As we walk into year three of our organization, I am filled with emotions as to how far this journey has truly come. I started this from the most sincere place in my heart to make a difference in women’s lives. I hoped to create a space where women who had the floor beneath them cave in to learn not only how to stand but to SOAR high. Through this sincere attempt at helping others, I think that the person who has most benefited from the journey has been me.
A once broken, confused, struggling person, I learned not only how to stand tall but to spread my wings and never look back. My life struggles have really shaped me into the person who stands before you today. I have struggled with mental health, finances, relationships, and everything else that comes with being broken. When I started this journey, I was operating from a weak mindset.
To honor stepping into Empowered Fem’s third year, I did some digging recently to reflect upon why that was so I could help those of you struggling to get out of a negative or weak mindset.
Growing Up Fatherless
I grew up in a single parent home. My mom did the best that she could to raise my brother and I. Despite that, the void of not knowing who my father was haunted me for a long time. To this day, I have never met my father nor do I know his name. My birth certificate has a dotted line for the space where my fathers name would have been typed. I didn’t realize what an impact that had on me.
Growing up, I always thought that my mom would tell me who he was or what her story was when I got older. That hasn’t happened yet. This might be a story that my mom takes to the grave. It is her story and I still respect her for being the strong person that she is. I also give her so much credit for single handedly raising two children in a country where she did not even know the language. I don’t want to take away from her strength because of the pain of not knowing my father.
These childhood traumas that we endure are hard to let go. I never really missed the fact that I did not have a dad. I have always been used to just my mom, my brother, and me. It was always the three of us. We are a product of our surroundings. I never had the security of a dad and that expectation left me very exposed.
I vividly remember being disrespected by a grown man and thinking that this would have never happened if I had a dad. It makes me cry to think that I was that vulnerable and to know that I was being taken advantage of with no one to defend me. This is one of the handful of times that I wished so bad that I had a dad.
Turning my Pain into a Platform
I realize now that trauma has shaped my life. Because of what I went through, I unintentionally made it my life goal to never let my kids grow up without a father. For this, I sacrificed and put up with so much so that my kids would never have to go through what I went through. I took it upon myself to be the one to make those generational changes. I did not want my story to be repeated. I wanted to change my environment through my strength instead of continuing to allow my environment to produce me.
I share this with you so that you know that you are not alone in your journey to finding yourself. Know that there is nothing wrong with you. We all adapt to our challenges differently. They say that it is easier to carry a cross between two people. This is because when we walk with others, we have someone to lean on when we are tired, someone to talk to when we need to share our hearts, someone to inspire us when we lose our motivation.
As I’ve grown, there has always been a strong father figure when I needed it most. The universe has always put someone in my path when needed. While I endured pain, I also learned how to make my pain a platform in helping others because I didn’t want another woman out there to feel a lack that she couldn’t identify. I wanted to ensure that each woman knew there are people like her out there who have survived and thrived despite their pain and struggles.
As a strong, independent, empowered fem, what was formerly my weakest link is now my strength. Realizing that my life’s trajectory was marked by never knowing my father has really opened my eyes to why I am the way I am. I’ve now turned that into this growing, beautiful Empowered Fem community where women can come together, learn from each other and me as we share our struggles AND triumphs, and grow together.
5 Actions to Take to Conquer Your Battles
Here are some tips for overcoming some of your deepest battles and conquering them like a queen. To soar high you must change your hurt into strength. It is not easy, but it’s also not impossible. Never give up on yourself. Never let others tell you that you can only be as strong as your weakest link. Instead, take action and turn your weakest link into your strength.
Give Yourself Permission to Cry
Girl, sometimes the mind just resets itself after a good, hard cry. I have always been very sentimental. Crying comes easy for me. I even cry when I laugh! Letting out all those feelings and having a good cry to where you wake up with your eyes swollen is so healing. There is no need to hide our emotions. Your feelings are valid and crying will help release some of that stress.
Strengthen Your Courage
Have the audacity to change your life’s trajectory. Stop at nothing to create the changes you need to make in your life. Make it your one and only goal to reach your own success. Never doubt the possibilities. Remember that your light was meant to shine. From the greatest battles have come the best triumphs.
Switch Your Mindset
Reprogram your thinking. Start to fill your mind with positive thinking. Start to see the world in a different light. Know that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We are resilient. Fill your mind with positive affirmations and get out of that rut. You are destined for greatness.
Show Your Gratitude
Be appreciative of how far you have come and recognize your wins. Be happy for the little or a lot that you have. Know that there are people who are struggling with far worse than what you have gone through. Be grateful for all the blessings that you have now and the many more to come. Use our One Good Thing a Day journal to track one thing a day you are grateful for and watch how your mood changes and you find courage to go after your dreams and hopes.
Practice Your Faith
You are not alone sis. Find the peace that you need in your soul. Reading a Bible verse or listening to a sermon might be the guidance you need to keep you going. Block out the extra noise in your life and concentrate on yourself. Your faith will never lead you in the wrong direction.
You can use all five of these, or just use one of them. If you don’t know where to start, allow yourself to cry. If you can’t cry, give yourself time to journal through your thoughts and see if digging deep allows you to get in touch with your emotions. The more open you are with yourself, the better you will show up for others. You’ve heard it said that “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” well, sis, your cup will never be full until you are honest with yourself about what’s draining it. Your battles are yours, but that doesn’t mean you have to fight them alone. Stand strong with others and let Empowered Fems around the world help you as we empower each other and the next generation of women.
As you prepare for battle, play this fight song, appropriately entitled Fight Song by Rachel Platten.