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.

Muddy Waters

Trying to figure this thing out and how to go about it and coming up empty handed.

Feeling like I’m on the right path only to realize I have no idea where I have landed.

Looking back at the past thinking I have treaded muddy waters before and certainly came out clean.

Recognizing the present and hoping that my triumphant past will mirror my present and failure isn’t what my life will mean.

Glimpsing towards the future and imagining that things are better than they seem and this nightmare isn’t reality and simply a dream.

Thinking of the time I felt like a hamster on a wheel cause no matter how hard I ran I just couldn’t gain traction.

Then remembering how now I have noticed I’ve most certainly moved forward and it was not in vain that I gave action.

And yet here I am in muddy waters hoping it will all come out clean in the wash.

Here I am trying to calculate the damage and wondering what will be the final cost.

Will I breathe when this is over or will I expire?

I mean it feels like life or death cause the life I had before has certainly retired.

It’s something about a setback that makes you set back and think.

What am I, who am I, where am I, why am I, how am I ……

I am at the brink….

The brink of something new, something foreign, something unknown, unseen yet necessary.

Perhaps the bump in the road wasn’t sent to my by my adversary.

Maybe I called it forth knowing it was needed.

Perchance in the recesses of my soul I knew this task must be completed.

Could it be that stumbling block is the very thing I need in order to get to where I am going to?

Huh…

If I am honest had I known the valleys necessary for this journey I doubt I would really have agreed to go through.

I had to get thrown off course to be put on the right path.

I had to cry those tears and relearn how to laugh.

That collapsed ego, that frustration, that heartbreak, that loss, that grief……

Eww don’t you dare mention that grief that made me ache from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet

That grief – you know that grief that left me paralyzed….

Paralyzed in the pain that was of colossal size.

I had to hypnotize my mind, and numb the pain before I could even begin to realize….

Realize that my expansion could not come forth and I could not increase in size without what appeared to me as my demise.

My heart’s truth is that even with tears in my eyes I recognize the pain was mandatory for me to achieve my prize.

Battle fatigue from fighting in war after war.

Crying out “No, please don’t send me back to chaos no more!”.

That’s the thought echoing until a new thought forms.

In the time when they tell you, you got to fight once more.

You start crying but you realize you got arsenal in store.

So you start saying okay I’m going to make it out of here or die trying,

Cause last time I fell I spent way too much time crying.

Nah this time I’m retracing my steps and my lessons learned I’ll be applying.

Cause I ain’t spending more time than necessary to go from falling to flying.

All I know is what I know.

And I’m going to take that knowledge and from here I will go.

I will go to a place previously unknown.

Yet granted to me by past seeds I have sown.

This is my story, line by line.

Every period, apostrophe, grammatical error and broken rhyme.

Yeah them muddy waters are going to be treaded and where I’m headed I promise you I’ll come out clean destination unknown except in my dreams.

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.

Un-becoming Me

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Photo Courtesy of: Pamela Minton

I haven’t written in a while.

My lack of writing is not due to writers block, but due to feeling like I had some things I needed to sort out before I hit publish.

There have been many times when I have written what I was going through as I was going through it, but something caused me to refrain and I decided to go along with whatever that something was.

I believe that for the last six months I have been coming into myself in a way that caused me to become almost completely unfamiliar to the woman who I used to be.

I see the world different.

I see myself different.

I am different.

Or perhaps I’m not.

Perhaps I am just going through that phase that some people speak of where you un-become everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.

It’s a purging process of old thought systems and beliefs as I adorn myself with new thought. It has been beautiful pain releasing my former self.

Beautiful as I decorate myself in the garments of my newness, pain as I relinquish who I thought I was.

And yet while I have always known that Erykah Badu was speaking on a level deeper than the ocean when she said “the man who knows something knows that he knows nothing at all.”, I can now say I have lived that truth.

Everything I thought I knew I don’t know. I know nothing. I am just a babe in knowledge typing out my new-found wisdom that years from now I will see as foolishness.

I have so much growing to do, but boy have a grown.

The woman I am today, I never foresaw myself being ten years ago. For that matter I didn’t see myself being the woman I am now a year ago.

