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.

Thanks for the Pain


Photo Courtesy of Danny Spencer Thomas

I once had someone come into my life and toy with my emotions at a time when I was emotionally fragile.

I think that of all the emotional pain I have ever endured it was by far the one that caused me to grow the most.

The heartbreak came after my divorce and I was pretty vulnerable.

I believe that had I been in a better place emotionally, it wouldn’t have torn my world asunder.

But there is something about being already vulnerable that allows the winds of deception to blow you to a place where your heart just doesn’t think it will ever recover.

When this heartbreak came, I looked inward, outward and all about.

I wanted to blame him, life and anyone who passed by.

But ultimately I had to take responsibility for my role in my story.

I had to take ownership of all the red flags I overlooked.

For it was me pretending that what wasn’t okay, was okay.

It was me turning a blind eye to the obvious.

He is responsible for his actions, but I am responsible for my reactions.

I have to take ownership for ignoring my intuition, for staying when I knew I should leave and for accepting poor behavior.

And I am responsible for something else…

I’m responsible for picking up the pieces and carrying on.

And with that responsibility I looked inward.

I asked myself why I allowed myself to be treated so badly, why I lied to myself and why I was cheating myself out of the love I deserved.

I may never know what caused him to betray me at such a high level. And that is okay. His story is his own. But what I do know is what caused me to betray myself.

I didn’t see myself as worthy or lovable and so I sold myself short.

I settled for lower-level love because I didn’t acknowledge myself for who I truly was.

They tell me that hurting people hurt people.

So based on the depth of the blow I received, that man must have really been hurting.

If the pain he inflicted on me is any measure of the pain he lives with then his pain must be excruciating.

I was so hurt by that heartbreak that at times I believed I would never be able to breathe normal again.

I recall my heart being so shattered that I would often find myself reaching for Tylenol in an attempt to numb the pain.

You see, the emotional pain of that heartbreak managed to manifest itself as physical pain because it was too unbearable for me to process solely on the emotional level.

Thus, I had to relearn how to breathe because my heartache was just that deep.

On even a shallow in breath my heart would ache.

I was literally experiencing chest pains after my heart break.

I remember laying on my couch teaching myself how to breathe through the seconds.

Managing the in breath – out breath process of living through 60 seconds was harder than I care to admit.

But in through the nose out through the mouth I somehow managed.

And from the seconds I learned to breathe through the minutes.

With each breath of wallowing through the minutes, I was some how led to find the strength to crawl through the hours.

And with the shallow pant of each breath I climbed up through the shadow of the days, then with the flow of the outward breath I limped through the weeks and finally I breathed in and breathed out as I walked through the months.

I read self help books, listened to teaching tapes, and I became well acquainted with all the platitudes, but no words eased my soul.

I was in pain.

I wanted to sleep through it, eat through it, go around it, numb it, subside it, ignore it, and suppress it.

But I knew that wasn’t how it works.

And so I went through it.

The hardest part was I had to accept that “the person who broke me, would never be the one to fix me”.

How could he?

Anyone who goes about bringing pain to those who mean them well obviously have something broken on the inside of them that makes their capacity to show up for someone else void.

How could he possibly show up for me when he couldn’t even show up for himself?

People who return love with pain are the type of people who are living with insurmountable pain.

But don’t get me wrong him being in pain doesn’t make his actions okay, nor does it mean that anyone should tolerate his emotional abuse.

But acknowledging that his actions were most likely birthed from pain does help make it easier for me to forgive what happened to me.

I know what it is to lash out on someone I love because I had a bad day at work.

So how much more does a wounded child who goes about masquerading as a grown man inflict pain on the one who dares to care?

His behavior wasn’t right, but I suspect it was rooted in fear and pain.

He couldn’t be a friend to me, because he wasn’t a friend to himself.

He took me for granted because it was granted that I would always be there.

And so I forgive him.

He was my greatest teacher.

He taught me that not loving myself would lead me to a life of pain.

He helped me see that no one was coming to heal me of my emotional wounds or save me from my problems.

It wasn’t until I interacted with him and was knocked down to the ground that I learned that I was going to have to stand on my own two feet.

If I wanted to feel valued, loved, honored, trusted, worthy, respected and appreciated then I was going to have to tap into my own resources and lace up my emotional bootstraps all by myself.

There was no man coming around handing out an external validation badge of honor that would deem me worthy of love.

And helping to bring me to that awareness was the greatest gift he could have ever given me.

He showed me that I have all the power to pick myself up.

