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.

All Too Familiar No

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Photo Courtesy of: Jamie Kathleen Haughaboo

There is something about being told no that can leave us feeling depleted.

When you have what you consider to be a bright idea and present it to someone only for then to inform you that they don’t think your idea is any good, it has the potential to stop many of us dead in our tracks.

Especially if we view the person as an authority on the subject matter.

There no can cause us to think that we don’t have what it takes to stand toe to toe with others or to be seated at the table with those who are at the place where we are so eagerly would like to pull up a chair.

But then we hear stories of people who were told no several times and then they finally hear that one yes that affirmed them.

There are always rumors of people who go from the bottom to the top, but those people are far and few between.

Nevertheless, those people give us hope.

But as I think of those people, I also think how can I be certain that I have what it takes to make it to the top?

I mean for all the people I hear of who made it, I know hundreds more who didn’t.

So am I one of the few people who will make it or am I one of the hundreds of people who will give up.

The truth is I don’t know. But I am going to die trying to achieve better.

I have to.

I owe it to myself to keep trying.

Because giving up on my dreams simply doesn’t work for me.

If I die a dreamer, I die a dreamer.

For, I would rather die a dreamer than die hopeless.

I arrived at this conclusion after literally being rejected over a thousand times in one year in an attempt to achieve one of my dreams.

So the way I see it is that when it comes to being told no, I am a master. For surely, I myself have become all too familiar with hearing the word no.

It was about four years ago when I realized that when it comes to my life that I have to stop settling.

I didn’t know how to stop but I knew I had to stop.

I didn’t know that decision would lead me on a path to hearing no repeatedly.

I am not confident that had I known from the beginning how hard this road would have been that I would have journeyed it.

It seems as if my whole life fell apart after deciding that I had to love myself enough to no longer settle.

But as they say, sometimes when it seems things are falling apart they are really coming together.

For example, it was at the height of me hearing the word no that I began this blog.

Who would have thought hearing the word no an overwhelming number of times would have propelled me to begin a journey of finally realizing that I have to love myself?

To that I say thank God for no.

I give thanks to the word no despite the fact that there was a point when its utterance caused me to jettison myself down to rock bottom.

I felt like life was never going to get any better.

No, I take that back. I knew that life would get better, but I didn’t want to go through the process of waiting for it to get better.

I am all for the mountain top experiences but I didn’t feel like enduring the pain that it would take for me to finally reach the pinnacle.

I was like those people who try to lose 50 pounds in a month. I didn’t want to eat right and work out and lose the weight in a year or two… No I wanted success right now!

I was also making the mistake of thinking that no meant never.

There I was sulking, feeling pitiful for myself and telling my sob story to anyone who would listen to it.

I became someone I didn’t know and didn’t want to know.

I think in many ways I lost my mind.

I am glad I lost whatever it was, because I am now clearer than I have ever been in my entire life.

I can now clearly see that all that rejection was not a judgment on who I am as a person, but at the time old me couldn’t recognize that.

Old me failed to see that no one in this world can define me, but me.

I was in such a poor mental state that I thought that if I went out on a date and it wasn’t a match that it meant that I wasn’t good enough.

I failed to see the obvious – it simply meant that it wasn’t a match.

My self-esteem was in such a bad place that I didn’t know that I was supposed to be trying to see if the person was compatible with me, not if I was good enough for him.

If I went on a job interview and was declined an offer I thought it meant I wasn’t good enough for the position.

I didn’t know it meant that there was a position that was out there that would allow me to better utilize my education, skills and experience in a way that would allow me to excel and grow in a positive environment.

When people betrayed me and hurt me I thought that said something about me, I didn’t know it was a reflection of who they were.

I was unaware of the fact that I am in transition and while in transition I am simply learning who I am and who I am not. I am learning what I want and what I don’t want.

Now is not the time to give up, now is the time to push forward.

I have learned that the reason I am being told no isn’t because I am not good enough, I am being told no because I am in the preparation period of receiving what is best for me.

