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.

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.

The Blessing of Failure

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

 

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Photo Courtesy of Crystal Thomas Ashford

 

I can attest to the aforementioned quote by J.K. Rowling, that rock bottom is a solid foundation like no other.

Having life strip away everything that is unnecessary and leave you with the bare minimum puts you in a place where you can start afresh far better than you can from any other station in life.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t until life humbled me and allowed me to fail time and time again that I ironically gained traction in my journey on the road to success.

With each loss I discovered unnecessary parts of me that I had not realized were present until they were removed from me.

I had toyed with the idea of being an entrepreneur for several years.

But I was always too afraid to take the risk.

I mean what if I failed?

What would people say?

How would I recover?

So I never did it.

I allowed my fear to prevent me from venturing out on my own.

That was until I decided to do it – afraid.

I decided to invest all I had into myself and my business venture.

So I didn’t talk about my plans with anyone unless they were an expert on the subject. Because, I didn’t want to risk people who lived in fear to sow negative thoughts in my mind or talk me out of it. So I did my research, talked to experts in the field, studied the market and I took the risk.

I pulled all my resources together in attempt to start a business of my own and guess what?

– I failed.

The result of my six month business venture was $58.00 in income which was easily overshadowed by overhead costs. Six months of hard work, six months of trying, six months of being told no, six months of putting more in financially then I ever received out and I was blessed with $58.00.

So with relatively no income outside of child support and three teenage kids looking to me for provision I had a decision to make.

I had to determine how I was going to provide in a job market where I was told I was overqualified. So when I was turned down for the positions that I was fully qualified for, I did the only thing I knew to do. I took three low wage paying part-time jobs and I put them together.

With the help of my friends and family, child support and my three part-time jobs I was able to make ends meet. There were times when I would go to bed at night not knowing how I would provide food for my kids the next day but every single day I woke up and God made provision for us.

I can honestly say I know what it is to trust God for provision of my daily bread.

Prior to that time no one could have told me that I had the physical ability to stand on my feet for 12 hour days.

I suffer from chronic pain that makes it hard for me to go about my day.

But there is something about knowing that I am responsible for three kids that made me push through the pain.

And no one could have told me that I could work 16 hours in a day at two different jobs. Moreover, the concept that I would have to run to the bathroom and vomit due to exhaustion was inconceivable prior to me living that reality. But there is something about knowing that your kids need to have food to eat and not knowing any other way that isn’t illegal , immoral or unethical that some how miraculously gives you the strength to stand.

No one could have told me that I would see all of my needs met in ways that seemed to signal that divine intervention had certainly played a hand in taking care of me, but I lived through it. I have seen things occur in my life that definitely boggle my human mind and I can’t settle with viewing them as simply a small thing, when I know that if the money would have come one day later I would have been in a deeper hole.

Things definitely arrived for me just in the nick of time on more than one occasion.

As I was working part-time I would submit application after application and go on interview after interview just to be told, “no”.

I began to question if I was going the wrong way. I wondered if all the nos where life’s way of telling me to give up.

But I don’t think that was it at all.

The failure of my business, the failure to secure a job that would provide adequate pay, the struggle of working three low paying jobs in an attempt to make ends meet, the feeling I got when all I could afford to give my kids for their birthday was a cake, not being able to afford to provide the life my kids were accustomed to when their father and I were married, were the times that shaped and made me into a stronger version of myself.

Due to my knowledge that I have failed and survived before, I have become brave enough to try again.

I’ve leaped only to hit the ground hard and ultimately learn that while it is indeed very hard that it cannot break me.

So I’ve decided to use the lessons of my failures to help me to take the leap of faith to try again.

Because ironically the greatest lesson that my failure taught me is that I cannot fail.

Even when it seems, I’m going the wrong way I will ultimately end up exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Indeed I am my own limit!

Nothing can come between me and my destiny but me!

I recognize that by taking another leap that I could fall even lower than I did the last time, but whether I fall again or soar, I have decided to leap nonetheless.

I can’t say that I despise failure because I love the lessons she teaches me.

Just because I haven’t mastered how to win doesn’t mean I’m going to stop playing. I’m still in the game all the way up until the time the final buzzer sounds.

