That Scarcity Mentality

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The belief that you have no other options can keep you clinging on well after it is clear that your are only grasping a mere shadow of hope that was cast from the past.

Fear that if you walk away that you will be left with nothing.

The idea that if you say no there will be nothing to say yes to.

The notion that if you let go you will never have anything to hold onto.

There is nothing like that good ole scarcity mentality to leave us as hopeless as a penny with a hole it.

I know that feeling all to well.

It’s the feeling that I have to put up with my circumstances because I’m convinced I have no other options.

When I operate in a scarcity mentality, I feel like I have to take whatever is put before me.

In my past this has led to me working a job that I hated because I was afraid that if I left I wouldn’t find another place of employment.

And it has led to me staying in a toxic relationship because I believed that no one else would love me.

Neither of which were true, but because I had a scarcity mentality I had a hard time convincing myself otherwise.

In the work situation I found myself physically ill at the mere idea of going to my place of employment.

I would pull up to the parking lot at work with a back full of stress knots because I had so much anxiety about working at a place that I knew I should no longer be at.

But I had bills to pay, I had children to care for, mouths to feed and so I would clock in and do my job with a stomach full of anxiety.

But one day I chose me and I quit the job.

That’s right you read that correctly.

With no other job in hand, I quit the job.

Two weeks later I found employment somewhere else.

Now am I saying that if a person quits a job without having another job that they will find employment in two weeks time?

No, absolutely not.

But what I am saying is that I felt like I didn’t have any other options and I stayed at a place of employment that didn’t sit well with me because I assumed that it was my only choice.

I left with no other visible options because I decided that working in a place that was jeopardizing my health wasn’t worth the money.

I had developed a scarcity mentality in terms of employment because I had previously struggled to find the job I was so unhappy with and I also had a business fail in my past.

So all I keep thinking was that if it took such a long time to find the job that stressed me out then I would never find anything else.

For three months I had been applying for other places of employment and no one was even calling me back for an interview.

I perceived all of that as further confirmation that if I left that I would never find anywhere else to work.

My scarcity mentality had me convinced that I had no other options for work in a poor job market, however when I chose me other options opened up.

Had I not let go of the unhealthy work environment I most likely would have never pursued other places of employment with the determination that I did.

Another example of where I had to overcome the scarcity mentality in my life is in the area of love.

Much to my chagrin I stayed in and clung to unhealthy relationships because I had convinced myself that the person I was with was my only option.

I felt like if they didn’t love me no one would.

I didn’t believe I had any other options.

I failed to see what I had to offer.

I thought that because the people I interacted with at that time couldn’t see me that no one would and that I had to take the scraps that they gave me.

I had a false perception of who I was.

Thankfully, I learned from blogger Natalie Lue over at baggagereclaim.com that you have to stop looking at the men in your life as if they are the last chance saloon and she was so right.

If the person you are with isn’t treating you right you have to stop believing they are your only option.

I say this because as embarrassing as it is to confess, there was a point in my past where I have begged someone to love me.

Thankfully, I have reached a place where I don’t do that any more.

I’m happy to say that people who aren’t attracted to me are no longer attractive to me.

Asking someone to like me, love me, care about me, visit with me, spend time with me isn’t something I’m into.

I recognize that by the very definition the person for me – will actually like me!

And so when I find myself in situations where I recognize that I clearly care more than the other person I remove my energy from that interaction and refocus it towards people who give me reciprocity.

The first example of me intentionally doing this was when I separated from my ex-husband.

After accepting that my marriage was over I felt so unloved.

I felt like no one in the world loved me.

At the thought of how unlovable I felt I would get so emotionally cold and alone that I would actually physically experience goosebumps.

So one day I pulled out a dry erase marker and on my bathroom mirror I wrote the names of everyone who I knew loved me.

The list included my mother, children, aunts and uncles, close coworkers, dear friends and several of my cousins.

By the time I finished my mirror was filled with scores of people who loved me.

Everyday when I woke up I would read off the names of all the people who loved me and some days additional people would come to my remembrance and I would add them.

And then each day I would make a conscious effort to contact as many of those people as I possibly could.

Sometimes I sent text messages, other times it was a phone call, or I would drop a card in the mail. I would have lunch with coworkers who had become friends and go over to spend time with close friends after work.

But most importantly during that time I also reconnected with myself.

I started exercising, I pampered myself at the salon, I bought new clothes, I ate better, I worked on my spiritual life and I loved on me.

Refocusing my attention from the one person who didn’t love me to those who did and onto myself wasn’t easy because I had created a habit of observing evidence of me not being lovable. However, with time I stopped focusing on the person who didn’t love me and I was giving my time and energy to the people who did.

Sometimes we think that we have to replace romantic love with romantic love.

But I was able to successfully replace unrequited romantic love with requited platonic and familial love.

My point is I had convinced myself that no one would ever love me because my ex-husband didn’t and with some work I retrained my thoughts to recognize that I was overlooking all the people who do love me and that there would be more to come.

I know for some the concern is the desire to replace romantic love with romantic love.

But as for me, once I accepted that there was a plethora of people in my life who adored me and started loving on myself it helped me to retrain my thinking that if my ex-husband didn’t love me that no one else would.