Hearing yes prematurely would ultimately cause me more harm than good.

I see that now. However, there was a time when hearing the word no made me feel like something was inherently wrong with me and that I would never get things right.

I thought my life was some sort of cosmic joke.

I had to get a grip on myself.

The pity party had to end.

Thankfully, I was surrounded by friends and family who were there for me and who helped me to make my way through my darkest hours.

I wish this was a blog about how I have reached my mountain top.

But the truth is that I haven’t even reached flat land.

I still am in the valley lows.

But the thing is that I am no longer in the doldrums.

I think there is a time and a place for everything and that our experiences are necessary for our ultimate expansion.

So while I don’t regret my time being stagnant, I must tell you that I celebrate the moment that something inside of me clicked and I decided to let each no empower me to keep looking.

The reason that I was in the doldrums was because I allowed myself to become paralyzed with fear.

I was in such a bad place that I let the idea of hearing no keep me from even trying.

I would sit there on my couch in fear of everything.

But some how I got off of that dat burn couch!

Now a closed-door has become a signal that I am being pointed in the right direction.

I know it seems cliché but I truly had to become thankful for closed doors.

I had to work to overcome my fear of having a door closed in my face.

There are times when I think ‘what will people think of me’.

But I have come to a place where I realize that people are going to think what they want to think and for the most part people are far too self-absorbed to give much thought about what is happening in my life.

So if I fall in front of the world and the world laughs at me, I know I will have fallen trying to climb the highest mountain and I find comfort in that.

I have yet to even come close to reaching the top of my mountain, but I won’t stop climbing.

My door hasn’t opened but I have had windows open left and right.

I know what it is to be scared.

But I have learned to make it moment by moment.

I know what it is to not know how I am going to make it or how I will have my needs met and yet those same situations caused me to learn not to live in fear because I have not lived a day with my needs unmet.

There are times when I have been afraid to have hope, because having hope always puts me at risk of being let down.

No one wants to experience the pain of disappointment.

But who was I kidding, I was already disappointed.

I had nothing to lose so I may as well have hope.

The way I see it is that if I die without fulfilling my dreams and I never see anything that I want materialize how is that much different from being negative and still not seeing it manifest?

I would rather try and fail than not try and always wonder.

Like I said I wish this was a success story blog, but I surmise that some how in many ways it is.

It is my story of how I decided that I can hear no until my dying die, but I am not going to allow that word to measure my worth.

People can continue to reject me and it’s okay because I accept me.

I accept me flaws and all.

I will continue working to improve myself.

Not because I am not good enough, but because as long as I have breath in my body I plan to continue to cultivate myself into something better than I was before.

Ultimately I am the greatest benefactor of my growth process.

So, people can continue to tell me no and that I am too much of this and not enough of that.

And I will still be here, still standing, still breathing and still mountain climbing.

If I die never having reached the top I am okay with that.

What I am not okay with is me dying without trying.

This isn’t a platitude without any substance for I can truly say that I am thankful for all the times I heard no.

It was in hearing no that I was saved from being in toxic relationships with people who did not mean me well.

It was in hearing no that I was rejected for employment positions that I thought I wanted but through redirection I was placed in the presence of amazing people who I don’t think I would have met otherwise.

I can genuinely say that those encounters were well worth the no, for the value of those encounters is priceless.

If I told you that hearing no that much was easy I would be a liar.

My truth is that I spent a lot of time on my couch as I became familiar with no.

I would think this is too hard. Nothing is working, I can’t get any traction.

I felt like a hamster on a wheel. I was doing a whole lot of moving but I wasn’t going anywhere.

I was upset because I made the mistake of thinking that those no’s meant I would never hear yes.

Also, I wanted someone to come and save me.

Ironically, I think what was most bewildering to me were the people who would come into my life and offer to help me without me asking for any assistance only for them to disappear from my life.

I would sit there confused wondering what was the point of them interrupting me just to leave?

