Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday, Uncategorized

When to Change, and When to Stay the Same

I love myself. I can’t remember if I ever didn’t, but I really love myself now.

There were times when I felt I needed to change. Those times were mostly because I was told so by someone else. Even then I wasn’t convinced. When I was younger, I was told I was too thin. I didn’t have any health problems, and I didn’t think I was too thin. Nevertheless, I gained weight. I didn’t to it to please myself, but to please someone else. I did quiet a few of these changes in my people-pleasing years.

There were times when I felt the need to change, and I did. I did so because I wanted to. The things I needed to change were the things about myself that I didn’t think served me or were not good for me. I changed my diet because I was not as healthy as I wanted to be. It was a personal decision. That was one of the first things I did at the resistance of those people I was trying to please. It was hard in the beginning, but I did it. All subsequent personal changes were a lot easier.

Sometimes you may need to make some changes, but they should be for your own reasons and beneficial to you. Trust your gut. You know yourself better than anyone.

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday, Think About it Thursday, Uncategorized

Just Leave it Behind

There are some things we have to leave in the past if we want to have a different future.

That is a lesson that has taken me years to learn.  We can get so comfortable with past experiences that we make them our present and our future.

Many of us have lived through a tragedy, had our hearts broken, or been mistreated.  There is no reason to keep reliving those horrible moments.  Certainly those experiences have shaped the people we are today, but they don’t have to shape us in a negative way.  We should view those experiences as learning moments.

We often use past traumatic experiences to excuse our present behavior, but the only reason these past experience continue to affect us is because we continue to reach into the past and bring them to the surface.  If you have ever uttered the words “I am like this because_________happened to me a long time ago”, you are guilty of allowing past experience to shape your present life.  Stop creating issues and focus on healing and moving forward.  Learn from those experiences and make better choices for yourself.

If you were ever in a relationship with a dishonest person, don’t create trust issues.  Make better decisions on who you share your life with.  If you grew up in a household where accountability and responsibility were nonexistent and you can recognize that, don’t allow that to be your excuse to continue that pattern.  I admit that not everyone who exhibits a  certain negative behavior is aware of the reason, but for those of us who like to blame current behavior on past experiences, we know exactly what we are doing.  We know there was a problem in the past.  Let’s leave it behind and move forward.

Posted in Think About it Thursday

People Pleasing

 

As a recovering people pleaser, I have done tons of self-reflection on why I do what I do.  The jury is still out on that, but I’m no longer as concerned about why.  I just want to stop.  I do okay for a while and then I relapse.  I have noticed that it is easier to stop with certain people and not so easy with others.  I am constantly saying that you teach people how to treat you.  I realized that my people pleasing tendencies have taught people how to treat me.  More importantly I have taught them that they are able to use my urge to please to their advantage.

I have made a list of the things that go through my mind in the middle of my people pleasing thoughts.  I have found that my thoughts are really based on nothing.  As mentioned previously, this people pleasing behavior only comes into play with only one or two people.  Actually most who know me would be shocked that I struggle with this.  I generally give little thought about what others think, but my desire to please or not make a certain few uncomfortable has honestly stunted my personal growth.

I think all people pleasers need to examine their reasons.  Here the list of questions I asked myself:

 

Question:  What is my true motivation?

Answer:  Duh, to please another person.  This led me to ask myself another question.  Why?  I realized that I didn’t want any conflict with that person.  The person I didn’t want any conflict with is a huge part of my life.  I interact with this person on an almost daily basis and I love this person.  There is a certain degree of “I want to please this person because I fear not doing so would cause that person to think less of me.”  After thinking about this for a while I realized that although I may disappoint that person, that person will not stop loving me.  That person has been disappointed or upset with me before.  So what if it happens again.  Is it really as big of a deal as I have worked it up to be in my head?  I began to realize the root of my people pleasing is fear.  That fear is often based on what I think may happen.  I need to learn to deal with others disappointment rather than avoiding it.  So my motivation to please is based on what I fear may happen.

 

Question:  Why am I worried about what they are going to say?

Answer:  First of all, who is “they” (also known as “people)?  “People” and “they” are our own reservations and insecurities.  We are just putting a name of group of nameless people to an issue we are not willing to address ourselves. Are they even important enough to really be concerned about?  So what if they do talk.  They will talk anyway.  This is something I have gotten over, but I feel people pleasers generally stress over the ubiquitous “they.”  What I have learned is that if I am concerned about the “they/people”, that is a personal concern of mine. This thing may be something I am not quite comfortable with.  It may be something that requires a bit of a risk, so I want to be let off the hook.  What lets me off the hook is blaming my dependence on the “they”.  This finding led me to my next question.

 

Question:  Am I making excuses?