And in time I started to meet men who were attracted to me.

However, I truly believe that if I would have kept holding on to the scraps of a marriage that was most certainly over I probably would have never had the opportunity to spend time with men who genuinely enjoyed having me in their company.

I would have stayed with someone who ignored me and called me names instead of having soulful conversations with someone who enjoyed me and called me beautiful.

So when I catch myself thinking that I have no other options, I recall those two situations where I let go of the fear of having no other options if I were to leave a job that I felt physically ill going to and the time when I left a marriage that beat me down emotionally and came out better on the other side.

I can truly say my life is so much richer now because I chose me.

I left those situations without a new love in sight or without a job in hand because I let go of my fear and my scarcity mentality.

Love,
Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I Know What I Want!

I rarely go window shopping.

When I do it’s because I have a vague idea of what I am looking for and I want to look around to help myself narrow in on what I really want.

The majority of the time when I enter a store I know the exact item I would like to purchase and cannot be convinced to get anything else.

Before making a purchase, I have done my research, I have price shopped, read all the online reviews and even know what retailer I want to purchase the item from.

Sales people have a very hard time trying to convince me into purchasing any additional accessories or picking out another item.

If it is something that I have to save up for in order to purchase I work hard at putting money away over time so that I will be prepared to make the purchase.

I’m an informed buyer, I know what I want and what I don’t want and if a store doesn’t have the item in stock, I can assure you that I will be shopping elsewhere.

My kids see me as stubborn – but I know what I want.

I have often gone shopping with friends and they would notice that I didn’t purchase any items on our outing. When they questioned me about it I will tell them I didn’t intend to buy anything and so all I did was looked around and made a mental assessment of things that I may want in the future. They would shake their head at me but like I said – I know what I want.

So today I was laying on my couch scrolling through my Facebook news feed thinking about how I struggle finding what I am looking for in love.

I playfully went over the notion that it was because as one of my friends said “I was allergic to love”, but when I became honest I accepted my truth, I didn’t know what I wanted.

Or at least I wasn’t consciously aware.

I mean ask me what I want when it came to shoes, clothes, perfume, jewelry, makeup, food, books, cleaning products, household appliances, vehicles and a home and I can tell you everything you need to know but when it came to knowing what I wanted as far as a romantic partner I had a foggy idea but it most certainly wasn’t something I was clear on.

I guess perhaps it really is true that you can’t know what you want until you know what you don’t want.

I mean of course I knew I didn’t want a partner who was physically abusive towards me and I knew I wanted someone I was physically attracted but honestly for the most part I was feeling my way out.

Sad to say it was because I wasn’t secure in who I am. I was fearful that I wouldn’t find what I really wanted because I didn’t see myself as worthy of the ideal partner I had in mind which would result in me being alone.

I’m okay with being alone if I can’t find what I’m looking for but the concept of not being good enough for the type of person I desire is pretty disheartening.

Unfortunately, I have spent the bulk of my life not seeing myself as valuable and telling myself a lie that I had to take what I could get.

That’s how I ended up married at 18, I had honestly convinced myself that if I didn’t marry him no one else would ever want to marry me.

Surprise, surprise to my 18-year-old self I have turned down multiple offers of marriage.

Thankfully, I have grown and become aware that I am indeed valuable.

I have also learned that I must have boundaries for what I will and will not accept.

By having boundaries I stopped being a doormat.

I will not be uncomfortable in order for another person to be happy.

They are free to seek someone who will allow them to do the things that make me uncomfortable but that person will not be me.

After 32 years of not loving myself I created a huge self-love deficit that I have been consciously working on for about 4 1/2 years.

While I have a lot of work to do to reverse that deficit the good news is that I have grown by leaps and bounds.

I have the strength to walk away from relationships that harm me, and that takes a lot of self-love to do.

And so I decided to use that strength to take walk away from my scarcity mentality that if I develop a criteria of what I will and will not accept then it will make it harder to find someone.

A scarcity mentality is what causes many of us to stay in unhealthy relationships because we are afraid that if we leave that no one else is coming. As I previously posted there are over 7 billion people on this planet I promise you someone else is coming.

And with that knowledge I have decided to open myself up to loving and being loved in a romantic capacity to a higher degree.

But in order for me to do that I aknowledgeI flat-out must have standards to go along with my boundaries.

There has to be standards that a guy has to meet in order for me to give him the green light. I had blogged about it before and I had created some standards but I’m going to have to raise the bar.

For one thing he has to be sure about what he wants because I have become sure about what I want.

No more attracting people who are confused all just so we can sit there together in a sea of confusion gleefully wasting one another’s time.

Much to my chargrin my low-level of self-esteem is why I hadn’t developed more standards in the past. I was afraid to reduce the size of the dating pool out of fear I would end up with no one at all.

I simply had to develop standards because when you don’t have standards or in my case very few standards for what you want you will accept darn near anything.

You have to know what you want!

If you know what you want, you will easily dismiss what you don’t want.

Once you make up in your mind people will have a hard time trying to convince you of otherwise and it will help you know what you are looking for when you see it.

