After My Emotional Well Ran Dry, I Learned to Uplift Myself From A to Z
When self-help books, women’s conferences, inspirational coffee mugs and other pick-me-ups didn’t lift my mood, here is the daily practice that did.
At times it’s been a struggle to keep the momentum going when it comes to uplifting myself. Even with all the self-help books I’ve read, webinars I’ve watched online, women’s conferences I’ve attended and inspiring messages I’ve worn on T-shirts or seen on the porcelain mugs that held my morning cup of herbal tea, my feel-good well ran dry.
Occasionally, it was because of dreary weather. When I was a little girl, the rain
always caused me to be full of melancholy. This was not only because it put a damper on any fun outdoor activities, but also because it seemed that whenever I experienced a loss, such as the passing of my grandmother, it would rain. I associated rain with sadness. Besides, there’s something about the sunlight beaming on your face that’s an instant mood lifter, mainly because sunlight increases the production of serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate mood in the brain.
At times my low mood came because of writer’s block, when I stared at a blank page, questioning whether I was cut out to be a writer. And other times it was because I had taken a fine-tooth comb through my flaws as I looked in the mirror, instead of seeing the beauty in my tapestry.
I decided that I no longer wanted to live my life like a set of perfectly lined-up dominoes that could so easily be knocked over. I let external things, situations, even people, cause me to feel disheartened at the drop of a hat. So I decided to list, from A to Z, thoughts and behaviors that would uplift me. I hoped to deepen my “feel good” well so it wouldn’t run dry.
I created this daily reminder to fully embrace self-love and self-acceptance:
A is for acceptance. I accept the totality of who I am, and who, even in my 60s, I am still becoming. My flaws are my beauty marks.
B is for believe. When I believe in myself, my capabilities and my dreams, I manifest what I’m believing for. My belief mindset is wide-ranging and not limited.
C is for calm. I am the calm, a gentle wind, in any storm, knowing trouble doesn’t last forever, and this too shall pass.
D is for dynamic. Dynamic people are self-assured and have a great presence. I claim that for myself, while still remaining humble.
E is for enough. Simply said, I am enough.
F is for faith. With unwavering faith, I can chip at my mountains until they become barely there molehills.
G is for gratitude. Practicing thankfulness centers me and reminds me to appreciate the goodness already in my life.
H is for healing. Each day I am working on healing those parts of me that were broken. Whether through prayer, counseling or journaling, I am being restored.
I is for imagination. My imagination can help me click my high heels and move closer to success. I don’t have to belittle my dreams. I can make them a tall order and visualize the possibilities.
J is for journey. My journey may have numerous ebbs and flows, but I will stride on.
K is for keeper. I am not just my sister’s keeper; I am my own loving keeper.
L is for laughter. I let my laughter reign supreme in my life because it is restorative.
M is for mental health. I safeguard my mental health. I refuse to drink from any more empty cups.
N is for no. Saying no is a necessary rite of my self-care. It does not make me a selfish or mean-spirited person.
O is for optimism. Optimism allows me to hold on to hope, knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
P is for persevere. Besides the women who nurtured me, our storied herstory is full of pioneering women, past and present, who’ve persisted.
Q is for quotations. Encouraging messages from sagacious woman such as Sojourner Truth, Maya Angelou, Shirley Chisholm and so many more speak to and uplift my spirit.
R is for rhythm. I have a rhythm, a melodic, beautiful beat that I move to.
S is for silence. My silence, my quietude, isn’t passive nor fearful. It just means I am refueling my soul and am focused and tapping into something deeper that doesn’t need the clamor of noise … for now.
T is for trust. I will trust the process, knowing that when it’s time, I will get there.
U is for unique. I am a rare diamond that dares to be different.
V is for victory. When the finish line seems so far away, I will just pace myself until I get there. Victory is mine.
W is for worthy. I am worthy of abundant blessings and favor.
X is for the X factor. I don’t have to be a celebrity to have the X factor. I have those innate qualities — determination, authenticity, Black woman shine — that contribute to my X factor.
Y is for youthful. I will radiate in each season of my life as I live jubilantly, freely ignoring the societal stereotypes about aging.
Z is for zealous. Each day I wake up, I choose to live zealously, with passion, creativity and love spilling over just as plentifully for myself as in what I give to others.