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.

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.

 

 

The Screening Process

 

Haley

Photo Courtesy of: Haley Hickman

I was on the phone with one of my cousins who explained to me that a guy whom she had went out on a date with had told her that he was going to call her at a certain time, but he never did.

After hearing her say this, I immediately retorted, “I don’t like him”.

I do not know him as a person but I know that I do not like him to fill the role of romantic partner in my cousin’s life.

And this is why…

At the beginning of the relationship his failure to call when he said he would signals his inability to keep his word.

Recognize that it is at the beginning of the dating process that we put our best foot forward.

Therefore, his best foot is him showing that he is not a man of his word.

If this is him on his best behavior then what in the world would he be like on his worst behavior!?!

I will be honest there was a time when I have given guys a pass who obviously didn’t deserve one.

They went out of their way to show me that they didn’t really care about me, but due to my insecurities and low sense of self-worth I would tolerate their poor behavior.

When they didn’t call when they said they would I would think well maybe something happened.

You know something? Maybe something did happen or maybe it didn’t, but I have decided that when it comes to my life I am no longer accepting excuses.

Do I believe that a freak accident could happen?

Of course I do.

But I also know that if a person doesn’t show up for a job interview on time a potential employer who is well skilled will tell the candidate that there is no need to conduct the interview as they failed to show that they have the ability to be punctual for something as important as an interview.

Does it mean that the applicant is a bad person?

No, not at all.

Should the employer give the applicant the opportunity to explain why they were late?

Possibly.

But, if the position is of quality a good employer will give it to the candidate who took the time to not only arrive on time but who arrived early, fully qualified and well prepared.

So if it is unwise to give a job to someone who fails to show up on time for a job interview then why do we give a second chance to someone who fails to show up or call like they say they will in the early stages of dating?

I think we do it out of fear of things such as no one better will come along, feelings of loneliness, desperation for a partner and low self-worth, which results in low standards and a lack of boundaries.

The way I see it is that many of us when we date are looking for someone to spend the rest of our lives with. We want to share our time, energy, vulnerabilities, body, money and in many cases our children with this person.

Think of it, you are going to invite a person into your home and more so your bedroom and your screening requirements are more lenient than what a hiring panel would require for someone to work at a company that may not even belong to them?!

I have hired people to work for companies before and when it came to finding an employee I would start out by reviewing the position and then I would create a job bulletin to be advertised in order to properly market the position.

However, when it came to my own life I didn’t really take the time out to figure out exactly what I was looking for in a partner.

I didn’t do any soul searching I just wanted to be wanted.

Also, before you can hire someone for a job you should make sure that you have the wherewithal to pay them.

But when I would look for a romantic partner I never took the time out to see if I had the time, energy, love or skills to maintain a healthy relationship.

Moreover, I spent a lot of time creating a well thought out job bulletin because I realized that I wanted to attract the best person for the position on behalf of my employer.

And yet when it came to something as sacred as my heart, thoughts, energy, time, space, body, love, trust and care I didn’t put much thought or detail into how I was representing myself.

I am not proud to say that my self-esteem was previously so low that if I had to describe how I advertised a position to have my heart it wasn’t a far cry from:

“Hungry for love, will love for crumbs of attention and scraps of affection”.

The type of people who are attracted to that kind of position in a person’s life are not high quality. Because the kind of person who would hold that sign doesn’t know they are quality.

It took a lot of tears and a massive broken heart but I now know better.

I now understand that just like I made the position that I was trying to fill at my place of employment attractive I have to make the position to be my romantic partner attractive.

This goes so far beyond physical appearance.

For example I wasn’t happy about what I was doing with my professional life. If I wasn’t happy with it, I wasn’t going to find a person who would be happy with it, so I had to make some changes.

I didn’t feel comfortable with my physical appearance so I was going to have to learn to accept myself as I work to become my best self.

I was depressed and so I had to take steps to lift myself up from that depression.

And moreover, I have not created a space for someone to come into my home. Before I can start back dating I have to open up that space.

For example, I am not emotionally ready to get married and move in with someone. The idea of combining my life with someone else makes me uneasy.

I am aware of that and for this reason I am not open to the idea of dating at this point in my life.

There are some changes that are going to have to be made before I could bring someone into my life at that capacity.