Therefore, if you want someone who has the same spiritual beliefs as you and you meet someone who doesn’t you will see it as your signal that they aren’t a match.

I’m not talking about having some inordinate list of criteria for a person to meet but I am talking about having standards for what you will and will not accept in a partner.

I realized that I simply had to outline what I wanted or else I would attract people who are just as confused as to what they want as I am.

I’ve been walking around with a fear of a broken heart since my divorce four years ago and even with that fear I ended up with my biggest heartbreak only two years ago.

So being afraid of opening up is definitely not the way to protect yourself.

Dating and just seeing where it goes without being attached to the outcome has been freeing for me, but I realize I must first do a better job of pre-qualifying the men I date before I try to see where anything goes with them.

And in addition to sticking to a higher level of standards I have also decided that the same way that I do the work of saving up so that I can afford big purchase items is the same way I need to spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally prepare myself to have someone come into my life.

And so after putting pen to paper and making my list – I know what I want!

Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

See Me, Don’t See Me!

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” – Audre Lorde 

I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot this week. It came to my remembrance while I was thinking about an interaction that I had with someone.

I was having a conversation with an individual who made it clear to me that they view me in a way that I perceive as negative.

When they expressed their opinion of me, I stood there going through my mental lexicon trying to determine what words I could say to redeem myself.

I wanted to explain to them that I wasn’t how they perceived me.

I wanted to show them they had made an error in their judgment.

But then I slowed my breath and became mindful of my thought process and I shifted my thoughts from wanting to defend myself, to doing some self-examination as to why I felt the need to do so.

For as Byron Katie says, “defense is the first act of war”.

I realized that the reason I wanted to defend myself was because I had placed value on what they thought of me.

And clearly that value I had assigned to them at the moment in time that they shared their dismay with me superseded my own value of myself.

I had made them the judge, jury and executioner of who I was and they had placed my head on the chopping block while I was getting ready to beg for mercy.

Once I realized that somewhere along the line I had placed them on a pedestal, I immediately began the process of mentally knocking them off.

They are free to think however they choose to think about me and I am free to know who I really am.

They don’t know my story, my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams, my fears, my goals, my heartbreak or my pain better than I do and yet there I was prepared to try to get them to see me for who I was.

And there lies another problem.

When people make poor judgment calls on you it shows that they don’t really see you.

And their assessment says more about who they are then who you are.

When people can’t see you it’s often because they are projecting their views, their past, their pain, their hurt onto you.

They can’t see you, they see themselves and their own inner turmoil.

And I have reached a point in my life where I choose not to surround myself with people who can’t see me.

It doesn’t feel good to me and I have decided to do what feels good.

I am at a place where I have enough healthy relationships with people who I don’t have to expend my energy on unhealthy ones.

It’s not my job to convince people of anything.

They can go about thinking whatever and however they choose and I’m still going to be me.

It took me a long time to get to where I am and while I have a pattern of choosing emotionally unhealthy people to interact with I have been working diligently to break that pattern.

I still have a long way to go but that doesn’t mean I have to go back to where I was.

I have decided that if someone judges my genuine heart-felt gestures as manipulative they are not my type of person. Perhaps they are guarded, perhaps they have been lied to a lot in the past… but guess what it’s not my problem. Furthermore, it is by no means an alarm that I need to prove that I am not manipulative.

It is projected that there are 7,530,103,737 people in the world today. I find it hard to believe that I can’t find someone who cannot see me for who I really am.

Especially when I have people in my life who currently see my authentic self.

And even if I didn’t have those people and every living soul saw me dimly, I see the light in me and my sight alone is enough.

So if I deal with someone who calls me a liar when I am speaking my truth, their claim has no bearing on me.

It probably just means they are used to being lied to.

Because only a person used to dealing with impostors would fail to be able to point out the real McCoy.

When you are familiar with authenticity you know it when you see it.

I’m not in the business of proving myself to people.

I have been there, done that and I refuse to wear the T-shirt!

My job is to remain true to who I really am.

If you have read my blog for any length of time you are all too familiar with the fact that I have previously fallen into the trap of trying to convince someone outside of myself of who I really am.

Sad to say I have tried on more than one occasion to prove to another human being who was just as flawed as myself that I was “good enough”.

Ummmmm how about no.

Never again!

See me, don’t see me, I’m still going to be me!

I have decided to give my time to people who can see me for who I am and who want to interact with me based on that perception.

Begging people to like me, love me, care about me and validate me is not, has not and never will be a healthy path.

I value my opinion enough not to need someone to give me a gold star and write good job on my work.

I don’t need anyone to co-sign or give me a good old stamp of approval.

Seeking external validation isn’t healthy and it makes you powerless.

I decided to let them go on living their life seeing me poorly, because at the end of the day I know who I am and I am pleased with me.

See me, don’t see me, I’m still going to be me no external validation needed!

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Renata Nicole

Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Her Spark of Hope

img_2548He was to her fresh energy born from a place she knew not of, experienced in a way she had no understanding.

