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.”


“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.


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.

No More Crumbs!

Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Cave

Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Cave

It is really disappointing to realize that people are lying to you. Especially people that you care for deeply. But when it comes to lies, the times that I have found to be the most disappointing are when I have had to come to accept the fact that I was lying to myself.

When we lie to ourselves we are betraying and being disloyal to ourselves.

I have been guilty of this on more than one occasion.

I have allowed myself to believe people’s words despite their actions clearly being the polar opposite.

When I reflect back on it, I believe these times occurred when I had allowed myself to become overinvested in relationships or situations or when I was seeking external validation.

I didn’t want to start over, I didn’t want all of my efforts to be a loss. So even though huge red flags were smacking me in the face, I would continue to try to stick things out and wait and see if things would improve. This led to me holding on to relationships far longer than what was healthy.

Many times when the truth revealed itself that the people I was interacting with did not have my best interest at heart I would feel angry, cheated, violated, heart broken and enraged.

I would think:

How could they use me like that?

Why would they take advantage of me?

I was so kind to them!

Why didn’t they treat me better?

Those are some of the thoughts that ran through my mind after someone betrayed me.

But here is the thing I didn’t really want to do – I didn’t want to own up to my part and think:

What was going on in me that I could allow them to use me like that?

Why did I allow them to take advantage of me?

I was so unkind to myself!

Why didn’t I treat myself better?

Now don’t get me wrong I recognize that they played their part and I am not excusing their behavior.

However, anytime we ignore the signs, when we deny our gut instincts, the counsel of our friends and family who love us, red flags, and the handwriting on the wall, there is no reason to act surprised when Boo Boo the Fool betrays us.

People who say one thing and do another really are not truly deceiving anyone.

They are showing you as hard as they can that they really do not care about you.

Sometimes we choose to believe the lie they tell us over the truth they show us because it is convenient.

There are moments when it seems more difficult to deal with the hard truth than it does a beautiful lie.

I know I would rather slip into a nice pair of one size fits all elastic stretch pants than to try to do the work of losing weight so that I can fit into a pair of jeans the next size down.

Simply because it is faster and easier to slide the stretch pants on than it is to exercise and eat right. But in the end my health is sacrificed in a way possibly resulting in long term health risks as opposed to living a healthier life by making better choices.

In our minds we think that removing ourselves from toxic relationships means that we must go from having just crumbs to having nothing at all.

Sadly, we tolerate people who mistreat us all in the name of being able to say someone is our friend.

Alternatively, we accept neglect or abuse in the name of having the ability to say we have a spouse or significant other.

We may be lonely and want someone to hang around with, talk to or hold us.

Many of us have the misconstrued idea that eating a crumb from the floor like a dog is the best that we can do.

But I want to make one thing clear – It is better to sit in a corner alone than it is to eat a crumb off the floor!

Because the truth is when it comes to love, care, trust and respect you never have to go without.

Become aware of the fact that those are all things that you can give to yourself.

So why on earth would you eat their crumb when you could bake yourself a whole loaf?!

And the thing is when you treat yourself well, you will not be able to tolerate being around those who try to offer you a lower standard of treatment than what you give yourself.

Furthermore, you will start to attract people into your life who are true friends and significant others who actually value you.

Believe me, I have been there, done that and I even own the T-Shirt!

I have allowed people to mistreat me and I would give them way more chances than they deserved.

Sadly sometimes because I didn’t think I deserved better, and other times because I had given and sacrificed so much of myself that I just wanted it to be worth it.

But like Nina Simone said “you’ve got to learn to leave the table when love is no longer being served”.

I know for myself, I have been guilty of thinking ‘I know what they did was bad, but maybe if I give them another chance they won’t mistreat me again.’

But I have learned that isn’t the way the people who mistreat you think.

They think something more along the lines of ‘well things are back on my terms and I get to continue doing whatever I want and they will just put up with anything.’ Maybe they aren’t sinister and calculating with their thinking but their actions will definitely go along the line of mistreating you yet again.

Listen I am all for second chances, but there comes a time when a person needs to get that second chance to be a better friend, business partner, employee/employer or romantic partner with someone else.

People treat you how you allow them to treat you.

And so sometimes that means you can’t allow them to treat you at all.

There are some people out there who just simply misbehave in the lives of the people they interact with.

It is not your job to try to understand these people or to teach these people how to love you!

As a matter of fact the best thing you can do for them is show them the consequence of mistreating you is losing you!

Perhaps it will help them to learn that type of behavior is unacceptable. Nevertheless, whether they learn anything or not it isn’t your problem, because that is for them to work out.

Instead, it is your job to love yourself enough to not actively allow these people to have an open season pass into your life!

Believe me when I say do not allow people to come into your life and run amuck, because they will just run all over you.

How can you lay down and let someone walk all over you and then wonder why they treat you like a doormat?

You are basically laying there on the floor with a welcome sign asking to be walked all over! So of course they wipe their soiled shoes all over you and keep on going.

When you stay around for round 2, 3 and yes sadly for some us round 100+ why are you surprised that the treatment only gets worse?

The person loses respect for you with each round you allow them to mistreat you.

And sadly when we are in this frame of mind we sit there hoping that maybe one day they might see our worth.

Clearly we don’t see it ourselves because if we did we would get our behinds up off the floor!

And the truth of the matter is that for many of these people they do see your worth, they are just hoping you never do.

They are trying to bring you down to the place they see themselves at.