The way I see it is that I still have breath in my body and my dream has yet to come into fruition, so that means it’s my responsibility to keep on going.

Am I afraid? – ABSOLUTELY!

But I’ve decided to do it afraid.

I’m reading books on all types of topics to expand my mind. I’m sitting at the feet of people who have gotten to where I want to go and consider myself blessed just to be able to have direct access to them and for their willingness to give me advice. I’m stealing whatever time I can from the act of being lazy and diverting it to the action of honing my craft.

I have a vision in my head of what I will achieve and like a dog with a bone I’m not willing to let it go.

But there are some things that I will let go of.

I will let go of bad habits so new ones can unfold.

I will let go of negative thoughts so new ones can take hold.

I’m allowing myself to be comfortably uncomfortable trying new things.

And the result is that I’m hearing no’s again but I have the courage to keep asking.

I’m being told close but no cigar, so I’m determined to get closer.

I’m having the phone hung up on me, so I keep dialing.

I’ve ended the day without achieving my daily business goals and I used the sting of that failure to light a fire under me to overachieve for the next day.

I look at my check register and wonder do I have what it takes to make it or will I fail like I did the time before. Then I tell myself that my destiny lies beyond those numbers.

I have to tell myself to stop worrying about the people who are betting against me and to remember that what I think of me is all that matters.

I remind myself that as long as I don’t give up that I will achieve the results that I hope to achieve.

I am taking the lessons of my yesterday and I am applying them to my today.

For I have a choice, I can give this my all or I can not do it at all. There is no half stepping, no partial effort, it’s all or nothing and I want it all.

It is possible that I may fall all the way to the bottom. But we already discussed the benefits of being at the bottom at the top of this blog entry.

If I hit rock bottom I’ll still be breathing and that means I’m still in the game.

Yes, when you’re at the bottom people will judge you, but guess what they’ll judge you no matter what your station is in life.

Also you can’t learn how to truly appreciate what you have until you experience not having.

For almost three years I felt like a hamster on a wheel. I was running at top speed exerting a bunch of energy and I never seemed to get any traction.

And now I stand with the glimmer of hope that this time I can make it. I’m gaining ground and I like it.

It is my firm belief that this time I can achieve my goal but I am going to have to put in the work to earn it.

When it comes to our dreams in life no one is going to give us anything we haven’t worked for.

With that said I am going to keep trying to achieve my dreams and keep reaching for my goals.

I’m investing in me.

Before my failure I thought that obstacles were meant to destroy me.

It wasn’t until someone explained to me that life doesn’t put obstacles before us in the hope that we would fail but to the contrary, it does it in the hopes that we will succeed.

Because, much like a trainer sets up exercises for an athlete to enhance their ability, so does life set up exercises to advance us.

Life gives us hindrances and obstacles with the hopes that we will become stronger.

We need that strength for where we are going.

For that reason I am thankful for kids who ask why we live in an apartment when their friends live in a house.

And I give thanks for the guy who told me he didn’t want to continue seeing me because I was struggling financially.

Not because it made me want more money or because I’m some sort of glutton for punishment, but rather because I knew I was trying my best and from those comments I learned that only I know when I am doing my best and even if those I care about see me as a failure I have to know who I am for myself.

I have grown to value the eye rolls, scoffs, rejection and judgment as much as the love, kindness, support and care that I received from those around me.

I tell this story not as someone who has achieved my dream.

No I’m telling my story in the face of everyone and I’m saying it may not happen this year or even this decade but I have a dream in my heart and if I die before it manifests I want the world to know that I died trying.

Far too many of us become paralyzed by our fear of failure. But I’m here to say I failed and yet I am still in the game. I encourage you to try even if it results in failure because failure is indeed it’s own blessing.

© 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.

My Race is My Own

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There are times when I wonder about how it seems that some people get away with behaving badly.

Let’s be honest there are times when life just doesn’t seem fair.

For example:

It doesn’t seem fair that innocent babies are harmed or killed.

It doesn’t seem fair that there are liars, thieves and murderers who walk away with verdicts of not guilty.

It doesn’t seem fair when a loving person is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

And then there is the fact that when I search the concordance the word fair is no where in the Bible.

