I’m naturally a “realist”, who often borders pessimist. I assume the worst will happen then allow myself to be surprised by the best. I prepare to have to support myself socially, financially, emotionally and spiritually. I’m often surprised to realize that people care and love me. On my platform, I often express the importance of being grateful. I am learning to practice being present and being grateful where I currently am.

For the past few months I’ve been worried about where I will work for the next two years as I support myself financially during grad school. I’m blessed to have a stable and safe environment to live (my mother’s house) so my main focus is providing for my financial needs. I’ve been searching for suitable jobs all summer (not as frequently as I should) and praying about tuition every day at 11:00 a.m. My main goal was to find a suitable job to support tuition as well as my wants and needs. I was worried and had talked/thought myself into a negative mindset. I had saved 2/5 of one semesters tuition. I had no idea where the other money was coming from. I will say, I had adopted a spirit of hopefulness but was constantly being haunted by negativity I couldn’t escape. The daily prayer focused on tuition allowed me to find moments of positvity amongst the hours of negative thought.

Last week, I spent the week with my maternal grandmother and my youngest cousins. At the end of the week I was blessed with money towards my tuition. It was an unexpected blessing and I was grateful to the point of tears. Like I stated before, love and kindness surprises me. I assume negativity is the default and the expected. I think this is a massive source behind my social anxiety. Before most interactions, I assume people think negatively and will act negatively towards me.

I’m learning to have a heart of positivity and gratefulness because negativity has never served me. On top of that, worrying and stressing reveals my inability to trust a God who has never failed me. Months ago I applied for a fellowship and after not hearing from the school for months, I continued to pray about the situation but the “realist” in me began to save money for tuition. 9 days ago I woke up at 5 a.m. concerned about where I would find the remaining 3/5th of my tuition for the semester. 3 days later, I was blessed with 1/5 of the remaining balance. I was overjoyed and felt relief. That relief carried me through the end of the week up until this week.

This is the final week before school starts. Next Thursday is the first day of classes. Truthfully, I hadn’t put much thought into the beginning of the semester just how I would afford it. I did spend a few moments praying about the school work but I spent most of my energy concentrated on the financial aspect. I have no parking pass or awareness of where any of my classes are.

Two emails brought me to my knees and I was reminded of the need to be grateful. On Wednesday I received two emails from the University I plan to attend next week. The first email informed me that I have been awarded an assistanship for this upcoming semester. The second email informed me that I have been awarded a scholarship for fall, spring and summer of 2019-2020. The first email brought me to my knees weeping. The second email made me cry out. Tears fell down my face and I was overwhelmed with gratefulness.

All summer I felt purposeless. I felt empty and incapable of success. I felt as though I was been hopelessly grasping at dreams my hands could not hold. I felt lonely and frankly I felt like a complete failure. Halfway through my undergrad journey my dreams and passions shifted in a way that has left me scrambling for a new “life-plan” ever since. The degree I graduated with in May was only half of what I planned for so ever since then I’ve been trying to find my purpose.

The emails didn’t make me feel fulfilled but they did reassure me that I’m on the right track. They comforted me, encouraged me and reminded me that I’m never alone. Though I don’t know what this semester or the rest of my life has in store for me, I know I have a God who hears my deepest cries even when my faith is failing. I am grateful for opportunities and a support system that prays I have the strength to enter rooms my insecurity tells me I cant.

This Self-Love Sunday I am focusing on gratitude (again). I often find myself believing that no ones owes me anything. Yes, I am the child of immigrant grandparents. I grew up knowing that nothing is guaranteed and nothing is promised. I must do the hard work, the heavy lifting. The negative side effects of this mentality leave me believing that the worst is expected and appropriate. It normalizes inappropriate behavior and interactions, leaving me fearful of interacting outside of my comfort zone. This focus on gratitude asks me to step back and reevaluate how I treat those around me and how I deserve to be treated. More than anything, this focus on gratitude begs me to shift my mindset to one of openness and positivity. It paints negativity as the exception not the rule. Assuming the world will always respond negatively has caused me to create a wall to protect myself but I think this wall is also preventing the possibility for growth, acceptance and positivity.

I made two goals for myself this week and I admonish you to join me

Goals for this week:

  1. Every time you have a negative thought take 5 seconds to reword it into something positive.
  2. Every night make a note of at least 5 thing you’re grateful for. No repeats but you can add one you’ve already listed once you have a new 5 for that day

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