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Spring Cleaning My Mind – Tonjanika Smith Photography
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Spring Cleaning My Mind

I had just missed another one of my self-proposed goals when I realized I was over it. “Ready to fast forward the next 4-5 years,” I typed, unamused, on my phone before tossing it on the table—lightly though, because it doesn’t have a case (#riskybusiness). I had big goals, big plans, and I just couldn’t seem to make any headway. I was feeling…stuck.

In my attempt to preoccupy myself with mind-numbing viral videos and frequent life-changing posts, I see my friends out here—continuously winning. Another proposal accepted, another award won, another amazing wedding, another goal checked off the secret master list that only my superhero of friends have access to. And then there’s me. Gnawing angrily at my carrot snacks, trying to figure out how to get it together so I can win too.​

Have you ever been in this place? Constantly comparing where you are currently relative to your peers? Sometimes, I feel like everyone around me is in DRIVE and I’m stuck in NEUTRAL, barely rolling. It’s not a good place mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.

To be honest, it totally sucks.

The energy of envy and the feeling of imposter syndrome helps no one. So, it has to go. Like pack it up and move out. Like don’t let the door hit ya on your way out. Letting go the negative things I attach to my self-worth and reevaluating how I currently stand on my own journey is not only healthy but a NECESSITY.

With March around the corner, I needed to spring clean my mind, my thought process, and I how I identified my sense of purpose. I need to breathe in reassurance and out self-defeat. Here are the things I am currently clearing out and replacing.

ENVY

I cannot continue to covet the blessings and accomplishments of others for I have my own set of blessings and my own sense of purpose. What is meant for me will always be for me, and no one can steal or take what is already destined away. I also have to remember that there is unspeakable joy in being blessed by association. So, when my friends are winning, I am also winning too by just being a witness to their journey.

COMPARISON

It is entirely too convenient to compare myself to other photographers in the rise of social media. Comparison breeds fear and distrust for sometimes we believe that sharing our journey or insights gives someone else an unfair advantage. Sometimes, it breeds a sense of worthlessness and leaves me feeling like everything I have ever accomplished was a fluke. But I have my own talents and abilities that I bring to the table—just like you. When looking at the journey of my friends, I have to remember to use their accomplishments (and struggles) as inspiration not a source of comparison or competition. We can all win together, even at our own pace.  I needed to remember that we need to see ourselves as each other’s cheerleaders not mortal enemies.

DOUBT & ANXIETY

These occupy and fester together, feeding off each other like parasites. When I am constantly questioning, “Will it happen for me? Am I going to reach my goal?” I grow more anxious, more impatient, and increasingly doubtful. I have to remember that good things take time and the plan is always bigger than this moment. It may suck right now, but the bigger picture requires that I keep moving. It may be a little while longer than I had anticipated. Either way, the journey is my own, with its own set of unique twists and turns. As a woman of faith, I have to keep this in forefront of my mind.  There is joy in the wait even when I feel like I holding on to my last ounce of hope.

When I was teacher, I also suffered from these exact feelings, so it is not limited to one type of industry or one career. There will always be times when we feel less than sure of ourselves. After we acknowledge the feelings, we can either let them consume us in destruction or propel us to higher ground.

I know for me, it won’t be easy (because nothing ever is). But the fact that I am being honest with myself in regards to these emotions brings me one step closer to reclaiming my joy and moving towards to my own goals, even if the deadlines have shifted. After hearing my pastor preach from Psalms 37, I know I need to let go the fretting, let go the worry, let go the doubt. Spring clean it from the dwellings of my mind. Instead, I will take delight in the wait, in the patience, in trusting that the desires of my heart will be fulfilled in their own time.

As one of my friends replied: Don’t rush the process. It makes the end goal worth it. ❤

So, today, my friends, I ask you to think about the things that are negatively harboring space within your mind. I too hope that you realize that you are greater than you think you are and definitely greater than this moment of weakness and uncertainty. I cannot wait to take delight and joy in your blessings as you do mine. Here’s to spring cleaning our minds.

Musical Inspiration:  

“Diamonds” by Laura Mvula, “Try” by Sounds of Blackness, & “Never Seen the Righteous” by Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers

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