Revolutionary Self-Care: Embrace, Nurture, and Grow Your Authentic Self | Chidera Eggerue | Skillshare

Revolutionary Self-Care: Embrace, Nurture, and Grow Your Authentic Self

Chidera Eggerue

Revolutionary Self-Care: Embrace, Nurture, and Grow Your Authentic Self

Chidera Eggerue

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8 Lessons (56m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:56
    • 2. Your Authentic Voice

      7:13
    • 3. Unlearning the Bad Stuff

      9:07
    • 4. The Doubt of People Around You

      9:24
    • 5. Taking Risks

      6:38
    • 6. Asking for Help

      8:44
    • 7. Nurturing and Investing in Yourself

      12:33
    • 8. Final Thoughts

      0:39
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About This Class

You are worthwhile exactly as you are, and you can decide to believe it! Build your self-acceptance, communication, and self-respect skills (and yes, they are totally skills) in this can’t-be-missed class.

Join best-selling author and activist Chidera Eggerue, aka The Slumflower, on a beautiful and passionate journey through your own heart. In a class that is both funny and moving, Chidera brings her wisdom and warmth to help you build your belief in your own strengths and worthiness. From turning up the volume on your authentic voice, to unlearning the bad stuff culture teaches us, to working on the hard things that nurture your joy, Chidera's recommendations and exercises will help you learn to open up to the relationship that matters most — the one you have with yourself.

Working alongside Chidera, you’ll learn how to:

  • Recognize and turn up the volume on your authentic voice
  • Bring affirmations into your daily life
  • Have hard conversations with friends and loved ones
  • Ask for help, and figure out the right kind of help for you
  • Nurture and invest in yourself

When you finish the class, you’ll have a better understanding not only of yourself, but of the world you want to build and the way you have the power to build it.

Meet Your Teacher

Chidera Eggerue (she/her) is the best-selling author of What a Time to Be Alone, an empowering call to arms for people everywhere to claim back themselves and focus on the benefits of singledom. She was featured in Sunday Times’ 2019 Top 100 Influencers list, The Evening Standard Progress 1000 most influential 2019 and BBC’s 100 Women 2018. In June of the same year she gave her inaugural TEDx talk, exploring the fear of being alone. In total, her books have sold over 100,000 copies worldwide. 