He made her feel a spark of hope where she had become hopeless and so she genuinely adored him for that.
It was hope that maybe she would find shelter in that of someone else. An extension of peace beyond herself.
She sighed at the thought that when she was weary she might be able to lean on someone outside of herself.
To be able to rest in the arms of someone else and not have to solely rely on oneself.
He felt to her as comfortable as a recliner after a hard days work. Overtime she allowed herself to ease into him and she would like to think that he eased into her.
He gave her hope.
Hope that masculine could provide for her feminine and that her feminine could nurture masculine.
She liked that hope.
No, he was not her shelter, he was the one to spark the hope of its existence and his purpose was as sweet as the scent of honeysuckle.
He bore her no ill will.
He simply was.
Him not being the one to stay didn’t make him wrong but it did make her strong.
Strong in the faith that she didn’t have to face this world by herself.
He made her laugh til her belly ached.
And when he held her she simply felt safe.
She remembered the time he clutched her extra tight. It was the moment of thinking he needed her comfort as much as she needed his and it felt right.
She took her time in getting to know him and wasn’t in a hurry to give him her heart.
She waited for him to endear himself to her, before she allowed her love for him to start.
In the time of getting to know him she learned to enjoy their time together for what it was.
She simply wanted to enjoy the interaction so she could see where it would go.
That’s when he decided it wouldn’t work out, she didn’t take it as a blow.
Recognizing it for what it was she was able to move forward from it.
She would miss him but she carried him in her memories and took forth the gift of hope that he gave her.
The day he came to tell her she was not his match, she had a bruised ego and tears streaming down her face. And yet her heart stayed intact.
Her ego took a bruising as she thought on all the things not right with her that made him make his decision.
She thought of all the others who she cared for where the interaction ended in division.
But she quickly realized this situation was different.
Because as she replayed their interaction wondering what she said or did to make him lose his attraction.
She soon surmised it didn’t matter, for in retracing her steps she realized the entire time with him, she was authentic.
She was free with him and she was genuine.
And that in and of itself was the difference.
It was the first relationship where she allowed herself to be truly comfortable in being herself.
And while on one end she felt pain in the thought that she was rejected for being who she was as well as fear that she was unlovable.
She decided to embrace the hope that she was simply redirected to the one who would love her for who she was and that the man who would intertwine with her heart was not intangible.
The relationship did not end in heartbreak.
He was kind enough to pause the episode before allowing her to continue forward and since only gave what she truly desired to give there was no harm felt from her.
She practiced balanced giving. She allowed him to take the lead so that she could follow. So when he ended the dance with her she took her bow with a new-found hope that she would find her true dance partner on the morrow..
It worked because he was honest in his intentions and his heart was true.
It didn’t work because his desire was for something she could not bring through.
It worked because she waited for him to prove himself before giving him her heart.
It didn’t work because they simply weren’t meant to be he was not the one to play the part.
He simply wanted to know her and that was the purpose of his pursuit.
He wanted to know if she was his match.
And once he knew her he realized his heart could not be attached.
Neither one of them were wrong.
It simply meant they tried.
With the realization that she wasn’t the one he informed her before she ever fell in love that she should refrain. He was completely honest about his interest and provided her no pain.
He did not bruise her ego, the way she chose to understand his words did. And once she licked her wounds she realized if she was not his then he could not possibly be hers.
Upon acceptance of his foresight she expressed gratitude that he could see clearly where she saw dimly.
She wasn’t who he was searching for and so he could not possibly be who she was in search of.
She was grateful for his 20/20 vision recognizing that had they continued to move forth it would have caused a great collision.
Her acceptance of his release of her was key.
It gave her the ability to see that had she tried to convince him otherwise he would have resented her for it.
And so she let him go.
But she held on to the hope.
As well as the memories of how he tickled her and how he played in her hair. As well as how he looked at her and how he showed her care.
She realized the relationship’s lack of continuance wasn’t a bearing on who she was.
Like him it simply was.
A good book doesn’t become bad simply because you reach the final page.
And like all good books their interaction ended. It was a part of her story that had to be accepted for her to move on to her next stage.
He sprung forth in her hope and she was thoroughly captivated by it.
For prior to him she had let that hope die in her youth and yet with wrinkles setting forth on her face through him it was reborn.
She was relinquishing her fear of letting herself love outside of herself and her strong held belief that vulnerability was a catalyst for pain.
She had been told it takes great strength to truly be herself.
And that she understood.
But she also had a deeper knowing that it takes greater strength to trust herself with someone else.
She understood that he was not her missed opportunity.
He was her ability, to hope for love.
She recognized the success of their interaction wasn’t in the amount of time he stayed but in the hope he gave as her ability to behave authentically.
It wasn’t hope in him, it was hope in love and she needed that.
She needed to believe in love outside of herself.
She needed to have comfort in the idea of loving someone else.
There was no requirement for him to stay for her to achieve this hope.
Simply the understanding that he like many before him were simply the one on the way to the one.
He looked at her and he was pleased with her for a while, until he wasn’t.
Initially she had thoughts that perhaps that meant she was insufficient.
And that the separation between where she was and the loved she craved was far too distant.
But those thoughts were drowned out by the knowing that life was sending signals that he simply wasn’t the one.
And yet it was safe to believe in the one’s existence.
She was herself and he rejected her and yet he somehow embedded the hope that if she stayed true to who she was she would be accepted.
She could hold on to the memories but she had to let go of him to find love authentically.
Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Discomfort vs Pain

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For a couple of months now I have been complacent and complaining about issues in my life that were bothering me without taking any action in order to make a change.

