I’ll admit it. I’m a people watcher, and I enjoy seeing how people talk, move, dress, eat, play, and express emotion. As a writer it’s sometimes a challenge to translate what you see on paper, so I enjoy observing and trying to come up with creative ways to do so. Now, in my role as a coach and instructor I lead workshops on personal and business development. I’ve learned to go in deeper and see things from various perspectives to empower others. I have a good eye for – let’s just say – a “pretender” who is putting on a façade for the rest of us, because maybe they just aren’t ready to face themselves and look in the mirror.
Sometimes the things that come up in my workshops enlighten me and the attendees to realize that we’re a lot of children running around pretending to be “Big Boys and Big Girls.” We’re running corporations, schools, churches, restaurants, and families as wounded little teenagers.
My theory is that life happens to us all way too fast. We don’t make time to heal. Especially when we approach the college years, we grow up within the blink of an eye and we’re hit with responsibilities, stress, and relationship issues. Then school is over and it’s WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD NOW. On the outside, we’re in crisp suits, hair is flawless, standing tall and proud, when deep within still needs a bit of dusting, shining, and clearing out the clutter like an old abandoned attic.
I have a workshop that I used to do with just my girlfriends and eventually started doing for other small groups of women called “Me Time Escape Parties.” My first time hosting for someone else was done for an acquaintance and about six of her friends. These women were executives, nurses, teachers, and entrepreneurs in their 30’s to late 40’s. At first glance, you’d say, “These ladies have it going on! Look at them!” But boy, was I in for a surprise.
I am in no way saying I’m perfect and have it all together. Let’s just be clear (LOL). However, I feel that I’m a pretty happy and grateful person. I actually enjoy tackling my flaws and figuring out how I can improve to be a better person. Let’s just say I hang out in the Self-Growth section in the bookstore. Most of my friends are the same way, but my biggest over-optimistic mistake is thinking that everyone else in the world was like that!
In the workshop there are many self-reflection questions I posed and the ladies were to write the answers down. When we were finished, they could share what came up for them – ONLY if they were willing. I was amazed when the majority of this group of women who “got it goin’ on” were stumped on the first question as if it was a calculus equation. They were baffled, confused and tightly grasping their pens like I asked the hardest and most confusing question in the world.
My first question was simply:
What do you like about yourself? (i.e.: I’m creative, outgoing, great singer, I love to help elderly, I’m a visionary, etc..) Five things? I was in absolute awe. I actually was stumped myself, because I had to learn how to have more compassion that day and figure out how to help others who needed a bit more guidance then the rest of us.
One of the ladies who was a nurse sat still, looking nervously at her paper and then back up at her reflection across the room on the huge wall mirror. She tapped her pen, sighed, and then looked at me shamefully since she couldn’t find anything to write. Her hair looked as if she just stepped out of the salon, make-up was light and flawless, her outfit very hip and stylish. From the outside she had it all together. Then there’s me, the instructor, loud and lively as I usually am, walking around saying, “What’s up ladies? You can’t find ONE THING you like about yourself? Come on, that’s easy!” Okay, compassion, Simone, compassion…I know, I told you I’m not perfect, didn’t I? :)
Suddenly, I watched a tear drip out of this woman’s eye and I went over to her and started to console her. I sat down on the sofa next to her and started to help her find some things to give herself credit for, since for some reason she felt undeserving of it. I poked fun to break the ice and said, “You’re saving lives as nurse, for goodness sake! Let’s start with that. Write down, ‘I like that I’m a life saver’.” I rubbed her back and she laughed. That worked and then she loosened up to write down that she was a good mother, she was kind, and a good cook. We started to come up with many more things together.
That evening a few years ago moved me so much, because it showed me just how hard it was for some people to really love themselves. It showed me how hard it was for some to really look in the mirror with love and appreciation instead of tearing themselves down with self-hate. This woman, who was as ‘fly’ as she could be, couldn’t find one thing she liked about herself without a helpful push.
From living my own life, coaching, and of course ‘people watching,” these are some conclusions I’ve come up with:
- You can’t be with someone and hope that they will “complete” you. You should already be the full package on your own.