The word ‘just’ is there but not the word ‘fair’.

Nevertheless, there are times when things don’t seem just either.

My point here is not to pretend that I can wrap my human brain around those concepts and cry out that I have an answer for what I think is unfair or an injustice in our world because the truth is I most certainly don’t.   

But even though it pains me when I see what appears to be guilty people walking away without punishment and as few answers as I have I must confess that it doesn’t serve me to expend my energy wondering if those who do what I consider wrong are served justice.

It would be a lie if I told you that those thoughts don’t cross my mind because they do, but I choose not to dwell on it.

I have had people treat me in a way that I perceive to be very wrong.

But at the end of the day what happens in their lives is none of my concern.

You see, the race I run is my own.

And their race is theirs alone. 

The truth is when it comes to the race that I am running it doesn’t really matter that some people appear to get away with unscrupulous behavior.

What matters is that I stay the course because when all is said and done the course of love does indeed work for me.

There are people in this world who believe that being selfish, manipulative and unkind is the way to be.

That is how they have chosen to run their race. I cannot control how they choose to live their life no more than they can control how I am choosing to live mine.

I have crossed paths with people who I feel have unjustly wronged me.

I am going to surprise many of you. I thank God for those people.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to engage with them again.

I don’t like the pain they brought into my life, but I have learned to respect it.

I sincerely thank God for the lessons I learned through the pain they brought me.

What they designed to harm me was transformed into something to ultimately better me.

Because I chose not to allow them to make me bitter but instead to become better.

For example, I have not had many romantic relationships but the few I have had were very sour.

And yet those men brought me closer to becoming my best self by leaps and bounds.

The betrayals I endured in those relationships, while painful, taught me lessons that I don’t think I could have learned any other way.

I have experienced the lost of loved ones to death in a tragic way by the hands of other human beings. I recall grieving very deeply and feeling like I couldn’t go on.

I don’t like how my loved ones transitioned and the grief was so unbearable that it literally hurt to breathe because my heart was so heavy. But life showed me that when I didn’t think I could make it another day that I had more strength then I knew – and here I stand.

I have had people wrong me in my career life and who created a hostile work environment. There actions troubled me deeply, but they also made me grateful for peaceful times, a more compassionate person and a better employee.

Now here is the thing, I don’t want anyone to think that I am saying that I am not bothered when bad things happen.

Rather what I am saying is that it is best not to expend mental energy wondering what becomes of those people who we believe have wronged us because ultimately if we choose not to become bitter, despite the taste, the most vilest poison can make us better.

It benefits us to forgive people and to let go of the outcome of their lives.

I know that there are those who thrive on destroying others and using people.

I have chosen not to put stock into the methods of “success” that they cling to.

Mistreating people simply doesn’t work for me and so I do not subscribe to it.

I was not raised to exhibit those character traits and I truly believe that my upbringing has served me well.

Wondering why it seems as though someone is getting away with something is a form of judgment and comparison.

This is because we often think:

‘Had I done something like that I would feel guilty and/or be punished’.

‘Here I am doing right and treating people right and there they are getting away with mistreating people and doing wrong.’

It would save people a lot of grief it they realized:

We are not all raised the same way.

We do not all see the world the same way.

Everyone doesn’t have the same morals, values and awareness as you do.

There are some people who really believe that the very behavior that you find displeasing is really a good thing.

To compare your life with anyone else’s is simply unwise because no one compares to you. You are a designer original, unique and incomparable when it comes to your life’s purpose.

No one but you can fulfill your life’s purpose – for it is yours and yours alone.

Speaking of comparison, all too often I hear people say they are dissatisfied with their station in life in comparison to where their friends, family and colleagues are at.

This is another time when I advise people to stay in their lane.

Please know that you can only run YOUR race.

If you focus on what other people are doing it will result in the slowing down of your speed in which you achieve your goals, dreams, aspirations and ultimate purpose.

For example, I have worked to achieve goals only to have it brought to my attention that people who started at the same time as me or even those who started after me are excelling far greater than myself at the very same dream I am trying to so diligently achieve.

I could get upset with myself and I could become envious of their success.

But I choose to do neither.