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: I came to my activism when I realized that the world around me won't change until I do. I started to work on myself, work on what I didn't like, refine what I did like. I think the best way to become the person that can go for it is to just believe that you are worth trying. I am Chidera. I'm popularly known online as the Slum Flower. I'm the author of How To Get Over A Boy and I'm also an activist. I was raised in a super conservative environment. I learned very early on to minimize my creativity and compress the way that I express myself. It wasn't until I moved into this space that I realized your mind is where everything starts and ends, so it's your responsibility to make sure that you create a mental territory where you'd have enough resources that you can pull from without relying on anyone else. In this workshop, we are going to be digging into your creativity and finding who you really are in that process, uncovering your authentic expression and that comes from understanding exactly how self-doubt works. You're going to be learning the importance of nurturing and investing in yourself because you are worth the investment. I think the kind of person that should take this class is someone that knows they're good enough but still wants to try harder. Someone that knows they have potential but doesn't know where to start. I really heard that from this class, you learn to trust yourself and you learn to understand that your ideas are as unique as you. You can't live for the validation of being understood or liked. You need to live for the validation of proofing that stuff to yourself. Let's get into it. 2. Your Authentic Voice: Everybody has an authentic voice and they have a false voice. For most of us, both voices live in our heads. You might have seen the imagery in cartoons where there's a devil on one shoulder and an angel on another shoulder. I like to think as the authentic voice as the angel and the false voice as the devil. The false voice tries to convince you that you're not smart enough, not good enough, that nobody likes you, and that your idea stinks. Your ideas are terrible. You really think someone's going to listen to that? Who do you think you are? Then you have the authentic voice. That's your true voice that was robbed of you when he was much smaller and younger. You're smart enough, you can do it. You've done it before and you can do it again. I believe in you and I love you. The difficult thing about the society that we live in is that it's really hard for our authentic voice to thrive because our society encourages us to hate ourselves and buy things that make ourselves feel full and valid. But the most important thing is learning the difference between what your authentic voice and your false voice sounds like. This class is going to help you to hear your authentic voice more because you're going to be in a practical headspace that's going to put you in a position where you are going to try things that you're scared off and you are going to have to say some things out loud to yourself that you might not feel comfortable saying because you aren't even used to hearing it from anybody else. I think hearing your authentic voice is incredibly important because, let's face it, this is the body you're going to live in for the rest of your life, and that does not have to be oblique realization. In the same way, this is the brain you're going to have for the rest of your life, and this brain you have is what houses both the false voice and the authentic voice. So you want to make sure that if you're going to be living in this space, this flesh suit for the rest of your existence, that it might as well be a pleasurable lived existence, and so for me as someone who is really self-conscious due to the nature of the work I do, I've had to learn that the most important opinion that anybody could ever have of me is my opinion of myself. I've also learned as well that, when you think highly of yourself, when you believe in yourself, and when you believe yourself period, everybody else believes you too. For me, listening to my authentic voice hasn't always been something that's easy. Initially, it was the false voice that was the predominant voice in my head, and that false voice encouraged me to create a false self. Creating a false self, I believe is a trauma response because the creation of the false self comes from this place of thinking that your authentic self is not going to be good enough for the world that you're in. So we pander and we perform until we find ourselves feeling unfulfilled and weirdly empty inside. I don't like the feeling of feeling empty inside. I like feeling like I'm exactly where I want to be, and that feeling doesn't happen if you don't actually believe yourself and believe in who you are, and so the authentic voice is something that you can use to your benefit, and you can switch it on on-demand. You can find yourself in a room, especially in the creative industry, there are going to be times when you'll find yourself in a room where nobody knows who you are, nobody cares who you are. Because for some reason it just happens to be that you're not the most popular person in the room that day. You will find yourself in a scenario where the people in that room don't know your value. That's why it's important that you know your value even if nobody else does know your value. Because when you know you're worth, that teaches other people what your worth is, but you can't know your worth if you aren't listening to your authentic self. So clearly, the authentic voice is the common denominator here, isn't it? I think it's really freeing to remind yourself that literally nobody thinks about you as much as you, because we're living in a generation, a period of time that promotes narcissism. I think the most violent form of narcissism is the one that teaches you that everybody's thinking of you as much as you are thinking of you. If you are someone who is incredibly self-aware like I am, then imagine thinking that every single person is focused on that spot on your knee, like literally no one cares, and sometimes when you hear someone say no one cares, it's often in a tone that's meant to dismiss you. But I like to use it as a way to remind myself literary no one cares, therefore, do the thing that you want to do because you're going to die, and you have a sun timer above your head that is currently counting as we speak and not to make things bleak, but when you think about the fact that you have a limited amount of time left on this Earth, that's the one thing that should really encourage you to believe yourself. So for this exercise, I would love for you to grab post-it note and a marker. If you don't have a post-it note or a marker, some paper, sellotape, and a pen will work. Because I would love for you to write three adjectives that your authentic voice would use to describe you, and I'll do it with you as well. So I've written smart, funny, and unique. On a normal day, I might not necessarily describe myself in that way unless I actually ask my authentic voice. When you get into the habit of consulting your authentic voice instead of consulting your false voice, you get things like this where you actually describe yourself in an authentic way because you are smart, you are funny, and you are unique. Now on another post-it note or another piece of paper, I would love for you to write down two statements about yourself that are true, again, in the voice of your authentic self, and I'll join you. I've written, I am lovable and I can do anything. This is something that I always find easy to say, especially I can do anything because my false voice loves to jump in and correct me and say, actually, you can't do anything. Can you do a handstand? Can you play a piano? No, you can't. But the thing is this isn't about what you don't know how to do, this is about what you do know how to do, and if there are things you do want to know how to do, then you need to start from a place of believing that you are capable of learning, because the reality is, anything that can be learned, can be learned. Now I would love for you to save those two post-it notes or pieces of paper because we are going to come back to them in a later lesson. In the next lesson, we're going to be talking about unlearning all the negative things that you've been taught about yourself. 