Tag Archives: acceptance

The Burning Question… Who Are You?


On this Fresh Start Monday, I have just this one question…Who Are You? Now before you begin to answer this question let me set the scene for you: You’ve just entered a room full of very interesting people. Everyone is smiling, laughing and talking animatedly about a variety of subjects. You stand there observing as you’re trying to decide which group you’d like to join. Of course there are butterflies in your stomach and you’re fighting the urge to run and take flight in the opposite direction. But you hold your ground.

You tell yourself, “I can do this. I can make conversation with anyone.” Right before you take that next step you spot the way to the ladies’ room and quickly make your way in that direction. Once inside you stare at the person looking back at you. You think back over the last 20 – 30 years of your life and wonder where did all the time go? In your mind’s eye you see your children from the moment they were placed in your arms until the day you saw them off to college, the military or just across town to their own place. Fleetingly you think about the son or daughter you witness get married and begin a whole new life with another person. On that day you were filled with joy and dread.

Joy, because you’re so happy to see your child all grown up and beginning his/her own family. Dread because now you wonder, “What shall I do with all this time I now have on my hands”? If you’re blessed to still have someone to share your life with you still have that same question, “What are we going to do, now that the house is empty except for the two of us”?

Does this scene sound familiar to anyone? I’m sure it does, I know long before that time arrived I made a decision that has served me well. I decided that though I had a responsibility to my children and of course to my husband. I also knew I had a responsibility to myself as well. This meant I couldn’t totally wrap myself in the lives of my children or spouse for when the day came and they weren’t around what oh what would I do with myself.

Finding interests or hobbies outside of your immediate family takes work and it’s a process of trial and error. You don’t know what truly fuels your imagination or fill you with wonder and amazement until you try it. So you have to have an adventurous spirit. For me I discovered that I love to read, I like running, I love puzzles and I like acting. Not a whole lot but enough that I tried out and participated in a few plays in the drama ministry at my church.

In the back of my mind I also knew that still wasn’t enough. I needed just a bit more. It was then that I looked outside of myself and found my greatest fulfillment! Helping others gives me the greatest joy and when people ask who am I I can readily answer in any number of ways depending on the circumstances.

The point I’m making on this Fresh Start Monday is that each of us should know who we are. Not who others think we are, or base our answer on what we think we should be but exactly who we are. The best way to answer that is to ensure you don’t become stale and bored with yourself. If you’re bored with yourself, I promise others will be as well.

 

For me being a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, sister-n-law, aunt and friend are just a small part of what makes me who I am. I’m a complex individual with likes and dislikes as anyone else may have. But I’m unique to me. I can be happy with just my own company or I can be relaxed and comfortable in a room full of diverse people. I have opinions about the world around me and I have causes that are dear to me. I’m a writer, published author, speaker, workshop/seminar facilitator, evangelist and life coach. Together it all makes a whole me.

So what about you? What makes you tick, what fuels your passion? Do you have a cause that’s dear to you? Have you taken your life lessons and developed them into a new chapter filled with opportunity and promise? Have you ventured outside of your comfort zone and made new friends and developed new relationships based on mutual respect, trust and understanding? If not are you ready to? Do you need a little coaching and encouragement to make that transition? If so you just may be the perfect candidate to join a group of like-minded individuals participating in ‘From Adversity to Passion, A Guide to Your Divine Destiny and Joy’. If that’s the case visit the Fresh Start for Women event page and sign up. You won’t be disappointed.

Come on join the movement so that the next time the question is posed you can answer without hesitation. ‘I am ….’

Happy Fresh Start Monday everyone!

 

Be Like the Butterfly


 

Those four words make you wonder doesn’t it? After all what’s so special about being a caterpillar? Think about. From the caterpillar began its life as a very tiny egg. yet thanks to God and nature it will transform into something beautiful. You too are a special work and transform as well. Let’s take a closer look. Once the egg hatches it becomes a caterpillar. It is during this stage that the caterpillar begins to prepare itself by first eating the leaf it was born on. Once it has reached its appropriate length and weight it begins to form themselves into pupa, also known as chrysalis. of course from the outside it looks as if the caterpillar is resting, but inside the caterpillar is actually changing. if you could peer inside you’d see the stubby looking caterpillar begin the metamorphosis of becoming a butterfly.  When it is ready to emerge from its chrysalis it will be a full grown butterfly.

