In 2016, I lost my first post-graduate job. Instead of jumping back into the hiring pool, I chose to follow my heart and become an entrepreneur. Needless to say, 2017 was a tough year for me financially. I thought that if I stayed up later, woke up earlier, and stopped having fun that money would flow like it once did. I was wrong. Suffering through long hours and sleepless nights didn’t make my life feel richer—it made me feel more depleted.

One day, I had a realization: The biggest block in creating wealth in my life was me. I had to get out of my own way and see the magic of myself, my skills, and what I already had if I wanted to truly feel abundant. I had to work through the feelings of lack I had picked up on over the years if I wanted to tap into those magical feelings of abundance again.

I had to get out of my own way and see the magic of myself.

Slowly but surely, I’ve worked my way towards a more abundant place. Today, as we move into 2018, I am full of gratitude for the journey I’ve taken—including every single day I spent wondering where my next dollar was going to come from. My journey taught me how to set myself up to attract all the abundance and prosperity that I’ve always desired.

What I’ve learned: True abundance starts with true self-love. By valuing who you are and what you can do, you are showing The Universe that you appreciate what already exists in your life. And when you value the abundance already working within you, the tools you need to be successful and live the life you desire will begin to show up in a magnificent way.

Here is everything being broke for a year taught me about true abundance:

1. Above All Else: Value Yourself

Self-worth plays a huge role in the way we attract abundance into our lives—and I had a lot of self-worth issues. If I was really going to keep a steady flow of goodness—and, yes, money—circulating in my life, I had to stop measuring my worth based on what the Jones’ of Instagram were doing. I had to realize that my abundance had nothing to do with what I had at any particular moment, but it had everything to do with how I was feeling.

I began to value myself and my journey by looking inwards—not outwards—for inspiration. I was full of stories of triumph and courage, and I realized that no matter what my now looked like, I was worthy enough to have everything I desired.

Your confidence is your currency—if you put out feelings of lack, then that is what you will attract.

If you're feeling like you're not enough, try adding abundance affirmations, like “I am worthy of all of my desires,” into your daily routine. Saying positive affirmations will affirm the uniqueness in you and the path that you walk. You will begin to strengthen your connection to abundance by honoring the abundance that is already inside of you. Your confidence is your currency—if you put out feelings of lack, then that is what you will attract. By changing the language you speak, you attract the things that you want.

2. Know—and Own—the Value of Your Skills

How can you master everything when you haven’t mastered the one talent that will bring you abundance? I knew writing was my money maker, but I was so enthralled with the stories of other writers that I didn’t see all the opportunity to become the best I could be. Once I began to learn and practice more, I got more paid opportunities to share my skills. You have to see the value in what you have before more will be granted to you. I stopped rushing to be the next Toni Morrison and allowed the power of patience to guide my pen.

You have to see the value in what you have.

If you’re good at something and it makes you insanely happy, then dedicate your extra time to doing it. Do it after work, on the weekends, or whenever you get that creative itch. The love and patience you put into being good at your side hustle will bring you personal abundance—and potentially an extra cash flow.

3. Greet Feelings of Lack With Gratitude

Things definitely weren’t perfect in 2017, but I was still OK. I was lucky enough to have an awesome support system that helped me at every turn. I was wishing for so many things to turn around in my life, yet life didn’t get better until I began to show gratitude for what I already had.

Abundance isn’t always money.

Abundance isn’t always money. Abundance is having somewhere to lay your head, food on your table, and a friend to call whenever your losses seem bigger than your wins. Having gratitude for everything around me helped me tap into my feelings of abundance. You have to be grateful for everything if you truly want to welcome more into your life.

My advice: Keep a gratitude journal. Every morning when you wake up, write 10 things that you are grateful for. It doesn’t matter what it is. Simply by showing The Universe that you are appreciative of what you already have in your life, more abundance will begin to flow.

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