Why Telling Your Story is an Act of Self-Care

Raise your hand if you’ve felt like you don’t have a story worth telling? Maybe you’ve doubted the impact you could make? Maybe you are waiting for a better ending before you talk about the journey?

 

I get it.

But I ask you to reconsider.

 

Putting ourselves center-stage to tell our story can be intimidating. Sometimes we feel what we have to say “isn’t enough;” therefore, “isn’t important.” It’s common to shy away from an opportunity to share something personal out of fear of being judged by others. We may feel like no one else will be able to relate to the experiences we’ve been through (Far from the truth!). But, sharing your story validates your experiences for YOU. You tell yourself that your experiences are valuable and important; therefore, you discover your loudest voice and scream to the world (and yourself) “I AM ENOUGH!”

 

If anyone knows the power in sharing your story (or stories), it’s me. In fact, I’ve been able to craft my entire career around sharing my personal story. I know first-hand that there are multiple opportunities that can knock at your door when you’re willing to open up and share from a place of truth and wisdom. When I first started opening up about my story (more than 20 years ago), I had no idea that I would begin a journey that leads me to share in front of massive crowds or even get me to connect with over a million people worldwide as Dove’s Global Self-esteem Ambassador. I’ve been able to help and offer insight to people who are facing similar experiences I’ve been through, which makes me feel EXTREMELY fulfilled! WOAH, storytelling changed my life!

 

When we consistently amplify our voices, we create change. We naturally begin to filter out people who don’t connect with our message (get with it, or get going). We also shine a light that filters in those who were meant to be a part of our journey, building a loyal, supportive audience along the way. This is important because these are the people who eventually turn into our community allies and supporters.

 

At the end of the day, we all want to feel the same things: We want allies and good people who like us. We want supporters and the resources to do well in life. We want to feel valuable and we want to be happy! When we look at the 30-thousand-foot view of each individual, it’s easy to see that our experiences are not separate, but connected. So, start opening up with just one person each day. Sharing your story is both an act of giving to others and an act of self-care for you.

#SelfCare17: Create a New Tradition

Some days you just feel overwhelmed by the adult world. Whether it’s money or the news, all you want to do is be a kid again, free of responsibility. I don’t have a time machine to offer, but a great and easy way to revisit that care-free childhood feeling is to create new self-care by making an old tradition new again. Make a comfort food you once loved, visit an old vacation spot, or celebrate a holiday tradition on a random day. Reclaiming the past and reviving it in the present is a great way to ease anxiety about the future.

10 Favorite Media Platforms for Women and Girls

Most content for women and girls online – especially around empowerment – is usually what I call “S.F.S.N.” (Sounds Fabulous, Signifies Nothing). Which means that it’s usually all Rah-Rah and not a lot of real. I’m all for the sizzle but I’d like a heavy side order of substance, please.

 

That’s why I am taking the time to applaud the amazing platforms that pack substance in the content they deliver for women and girls. Right now, we are in an age where it’s critical for our girls to see themselves as the world-changing thought-leaders they are!

 

Here are my 10 favorite platforms:

 

Teen Vogue – Teen Vogue is playing at the highest level when it comes to telling stories that matter to today’s teenage girl (and well, everyone, really). Not only do they make relevant news and social topics easily digestible and engaging for teens, they also do a phenomenal job at giving girls the opportunity to write their own stories.

 

Bustle – I’ve been a contributor to Bustle in the past and I’d surely do it again. They serve as a prime source for healthy lifestyle tips and advice. If you love my #SelfCare17 campaign, you will love reading content on Bustle!

 

Equality for Her – Equality for Her is dedicated to uplifting the voices and identities of people across the femme spectrum. Inclusive to all femme-identifying people, their mission is to generate awareness about issues affecting the global femme community.

 

Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls – One of my forever faves, APSG will always be held near and dear to my heart. They have always been and will continue to be dedicated to cultivating the authentic, smart girl (which is every girl).

 

Sesi Magazine – Sesi is on a mission to fill the void in mainstream media, where there is a gap for African-American girls. Sesi is released each quarter of the year with the simple yet vital mission of celebrating African-American teen girls.

 

GirlGaze – The founders of GirlGaze and I share a vision of putting more content in the world that is created through the eyes of girls. This platform is a shining a spotlight on the visual masterpieces and photographs captured by girls while building a virtual community of the world’s top female creatives.

 

Lenny Letter – Lenny features real, intimate stories from real women; a concept that is so simple, yet extremely effective in making a connection with the reader. They also post beautiful graphic illustrations of the women featured in their stories to accompany each article.

 

Awesomely Luvvie – If you prefer to read your news in a tone of “brutally honest and painfully humorous,” Luvvie is your reporter. Luvvie has a gift for taking any piece of news and making it 100 times more enjoyable to consume. She holds no punches and delivers pop culture content in a voice that you cannot deny.

 

MuslimGirl – This is the biggest and only digital platform specifically dedicated to amplifying the voices of Muslim girls. Even if you’re not Muslim, I guarantee you will read and watch stories that you can connect with and learn from on this platform

 

UpWorthy – UpWorthy is another one of my go-to websites for news happening in culture. The writers for this platform have an amazing way of making each story feel connected to the reader and I always feel inspired to take action once I complete an article.

