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Updated: Jun 29, 2023

by Debra Collier-Harris, IWT Co-founder

LOVE. We use this word often. We use “love” to talk about a pair of shoes or a shirt we can’t live without or to describe a delicious meal at a restaurant. We use “love” as a term of endearment towards friends, family members, significant others, pets and even our favorite television shows.

However, how often do we use love when talking to or about ourselves? In a world that is so quick to comment, tweet, share, critique, and offer its two cents, it is vital that we view ourselves in the best light.

Self-love isn't just about bubble baths and treating yourself, although those things can be great! It's about accepting your body and its imperfections, without constantly comparing it to others. It's about acknowledging your achievements and talents, without minimizing them.

It's about respecting and caring for yourself, both physically and emotionally. It's about setting boundaries and saying no when you need to, without feeling guilty.

Whether you are thick or thin, tall or short, what’s most important is that you are healthy - physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. You are beautiful and unique. If you’re like me, with a stretch mark or two (or more), remember that each scar tells a story. Stretch marks simply reflect that life has overextended and pulled us, but has never broken us. For some women, stretch marks are beautiful reminders of childbearing.

So, own your body and own your health. It’s yours and no one else’s. As we monitor the food we put into our mouth, may we also monitor our thoughts and the thoughts of others that we allow in. We must feed our minds and bodies with what is good and beneficial.

Self-love is a journey, and it's one that we should all take. Not currently on one? Start your journey today.

A reminder from one woman to another

  • practice those affirmations in the mirror & say them like you believe them

  • monitor the food, the energy, and the thoughts that you pour into you

  • book that self-care treatment

  • set and honor your boundaries

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Updated: Jun 29, 2023

by Lillia Rockamore

This year, I left my twenties and walked into my thirties. This transition brought about a lot of self-evaluation. I’ve spent 2018 reflecting on who I am now vs the woman I want to be. One of the hardest things has been rewiring my brain to authentically love myself in my natural state. To see the beauty in what God has given me because social media, as I see it, is the double edge sword that can either boost your confidence or strip you of what little you may have left. Honestly, if you struggle with body image issues or low self-esteem, social media can further validate the negative feelings you have about yourself. That’s why it’s important that we learn to love who we are in our day to day and not just who we portray to be online.

In January, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl. Having a daughter has really changed my perspective on many things, specifically beauty and what it means to be beautiful. Kids "do what we do and not always what we say". This saying has always been at the forefront of my mind when it comes to raising my daughter. When the doctor told me I was having a girl, I immediately realized the importance of dealing with my self-confidence, my self-worth, and my self-esteem. Ok, I lied. I spent three-months crying, beating myself up for every mistake I had made in life and feeling unequipped for the task of mothering a girl. However, I soon came to grasp with the fact that I had to start dealing with my self-confidence, my self-worth, and my self-esteem. I started by doing the very thing that I equated to self-love and confidence. I did the big chop and went natural. I have no idea why I equated self-love with natural hair, but it was the start of the process.

I can recall one Sunday, also known as "hair wash day" at my house, of really looking at myself. My physical self. After getting out of the shower, I remember staring at myself in the mirror. I was completely naked. I scanned my body and felt unattractive. I made note of my eyes which I think are a bit big and my blemished skin. I couldn't skip over my breast which nursed 4 children, my stomach, and many other "imperfections" I saw. I felt low. So, I did what many people do when feeling unattractive. I put on a robe, grabbed my phone, found the right lighting and perfect angle, and snapped a picture. I spent 10 minutes choosing a filter that didn’t really look like a filter and posted it.

As the number of likes rose, so did my confidence. I remember my 8-year-old son watching me while I edited the picture. After I posted it, I showed him and said, “Mommy looks pretty huh?”. He replied, “Yeah but that’s not your real face on that picture so people can’t really see you”. I rolled my eyes and told him to hush, but those words replayed in my head over and over. “That’s not your real face”. Sadly, he was right. Instead of dealing with my self-esteem issues, I masked them with filters and angles. It made me consider how I am contributing to society's twisted idea of what beautiful is. It made me think about its impact on girls and young women.

What we are teaching our daughters? That it’s not ok to love your body as it evolves into womanhood? Are we giving them the confidence to love who they are at every stage or are we giving them unrealistic ideas of beauty that they will tear themselves apart trying to reach?

How you look at yourself matters. If you’re always critiquing and beating yourself up, your daughter is likely to hear and see it. Imagine one day you are out with each other and someone mentions how much your daughter looks like you. Consider how she may feel after hearing you constantly talk down on yourself. How likely is she to see beauty in her reflection if she is told she looks like her mother who doesn’t love the way she looks?