I felt like God was mocking me.

I thought to myself, ‘I was doing just fine at making it the best I could only to have someone dangle hope in front of me for the sole purpose of snatching it away’.

But I have learned God was not mocking me.

Those people let me know that there was no one coming to save me, if I was going to make it, I was going to have to make it.

I recall at one point being so disillusioned I actually got upset at the idea that once I finally do make it that people would come into my life and want to be apart of it.

I thought ‘if you don’t want to be here when I am struggling then when I make it no new people better not show up!’.

I was mad at people who I don’t even know and who aren’t even apart of my story because they weren’t there for me when I felt like they should be. – Yep I was crazy.

And I was mad at people for not being who I wanted them to be for me.

There they were, being who they were and I was mad that they weren’t who they weren’t.

Quite frankly, I was just mad.

Thankfully, I came to my senses.

I am now at a place where I hold no ill will towards the people who promised to help but didn’t. Because truth be told they offered me a much-needed glimmer of hope.

I smile at the thought of the people who will come when I reach my mountain top because I now realize they couldn’t possibly be here for me now, because they are busy mountain climbing there own mountain.

And I forgive the people who couldn’t be who I wanted them to, because the truth is it was never their job to be anything more than who they are. I accept them for who they are and I thank them for being authentic.

I also am thankful for those people who are here with me right now while I am in my valley cheering me on.

But oddly enough I am especially thankful for the hope danglers. This is because when I reflect back it felt good having hope. They helped me to see that being hopeful made me happier than being negative, so why should I let hope go just because they walked away from the table?

This quest of mine is between me and the divine alone.

The reason that I haven’t heard yes isn’t because I am not good enough.

I haven’t heard yes because the time has not yet come.

I am not prepared for yes.

If yes came before I was ready then my dreams would surely crumble before me.

So what do I do in the meantime? – I enjoy the meantime.

Yep that’s right I enjoy the struggle.

I embrace the lessons, I learn through the tears and I trust the process.

I don’t like grief, heartache and depression, because they are painful.

But I learn far more through the hard times than I do during the good times.

Does it hurt me when my hopes are dashed? – Not like it used to.

Because now I realize that it is simply redirection and not rejection.

But you want to know what hurts more than having hopes dashed? – Being hopeless.

Truly, all these closed doors are simply helping to direct me to an understanding of what I do want and what I don’t want.

Hearing no, doesn’t mean you give up on your dream.

Hearing no, gives you redirection on how to achieve your dream.

When things fell apart for me I thought I knew what I wanted.

Now I realize that if I received what I thought I had wanted I would never have uncovered the beauty of who I am and begun to unearth my true potential.

Thank God for no. Because it was all those times I heard no that has helped me as I journey on my way up.

So don’t be afraid of no.

Love,

 

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/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Nicole with appropriate specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Lessons Learned

I haven’t blogged in a over a month.

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Not because I don’t have anything to write about but because today is the first day that I have had both the time and the energy to sit down at the computer and share my journey.

This last month has brought a smile to my face and helped to strengthen my resolve.

I have reconnected with people from my childhood who have blessed me tremendously, I have learned new skills at work that I am proud of, I recognized some of my weaknesses and am taking steps to strengthen them.

I have gained a fresh perspective on life and it has brought me hope.

In essence I have been learning – I have been growing – and I have been expanding.

Steve Jobs said,

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will some how connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.

Well I have taken a moment to reflect back and I have been connecting the dots and I want to tell you that while I don’t have a clear picture I am thankful for each dot.

Yes even the ones that I thought were ugly, too painful, unnecessary and the ones that I spent far more time with then I care to admit.

I thank God for the dots.

This time last year I felt like giving up.

To be honest I think I did give up, but thankfully life didn’t give up on me.

It wasn’t really that I didn’t think that things would get better, it was that I didn’t feel like learning the lessons.

I didn’t want to suffer, I didn’t want to be challenged or to face adversity and I had hoped that maybe I could take a short cut.

