Jotina Buck Changed Her Life Through Positive Affirmations
Teacher, author, and international speaker are just a few of the many titles that today’s feature, Jotina Buck holds. Growing up as the youngest in a family of 12, in one of the highest crime areas of Houston, Jotina was faced with much adversity. While individuals with a similar upbringing would have been more susceptible to follow the trends of their older siblings, Jotina chose to rise above her situation and break the cycle.
Her passion to better herself mirrors her dedication to help others live a successful life. While on tour for her bestseller, Change your Language, Change your Life, she uses a powerful message “I am enough” to evoke change across the world.
Read below for more from Jotina Buck.
How was your childhood? What experiences negative or positive helped shape the person you are today?
The more I talk to people and the more I experience life, I realize that I had a pretty pleasurable childhood. Growing up, I had both parents in the home. They were married for some 35 years. My father was a minister and my mother worked alongside him in ministry, so they were very good in insuring that we had a holistic experience. However, much like any family, we did experience our share of dysfunction. Although I am the youngest of 12, I am a first generation college graduate because in my family work came before education.
Because I have siblings that are much older than I am, I experienced and saw a lot. My brothers and sisters were becoming adults at the beginning of the crack era, when crack was the new drug. Several of my siblings fell into addictions and street life. So I saw my mother battle with my siblings being in and out of jails and crack houses because addiction turns into criminal activity and that turns into being in prison. For a long time, I thought that was all there was to life. It wasn’t until I started to explore different options that I saw that something else can happen for me. We are all able to make choices and some of my siblings didn’t make the right choices which in the end affected my whole family.
"For a long time, I thought that was all there was to life. It wasn’t until I started to explore different options that I saw that something else can happen for me"
Did you experience any insecurities growing up? If so, how did you overcome them or how are you dealing with them today?
Yeah, of course I did, as we all do. I had many insecurities because I thought for so long that my family was dysfunctional. Most of that came from going to church in a more affluent area in the suburbs where most of my peers’ parents were principals and superintendents at schools. My mom and dad were entrepreneurs, they worked at home so I didn’t see and experience parents going to corporate jobs every day. Because of that, I always felt inferior and I felt that those people were better than me. Also, we were the family whose lives played out in public. People knew when my brothers and sisters were on crack and they knew when one of them would go to jail.
Although my parents took really good care of us, I kind of wanted to hide my face because I thought it was shameful, when it was only all the societal things that demote success that we didn’t have. At that time, I went through a phase where I took on a different identity. But I knew inside of me that there was more and that I wanted more, I just had to get out and seek it.
So amazing to see where you came from and where you are today. How do you balance your life as a teacher, philanthropist, author, and international speaker?
My biggest thing is self-care. I believe in taking moments to step away and guard your soul. This morning when I woke up, I took a moment to go and sit outside and read. It’s moments like that that always bring me balance. The other day I had so much on my to-do list that I woke up thinking how am I going to make it happen. And something hit me and said don’t do anything today, just take a moment and step away from it all. I like to call them “no-nothing” days. I’ll take a day off and have a staycation, where I book a hotel in the city. I won’t take my computer or iPad but I do bring my cell phone for emergencies. But I disconnect totally from everything. Those are the moments where I can be still and refresh and allow the universe to speak to me. And sleep!
What inspired you to write Change Your Language, Change Your Life. And what do you want your audience to take away from it?
The biggest thing that inspired me to write Change your Language, Change your Life was losing both of my parents at a very young age. I lost my father my freshman year of college, and my mother my senior year of college. Shortly after, I was quickly thrown into being a single parent and I fell into a deep depression. While in that depressed state I really could not put the pieces together. Though I’ve never been suicidal, I felt like I didn't want to live anymore after losing my mother and I made up my mind that I would seek therapy. My therapist suggested journaling so I started to write about what I was experiencing and I felt relief.
I was then invited to a vision board party. I created a vision board and hung it up on my wall. As time passed I started to say to myself the words that were on the vision board like peace and love and hope. And now I know that moment coupled with the work that I was willing to do literally changed my life. I talked myself to a place of healing, wholeness, and restoration. And so I took those very same journal entries and I knew that if I was experiencing these things and able to get healing by way of positive language and positive affirmations than someone else in the world must be feeling the same way.
The inspiration behind it is wanting individuals to know it does not matter how dark it gets, how low you fall, or how many times you’ve messed up, you have the ability to speak over yourself and literally change the trajectory of your future. I want every reader to not only walk away with that message, but also be equipped with the tools necessary to begin to put into practice positive affirmations, positive language and positive living.
What aspect of your career do you find most rewarding?
Bringing my daughter along the journey. As a single mom, we see so many things. For me, my mom was my biggest supporter and my best friend, so having my mom as that person and being able to celebrate her life by the way I parent is rewarding. My daughter is my assistant. She with me all the time and she’s on payroll. So seeing her put into practice the things I'm teaching the world is most rewarding.
When I’m having my moments she’s the one who reminds me of who I am. It's so rewarding to have such a massive platform and such a huge message to share with the world but it's even more rewarding to see it impacting the weight of the house.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I am currently on a book tour. I’ll be heading to South Africa this coming July. I’m so excited about that but I’m even more excited about what's to come as a result of it. As a philanthropist I believe it is important to share with the world how they too can give back so I’m taking it upon myself to shoot a documentary while in South Africa this summer. It will premiere early 2017. It will highlight the importance of service, giving and serving the world at large—wherever you are. You can also look out for more programs related to soul care.