If you are willing to give someone everything for nothing, don’t be surprised when people take it for that price!

Begging someone to treat you better is a pitiful state to be in.

Trust me. they heard you the first time, however, they have made up their mind that the only treatment they will be handing out in your direction is mistreatment.

You have got to stop breaking your necks for people who don’t really care about you.

Understand that there are people in this world that don’t care about you, they only care about what you can do for them.

And those people are not your friends!

It is not your job to wait around for them to recognize your value!

Any time you do that you are expecting someone else to validate you.

At some point you are going to have to learn that you have to validate yourself. Seeking external validation will only lead to disappointment.

You have to do the work of recognizing your own worth and value, no one else can do that for you!

Realize that mental, emotional, verbal, sexual, and/or physical abuse is never okay!

Gather the strength to walk away from anyone who doesn’t treat you with love and respect.

I know that when we have deep and gaping emotional wounds it is often hard to summon the strength to leave toxic relationships, but I pray you realize that you more than anyone else in your life deserves your own love. And when we love ourselves 100% not only will we not abuse ourselves we won’t tolerate anyone who does.

We often find ourselves in toxic relationship after toxic relationship because we haven’t done the necessary work of healing our past wounds and loving ourselves.

So we find ourselves with people who treat us in a way that is familiar to us, and sadly for many of us being loved is not familiar.

You cannot change people, we have a hard enough time changing ourselves.

But we can leave people who leave us feeling empty inside.

Forgive yourself for allowing someone to mistreat you, forgive them for hurting you and let it go.

Don’t worry about seeking revenge on them.

Because losing someone who actually loved and cared about them is probably one of the greatest lessons life can deal them.

Let it go, let them go and start investing in yourself.

Recognize your value and stop settling for less than you deserve.

Become your own best friend and don’t allow anyone to treat you like a backyard dog.

Please love yourself enough to realize you deserve to eat a full course meal, even if it means becoming your own chef!

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman, Renata Smith and RenataNicole, 2015. 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 and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Overinvesting in a House When You Want a Home


The other day I went to go look at a newly constructed house in an expensive part of town. It was a nice house with some beautiful features, but I simply wasn’t impressed and when I saw the price tag I felt like the asking price was far too high.

Why wasn’t impressed, you ask?

I mean the house was in a coveted part of town and it did have some nice features as I previously stated, but there was a problem.

The problem was I had viewed a home earlier in the week that looked far more elegant on the other side of town in a newly developed area that was essentially for half the asking price of the one I was currently looking at.

See I had full knowledge that there was something better out there for a lower price.

To me buying the house in the more expensive neighborhood is equivalent to what we do when we over invest in our relationships. We pay a high price to be able to say we have a relationship but our relationship is often lacking in some hallmark features that we so desperately long for.

It was hard for someone to convince me that I should pay more for less house, because I knew better. I had seen better and I wanted better.

And so it goes in relationships. When you don’t realize you can have better for less, you end up paying more to get less. We know in our gut that the price seems too high, but we strongly desire to have a relationship.

But what is a relationship without love, care, loyalty, honesty, trust and respect? Why have a person in your life who says they love you, but they don’t treat you like it? Or one who tells you that you mean the world to them, only for them to cheat on you or emotionally and/or physically abuse you? If you spend more time crying then you do happy, something is very wrong! Love is not supposed to hurt, love is not pain.

Hurting financially just so you can say you live in an exclusive part of town, isn’t worth the investment. If you are going to have a house have a home, and if you are going to have a relationship have love.

I assert that if we would be willing to have the patience it takes to travel a further distance we could have a relationship with everything we desire. Best of all when we get home we will have everything we ever dreamed of and we won’t have over paid.

Many of us like to have it look to everyone else that we have it all together because we have a romantic relationship, in much the same way many of us like to have a house in an exclusive neighborhood. But here is the thing, when people come visit and take the time to look inside our home they recognize that we cut corners in order to pay the price to live there. Sadly sometimes they don’t even have to come inside to know something is lacking. They can simply drive by and see that our house is the smallest home in the expensive neighborhood.

I argue it is better to live in the house that sits just on the outskirts of town where we can have the hardwood floors, trey ceilings, garden tub, chair railings, marble countertops, porch and backyard that we always dreamed of, for a price that we can most certainly afford. And the same goes in relationships. You are going to pay a price to be with someone. That price is the giving of yourself and being vulnerable. Don’t over invest! If you are giving all of yourself they should be giving you full reciprocity in return.

Be careful not to over invest. The act of giving of yourself to someone else that results in you losing yourself is far too high of a price to pay. I suggest that if you are going to pay a price, let it be for the relationship that gives you everything you have ever dreamed of and that shows you a full return on your investment. And I don’t mean some day in the future. Your love is not some lay away plan! You shouldn’t have someone dangling a carrot saying take yourself off the market for me now and maybe one day I will treat you better.

So, if your house is in the exclusive part of town with all the bells and whistles and making a payment doesn’t make your pocket-book scream…then that is your home and absolutely nothing is wrong with it. But, if your house in the exclusive part of town is lacking in some important features, leaving you upside down on your mortgage then I strongly suggest you do the work to move to a home you can afford.

Yes leaving the house may require you to take an initial loss but the purchase of a home will be worth the investment in the long run. Even if it does sit just on the outskirts of town, love yourself enough to do the work it takes to get there.

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman and RenataNicole, 2015. 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 and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.