Face to Face with Self-Acceptance

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you see or hear the words “Self-Acceptance”? Does that word resonate in a positive or as a negative way for you? For many, the answer might change from one moment to the next or depending on where you are in your life. We have so much mental chatter going on all day that our own perception of self-acceptance might be cloudy from time to time. Judgment exists all around us. Social Media for one has heightened the level of judgment and high expectations for what our lives should look like. We have been fed a life full of perfected filters through our online social interactions. Although it may generate a picture perfect moment at that time for the world to see, the idea of accepting flaws and imperfections have been diluted. Some may say, that’s just the world we live in and that’s ok to a degree. I wonder, when do we just look at ourselves and say I’m enough just the way I am. Don’t get me wrong I’m not ganging up on photo filters. Hey, whatever makes your creative juices flow is a plus, but the point is, are we being ok with just accepting who we are just the way we are INSIDE and OUT? Acceptance is a powerful word because we do live in a time where tolerance is a point of discord in our country and around the world. But regardless of how we are perceived by others, our self-acceptance is where the true power lies.

We have all lived through moments when we feel insecure or when we question who we are. No matter how confident you are, the human side will kick in at some point and make us question ourselves. Do you feel less than because you didn’t get that promotion? Do you feel out of sorts because you are not financially where you desire to be? Do you feel inadequate when you’re surrounded by just the sense of judgment from those around you? That is where that self-acceptance needs to come in and stand on solid ground. Believe me, there is no magic potion that cures insecurity, fear or low self-esteem. We are our biggest critics in our mind daily. But taking inventory of who you are is all you can do sometimes to get through the day.

Here is one practice you can try when you are doubtful or out of your element. Begin by really looking at yourself and acknowledging what you do like about yourself. I’m all about lists, but not everyone is. So if you haven’t, give this a try. Take any sheet of paper and a pen, (In my case I would probably choose pretty stationary or something with color) then just write your name down. Now list your successes, what you like about yourself and what you have accomplished. Sometimes just getting up and getting dressed in the morning is a major mission accomplished. Have you decluttered your home, opened the door for someone, given a compliment, drank a little more water or had a healthier meal? At some point in your life, you must have had a good day or two, or maybe you had one moment that felt positive. What were they? Maybe someone did something kind for you. Write it all down! Connect to those moments, those words. Those are the bullet points you have to carry with you every day when you are hit with judgment or when you are feeling the lowest. No matter who you are there is something really great and special about you. No matter how dark you may think your path has been, you have risen to the occasion or you have moved past some kind of hardship. They key is to remember that only you are responsible for being discerning of your thoughts and how you see yourself. That also includes accountability for the voices you allow from the outside. It’s time to get assertive and not allow the opinions of others to take you off your path. Stand strong on your convictions and believe that you are doing the best you can! Keep repeating that to yourself. This is your MANTRA. No one can take that away from you no matter how many times you trip and fall. Take a breath, get right up and keep marching forward. There is no failure in falling and believe me I’ve tripped and fallen quite a bit. Accept your flaws and don’t dilute them. We are ALL made of imperfections. Take your flaws and now look at your bullet points of the greatness that you are and let this be your guide. Then you can tell your flaws, “OK, I see you but I’m a hell of a lot better than this”. Accept yourself for who you are. Like your thumbprint, you are one of a kind and that is where your greatness comes from.

The Power of 8

EIGHT. That is the number that I am celebrating today and will be discussing on this post. Why you may ask. Because that is the number of years One Style at a Time has been in existence. That’s right it has been eight years since I started my venture as a blog writer! Eight years since the first post was published. Quite a milestone for me. If you have been following this blog from the beginning then you know it served as an informational space for fashion for several years until I decided to pivot and take the content in a new direction. The reasons why are detailed in my latest newsletter which I hope you have subscribed to and read. You can still do so here.

