:: Monday Mantra :: No Such Thing
Repeat out loud every morning: There is no such thing as a life that is better than mine.
Today's Monday Mantra is brought to you courtesy of one of my favorite hip-hop artists, J Cole. I first heard this phrase in his single, Love Yourz, from his 2014 Forest Hills Drive album. The song is about how he expected his life to be better once he received money and fame. What he realized after achieving his goals, however, is that life can be just as difficult as the bottom when you are at the top. When I first heard this song it really hit home. Growing up, my family didn't have much compared to the affluent families that resided where I went to school. When I was 10 years old my parents divorced and my mom, siblings, and I moved into a YWCA transitional housing project. We moved out of my childhood home and into what is basically a homeless shelter in a community that is known for its thriving tech industry and wealth. I had an extreme amount of anger because never had I ever expected to end up living in a project. I hated going to my new school where I was bullied for dressing different and the girls would call me a "hobo." We had to go to the food bank instead of the grocery store and my mom was constantly worried about money. I would cry to my mom about how unfair it felt. My mom would always have the same response to my complaints, "Rachael, there are always going to be people who have it better than you. There are always people who will have it worse than you. Focus on how lucky you are." This advice never left me and has shaped who I am today.
In the song J Cole sings, "For what's money without happiness? Or hard times without the people you love?" My family means everything to me. We have been through a lot together and we have each other's backs through anything, I am the middle child out of 5 siblings and they are all my best friends. I can't imagine my life without them because they helped shape who I am today. They are the one thing that bring me the most happiness. Knowing that I can count on them gives me courage. I don't believe we would be so close if we hadn't gone through the tough times together when we were kids. Another of my favorite quotes from the song is, "There is beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success." I think that because of my past I have always been on a mission to prove myself. When I was 17 I moved from Seattle to California with $1,000 to my name and have been here ever since. While living here I have been exposed to a diverse spectrum of people and qualities of life. I've been to Superbowl and Grammy parties with NFL players and celebrities. I've lived in Los Angeles and connected with people who on paper would appear to have it all. One of the biggest misconceptions I believe people can have is that money or success makes you happy. It really doesn't. Some of the richest people I have met are some of the loneliest. No matter who you are or where you come from, your happiness is directly related to your perspective. Of course there are exceptions if you are in a place where you are experiencing severe abuse, poverty, or war. Chances are if you are reading this though, you have extreme privilege compared to most of the world. 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. (Source: Global Issues) If you can read, write, and speak English you are lucky enough to have an education. It's really that simple to recognize how blessed we truly are.
No matter where you come from or what is happening in your life I invite you to take a step back and examine all the beauty in your life. Outlook is everything and if you send your energy to the positive parts in your life I can guarantee that you will feel a huge shift in your daily routine. There is really no such thing as a life that is better than yours. It is up to you to recognize this and accept it as truth. Thank you for reading! Have an amazing week. xoxox Rachael