3. Unlearning the Bad Stuff: This lesson is all about unlearning the bad stuff. We've all been taught malignant ideas about ourselves and we all have the responsibility to apply ourselves to unlearning. Unlearning isn't the easiest process because sometimes you just don't know what's true and what isn't. But for me, I've had to learn in my own experience that sometimes the bad messages that we embed in our minds come from our earliest care providers. For some of us, it was our parents, it might have been our older siblings, or even if just some adults raised us. What you'll find is that we tend to either inherit insecurities or just download them along the way. In my experience, it's been a combination of both, where I've inherited insecurities from parents who had to move to a completely different country to start a whole new life where I was born, and I'm lucky that I've been given the opportunity. But where I've downloaded insecurities along the way have been through people I've encountered in my life. Maybe because I was insecure and I needed their validation, maybe it was because I saw something in them that I just couldn't see in myself. That projection of greatness onto them was me failing to actually see that greatness in myself. The process of unlearning the bad stuff is such a crucial one because you can't get anywhere if you don't believe that you're worth it in the first place. So it's your responsibility, and this is a great opportunity for you to question yourself and ask yourself, what are the bad stuff I've been taught about myself? What steps am I going to take to get rid of that? In my personal experience, the bad stuff I've been taught about myself, where do I start? I've got tattoos. I was encouraged to believe were a taboo thing to have on your body. But what's interesting about tattoos are, in my opinion, they are the scars that you choose. Depending on where you're from in the world, tattoos can tell you what tribe someone belongs to, what music they like, what they think of their self, what designs appeal to them. For me, I see tattoos as a way of decorating my body, taking ownership of it, and letting people know that I have the last say over what goes down over here. Why I think tattoos are quite an important talking point is because we live in a society that judges people based on appearance. In certain jobs or areas in work, tattoos are still something seen as taboo and seen as a way to discriminate against people. Now, in my experience, I've found that the more I go for getting tattoos and the more I reclaim ownership over my body, that feeds into the confidence I have in my own ideas as well, because it still comes down to trusting yourself. I think what's exciting and important about the future that we have to keep in mind is that the more different and the more unique you are, the more you actually have a chance. Because I see things moving in this weirdly opposite direction now where we're bored and a little bit irritated by the norm, and we want to see things that make us think. We want to see things that inspire us to be different. Because ultimately, there is power in being the glitch. Some of the more prevalent bad stuff we witness in society are fat phobia, racism, classism. Fat phobia is a really serious one because it's still rooted in anti-blackness, it's still rooted in othering people, and it's rooted in shame as well. But again, it comes down to being the difference, and I personally like to believe that if this is the body that I have come in to this world with, I've come into this body for a reason, and I want to believe that I'm allowed to have a great time in this body. When it comes to things like race as well or class, as a black person literally talking to you, I'm speaking from experience here, where I've been taught to believe that if I do want to be in certain environments where I'll be celebrated or even listened to, then I need to pander. But the downside of pandering is that it doesn't make you immune to dealing with microaggressions, from hair touching, to people watching what you eat, to people asking you very strange questions that you know they wouldn't ask a white person or a slim person. I think what's hard about this is feeling really uncomfortable and not saying anything in the moment because you fear that you're going to either destroy the opportunity or make yourself look bad. But have you ever thought about it from the other side where, why doesn't that person feel a fear of creating an awkward situation? Why doesn't that person feel a fear of ruining their opportunity with you? When you learn to believe that as a marginalized person, your value is that nobody looks like you and nobody will ever look like you or think like you, or be like you again because you're one of one. That's the thing that encourages me to recognize that no matter how I try to hide myself or shape-shift, I will always be noticed because I'm different. So if I'm going to be different, then I'm going to be really, really different with a capital D, with a bold underline underneath that. I think the process of recognizing these thoughts when they happen, it really does start in your body before you even notice it in your mind. I think that anxious feeling in your tummy or when you find yourself ruminating after the conversation has ended hours ago, and you're revisiting exactly what you said and what the other person said and you're thinking, "I really wish in that moment I stood up for myself." I've found myself in several situations like that, even up until now. But what I try to do is channel that energy into my work. I try to channel that energy into my creativity, and also, I think it's about dreaming beyond other people's boundaries because sometimes what happens is that other people will decide for you how far you can dream. But if you're dreaming in someone else's language and if you're dreaming according to what someone else has done, then that's only as far as you can go. But if you decide to dream according to your own vast expansive imagination and you trust that there is something waiting for you on the other side of this dream, I think that's where the magic and zest of life can really be born, but you have to at least try and give yourself a chance. But when