I was thinking about the number eight and what it represents aside from today’s blogiversary celebration. You may have heard at one point someone say watch what you say because “words are powerful”. Well, so are numbers and it is quite fascinating to discover their meanings. There is the factual meaning perhaps in numerology but also a vibrational interpretation in spiritual terms. For example, in numerology, the number 8 is associated with power, strength, ambition, efficiency, discipline, reality, money, finances, truth, integrity, abundance and prosperity. In Chinese culture, the number 8 is the luckiest number. With the pronunciation of ‘Ba’ in Chinese, no. 8 sounds similar to the word ‘Fa’, which means to make a fortune. Who doesn’t want a little financial growth right! For example, the Beijing Olympic games commenced at exactly eight o’clock, eight minutes on the eighth day of the eighth month in 2008. If you were wondering how the number eight is perceived in a spiritual context, the number 8 itself means that it is the number of balancing both the material and spiritual aspects of our experience. The key word is BALANCE. It is connected with karma, the law of cause and effect. If you are seeing this number more often, it is considered an auspicious sign of abundance coming your way or abundant opportunities in existence. If you see this number doubled or tripled than it’s believed to double or triple the vibration of success and good fortune. On its side, the number eight is also considered the symbol of ‘infinity’.

We live without a doubt in a mathematical world so why not acknowledge the energies that numbers can bring to our day to day life. The universe talks to us in various ways. It is up to us to discover what those messages are and see how they fit the puzzle of the path we are on.

I will take it as a very lucky sign that on this St. Patrick’s Day my blog turns 8! I’m proud of the work, the journey and grateful for all it has taught me personally and professionally. Thank you all for being part of this experience.

So readers, today’s question of the day is do you also believe in the power of numbers? To learn more about numerology you can visit Numerology.com.

Frida Kahlo Comes to Brooklyn

The anticipation had been building for a few months. The word was out. Frida Kahlo was going to have an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. I wasn’t just giddy with excitement but also curious as to what else I could learn about one of my favorite artists. The exhibit opened in early February and already it was proving to be the hottest ticket in town with sold-out weekends. I had to wait almost a month for my event day to come but here it was. I also grew up in Brooklyn so it was a nice journey through memory lane riding around the borough although it’s quite apparent how much of it has changed. So finally, I arrived at the museum and the exhibition was named, “Appearances Can Be Deceiving” (Las Apariencias Engañan). The title alone intrigued me.

The exhibit was extensive and full of details from Frida’s childhood, her political views, her relationship with fellow artist and husband, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. But it didn’t end there. This exhibition had so many layers to all the sides of Frida. I learned that in her earlier years she had a very close relationship with her father, Guillermo Kahlo who migrated from Germany to Mexico early in his life. He was also a portrait photographer and Frida learned much from her father’s photography talent. His teachings would later show in her self-portrait paintings with regards to lighting and angles. Photography was not the only bond she had with her father, it was also that he suffered from epilepsy and she found herself aiding him at times. Her disabilities were also chronicled in this exhibit. Her years of health challenges due to polio and later the trolley accident, left her spine and pelvis injured which in turn affected her health substantially. Interesting enough when she was younger she was very interested in becoming a doctor but she took a different path.

The curators of this presentation provided film and footage of the inside of Frida and Diego’s “Casa Azul”, the Blue House in Mexico City which is now a museum. The indoors as much as the outdoors showed Frida’s love of color, art, exotic flowers, animals and plants. On display was a box of her paints and brushes, her wheelchair in front of her easel, the mirror above her bed where she laid and painted extensively during the years where her mobility and health were challenged.

I also learned that her artistry went beyond the canvas. She had a passion for all types of creative crafts at home. Her fashion was a true expression of who she was on so many levels. Her fashion was bold, colorful and representative of her Mexican heritage. Her political stance was also a part of her art as she painted communist symbols on some of her body casts that she needed to use. After all, she was raised during the Mexican revolution. She also embraced every aspect of who she was including her bisexuality and was unapologetic to show her masculine and feminine sides in her paintings as well as her style choices. She certainly pushed gender and social boundaries.

Kahlo suffered emotional loss many times in her life. From the tumultuous affairs by her husband Diego, to her many ailments and miscarriage. Every aspect of her pain is vivid in her life’s work. But she was more than her pain and heartbreak. Frida was brave, strong and never let her physical limitations deter her spirit to live fully. Although Frida hid her physical disabilities through some of her wardrobe choices, her heart was always on display through her work and all her contributions she has given to the world. She never considered herself a surrealist artist. She said quite often that she painted her reality and that she did.

Overall, this exhibit provides a detailed, emotional and realistic interpretation of Frida Kahlo’s life. If you have admired her work or like myself think you have covered everything there is to know about this masterful artist, I say this is a must-see exhibit. You will walk away awe-inspired by this masterful artist.