I was certain I would make it through to the other side I just didn’t want to do the work.

In the same way that we know that if we exercise and eat right that a healthier body will meet us on the other side, I knew that if I went through the lessons life had to offer that a healthier me was waiting to be unearthed.

I simply didn’t feel like putting in the work of learning the lessons.

I didn’t want to cry, I didn’t want to feel pain, I just wanted the benefits of a healthier me.

But a healthier me required for me to lose some things.

I had to let go of that guy who didn’t mean me well.

I had to let go of those negative thought patterns and limiting beliefs.

I had to find a healthier way to deal with my emotions and stop with the emotional eating (by the way I lost 6 pounds since my last blog post).

Have I gotten to where I want to be in life?

Nope.

But I have gotten to where I am supposed to be.

I still have so much work to do but I am in a better place… a healthier place.

I am happy and at peace in a way I never saw coming.

My laugh is richer than it was before (which is no small feat because I laugh a lot!)

But I have to be honest while I knew things in my life would get better I never thought that this would be my better.

We are told to not grow weary in our well doing.

We are told to exercise our faith.

We are told to believe in ourselves and our ability to achieve greatness.

But this time last year it felt like me walking out on faith landed me right into a sink hole.

It seemed to me that I was doing right and I was treating people right and for my effort I received a box full of wrong.

I was facing challenge after challenge and setback after setback and it seemed like anytime someone would say “well, at least it can’t get any worse” – it did.

I started to believe that I was some type of a martyr. I had convinced myself that I was going through unnecessarily and that I was being unfairly punished. It didn’t occur to me that what I saw as my “failures” were actually setting me up for my greatest successes. At the time I didn’t realize that I was learning things that would help me to become my best self. It wasn’t until recently that I began to see that happen over the past two years that I thought were meant to destroy me have been my greatest blessings.

Those obstacles taught me more about faith.

I may not have the greatest faith, but my faith has increased greatly.

I have grown to respect the fact that my faith could only improve by exercising it.

Because of the adversity I have faced I have also learned not to worry as much as I used to.

And when I find myself worrying I can rest on the truth that I have a 100 percent success rate in God coming through for me.

You know…. it is easy to keep the faith when things are going well and you can see evidence that things are going to get better.

But keeping the faith when people are laughing at you and when you have no inkling of how you are going to make it through the next 24 hours takes a level of perseverance that I don’t believe most of us tap into.

Personally I felt like throwing in the towel.

I wanted to close my eyes, fall asleep and not get back up.

Not so much because I didn’t think things wouldn’t get any better.

I knew God would see me through.

No, I wanted to give up because I didn’t want to endure the pain that comes with growth.

But that pain was indeed necessary.

In two years time my pain included becoming familiar with life as a divorced mother of three teenagers, I quit my career and relocated from Alaska to the southeast part of the United States. I started a business only to have it fall through. I endured the pain of a broken heart from yet another failed relationship. I saw my finances turned upside down and faced my childhood demons along with some other gut wrenching moments.

Forget mountain high I was definitely in the world of valley low.

For a while I thought maybe life was simply trying to humble me.

Perhaps I was too prideful and too ungrateful.

In my naivete I  thought I could circumvent the lessons life was trying to teach me by showing life that I was okay with the humility.

If life was offering me blows then I would show life that I was okay with the pain in the hopes it would let up.

But despite my false humility the blows just kept on coming.

I reached a point where I had to believe God with how I was going to make it from day to day.

I am glad God did that.

It increased my faith tremendously.

It’s easy to believe things will work out when we think we know how we are going to make it.

But what about when you wake up at 8 am and don’t know how you are going to finance yourself for the next 24 hours.

I lived through that and while it wasn’t easy I believe it was necessary to help me to learn that I never have to worry about things like how I will eat for God will most certainly take care of that.

I learned that I may not always have what I want but I will always have what I need.

I also learned to trust myself and I gained a greater spirit of discernment.

