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How to Build Your Empire: The 3 Steps to Healing and Moving Forward

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Candy WashingtonLast week I wrote a personal and true story about the tweet that healed my heart and it was one of the most clicked on and read articles in the history of my blog. I wanted to share my story with you all since I believe the steps I went through to heal my heart are similar to what we as a creative professionals go through on our journeys as well. The secret ingredient to all of these steps is ownership because at the end of the day, the only person that is truly responsible for your career and more importantly, your happiness, is YOU.

The 3 steps to healing and moving forward in your career:

Step 1: Forgiveness

The most important person to forgive while on our journey to self discovery and success is ourselves. For every self-limiting belief, for every missed opportunity, for every perceived “failure,” for every time we didn’t act in own best interest – we must forgive ourselves. No one is perfect and often times we are harder on ourselves than we are on others and the first step to healing and being open to fulfilling your dreams is forgiving yourself, loving yourself, and accepting yourself for who you are and what you have been through.

Step 2: Acceptance

This is probably one of the hardest steps, especially for perfectionists and control freaks! We must accept that the only person we have control over is ourselves. We can’t control whether or not the casting director calls us back, we can’t control whether or not the producer hires us, we can’t control whether or not an agent signs us, but what we can control is whether or not we are prepared during our auditions, if we are marketing ourselves and building our brands, if we are creating our own content, if we are working out and eating right, if we are going to acting class, if we are meditating, and if we are staying focused on our goals.

The second component to acceptance is that we can’t control every situation, experience, or circumstance, but what we can control is our response to them. When we learn to accept that although the situation may be out of our hands, we are in complete control of how we react to it, we then step into our power, because it is our reaction to life’s events that determines the outcome of our lives.

For example, if your pilot doesn’t go to series and you choose to get depressed and withdrawn then your response will only lead to more negativity and the closing of even more doors but if you choose to be grateful for the experience and take positive action forward, then who knows what even greater opportunity might be waiting for you around the corner. Sometimes our biggest blessings are born out of our biggest “failures.”

Step 3: Let it go

Letting go was the hardest step for me on a personal level. I used to always think, “What if I did that differently? What if I had said that instead? Why didn’t he stay? Why didn’t he love me? Why didn’t I book it?” But through my journey, I have learned that this was the critical component to really breaking through to the next level – just letting it go and giving up the hope that the past could have been any different. Things do or do not happen for a reason, people stay and people leave for a reason and I learned that as long as I do my best and continue to be my authentic self, that what is for me is mine and that if people are willing to walk away from me, then I need to just let them go. Dwelling on the ‘shoulda, woulda, couldas’, and wallowing in worry and self-doubt was just a dark cloud over the sun that could have been shining in my life. It is time to let go of the dark cloud and step into your light.

I hope you enjoy and find value in my story:

The Tweet that Healed My Heart

I was concentrating on folding my powder blue cardigan as if I were performing open-heart surgery, ‘left arm crosses over to the right, right arm crosses over to the left, and then fold up from the bottom,’ when a reflection of something tucked away under my bed caught my eye.

I was packing for my big move from New York, the intoxicating city that I had a love/hate relationship with for the last eight years. Loved the food, the fashion, the energy, the ambition, the models during Fashion Week. I even loved street meat and hailing taxis at 3:00am when I stumbled out of speak-easys with my friends, heels, and a sparkly clutch in tow. Hated the daily grind, getting stuck on the L train next to the sweaty man who conveniently forgot to put deodorant on that day. Hated paying $5 for a cup of drip coffee.

Placing the cardigan neatly into a box and with the rain sweetly dancing on my windowsill, I reluctantly walked over to my bed, kneeled down, fought the dust, and grabbed the glistening glass candle holder that I could no longer ignore. It had been given to me by T.S., a guy that I had dated on-and-off for three years, another love/hate relationship.