- That top VP or CEO position doesn’t hide that fact that deep down inside you still feel powerless.
- You can’t buy a tummy tuck or nose job to make him love you.
- You can’t get a new hair style, color, or weave to erase all your faults and fears.
- Teeth whitening and braces might get you that acting gig, but it won’t help you find and KEEP your friends.
- A new car won’t let you forget that you’re really in over your head in debt.
- Two obsessive hours in the gym each day can’t make your dysfunctional family disappear.
- Moving away, getting a new circle of friends, and changing your name won’t help you truly reinvent yourself.
- Having the hottest designer wardrobe doesn’t disguise the fact that you walked on others to get where you are now.
- Bragging about your bank account and surrounding yourself with luxuries doesn’t hide that fact that deep down you are poor as a pauper.
All of those things are just that …things. They are distractions and they help take you away from what you need to do: the work! The work on ourselves is something we run away from. Self-love is an inside job. It takes work, dedication, and yes, it takes time. It takes time to really embrace yourself for all of your faults and amazing qualities that you might not give yourself credit for. It takes time to forgive yourself for your not-so-smart moves; to love the new you you’ve created for learning from your mistakes. It takes time to face your fears and to finally step out of your comfort zone.
Self-love is an inside job that takes time. Are you ready to do the work? Try out this exercise that those same ladies did in my “Me Time Escape Party,” and see what comes up for you. You might surprise yourself….Give yourself the time and space to really work on your answers for best results.
Pretend you are on the outside looking in. You see yourself for all your greatness and faults. Now tell us about this person you see…
- What do you like most about this person? List 3-5 things
- What do you want to tell her to improve upon? List 3-5 things. Don’t delay; tell her what she needs to do to get started.
Two years have passed and you FINALLY listened to your own advice. You were finally honest with yourself and learned to right your wrongs. So now, tell us about…
- What new people are in your life now?
- What have you learned from your past? (mistakes, heartaches, people you met, jobs, etc.
- What do you look like now? How do you feel? (Health wise, appearance)
- What obstacles have FINALLY disappeared from your life?
- What brings you the most pleasure with the NEW YOU?
- Who is the most surprised about your fabulous turn around?
The following excerpt is from my book, Jack of All Trades, Master of None:
“SELF-LOVE: it’s the starting point for giving love to others. It opens the door to abundant living. With it we limp through life, become part of the walking wounded, the living dead. Self-love. Our cornerstone. We can’t grow or glow without it. It’s time to go within and love yourself”…Susan L. Taylor, from “In The Spirit”
Own Your Power,
Sometimes a little meditation goes a long way…
Stressed? Write in your journal!
Also On HelloBeautiful:
100 Reasons Why I Can't Stop Looking At Blue Ivy
1. Mommy & Me
2. Blue. #May10 #NYC
3. Blue Ivy & Jay Z Sip Tea
Blue is surely the apple of Daddy's eye.
4. Blue Ivy & Beyonce Smell The Roses
Beyonce seems like the coolest mom.
5. Blue Ivy & Beyonce Soar The Big Skies
6. Blue Ivy & Mommy
7. Daddy & Me
Blue Ivy walks across mommy's at-home photoshoot, but it's the most adorable photobomb ever!
9. One Big Happy Family
The royal family, Bey, Jay & Blue are all out shopping and we're sure they spent our entire life's savings in 30 minutes or less.
10. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
Beyonce in these heels though?!
11. Beyoncé & Blue in NYC — Nov. 4
Look at Blue in her adorable little bow!
12. Beyoncé & Blue spotted in NYC — Nov. 4
Blue holding on to mommy for dear life.
13. Beyoncé & Blue spotted in NYC — Nov. 4
Momma Bey looking fierce with her mini me in tow.
14. Blue dressed as Michael Jackson.
15. Blue & Ivy
Just look at that face. Seriously, Jay could never deny this child! She knows how to make all his mean mugs!
16. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
Look at that cutie!
17. Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue in Beverly Hills — Nov. 11
OMG Blue in a top knot? Yasss!
Blue has grown up to be an adorable toddler! We're swooning over this photo of her playing on the beach.