Furthermore, I reached a point where I decided I don’t want to settle for poor treatment in romantic relationships and that I am not willing to settle for a relationship that lacks love, kindness, compassion, respect, appreciation and care. I hold myself to a much higher regard now.

While sadly it took me having someone treat me poorly for me to realize that emotional abuse isn’t an option for me any more it isn’t about the process it is about the outcome.

So while the encounter was painful I thank God for that relationship.

I am certain that while I probably did need a fresh dose of humility that my time in the valley was about far more than a lesson in humility. The woman I am today I didn’t know I could become.

I achieved things I didn’t think were achievable.

There are people who would look where I am at and see me as a failure but I know that the level of understanding that I possess about who I am and the love that God has for me makes me great.

I went from believing that I had to settle and not having confidence in myself to growing more secure in myself and increasing my self-worth.

I have started falling in love with me.

And as I began this love affair with myself and to increase my self-worth life started to feel smoother.

I am thankful that when I gave up on life that life didn’t give up on me.

At my lowest point I wanted to just say “that’s it, I gotta split” but life said “yes I knocked you down but it wasn’t for you to quit”.

Life wouldn’t let me give up on me!

I haven’t bounced back and I am not sure that I want to.

What I mean is I don’t think I ever want to go back to who I was.

I was a woman who didn’t believe in herself and who lacked self-confidence.

I was a people-pleaser who didn’t have any boundaries and who had a weak no.

I didn’t really love myself and settled for lower level love because I had lied to myself and convinced a larger part of myself that substandard love was the best I could achieve.

I was a mess on the inside and my life was a mess on the outside.

My health, my finances and my relationships were all suffering because I was suffering.

So no I don’t want to bounce back, I want to change course.

I have been breaking patterns of behavior that has caused me not to live life to the fullest, I have started dealing with my emotions instead of eating my pain and I began to recognize my worth and to set boundaries.

I stumble and I fall but I am getting stronger.

I see some of my flaws but I also know and am exercising strategies on how to improve them.

I am learning to be secure in my insecurities and I am at a beautiful place.

Thankfully while I went through adversity God allowed me to be surrounded by amazing friends and family.

I recognize that many of people don’t have that and that I should be extremely thankful that I was blessed with great friendships so I don’t take the blessing of those relationships lightly.

I think that life gave me those positive relationships because they were a necessary ingredient in me becoming my best self. I firmly believe that whatever it is that a person needs to fulfill their unique life purpose they have been granted.

I know that life gets hard and that there are times when it doesn’t seem to make sense but please know that it will work out for your good.

I have been told that life doesn’t happen to us but it happens for us.

That is hard to believe when a loved one dies, you lose your job and/or receive a bad medical report. But I can tell you that I have seen first hand how things come around full circle.

Sometimes we wonder why we have to go through adversity.

But I have come to learn the mountains aren’t placed in front of us to stop us in our tracks, rather they are placed there for us to strengthen our muscles while we climb them. And as we climb them we release the unnecessary baggage that is holding us back.

I am on my way to a better place and I am thankful for that.

It hurt, I cried and I felt like giving up and yet I am still standing.

It was hard and I didn’t like it but I couldn’t have gotten where I am without it.

Thank God for the trials and the tribulations.

I am still a work in progress and will be until I breathe my last breath but the Renata I am today is in a place that the Renata I was yesteryear was not prepared to step into.

If I don’t lose any weight, if I don’t get my finances back on track or find a romantic partner I have learned that those things don’t define me as a person.

I am not my position, my weight, income or marital status.

I have so much greatness that I am just realizing that I need to tap into and I am so glad that I have come to a place where I am ready to step into the fullness of who I am.

As my schedule eases up it is my intention to start back posting more regularly.

But in the meantime I hope you are able to see that life is not trying to break you, it is trying to make you. Please don’t give up on life because life hasn’t given up on you.

Stay blessed and even though they aren’t always easy learn those lessons that life is diligently trying to teach you.

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.

