*Are you happy at the moment?
I am very happy at the moment. To me happiness comes from external happening and joy comes from internal peace. Right now both are going really well. I am at a point in life where I am truly living in my choice. No longer doing things because I have to but because I want to and I get to. Being in choice [versus obligation] has brought a new since of happiness and joy. Freedom!
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
Enjoy the moment. Live for today; Learn from the past and Plan for the future. Just like most people at 16, I couldn’t wait to be older. I would tell my 16 year old self not to rush the time, relish in living without the big responsibilities that will come in the future.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
I have “known” the importance of self-care for years and I thought I was taking pretty good care of me but I wasn’t. Shoot, what an eye opener! Poor diet, not enough rest, taking crap from others that I shouldn’t, the list can go on and on. This year I really learned to take good care of me. I watched my mother put herself last to take care of everyone else, so it was a “normal” way of life for me. So normal that I didn’t even realize I was doing it to my own detriment. I am innately a helper. I have been happily taking care of someone since I was 20 years old when I had my first child. The difference this year, I take care of me first so I am spiritually, mentally and physically healthy. Self care isn’t selfish.
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I want to achieve greater things in my business and become size healthy. My heart is to see people succeed in their relationships. Having a healthy relationship with self is essential to all other relationships. So many people are hurting and confused about their value and worth. We see the tragic results of low self esteem and misplaced value every day in the news.
Size healthy – poor eating habits left me at an unhealthy size. The drive up window had become my friend. We would see each other at least 3 times a week, sometimes twice a day. I know…yuk-yuk. I’ve gotten it together. I’m eating clean non-processed food and have lost 25 pounds but still have a ways to go. I realize self-respect begins with what I put in my mouth. In the next 12 months I will be size healthy. I can’t believe I said that out loud – that means accountability! Check on me and see how I’m doing in a few months.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
My secret to happiness is don’t sweat the small stuff. I have a saying, “think on the lovely.” Every day may not be full of rainbows and gumdrops but if you look; search if you have to, you can find the lovely in each day. I try to find the lovely in each moment.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
My faith keeps me grounded. The belief that life holds much more than I can see at this moment and that there is a purpose for my life beyond what I can think or imagine has a way of putting things into perspective.
*What’s your biggest regret?
I can honestly say I don’t have any regrets. I have learned the lessons from my past and use them to catapult me into my future. To me regrets hold you back and keep you from experiencing the best life has to offer. I don’t want to be held back.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
The most important lesson I have taught my kids is to love God and to love people. I believe I have done this by the way I live my life. The example they have seen in me through the years has been consistent. My kids are loving adults today. Not pushovers, not sappy, but loving and respectful. I am honored to be this same example for my new grand baby. I’m such a proud Ya-Ya [grandmother in Greek].
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
Staying up half the night! I am such a night owl. Part of learning to take care of me is putting my butt in the bed at a descent hour. I won’t tell you that it is 4:00 am and I haven’t gone to bed yet. I must get better at settling the thoughts and ideas that come at a mile a minute.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
Besides marriage and motherhood I am most proud of finishing college. I have been married since I was 19 and had three children by age 26. Caring for the kids full time in my mind didn’t leave much time for college. Yet, I wanted to finish and knew I would someday. When would someday come? It came 25 years after my high school graduation! Yes, 25 years. My daughter and I graduated college the same month, same year, one week apart. A bachelor’s degree for me and a master’s for her. My son would ask, “Mom, why are you going to school, you’re not going to do anything with your degree?” My answer, “I’m doing this for me.”
*When were you happiest?
I’m happiest when my family is around. I enjoy hearing the noise and laughter in the house. It really puts a smile on my face just knowing everyone is home. One husband, three children, and one granddaughter, they fill the house with love.
*What ten words best describe you?
Inspirational, Relevant, Caring, Passionate, Revolutionary, Courageous, Sassy, Mother, Wife, Friend
As a speaker, author, and transformational life strategist Deborah Mills‘ message declares that healthy relationships are your birthright. She makes it clear that a healthy relationship with self is the key to all other relationships.
Gifted to impart principles and everyday truths that will impact your way of thinking which will impact your very life — Deborah has been privileged to keynote with nationally recognized organizations such as the National Association for Professional Women and Mocha Moms, Inc. Her thoughts have been shared in Ebony Magazine, TheGrio.com a division of MSNBC, as well as on many radio stations around the globe. She is also a contributing writer for Black and Married With Kids.
Deborah has declared a Relationship Revolution! And this Revolution begins with YOU! Now is the time for you to show up big for YOURSELF so you can then show up big for someone else.