting anything less than what I know I deserve. I can’t settle in any aspect of my life from my personal relationships to professional goals and everything in between. I have to let every success be a stepping stone to the next goal and see every misstep as a lesson and a blessing instead of failure. I have to stop allowing my perception of others dictate my reality because I do not always know what it took others to get to where they are in their lives because I am only seeing the final result and not the work, struggle and sacrifice it took to get there. I know that this is a process and that change does not come overnight but in time, I know I will get to a point where I will be 100% confident in everything that I do and anyone who doesn’t believe in me and my vision will be seen as unnecessary background noise that won’t be included in the soundtrack that is my life! I think that’s how Oprah lives her life and Oprah is life goals personified!

Since I plan on staying true to my word about SPAIF, (self- promo at its finest for those of you who don’t know!) make sure you check out the latest episode of the Weekend Friendz podcast that I host with my homie DJ by clicking the link to listen on Apple Podcasts or on Spotify. Let us know what you think in the comments! New post on Wednesday so stay tuned for that as well! Until then always make sure to love and live luxuriously!