 

 

Putting Things into Proper Perspective

 

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Photo Courtesy of: Leslie Walker

About 15 years ago I suffered from panic attacks.

When I would go to the doctor for help they would simply tell me I needed to calm down and send me home.

After being turned away several times somewhere inside of myself I found the answer to my panic attacks even though the doctors had dismissed me.

What I did was went home pulled out a spiral notebook and created a T-Chart.

On the left side of the paper I wrote down everything that I was worried about and on the right side I wrote down steps I could take to solve the problem.

If I didn’t know what to do about an issue I would write “God will take care of it” in the right hand column beside the problem.

As a person of faith I used my belief in a higher power to help me to believe that ultimately everything would work out.

Additionally, I would write a list of whatever it was that I needed that I didn’t have the financial means on hand to receive.

As I would acquire the things I needed I would cross them off the list. Each time I crossed things off I took notice of how with time all my needs were met.

Those exercises taught me that everything will be alright and helped me to stop having panic attacks because ultimately I was putting the things in my life in proper perspective.

In 2014, I was listening to Oprah Winfrey speak to a couple about the benefits of a gratitude journal. They explained to her how they noticed a significant improvement in their relationship once they began a daily practice of writing down five things that they were grateful for.

This reminded me of how several years ago I explained to my children the importance of naming five things in life that they are thankful for on a daily basis.

Often during car trips I would have them name to me five things that they were grateful for.

They especially heard me say this whenever they would come to me offering up a complaint about their lives.

While I know they have no idea why I did that, the purpose behind it was because I recognized the importance of putting things in proper perspective.

Interestingly enough just a few days ago I was reading a book by Dr. Daniel Amen called “Change your Brain Change Your Body” where he wrote about how practicing gratitude and writing down five things that you are grateful for can improve your mind in as little as three weeks by helping you to stop automatic negative thoughts from playing in your mind.

It is my firm belief that gratitude is powerful, because I have seen it demonstrated in my own life.

Additionally, there is something about seeing things in writing that adds to that power.

Last year I lost sight of the positive things in my life and I fell into a deep depression. I decided to attend church in an attempt to gain some mental clarity. While there the pastor helped me to become aware of the fact that thanksgiving is the antidote of anxiety. This brought into remembrance my practice of journaling what I was grateful for and in turn helped me to lift myself out of a place of dread and despair.

I don’t believe that living a life of worry, despair and anxiety at the same time I am practicing gratitude and thanksgiving is possible.

Simply because they are opposing emotions.

So I have chosen to live the latter.

For example, the other day I had something happen that I found to be upsetting and I became angry and upset.

However, when I took the time out to recognize the blessings in my life I was able to reduce my anger significantly.

I also decided to change what I thought about the event. I purposely decided to look at the thought and let go of the negative aspects of it.

This isn’t about being a Pollyanna and turning a blind eye to the things around me.

This is about opening my eyes and being clear about what is really surrounding me.

When I think of what happened and I put it into proper perspective my anger subsides.

As Byron Katie says, “It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts that causes suffering”.

I am not in denial about what has taken place in my life but I refuse to allow it to control my life.

I realize that I do not have to hold on to painful thoughts.

Furthermore, I have found worry to be absolutely pointless.

Understand that you cannot change anything by worrying so there really is no reason to do it.

As a matter of fact worrying takes time away from what you could be actively doing to improve your situation.

It is this understanding that motivates me to do my best not to worry because it is a waste.

My life is not the best, however it is blessed.

And for that reason I constantly give thanks for the things in my life.

A few days ago I decided to not just audibly give thanks but to also restart a gratitude journal as well as my T-Chart practice whenever a problem arises and my list of daily needs being met.

I don’t like having negative thoughts playing through my mind on repeat and so I am taking active steps to input positive ones into my mind.

In my journal I write down five positive things that happened to me that day that I am thankful for.