Once I have made those changes, then and only then can I begin the dating process.

As for me and my heart, to date before that time would be like those places that take applications for a job but aren’t hiring.

They are wasting everyone’s time.

They are not actively hiring and should simply say so.

I recall that before I would have a new employee start work I had to clean out the work space that they would be working in and remove all traces of the previous employee.

This is similar to how I have to take steps to make sure my heart is completely healed before I try to date someone new.

It would not be fair for me to expect someone new to come in and have to clean up the mess that the last gentleman made.

Before I can date I am going to have to figure out what the minimum requirements are to have my heart.

I don’t have a full list but honesty, faithfulness, shared spiritual beliefs and moral values are definitely minimum requirements.

I recall the amount of time I would spend creating a well thought out bulletin including a brief background of the company, what the job duties of the position entailed what character traits an applicant needed to be successful at the position, the minimum qualifications, the preferred requirements, the benefits and the compensation.

But when it came to my own life I didn’t spend nearly as much thought.

While I had some level of standards my subliminal advertisement for a mate most likely was equivalent to this:

Female with trust, abandonment and anger issues looking for someone to fill a void in my life because I don’t love myself enough to realize that I am the one I am seeking. I am not looking for someone to share my life with because I want to make someone else my life.

Applicant must have a high school diploma, little to no experience required, I will train you and try my best to change you because I have yet to learn that I can’t. I don’t require much, I simply don’t want you to physically abuse me. I don’t want you to cheat on me either but if you do I will forgive you because I don’t realize that I have worth, so I kind of expect to be cheated on.

I prefer someone who I am truly physically attracted to but I will settle for someone who I find mildly attractive because I don’t realize I am beautiful and I figure someone like me has to settle.

With regards to compensation I am a people pleaser so I over give $$$$.  I will let you emotionally drain me. Sure, I will cry and lament telling you that I want you to give back in return but no worries, you will quickly see I am all talk as I will stick around and be your doormat.

By the way previous applicants please feel free to reapply because even though you have made it clear that you really aren’t the best fit, I am scared that no one else will take the position and I am afraid of being alone.

There I was walking around giving off this kind of energy about myself then I wondered why the only type of men who were interested in me were of low quality.

I was behaving like a low quality woman!

So of course Boo Boo the Fool filled out the application for the job.

Men of high quality felt the energy I was giving off and thought ” oh no I don’t want to work there let me see who else is hiring”.

I was so desperate for love I was making excuses for peoples poor behavior.

A person not calling when he says he will is not a quirk.

That is them showing you that they are not a person of their word.

When someone sets off alarm bells at the beginning of your interaction with them, you have to stop allowing them to proceed.

I know for myself there was a time when I would allow others to make me feel uncomfortable because I didn’t want to seem too harsh or overly judgmental.

I wanted people to like me and I figured being “nice” was the way to go.

But I wasn’t being nice, I was being irresponsible.

I was not taking responsibility for my life.

However, I now realize that I am the gatekeeper for my life.

And in order for a person to hold the position of romantic partner or even friend in my life they must go through a screening process and thorough background check.

Sadly, I have begged people to stay in my life who I knew in my gut did not mean me well.

I settled for poor behavior from men who treated me badly because I didn’t see myself for the greatness that I am.

My time, heart, energy, body, thoughts, emotions and space are sacred.

I wasn’t aware of that before but I am now.

I have decided that when it comes to something as special as my heart I will not be giving anyone else the benefit of the doubt.

Does this mean I might end up overlooking some great guys?

Perhaps, but no more than a company would lose out on a good applicant because they refuse to hire someone who is late for an interview, interrupts the interview to use their cell phone, doesn’t dress for the interview, doesn’t know why they want to work for the company, doesn’t meet the minimum qualifications, shows up unprepared or who isn’t a good institutional fit.

And by institutional fit I mean the person may read well on paper and they may score high during the interview but something in the interviewer’s gut tells them the person just is not the best fit for the work environment.

This is akin to when you are dating someone and you can’t put your finger on it but something isn’t quite right.

Our friends and family may tell us that we are just being too hard or operating out of fear.

But no, if you feel like something is wrong it’s because something is wrong.

After years of heartbreak due to not listening to my intuition I have decided I would rather error on the side of being overly safe when it comes to who I allow in my space than I would to error on the side of being reckless.