you are authentically nice to yourself, what happens is that there's a side of you that is very protective of you. I like to have this image in my mind of a four-year-old me and an adult me. Let's say four-year-old me has had a really tough time and I go and complain to the grownup me, then I have this visual in my mind of the grownup me taking the four-year-old me's hand and just walking away and saying, "Don't worry, we don't have to deal with that ever again." I have an affirmation wall and it's incredibly important to me because I live alone. I don't really have the luxury, which I do really miss of knocking on my brother's door and asking him for some advice or just having some quick banter with him if I'm feeling down. When you live alone, it means that you need to fortify yourself with a lot of strength, a lot of positivity, and a lot of reminders of who you were before the chaos came in. I like to do that by having things written on my wall so that when I do find myself in a scenario where my anxiety is on overdrive, there's a post-it note on my wall that says, your anxiety is lying to you. It can be for anybody, no matter your living situation, because there's a quote on my wall that says, "The words you speak become the house you live in." The words you see also become the house you live in as well. Because if you're always seeing words that say things like, I'm brave, I'm funny, I'm worthy, I'm powerful, I can do this, then that just naturally becomes the tone that you move for your life in. But if you have messages on your wall that say things like, I'm not good enough, here's my goal of weight loss, here's my goal of doing X, Y, Z, that's only going to take me backwards and put me in a position where I'm judging myself. I don't think that's going to work long term. So it's all about genuinely being the person that you needed when you were four and the person that you need now, because I think it's still that same person. For this activity., I would love for you to write down 5-10 powerful affirmations and stick them on the wall, even near a mirror, a photo of yourself, or just somewhere really sacred in your room that you spend the most time on your own. 4. The Doubt of People Around You: The doubt of other people is real and it's very powerful. Unfortunately, no matter how involved you are in your field, in your life, in your career, wherever it is that you love, you just can't avoid other people's doubt and negativity. The thing about doubt is that once in a while there is something genuine there. May be the person is trying to kindly help you by telling you this might not work or their intentions do seem pure. But most of the time, other people's doubt is a projection. For me, what keeps me going is remembering that everybody is going to have an opinion on what you do. But the opinion that has to matter to you is the one that comes from someone who's been doing something that you admire and love doing for longer than you, someone that has more experience than you, someone that you know is speaking from a place of constructive criticism rather than destructive criticism, and your job is to be able to discern between the two. Which isn't necessarily easy because you can often tell the difference. But for me where the difference lies in is knowing that is the person speaking to me, a person who has accomplished things on their own? Has that person taken their own set of risks? Is that person speaking from life experience, or are they just speaking from fear? Protecting yourself from unhealthy doubt is not easy. I think with the age of social media where everybody has a profile, therefore everybody has a voice. It's really hard to tell who is qualified and who is just opinionated. Sometimes with social media, you find that the more followers and retweets and engagement someone seems to have, or if they even have a blue tick that suddenly makes them automatically qualified in what they're speaking about, and it doesn't help because there are loads of people with blue ticks. But a blue tick doesn't mean that in real life, your knowledge is verified and it's hard to verify knowledge because who is the arbiter of truth? Also is important to recognize too that sometimes a lot of people give up before they even try, and when they see someone else trying, all they remember is when it went wrong for them. They automatically think that it's not going to work out for you. The process of deciding to trust yourself outside of external feedback is not an easy one to undergo. Because to trust yourself means to an extent being immune to other people's doubt. But you can't really learn if you're completely immune and blocked off from everything. Where I think there's a healthy balance between those two extremes is knowing that your sensitivity is a power and that ultimately your gut knows best, your intuition knows best, and also you have a track record of data that you can refer to in your own life that shows you well in the past when I've listened to myself, I've been right. Differentiating between those who are in your life tearing you down and those in your life who have your best interests at heart, and are trying to tell you the truth. It comes from, first of all, knowing what that friendship/relationship already truly means to you. If this is someone that you can trust with other aspects of your life. Like you can tell them a few secrets, and there have been situations where you have forcefully had to grow together or you formed a bond over time, then you can know that this person isn't really trying to hey on you or trying to plot negative seeds. But if this is someone in your life who you've noticed, there's maybe a sense of competitive energy here and then. Or if you find that this is someone that's maybe trying to do the same thing as you. You're maybe going for a similar job role or you're working in a similar corner of the industry, then sometimes that person can internalize the idea that is projected onto all of us, that there's only one person that can go to the top. I think that situations where external doubt comes in or situations where you feel like you can get honest feedback from your friends, that can only be born out of a relationship that already is trustworthy and that you know that person genuinely wants to see you win. I think if you're watching this, you are smart enough to know when there's someone that wants to see you win and there's someone that just wants to compete with you. You do know. I think because of capitalism, we are all in some ways competitive with each other, and it doesn't help that not only are we competing for jobs or certain spots in the industry, it feels like when you're coming from a marginalized backgrounds, there can only be one of you in the room. What puts us in quite an awkward situation is, how do you look at yourself and figure out, am I projecting doubt on to other people? Am I speaking from a place of insecurity? I think the way to notice or recognize if that's you is, how do you feel when your friend comes to you with good news, that really, really good news, the good news that you want to hear for yourself one day or that you're expecting? Do you feel a weird sink in your stomach? Do you feel this strange feeling of they don't deserve it, I do? Or do you feel genuinely happy for them? Does that in a way show you