You see, I decided early in my life that when others excel it doesn’t mean that I am failing. When I see someone achieve a goal that I want for myself I applaud them and see their success as proof that my goal is possible.

But then there are the times when I see people cheat their ways to what we call success.

As I shared at the top of this blog post it does bother me.

It bothers me when it seems that someone is rewarded for doing what I consider wrong.

But here is what I have come to find – what is happening in the lives of others is really none of my business.

I don’t know what is playing around in their conscience as they examine the private thoughts that ramble through their mind. And I don’t know what happens in their homes behind closed doors. And also people are often privately reprimanded without my knowing.

And the truth is it isn’t for me to know.

Taking the time out to wonder if life served up someone else justice takes away from the time I need to be spending improving my life and becoming my best self.

I have a race that I am running and the only person that I am in competition with is myself.

I want to be better than the woman I was yesterday and each day that I am given the gift of breath is another day to work to outdo the woman I used to be.

No ones race is identical to mine.

They may be on a similar path. Their path might run parallel to mine. And as a matter of fact they may have a path that runs perpendicular to mine.

But my path is my own.

Recognizing this could save so many of us from a world of hurt.

Case in point, I have literally stood witness to people buying a home because all of their loved ones were buying a home.

They weren’t in the best financial position to do so, but they felt like they were less than because they weren’t doing what they felt others were doing.

This resulted in them purchasing a home they were not able to afford and losing it.

I also know people who have gotten married because everyone else in their circle was getting married.

And yet the person they married wasn’t an ideal life partner.

Doing something because everyone else is doing it is a dangerous motivation – especially when it comes to major life altering decisions.

My advice is to keep your eye on your own path and don’t worry about the position of others, specifically people who seem to be receiving ill gotten gains.

I have found when I get focused on me and what I am doing, I don’t really have time to notice what is going on with the people who are ahead of me, behind me or even those beside me.

When I let go of the idea of judging others I am able to be thank life for everyone around me and keep moving.

But when I start looking to my left, to my right, in front of or behind me I am susceptible to becoming bewildered as to how someone got ahead, nervous and leery of those beside me or becoming prideful for advancing beyond those who I deem as behind me – and then I trip and fall every single time.

Life is constantly teaching me that their race is theirs and my race is mine.

How they choose to run their race is between them and the Divine and none of my business.

If I want to achieve my purpose I cannot dwell on the happenings of others, especially those whose methods I disagree with.

We all have to overcome hurdles no one will ever know about, so focusing on how they are doing better than me in an area/or areas when there is most likely an area of my life that I am excelling in that they are not is futile.

So I work to stay focused on me. For as I glance over to see what they are doing it simply impedes my progress and makes me prone to losing my footing and causing me to stumble.

I cannot spend time feeling prideful that I am ahead of others.

“Pride comes before the fall”.  Any time I think that I am better than someone else life has a beautiful way of humbling me, by allowing me to stumble and in turn  reminding me that I am not.

I am no better than anyone. They are achieving obstacles I know nothing about and that I most likely do not have the capacity to surpass – so who I am to mock them?

I also cannot become competitive with someone running beside me.

Those people running beside me have taught me some of my most precious lessons, there is no need for me to have any contempt for their footing.

And I cannot spend time trying to carry people who are not willing to put on their running shoes and run their own race.

In carrying people I am forsaking my own race and that is never going to lead me to achieving the goals that life has set before me. I cannot save anyone else. They must learn to develop their own strength and overcome their own obstacles. I am not advancing them if I enable them.

All of the people in my life serve a purpose.

To the ones who throw obstacles on my path in an effort to hinder me:

It hurt when I had to endure the pain of going the extra steps, but I want to thank you for helping me to build muscles that I didn’t realize that I would need to complete my journey. And it was in the very ditch that you dug for me that I became wiser and learned patience and how to overcome my fears.

To the ones I went back and tried to save:

It took me quite some time to realize that I couldn’t save you, but I thank you for teaching me that just like it is your responsibility to save yourself it is my responsibility to save myself. Yes, in my effort to help you I slowed down my progress, but I also learned personal responsibility and not to over give. Those were lessons I needed to learn to advance to the next level and so I say thank you.

