I recently came across a quote that read “Self-talk is the channel to change behavior” and it got me to thinking about some of the struggles I deal with on a spiritual level that affect my entire lifestyle from work to relationships to my overall well-being. I’ve been trying to come to terms and really figure out what I want to do with my life and at 26, I feel like I should be well on my way, but I’m not. I’ve found myself working at so many jobs that’s left me feeling unfulfilled. I’ve found myself in so many unhappy and dead end dating situations. So I had a moment where I thought about it all. I spoke them out loud. I had a conversation with myself and I decided that if I was going to struggle, it would be because I’m taking risks and working towards something that I love rather than struggling to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. I had to access my struggles and ask myself am I struggling because I’m being stretched? Is it because I’m put in a vulnerable position to learn and grow from or is it because I’m trying to force a lifestyle that I have no business in? For any that fit the category of the latter, I realized it’s okay to wave the white flag or throw in the towel.


Most times we hear you have to stay strong and see things through which in turn implicates that giving up and quitting aren’t admirable traits, but in my opinion, it takes a special kind of courage to walk away from situations that no longer serve you well especially if you’ve gotten into a routine or a complacent place in your life. Sometimes it’s even hard to recognize those safety nets for what they are because they feel right in that moment but in the long run they aren’t.

Giving up isn’t always a bad thing. When your heart is no longer in something, walking away is okay. When your situation becomes unhealthy, it’s okay to give it up. When it’s changing you for the worst and pulling you away from the things that you love, it’s okay to say “no more.” When better doors are opening up and your intuition is leading you down a different path, it’s okay to want the finer things in store for you. We have such a twisted perception of what it means to give up that we often times don’t see giving up as a mean to also gain so we find ourselves stuck. We become stuck in dull relationships, accumulating years without substance. We find ourselves stuck at dead end jobs without promotions, growth or raises. We find ourselves taking up pew space at churches that no longer feed us spiritually. We become just another woodwork to society and that’s no way to live. I’ve learned to wave my white flag when necessary and be okay that I did it. I’ve learned to walk away from situations without regret because I know that I did the right thing. I realized that everyone isn’t going to like every decision I make, but the life that I live is mine alone therefore, doing what’s best for me is always a good decision.

It’s Monday and I woke up pretty happy, but then something happened and it was one of those moment when I had to take a commercial break and I heard the narration in my head by a TV announcer say, ‘This morning’s event is brought to you by…” *cue the theme song of the Twilight Zone* and then I heard Big Bird says, “This morning’s episode is brought to you by the letters W-T-F.” No, I’m not crazy and no I didn’t really hear these things, but just hear me out for a second. When there are things happening in your life or in your day that are beyond your control, just think of the famous quote by the late Dr. Maya Angelou, “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.” Even though, I’m not complaining, this “scratching my head” moment is driving me up the wall. Maybe it’s just the way the stars are aligning this week, my horoscope did say this would happen (yes, I’m one of those people). But then timely as always, the message was clear, I received an email newsletter from The Muse about “9 Habits Happy People Ditched A Long Time Ago” and it was really thoughtful. So I decided to tweak it and share some habits that I’ve adopted in my life, that I often have to remind myself of that keeps me on the happy and carefree path.

My Journey is Not Your Journey is Not My Journey

No matter which way you look at it the story doesn’t change. Often times our source of worry and unhappiness comes from the need to keep up with whatever someone else has going on in their life. I have friends getting married, friends having children, friends traveling the world and I’m just not there yet. There are times when I yearn for those things because they are basic human wants/needs, but the more I look at someone else’s life and hope and wish and pray for those things, the more stress and pressure I put on myself and the more time and attention I take away from developing myself so that I can get those things. So whenever I get in one of those “woe is me” funks, I quickly remind myself of all the things I’ve accomplished and where they’re taking me and for goodness sakes, I’m only 26! No rush, no worry Dej.

Don’t Make it Work, Work, Work, Work, Work

Is it just me or does anybody else find that song annoying as heck, except for Drake’s part? But anyway, there was a point in my life where it was just ALLLL work and hardly any play, but now that I’ve gotten a little taste of the fun and carefree life I want it all the time. I find it in the little things and the big things. There’s always a reason for some good ol innocent fun. If it’s a sunny day, and the weather is nice, put on your headphones and an upbeat song and take a walk and imagine yourself in a music video. If the local library is having an open mic night or the community center has a free class, join them. If you feel like taking an early day from work to catch that sale, do it. I promise you’ll feel good about it. Don’t ignore the little things that make life fun just because it’s not some extravagant vacation abroad or front row seats at a concerts.

Be Childish

And I don’t mean in a drama-filled, asshole type of way, but in a fun-loving and silly way. When you take life too seriously and everything is to the T, that makes for one boring lifestyle. Laugh a little, be silly, skip to your lou and swing from the jungle gyms at the neighborhood playground. Think of all those things you did in high school that was completely pointless, but you still find yourself laughing at years later. I will be the first to say that I am a big kid. I do big kid things and I am completely okay with that. It keeps me happy and entertained.

