You Are Worth It! pt.1

As we all know this is Domestic Violence Awareness month. We held an event this Saturday in honor of Breast cancer and Domestic violence in an attempt to raise awareness and gain support for both. As I watched volunteers donning pink ribbons making calls and donations being dropped off for a local women’s shelter I couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment for doing something to further the cause.

Later that evening while browsing the web I landed on an awesome website whose purpose was to empower women to make change. In their lives and in the world. Now this is something that I am really passionate about and part of the inspiration for this blog. There was a section on their site that discussed how they empower women to recognize the signs of domestic violence and to act to end the cycle in their own lives. It took me back to the events of the day where we were attempting to raise awareness for domestic violence. It also raised the question that no one seems to be able to answer: Why some women (and men) stay in abusive relationships sometimes even AFTER learning the signs of abuse.

There are many theories out there: fear of more violence, fear of not being able to support themselves financially, fear of what others think…and the list goes on. I believe that some of these theories are accurate but I pose a different perspective. I believe that in order to solve this and many other problems that women face, we need to get to the root of the problem. I believe the root of it all is this: Self-worth. Yes. it sounds simple but when you think about it it makes sense. At least to me it does. You see, the way we treat ourselves (and allow others to treat us) and others, in my opinion is directly related to how we feel about ourselves. How we value ourselves. Our self-worth determines whether we think we can accomplish a certain task, date a certain someone, get into a certain school, speak publicly…I could go on all day but I think the point has been made. How we see and value ourselves determines what we do in our lives. Whether its choosing to stay in an abusive or unhealthy relationship or choosing to stay in a dead end job I think the root is the same.

I realize that this is a delicate subject and that there are no absolute answers. Everyone has an opinion about why women stay in abusive relationships. But my focus here is not why women chose to stay in these kinds of relationships (at least not directly) but more on how we see ourselves that determines what we do in our lives.



I don’t know if I can do it

This past Saturday I was being interviewed for a program that I applied to participate in. Some of the questions included things like “what are some of your strengths”, “what are some of the areas you need to work on” and so on and so forth. The interview was quite stimulating to say the least and I found myself being able to answer the questions with ease and I felt totally comfortable.

During the interview we began to talk about women (its a program for women) and their belief that they can do a particular thing vs. men and what they believe they can do. The beautiful woman that I was talking with stated that it had been her experience that the women she had been in contact with for so many years had a limited belief of themselves and what they could do. The women sometimes felt that they were not equipped and needed more information, training and help where as the men she had been in contact with just felt like they could do anything. They didn’t feel limited and felt they were already equipped. I got a bit emotional at the thought of this and was reminded of why I feel I was put on this earth in the first place: to build women spiritually, mentally and emotionally, something that comes as easy to me as breathing. It is my gift. It is what I do. I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to search for people to encourage, I have just accepted what my calling is and live in it every day.

As a business woman, encouragement coach and entrepreneur I have met and talked to so many women and there has been one common theme: That women often feel inadequate, have low self-worth and have a poor image of themselves. And I have met some of the most beautiful, gorgeous, creative and powerful women. But it didn’t matter what I or anyone else thought of these women what they often thought about themselves was shocking.

As I sat and continued my interview I could not get that statement that had been made earlier out of my mind. It would not leave me and continues to haunt me. I wake up thinking about all of the beautiful women who I have had the pleasure of meeting and who often feel like they aren’t enough.

It reminds me of my own journey and how I often felt as a kid growing up, as an awkward teenager, as as a young women trying to figure out who the hell I was and now a divorced mother of four. Oh, the journey has been long and has often taken me down some of the loneliest roads. I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t change anything about my journey because If I knew then what I know now, hell, I would definitely change some things. But I can’t and I’m just thankful for the life lessons that I have learned along the way which is the purpose of the whole thing anyway right?

But back to the point. Why do we women often feel so inadequate, unequipped and just not good enough? is it because of the way we grew up and some of the experiences that we have had that have shaped our image of ourselves? Has our relationships with the opposite sex played a part in it? Our parents, siblings, co-workers, bosses, magazines… The truth is we could blame any number of these things for the way we see and feel about ourselves as they are all probably factors in the self-esteem self-worth equation. But the point is where do we go from here. How do we begin to see ourselves in a healthy light as the beautiful, powerful beings that we were created us to be?

It first starts with being authentic, true to yourself and NOT judging yourself. We tend to be so hard on ourselves and so judgmental of ourselves. Accept the fact that you are you in all your magnificence. Embrace every aspect of yourself. What is it about you that makes you YOU?! What are your unique qualities? What is it that only you can do? Whether you believe it or not you ARE special! You have been put on this earth to do something that only you can do. You have a purpose and you should make a decision to discover what that purpose is and begin to live it.