And while my present self is alien to the woman I used to be, I love me.

Don’t get me wrong I have so much work to do, but as I take baby steps in the new me that I have become I must confess I absolutely love walking in my new shoes.

To be candid, there were moments where I sat in dismay that despite the fact that I have been consciously choosing to focus on loving me more since 2014 and it seems like despite all of the great strides I have made I have so far to go.

Even though logically it makes sense that I haven’t come full circle, I was still disappointed to tears that I still have so much work to do. I’d hope to be more together than what I am.

But my disappointment turned to joy when I recognized I’m far removed from who I was.

I had to accept that you can’t go 33 years of your life not valuing yourself and be mad that you still have work to do four years later.

Self-love is indeed a life long journey.

And also old habits die-hard.

So, as I peel off the onion layers sometimes I don’t like the funk that I uncover.

I cringe when I initially see an area of weakness.

Sometimes I don’t want to deal with it.

But I have learned to rejoice as I uncover a flaw, because how can you fix something if you don’t know it’s there?

 

This pass year has been a true training ground. My foundational structure changed and I’ve been putting up new walls and beams.

I don’t view the world the same, for even my windows have changed. I have a whole new point of view.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy learning a new way to move when you’re muscle memory has had you conditioned to move a certain way for three decades. However, it is possible and I am choosing to do it.

One of my major changes is choosing to stay in the present instead of dwelling on the past and dreading the future. This action was and is foreign to me. And yet while enjoying and savoring the current moment hasn’t come easy I see the beauty in it.

I find peace in going on a date and saying I like this person so far so let’s just see where it goes as opposed to the thought process of I hope he doesn’t break my heart and reject me.

And I have to be honest I like being carefree.

I like that I am choosing the people in my life and not hoping they choose me.

While I still smile at the hope that new endeavors bring, I refuse to jettison my mind into the future wrapping it in anxiety and despair.

This past year was definitely a learning process for me.

For the first time in my career life I swam in foreign waters and struggled to stay afloat.

I recall posting about being too proficient, well 2017 taught me what it was to be insufficient.

But I take it all in stride because with the passing of time I keep learning what is meant when they say, “you can’t know what you like until you know what you don’t like”.

I have grown tremendously and I am thankful for that.

I have learned that worry is pointless. Not due to euphemisms or wisdom of the elders. No, I tested it by choosing to not give my energy to things that would have greatly concerned the old me and proving to myself that without giving in to worry things still worked out.

I now practice not giving my energy to things at such a high levels that others find concerning.

I considered their counsel but I find peace in not stressing.

Why stay up all night with anxiety, when I can slumber in peace?

Does it mean I don’t try to make things in my life improve?

Not at all.

But what it does mean is that I truly see the folly in worry.

And yet practicing the present, isn’t my only major life change.

I am coming to terms with the fact that it pierced me to my soul that my dad walked out of my life when I was fifteen.

It left me afraid to show my true self to someone. I figured if I allowed someone to get to know me they wouldn’t like me.

I mean if my own father got to know me and in turn decided he didn’t want to know me any more, how much more so would a stranger?

My story wasn’t one of those situations where my dad left when I was a baby, no my dad left when I was fifteen.

And my childhood mind processed that to mean there was something inherently wrong with me.

It wasn’t until my dad reentered my life in 2014 that I came to learn that what my 15-year-old self had convinced me of was untrue.

I’ve shared this story before and I thought I had dealt with this issue but it resurfaced and I am still working to pluck out that lie by the root so it will not continue to fester.

You see, I am still learning that it’s okay to allow myself to be vulnerable with someone who has earned that right. Additionally, I am truly letting go of the fear that if I unmask myself no one will like me.

I am presently walking in the knowledge that it is okay to say no to things that don’t please my soul.

There was a time when I thought that I had to be uncomfortably comfortable with letting people do things that I didn’t like in order to have someone like me.

I now say no without apology and often without explanation.

I’m going through a phase where I don’t compromise because my emotional, mental and spiritual health comes first.

I spent far too long putting everyone before me in the hopes that maybe one day someone would reward me.

When you behave as if you are last it gives everyone else the green light to treat you as last.

