We're asking you what quotes, words, or phrases keep you going and encouraged during tough times on your journey? In other words, What's your JOURNEYSTRENGTH? 

MYJOURNEYSTRENGTH: ASHLEY FREEMAN

Our journeys get tough when we stop loving ourselves. It sounds simple but think about it, when we love ourselves we don’t doubt our capabilities or fear the future. Love allows us to have faith and pursue what we want. I’ll be the first to admit that loving myself is a challenge daily.

If something was difficult for us as a child, we asked a guardian, teacher, or peer for help. As we became adults, our mindsets shifted into the belief that we aren’t allowed to ask for help. I disagree. I bought the book, Journey to the Woman I’ve Come to Love, Affirmations from Women Who Have Fallen in Love with Themselves so I could find inspiration during the times that I find it hardest to love myself.

Each woman was asked, “At what point did you fall in love with yourself?” Some of my favorite responses are below, I hope they encourage you along your journey as well.

One: You’ll Have Nothing to Give If You Never Give to Yourself

When is the last time you gave yourself something? If you were on a hiking journey you would give yourself patience as you walk through dangerous areas and water to prevent dehydration. When it comes to this journey of life, we give constantly to others but barely even give ourselves 8 hours of sleep. As women we are accustomed to neglecting ourselves so we can provide for others. We fail to realize that we are like wells of water, if we constantly give others our water but never replenish ourselves, then eventually we will have nothing else to give.

“It was about seven years ago when I decided to start gifting myself. Every morning at dawn I would go walk on the beach and say my affirmations and prayers. I decided it’s good to gift other people but you also need to gift yourself.” – Synthia Saint James

It’s time to start giving to ourselves. Give yourself time to figure things out. Give yourself comfort during insecure moments. Give yourself the opportunity to mess things up so you can learn how to do them better next time. Give yourself moments to sit quietly instead of believing that if you aren’t multitasking, you’re being lazy. Give yourself a scheduled five minutes of self-care daily.

Two: Embrace Every Facet of Who You Are

Imagine if we embraced ourselves without any fine print. Just the way we are, not when we lose five pounds or when we’re wearing a cute outfit. No conditions necessary. That would be an awesome life!

“I fall in love with myself every time I discover a new facet of this woman I am. In the beautiful days when strength makes my enjoyment, and in the difficult moments when my vulnerability sharpens my faith. I am in love with this mystery that I carry in me, in the love my ancestors whom express themselves through my voice and in these little gifts in the shape of my fingers. And because life is a miracle, I like knowing that it is in me.” –Oum El Ghait

So the next time negative self-chatter creeps into your mind, silence it. Remember that you are multi-faceted. You are dope. Worship each vulnerable moment as an opportunity to increase your faith.

Three: Find Out What Rewards Your Spirit and Do It

What makes you smile? What feeds your soul? What gives you uncontrollable joy? When is the last time you’ve done those things? What is preventing you from doing them more frequently? Time…money…energy? Doesn’t it seem a little odd that we’re “busy” every day but none of the tasks that we do actually rewards our spirit?

“It really started for me when I started this job (as a nurse). Helping people is the most rewarding, awesome job ever. I love coming to work.” –Jane Smith

Some of us don’t have the opportunity to work in the field that we are passionate about because we take whatever job we can get that provides a stable income. It sucks but the bills have to be paid, I totally understand. Regardless of what your 9-5 is, dedicate at least 3 hours a week to an activity that makes your spirit light up.

Four: You Are the Gift

“I started to love the woman that I am when I appreciated that it is a God-given gift that I open every day.” –Kristie Fujiyama Kosmides

I read this response multiple times so it could sink in. You might need to as well. I’ve never thought of myself as a gift. This statement was short but profound. If we woke up every day recognizing that we are a God-given gift, that would force us to recognize our worth. That’s powerful. Tomorrow I dare you to start believing that you are a gift. See how that causes you to change your actions and what you’ll accept from people.

Five: Become Comfortable So You Can See Yourself in All Your Glory

Isn’t it weird that we are uncomfortable in the only skin we’ve ever known? Discomfort usually stems from not being familiar with something. So maybe it’s a sign that we need to spend more time getting to know who we truly are outside of the labels and responsibilities society has placed on us.

“There was no specific moment, no significant event, just a gradual ‘feeling comfortable’ with myself that began a few years ago. When I began to see myself not as someone’s daughter, not as someone’s wife, not as someone’s mother, but as a unique woman with more strengths than weaknesses, more perfections than flaws, more confidence than doubt, more dreams than regrets.” –Barbara Toney Richman

Pinky promise me that you will take at least one hour per week to sit in silence. Let your thoughts run freely. Whatever is clouding your mental space, release it. Take that time to become comfortable and see yourself in all your glory. Bask in your unique capabilities and plan to take action on all your dreams.



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