I have heard that one of the best ways to yield a different result is to do the opposite of what you are doing.

So when it comes to my life my previous behavior is no longer acceptable, I simply must be more protective of my space.

I have had a bad habit of giving my time, space, heart and energy to people who I knew deep down did not mean me well.

In an effort to prevent that behavior I realize that I am going to have to set some boundaries and have some standards.

We have to start seeing the position of romantic partner in our lives as a high value position that can only be filled by a high value person. And in order to do this we must recognize that we ourselves are of high value.

The reason distinguished companies can turn away applicants who fail to meet their minimum requirements and not look back is because a good company knows that while finding high quality people may take time, they themselves are in high demand and another high quality candidate will surely be in the job pool.

We have to stop being afraid to set boundaries and of having deal breakers.

Walking around in fear that if we have boundaries that it will turn people away is not the way to go.

This is because boundaries are designed to turn people away.

The wrong people.

But you want them to leave!

Boundaries and standards saves you from wasting time with people who are not the best fit for you.

Just like assessments prevent companies from wasting their time interviewing people who don’t qualify for the position.

Even though I am on dating hiatus, I do have men approach me. They often ask what I am looking for in a relationship and when I tell them I am looking to be in a mutually exclusive relationship they immediately stop inquiring. I don’t even have to get to the fact that I am currently not dating because the men who currently approach me are only looking to date casually.

Once I start back dating, mutual exclusivity is a minimum requirement for me to be in a romantic relationship with someone. If someone doesn’t want that then we need not waste one another’s time.

Doesn’t mean they are a bad person, but it does mean they are not the right person for me.

You have to have deal breakers. For me I have decided that if a guy says “I am not looking for a relationship right now” he is automatically disqualified from being a contender for my heart. I wish him the best of luck but it won’t be with me.

Am I suggesting that you should make someone feel like they are on a job interview when you date them?

Not at all.

But what I am asserting is that you are the CEO of your life and you have to properly vet people.

Do a background check and have a tough screening process on all applicants who are vying for a position in your life.

And also if everything seems above board but your gut tells you something is off then don’t proceed.

When it comes to your heart if it doesn’t feel right it’s because it isn’t right.

 

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith, Renata Nicole 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.

 

Diamonds Aren’t Rare!

 

Don’t let the title fool you, I have nothing against diamonds.

I just want you to know they aren’t rare.

A few years ago I read an article about a man who was walking through a diamond mine along with several other visitors when he says he noticed something sparkling against the sunlight.

He walked over to it and retrieved a high value diamond.

I recall reading that park officials said several other people had walked past the same area on multiple occasions for quite sometime and no one had noticed that there was a diamond in plain sight.

It wasn’t until the sun hit it just right that the right person with a keen eye noticed what was right in front of all of the people who were passing by.

The man had paid his admission fee to enter the park and so the diamond was his to keep.

I have often thought of that story.

I thought of all the people who walked right by that diamond and never noticed it.

I thought of how it wasn’t until the right person, at the right time, with the right eye under the right sunlight came along that the diamond was noticed.

Here is the thing – that diamond was a diamond before anyone noticed it.

Upon reading the story I immediately drew a comparison between that story and how just because no one notices you doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable.

When I went to do an internet search so that I could reread the article that had previously caught my attention I discovered several other articles on people who had also discovered valuable diamonds and not only that I learned more about the diamond industry.

When most people think of diamonds they think of Africa.

But diamonds have been known to be unearthed not only in Africa, but in Asia and North America as well.

My point is that diamonds can be found in multiple places.

Just like high value people can be found in multiple places.

We like to think there are no good people in our town, county, borough, municipality, city, state or country but you’re there and you are of value so what makes you think you are the last?

I am not saying it is wrong to look elsewhere I am just saying that when you think compatibility is rare you can easily start to believe that it isn’t within reach.

I had a long-held belief that quality people were rare.

This led me to believe that finding a romantic partner who is of high quality and who would be compatible with me was going to be a tough feat.

I was afraid to hope for love.

In an attempt to prevent my hopes from getting dashed I even tried to convince myself that my desire for a romantic relationship was synonymous with seeking external validation.

But who was I fooling clearly they are not one in the same.

