I’ve never been a Ciara fan. Prior to the release of her 2018 hit “Level Up”, I couldn’t name a Ciara song. That being said, I am a huge fan of Level Up’s liveliness (perfect for getting you in the mood to workout) and its encouraging lyrics. The song is all about renewal and the idea that you can leave a dark place and find something better. We’ve all seen how Ciara has quite literally ‘glowed up’ after leaving her ex-boyfriend, Future, and entering a committed romantic relationship with doting football player, Russell Wilson. While we can never know what goes on behind doors, it certainly seems like Ciara’s life improved after cutting toxic people (ex. Future) out of her life.
But leveling up isn’t exclusive to celebrities, anyone can do it. Here are four steps you can follow to get you on the right track:
1. Stop Holding On To Your Past
The first verse of “Level Up” states, “Them old mistakes are gone, I won’t do them no more”. Did you hear that? If not, you may need to go back and give the song another listen. You can be in a bad place or be in a difficult (or even toxic) romantic or platonic relationship, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay there. The only thing you can do about regrets and mistakes you’ve made, is to learn from them and avoid making the same mistakes in the future. You can’t change the past.
2. Forget Perfection and Aim To Better Yourself On A Daily Basis
Remember that if you’re struggling with mental illness, the goal isn’t to overcome your illness. Although mental illness goes away for many people, many others struggle chronically with low mood, suicidal thoughts, or other symptoms of mental illness. Instead of trying to beat your illness, focus on finding ways to cope with your illness and live your best life in spite of it. Regular counselling sessions with a licensed mental health professional are a priority, whether you obtain them through public or private health care services. If you’ve been prescribed any medication by a doctor, make sure to take them regularly.
As for physical health, we’ve all heard the benefits. Remember, it’s not all about weight. Many doctors will tell you that not everyone who is overweight is actually unhealthy. Instead of worrying about what the scale says, you should be prioritizing your overall fitness by engaging in regular aerobic exercise (at least 150 minutes per week), as well eating a balanced diet of proteins, veggies and whole grains. Even though we’re halfway through 2019, it’s never too late to get back on track with your new year’s resolutions and if getting healthy was one of them, now is the time!
3. Remember That You’re An Average Of The Five People You Spend The Most Time With
When Ciara sang, “fake friends get dropped like weight”, I felt that. Just as black women are deciding to level up and get fit and healthy, we also need to prioritize spending time with people who positively contribute to our lives. There’s no room for toxicity anymore. Not when black women are smart enough to know that we deserve the world and that we need not settle for mistreatment from friends, family or significant others. It took me a minute to learn this lesson, but once I learned it, my mental and emotional health has improved immensely.
If you have people in your life who aren’t adding positively to it, let them go. That being said, hold on to the people you find who actually do make you feel worthy and capable, or even just people who simply make your day a little brighter. Our society tends to elevate romantic relationships, but I actually believe most of a woman’s joy comes from her friends and the four to five people she spends the most time with. Have you ever heard Jim Rohn’s famous saying that you are a reflection of the five people you spend the most time with? He’s absolutely right, so choose your circle wisely.
4. Develop Your Interests So You Can Have A Life Outside Of Your Job
Don’t kill yourself sacrificing your needs for work or other demands. Whether you’re a full-time entrepreneur or a busy mother of three kids, it’s important to make time for you. If you’re like me and you’re extremely interested in languages and different cultures, try your hand at Italian or Yoruba. Or join a group sport where you can join a community of people with similar interests. Travel the world and expand your mind and worldview. Live. You only have one life, so make the most of it.
Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law.