Empowerment, Encouragement, Inspiration, life, Motivation, self growth, Uncategorized, Wellness

The Great Pretenders

pretending

In my field of work, I’ve come across many people who are dissatisfied with their life. Some are in unhappy stagnant marriages or relationships while others feel lonely and fearful to truly be themselves among their friendship circles. From the outside, everything seems good in their life but when they are alone at night the truth resurfaces reminding them they’re living a lie. I call these the great pretenders. You may be surprised to know that we live among many great pretenders. It could be your boss at work with the picture perfect family portrait sitting at his desk or the social butterfly in your friendship group with hundreds of Facebook friends. It’s the neighbor with the big house, the pastor of the mega-church, the couple that just celebrated their 20 year anniversary and so many more. Some of the most well-liked, brave on the outside, well-spoken and most popular people are the very ones when behind closed doors feel the most dissatisfied, fearful and insecure. Everyday people, you come across portraying to the outside world that everything is great when deep inside this is farthest from the truth. The thing about great pretenders that make it so easy to continue living the persona is pretenders attract pretenders…therefore no one is forced to take a truthful look at themselves. Pretender’s social circles are filled with other great pretenders so everyone puts on a great show around each other keeping things surface so true selves remain hidden.

I use to be a great pretender. Pretending I had this great fulfilling life when deep inside I knew my truth was contrary to the persona I kept. All great pretenders will come to a place in life where they find themselves at a crossroad. It is at this time you are left with two decisions:

1) Take the Risk
The first choice you have is to “take the risk”. You have the choice to stop all the lies and game playing and boldly begin to truly live your truth. You have the choice to step outside your comfort zone loose the persona and discover the real you. You have the option to take the risk of losing some friendships or relationships but only to find true authentic ones to take their place. You have the decision to follow the fork in the road that leads to true freedom, holistic wellbeing, happiness, and peace. You have the decision to take the road less traveled and discover a whole new you!

2) Stay Put
The other option you have is to “stay put”. The option to stay put in the persona you built. This option is safe and doesn’t require any changes to the “status quo”. This option allows you to continue living the same way you have always been living, dressing up the outside real good and playing the part. This choice will not “rock the boat” everything will stay intact. Let me just say the majority choose this option and go on to live a steady conventional life. Although, in the back of their mind they always wonder what it would be like if they stepped outside that box, they never take the chance.

pretending (1)

I chose option 2 for most of my life, but it ended up killing me on the inside. So much of who I really was, my purpose, value, personality, likes and dislikes were buried deep to maintain the box I lived in to keep “my role” in the great pretending. To keep the life, I thought I wanted and needed created this wonderful imagine on the outside but this decaying on the inside. It took years of growth to finally wake up and face my fears, step outside that box, move from my comfort zone and boldly say “this is me…like me or hate me…love me or leave me…talk about me or join me…but this is my truth”! Now don’t get me wrong it’s scary as hell when you step on that platform and reveal the real authentic you ​because you don’t know what will happen. But I’m a living testimony of one who has gone before you and I am here to say that yes you will lose some friends, yes people will judge and talk about you, yes you will feel vulnerable and exposed, yes you will feel scared but trust me my friends the end result is SO much sweeter than the old life you lead before. You see although you lose friends you gain true authentic friendships, the fear, vulnerability and being exposed leads to strength and courage. The judgment from others teaches you how to challenge prejudices and discover commonalities. It creates even more bravery to stand tall in your truth and inspires others to do the same. You learn great empathy for others, how to truly listen to people and open up. This in turn creates a whole new kind of community/village of meaningful relationships people sharing of self and growing together. You learn what it really means to give and receive love. You finally discover what it truly means to be free!

freedom

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Empowerment, Encouragement, self growth, Uncategorized, Wellness

The FREEING in Forgiveness  

True Forgiveness

I believe many Christians have a misconception about the true process and meaning of forgiveness.  Because of these myths I’ve come across many people carrying enormous amount of guilt and obligation. This guilt and obligation can lead to an unhappy and unfulfilled life.  They carry an unnecessary yoke around their neck because the false ideas of forgiveness. In my course of growing and healing from my past…I’ve learn two important points about forgiveness:

1) Forgiveness has EVERYTHING to do with you. Forgiveness frees you from guilt, shame, fear and obligation.  It allows you to let go of all the unhealthy emotional baggage you carried from the hurt and pain done to you. Forgiving someone who has wronged you places the power back in your hands and out of the wrong doer.  Your forgiveness basically is saying that, although I have a justified reason to be angry or upset with you, I am choosing to exercise grace and mercy.  Freely giving this grace and mercy towards your wrong doer opens the prison doors where the two of you were held captive.  This opening of the prison cells gives you the emotional power to walk out free!

