ME FIRST MONDAY FEATURED POWERHOUSE
Please help us understand your self-love journey. What have you learned along the way?
Destiny: I was almost one-year into motherhood and didn't recognize the person in the mirror - that's when I knew it was time to do something differently. This moment "coincidentally" happened after I removed a mass that was forming in my breast. I believe that mass meant something, and its removal caused a shift within me. I made difficult decisions to put myself first and they were life-changing. I say "coincidentally" in quotations because I don't believe in them and this is something I've come to understand through my spiritual journey. My self-love journey is very much so a spiritual one. It feels like a return back to my body, and I had to do that in a number of different ways: I danced for a period of time, I went on dates, I went to the gym, and even sat at bars alone for the first time (shout out to Marcha and my favorite bartenders). I also did more things that made my heart sing like hang out with old friends, travel to white sand beaches, and drink cold margaritas (preferably pineapple).
After about 2 years of riding that wave I met my now fiancé, Terrell, and he accelerated my journey. I started to want to get to know myself more in depth so that I could be my best true self in our relationship. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone, challenged me, and loved me all at the same time - revolutionary. He plays a huge role in my self-love journey, and I always love to give him credit for it because I hate the saying "You can't love someone until you love yourself." Being in a healthy relationship helped me understand what love is and what it is not. It also forced me to love myself because I wanted to see myself the way my partner saw me. I started writing again after years of not doing so and began to shed a lot of truths that I was previously ashamed of. I practiced gratitude and learned how to meditate. I began going to yoga classes and started to learn how to run. These are some of the ways in which I practice prioritization of self. I'm still learning what it means to love myself, through my partner, through my experiences, through meditation, through listening to my thoughts and being still. Along the way I've learned that this journey is not linear. I've learned that some days I feel on top of the world and on others I'd prefer to crawl under a rock, but most importantly, that on both of those days I am still beautiful, I am still worthy, I am still enough, I am still a strong independent woman, and I am still me.
Can you tell us what inspired you to create Loved by Destiny?
Destiny: The funny thing about this question is that I initially created Loved by Destiny because I felt like I was spending too much time on social media so I figured if I was going to spend it, I might as well make it productive. I also knew that I wanted to help people, I've said this since high school, and naturally I figured I could help people experience the same growth I have through sharing my own journey. Then I figured I was going to go all in or not at all so I invested in rebranding with Vicky Ayala and here we are a new platform and one journal later! I want to use my voice and my experiences to help other people uncover their own journey to self-actualization.
No two journeys are alike, so my goal is not to give my readers the keys for "living your best life in 90 days". Instead, I aim to empower people to create their own keys that unlock the doors to self-compassion, forgiveness, self-love, and ultimately empowerment. Prior to making the life changing decision to put myself first, I looked everywhere for a sign that I was making the right choice. I even googled my scenario to see if Yahoo Answers would tell me it was okay to leave a loveless relationship. I aspire to be that switch for people, especially women - the person who reminds you that it's okay to put yourself first and that everything you need to live the life you want to live stares back at you in the mirror.
How do you manage everything on your plate while still putting yourself first?
Destiny: I view my time as currency and manage it as such. I also plan like my life depends on it. Through meditation and therapy I've discovered that my incessant planning is a side effect of my anxiety and the fear of losing control. So, when I use my planner I have to be conscientious of this fact as to not feed or enable my anxiety. I plan my months in advance so that I can schedule in personal time for myself without feeling guilty and this is one of the ways I put myself first. At the top of every month I review my calendar to consider where within the sea of commitments I can take a breather, and I do so. I have a terribly difficult time sitting and doing nothing, but scheduling it in as a commitment helps reframe the rest in my brain as a priority.
I also allow myself to fall short. There is a misconception about me that I accomplish everything on my plate, when I haven't been to the gym in nearly 3 weeks and I just finished reading last month's book (I attempt to read at least 1 book every month)! I'm always honest to myself about where my priorities are and if reading or going to the gym doesn't fit in that list I forgive myself and move on. It doesn't always work so seamlessly, but it is a practice I like to uphold. The line between "being lazy" and "taking a rest" is one that only you will know for yourself because everyone's is different. Meditation has helped me tremendously to understand myself and I take inventory of my thoughts by asking myself three questions:
1. Am I avoiding something by not completing this task?
2. How am I truly feeling at the moment and how is that impacting my ability to complete this task?
3. What is my current priority and how does this task fit in?
You've been an advocate of #ThankYourTribe2018, how did you find your tribe to begin with?