that blessings are in your neighborhood? I've been in many scenarios where I've been within an inch of something working out for me, and then last minute something changes. I almost have this opportunity and now it's gone, and in those moments, I've learned that sometimes things nearly happen for you just as proof to show you that you are already on the right path. You can absolutely be disappointed and grateful at the same time, disappointed because you really wanted it, but grateful that you even had the opportunity to go for it. Grateful that you have the chance to go again for it, grateful that you still have life. That means you still have potential and capacity to make this happen. I think disappointment can be a really inspiring feeling. When I'm disappointed is when I get the most busy., turn that thing into something else positive, whether it's writing a think piece is going to go somewhere that other people will read and be inspired by. Whether it's turning that situation into a project, a film, a storyboard, one image like turning it into something else that in turn can bring money to you, it can bring people to you, it can bring support to you. Sometimes doubt is something that as much as we face it in our work, in our friendships, in our careers, wherever you want to call it, I still think there's a deeper place where that hesitation comes from, and I'd love to share something personal. For me, I don't speak to both of my parents and that's a choice that I made when I was about 23. It's still the hardest decision I've ever made in my life, but at the same time, it's the best decision I've ever made in my life. I feel like why it's the hardest decision is because we're living in a society where we have things like Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, all the things that are heavily involving family, and also where in the social media age where everything is posted. When it comes to Mother's Day or Christmas day, you'll start scrolling through Instagram looking at everyone buying their moms cars and houses and flowers and you're there like, am I a terrible person because I feel nothing? Often it's the grass is greener syndrome just masking itself in this idea that, because you're not talking to your parents or because you left that boyfriend three years ago who's now found someone else and they suddenly married, even though he said he didn't want to get married. You're not missing anything because if you had stayed, you wouldn't have been happy. This comes down to trusting your decisions, trusting yourself, and knowing that where you are right now has the potential to be the happiest place on earth. Now, I would love for you to think about a time when you made a very crucial decision, one that didn't feel too good to make, probably still doesn't feel good now. But what I want you to do is write about how you now feel after having left. What are the positive outcomes of that? What's different about the person you are now compared to who you were then? Because I can tell you there is a lot for me and I know that if I had stayed, I wouldn't even be talking to you right now because I would have absorbed all of their doubt and thank God, I chose to move. The exercise I would love for you to do now is think about the time when you really make a hard decision and how your life has changed since you've done that, what's better about your life now? 5. Taking Risks: Let's talk about taking risks. Even though I would describe myself as an impulsive risk-taker, there are still some risks that I find myself really scared and hesitant to take. That's why there's a difference between an impulsive risk and a calculated risk. We should all try to be more calculated in our risk-taking, because a calculated risk is a considered risk. It's a risk that you take in time to think about why you want to do this, you've thought about the possible bad outcomes and the possible great outcomes. You've thought in detail about how exactly you're going to do it, who's going to be impacted and how this will benefit you. But when it's an impulsive risk, all you're thinking about is how good it's going to make you feel and what immediate return it's going to have for you. This can be dangerous because sometimes we can take impulsive risks that can damage our lives, our careers, our futures. But at the same time, we can take calculated risks that can actually enhance our lives, our careers, and our futures. For some people, it's not easy to tell the difference between the two, but I think the main difference is in how long it took you to make that decision. The great thing about risks, whether they are impulsive or calculated, is that there's always something on the other side, either a reward or a lesson. In most cases, when things go wrong, there's a lesson waiting for you and when things go all right or wrong as well, there's still a reward because the information and the growth that comes from that is a reward. It is something that adds value to you. It's earns context to your life and your perspective and I would take that any day over disaster. What I find so exciting about the creative process, whether you are crushing instruments together, whether you are playing about with your voice, whether your painting, whatever it is that you're doing that's a creative expression. It is literally a risk-taking process because what you're actually doing is throwing stuff at the wall, seeing what sticks, seeing what doesn't stick, and examining that outcome. I think why risks matter as well when you're a creative person is that, you only learn when you get things wrong. You don't really learn much when you get things right. At most you might learn, okay, this works, I'll do it again. But when you get something wrong, you become a detective, I hope. You become someone that is, why did this go wrong? What did I do differently this time? What can I do differently next time? That for me is a major part of the process because a lot of people who are self-taught, actually are just problem solvers that had to learn from having so many problems that they filtered through it all and they created their own framework of success. You still need to get used to that feeling of not getting it right for awhile. Because weirdly enough, there's a satisfaction that come from getting things wrong for so long that when you finally get it right, it's like, yeah. I knew all along that I was the boss and I could do it. One of the things that I've written on my affirmation wall on my Post-it is, things are always working out for me and I underlined always. Because always, even when it's not working in the current time or even when it just doesn't feel like it looks the way I want it to look, it is always working out for me. Even if I don't get the outcome I want, it's always working out for me. Even if people don't like me, it's always working out for me. There's a greater plan for my life. This is incredible because no matter how many things you get right or wrong, you are still you and all of those experiences add up to your perspective. I'm definitely someone that gets things wrong loads before I finally get it right. I've been teaching myself guitar, and I would not recommend doing that. Because first of all, I spent like a four months not able to play any cords all because nobody told me to file my nails