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2) Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to allow the wrong doer back into your life.  Many people are silent sufferers who have been lead to believe that if I choose to no longer allow the wrong doer in my life than I haven’t truly forgiven them.  Let me tell you my friends this is not true. Some who have wronged you will recognize and acknowledge their wrong doing and sincerely apologize and show this apology through their course of actions.  These types of relationships can most often have the potential for mending and restoration.  However, there will also be times although forgiveness has taken place, due to the toxicity of the person; the relationship will not be mended.  If you find that the person you have forgiven still has unhealthy behavior traits that are not beneficial to your wellbeing and growth, then perhaps this is a person you must love at a distance.  Loving someone at a distance means that you don’t harbor any animosity, anger or resentment there is genuine love carried within your heart for the person’s wellbeing. However, you have come to a place in your journey of growth and self-discovery where you have realized that some people (which could include a family member) are not emotionally healthy individuals and therefore not emotionally healthy for you so boundaries are placed for your sanity and peace.

forgiveness

I am a living witness to this journey and process. I have experienced true freedom and peace of mind by making the brave and bold decisions of removing unhealthy individuals from my life. True forgiveness is a transformation that happens in the heart…it’s an experience and process between you and God. This is why you mustn’t allow “other people’s opinions” affect you on how you choose to handle a relationship with someone who has wronged you.  Your choice is between you and God through your personal prayers, devotions and mediation that leads you to make the healthiest decision for you concerning the relationship.

I encourage anyone who is in a toxic relationship, rather if it’s a boyfriend, friend, mother or father or whoever it may be. Do not allow yourself to rot within those prison cells.  Take the steps to true forgiveness and healing…remember forgiveness has EVERYTHING to do with freeing and healing you.

freedom-through-forgiveness

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Encouragement, Inspiration, life, Uncategorized, Wellness

Despite it ALL 

  

As a grown up I’ve come to realize that the “Happy” in “Happy Thanksgiving” doesn’t apply to the masses. In fact it is around the holiday season that most people feel the loneliest. My thoughts always go to the widows, single mothers, dysfunctional family’s, parents who’ve lost children and children who’ve lost parents. My heart goes out to every struggling person trying to survive. The true meaning of Thanksgiving I believe has gotten lost in the commercialized version. True authentic Thanksgiving is not about Black Friday deals, watching football, stuffing our faces with food or family’s getting together just for tradition sake..it’s about reflecting and remembering that despite all you or your family has gone through there’s still something to be thankful for. For some, their despite it all, is that they still have a roof over their head, for others it may be having the security of a job, it could be having solid friendships who have been there to help in your time of need. Despite it all could be you have a clean bill of health or you are in your right frame of mind despite all the hardship.  

  
For me my despite it all is that through all the hardships and heartaches I still have spiritual wellbeing my Creator has kept my sanity, given me peace and joy. Despite it all I still have a loving husband and three healthy sons. Despite it all I know who I am, whose I am, my value and purpose. I walk in these truths and its in knowing these things I find my Thanksgiving! 

  
I don’t know what your despite it all may be but I do know if you stop and think for a minute you can identify some…for we all our overcomers of something…I encourage you to think and reflect on those things you have overcome and find your true Thanksgiving today.   

  

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Empowerment, Inspiration, life, self growth

The Catch!

the catch

Are you ready for some football! I don’t know about your household, but as a wife and mother of 3 sons, this is a sports house.  One of the favorite sports to watch is football.  My husband and my boys love when football season comes around.  Needless to say by default I’ve become somewhat of a sports fan myself and from time to time will watch a game with them.  One of the things that I find fascinating about football is the relationship between the quarterback and the wide receiver on the field.  They both have to be in tune with one another in order for the pass to be complete.  If the wide receiver isn’t at the location at the precise time the quarterback throws the ball he will miss the catch.

This made me think about opportunities in life.  If we miss “the catch” we can miss our opportunity.  Opportunities for peace, joy, love, new beginnings, healthier living, emotional and spiritual well being and etc. What opportunities have you missed? Are you in-sync with “your quarterback”? My quarterback is my Creator…I must stay in tuned with Him daily in order to receive “my catch”.  Or the question maybe what’s hindering you from missing the catch? Is it bad relationships, unforgiveness to self or others, denial of past hurts and wounds, unaddressed emotions, fear of change or fear of rejection?