I go beyond the generic – I am thankful for good health and give more detail as to why  I am thankful. For example I might write:

I am that I am healthy enough to have been able to stand on my feet and complete my shift at work which allowed me to have a source of income and put me in position for advancement in the workplace.

I give thanks for having enough money to buy a nutritious meal which helped to nourish my body and give me strength for the day.

And I may also give thanks for the person who complimented me on my looks and made me feel positive about myself.

Dr. Amen explains that it is important not just to write down what you think you “should” feel thankful for but what you are actually thankful for.

When we mix emotion and truth behind our gratitude is has the power to improve our day.

It is my desire to gain a greater appreciation for the life that I have.

I have spent a lot of my life focusing on what was wrong with my life and myself.

I figured it was high time I start focusing on what is right.

Scripture says that whoever is faithful in little things can be trusted with much.

I think that sometimes we don’t appreciate the little things because we are constantly eyeballing the big things and spending the bulk of our time wondering why we don’t have “big things”.

Never despise small beginnings.

I know this may seem cliché but there really are people who envy the life you are living because theirs is more tumultuous.

Take appreciation for where you are on the way to where you are going.

Practice embracing your now.

I know that my life is not perfect but I also know that it is fulfilling.

There are things that I would like to have that I don’t and situations I would like to be in that I am not.

But when I really look at my life I am blessed.

I have a sound mind, positive relationships, and a sense of comfort.

My health is not the best but I have the capability of transforming it and I am taking positive steps to do so.

My career is not in the position that I would like it to be in however, I have the tools and avenues to get it there and I know that it will get back on track.

I have a strong desire to have a healthy romantic relationship and at the proper time I will have one. Right now I am thankful that I reached a point where I realized that I am worthy of one. I am enjoying my life as a single woman and working on becoming a woman who can maintain a healthy and positive romantic relationship by learning my true value and worth as well as relationship skills.

My life is not all bad.

For all the things that need improvement, I have the ability to improve.

In my past I spent an excessive amount of time laying on my couch feeling sorry for myself.

I was choosing to live a defeated life.

By acknowledging what my blessings are and putting them into writing I have started to go to bed with positive thoughts and in turn wake up feeling positive.

I appreciate waking up in a positive state of mind because there was a time when I would wake up replaying the same negative thoughts that I had fell asleep with.

To be honest, I had the script of negativity running so strongly in my mind that I would even dream about all of my heartache and pain.

Sometimes the thoughts were strong enough to cause me to wake up angry and with my hearth pounding.

Since I started writing what I am grateful for right before bedtime those negative thoughts have subsided.

I wanted to take the time out to encourage you to start a gratitude journal if you haven’t already.

Additionally, please thank the people in your life who bring you kindness and blessings.

As you show gratitude for what you have you open the door for more to come.

Personally, I don’t practice a life of gratitude for more to come (it is inevitable that it will happen). I practice it because it makes my life more peaceful.

I desire a peaceful life and this is a way for me to have it.

I know that problems will arise, but I want to overcome them with the least amount of stress possible.

And I have found that when I am actively aware of the fact that I have far more goodness surrounding me than I do bad it helps me to focus on the good and have peace of mind.

Putting things in proper perspective is essential to a healthy well being.

If you find yourself saying things like:

Nothing ever works out for me.

People always let me down.

I never have enough money.

No one cares about me.

These are red flags that you do not have things in proper perspective.

When you make an absolute statement in the extreme negative I assert that you are not being honest about your situation.

Some times things don’t work out but what about the times that they do?

Many people have failed you, but if you search the recesses of your mind you will find someone who didn’t (even if it the clerk at the store who gave you correct change).

You may not have enough money to do what you want, but you clearly had enough money to survive the day.

Maybe those people don’t care about you but someone does (and it’s often the person you are pushing away).

I invite you to join me in starting a gratitude journal, using the T-Chart method I described earlier to help you to relinquish any thoughts of worry and making a list of your needs to remind you of how they are being met.

I want you to become the best you that you can be and I am going to work on being my best me!

 

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.