Destiny: Here's what I've learned through the last couple years - the people who love you will show you. I found myself going out of my way for everyone in my life and it's not sustainable because a healthy friendship requires both entities to put in the work! Thus, because I view my time as currency I'm cognizant of who I give my time to and who I don't. These are intentional decisions I make to protect my peace.
I've also learned that through the years we grow and change, and the test to friendship or tribe is how well you can adapt to one another's changes. I try to be honest, vulnerable, and vocal about my feelings with those I love. I've also asked for feedback from people I love on how I can be a better friend/support system for them. The first rule of social work is: Meet the client where they are, I would say the same holds true for your tribe.
I say this all to say that - yes, your tribe is most effective when it is filled with people who love you, who support you, and whom you can be vulnerable with. However, don't forget to consider your role in building your tribe! How are YOU being supportive to your loved ones? How are YOU nurturing their growth? How are YOU showing up in your friendships? Ask your friends! So often we want all these things from people but are unwilling to do them ourselves. Be the tribe member you want to receive, and watch them blossom.
This month's theme at Loved by Destiny is gratitude: What role does gratitude play in your life?
Destiny: I have to credit The Magic by Rhonda Byrne for this one because reading that book enabled me to practice gratitude every single day of my life and has changed it drastically. On most mornings after I meditate for about 10 minutes, I open up my gratitude journal and write 3 things I am grateful for that morning, 3 things I was grateful for yesterday, and 3 things I want to claim into existence. You can subscribe to my website if you haven't already to receive a downloadable version of this gratitude practice to try for yourself! When I don't write down my gratitude phrases, I try to consciously breathe and think about what I'm grateful for on the train when I'm going to work.
Gratitude has helped me continuously find the beauty within my life so that I can focus my energy on it and it expands as a result. I think that gratitude is a challenging practice because we are hardwired to come from a place of lack. Lack tells us "I wish I had a flatter stomach" or "I hate having to pay this bill". Gratitude helps us see where we are abundant. Gratitude tells us "I am so grateful to have a beautifully able body that walks and breathes" and "Thank you for the money I have to pay this bill. I am so fortunate." That reframing of events has positive psychological effects and I believe it has attracted all the good that has come into my life in my 25th year. I am a huge proponent of gratitude and urge you to begin your own practice. It doesn't have to look like mine, you can make it your own! Maybe you only write down one thing a day and gradually increase. The important part is that you're taking time to reflect on the ways in which you are abundant - it's worth your time.
Describe your self-love journey in one word:
What can we learn from Destiny?
This is the part of #MeFirstMonday interviews where I add my perspective to our Powerhouse's insights. However, I'm hoping YOU can tell ME what was most impactful about this interview! Go over to my Instagram page @lovedbydestiny and tell me your favorite part!
Where can I find this powerhouse?
Peruse the Loved by Destiny website to get to know more about Destiny and her brand. You can follow her on Instagram @lovedbydestiny to keep up with her daily shenanigans and to receive daily doses of positivity and empowerment! Join her at one of her events which you can find here, or purchase a coaching package to help you reach your highest self here. You can also purchase her journal Unlearning Survival: 25 Lessons to Transcend Survival and Thrive here when it becomes available!
*This interview's questions were pulled from @lovedbydestiny's Instagram Story requests.
Who is she?
Destiny Denise Saldivar is the face behind the movement that is LovedbyDestiny.com. She is a Washington Heights bred, Creative Entrepreneur focused on women empowerment through self-love and healing. Her roots are planted in the Dominican Republic, a sassy young lady and cuddly pooch call her Mami, and she’s engaged to her twin flame.
From 9-5 she helps first-generation low-income students present their best selves throughout the college process as Assistant Director of a college access program. From 5-9 she curates Loved by Destiny, coaches people on the path to their highest self, facilitates sister circles to build community, and hosts empowering events throughout New York City.
She writes personal creative non-fiction, and is currently working on her second book because she just added published Author to her list of accomplishments! Destiny is an aspiring philanthropist who strives to be who she needed when she was younger.