Day after day I would pick up the phone and talk to my loved ones complaining about my dissatisfaction with a variety of areas of my life.

And to take it further I found myself becoming physically ill from the environment I was allowing myself to maintain.

I was growing comfortably uncomfortable and settling for things that didn’t make my soul happy. But I thought maybe I just needed to push through. I mean we all face new things that we are not comfortable with. That doesn’t mean we should give up.

Or does it?

I tried not to complain about what I was experiencing because as the saying goes we need to have an attitude of gratitude.

And yet despite my attempt to suppress my dissatisfaction there I was sharing my negativity with others.

For “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”.

Sadly, I was complacent simply whining to others about my dissatisfaction and watching my energy levels decrease because I was no longer working to fulfill my life purpose.

I have the same 24 hour day as everyone else but for about 2 months now I was consciously choosing not to maximize it.

There I was knowing what I needed to do, but settling for whatever the day brought me.

I mean what happened to me having a plan?

I have made it no secret that I have to actively work not to allow my  eating addiction to shorten my life span.  And yet, I found myself making one poor dietary choice after another.

Also, I have not hidden from anyone that my journey to loving me has had setbacks. However, I figure that is expected to happen because I’m human. But just because setbacks are something that occurs doesn’t mean I should not try to get back on track!

Thankfully, I woke up on Friday and realized that the way I was living wasn’t putting me first.

I was so busy putting the lives of others above my own, out of my own volition and coming up feeling empty.

Why?

Perhaps because it served as a distraction from me putting in the work that would be necessary to get to where I want to go in this life.

And why would I do that?

Because bettering myself is hard work, so convincing myself that being a martyr made me a good person and also served to help me to distract myself from my purpose and fall into my pattern of finding myself in a codependent relationship.

I know that blogging brings me pleasure and yet it’s been months since I have. All because I was choosing to occupy my time trying to make others happy and neglecting myself.

Furthermore, I went from exercising 5 days a week to not exercising at all.

The result – I fell sick twice in less than a month to include a visit to the emergency room (no worries I am okay), I hurt the feelings of a person I love by ending a codependent relationship, I lost focus and ultimately I stop choosing me.

So what’s a girl looking to live life to the fullest to do?

-Get back on track.

I have often wrestled in my mind whether to push through the pain of life and believe for better or to see it as a signal that what we are enduring isn’t for us.

I have come to the conclusion that many of us are unnecessarily accepting devastating pain as normal. Which results in us settling for less than what life has for us.

I arrived at this by coming into remembrance of something I heard over a decade ago. At the time I was listening to physical trainer Jeanette Jenkins speak about pain experienced during physical exercise. She explained that while exercising may bring discomfort, it shouldn’t cause excruciating pain. 

And yet in a period of months my life had gone from being uncomfortable to being painful.

I was so stressed it hurt to turn my neck and yet I continued to ignore my body’s warning signal that the life I was living wasn’t for me.

I decided it was time to accept the pain for the warning signal it was and to start making changes.

And so I started taking steps to maximize those 24 hours I had been wasting away.

This included making better eating choices, exercising, taking my vitamins, being honest with myself that I was being codependent and in turn hurting both myself and the person I was enabling. And as evidenced by this blog entry I started back writing and taking other steps to fulfill my life purpose.

Allowing myself to be engulfed in someone else’s problem in an attempt not to take responsibility for my own isn’t something that is new to me.

I explained in a previous blog that I have used my relationships with other people to distract me from working on me.

Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with healthy relationships but for some reason when I don’t want to do the work of improving myself I will subconsciously find someone and try to fix their life while neglecting my own.

It never works but it’s a familiar practice.

When I opened my eyes to the fact that I was trying to save someone when I have full awareness that we can only save ourselves, I knew I had to be honest with myself and except that I was going in the wrong direction.

I don’t believe that we are called to forsake our purpose and live in discontent by enabling others.

I also don’t believe we are supposed to settle for a life that doesn’t make us feel fulfilled.

Many of us get up and go to work at a job we don’t enjoy and never question why week after week, month after month and year after year we speed so many hours doing something that doesn’t make us truly happy.

We stay in relationships that we know aren’t helping because we fear being alone otherwise.

We neglect ourselves physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally and just wait for the sun to go down and come back up again the next day.

And we forsake our childhood hobbies and our deepest dreams and go into doldrums and say, “that’s just the way life is”.

I have decided not to do that and to stop calling pain normal.

I can’t save anyone else, but I can save myself and I hope that you will choose to save yourself.

Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thanks for the Pain

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Photo Courtesy of Danny Spencer Thomas

I once had someone come into my life and toy with my emotions at a time when I was emotionally fragile.

I think that of all the emotional pain I have ever endured it was by far the one that caused me to grow the most.