Answer:  Sometimes.  I will admit it has been easy to say that I don’t want to do something because I don’t want to rock a boat, but in actuality I’m just scared.  I have noticed this when I verbalize my decision to do or not to do something to another person who I am certain to share my view.  Once I get that confirmation, I feel that have been let off the hook.  I use people pleasing as an excuse because, unfortunately many people can relate to it and often find it acceptable.

 

What I have learned is my people pleasing has been rooted in fear.  As I have started to break a lot of my people pleasing habits I have realized that when I fight against the urge to please, the results and reactions are not as drastic as a I thought they would be.  Of course certain people did not like certain decisions, but that’s life.  No disavowals, or broken relationships.  Life simply goes on as usual.  Once I began to hold fast to my own decisions, I got little to no interference, not two cents were thrown into the mix.  It was just accepted.

I would like to continue to challenge all of us to examine hour people pleasing tendencies.  Let’s get to the root of it and grow beyond it.

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday

Intention

Intention has been coming up a lot lately in conversations with my friends.  Intention along with authenticity and integrity are the keys to living a life of freedom.  As I write this, I feel that is enough to say, but I can go on to how I came about this realization in my own life.

I have stated many times that I went through a season of unfortunate events.  During that time, I felt that I would never get a break.  It seemed one bad thing was happening after another.  I began to question everything.  I began to question my choices of friends, decisions, and commitments.  That is when I began to examine my intentions.  First, I began to look at my friendships.  I had and still have a pretty tight and small circle of friends.  I did not put much thought or emphasis on my friendships at the time because the friendships I had were many years in the making.  The friendships I had were over 20 years old.  I didn’t question those because they had lasted so long how could there be anything wrong with them?  It was not until my season of unfortunate events had ended that I was able to see the true nature of some of my relationships.  I began to notice that some of my friends were very present in my life when things were at their worst.  I got phone calls everyday. At the time, I thought it was wonderful.  I had a friend who was ready and willing to listen to my problems and I am thankful for it to this day.  It was what I needed at the time.  It wasn’t until my season of unfortunate events ended that I realized all the support, check-ins, and attention began to be replaced with something else.  I was then faced with out of nowhere confrontations, discouragement, and negativity.  All of this was confusing to me as I thought  friends would be happy for my life to take a much more positive and happy turn.  It seemed that every good thing I shared was quickly shot down.  Every new opportunity I shared was met with warnings and dissuasion.  Where was the celebration?  I thought friends would  be happy for their friends. It seemed to me that it was my misery that was attracting certain friends’ attention.  True friendship was not their intention.  There was some joy and comfort they found in my struggles, but not in my happiness.

As my life and the circumstances around it began to improve quickly and exponentially, that particular “friendship” began to weaken until eventually all contact ended.  Although the relationship has endured for well over 25 years, surprisingly, I didn’t miss it.  I began to realize that over the years there have been several instances when I was in a happy season, that particular person would find a reason to be absent.  That same person would come back into my life and seem somewhat disappointed when things were going well.  I also noticed that while I shared, participated, and supported my friend’s endeavors, the same was not reciprocated.  The absence of longing for that relationship was validation to me that that particular person’s intention was not in line with what I considered friendship.  My intention created what I had believed was a friendship, but the other person apparently did not have the same intention. To everything there is a season.  The same goes for relationships.

Now I am at a wonderful place and things are better and better everyday.  I am examining my intentions.  I am deliberate and focused.   Life is so much easier.  Decision making is effortless.  There is little to no back and forth in my mind as my actions are motivated by clear intention.

Posted in Morality Series

Layers

In talking to my cousin about life, he loves to say that situations have layers.  I am quick to come to conclusions and make decisions, but he often reminds me of the layers.  I tend to overlook the layers, but I realize that I have them too.

Let me explain what he means by layers.  Layers are those experiences that determine how one reacts to things, people, and situations.  For instance, I will not eat watermelon in public because of the stereotype associated with African Americans  loving watermelon.  I love watermelon, but I will not eat it in public because I have attached a negative image to my eating watermelon. I will turn it down if offered to me even though I really love it.  I’m not quite sure if the stereotype is a negative one, but I still will not be seen in public eating watermelon.  I know it’s silly, but that’s not enough for me to change that behavior.  So if I were turn watermelon down in public and asked why, my cousin would say there are layers to my decision.  Basically, the decision and the reasons behind it are more complex than it appears.

I am generally intolerant of bad behavior.  I do not take into account the “layers” behind the situation.  I am quick to disassociate with a person who I feel has treated me unjustly. There have been several instances of my ending relationships rather abruptly because I don’t feel it important for me to understand the why.  I would rather remove myself from the relationship entirely.  My cousin often reminds me of the layers behind people’s actions.  I’m on the fence on whether or not to take these layers into consideration.  I do think it is best to remove yourself from a toxic situation as to not add any negative layers to your own life.

