Not too long ago, someone asked me, “How did you overcome the struggle (if any) of getting where you are currently?” And at first I was humbled, thinking, “Like a B.A.W.S.E, sis. Let me teach you…” But then I was a little offended and in my feelings.

I mean, ordinarily, it’s a humbling question, right? Like, someone is coming to you for help on how to overcome their struggles. Like staaaahp! But no…

What made me catch that lil’ feeling (just keepin’ real…), was the “if any” note. As if the last 36 years of my life had been covered in chocolate chips and sprinkles. I didn’t blame her, though. Looks can be deceiving. Especially my own.

The Struggle Is Universal

But “if any” was far from accurate. I have overcome many struggles; sexual abuse and depression as a child, anxiety and domestic violence starting as a teen, and all the 20’s drama-for-your-mama you could dream of. When you see me, know that I have (and continue to) overcome struggles of my own and that’s the reason I can help you overcome your struggles, too.

Overcoming your struggles all starts with your mindset. When life becomes a struggle, my perspective is my secret weapon to transforming the situation into a challenge that I can grow from. So I hope you’re ready, because I’m going to teach you how to confidently deal with struggle like a B.A.W.S.E.

Class is now in session, sis. Let’s begin.

How to Be a B.A.W.S.E

Now by definition, a “boss” is someone who is in charge. The boss is responsible for making sure worker quality is high and production is on time. Well sis, you are the “B.A.W.S.E” of your mindset. Your thoughts are your employees and you are responsible for making sure they vibe high. And when they don’t, it’s your job to pass out Pink Slips to thoughts not serving your higher purpose in life. Here’s how we do that.

Born-Again Thinker

Tip 1: Be a born-again thinker

For me, it starts with “born-again thinking”. When I was born again in October of 2013, I began the journey of re-wiring my mind’s understanding of who I was and how I saw myself to be in the eyes of God. I began to give up self-sabotaging ways of thinking, speaking and behaving. (Saved, not saintly, don’t get it twisted.) As a result, I cultivated new self-serving habits.

Anytime something pops off that takes me down the self-doubt rabbit hole, I remind myself that God has my back and that this situation is either a blessing-in-disguise to help slow me down or proof I’m on the right track cause the enemy don’t come at sheep, okuurrrt! Knowing Jesus is always beside me changes the way I perceive struggle and myself in relation to it. I reframe struggles as a challenge. I need and want challenge to grow in life, but with a perspective-shift, I’ve learned to set myself free of the “struggle”.

Assertive Attitude

Tip 2: Be assertive with finding a solution

Overcoming my struggles has taken assertiveness. You won’t catch me sitting around waiting for a knight-in-shining-armor to solve my problems, although you will find me calling my oh-so-reliable father from across the country in Chicago, like, “Pa… you got a sec? I need help”.

Because, real talk, when a woman is truly independent and knows herself, she is assertive in taking the lead in her life in a solution-oriented way. She finds ways to solve her problems, she doesn’t add to them. She believes she can get past anything attempting to hold her back. And then she does that. That’s who you are. That’s who I am. That’s a B.A.W.S.E

Willing Heart

Tip 3: Be willing to love yourself through the struggle

Somehow (ok, giving it to God again…) I’ve been willing to love myself through my struggles. I accept that some of the struggles I’ve faced have been my own doing. I’ve been willing to accept responsibility for the parts I played of not setting healthy boundaries and lowering my standards. I’ve accepted when I’m not my best at times. And, most importantly, I’ve forgiven myself.

And like me, you weren’t meant to be perfect. God fashioned to live in love and with purpose. What are you willing to forgive yourself for so that you can overcome you struggles? Because I want you to know that on the other side of your willingness awaits your future accomplishments and successes.

My willingness to forgive myself means I’m able to love myself past my faults. I humbly accept God’s grace in my life. By letting the guilt of not getting it right the first time go, I make space to succeed. Are you willing to make space for yourself to overcome and succeed? I know I am. Let’s do it together.

Repeat after me, sis: “I willingly (and excitedly!) accept God’s love and grace into my heart, mind and spirit and I give myself a second chance to overcome!”

Strategic Action

Tip 4: Get strategic AF

For a long time I was in a lot of mental and spiritual anguish. My mental and emotional health was in such shambles that I did not believe I would live past 30 years old. Ironically it was at 30 that I was saved, so technically the old me did die. I digress…. My point is that I was in a lot of invisible pain. It was a vicious cycle. And I needed to get strategic fast, because if I didn’t, my family would be burying me.

Being strategic means being aware of your strengths and weakness, clear on what you want for your health and future, solution-driven, open-minded, proactive, and savvy at making decisions based on the evidence of your past and present.

So I got strategic AF because I was ready to live out the promises I clearly heard God have for my life. I wasn’t ready to die because of my mental health. So I changed how I ate, how I exercised, how I thought, how I lived, how I connected with God, how I interacted with others, and how I loved myself.

All of these things, in combination with one another, improved my mental health, grounded my emotional well-being, leveled-up my physical state and activated my Holy Spirit-awakening. I became healthy and well with strategy. I became the “Isaly” you see today.

Empowered Living

Tip 5: Embrace God’s empowerment

I’m about to share a revelation with you that God just revealed to me in this very moment: The only reason I walk empowered through my struggles is because I am doing His work and if I appear confident to you it is because you see the Holy Spirit working through me. And I want this for you, too, sis.

I want you to live empowered around your health and well-being. Self-care is self-love and it’s something you deserve to do as unapologetically, confidently, and regularly as I do, ma.

Big talk right? I’m kind of embarrassed to write this. But God doesn’t care about my embarrassment or shame- God wants us empowered. So I’ll fight past my shame and be obedient in this moment because something tells me He’s knows you’ll connect to this and decide to get healthy; mind, body and spirit, as a result. And I’m here to help you.

B.A.W.S.E Mentality

Overcoming my struggles and transforming them into challenges I could grow from was all about having a B.A.W.S.E mentality. When life gets tough and I start to struggle I know born-again thinking, assertiveness, willingness, strategy and empowerment will grow me through it.

Keys: Jesus walks with us, taking the lead is the first step, self-love is our super-power, being solution savvy goes a long way, and no matter what, God makes a way if we follow.

Overcomer + B.A.W.S.E = You

My biggest hope for you after you read this (especially if you’re experiencing struggle in this moment) is that you feel confident meeting and overcoming your struggles face on.

So much so that one day a woman will ask you, too, “How did you overcome the struggle (if any) of getting where you are currently?” and you’ll be able to proudly reply “Like a B.A.W.S.E, sis. Let me teach you…”.

Thank you for reading my heart and seeing my soul. (I’m not crying, you are!)

Love and hugs,

Isaly.