down. It's things like that where you can only learn it from just doing it and you can't rely on like a knowledge tooth fairy to just find you and whisper all the things that you need to know in your ear. You need to be prepared to get your elbows muddy, roll your sleeves, and just enjoy the ride and wash your hands afterwards as well. Fear is a real thing when it comes to taking risks and the thing is, if we never take risks, we're just not going to know what's waiting for us on the other side. Fear stops us from finding love, finding joy, finding new music, finding food that you might actually like. I think fear is such a fascinating concept because I wonder, is it our brain trying to stop us from dying? Is it our brain trying to protect us and only keep us near what's familiar? But it's funny because what's familiar to you was once unknown and nobody has come into this life knowing exactly what they like. When babies eat food and they spit out there don't like here, in that moment they've discovered what they don't like. But when they're eating something that they do like, you know they like it because you can see in their face, you see the response. We have to be prepared to just do things that aren't as pleasant, so that we are in a position where we can't do what's pleasant. I see a lot of tweets sometimes of people saying, "I'm that person who, if I don't get it right on the first time I try, I'm never going to try again". That is a ridiculous expectation to put on yourself. How could you expect to get things right the first time? Explain that. It doesn't make any sense and so you need to cut yourself some slack as a human being and find joy in getting it wrong. Find joy in even trying, because most people are so scared to get it wrong. They don't even try. They're living their life on like half a bar. I would hate that for me, I would. I would love for you to write down three calculated risks that you are going to take this month or one big risk that you're going to take this month and think about how you're going to approach it. What affirmations are you going to fortify yourself with so you don't procrastinate and give up and forget that you ever wrote it down? 6. Asking for Help: When you are a creative person who due to the process of how you got here you're used to doing things on your own, or you're surrounded by people who are very independent go-getters, or you've internalized a lot of other people's biographies where they play and they work on their own, and they did it. It can make you feel quite embarrassed about asking for help. There's a lot of shame surrounding asking for help. The voice that tells us that it's a bad thing to ask for help says to us, why couldn't you do it by yourself? I think it's important to work into that and actually think about the fact that we also feel like a burden when it comes to asking for help. But we should actually cut ourselves some slack and trust our friends a bit more. I find myself these days trying to get more into the habit of asking my friends for help. I found that in a way, it's a vulnerable thing where you're communicating to your friend that you trust them with this more vulnerable part of yourself. Sometimes asking for help doesn't have to be a huge gesture like, can you help me move all the furniture in my house to somewhere that's 15 miles away. I think asking for help can be, hey, I'm going to get a new tattoo. Can you please come with me so that I feel a bit more comfortable? Or it could be, hey, can you please help me signal this post that I've made so that more people can hopefully see it. Or it can just be, hey, what's your opinion on this? Can you offer me any suggestions on how I could possibly make it better? I think that asking your friends for help, in a way, it's like a non-romantic love thing because it's like I'm trusting your opinion. I'm trusting you to be of help to me and I'm quite an independent person, so my friends know that is quite a big deal when I come to them for help. I noticed them feeling quite proud to help me. I think that's something that we should all try to not necessarily take advantage of, but try to use more often because if you have people around you who care about you and love you, they will want to help you. If you're someone like myself who loves to be the helper but never receives help, you don't like receiving help. For some reason, it makes you feel awkward. You need to work on that and I need to work on that. How I worked on that, I suggest take the risk, ask for help, feel weird and ask for help anyway, because when you're someone who loves helping other people and sees it as a place where you can put your own goodness out into the world. You need to learn how to accept it as well. Learn to accept help, learn to accept kindness, and then you will stop feeling so awkward, and instead, you start to feel like a more rounded human being who knows how to be supportive, but also knows how to let other people support them because you can't get to the top on your own. Even if you're not trying to get to the top, who's going to enjoy a life where they aren't even living it with other people. So in this life, we all come in with our own sets of skills. Some have different skills than us. We have things that we can do the other people are like, whoa, how do you do that? How does it come so naturally to you? For me, I love talking. It's not something that I find difficult as you might have noticed other people are really good at playing instruments, and learning routines, and learning to memorize patterns really quickly. I'm not that good at that. I'm okay with not being that good at that because I always love to remind myself that if it's something that can be learned, it can be learned. But also I think there's also magic in taking pride in your community and really leaning into what community means. I don't know if you've heard this phrase that goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." It takes a village to create an idea that stands on its own in this world. That village is other people's resources, whether it's their encouragement, their ideas, borrowing their equipment, just having conversations with them, just allowing yourself to utilize the people around you in a way that is fruitful rather than just trying to take from people. Because I think that there is still a way of bonding by just helping each other and we don't do enough of that anymore because we're in the self-made culture and I get that there is true strength and power in being self-made, but it's also a case to ask for help. I think the topic of being self-made is something that's quite fascinating because I would actually genuinely describe myself as self-made, but I've had help, and that help has been managers, publicist that I've hired, literary agents. I'm still doing the work, being the creator, and doing the learning and going through the journey of being the person that can produce this stuff. But I've still had help to put my things out there into the world and it's okay. Everybody who's self-made has had help in some way or another, and we can't continuously hold shame over receiving help. This is what allows us to be supportive to other people and to help other people without feeling like we need to hang it over their heads and we need a favor back from them. It allows us to