The real reason I wanted to suppress my desire for a relationship was because I feared it wouldn’t happen.

I have decided that I would rather die trying to obtain my heart-felt desires than being afraid to hope for them.

Prior to doing my self work, my thought pattern was askew.

Much in the same way that many people think that diamonds are rare, I thought a good relationship was rare.

But I am now convinced that was simply my perception becoming my reality.

For instance, I know people who have a hard time making friends, but I make friends with ease.

Why?

Because I don’t see it as a hard thing to do.

If I am forming a platonic relationship with someone and I don’t think they are worthy of my friendship I simply don’t entertain them. I don’t worry about being without a friend because I know that it easy for me to make friends and that someone better will come along.

And yet there are some people who are desperate for friendship.

But it doesn’t stop there. There are people who find a new career with ease and then there are others who struggle.

Just like there are people like me who struggle to find romantic love alternatively there are people who seem to not only attract it but also seem to be the embodiment of it.

What if I am right and the reason I struggled finding a relationship was because my perception had become my reality?

For example, I myself have driven just north of a diamond mine on several occasions while traveling through the state of Arkansas without even knowing it.

At the time I didn’t put much thought into diamonds.

I simply figured they must be extremely hard to find because the price of them is so high.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that it is a myth that diamonds are rare.

Diamonds aren’t expensive because they are hard to find.

As a matter of fact the supply for diamonds actually exceeds demand.

So, if  diamonds are in large supply then why are they so expensive?

Diamonds are expensive because of a marketing strategy developed by the DeBeers organization.

According to my research prior to DeBeers successful advertisement, rubies and sapphires were more popular gemstones.

With the help of Hollywood, DeBeers successfully convinced people who” diamonds were a girls best friend” and that every engagement ring should include a diamond.

While I realize many of the tactics utilized by  DeBeers are not admirable, I still think their ability to change how the public perceived diamonds should be noted.

I actually find it quite interesting how someone set the standard for how much something was worth and everything else fell in line.

Much of the credit/disdain for the way most people view the value of diamonds goes to the DeBeers company.

DeBeers did a lot of work obtaining, producing, advertising, unearthing, recreating, harvesting, restricting and displaying diamonds.

However, I have read article  after article all explaining that DeBeers created an artificial scarcity by stockpiling diamonds but only selling them in limited quantities.

So all of this diamond research got me to thinking.

What if quality relationships aren’t rare?

What if it is really my limiting beliefs that cause me to see little evidence of them?

What if it really is my scarcity mentality that causes me to believe that it is going to be hard for me to find someone?

And what if it was my false belief that all men cheat that caused me to experience infidelity in all of my relationships?

I have nothing against diamonds but me knowing that there is an artificial scarcity created through marketing helps me to realize that they are more readily available and attainable than I previously thought.

So what if a good career, good finances, a positive life, healthy friendships, a loving family and romantic relationships aren’t as out of reach as what some of us conceive them to be?

I began thinking about how it is popular in today’s society for us to refer to a “good woman” as a diamond.

But just like diamonds aren’t rare I know that despite all the jaded men walking about who will disagree with me, good women aren’t rare.

I have decided to believe that just like good women aren’t rare, good men aren’t rare either.

It is simply perception becoming reality.

Now do I have evidence of this?

Nope, but “faith is the substance of things hoped for with the evidence of things not seen”.

With my new belief system in tow lets talk a little bit more about diamonds.

Many of us are familiar with the phrase “diamond in the rough”.

It’s a phrase referring to the people who have yet to go through the work, perseverance, pressure and transformation to become secure in their insecurities so like an unpolished diamond they come across as unrefined and rough around the edges.

Understand that the formation of diamonds takes place through high pressure and high temperatures over time and require some polishing thereafter.

But a diamond is still a diamond.

To further expound on that analogy I don’t think that only some of us are like diamonds I think we all are like diamonds.

In the sense that we all are of value.

We are either a diamond in the rough or a polished diamond, but we are all diamonds nonetheless.

I reassert that a diamond is a diamond.

People might say it is a cubic zirconia, but a diamond is a diamond. It doesn’t matter whether people realize it or not, because it is what it is. You never see a diamond telling people its worth. A diamond simply exists.