You get to decide your place in life.

With that awareness, I now put me first.

No more, going without so that others can have.

I now give others from out of my excess and with that action my abundance flows.

I still have so far to go.

But I’m doing better.

I am caring less about what others think of me.

Because I truly have come to find truth in the teaching that if you accept the good things people say about you then you have to equally accept the bad things they say about you.

For if I accept your praises, I will have to accept your admonishment.

That’s too much power to give over to another human being.

I’m the only human being that gets to validate me.

I get to define me, not anyone else.

And so, I look forwarding to continuing my growth process, the lessons learned and the love that unfolds.

I look forward to loving me and its my sincere hope that you look forward to loving you.

 

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.

 

Fitting Into Yourself

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Photo Courtesy of Lorena Gonzalez

We watch people go for their dreams and think to ourselves, I’d be too afraid to take that leap.

Fear has an amazing way of keeping so many of us stuck in relationships we don’t like, in cities we want to move away from, in jobs we can’t stand, not having conversations that need to be spoken, and ultimately not living the lives that we would like to live.

If I am honest, the truth is that there are many things that I would like to do that I am too afraid venture out into.

Don’t get me wrong, personally I’ve dared to take leaps on more than one occasion and each time I landed in financial ruin and left my loved ones scratching their heads trying to figure out my brand of crazy.

As a 35-year-old single mother it is not socially acceptable for me to take career risks that would be acceptable of a young single 18-year-old man.

For some reason it is more acceptable for young people to want to find themselves but if a forty-five year old man who is a husband and father of two wakes up one day and decides he wants to quit his job and sell everything he owns and has his family travel the world most people would call him crazy.

People who don’t want to work a nine to five, for forty hours a week at a job that doesn’t fulfill them are deemed by many as lazy.

Most of us never stop to think about why we get up everyday and go to a place that we hate.

Who decided that was to be our source of income and why did we accept it as truth?

It’s deemed easier to get up and work a job you hate for income, than it is to search for your purpose and earn an income from your talent to the world.

Far too many of us accept it as truth that it isn’t possible to have a job you love that pays well.

When people say they want to start writing books, start growing a crop for sell, painting, singing, designing clothing, opening their own exercise gym or anything that takes them out of the traditional nine to five they are deemed as abnormal.

We even scoff and say things like “you must have money to make money”.

Some of even take steps to make sure they know there isn’t enough resources, and that they can never do it.

Many of us our quick to recommend they take a “normal job”.

But there was a time when people had a craft of their own and a trade of their own that they brought to the table and that was a “normal job”.

They did more than file documents or sell products that most people don’t need or work in a system that ties their hands from doing a job the way they feel that they should do it.

Many of us dream of being entrepreneurs but we are afraid of not having a regular paycheck.

Our fear of not having money is used as a way of keeping us on the treadmill of the nine to five workforce because we don’t know how we will earn money if we dare to start our journey and be a trailblazer into uncharted territory.

Most learning institutions teach us how to work for someone else, not how to work for ourselves.

So week after week, we go to a job we don’t like and many of us go there for income that doesn’t cover our bills and moreover we go into debt, all out of fear.

We think anyone who is making it big must have done something illegal, immoral or unethical to get there.

Because here we are working 40 hours a week and all we got was a dollar raise.

When our friends try to start a small business of their own many of us don’t support them.

We are afraid to trust them with our money so we give it to the “professionals”. Better to lose our money to a big conglomerate than to invest it in someone we know personally.

In America the number of people with degrees surpasses the number of positions that require a degree and no one wants to talk about it.

Because we were told by universities who were in the business of selling us a degree that we need a degree in order to make it and now when their isn’t enough fruit in the way of jobs we are still telling our kids to go to university to get the degree so that they can at least have a chance at being underemployed.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not opposed to higher learning, nor am I opposed to working a traditional nine to five. However, I do think we should question why we judge people who choose to live their dreams instead of living their the way society tells them they should and not because they want to.

Some people are happy working a nine to five for someone else and there is nothing wrong with that.

But then there are other people who want to have their own construction company even if it means they have to work 70 hours a week to do it and to that I say they are not wrong for that either.