I recently posted a video on FB and IG asking women to post a picture or video with no filter and no makeup and say one thing that they love about themselves. I had a total of two women participate. I realized that woman are hardly posting pictures and video without filters. I also noticed that the few pictures that did not have filters hardly received likes or comments. I decided I wanted to do my part to ensure that my daughter grows up in a home where self-love isn’t only taught but shown.

For the month of October, (maybe longer) I will not be wearing makeup or using any filters on social media. My hope is that this will help me love ALL of me and that it will serve as a prime example of self-love to my baby girl. I am in no way saying that wearing makeup means you don’t love yourself, but I do know for some women it serves as a mask to hide our insecurities. I want to challenge us as women to love what we see in the mirror.

If you want to join me in teaching our daughters and other young girls that natural is still beautiful post a picture on your social media saying something you love about yourself. Remember NO filter and NO makeup! Make sure to use the hashtag #realfacechallenge #nomakeupnofilter.

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Updated: Jun 20, 2023

by Debra Collier-Harris, M.Ed, Ed.S, IWT Co-founder

@mrscollierharris @strategictrainingandconsulting

Debra Collier-Harris, Ed.S, M.Ed

Is there something you’ve been wanting to start, but haven’t? Have you pondered the idea of entering a different career field? Do you have dreams of starting your own business? Are you one of the many people with an entrepreneurial itch that you just can’t seem to scratch or shake?

If so, what’s holding you back? For some, it’s finances, doubt, or unsupportive friends and family members that dissuade them from taking a leap. For others, it may be a lack of direction, access to mentors, or community resources that hold them back. Whatever you do, don’t lose hope, or sight of your dreams. Goals aren’t achieved overnight. I believe t

here are two integral components to achieving success, your thoughts and actions. Surprisingly, YOU are in control of both. The realization of your goals is highly dependent on YOU.

Your thoughts and perspective must breed positivity. You must have an “I CAN DO IT” mindset. As I think about friends and family members who've attained their goals, I realize that despite facing obstacles along the way, they always held a winner’s mentality.

So, what’s a plan without action? Just a plan. Take the appropriate steps necessary to reach your goals. If it is enrolling in continuing education classes, then let’s get signed up. Don’t have money for workshops, to pay for a logo, or to buy supplies or materials to start a shirt business? Get a side hustle! If it’s a side hustle you’re trying to start, be resourceful. In pursuit of my goals, I've been strapped for cash many times. However, it has been in these moments, that I've became extremely resourceful. I've done photo shoots with an Iphone, and created my business logos and websites. So, if you really want something, you’ll find a way. I’m going to lay out 4 critical steps that will help you achieve your goals.

1.) Start with a vision.

Make a Vision Board. A vision board is any type of board or poster where you display images that represent what you would like to accomplish in your life; what you want to do, have, or be. Vision boards are great tools that help you visualize your goals. I am an art and crafts type of girl, so I like getting a poster board, magazines, scissors, color paper, and markers, with a group of girlfriends, a glass (or couple of glasses) of wine and talk about our goals. However, it doesn’t have to be a vision board party. It can be a party of one (you) in your car on lunch break, writing out your goals in a notebook or in the note section of your phone.

2.) Make a plan.

After pinpointing your goals in your vision planning session, the next step is to dissect them. Try to make your broad goals specific. It’s best to create SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Sensitive. SMART goals help you plan accordingly. Your plan may not be very concrete as you are obviously chartering in new territory. List small steps that you will need to take and things you will need to accomplish on your journey. Be sure to include deadlines. Let's say you want to enter the real estate field. In your plan, you would select a date to take the test and then create a realistic study schedule. You may also want to include dates to take practice exams.

3. Find an accountability partner.

An accountability partner is a person who helps you keep a commitment. This person MUST support you and breathe life into you and your goals. Their advice is real and comes from a genuine place. So, please don’t pick one of your pessimistic friends or Debby Downers.

4. Find resources and get plugged in.

A new business or opportunity is highly unlikely to fall into your lap! Researching and networking is paramount to growth. I spend a lot of time searching the web for personal professional development training that will help me get to where I am going. So, workshops on business marketing and business taxes appeal to me. Trust me, if you search thoroughly for what you need, you will find it. There are several community resources (many of which are free) dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small business owners (sometimes specifically women) thrive. Free and experienced business mentors that can assist you along your journey.

If your goal is not entrepreneurship, there are resources and training that will help you sharpen your skills and give you a competitive edge. If you don’t have time to travel, there are many free webinars accessible from anywhere with internet connection. So, no excuses! Go get it!

"Vision. Plan. Action. As you accomplish each of these, it narrows the space between you and your dreams.

-Debra Collier-Harris


SCORE (Nationwide)

Peope Fund (Texas)

Small Business Development Center (Nationwide)

Baker Ripley Entrepreneur Connection (Houston) (Bilingual/Spanish Program)

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