If someone tries to buy a diamond for less than its value, no jeweler worth their salt would ever let the sell take place.

The point is that you have to know your worth.

Don’t let anyone else define your value!

If someone isn’t smart enough to know your worth then they aren’t on your level in the first place and they don’t deserve you.

Never undersell yourself and never settle.

Always go for the highest bidder.

If someone submits and offer that doesn’t feel right – it ain’t right!

Hold out and wait!

Trust your internal guidance system on who deserves your energy and who doesn’t.

Invest in those who invest in you.

Believe that someone of mutual quality will come along at the right time, under the right ray of sunlight with a keen eye and notice you.

And if you ever have a moment where you catch yourself telling someone your worth recognize that is the precise moment you need to fall back because you have already forgotten your value.

So be a diamond and let the people who can’t recognize you kick rocks

It has taken a lot of soul-searching but I have begun seeing myself as valuable.

Not because I am in high demand or because of any advertising strategy.

But because I am finally starting to have a shift in my thinking where I am accepting what I know in my soul to be true.

I have value!

Those diamonds that were discovered never had to beg anyone to notice them they simply existed.

If someone came along and noticed them great and if no one did they were still great.

The vast majority of people believe that they will only ever be able to afford to buy a cubic zirconia.

They believe in the myth that diamonds are rare so they aren’t even looking to have one of their own.

And even if they do see a diamond they don’t believe that they are in line to obtain something of quality.

So when it comes to identifying a person who loves me I might have to spend some time alone in the jewelry shop window but I have full confidence that someone will come along when the time is right.

Furthermore, when I started to see myself as valuable I decided to no longer deal with people who wanna put me on a rent to own plan.

You know the guys who say they aren’t ready for a relationship  now (with me) but maybe they will be. In other words if I stick around until after they decide they can’t find someone better than maybe just maybe they might settle for lil’ ole me.

Forget that!

No more trying to become something I am not in the hopes of getting someone to finally love me.

Come ready to emotionally invest in me at full price or don’t invest at all.

If someone’s “emotional credit” is bad they need to shop elsewhere.

Thankfully I realize that the same sense of confidence I have in platonic relationships I need to bring to all my other relationships.

When it came to love I used to feel the need to mark down my prices.

Let’s just be honest I am pretty sure I advertised myself on clearance with a bright yellow sticker on more than one occasion.

There I was with a big old sign saying please pick me I am desperate for someone to please pick me!!!!

My low self-esteem and self-hatred led me to settle out of fear that no one would ever love someone like me.

Sadly, there I was a high value person who was so insecure that I sold myself at bargain basement prices.

I may not be rare in the sense that I am a good person but I can assure you that I am rare in the sense that I am a designer’s original.

And we all know that a designer’s original is sold at full price!

Don’t allow people who can’t recognize quality to have you thinking that you are as they perceive you.

Think of all those people who walked past that diamond before the man noticed it. They didn’t see the diamond for what it was but it was still a diamond.

It ain’t your fault that when it comes to love that some people believe they can only afford to give love, care, and honesty at Dollar Tree prices.

The reality is a lot of people can’t see your worth cause they can’t see their own.

They are the emotional equivalent of wealthy people who are penny pinchers. They gotta lot but they only give a little.

Forget those people!

Let them take that Ebenezer Scrooge type of love elsewhere.

And don’t do as I did falling prey to the sly people who can see your worth but realize you don’t so in an attempt to keep you from seeing your value they try to bring you down to their level by price haggling.

You gotta have an energy about yourself that lets them know that when it comes to your heart, time, energy and devotion that this here ain’t a yard sale and they are shopping at Tiffany’s and you demand mutual love, kindness, care, trust and respect.

Don’t fall for anything less.

I think a lot of us are walking around seeing ourselves and behaving like we are lower quality than we really are – don’t do it!

We think other people are of high quality but not us.

I spent decades not seeing the greatness that I am.

I now know that the right buyer will look at me and see me for who I am. They won’t price haggle and they will fall in love with me for who I am – the way I am – flaws and all.

For the first time in my life I get it!

Anyone who doesn’t love me as I am is just a window shopper and we don’t even open the case for window shoppers!

You are worth what you believe you are worth, you command the market!

Renata Nicole

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© Renata Pittman Smith, Renata Nicole 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.