Now take the same stages and apply it to you. You’ve experienced some heart wrenching moments. They be physically, emotionally, spiritually or a combination. In either case you’ve been blessed to survive it. So now what? Good question. Let’s examine your options:

  1. You could stay stuck in the past. Not a good option for it will cause you to miss out on some wonderful adventures. This could include meeting new friends and experiencing new things including a new relationship rooted in respect and love.
  2. You could carry the hurt with you into the next relationship. Again not a good option. Eventually you run the risk of not even enjoying your own company.
  3. Or, you could reap the lessons from the experience and move forward confident and ready to move to a happier and healthier existence in which you spread your beautiful wings and soar.

Sure there will be setbacks along the way. The key is to persevere and stand rooted in the knowledge that you know how valuable you are. Like the butterfly you are able to bring joy to others as well as yourself. The events of the past don’t have to define who you are today.

So spend time with you and allow your experiences to mold you into something just as beautiful as the butterfly. Now soar!!

 

Loving Yourself Through the Pain of Domestic Violence


With this being Domestic Violence Awareness Month I’ve had this question asked by young and old, men and women. My response to that is, ‘if you love yourself would you harm yourself?”. That’s your answer. 100% of the time your response should be no. Then if you wouldn’t harm yourself and you love you why would you entertain the thought that love is supposed to hurt?

I realize that many of us grew up in dysfunctional homes in which verbal and physical abuse was the norm. Just because it’s what you saw doesn’t mean it is right. Of course rewiring your thinking will take work but it is worth it. Settling for less than what you deserve is not an option therefore put in the work to uplift your self-esteem. Redefine your boundaries so that you do not allow negativity to dictate your thoughts and actions.

How? Start by letting go of the past and redesigning your future. Easy? Of course not! Doable? Absolutely! You have to take the first step and that step is acknowledging that you are worthy of true unconditional healthy love. Find a quiet room and sit down with pen and paper and describe your ideal relationship. Be specific leave nothing to chance. Now ask yourself, “Am I in this type of relationship now?” If the answer is no then you have two choices. 1. Have a conversation with the other party or 2. if you already know that it’s a lost cause then it’s time to put an exit strategy into place.

In the first choice there’s the opportunity to make changes that are beneficial for both parties. Lack of communication leaves the door open for misunderstanding, mistrust and unhappiness. Set aside time to really talk. Turn off the radio, video games, sports, news, television and cell phones. Pour a glass of wine or a fresh cup of coffee and talk. I mean really talk. Be sure it’s a 2 way street, this means one listens while the other speaks. Listen intently, give eye contact and have an open demeanor. Crossed arms signals your defenses are up and you’re only half listening. Then acknowledge any areas you may need to improve upon. It could be as simple as having a date night. But it could also mean you may need a third party to help you. In either case the goal is to renew, reignite and rekindle a relationship that’s been limping along. That is if you’ve both decided it’s worth saving!

On the other hand if you know it’s time to leave then be wise and plan your exit. You can find some excellent information in my free –book, Exit Action Plan: 10 Steps to Leaving an Abusive Relationship to help you .Even if your relationship is not an abusive one the tips inside are still useful. Having a plan is essential for success. Once you’ve extricated yourself don’t jump right into another relationship. Love yourself enough to give yourself time to heal and rediscover the unique individual you lost.

We all heal at different levels so don’t compare your situation to anyone else. You’ll know without any doubt when you’re ready to try again. Next time don’t repeat the same mistakes listen to that quiet inner voice when it signals something is not right. Guard your heart and only give it when you know it will be loved, appreciated and cherished. Above all remember to ask yourself, “Does Love Supposed to Hurt?”

Does Love Supposed to Hurt?


With this being Domestic Violence Awareness Month I’ve had this question asked by young and old, men and women. My response to that is, ‘if you love yourself would you harm yourself?”. That’s your answer. 100% of the time your response should be no. Then if you wouldn’t harm yourself and you love you why would you entertain the thought that love is supposed to hurt?

I realize that many of us grew up in dysfunctional homes in which verbal and physical abuse was the norm. Just because it’s what you saw doesn’t mean it’s right. Of course rewiring your thinking will take work but it is worth it. Settling for less than what you deserve is not an option therefore put in the work to uplift your self-esteem. Redefine your boundaries so that you do not allow negativity to dictate your thoughts and actions.

