Empowerment Series: “A Million Little Things” “Jane the Virgin,” “Mrs. America,” “Law & Order,” “Guiding Light,” and “El Cantante” Actress, Andrea Navedo Shares Self-Love with AW
Life is unpredictable. Oftentimes, it feels like a long movie, where you are the lead among a cast of characters that either support or antagonize the conflict of your story. My narrative is continuously evolving, people come in and out of my life to help me with the lessons. The beauty of this thing called life is that we never know who will enter our world and make an impact.
I attended John F. Kennedy High School in the city of New York. Our rival high school was Dewitt Clinton and their football team was ruthless. Those years were only a memory until recently when I sat down for a one-on-one lunch with Andrea Navedo. We met on a beautiful Autumn day for an interview but it turned out to be a walk down memory lane after the Bronx native revealed that she attended the school of our fiercest opponent – Clinton High School! It was a meeting of two Latinas from the “Big Apple” that took very different career paths but deep down we’re not so different. We are women who have endured hardship, evolved, and learned countless lessons on our journey to finding self-love.
Many women have struggled with self-love at some point in their lives, present company included. I am an optimist and a fighter but I did not embrace my power until the fourth decade of life. Stepping into my potential did not come easily but once it did, I held on to it for dear life! When did you find your strength, as a woman and really step into your power? There wasn’t a defining moment for me. I stepped into my power, little by little. I was bullied in middle school, sticking up for myself was one of the first moves. In high school, I had a boyfriend who was abusive. During one argument, he antagonized me, triggering a fire in my belly! Knew that I deserved better, I fought back that day. We fought and I broke up with him. The decision encouraged me, I gained control, gradually. Later on in life, the decision to seek therapy was useful to deal with things that took place during my childhood, further empowering me. The decision to end a 20-year marriage was the hardest thing I’ve done in life. It has been a long journey but the driving force? My soul knew better. I fought back each time, I heard the little voice inside me say “You are not enough.” The power came in increments, becoming stronger, as I made decisions that were in my best interest.
Women juggle multiple roles, mothers, wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers, daughters, and careers. We try to be everything to everyone. There is pressure to do it all. It is unrealistic to think that we won’t make mistakes. I have my share of blunders but I have grown and learned from them. What has been your biggest lesson of self-love? Divorce has been my biggest lesson. Understanding that I deserve love has been life-changing. It is up to me to make that happen but no one else can give me that love, it’s inside of me. I truly thought that having a life of a “celebrity,” being a lead actress on a series like “Jane the Virgin” would complete my life. At the end of the day, it was not fulfilling in the way I hoped, not really. My marriage was killing me emotionally. I wanted my children to live with two parents in a conventional home but it would not have been a healthy choice for anyone. Loving myself had to come first to be able to provide them with a good life.
Years of work have helped me with self-acceptance but it is constant practice. I’ve learned to be good to myself and understand that I deserve self-care and attention. How do you show yourself love, care, and attention? I show myself love by being honest about myself and my feelings. Telling myself the truth is pivotal in my life. I know when I am not being good to myself. When I am truthful, the light shines through the darkness. Allowing myself the chance to be vulnerable, talking about my dark thoughts is important, too. If I don’t express myself, it makes me unhappy. Letting it out constructively is an act of self-love. Therapy helps, doing the things that I am afraid of also encourages me. Having a partner that treats me well and upholds the agreements I have with him and respects mine is another way, I self-nurture.
AW likes to end interviews with a message, mantra, quote, advice, or words of inspiration. What would you like to share with our readers to encourage them to seek and protect self-love? It’s like Glenda, the good witch who tells Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, “You’ve had the power all along.” Choose for yourself, don’t allow anyone else to disrespect you. Make choices that honor your highest and best self. Do not be the victim in the story. Take the reigns of your life, there is incredible power in staying true to yourself.
Words can’t express my gratitude to Andrea for taking the time to do our interview. Her genuine and frank words are appreciated and helped immensely on that day. As women, many of us put others at the helm of our lives, it often creates an existence that mostly meets the world’s expectations. Putting yourself first, giving yourself what you need to be happy is not selfish. The act of self-love can help you act in alignment with your soul. Learning to love yourself is critical, as you build the foundation for an authentic life.
This interview has been condensed for clarity.*
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