Find out what it is that YOU want for your life?! Not what everyone else thinks you should have, should do or should be. But what do you think and desire for your life. If there are any changes that you think you need to make then decide today to make those changes. Just make sure you are not looking at others around you and basing your decision about yourself on what you see in others. We tend to judge others’ “best” features and characteristics against our “worst” ones and then get down on ourselves because we are not like so-and-so. No, you are not her you are YOU so just embrace YOU!

Understand that you have been equipped to do anything that is a desire in your heart to do. I’m not talking about a fantasy I’m talking about a dream that has been given to you. I’m talking about the thing that keep you awake at night and haunts your dreams when you sleep. I’m talking about the thing that you most desire to do. Find it, live it, do it, Be it!

So the next time an opportunity presents itself to you go for it. Don’t question whether you can do it. Just know that you can and that you have already been equipped and that everything you need to do that thing will miraculously fall into place.

Live your life out Loud!

In the beginning…

OK, I have been trying to write this blog for so long it seems and have never been able to decide what to write. I mean, I know what I want to say but just trying to figure out how to say it and what the potential readers want to read has been a bit daunting. I have come to the conclusion that I am over thinking this thing WAAAAY too much. So today I decided to just start. I decided that procrastination was no longer an option and that I would start TODAY what I have been dreaming of doing.

I intend for this blog to serve as encouragement and inspiration to its readers. I initially was planning to target women and let this serve as place to come for a daily word of encouragement and to share and get support from others who may be “going through”. But as I started to write I just decided to let what the spirit had deposited in my heart come out and not try to script this thing. As I write I realize that anyone could benefit from the posts. So here it is. What I have been thinking and dreaming about for long time.

Eating my dessert first
Eat My Dessert First is something that I actually DO! I don’t remember when I started doing it all I know is I seem to have always done it. I never planned it to be a blog or a book(in the works) or anything of the sort its just something I do. I never intended it to become what it has and in the beginning there was logic behind it. You see, although I can EAT I am a picky eater and often get full very quickly. At the end of a meal I never had room (as most of us don’t) for dessert. Oh, there were times when I would just stuff it down anyway and of course end up feeling miserable because you have stuffed yourself and you don’t want to move. I figured there had to be a better way.

I just started eating my dessert first. I figured I could always take my meal home but how do you take a brownie topped with ice cream and loads of hot fudge, caramel and nuts home and save it for the next day? Exactly!! Solution? Eat my dessert first!

Oh, you should see the stares and looks of wonder I get when people see me eat dessert at the start of a meal. The servers are both amazed and amused at the thought of serving it first and give me high fives or words of “oooh, I like that” or something to that effect. My girlfriends just laugh and say that it goes right along with my personality and think that of course I would do something like that(you would have to know me). They too would soon try my strategy for have both a meal AND dessert.

Now here is where the fun starts. As I stated before I can eat. Me and my girlfriends (and I’m sure you and yours) often go out for dinner just to have a girls night out. And I, of course, would always eat my dessert first. Apparently I seemed to be having so much fun with this that they too would try it. We would all be sitting at the table eating dessert and having a fabulous time sharing all that was going on in our lives. There was something about eating fabulous desserts and having girlfriend time that was therapeutic for us. We would laugh and sometimes cry but we always left feeling better and closer to each other than ever.

This became a ritual for us: getting together whenever one (or all) of us was having some “issues” and “working through” them over dessert. And maybe a meal too but after dessert of course. My friends often tease me that whenever one of them calls me and wants to talk I say ” lets go get a pie” and talk.

Eat My Dessert First has become a concept for me and for the people that I coach through the the issues of life. It symbolizes taking the time to enjoy life first because the problems of life will always be there. When we start our day we tend to start by thinking about all of the problems and issues that we have going on in our lives. Some of us jump out of bed in the morning dreading the day because we are already focused on the problems that we face and wondering how we are going to get through the day. We wake up looking forward to the end and never take the time to think about the wonderful things that the day holds for us.

The idea: Take time first to do something wonderful for yourself. Before you start to focus on the issues that face you “Eat your dessert first” Get up a little earlier and listen to some music and of course DANCE! Meditate. Have fun with your children. Make love to your spouse. Take a bath with candles (most of us do this at the end of the day but why not try it in the morning and go into your day relaxed) Do something that will nourish your soul and your body. Your spirit will thank you for it.

In Luv and Dessert,

Leisa Monique