The heartbreak came after my divorce and I was pretty vulnerable.

I believe that had I been in a better place emotionally, it wouldn’t have torn my world asunder.

But there is something about being already vulnerable that allows the winds of deception to blow you to a place where your heart just doesn’t think it will ever recover.

When this heartbreak came, I looked inward, outward and all about.

I wanted to blame him, life and anyone who passed by.

But ultimately I had to take responsibility for my role in my story.

I had to take ownership of all the red flags I overlooked.

For it was me pretending that what wasn’t okay, was okay.

It was me turning a blind eye to the obvious.

He is responsible for his actions, but I am responsible for my reactions.

I have to take ownership for ignoring my intuition, for staying when I knew I should leave and for accepting poor behavior.

And I am responsible for something else…

I’m responsible for picking up the pieces and carrying on.

And with that responsibility I looked inward.

I asked myself why I allowed myself to be treated so badly, why I lied to myself and why I was cheating myself out of the love I deserved.

I may never know what caused him to betray me at such a high level. And that is okay. His story is his own. But what I do know is what caused me to betray myself.

I didn’t see myself as worthy or lovable and so I sold myself short.

I settled for lower-level love because I didn’t acknowledge myself for who I truly was.

They tell me that hurting people hurt people.

So based on the depth of the blow I received, that man must have really been hurting.

If the pain he inflicted on me is any measure of the pain he lives with then his pain must be excruciating.

I was so hurt by that heartbreak that at times I believed I would never be able to breathe normal again.

I recall my heart being so shattered that I would often find myself reaching for Tylenol in an attempt to numb the pain.

You see, the emotional pain of that heartbreak managed to manifest itself as physical pain because it was too unbearable for me to process solely on the emotional level.

Thus, I had to relearn how to breathe because my heartache was just that deep.

On even a shallow in breath my heart would ache.

I was literally experiencing chest pains after my heart break.

I remember laying on my couch teaching myself how to breathe through the seconds.

Managing the in breath – out breath process of living through 60 seconds was harder than I care to admit.

But in through the nose out through the mouth I somehow managed.

And from the seconds I learned to breathe through the minutes.

With each breath of wallowing through the minutes, I was some how led to find the strength to crawl through the hours.

And with the shallow pant of each breath I climbed up through the shadow of the days, then with the flow of the outward breath I limped through the weeks and finally I breathed in and breathed out as I walked through the months.

I read self help books, listened to teaching tapes, and I became well acquainted with all the platitudes, but no words eased my soul.

I was in pain.

I wanted to sleep through it, eat through it, go around it, numb it, subside it, ignore it, and suppress it.

But I knew that wasn’t how it works.

And so I went through it.

The hardest part was I had to accept that “the person who broke me, would never be the one to fix me”.

How could he?

Anyone who goes about bringing pain to those who mean them well obviously have something broken on the inside of them that makes their capacity to show up for someone else void.

How could he possibly show up for me when he couldn’t even show up for himself?

People who return love with pain are the type of people who are living with insurmountable pain.

But don’t get me wrong him being in pain doesn’t make his actions okay, nor does it mean that anyone should tolerate his emotional abuse.

But acknowledging that his actions were most likely birthed from pain does help make it easier for me to forgive what happened to me.

I know what it is to lash out on someone I love because I had a bad day at work.

So how much more does a wounded child who goes about masquerading as a grown man inflict pain on the one who dares to care?

His behavior wasn’t right, but I suspect it was rooted in fear and pain.

He couldn’t be a friend to me, because he wasn’t a friend to himself.

He took me for granted because it was granted that I would always be there.

And so I forgive him.

He was my greatest teacher.

He taught me that not loving myself would lead me to a life of pain.

He helped me see that no one was coming to heal me of my emotional wounds or save me from my problems.

It wasn’t until I interacted with him and was knocked down to the ground that I learned that I was going to have to stand on my own two feet.

If I wanted to feel valued, loved, honored, trusted, worthy, respected and appreciated then I was going to have to tap into my own resources and lace up my emotional bootstraps all by myself.

There was no man coming around handing out an external validation badge of honor that would deem me worthy of love.

And helping to bring me to that awareness was the greatest gift he could have ever given me.

He showed me that I have all the power to pick myself up.

I thank him for that spiritual lesson.

They say that as iron sharpens iron one man sharpens another, and he made me sharper than I have ever been.

I would never want to sit in a classroom under his direction again, but I can assure you that I value the lessons I learned from him.

Indeed my most painful life lesson was my biggest blessing.

I have yet to fully recover from that interaction, but I am better Renata because of it.

I think that when you really love someone, you give them a piece of your heart forever.

As weird as this may sound, I have no regrets with sharing a piece of my heart with the person who took my heart for granted because he played a major role in sending me on my self-love journey.

My desire to love myself was birthed from the unbearable pain of being unloved.

Interacting with him made me so uncomfortable that I knew I had to change the way I was living my life.

Without a doubt he taught me to NEVER place something as valuable as my heart in the hands of someone who hasn’t earned it.

And I’m ALWAYS going to love him for that.

He taught me that it’s okay to be vulnerable, but only with someone who has taken the time out to emotionally invest in me.