Looks like Blue is taking a walk in mom's shoes...literally.
20. Beyoncé & Blue
There's nothing like being cuddled up in mom's arms.
Blue is looking all kinds of adorable! Look at that left hand go! LOL.
22. Blue On The Big Screen
Bey & Jay look at Blue during a video played at an "On The Run" tour stop. How precious!
23. Pardon Blue's Back
She's growing up so fast! We're loving the top knot. Take that Blue Ivy hair critics!
24. Jump Around
Bey & Blue share an adorable moment on the trampoline. Hello summer!
25. Rocking Some Cute Ponytails
Blue Ivy was spotted with a new 'do! Bey & Jay's mini-me was holding on to her father during a little day stroll.
26. Strolling With Mom & Dad
Blue, Jay and Bey all spotted in East Hampton.
27. Blue Has A Manicure Day With Mama Bey
"Me and my Blue, and my Blue Blue, riding🐝"
28. Hanging Out With Mom
Baby Blue is walking to the door, and it looks like Bey is trying to keep up!
29. Trying On Some Heels
Will Blue be slaying a performance in the near future?
30. Holding On To Mom
Blue looks like she has something to say to Bey.
31. Playing A Game Of Tennis
Blue walks on the tennis court.
32. Cuddling With Mom
Blue & Beyonce have some much-needed cuddle time.
33. Blue Ivy
"The blueprint 🐝"
34. Bey & Blue Take A Stroll
Doesn't Blue look adorable with her colorful dress and cute hair ribbon?
35. The Carter Lounge Together
The family was seen out and about.
36. Jay Z Carries Blue While Bey Looks On
Jay carries Blue in his arms.
37. Leading The Way
Blue Ivy looks too cute with her bowler hat and Mama Bey watching from behind. She's really growing up!
38. Out On The Town
Blue Ivy & Momma Bey enjoy some much deserved time off in Spain.
39. Traveling With Mom and Dad
Blue is used to traveling with Mama Bey and Poppa Jay, but she also looked a little flustered at some moments. It's ok, baby Blue!
40. A Day At The Park
Poppa Jay Z lets Blue Ivy have her way with the bouncy horse.
41. It's A Family Affair
Beyonce, Jay and Blue jetsetting in Dublin.
Blue dressed up like a hipster and plays a quick game of peekaboo! How adorable!
43. OMG It's Blue's Beautiful Face!
FINALLY! We get to see how beautiful Blue is! Look at the adorable headband! "Blue 💙"
44. Blue Ivy
Life's a beach!
45. Brooklyn Stand Up!
"Beyonce & Blue"
46. Blue Ivy's Got Her Own iPhone
"Momma, what's your password?"
47. Beyonce's Lazy Day With Blue
"Momma, I asked you for your password!"
48. When Blue Ivy Takes Your Phone, Beyonce Be Like...
"Fine, I'll go ask Daddy!"
49. Blue Ivy On Tour
"Bey & Blue"
50. It's Playtime
Beyonce & Blue take some time out to play.
51. A Chilly Day In NYC
"Beyoncé, Jay Z and Blue Ivy in NYC - Jan. 19"
52. All Bundled Up
The royal family makes their way to their fancy car.
53. Kisses From Dad
Blue's all bundled up, getting love from Daddy.
54. Blue At The White House
Blue Ivy's taking after mommy and writing a letter.
55. Blue Loves Bo
The White House pup, Bo is showing Blue Ivy some love.
56. The Carters At The White House
Check out the royal family checking out the scene at the White House.
57. It's Christmas Time Again
Blue and Bey checking out the White House Christmas tree.
58. Blue Lovin' Bo
Blue Ivy, dressed like a Princess, showing Bo some love.
59. Like Father, Like Daughter
Blue playing dress up with Daddy's hat.
60. Fun Times With Mommy
Blue Ivy spends some QT with mommy.
61. Mommy & Me
Blue and Bey take a break for some snacks.
62. Silvery Blue
Beyonce carries Blue, while the adorable toddler rocks a metallic jacket that we want and need.