In order for the wide receiver to be at the right location to receive the ball he has to run, push and fight through defenses attempting to stop him.  He must maneuver, right and left, all the while with his eyes focus on his destination.  I think there is a life lesson to learn from the wide receiver.  In order to catch the opportunities of life we must RUN PUSH & FIGHT through adversities to make “OUR TOUCHDOWN”!

DON’T MISS “THE CATCH”!

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Wellness

My Top 5

zen-balance

There comes a time in life when we feel off balance.  Where life seems to be going full speed and we can’t keep up. Usually our bodies inform us of these times when we’re in overdrive.  Working in overdrive is not our optimal self.  We tend to make hasty decisions, generally more moody and experience fatigue.  When my life becomes off center I typically refocus on these 5 simple things.

1) Spiritual wellness 

Sometimes life becomes hectic and I begin to short change my spiritual health.  When this happens to rejuvenate my spirituality I practice the following:

Solitude 

I purposely ensure that I block time out of my schedule for “alone time”.  Solitude allows me time to think and process what’s going on in my life.  It gives me the opportunity to reconnect with my inner self.  I spend this time communicating with my Creator and in return He replenishes my inner peace.

Nature

Nature is so therapeutic.  I see the evidence of my Creator all around me in nature. Nature is pure and serene and just by being in it I immediately feel calm and peaceful and one with God.

2) Sleep/Rest

When I’m not getting enough sleep or rest sooner or later it eventually catches up with me.  A proper amount of sleep is often taken for granted.  We instead choose to get by on 4 hours of sleep and our caffeine and energy drinks.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. I know in this day and age we live such busy lives and work crazy hours it seems almost impossible to get a proper amount of sleep.  Although the aim is 8 hrs there are always baby steps.  I suggest chopping off at least one hour of television time in the evening and committing to a shut down time of technology.  You may be surprise how these two simple steps can increase your amount of sleep.

3) Stress Management

Stress kills!  This isn’t a cliche on words but true. The American Institute of Stress states these alarming statistics. It is said that 44% of Americans feel more stressed than they did 5 years ago.  Furthermore, statistics show that 1 in 5 Americans experience extreme stress and that 60% of all human illness and disease are stress related.  Millions are daily affected by stress.  We can find tons of books and websites from the experts on ways to reduce stress.  I find implementing these simple things into our life style can help manage stress.

Don’t over stuff your plate and learn to say NO

The first is mindfulness of making sure you are not “over stuffing” your plate.  Even when it comes to positive healthy activities to much is still too much. Secondly, is practicing the art of saying “no”.  One of the greatest life lessons I’ve learn is saying no.  People will continue to ask if your answer is always yes.  I’ve learn that my no doesn’t mean what the person needs still cannot be accomplish.  There is always someone else who’s capable of doing the job.

Stay connected to your emotions 

Our emotions tell us a lot. We have a tendency to bottle up our emotions.  When our bodies become the storehouse for these emotions we begin to experience physical ailments such as headaches, body aches, digestive problems and etc.  Our emotions were never meant to be stored but expressed.   Sometimes we desensitized and our not even aware of our feelings. Knowing how you are feeling and why you’re feeling is the key to a well balance life.

balance

4) Detox 

Holistic health is important to a vibrant life.  Usually when we become off centered in one area of our life it happens in another.  I know personally when I experience high stress I run not walk to my comfort treats (cookies, cake, ice cream, popcorn, fries). A good detox reboots and cleanses my inside which simultaneously affects my mind and spirit.

5) Do something fun!

Have fun! Do something that’s not on the agenda. Whether it’s attending a concert or visiting one of your favorite restaurants.  Catch up with a friend you usually don’t have time to see or go see that movie you wanted.  Whatever it is go have fun!

Well there you have it. My top five for rediscovering my balance.

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self growth, Wellness

The Seven Letter Word

Forgive, a word that packs a lot of punch, why is this action word so difficult for us?  When you Google the word forgiveness you will find over thousands of articles on different peoples perspective on forgiving.  Even when you study the philosophy of religions each shares in the belief of the importance of forgiveness.  Psychologists have broken down forgiveness into two types:

Decisional Forgiveness- Where the person makes a choice to practice the outward acts of forgiveness but hasn’t made the efforts to allow themselves internally (cognition, motivation, and emotions) to forgive.