 

Huffington Post (Voices) – HuffPo Voices is what I consider one of the hubs of intersectional media. I can always count on catching up to speed on the relevant day-to-day news through this website. It’s also a great place to read a variety of diverse voices and perspectives on countless topics.

#SelfCare17: Feel It All


You’d be amazed by how many women say the worst thing they can do at work is cry. Women have been so conditioned to be ashamed of their feelings that we think of them as liabilities. That doesn’t have to be the case. We have emotions for a reason and acknowledging those feelings is healthy and an important part of our personal growth.  I think about emotions as two separate words E- Motions.  E= energy in Motion. It has to move through your body to come out and be released. Letting go and sharing our feelings is not only necessary in self-care, it’s vital to our own sanity.

#SelfCare17: Forgive Yourself

We’ve all been there—stressed, maybe a bit anxious, and instead of calming down, our brain decides to replay over and over again an embarrassing, mean, or just plain stupid thing we said any number of years ago. It happens and it’s rarely helpful. Though we can’t control the random flood of negative self-talk, we can do something about how it makes us feel. Forgiving yourself for past mistakes (big or small), accepting that you cannot go back and change it, and taking stock of moment-to-moment gratitude is a great way to practice self-care, even in your lowest moments.

Get Out: Why I Had to See It (At Least) Twice!

Get Out director,  Jordan Peele, developed a thought-provoking script and crafted a suspenseful thriller wrapped in powerful social commentary. I can’t say it enough, but if you haven’t seen it, you should see it! If you’ve only seen it once, make sure you grab it on DVD in May and share with a friend!

 

As someone who has dedicated their career to working on issues and creating messages that positively impact women, girls, and families, seeing this movie was a must. What I found was an experience and story that left me speechless, humbled, and tremendously grateful for every word. This film brilliantly brings to life the unsettling realities and complex effects of racism in America. It touches on so many social issues of family, society, and culture that I’m still thinking about it (and talking about it constantly with my husband)!

 

Here’s why you should see it a few times:

 

  1. Shortly after its’ release, Get Out has become the highest-grossing movie ever for a feature debut for a writer/director of an original screenplay. Patronizing great films gives room and resources for more great films to hit the box office!
  2. Seeing a suspenseful thriller that also has a strong comedic timing is a rarity! This movie will surprise you with elements that normally go unseen in blockbuster thrillers.   
  3. It’s a great opportunity to just listen in. With so much noise in our political climate, we need the chance to listen to necessary, yet sometimes overlooked perspectives. Through Get Out, Jordan presents a unique point-of-view on a very specific cultural experience through a multidimensional lens that can resonate with any viewer.
  4. Full of subliminal messages, it’s impossible to catch everything the first time. A second viewing offers a deeper look and listening of messages concerning race, relationships, family, culture, and society to name a few.
  5. It adds more concrete proof that stories produced and directed by people of color are profitable for the entertainment industry in more ways than one.

There’s so much to unpack from Get Out, and I can’t wait to see Jordan Peele’s next project!

#SelfCare17: Say “No.”

As girls, we are taught to say yes, even at the expense of our own heart. As women, we can be so worried that people won’t like us, that we talk ourselves into something we don’t want. Not only is this unhealthy, but it’s dangerous!  Do yourself a favor, and practice saying no. Even when you are uncomfortable, even when you don’t feel like it, saying no is like exercising a muscle, it needs repetition. No is not only a full sentence, but for many, a first step in really learning to love yourself.

#SelfCare17: Set Boundaries

When you’re dedicated to self-improvement, it’s easy to take on too much. But we’re only human and it’s important to remember people like limits. Children thrive when adults set clear boundaries. The challenge comes when you’re an adult and you must set your own. Instead of thinking about it as self-denial or even self-discipline shift your perspective. Setting boundaries is a great form of self-protection and another opportunity to figure out how to express yourself within safe confines. It’s a way to better understand who you are, what you’re comfortable with, and how you want others to treat you. Setting boundaries is integral to building a healthy relationship with yourself and others.

#SelfCare17: Volunteer

Most writers will tell you they’ve suffered blocks where they focus on assignments and just can’t break through. Then one day they’re walking, showering, or shopping and BOOM! It all starts flowing. Well self-care can be a lot like writing. It requires focus, reflection, and self-expression. It’s a lot, and sometimes doesn’t flow as easily as we’d like. Volunteering is a great way to get your mind off of you. While doing good for others you can break through your self-care rut and feed the part of you that naturally nurtures. 

#SelfCare17: Speak Up

The only thing worse than not being able to think of a perfect comeback in the moment is when you know exactly what you want to say but don’t. With generations of women being taught to be seen and not heard, it’s easy to fall into silence even when you have something valid to say. Part of self-care is recognizing that what’s within you is of value, and that includes your words. It may take practice to get out what you want to say, but don’t let that stop you. Sometimes I have to rehearse so that the words are really mine and I believe them. Your words are important. Don’t let them go unspoken.