63. The Holy Grail
Blue, Bey & Jay
64. One Big Happy Family
"#miami #newyear #2014"
"Beyoncé & Blue 💙"
66. Blue & Daddy In A Blue Jacket
"Jay and Blue 💙 #NewYear #2014 #Miami"
67. Hold On To Me
"Happy New Year Mommy!"
68. Dora Dora Dora The Explorer
"Beyoncé, Blue and Dora the Explorer"
69. Daddy & Bey
"Look over there Blue, you own that too."
70. Blue's Big B-Day
"Mommy make sure they can only see the back of my head."
71. Painted Faces For Blue's Bday
"Let me get down Mommy, I wanna play!"
72. Kisses From Mommy
Beyonce and Blue prepping for Momma Tina's Masquerade Ball
73. Talk To The Hand!
Beyonce, Jay Z and Blue Ivy were spotted leaving Joey's restaurant in Miami, on January 8th, and Blue had a message for the paps! Talk to the hand!
74. Me & My Daddy
While Beyonce's arm rested, Jay carried Blue from Joey's restaurant, in Miami on January 8th.
75. Blue's First Words
"I'm ready to slay right along with you, Ma!"
76. Imagine The Sound Of This Lullaby
A newborn Blue Ivy gets serenaded by her superstar mother.
77. Don't Mess With Blue!
Every now and again, Blue Ivy reminds you...she is her father's child!
78. All Gold Everything
Blue Ivy takes after her dad's swag. The inseparable duo were spotted in South Beach, Miami illuminating the streets outside their hotel with their yellow luster!
79. All Of The Lights!
"Mommy! All the pretty colors are so blinding! I'm...just..so..overwhelmed! When's my shot coming?! When's my shot coming?!" Blue plays on set with Bey at her 'Blow' video shoot.
80. Hey Blue!
"I can be happy sometimes, see?"
81. Blue Ivy With Daddy
"Why are we clapping, again? I'm not in the shot."
82. Jay Z Tries To Get Blue To Listen To "Magna Carta Holy Grail"
"Daddy, I'm more of a Nas fan."
83. Stepping With Mom
"Wait, Ma. I want the camera to see all angles of this sick dress!"
84. Splashin' & Playin'
"Mom, this water is clean, right? Because I'm not trying to splash in water I can't trust."
85. Beyonce Discusses Important Matters
"Mommy, I completely get it. Yes, I promise to watch the throne."
86. Mommy's Hugs
"Ok, Ma. I love you to pieces, but I like oxygen too." Bey may be the Queen, but this scene from her video "Blue" makes it look as if she can't get enough of being Mom.
87. Blue Ivy Twirls
"Aaaahh, I'm having so much fun not thinking about anything...wiippeee...oh, wait...getting a little sick."
88. Just So You Know...
"I run things. Don't get it twisted."
89. Mommy & Me Loungin'
"Oh, Mommy, I'm so tired of seeing the wigs you snatched last night all on our floor. It's so exhausting. Like, when're they getting picked up? Not now? Oh. Ok."
90. A Kiss For Blue
"Mommy, let me sleep, dang!"
91. Slurpin' On That Milk...Slurpin' Slurpin' On That Milk
"Mommy, gimme that bottle!"
We could watch this adorable GIF of Blue Ivy nonstop forever!
93. Jay Sneaks In Kisses
"Dadddd! Get..Away!..I don't want...No, ugh..No kisses!"
94. Blue Stares Back...
"Hey! Who's that?!"
95. Blue Still Doesn't Get Why Anyone's Here
"No, really, who are you? You're getting to close."
96. Blue and Bey Out For Lunch
"I'm over this now. People just won't let us be. Mom, why can't we just be?!"
97. Blue Is One Tough Cookie
"Ma, please let me just kick them in the face. Like, please, I can't see through all these lights."
98. Blue Jetsets With Jay
"Dad, do we own this boat? I just figured we owned everything, so..."
99. Beyonce Keeps Blue Covered
"Mommy, I think you forgot my feet. I'm cold right now. Are we inside?"
100. Beyonce LOVES Her Blue
Look at that face, how could you not kiss it?!