Emotional Forgiveness- This type has made a conscious decision to forgive; this forgiveness begins inward and then shows outward.

When learning about these two different distinct types of forgiveness I began to ponder which type does most of us fall under? I know personally in my life for many years I fell under the 1st type of forgiveness.  For this was an easy way to forgive.  I can pretend on the outside and play the motions while not having to address the anger, bitter and hurt feelings that still harbored inside.  I can smile and act like everything is okay when really it is not.  I was able to carry on giving “Decisional Forgiveness” until I came to a place in my journey where I no longer wanted to “play the role” but actually live my truth and totally be me.  It was at this point when I had to face my truths and address them one by one. One of those truths was that I actually had not gone through the total healing process of true forgiveness.

bird-release-

Forgiveness is a one man journey.  We have heard it time and time again that forgiveness isn’t about the person but you. Although this statement is true it doesn’t take away the fact that our feelings and emotions still struggle with drifting back to the person who wronged us.  If our feelings and emotions stay drifted to long that person becomes prison cells holding us captive to the past and wrong doing.  I believe this is the hardest part in the process of true forgiveness; releasing of the person who wronged us.

The releasing is a spiritual journey.  A journey into your inner spirit unpacking your hurts, unmet needs, injustices, hates, regrets, bitterness and pain and then releasing.  The releasing comes in different forms pertaining to the individual.  For some the releasing is crying, yelling, punching a bag, writing, talking to a counselor or trusted friend.  Personally I have tried many different methods in attempt to release but for me healing came through my Creator.  I released to Him through prayer and meditation, daily devotion, writing in a journal and talking with my spiritual adviser.  Once you begin releasing you begin healing.  Healing doesn’t mean you forget  neither does it mean that sometimes your heart  doesn’t drift back and you feel the pain or hurt rising up inside of you again, but the difference is, the feelings may return but their stay is short lived for you have already gone through the process of releasing.  When your body, mind and spirit speak to you and inform you that those feeling are uprising you now have the tools to go through the process of releasing.

prison cell

I’ve learned that on my journey I may have to go through the process of release on several occasions throughout my life-time.   But, as long as I’m willing to still do the releasing I will always receive my healing.  A Wise man once said, “Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives.”

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self growth, Wellness

Own your emotions

EmotionalWellness

We have a tendency to bottle up our emotions.  When our bodies become the storehouse for these emotions we begin to experience physical ailments such as headaches, body aches, digestive problems and etc.  Our emotions were never meant to be stored but expressed.  Usually our emotions range between feelings of happy, sad, angry and fear.  We usually do a better job releasing our happy feelings but struggle with the latter three. Sometimes we desensitized and are not even aware of our feelings. We must own our emotions. How do you own your emotions?

By doing the following three things:

Recognize 

Stop and take the time to recognize your emotions. Recognize what is happening physically because our bodies do an excellent job informing us of our emotions.  Sadness usually affects your appetite and energy level as for anger it can take a toll on your cognitive reasoning, body temperature and gets us roused up.  As for fear  we usually feel agitated, affects sleep, we become restless, may experience headaches or upset stomach.  Please do not take these examples as the end all for we vary on how our bodies respond to emotions but these symptoms give you a general idea.

 Identify the Root

Once you have recognized the emotion then you must identify the root cause. This can take time and requires patience on your part. If you’re the type of person who has become an expert on storing emotions this part of the process may take awhile. It is imperative that you take the time to reflect on past and current situations and the emotions they bring. If you find yourself struggling to identify the root ask a trusted friend or family member their thoughts.

Release 

After recognizing and identifying then it’s time to release. We must release in order to grow and heal.

The following are a few suggestions but of course there are many other healthy methods for releasing.  Some of the suggestions are also interchangeable.

Anger

  • Yell it out
  • Punch it out ( not a person) but a punching bag or pillow
  • Walk it out
  • Run it out
  • Write it out

Sadness

  • Talk it out
  • Cry it out
  • Laugh it out
  • Pray it out
  • Meditate it out

Fear

  • Face it
  • Speak it
  • Challenge it
  • Embrace it

 WHATEVER YOU DO LET IT OUT!

 feelings

Emotional wellness is important.  If we are not able to maintain emotional wellness we will be unable to live full peaceful purpose driven lives.

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