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.

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.

Don’t be a Back Burner to Your Front Burner!

I realize that everyone doesn’t like cooking.

But if you are a cook with a basic level of experience you know that there are certain things that when cooking require your focus and attention. These are the types of things you need to watch and cater to and you may even need to stir constantly.

Typically when you cook these types of items you will have it on the front burner.

And then there are other items like a sauce or stew that need some time to simmer.

Those are items that don’t need a lot of attention, so they can be placed on the back burner.

You can often put back burner items on low heat, and perhaps you can even cover the pot because there isn’t even any need to look at it.

You simply put it on the back burner, set and forget it because it isn’t something that is a priority.

When I am cooking I focus on what is on my front burner because in that moment I am more concerned about those items.

Well, there have been times in my life where I have had someone on my front burner who had me on their back burner.

I would find myself paying attention to these people, and being attentive, while all the while I was clearly on their back burner.

These are the types of people who whether consciously or subconsciously only gave me bread crumbs of attention.

If I am honest about my interaction in these situations, it occurred to me in the back of my mind that I was on their back burner but ultimately I made excuses for it.

At the time when that took place, the insecurities in me were screaming out, how do I get this person to put me on their front burner.

Well, I had to learn to calm those insecurities down.

Because what I have come to understand over the years is that if someone has you on their back burner it is not your job to figure out how to get on their front burner.

No, your job is to figure out how you are going to de-escalate their place in your life.

If you are not a priority in their life, then they should not be a priority in your life.

It doesn’t mean that they are a bad person, nor does it mean that you’re a bad person.

It simply means you are not matching where you have prioritized one another.

For some reason people are prone to do this weird thing where we think that if we keep trying to show people how much we care and value them that they will in turn elevate our position in their lives.

This is our way of looking for external validation.

I can tell you from hard knock experience validation doesn’t work like that.

Validation comes from within.

No one outside of ourselves can validate us.

I recognize that we want to be liked.

But it is much healthier to find this experience by liking the people who like you.

I have a person who is in my life who previously reached out from time to time to invite me to the movies and dinner.

At the time I had three part time jobs so I didn’t have a lot of spare time. Additionally, my money was funny and my change was strange so I didn’t really know how I could afford to do any extracurricular activities.

My thought was how am I going to pay for these things or find time in my schedule.

In turn I let her know I couldn’t go because I work all the time.

That didn’t have anything to do with her.

It didn’t mean I didn’t like her, or that she was a bad person.

It meant my priority was making sure I had enough money to provide for my children and that I had bills to pay and mouths to feed.

My children and finances were on my front burner.

Hanging out with her was on my back burner.

In turn she did something very smart.

After asking me maybe twice to do something and being turned down, she found someone else to hang out and spend her time with who was willing to put her as a priority in their life.

When my schedule changed and I stopped working so much, I gave her a call and we went and hung out and spent time together.

The the thing that she did right that many of us fail to do is that she found someone who prioritized her in accordance to the way she prioritized them.

When she realized I was not going to be her go to girl she found someone who would be.

Many of us don’t do that.

When the signs come that someone doesn’t value us we try to see if we can find ways to get people who have placed us on their back burner to change their minds and put us on their front burner.

The mistake that many us make is that we take it being on someones back burner personal.

And some of us even go as far as to ignore the signs that we are on the back burner.

Signs such as when you ask if the person would like to hang out and they respond with phrases like:

“We’ll see.”

“Maybe.”

“I’m going to check my schedule and get back to you.”

“I’m just so busy.”

And then when they want to spend time with you it’s always last-minute.

These are the types of people who always have an excuse for why they are too busy to set plans with you.

I had to accept that this was life’s way of signaling to me that I was not a priority in these people’s lives.

People who want to spend time with you, make time for you.

Perhaps they don’t always agree to hang out when you make the suggestion but they at least give you a counter offer for meeting up.

For example they might say, “I can’t hang out on Monday, but I am free Thursday.”

So now when I realize I have someone on my front burner who has me on their back burner I know I have some accessing to do.

You see, I have a tendency to try to justify people’s behavior and give them the benefit of the doubt when I really shouldn’t.

I have to consciously work not to fall into an unhealthy pattern of making excuses for their behavior by thinking ‘well their busy’.

Especially when I know full well, no one is “that busy”.

When someone puts me on their back burner the truth is that I simply am not a priority.

Over the years I have worked to get to a place in my mind where I’m not worried about losing people.