How? Start by letting go of the past and redesigning your future. Easy? Of course not! Doable? Absolutely! You have to take the first step and that step is acknowledging that you are worthy of true unconditional healthy love.  Find a quiet room and sit down with pen and paper and describe your ideal relationship. Be specific leave nothing to chance. Now ask yourself, “Am I in this type of relationship now?” If the answer is no then you have two choices. 1. Have a conversation with the other party or 2. if you already know that it’s a lost cause then it’s time to put an exit strategy into place.

In the first choice there’s the opportunity to make changes that are beneficial for both parties. Lack of communication leaves the door open for misunderstanding, mistrust and unhappiness. Set aside time to really talk. Turn off the radio, video games, sports, news, television and cell phones. Pour a glass of wine or a fresh cup of coffee and talk. I mean really talk. Be sure it’s a 2 way street, this means one listens while the other speaks. Listen intently, give eye contact and have an open demeanor. Crossed arms signals your defenses are up and you’re only half listening. Then acknowledge any areas you may need to improve upon. It could be as simple as having a date night. But it could also mean you may need a third party to help you. In either case the goal is to renew, reignite and rekindle a relationship that’s been limping along. That is if you’ve both decided it’s worth saving!

On the other hand if you know it’s time to leave then be wise and plan your exit. You can find an excellent e-book Exit Action Plan: 10 Steps to Leaving an Abusive Relationship to help you with that at www.transformingjunkintojewels.com. Even if your relationship is not an abusive one the tips inside are still useful. Having a plan is essential for success. Once you’ve extricated yourself don’t jump right into another relationship. Love yourself enough to give yourself time to heal and rediscover the unique individual you lost.

We all heal at different levels so don’t compare your situation to anyone else. You’ll know without any doubt when you’re ready to try again. Next time don’t repeat the same mistakes listen to that quiet inner voice when it signals something is not right. Guard your heart and only give it when you know it will be love, appreciated and cherished. Above all remember to ask yourself, “Does Love Supposed to Hurt?”

 

While Renewing the Inside Don’t Forget the Outside


We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the inside. Reviving your spirit, letting go of things you’ve held on to that have caused you pain and harm has been our task for several weeks now. I encourage you to continue with all the good you’re doing for in the end the new you that emerges will be strong, powerful, positive, and determined. But in all this transformation don’t forget about the outside.

It’s easy to overlook because you may think “well there’s nothing wrong with the way I look”. Are you sure? Let me ask a few questions and then you decide.

1. When you give yourself that one last look in the mirror before you walk out the door are you smiling?

2. Do you look with excitement and anticipation to the day ahead?

3. Do the clothes you wear reflect the new you you’ve been working on?

4. Do you look up and not down when you’re going about your business.?

5. Do you greet people with a smile and/or a nod of hello?

6. Does the physical you reflect a person focused on being healthy as well?

I ask these questions because if there’s been a transformation on the inside it should reach the outside as well. The new you should exhibit an air of confidence and assurance that you know exactly who you are. At first it may seem strange and out of character bit why should it? Haven’t you worked hard to let go of things that have weighed you down? Then your new walk should reflect your new air of lightness. There should be a sense of purpose in every step and a determination that lights up your face.

I’ll never forget the time last year when the months of February through July were not kind to me. I was in a lot of physical pain and there were more than one day when it took everything I had to get up in the morning and make it to work. I had an ankle that put me in the hospital for three days only to still not resolve the issue. I’ll never forget the day I was at work and when I got up to go to the restroom I could barely move. A co-worker actually pushed me in my office chair to the restroom. Instead of feeling embarrassed I joked about it and laughed but made sure to thank her for her kindness.

I can remember what used to take me an hour to get dressed and ready now took an hour because with a shattered left wrist and a right side that was swollen, black, blue and green from a horrible car accident I struggled to do simple things like put on a bra or pull up my pants.  I was blessed to have a wonderful husband who helped me get through it all. Not only did he help me to get dressed but we went through my clothes to find things to wear that would require the least amount of effort. Then he’d take me to work and pick me up in the evenings, fighting Atlanta traffic 4 times a day.

During this time I had clients depending on me to encourage them as they made decisions to be safe and happy and in healthy relationships so I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I think the fact that I had so much to pay attention to helped me from falling into deep despair. Don’t get me wrong there were days I wasn’t sure I could make it but I was determined to not give in. So the outer person I presented to the world had to reflect that determination I had on the inside.

MY clothes were clean, even if I had to wear them more than once, my hair was always together and most important of all I wore a smile and it was one that reached my eyes as well. But it wasn’t just my smile; I have been accused of having a larger than life laugh and it served me well during my healing.