Celebrate Happy Moments No Matter How Small or Large

As an adult, I think we’ve all waited for that moment where we don’t need an excuse to pop open that bottle of Merlot at 1 in the afternoon. I think we’ve all at some point walked into a bakery and bought a birthday cake even though it was no one’s birthday, but just because we had a craving (no? just me, oh). So celebrate those little things for yourself and your friends. If you got a $2 raise at work, hell you are two dollars richer, pop that cork! Your friend has reached their goal weight, celebrate with a shot or two (remember, waistline portions). The point is you have to celebrate those small successes just as you would the larger ones.

Be You

No matter how weird, panties in a bunch uptight, square, circle, rhombus you are, be that and never apologize for it. I’m 26 years old, I hate 9-5 jobs, I loath business attire, anything that feels remotely like shoes, I like to read children’s books because they are colorful, sometimes I randomly find myself researching things that pertain to astronomy for no apparent reason just simply because I wanted to know and I hate raisins, but I like cinnamon raisin bagels, bread and Raisin Bran cereal and pick the raisins out because buying just regular cinnamon swirl bagels and bread and regular bran cereals don’t have the same level of sweetness that the raisins give. That was a mouthful, but that’s Dej. Be who you are and people will have no choice, but to like you. It takes too much work and back stories to be someone else and keep up with that persona.

That’s it in a nutshell. They sound so simple when you spell it out, but let’s be honest it’s not. You’re going to always find yourself comparing your journey to that of other’s. You’re going to always find yourself tweaking who you are under the idea that you’re just being adaptable, you’re going to always find yourself measuring your success. That’s just life, but the important thing in all of this is that you are able to identify when you’re doing it, so that you can stop it and work on creating healthier habits.

****Check out the original 9 Habits Happy People Ditched A Long Time Ago here.

I used to think that when life gave me rotten fruit, or the short end of the stick it was my job to just be humble through it because I believed that everything happened for a reason.

While that may be true, I realized that adopting that mentality often left me unsatisfied with the way my life was going. I was at a standstill career wise, my finances were in shambles and my love life wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but I kept telling myself that I was a work in progress. I was always progressing, always climbing a mountain or jumping a hurdle and I allowed myself to be okay with that for so long that I finally got to a point where I asked myself “Where is the pinnacle of it all?” I thought about the dark clouds hanging over my head and asked myself, “Could I be the reason for them being there in the first place?” Am I causing my own dark clouds? I mean the only reason my career was the way it was was because I had become a shake my head and say okay to whatever I’m told type of employee, not to mention that I was working in a field I didn’t even love. I just needed the money. My finances weren’t the best because I settled for that poor work environment and believed that I needed that job to survive. I did. I was living paycheck to paycheck where one missed check, or one surprise bill was all it would take to leave me homeless. So I worked, and I worked, and I worked and accumulated a boatload of debt along the way. I did jobs that weren’t even in my job description because I had to be a team player or at least that what’s I was told. I worked at a job that didn’t pay me my worth with a Master’s degree and years of experience, more than the people who were over me. My love life wasn’t where I wanted it to be because I wasn’t being completely honest with the men I was dating about what I wanted and expected from them. After being tired of it all and realizing that I was an accomplice to my struggle, I made the decision to stop being passive-aggressive in my life.phonto (2)

I realized that the decision to be and get whatever I wanted laid in my own hands, no one else’s. So that job that I was unhappy at, I was there because I applied and they hired me. No one forced me into that job, no one forced me to stay either, but I wasn’t being aggressive in getting the career that I wanted. I wasn’t applying myself, I wasn’t even searching. I was content and miserable; two conflicting emotions. My finances were shot because I knew that they weren’t paying me my worth, but I also never asked nor demanded them to. My love life wasn’t where I wanted it to be because on the surface, I was okay with going with the flow, but deep down I wasn’t, but I never said hey, I need you to commit or step off. So the games continued until I got tired. I was a backseat driver to my own life and everyone else’s hands were on the wheel.

Not being passive-aggressive required me to pay closer attention to the smaller details of my life. I had to be meticulous and extremely particular about the goals I set for myself. I had to be intentional about reaching those goals. I had to be assertive when I said no, made request and demands for things I believed I was deserving of. More importantly I had to believe that I deserved the things I asked for. I soon learned that when you demand little, you get little in return. Just allowing life to happen isn’t really living.

Sure I was experiencing what I got, but I realized I could be getting so much more. I didn’t have to take that rotten fruit I thought I had to be grateful for and humble about and while I was too busy taking it, I didn’t realize I could’ve easily thrown it out and demanded better. I gained an understanding with myself that I should have an active part in defining what makes me happy and I wasn’t doing that. So today when I pressed that send button on those emails, those text messages, when I pushed submit on that block list and cleaned house, I let go of passive-aggressive Deja. I let go of the Deja who thought she was living, but was in reality just following an already paved course. I woke up and said to myself, “Not today.”

Am I scared? Yes, shitting bricks. I am nervous as heck and I find myself on the verge of tears whenever I think about how bad I want what I want and how hard I am working towards it.


What are you letting go of today, to be the best you tomorrow?