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving is on display from now until May 12, 2019 at the Brooklyn Museum, New York.

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait as a Tejuana 1943

From Diego and Frida Kahlo archives, cotton huipil with machine embroidered chain stitch, printed cotton skirt with embroidery and holan ruffle

‘Appearances Can Be Deceiving’

 

*Visit, Like and Follow the One Style at a Time Instagram for more images of this exhibit*

The Courage To Be Authentic

Have you ever battled with staying true to your values, ideals and inner self? One of the hardest things anyone can experience is trying to stay as authentic to who they really are. These days, everyone wants to look like someone else, dress like celebrities, talk and walk like anyone but themselves. We all know someone who is making big life decisions based on what their friends and family dictate or expect. What about those that invest in a career or job because they feel that it would look good on paper, but the prospect of being in that company or job only causes more anxiety and stress. The truth is most people yearn to be accepted by society all the while they are sacrificing their authentic values and even their life purpose and passions. From a very young age, we are taught to live up to the expectations of our parents, teachers…everyone but our own. So, to those that are living beyond their means to impress others, to those that are working in careers that they hate, those afraid of getting out of a bad relationship, to those that are afraid to be open in any area of their lives I say, please for goodness sake listen to your inner voice. You see dear one, life is too short and we have to nurture our own life journey. There will always be naysayers that judge, have opinions or disagree with your way of doing everything and guess what, that’s okay. You can’t go through life worrying about the opinions of others. We can’t depend on others to fulfill our happiness because it does begin from within. I know from a personal perspective, it took a lot of courage to move my blog topics from all fashion to self-development and creative inspirational themes. I intend to continue tackling other alternative themes because that is where I am in my life and I’m sure there are others who could benefit from these discussions as well.

No matter at what stage you are in your life, you have the divine responsibility to ensure that you have a say in your life choices. You can begin by taking inventory of where you are in your life and decide how you want to make changes. You don’t have to make major changes all you need it to take one step in the direction of what you desire. It’s never too late to have the courage to start over and live a life that is truly and genuinely on your terms.

Photo: Josh Boot

Josh Boot

A Free Pat On Your Back

Recently someone said to me, “Stop being so hard on yourself, you just don’t give yourself enough credit”. That made me stop in my tracks and really think about those words. We have so many conversations online and in-person but when you hear those words come from anyone, your best bet is to take that in and listen. I really had to take some inventory of how true those statements were for me. Why was I being so hard on myself? Well, the honest truth is that we are our worst and toughest critic.

How often do we go through so many events in our lives that really push our limits to be stronger? How many times do we overcome losses, disappointments, rejection and still we dust ourselves off and move forward? Sometimes we don’t even realize that as time goes by, we have grown and learned so many lessons thanks to our strong spirit. We may have had failures but we also have made the conscious effort to keep pushing ahead for a better tomorrow. And even if tomorrow came and we stumbled again, we should just try again and just think, “Ok, this didn’t quite go the way I thought but what was my lesson here?” Your perseverance no matter how big or small should be acknowledged and celebrated. Now, sure you’re not going to throw yourself a party every time you overcome a problem (or would you? invites being accepted), but taking notice that you are trying is a HUGE step. Let’s agree to not be so hard on ourselves because if we were to look back, I’m sure we could find we have made bigger strides than we give ourselves credit for. Of course, it’s always nice to hear “great job” from your bosses, peers, friends but just remember not to let that command your thoughts or let that be your drive. An idea is to perhaps begin making a list of difficult circumstances you have experienced and how you saw yourself through it. Write down your strengths or actions that you may have taken to turn your situation around. Thinking about it just fine but there is something special about putting it on paper and seeing it in front of you. You don’t have to show this list to anyone. This is for yourself and a moment of face to face transparency and sincerity for you.  Just like any muscle that needs exercise, so is the act of validating your successes and your inner strength. Once you put some thought behind this you are off to empowering yourself to another level. Today, I am here to remind you that you should pat yourself on your back. Why? Because you deserve to give yourself much credit for working hard, being a great parent, sibling, friend, colleague and heck just for making it from one day to the next with all the obstacles out in the world.

“Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.” ~Unknown

Photo by: Nghia Le