give about needing to receive. The irony of how this world seems to work is that when you give without wanting to receive, you actually get back what you gave tenfold in a whole different form, probably after you've forgotten the kind gesture that you did for someone. That's what keeps me going honestly, knowing that me helping other people by being vulnerable and open about my experiences, but also helping from a place of genuinely wanting to see the best for them means that I am creating an atmosphere where great things can come into my life. I think everybody has the capacity to be that for someone. Also, it's a way of just paying it forward. A time when I really struggled to ask for help was when I found myself in this strangely pivotal position where I felt like I had to make a crucial decision on whether I want to spend the rest of my future being independent and handling business and stuff on my own or whether I want to continue to be in a system of management, and working with other people, and going through that route of life. I felt like I had to just suck all of my pride a bit and speak to my friends and ask them, what would you do if you're in the position that I am in? I found this a very difficult position because both choices are the right choice to make. I say that because no matter where you end up, you are still the talent. You are still the person that houses all this creativity. You are still the source of where all these things are going to come from. So whoever you work with or join paths with is an extension to your already concrete existing reality. But what makes it hard is that sometimes you don't want to give the impression to your friends that things aren't as shiny as they are. But I think that your friends can be really inspired by you choosing to make a completely different decision, and the fact that you chose to even reach out to them is an honor to them. I wish that we would do more of that way more often. I would love for you to think about a situation that you think you might need help with. Maybe it's that you've got a lot on your plate and you're trying to figure out maybe how you can schedule your revision or it could be that you're at this place where you are in a dilemma and you're not sure whether this decision could have an impact on the rest of your life. Because somehow it's like when you're a young person, you're told that any decision you make is going to reflect the rest of your life. I think that's so much pressure. So what I would love for you to do is spend 5-10 minutes writing down something that you want to ask help for and how you're going to ask for help. What do you need? Be honest with yourself, what do you need? 7. Nurturing and Investing in Yourself: I think it's really important to learn to nurture and invest in yourself because in this life, you are your own keeper. As much as we have guardians around us, parents, grandparents if you're lucky, uncles, aunties, rich aunties if you're extra lucky, it's still your only life and you're going to wake up and one day die in this body. That's not to make this morbid or grim, but is to remind you of the urgency of truly investing in yourself. It doesn't have to cost money to invest in yourself. I like to think an investment in yourself includes spending time with yourself and time on yourself as well without feeling guilty. I use that time to geek out on astrology. I use that time to dream and aspire, and even observe and learn and just study the game that I'm in. All these things are rewarding. It might not be immediately rewarding, but there's something about trusting that later down the line, it will pay off. When it comes to nurturing yourself, this is more of a delicate process because it's not always fun and sparkly and all self-care bubbles. Often, it's really taking a look at yourself and asking yourself, Am I remaining accountable? Am I trustworthy? Did I behave in a way that honors my inner child? If these answers aren't a yes, then it's time to dive deeper and ask yourself, where is the fear coming from in advocating for myself, and what can I do to tackle that fear? We are in an age right now where self-care is heavily monetizable. Capitalism has obviously learned keywords like confidence, self-love, positivity. We have to be extra smart, smarter than the algorithm, smart enough to know that the real self-care and the real self nurturing involves walking away from stuff that is bad for you, like a terrible boyfriend who gaslights you and tells you that his ideas are better than yours and expects you to defer to him instead of trusting your own knowledge. We don't need that. It's also about walking away from family members who might be planting seeds of doubt in your mind instead of watering what you've been trying to nurture and grow. Because I promise you, there are people out there for you. You will find your tribe, but you won't find your tribe if you aren't being yourself. I really wish that the process of nurturing and investing in yourself was a one time only event that you never have to revisit. But spoiler alert, it doesn't end. It's a continuous process and it's not any easier anytime you have to do it again. In fact, I strongly believe that as we all get older and as we move through different channels of life, there are just going to be new experiences that we have to learn from. But what's exciting about this is that, if you take on the perspective of being a student, then it means that anything that happens to you, whether the outcome is what you wanted, whether it's something that pushes you into a direction that involves you having to learn a lot, it's still valuable because that information you can see it as data that you're collecting, and that data is useful when it comes to understanding other people. You need to see yourself in a way as a battery. If you're handing out your supply to all these people who aren't replenishing you back, you're going to be drained and you're going to be bitter. Do you want to be bitter or do you want to be better? I think advocating for yourself and nurturing yourself go absolutely hand in hand. I want to revisit the analogy I made of the adult and the four-year-old child, both of which are you. When you're advocating for yourself, you're the adult who's talking about how amazing your child is. You know what? I'm incredible. I know how to do all these things. I did it by myself. It doesn't have to be necessarily societal achievements that are imposed on us. But what about celebrating finally leaving a recurring situation with a terrible ex-boyfriend? What about celebrating finally walking away from a job that had you overworked and underpaid? What about celebrating finally being able to say, I am great, without stuttering. That is a major milestone, and that needs to be recognized way more often. I think advocating for yourself is often something we talk about in the realm of work and career. But there are so many other areas in life where we have to advocate for ourselves. Because for me, I've had to learn to accept more, ask for more when it comes to money. Ask for more than you thought that you would actually ask for. Eight times out of 10, you'll find that you actually get that money because people believe you when you believe yourself. It all still comes back down to believing yourself. You have to be the