I feel that it is important to acknowledge these layers and not to judge people too harshly.  So if I turn down your watermelon at a public function, don’t take it personally.  There are layers behind that situation.  I’m working on it.

Posted in Morality Series, Uncategorized

Being Humble

It has become evident to me that being humble is quickly fading away.

To many people, being humble is a weakness or a lack of  confidence, but to me it has always meant something different.  One can be humble and confident. The two are not mutually exclusive.  When I think of being humble, I think of being a person who is well aware of their gifts, talents, and accomplishments and also aware of their weaknesses, shortcomings and goals yet to be attained.  Having made significant accomplishments does not mean there is no room to grow or that any shortcoming or weakness should be dismissed or ignored.

I am reminded of an incident in my hometown of a student who was gifted academically and athletically.  The student  earned many scholastic awards and several scholarships for academic and athletic merit.  Unfortunately, that student made a series of poor decisions and was arrested.  Of course the incident received attention on all of the local news outlets as this highly decorated student had fallen victim to the trappings many young people face.  What surprised me was the reaction of the student.  The student did not take ownership of the wrongdoing, but instead reacted with anger towards those who mentioned or passed along news of the arrest.  I am well aware  there is a certain type of person who loves to see the mighty fall from grace, but  the student’s reaction was troubling to me.  I am also well aware that the highly accomplished, gifted, and talented fall victim to the same temptations as everyone else, but those gifts and accomplishments do not excuse or dismiss bad behavior or eliminate the consequences of poor decisions.  The student’s reaction was that of prideful boasting of previous accomplishments and a dismissive wave of the hand to the arrest record. All of this documented on the student’s social media site and quickly spread like wildfire. Certainly one poor decision does not take away all of your accolades, but those accolades should not excuse one from misconduct.

In my opinion, there has been a major shift in values.   With the rise of social media and instant access to almost everything, we have been taught to create a cult of personality with little to no attention paid to maintaining an honorable reputation.

This post was just to vent my personal frustration.  I have no solutions to offer other than to challenge all of us to protect ourselves from valuing the trivial and transient and to place your value in the things that cannot be replaced.

 

Posted in Think About it Thursday, Uncategorized

Change

Change-Sign

Change happens.  There is nothing we can do to stop it.  We can prolong it but, it is  inevitable.  We don’t have to like it but, we must learn to accept it.  It makes some people uncomfortable. Oh well.

I have always been the type of person who accepted change.  I am not normally a combative person.  I do like to challenge things and  I am assertive.  I also know when to pick my battles.  Sometimes it is not worth it to put up a fight just to kick the can down the road.  I like peace and peace comes with acceptance.

In the past year, my life has changed drastically.  For the most part it is good but, there are some things that weren’t so great. Fortunately for me, those bad things were temporary.  Nonetheless, there was nothing I could do to stop it.  I had to work with what I had.  I had to make adjustments and, more importantly, I had to get on with my life.  I had to surrender, embrace the changes, and work through them.  Had I fought it, I would have prolonged the discomfort.  Now it is just a distant memory.  I even laugh about it now.

Life is good and I will continue to give little time to the things I cannot change.

Posted in Introvert Lounge

In a Sea of Extroverts (A tiny rant)

If you have read any of my other posts, you know I’m an introvert.  I am an introvert who does not appear to be on because and many people don’t understand, I love people.  I can be the life of the party for about 15 to 30 minutes.  Then I have to disappear.   If I actually attend a party you can rest assured that it was either mandatory, a mistake, it was one of those step-out-of-my-comfort-zone moments, or I had some idea of a quick and clever escape once I arrived.  I have always felt my introversion was an advantage and I have learned to stop making excuses for it, but recently I am seeing that there is a  clear extrovert advantage and it is making my me feel, for lack of a better phrase, some kind of way.

Those who are extroverts and thrive on creating and attending social events can really put the pressure on an introvert.  Especially if you find yourself in a sea of introverts.  There is a very well-liked extrovert who has recently entered my circle of associates.  This introvert is the one who plans get-togethers, parties, meet ups, group outings, all the things I and many introverts shy away from.  Being the introvertiest person in the group, I often feel the pressure of attending these functions as all of the others are willing to accept.  To top it of, I get lots of “Are you coming to this one? You didn’t come to the last one?”  I feel like I am drowning in a sea of extroverts.

