Posts tagged self improvement
Self-care or Self-ish?

Ps. 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, That we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom.”

The first few times I read this scripture I took it to mean that we should remember our days are numbered-that we have a limited amount of time on Earth so with that we should inquire of God to teach us to be good stewards over our predesignated days. I have greater revelation since the death of a loved one. Numbering our days shouldn’t just remind us that we have a limited amount of time on Earth. It should inspire us to live to the best of our ability; we should make sure that our days are meaningful and fulfilled.

As I sat in the funeral I listened to their years of service. It was impressive-not because of the quantity but because of the quality. She made time to serve despite her daily demands. I found it even more precious when I considered how things could have been if she would have been selfish with her knowledge, mentorship, or time.

Given the impression that she has left on my life as well as others, I’ve concluded that it’s no longer acceptable to be selfish with my time. As a social worker, I totally get the need for self-care. I get it as a human, but with anything else in life, it’s important to be balanced. Please understand: there’s a need to say no in order to rest, replenish, or decompress. There’s a need for me-time, there’s a need to deprive persons of your time and presence who don’t deserve it. But there’s a vast difference between doing what you need to do to function optimally and depriving the world and others of all your goodness for your own benefit. Declining or failure to multiply your God-given investment is not self-care. It’s selfish. Let’s evaluate life, identify our passion(s) and calling(s), and do what we were born to do. Our days are numbered.

Grace and peace,
Risha

The Brace-face and that Pretty Smile

In spring of 2017, I decided to get braces. It was a no-brainer for me because there is a desired look that I have for my teeth. Some have questioned why I waited “so long” to get braces, or until I was well into adulthood. My answer is the same whether they understand slang or not: “I had to get it how I live.” As a child, I wasn’t able to get them. I couldn’t afford them as a college student and was unaware of options available for students. I gained the resources as an adult so I went for it. I had to move based on what works for me. Hence the term, getting it how I live. 

I’d heard a lot of dreadful testimonies about having braces but I decided that I would get them anyway because I was fixated on the projected results. I left early from work to attend my appointment. I was nervous as crap. I wasn’t sure what to expect as it specifically related to how things would feel for me. I’ll skip a few details and say this: by the 3rd day I wanted a refund. My mouth was sore. I found myself, being the foodie that I am, frustrated because of my inability to eat anything beyond soft foods; not to mention the list of prohibited foods that I was given the day I got the braces. I called my sister, also my unofficial peer support, and whined about how tired I was of rice, grits, and applesauce and how I regretted getting the braces. I wasn’t aware that our conversation was via speakerphone and my niece was eavesdropping the entire conversation. She shouted from the background: “Auntie, just think about that pretty smile.” Which was true, the temporary, though intense pain, caused me to forget why I wanted braces in the first place. Thanks to my nieces’ two cents, I continued with the process.

It took a little while to adapt, and the 1st tightening seemed to be a setback. It felt like any progress that I’d made with adjusting to my braces and their changes were lost. And then came the 2nd and 3rd times and things didn't’ seem as bad. My gap was closing, my teeth were lining up and I was on the high road. My teeth were lining up. The braces were doing exactly what they were supposed to do: positioning my teeth to be where they should be; so, the more my teeth obey the plan, the easier wearing braces gets. Even the tightening. Of course, there are new mechanisms and devices that have to be introduced in the process that produce factors of discomfort but I can see the progress they’re making. That’s the encouraging part. As long as I can see the progress I’m okay with applesauce instead of biting directly into apples or tearing my chicken from the bone. As long as I can see the progress.

But what about when it seems that my teeth aren’t responding or my treatment is not moving along as quickly as I’d like? Oh gosh. I forgot to mention I had to get two teeth extracted. As I construct this blog entry I have a hole, in the front, on each side of my mouth. SELFIE GAME SHUT DOWN.  I felt like it was such a set back to go from cheesing in every picture to returning to the “creep smile.” You know what I’m referring to, the wide, closed-mouth smile. But that came with the process, trusting that my orthodontist is making the best decision based on the needs she has determined for me.

I’ve noticed the same pattern in my spiritual life; trusting the plan for my life and flowing with God are a sure way to gain the end results of my “pretty smile.”  I’ve further noticed that just like my teeth, the shifting is easier the more that I get in line -in line with His word, His way, and His righteousness.  

Kicking Bad Habits-including New Year's Resolutions

It seems like New Year’s Day was a few months ago.  Beaucoup of things have happened since the beginning of the year and I have learned lessons that will only better me.

Here are my top 8:

1. Evolution is a part of life. It happens whether I like it or not. Sometimes I trigger it and sometimes it happens without obvious reason(s). Nothing will stay the same forever.

2. There’s no such thing as "good" toxicity. Ice cream with poison is still ice cream… with poison. Ice cream makes it sweeter, but it doesn’t change your fate. Harmful relationships, no matter how beneficial, still have negative effects.

3. The importance of love. We never know what someone else is going through. I’ve sat with families of all walks. Some stories could put Stephen King and Tyler Perry out of business. I’ve seen people cry and pull themselves together just to carry on like they’re fine. There are small acts of kindness that could make a difference in a person’s day or lifetime. Even the most bitter want love. It’s human nature to desire love.

4. Forgiving is more for me than anyone else. I can’t afford to have prayers hindered or burdens. It’s not always a 24-hour process, but being quick to forgive is a step towards happiness.

5. The effects of forgiving aren’t always instant. There are battles of the heart and mind that I will have to fight in order to stay free from holding grudges. No one ever says it, but tables can turn easily when it comes to grudges: it can go from us holding them to them holding us.

6. If I manage my time wisely I don’t have to count down to the weekend [every week]. Time management has been a big task and lesson for me this year; using time productively (instead of snoozing or worthless thinking) as well as using free time to tackle ongoing projects and to-do list items. Using it unwisely has cost me opportunities.  Daily time management has helped me free up work nights; so, I’m literally able to work on projects or spend time doing things I enjoy and have a restful night sleep-opposed to looking forward to weekends to sleep in.

7. There’s always more to learn about me. It’s a cool thing to see youngsters with a sense of self-awareness.  I’m no longer a youngster. I’m happy to know that I have a sense of awareness as an adult, but I've seen and recognized a lot of things about myself this year that I've never noticed before; some good, some bad. I’m now under the impression that learning about myself is ongoing because I’m ever changing.

8. Wastefulness is a silent killer. I’ll briefly re-mention my trip to Uganda this summer without re-blogging the experience. When I was a child and my mom put beans or peas on my plate (which I hated), I would tell her that I didn't want them. She would usually tell me that there were “kids in Africa that would love to have that food.” It was kind of a cliche’ until I saw for myself that there truly were kids, as well as adults, that would love to have food we throw away, clothes and shoes we chunk out, and resources we take for granted. It's caused me to re-evaluate how I spend my resources altogether; leading me to see how I've harmed areas of my life by being wasteful (excessive spending, less restfulness, spinning my wheels, and etc.) I see waste in a new way.

Self-improvement is available 24-7; I’ve decided not to wait until New Year's to start kicking bad habits. I've also decided to kick the bad habit of making annual goals for a new year that only roll into the next.