Why am I sharing this? Because I want all of you to prosper so if your thoughts and actions have changed then be sure to let the physical reflect the new you as well.  In other words if you used to dress provocatively but your inside is transformed then that dress code no longer works with the new you. Put it down and take on a new look.

If complaining, and feeling sorry for yourself used to be the norm but now you’re hopeful and full of joy then let shine in the new words you use and the new way you approach a problem or any situation. The old way is poison  don’t let it infect the new you.

Okay don’t worry, I’m not about to get on a soapbox as the older generation would say and start preaching but I am going to encourage you to do a few things:

1. Get some exercise – walk, bike or join a gym if you can afford it, either way don’t let money or the lack of money keep you from improving your physical health.

2. Eat more fruits and vegetables and drink lots of water while cutting down on sugar and empty calories.

3. Get a new wardrobe one that reflects the new you and again don’t let money or lack thereof prevent you from making a change. Use your creativity, you’ll be surprised what you can do.

4. Let the joy on the inside be reflected in the face you present to the world. Smile more and often, and greet people with a genuine look. Don’t be surprised if you get them back in return.

5. Make a promise to yourself to love you enough to give the above a real try.

Today is the last holiday of the summer enjoy it with family, friends and loved ones. Most of all I encourage you to enjoy it with the new you you’re creating from the inside out.

 

Stop Looking Through Rose-Colored Glasses


That is such an old saying but it still rings true today. Too often we have a tendency to do just that look at things through rose-colored glasses. Sure it’s pretty pleasing to the eye and any flaws or imperfections don’t look so bad. The problem however is when we wear these tinted glasses and it prevents us from seeing things as they truly are. Things that were we to acknowledge could lead us to a new understanding of our circumstances. This is especially true when dealing with relationships.

Relationships are difficult already so compounding the issue by wearing those rose-tinted glasses can be harmful to you emotionally, spiritually and physically. Why? Think about it you’re trying to get to know a new person and that takes time. Too often women especially invest too soon emotionally before they’ve had the opportunity to form opinions based on all the information.

The first time you’re called by something other than the name your parents gave you and you let it slide you’re setting the stage for other things to occur. It’s a simple thing so you decide it’s not a big deal. But what happens when the next time it’s a very derogatory word?  Will you have the courage to address the issue? Why worry then address it in the very beginning. You set the stage on how you’re treated. If you give the signal disrespect is accepted because you GOT to have this person in your life then you’re selling yourself a bill of goods that stink! I have the privilege of riding public transportation to work everyday and when I see the disrespect our young ladies allow it breaks my heart.  How would you like to be addressed as, “chicken head”, “hoe”, “b….”, c..t” or worse? Do these words instill respect, trust,  devotion, caring or love? I think not. They are looking through rose-colored glasses and letting things slide that can only lead to nowhere good.

Your spirit is more than just talking about faith, it’s a part of who you are, your essence your life force. A broken spirit is a very sad one indeed. How do you live a life worth living if your spirit is broken? A broken spirit is void of hope. It is dejected, rejected and isolated. It is molded by the whims of others so much so that the voice of the owner is lost. It has been covered with so much junk that the brilliance that once resided within is dull. But guess what! It’s dull not totally put out therefore hope remains. There’s a spark of life there and all it needs is tending from the right source. So what makes up the right source? You have to start with YOU. You have to love yourself unconditionally flaws and all. Read Justin Albert’s  Self-Esteem and Self-Love.  If you have a teen daughter and you know she has allowed the opinions of others to infiltrate her self-esteem give her The Self-Esteem Workbook for Teens. You’ll be glad you did. But the greatest example for your daughter is you. So what must you do?

Start by letting her see you in action. Let the man come to the door to pick you  up for a date. Let her see him open the door for you, let her see you smile in appreciation and hear the words please and thank-you in your conversations. Let her see and hear you answer to the name your parents gave you. Let her see and hear you praise her for doing well in school and making wise choices. After all you’re her number one example. Let her see you with a man who wears his pants the way they should be worn, not hanging to his knees but clean, smelling good and about a future not a quick way to make a buck. Let her see you put emphasis on the character of the man. She’ll follow your example. Let her know that you’re looking at life clearly and not through rose-colored glasses.