I don’t know what it is that causes many of us to believe that if we make a mistake that the possibility of a relationship is over, the person will never come back and that we have ruined it.

I myself have been so dramatic that I truly believed that it meant I would never find love.

It used to be that when it occurred to me that I wasn’t a priority in someones life I felt the need to do something to become a priority to them.

Thankfully, I know realize that if someone is too busy for me than I need to start being too busy for them.

That other person has come to an awareness that we are not matching and I needed to come to the same conclusion.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a romantic, platonic, or business relationship if the other person doesn’t see you as a top priority and puts you on their back burner than by all means mirror them and put them on your back burner.

There is no need to scream and shout for them to put you at the front of their stove.

One of the ways I have been able to move away from this unhealthy habit was by coming out of the scarcity mentality.

I used to get so caught up in thinking that “this person is the person and I have to make this work”.

That’s not a healthy way of thinking and I had to step away from it.

I started to realize that there are millions of people in this world and that this one person not liking and/or priortizing me didn’t mean that everyone else wouldn’t either.

If someone is meant to be in your life and you are being your authentic self, that person is going to be in your life.

The real thing you need to be doing is asking yourself “why on earth do I have this person on my front burner when they have made it blatantly obvious that I am on their back burner?”

If you catch yourself focusing heavily upon someone, your stirring the relationship by reaching out, adding ingredients by investing your time, money, energy and effort only to realize they have you’re on their back burner with the pot covered or heaven forbid you find yourself in their crock pot by all means stop making them a priority in their life!

That action of putting someone on high priority who has us on low priority leads to overinvesting and it will leave you feeling bitter, empty and resentful.

When we over-invest and over-give it leaves us frustrated. But if we are truly honest with ourselves the other person is giving us signals by showing us and at times even telling us as hard as they can that we are not a priority in their life.

We have to realize how people perceive us doesn’t have any bearing on who we are.

We have to stop give people so much power in our lives.

Us not being a priority to a particular person doesn’t mean that we are not a priority or that we worthless.

It simply means we are not a priority in their life.

When this occurs we need to move on and find someone who does see us as a front burner item.

Someone who does see value in interacting with us the same way we see value in interacting with them.

There was a time in my life where I sought validation from others to such an extreme that it was clearly unhealthy.

I didn’t have this problem so much from women but when it came to men I really had problems.

I took things to extremes when a guy didn’t like me, so much so that I thought it meant I was unlovable.

Thankfully, I learned that it simply meant he doesn’t like me.

I came to learn that just because someone is of the opposite sex it doesn’t mean that they get to be judge and jury of what my worth and value is.

Recognize that if someone doesn’t see your worth and value all that means is they don’t see your worth and value.

You have to get to a place where if someone isn’t feeling you that you take it as a signal that you need to start asking yourself why are you feeling them?

You have to understand that it’s okay if someone doesn’t want to spend time with you.

It could very well be that they are busy.

But ultimately when it comes to dating and matters of the heart don’t give your heart to someone who doesn’t have time for you.

It’s not a good look.

You need to invest in someone who is as excited about spending time with you as you are about spending time with them.

If they are not excited about interacting with you, it would behoove you to accept it and realize it’s not a match.

Do what my female friend did and go and be with other people who want to be in your life.

Don’t wait around for people to pick you up.

If I am completely honest with myself the people who put me on their back burner who I had on my front burner should have been on my back burner the whole time also.

The thing is they simply noticed how to properly prioritize our relationship first.

You see, when I paused and thought about if I even really liked that person that much the truth is the answer was a resounding no.

It was my neediness, insecurities, red flags and ego that were showing up and making me think the person should be my front burner person.

When you come to the awareness of what you are doing it will become much easier to station people correctly in your life.

It’s okay if someone doesn’t have you on your front burner, put them on your back burner and still eat.

Don’t try to get them to give you more attention.

One of the signs that someone is meant to be in your life is that they are going to want to spend time with you.

I’m not saying that people don’t ever circle around.

But I am saying that no one needs to be breaking their neck for people.

Check your neediness and insecurities at the door.

Step back and realize you don’t need to be breaking your neck for someone who isn’t trying to see you, pick the phone up or even return a text.

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.

 

 

 

 

Discomfort vs Pain

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

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

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

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

Or does it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

I mean what happened to me having a plan?

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

And why would I do that?

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

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

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

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

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

-Get back on track.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It never works but it’s a familiar practice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

Renata Nicole

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