Loved how he knew how to make me laugh no matter how upset I was, that I was obsessed with cheese, that he would watch murder mysteries with me even though he hated them, that he made me grilled cheese and tomato soup at 1:00am just because I was hungry. Hated that he would never really commit, how trying to have a normal conversation would inevitably turn into a fight, that he never invited me out to meet his friends or family, that he held my self-esteem in his back-pocket, that I was never good enough to be introduced as his ‘girlfriend’ but yet was expected to treat him like a king, and that my happiness was always contingent upon his mood. Hated how he blamed the demise of our “relationship” on me because the moment I demanded the respect that I deserved, the only thing he had to offer me was the occasional gchat conversation. How dare I expect him to share his heart when all he desired was a piece of my body?

Even though I had offered him my friendship, he still found a way to cut me to the core. He told me that he was in love with another girl and that she was “the one” via text without the guts to say it my face. In his own words, “telling me that she even existed was irrelevant.” He only did so after he was “backed into a corner.” I had forgotten about the cowardice that laid beneath his tough guy facade like a snake lying underneath leaves to avoid the sun.

Love/hate relationships, I suppose that was my thing. But it was time for a change.

I placed the glass candle holder on my table as it were a foreign object, almost like a bomb. I eyed it, almost convinced that it was going to explode and melt everything in my apartment. It sat there all night and I poured my second glass of Merlot.

The next morning I was determined to tackle my stack of old magazines and newspapers – toughest question of the day, “Keep, trash, or giveaway?” I picked up a copy of ELLE magazine with Emma Watson on the cover. I thumbed through it and landed on her interview. I half-heartedly read the article, I still had one eye on the glass candle holder, when I got the part where she was recalling why she took her role in the movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and quoted a line from the flick, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” I re-read the line a few times and then blankly stared at the glass candle holder.

It finally clicked. Was this simple yet profound statement the missing ingredient I needed to really move on with my life? Why did I even keep the glass candle holder? Why did the raindrops dancing on my windowsill still remind me of the rhythm of his heartbeat when we laid in bed? Why did the ghost of our “relationship” still haunt me like the stench of the man on the L train? Was there a part of me that thought I deserved the “hate” part of my relationship? If so, it was time to release that part of me, forgive myself, and move forward. It was time to take full responsibility for my happiness. It was time to clean house.

Back when I was a teenager I would have written down the quote in my diary, my place of solace where I left my cares, dreams, and most intimate thoughts. But being that’s it 2014 my logical next step was to turn to Twitter. My digital diary, where I lived privately in public, and where I would release my belief that I somehow deserved the way he treated me. I sat there and typed out the 41 characters, “We accept the love we think we deserve,” with 99 characters to spare. As I pressed enter, releasing the quote into the ether, I felt a sense of relief. The burden that I carried of feeling less than by a man that never deserved me in the first place was now being lifted from my chest and disseminated to my 1,359 followers. There is strength in numbers.

I poured another glass of Merlot (it was 5 o’clock somewhere) and walked over to the table and picked up the glass candle holder, and thought, “Keep, trash, or giveaway?” #Trash.

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About Candy Washington

Actor, producer, entertainment, and fashion expert and This is Candy Washington founder, Candy Washington is a highly sought-after resource for her witty, trendy, and always entertaining style, pop culture, and acting expertise. Candy has interviewed top industry influencers including NBC’s Today Show’s style expert Bobbie Thomas, NBC’s Fashion Star winner Kara Laricks, Teen Vogue’s Eva Chen, NBC's Dancing with the Star’s Dean Banowetz, ABC’s fashion expert Lilliana Vazquez, and Bravo's The Real Housewives of New York’s Jill Zarin, and has appeared on ABC 7 as a film and entertainment expert. She was profiled Cision, the industry’s go-to standard for media professionals and is also a brand ambassador for Style in View. Additionally, she has acted in numerous films and television shows, such as Ice Cube produced, Are We There Yet? and Eggs Over Easy that premiered at The New Orleans Films Festival. Candy is a graduate of Georgetown University.