To those who are ahead of me and have found yourself there by being kind, compassionate and loving:

I am so proud of you! Thank you for giving me hope that I can achieve my goals and become my best self. I applaud you and I hope you make even further gains.

For those who are ahead of me and found yourself there by doing things that I don’t perceive to be methods that are right:

I want to thank you for helping me to realize I don’t want to go where you are going. You may be paces ahead of me or even miles, but where you are going doesn’t resonate with me. I forgive you for tripping me, mixing up my directional signs in an attempt to throw me off course, and digging that hole for me. You taught me who I don’t want to be, made me stronger in doing so and helped show me where I don’t want to go.

And to those who have run beside me for so long I declare that if I call out cadence we would hit our feet to the ground in sync, I want to thank you for running along side me. There have been others who ran beside me and are no longer there – they have left for a wide variety of reasons, but like you, they all made me who I am. Their absence has made me aware that there may come a time when you will no longer be by my side, so I give thanks for every step that you traveled along with me for you too have made me better.

And so I will work to stay focused and to run my own race and I encourage all of you to do the same.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dream, The Belief, The Journey

Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Cave

Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Cave

Making the decision to be my unique self meant that I was doing things differently than everyone else.

Anytime we are striving to be ourselves we are working to achieve our purpose.

Thus, I am going down a path that others cannot relate to because it is my path.

Mine and mine alone.

Doing what I feel in my soul to be right means that it may not make sense to anyone else.

There are times when I have been called crazy by my friends and my family.

But I have the confidence in myself to know that I am not crazy.

Different? – Yes

Crazy – No

I made the decision to do things the way I felt in my soul to be right.

I question things and I choose to look behind the veil when others say why question it, lets just do as we are told.

Sometimes I get scared when I try to do what I think is best for me.

There are times when I have to press through with tears streaming down my face because I wonder if it will ever happen.

Especially when I can’t find someone to stand in agreement with me.

It isn’t always easy facing your fears when friends, family and loved ones cannot hear the small still voice inside of you telling you that you are going the right way.

And then there are the thoughts.

Oh you know the ones I am talking about.

Those thoughts of fear that tell you to give up.

The thoughts that tell you that this is too hard.

The thoughts that tell you that maybe someone else could do this but not you.

You are not good enough!

You are not smart enough!

You simply don’t have what it takes to achieve your goals!

You have to understand that that is fear talking to you. And as they say “everything you want is on the other side of fear”.

And to accompany the thoughts of fear are the words of the naysayers.

The people who laugh at you for trying and failing.

The folks who openly judge you whenever you come around.

The ones who ridicule you for daring to dream.

Those who roll their eyes at you and whisper when you walk into the room.

You have to recognize that many people want you to fail because your success makes them uncomfortable.

Your success means that the status quo of doing the bare minimum and going through life and accepting whatever comes and not putting in the work to strive for better isn’t the way to succeed at life.

Additionally, it is as Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist 

“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

So why listen the words of others regarding your life when they do not even know what they are doing with their own?

We listen because apart of ourselves believes the negative things they are saying.

I challenge you to stop believing the negatives.

Get to a point where the negative things they say no longer resonates with you and you are able to easily remove yourself from the chatter off the masses.

And you get to the point by deciding what you are going to believe.

Realize that you cannot control what other people say or do and you cannot control your thoughts.

People are going to talk and people are going to judge.

Random things will pop into your mind and you will not have an inkling where they came from.

But the good news is you can control how you feel about what is said about you and the thoughts that enter your mind.

You get to decide if you believe the voice telling you that you are worthless.

You get to decide if you cosign on the notion that you are a failure.

See when you cast out negative thoughts and replace them with positives ones, the voices of negativity get quieter while those of a positive nature will start to echo.

Be your own champion and your own biggest cheerleader.

I use positive affirmations, but here is the thing about positive affirmations – You need to reach a point where you believe the words that are coming out of your mouth.

Me saying statements without any form of belief is just me rambling.

When you speak positively about yourself do it with some level of faith, even if it is the faith the size of a mustard seed.

I dare you to believe in yourself.

Be your own advocate!