In instances like these, I feel the extrovert has disrupted my little world. In a sea of extroverts it takes time for them to adjust to your introvert ways.  I have to navigate the “it’s not you, it’s me” conversations to assure them that although I enjoy their company, I get over it quickly and want the interaction to end.  Once I get them used to me, someone comes along and makes me the odd one out all over again. UGH!  My little group was accustomed to me leaving events early or not going at all, and would let me do so in peace without question.  Now this new introvert has reignited them. It is as if they have forgotten what kind of person I am.

Now I have to start over but, that’s okay.  If you plan to have a healthy and fulfilling life you have to adjust to different types of people.  This instance is challenging to me but, I will work through it.

 

Posted in Embracing Vulnerability Series

Do I want to be an independent woman?

There are songs about it.  Women are praised for it. We all want to be it, don’t we?  I am referring to being independent.  This past year I have heard it so many times.  I’ve said it so many times.  I’ve felt it many times.  I am on the fence about whether or not I like it.  I know it is not the most politically correct thing to say, but being an independent woman kind of sucks.  What I mean is, I don’t want to be an independent woman.  I want help.  I need help.  People were put on this earth to help one another and I am no longer going to be too embarrassed to admit that I can’t do everything myself.

For the past several years, I have been going through a major transition in my life.  It is a welcomed transition and I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life, but the process has been very lonely and I have had to do many things on my own.  I have been the quintessential independent woman.  I can change my own oil, change a tire, shoot a rifle or handgun, (better than most), move heavy objects, etc. all by myself.  I even have even been given the name, Superwoman by my colleagues.  People often wonder how I can do so much.  My answer is, because I have to.  I honestly do not want to be an independent woman. I want to be able to do all of the things I listed, but I don’t want to have to do them all by myself.  I wears me out.  When I take off my fancy bulletproof, uniform with the chiseled muscles embossed on the glossy exterior, what lies beneath  is a battered and bruised body with aches and pains. That body is in need of a warm bath, massage, and bandages, but I am too tired to run the bath or reach for the bandages.  Instead I sit and wait until the throbbing pain subsides and I put on the Superwoman garb to cover what has yet to heal and walk out into the next day to begin again as an “independent woman”.

The Superwoman moniker is somewhat true in my case.  On the outside looking in, I may seem invincible.  My superhero uniform is pristine and I am, for whatever reason, freakishly strong physically.  I only sleep, at most, three hours a night and function perfectly on just those three hours (my grandmother was the same way.  It is apparently a gene mutation. You can read a little about it here. )  All of these things are remarkably impressive, but unlike most superheroes, I lack the ability of rapid healing.  I feel the effects of my “independence” physically and emotionally.  I will have to admit that a lot of it is my fault.  When I was younger, I was so proud of all of my seemingly superhuman abilities and loved to show them off.  I taught everyone around me that I could do everything myself.  After a while, offers to help stopped coming in because I supposedly didn’t need it.  I was an “independent woman who didn’t need no help”.  I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now.  I gave in to the pressure of being the independent woman.  I wore it like a badge of honor, but it became my scarlet letter.  Being the “independent woman” was shielding me from the help I needed.

Years later, I realize I am in the same pattern.  I am no longer challenging men to arm wrestling contests, but I am still showcasing my “independence”.  Now I would welcome any help that is offered, but I have shown that I don’t need it.  As old habits die hard, I have become accustomed to turning down help because I have also convinced myself that I am invincible.  I have recently had to allow myself to show weakness.  Every superhero has his or her limits and I have reached mine.   As before, I can still do all of those things, but it is getting harder to just throw on the costume and make it through another day.

Now I have to create new habits and change old behaviors.  These past few months have been quite challenging, even for this superhero.  I have never cried so much in my life.  I have wondered why no one has been around to help.  I had to realize that I had put on a superhuman performance that showed all of my loved ones that I could handle everything on my own.  I truly believe in being vulnerable.  In some areas of my life I feel that I am, but I never ask for help.  I have no problem expressing my feelings or showing when I am hurt, disappointed, unhappy, etc., but I never ask for help with dealing with those things.  I have a lot of work to do.  As I have mentioned before in many of my previous posts, I am a work in progress.

I would like to challenge all of us to not only be open to help, but to also ask for when when we need it.  We were not put on this earth to travel this journey alone.  Although it is great to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, and self-supporting, we don’t have to be, nor should we be.

 

Posted in Tea Talk Tuesday, Uncategorized

Bloom

We have all been planted.  Some can bloom in their present situation.  Some need to be uprooted and transported to an environment conducive to growth.  Regardless of your situation, you owe it to yourself to blossom.

Sometimes change needs to happen. If your present situation is not to your liking, by all means, do something to improve it.  Things could always be worse, but they could also be better.  There is always a bright side.  Don’t be afraid of the light.  The grass is not always greener on the other side, but if there is no sunlight on your side of the fence, nothing will grow.  Make a move!  Go out and find the sunlight to fuel your growth.