From him I learned there is a difference between being kind and being foolish.

He showed me that letting someone trample my heart was my way of being unkind to myself and foolish to the world.

My pain isn’t unique.

I’m not the first and I won’t be the last.

My heart now beats with a quiver, but as I previously stated she still beats.

I am thankful for that heartbreak because it made me determined to love me.

He wasn’t the one to heal me, but he was the one to help me find the ultimate path to loving me.

Everyday I fall in love with me a little bit more.

I love my laugh that people say is way too loud.

I love my hair that by some is deemed too coarse or woolly.

I love my size which I used to despise, my skin tone, my blemished skin, my inquisitive mind, my quirks, my crooked teeth, the awkwardness of my gate when I walk, my weaknesses, my strengths, my heart and my soul.

I love myself!

I am learning to be secure in my insecurities and to trust myself.

So can I forgive the man who came into my life after the heartbreak of my divorce and broke my heart further?

Of course I can.

My heartbreak was not his doing alone.

It is me who is responsible for my heart.

I gave him permission to throw my heart on the floor when I didn’t value it enough to keep it out of the hands of the one who hadn’t earned it.

Giving him my heart was the equivalent of giving a toddler fine crystal and then getting mad when they break it and then walk off without even acknowledging what has occurred.

Of course he broke my heart!

People who don’t love themselves don’t know what to do with the love from another. So like fine crystal in the hands of a toddler they are going to let your heart slip.

They don’t know the value of what they have any more than the toddler knows the value of fine crystal.

They do not know how to cradle, care for, polish or maintain it.

They may not intend to drop it, but drop it they will.

Because that’s what people who don’t know what love is do.

They don’t believe that it is real so they treat it like something that is common.

They can’t relate to it so they toss it around like it’s casual.

They may even throw it up against the wall and toss it about on the floor only to trample it in an attempt to test its authenticity.

But at some point we must realize that it isn’t our job to go about teaching grown people how to love us.

No, our job is to love ourselves enough not place our heart into the hands of the people who don’t know how to love in the first place.

I am the gatekeeper to my heart. How dare I let someone trespass and trample about on such sacred ground.

Time and time again I failed at the job of protecting my heart.

It was me who gave the men in my life my heart to break and each time it was me who scraped the pieces up off the floor and began the process of stitching them back together only to yet again place my shattered heart back into the hands of someone who didn’t value it.

Some pieces I will never recover.

But having  a torn heart doesn’t count me out. This battered heart of mine sustains me with a rhythmic beat all her own.

And so yes, I am glad he taught me what love wasn’t.

I now know that I don’t have to chase love because real love is freely given. I know that the person who sees me as low value isn’t the person for me.

I know that if a person’s actions and words don’t match up then that person doesn’t match up with me.

It hurts when you find out that you meant nothing to the person who meant the world to you.

But you can ALWAYS take your heart back!

I decided to love me and nurse my heart back to wholeness.

No one else might value my heart, but I do and that’s what matters!

Some days are better than others.

I think my hardest moments are when my mind flashes back to the pain and I have to remind myself I’m not in those moments any more.

What happened has happened.

I also have to remind myself that my story isn’t unique.

I am not the only one who has known betrayal.

Others before me have had and others will have pain as a bedfellow.

There are the times I have to remind myself that I survived heartbreak before and therefore I can survive it again.

There is a purpose for my pain.

My pain made me so uncomfortable I became determined to change.

For the first time I am experiencing  regular doses of self-love and it feels amazing.

I have been pampering myself and I am making plans to take myself on trips around the world.

I now speak highly of myself and choose not to engage with those who put me down.

I respect myself and call myself beautiful.

I take better care of myself mind, body and soul.

I spend time with myself alone – just me and no one else and I cherish that time and see it as sacred.

I am no longer looking for someone to come into my life and make me feel loved, because I realize that I am the love I am seeking.

If it took massive heartbreak for me to realize that I am the love of my life then I can assure you that despite the pain and the tears I have no regrets.

I previously wished someone would have come along and healed me of my pain, because I thought it would be faster.

I wanted them to come simply because I doubted that I had the capacity to heal my own broken heart.

But I mustered up the strength not to take a short cut.

I decided that I was going to have to heal this heart of mine the long way round.

Diving into another relationship or looking for a rebound has never been my style.

I am glad I took the time out to love on myself because for the first time in my life I understand that it’s okay if I never have a romantic relationship with someone.

Valuing myself is all I need.

I am an amazing woman and I don’t need anyone outside of myself to see that for it to be true.

So yes, I am so thankful for heartbreak, because it made me fall in love with me!

Love,

 

Renata Nicole

© Renata Smith and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Let Go of People Who Hold on to Your Past!

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Photo Courtesy of: Linda Pittman

“You must let for to grow.” – Byrd Baggett

When the time comes, how do we go about explaining our past to potential dating partners?

And what do we do about trying to get that “friend”, family member or romantic partner to stop throwing our past in our face?

I say we stop trying to justify ourselves to other people.

Either they accept us for who we are, or we send them love and let them go on their way.

It took me quite some time to arrive at this conclusion.

