how serena williams inspires me to show up for my own greatness

July 16, 2018
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By Alie Jones*, AFROPUNK contributor

Cultivate solid support systems

The queen of the court is back like she never left. Unapologetic about her strength and ability. My earliest memories of Serena and her older sister Venus are filled with beaded braids and countless wins. These sisters that defied societal norms and moved to their own beat. Sometimes our families are people we choose. Do you have people in your life who nourish you or those who drain you? Energy vampires or daymakers? It may be time for you to reevaluate environments and relationships that nourish you, those harm you, and think about how you advocate for yourself.

“Just in case no one’s told you yet today, I want to remind you that you are greater than your circumstances.” – Serena Williams

Funny enough, I consider Serena to be a part of my support system. She inspires me to get back up when I fall or fail. I found myself in several toxic relationships that drained my energy and triggered my anxiety and self-doubt. Your environment also plays a large role in how you see yourself and move through the world. It is crucial to your well being that you cultivate and maintain supportive relationships. Those who hear out our ideas and support us even when they don’t completely understand.My friends, family, and mentors motivate me to be my best in every situation. I know that I can go to them for support whether it involves exciting accomplishments or traumatic experiences. People who truly love you ALWAYS want to see you win, even when they aren’t. Take time to appreciate the people who love you enough to call you out on your toxic behavior and love you through your inner journey.

Be your own cheerleader

When times get tough it is important that you become your own cheerleader. Build foundations of positive self-talk and celebrate your victories, big or small. No one is going to believe in your dreams until you do. Get out of your comfort zone, you won’t find fulfillment in complacency. Confidence is contagious. By believing in yourself you inspire others to do the same. It all begins with the way you think and talk about yourself.. It’s important to look at how we subscribe to damaging ideas about ourselves and others.
Self-liberation isn’t explored enough. I began looking at my relationship with my body and accepting each curve and perceived imperfection. Love yourself enough to radically commit to your wellness. Hold space for yourself even when you’re hurt or disappointed by the desired outcome. Our mindset manifests in our present reality. Explore what brings you inner peace and utter joy. It doesn’t have to fit anyone else’s idea of Serena and I both happen to love eating tacos and having impromptu twerk sessions. You have to get out of your own way and believe you can do anything you set your mind to.

Self-care requires training

Change takes time and unbelievable effort. It is never as simple as getting a gym membership or a new job. Real self-transformation is an everyday practice that requires care and unconditional love. Talk without action or intention is meaningless. Self-care is not always as beautiful as an Instagram photo or as swift as a caption describing an impressive accomplishment. Showing up for your greatness is an active practice that requires endurance and rest. Greatness is a practice and patience just like wellness. We rarely see the training that happens behind the scenes. The tears, sweat, and heartbreak that goes into merging your dreams and your reality. In self-care training we rise, we fall, do our best to sustain our life changes. We wake up and try to substitute healthy behaviors with unhealthy patterns that previously hindered us. It is time for all of us to take a page from Serena’s book, aim higher and defy limits.

*Alie Jones is a self care advocate, body acceptance educator, and Creole mermaid. She is the founder of Bodacious Bombshells, a wellness collective based in Oakland. For more inspirational insight feel free to follow her on Twitter.