You have to come to a place where when people tell you that you cannot achieve the dream that is deeply embedded in your soul that you are able to dismiss it as rubbish.

Your purpose is here for you to fulfill, don’t let the naysayers keep you from it just because they are too afraid to fulfill theirs!

And then we have the hard times.

So let’s talk about the hard times.

Sometimes we step out on faith only to find ourselves falling flat on our bottoms.

I subscribe to the belief that the man that falls and gets back up has achieved far more than the man who has never fallen. This is because the man who has never fallen has never tried to push himself beyond his level of comfort and familiarity.

It is hard when you go through dark periods of your life.

You start to think that trouble will never let up.

And it is even worse when hope gets dangled before you only to have it dashed.

I know what it is to see light at the end of the tunnel and get excited only to find out that it is the headlights of a train flashing before me.

But I had to press through and keep going.

I know what it is to be tired and say this thing isn’t working and want to give up.

I know what it is to lay down my body and think that if I do not wake tomorrow that is fine with me.

But you must faint not and keep on striving to achieve greatness.

Keep hoping.

Keep believing that the dream of something better and greater than what you are currently doing isn’t just a dream but a reality that you are destined to walk into.

Stop listening to those who tell you that you can’t!

Sometimes you will feel as though you have no one to talk to who understands where you are at.

That’s the thing about trailblazing, you are doing a new thing so while some might be able to relate on a certain level they will not fully understand your journey because your journey is your own.

When I find myself in a position where I can’t find anyone who understands me I take this as a signal that I need to spend time alone with myself and to take some time out to talk to God.

I am aware that everyone doesn’t believe in a higher power and to them I say it is at this time that you need to be alone with yourself and dig deep within you and listen to the voice within you that you know to be true.

I encourage you to love yourself enough to continue pressing through and believing that life has more to offer than just getting up, going to work, paying bills and dying,

Life is more than eat and drink.

So LIVE!

I have heard people say that if you do things a certain way life is easy and you will always be happy.

I am not saying that they are wrong (perhaps they truly know a route I do not) I am saying that it has been my own personal experience that sometimes life is painful.

Sometimes life is filled with grief so heavy it can knock a grown man down to his knees.

I don’t have all of the answers, but I know that giving up is not the solution.

I know that listening to people who tell you that you can’t will only result in you walking away from your purpose.

You are going to make mistakes.

You are going to turn left when it would have been better to turn right.

You are going stumble and fall in the same hole repeatedly until you realize how not to stumble.

You are going to run when you should walk and you are going to move when you should stand still.

But that is because you are learning, that is because you are expanding and stepping into your purpose.

I previously used the word “should” but I want you to know that life has a funny way of using even your mistakes to bless you.

So be of good cheer and know that ultimately YOU CANNOT FAIL!

Now don’t mistake my statement that you cannot fail as a call to sit idly by and wait for success to fall in your lap.

That statement is a call to movement not one for you to be stagnant.

Recognize it to mean that if you are doing what you believe to be right and are trying your best that life will bless you even in your mistakes.

And while I do not recommend it, I have witnessed life to be so amazing that even when we go in what we call the wrong direction in purposeful defiance that even then our mistakes can be used to make us prosperous.

Life has a way of working everything out in such a way that your failure will be your success, if you just believe that your call to greatness is true.

The thing about the journey to greatness is that it is just that – a journey.

We like to believe that things just suddenly happen overnight.

But there is the quiet years that no one really knows about.

There is the hard times, the blood, the sweat, the tears, the feeling of loneliness, the loss, the grief and the heartache of feeling like maybe you will never make it. The work of casting out the thought that maybe you should turn back and give up and be like everyone else.

Dreaming that you can be better than you currently are is the initial step, believing you could actually achieve it is the next, doing the work it takes is the journey.

Love yourself enough to dream, to believe and take the journey to greatness. I will not lie and say it is easy. But I will tell you it is worth it. You have a purpose and I encourage you to fulfill it. Some people are going to laugh – ignore them. You are not going to get it right one hundred percent of the time – learn from your mistakes.  You may go through periods where people turn their back on you, they have a right to do that but please don’t turn your back on your dreams. If you have given up, you are still breathing that means your dream is still attainable – attain it!

Renata Nicole

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