Instill those positive attributes in yourself and cultivate them in your daughter. I know there are many fathers out there being the head of the household, let your actions, thoughts and deeds be an example to your daughters and your sons. Each will pattern after what they see and hear. Don’t allow the outside world to have more influence than you. You’re the head, act like it! Show them you have your priorities in order. An important factor is your faith and belief in something greater than yourself. it guides your every decision, your actions and responses to the trials you face. Show them you face them with courage bending but never breaking. Fathers, dad you are powerful, you have a lot to give don’t be absent for you are more than a paycheck and mothers let respect fall from you so that your daughters and sons will know what it means to have someone who has their back and loves them unconditionally. Even in those instances when your relationship with the father has failed don’t let the relationship between father and child fail. You owe them that. It’s not about you it’s about them. This brings me to another subject if a man you’re considering to allow into your life mistreats your child SHOW HIM THE DOOR!!!!! Enough said.

if you fail to do so and continue to look through those rose-colored glasses the possibility of physical harm becomes a greater possibility.  In more than 15 years the statistics have not changed much.

  • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  • Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
    • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
      • Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
        • Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
          • Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
            • Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.
              • Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.

These are just a few things to keep in mind. All the more reason that it’s imperative that we all take an active part in not looking at life through rose-colored glasses. The alternative can be devastating. Prevention is key especially for our teen girls it’s one of the reason’s that Fresh Start for Women developed the “You Are a Precious Jewel” program for teen girls 13 – 17.  Our goal is to instill in them the desire to  become great students, daughters and leaders of tomorrow.

This life we live was never meant to be easy if it were we’d never be able to appreciate those precious moments were it not for the trials and tests we endure. So live life, live it fully but please STOP LOOKING THROUGH ROSE-COLORED GLASSES.

 

 

 

 

 

The Road to Forgiveness


This is actually a repeat with additional information about a very important topic: Forgiveness. I wanted to do it again as I’ve been running into a lot of women who have major struggles with it. I hope this additional information is of a benefit.

“I’m healed.” I’ve heard those words so many times, yet they don’t always ring true. I understand the need to say them after all you don’t want to feel as if you’re continuing to give someone else power over you. But the most important thing about those words is that you must truly mean them. How else do you hope to heal? Words alone won’t make it true. You’re going to have to do some work and it starts with you.

You can put a brave face on and present that to the world. Oh sure it’ll work for a while but in the end you’ll know and those close to you and who love you will know the truth as well. Healing from disappoint, regret, hurt, betrayal and most of all abuse whether it’s emotional or physical requires time and in some cases counseling.

You can’t turn a blind eye to it because it will affect all future relationships and I believe deep in my heart you don’t want that to be the case. You’ll never fully be healed until you’ve faced the results and, acknowledged the affect they’ve produced and then make a conscious effort to move forward.

So, how can you accomplish this?

  • Don’t gloss it over – you don’t have to be brave. It’s okay to be vulnerable with those you love so they can help you. Overcoming the past takes effort.

    “Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ― Helen Keller

  •  Acknowledge the pain – ignoring or pretending it doesn’t matter does a disservice to you and what you’ve experienced. Don’t make light of it. I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now that no matter how much you push things to the back of your mind there’s always that time something triggers the memory and it becomes just as fresh as the day it happened. This is proof that ignoring it is futile.

 

  • Learn from it – even those things that cause us pain have lessons in them. It’s up to us to look beyond the obvious to find the deeper meaning. Once you’ve learned the lesson: Forgive! It’s a powerful tool and one that must be done in order to fully heal. Forgiveness isn’t for the one who did you wrong, it’s for you. Without the forgiveness you are continually giving power over you to someone or something else. Take back your power. Two books I recommend that discusses forgiveness are Forgiveness: Finding Peace Through Letting Go and Forgiveness: Heart Healing Stories for the Stubborn and Hard-Headed. Both will provide useful insights about forgiveness and how you can benefit from it.

 

  • You’ll begin to remember the person you always wanted to be. That person is still there you just have to do some work uncovering the jewels that have been lost for a while. The good news is that on October 19th my online course: From Adversity to Passion: A Guide to Your Divine Destiny and Joy will debut. This 8 week intense course will help you to transform so that you can have a more abundant, fulfilling and joyful life.

 

  • Share your experiences – As you help others you also help you. The best way to tell you’re no longer affected by the events of your past is when you can talk about it and you are not suddenly transported back there. That’s a huge step. Celebrate it!

 

  • Jump in and Make a Splash – If you have the desire to you may want to volunteer your time, write a book or even start a nonprofit so that others can benefit from your experience. Each time you help someone else you are continuing to heal and help yourself.

If you follow the steps above you will be well on your way to being proud of the person you’ve become for when you say the words, “I’m Healed”  you’ll know you really mean it.