Because there are most certainly the people who remember me for the person I was in high school and attempt to interact with me as if I am still her.

Then there were the potential dating partners who frowned their nose up at me because I had a child out of wedlock 18 years ago when I was 16 years old.

And furthermore, there are the people who have ridiculed me for a variety of decisions I have made during my past.

So it is no surprise that from time to time I think about how I can best reframe my past and highlight my lessons learned.

But what was surprising was that this time when I was mentally coming up with a new script to justify myself a thought occurred to me….

When it comes to my personal life, not only do I not have to justify my previous actions to people, I also no longer care to personally engage with people who frown upon my past.

My ultimate reason for no longer interacting with people who cast dispersions on me because of who I was isn’t simply because I am making a decision not to be around people who try to make me feel small.

No, I assure you it is goes much deeper than that.

I take the position that we can’t give other people what we do not have for ourselves.

Thus, I have decided to let these people go because I surmise that the type of people who go about judging others based solely on the decisions that the other person made in their past while neglecting to give any credit towards a person’s long held current behavior are the kind of people who have yet to make major transitions in their own lives. And furthermore, if they have made some steps towards the transition, they haven’t completed the process of forgiving their past mistakes.

So, the reason why those people frown their face up at my past, is because there is some aspect of their own life that they frown their face up at.

The reason that they cannot see me as an improved person is because they cannot see themselves as an improved person.

And the reason they keep throwing my past up in my face is because internally they keep throwing their past up in their own face.

It is not possible for them to see me as an improved person when they have yet to make or acknowledge their own improvements.

Now of course I have no evidence that my line of thinking is factual.

But what I do know is that I have decided that people who ridicule me for my past automatically disqualify themselves from being a part of my future.

I want to surround myself with people who have actively done the necessary work to heal their past wounds as much as they know how to.

I want to be in the company of people who have made advancements in becoming their best self and who challenge me to continue to do the same.

This isn’t about thinking that I am better than people that have made no or limited progress or thinking that I am better than people who refuse to let go of their past (I am doing inner work and need improvement myself).

This is about the fact that I have made a decision to keep shedding my old skin and I cannot allow people who are not trying to do the same to keep me from becoming the woman I was born to be.

I fall in love with myself more and more with the passing of each day, and I don’t see any positives to being around people who don’t accept the things that made me who I am and therefore fail to love me as I am.

I am actually thankful for the lessons that I have learned due to my poor professional and financial decisions, my failed relationships and my other life choices.

I have grown so much from who I was and anyone who cannot acknowledge the woman that I am today is someone I don’t care to purposely engage with tomorrow.

I simply will not consciously allow anyone to hold me back.

If this means walking alone then alone I shall go.

People have a right to remember me for who I was, and people are free to judge me as much as they please, but I also have a right to release those people from my circle.

Whenever I decide to date again, I will not allow a potential dating partner to make me feel some type of way about the fact that I am 34 years old and my oldest child is 18. If they find that bothersome then they are not the person for me.

Additionally, I will not have someone constantly throw my past in my face only to find myself continually pleading my case that the event occurred five, ten, fifteen or twenty years ago.

Nope!

If a person cannot see the woman who I am sitting before them then that clearly says more about them than it does about me.

When it comes to my personal life I will not worry about how to highlight my negatives in a positive way so that people will find me more attractive.

Because the truth is, like them I am flawed, I have made mistakes, I have grown from many of them but I can assure you I will make some more.

I, like everyone else am simply doing the best that I know how.

Does this mean I will try to hide my past from people?

-No, of course not.

But what it does mean is that I will not try to justify it.

My past is what helped to shape me into who I am today.

If my past is not palatable and unforgivable to someone then they are not the someone for me.

I understand that to some this may come off as haughty, but it is just where I am at this juncture of my life.

I can say without any fear that anyone who doesn’t like me, is more than welcome to leave me, because at the end of the day I am going to be me.

Ultimately, I cannot live this life for anyone else and I have to stay true to me.

And staying true to me means accepting who I was, embracing who I am and striving towards who I am to become.

People who throw past mistakes in my face are people who could potentially hold me back.

People who judge me for decisions I have made in my past, are people who I am better without.

The question is not “if I am good enough to be in their life”, the question has become “are they good enough to be in mine”.

People who reject me are helping me out tremendously!

I thank them.

For they are flashing lights showing me the direction that I am supposed to go and that direction is most certainly not near them.

I used to wonder how I could get them to see me differently, how I could get them to understand me, and see me for who I am.

Now I couldn’t care less what they think of me.

I am just thankful that they showed me that trying to interact with them would be a waste of my precious time.

It took a long time for me to get it, but thankfully I finally got it!

My time and energy is sacred and I can’t just go off giving it to everyone who comes across my path.

I have spent decades chasing after people who didn’t love me, because I spent decades not loving myself.

I have decided not to do that any longer.

To the people who choose not to forgive their past, it is my sincere hope that one day they break free from that choice.

And to the people who have not grown and learned from their mistakes it is my hope that eventually they will advance in their life journey.

But as for me I am going to be on the next level and I hope that I will see you there as you choose to do the same.

Love,

 

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.