proof first. I find that my friendships, ironically, are a harder place for me to advocate for myself than when it comes to work. You would think that it's other way around where work is scarier because it's about money and you don't want to put people off with your high price or you being hard to work with, aka, having standards. But on the flip side of that, I believe that friendships have a huge impact and influence on you more than your work does. If you have friends that you get this weird energy that they might be jealous or when you start to talk about yourself in a positive and uplifting manner, their tone and body language seems negative, that person needs to go. I know some people feel a bit funny about this phrase of how can someone love you if you don't love yourself? But, I think that there is significant truth in that because again, it comes down to you having to be the proof, be the example. Let people know how to treat you by how you treat yourself. This heavily fits into dating as a relatable example, where if you're a woman like myself who likes to spoil myself, look after myself and give myself what I think is the best, then anybody that I'm dating, especially if they're a guy, they have to outdo me or meet me at my level, and that's a very expensive level to meet me at. I understand that, which is why I'm not out here handing my heart to everyone. I'm selective of who I give the chance to even see my heart because I understand what it takes to be with someone like me, but also I'm willing to do that work on myself anyway. It never feels like you're asking for too much when you're already giving it to yourself. I think it's really hard to have conversations like this with people you love. Conversations that revolve around you setting boundaries or reminding someone what your true value is. Because again, if you're conflict averse, like myself, it's anxiety inducing. But funny enough, yesterday I had this experience where I felt like I needed to say something to my friend who had re-posted something on her Instagram story and even though it was a re-post, so she didn't say anything that was written in what she had re-posted, the re-post contained a word that was a racial slur. So I saw that and I sat on the feeling for like 24 hours. I like to give at least 24 hours before I go in all guns blazing because I want to use that 24 hours to think about why did that trigger me? Why did that create a flare up in my mind? There is something here and I need to investigate. My investigation process is a very simple one where I like to just ask people, what did you mean by that? Can you explain that? I want you to understand that this made me feel funny and you even speaking up about this is because you respect that relationship so much that you want to let that person know. If that person isn't willing to understand me or isn't willing to see exactly what I mean, then I need to make a crucial decision about whether this person's going to stay in my life or not. It comes down to being willing to take that sacrifice and knowing that no matter what, you will always have yourself and you will make new friends. There are so many people on this planet. Even if you're 50 years old, you're still going to make new friends. I would hate to still have the same exact friends I had when I was 16, all of them. That means I haven't changed, and they haven't changed. I would hate that. What I want to see, is people around me who have survived watching other people live, who have seen that there is value in being in my life because they understand that I don't just keep anyone around me. Now, I'd like you to open your notes app or grab a piece of paper and a pen and write to someone your true feelings. This exercise is about giving your authentic voice a chance to thrive in the real world, in a real uncomfortable situation. You might be someone who either is in this place where there's someone that you feel like you need to talk to and say something crucial to or you're thinking about something that's happened in the past that maybe you wish you could go back to and revisit. This exercise is a chance for you to draft a message either to someone that you're going to send it to or someone that you wish you had sent it to. In this message, I really want you to focus on your tone. Are you minimizing yourself through using words like saying, I was just reaching out to. Why don't you backspace on the just and simply say, I'm reaching out to discuss x, y, z. I'm the kind of person where when I'm drafting a message to someone and it's a really crucial anxious message, I like to draft it in my notes app instead of just writing it in the actual messaging app. Because when the person can see the bubble, and if that bubble was been bubbling for like 30 minutes, they know something is brewing. But if you write it in your notes app, then that gives you the opportunity to read and review, to consciously think about what it is that you actually want your message to be about. Are you fuffing about and running away from what you really want to say? Or are you being direct and still respectful at the same time? At the same time, giving that person an opportunity to maybe show you where you might be wrong, and explain their self. I think this matters a lot because we are a generation where we're really scared of poking the bubble a little bit, ruffling the feathers, but your feathers have been ruffled, so ruffle them back and let's both be uncomfortable. That's how I like to see it. Because sometimes we think, oh no, this conversation might end in us never speaking again. But we never actually think, what if this conversation actually ends in us knowing each other way more and us respecting each other a lot more. If you're in a position where this person is no longer in your life or you just can't send that message to them anymore, I still want you to write the message to them in the tone that you now would speak in. Because now you know yourself better, now you're stronger, now you know your worth, now you know your value, now you know how to advocate for yourself, and now you know that if someone has hurt you, you don't have to make the effort to make them feel good while explaining to them why they hurt you. Because you're hurt and hurt is a valid emotion and you're allowed to be hurt. If your friends are the right people, they'll accommodate that hurt and hopefully rectify or repair what they may have done to you. If you aren't ready to confront someone just yet, take this time to practice. See how you feel actually reading back what you've said. How do you feel about seeing yourself stand up for yourself? Do you want to sound like this more often? Or do you want to go back to the version of yourself that was passive and willing to accept whatever? 8. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you did it. Thank you for joining me in taking this journey to your authentic self. I hope that through this you've been able to see that you have the capacity and the potential to advocate for yourself, to protect yourself, and to give yourself what you truly deserve. I would love to see your affirmations, your entries in your notes app. So please do share in the projects gallery with other people so that we can all continue to support each other. Also remember, you can find me online @theslumflower.