I posit many of us have been conditioned to believe that living out our dreams is for someone else, but not ourselves. We have been ingrained to believe this so much so, that when someone we know personally tries to break out of that mold they make us uncomfortable.

This is because the people who we know personally are most like us. And if they can make it then what is keeping us from doing the same?

Sadly, dream crushing has become so normal it’s hard to share a dream out loud.

Voiced dreams are often met with great resistance. Share a dream and the naysayers will swiftly speak up and smack it down.

I have seen firsthand where adults go into elementary schools and tell kids they should give up their dreams of making it big and have more conventional dreams.

We steal dreams from youth because we have been conditioned to believe that dreams are for the Bill Gates of the world, but not for us.

But dream crushing doesn’t stop in the workforce.

Additionally, we are afraid of being alone so we settle in unloving relationships. Many people are convinced to stay in painful relationships because “a good partner is hard to find”.

The idea of someone choosing to either be in a healthy relationship or no relationship at all is strange to many people.

Far too many people think that surely a man or woman must have something wrong with them if they love themselves enough to only tolerate a healthy partnership.

And another crippling fear that keeps us from our dreams is that many of us stay in a place we don’t like because we are so afraid that if we move that perhaps we won’t like the new place.

Ultimately, we stay in the known we don’t like out of fear of the unknown.

There are people who have never left their hometowns out of fear.

Their only point of reference to the outer world is the stereotypical depictions they see portrayed by the media.

And thus we live our lives afraid to quit our job and start our own business because we might go broke, all while disregarding the fact that everyday that we go to work we feel broken.

We are afraid to tell our kids its okay to want to be an author or a painter because we’ve been told those jobs don’t pay much money.

Sadly, I think many of us secretly hope the people in our lives fail when they try to buck the system and do what makes them happy.

I think that many of us hope they fail because deep down we know that if they succeed, it means that the only thing that keeps us from our happiness is our fear of failure. And if they can make it that means that we could have made it and our unhappiness is self-made.

If our friend loses the weight by persistently making healthy choices and we didn’t it means it was possible for us to lose the weight also, and thus perhaps the excuses we have been spouting aren’t valid.

We secretly want them to fail so we can keep lying to ourselves and remain uncomfortably uncomfortable.

When our friends business starts turning a profit we put a fake smile on our face while secretly wondering “how can someone do what makes their soul happy and succeed while everyone else plays by the rules and works at a job they hate”.

It really sticks in our craw for someone to start a small business and succeed when we tried selling Mary Kay that one time and no one in our family would even place an order.

But what we don’t see is the times when that person sleep on their friends couch or in their car in an attempt to fulfill their dreams.

We don’t see the times they bathed in the bathroom of a gas station.

We don’t see when no one would help them because they felt they should have known better than to quit that job.

We don’t see all the times they were rejected, their silent hustle, their tears, the times they doubted and their sweat.

Those people earned their success, they worked for it.

They believed in their dreams enough to walk them out while everyone else laid in the bed only dreaming.

For some reason we don’t cheer until they make it big, but even then as I previously mentioned we secretly resent them for showing us that if only we had toiled to break free the way they did we too could be in a position that we love also.

If only we weren’t too afraid to sell everything and move to Africa like our soul told us to.

If only we had the strength to leave that abusive relationship with the knowledge that we don’t have a wide variety of job skills and may not be able to afford to make ends meet without the help of our partner.

And if only we weren’t afraid to keep trying to make a business work even if it meant we saw it go down in flames.

It would be nice if society applauded those who march by the beat of a different drummer. But in our world most of us possess the herd mentality. We don’t like to think outside of societal traditions, instead we do what we believe most people do and never question why any of us are doing it.

Anyone who goes outside of the norm and chooses to do what makes them comfortable often makes us uncomfortable.

How dare they act on their dream of moving to the country and owning a farm and not eating food grown commercially!

No one else is doing it!

Most of us do not live in a society where being an individual is cheered upon, therefore for many of us individuality isn’t easy. But I say be an individual any way.

The majority of parents hope that their children will be normal and fit in with everyone else. I hope my kids fit in to themselves.

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.