I thank him for that spiritual lesson.

They say that as iron sharpens iron one man sharpens another, and he made me sharper than I have ever been.

I would never want to sit in a classroom under his direction again, but I can assure you that I value the lessons I learned from him.

Indeed my most painful life lesson was my biggest blessing.

I have yet to fully recover from that interaction, but I am better Renata because of it.

I think that when you really love someone, you give them a piece of your heart forever.

As weird as this may sound, I have no regrets with sharing a piece of my heart with the person who took my heart for granted because he played a major role in sending me on my self-love journey.

My desire to love myself was birthed from the unbearable pain of being unloved.

Interacting with him made me so uncomfortable that I knew I had to change the way I was living my life.

Without a doubt he taught me to NEVER place something as valuable as my heart in the hands of someone who hasn’t earned it.

And I’m ALWAYS going to love him for that.

He taught me that it’s okay to be vulnerable, but only with someone who has taken the time out to emotionally invest in me.

From him I learned there is a difference between being kind and being foolish.

He showed me that letting someone trample my heart was my way of being unkind to myself and foolish to the world.

My pain isn’t unique.

I’m not the first and I won’t be the last.

My heart now beats with a quiver, but as I previously stated she still beats.

I am thankful for that heartbreak because it made me determined to love me.

He wasn’t the one to heal me, but he was the one to help me find the ultimate path to loving me.

Everyday I fall in love with me a little bit more.

I love my laugh that people say is way too loud.

I love my hair that by some is deemed too coarse or woolly.

I love my size which I used to despise, my skin tone, my blemished skin, my inquisitive mind, my quirks, my crooked teeth, the awkwardness of my gate when I walk, my weaknesses, my strengths, my heart and my soul.

I love myself!

I am learning to be secure in my insecurities and to trust myself.

So can I forgive the man who came into my life after the heartbreak of my divorce and broke my heart further?

Of course I can.

My heartbreak was not his doing alone.

It is me who is responsible for my heart.

I gave him permission to throw my heart on the floor when I didn’t value it enough to keep it out of the hands of the one who hadn’t earned it.

Giving him my heart was the equivalent of giving a toddler fine crystal and then getting mad when they break it and then walk off without even acknowledging what has occurred.

Of course he broke my heart!

People who don’t love themselves don’t know what to do with the love from another. So like fine crystal in the hands of a toddler they are going to let your heart slip.

They don’t know the value of what they have any more than the toddler knows the value of fine crystal.

They do not know how to cradle, care for, polish or maintain it.

They may not intend to drop it, but drop it they will.

Because that’s what people who don’t know what love is do.

They don’t believe that it is real so they treat it like something that is common.

They can’t relate to it so they toss it around like it’s casual.

They may even throw it up against the wall and toss it about on the floor only to trample it in an attempt to test its authenticity.

But at some point we must realize that it isn’t our job to go about teaching grown people how to love us.

No, our job is to love ourselves enough not place our heart into the hands of the people who don’t know how to love in the first place.

I am the gatekeeper to my heart. How dare I let someone trespass and trample about on such sacred ground.

Time and time again I failed at the job of protecting my heart.

It was me who gave the men in my life my heart to break and each time it was me who scraped the pieces up off the floor and began the process of stitching them back together only to yet again place my shattered heart back into the hands of someone who didn’t value it.

Some pieces I will never recover.

But having  a torn heart doesn’t count me out. This battered heart of mine sustains me with a rhythmic beat all her own.

And so yes, I am glad he taught me what love wasn’t.

I now know that I don’t have to chase love because real love is freely given. I know that the person who sees me as low value isn’t the person for me.

I know that if a person’s actions and words don’t match up then that person doesn’t match up with me.

It hurts when you find out that you meant nothing to the person who meant the world to you.

But you can ALWAYS take your heart back!

I decided to love me and nurse my heart back to wholeness.

No one else might value my heart, but I do and that’s what matters!

Some days are better than others.

I think my hardest moments are when my mind flashes back to the pain and I have to remind myself I’m not in those moments any more.

What happened has happened.

I also have to remind myself that my story isn’t unique.

I am not the only one who has known betrayal.

Others before me have had and others will have pain as a bedfellow.

There are the times I have to remind myself that I survived heartbreak before and therefore I can survive it again.

There is a purpose for my pain.

My pain made me so uncomfortable I became determined to change.

For the first time I am experiencing  regular doses of self-love and it feels amazing.

I have been pampering myself and I am making plans to take myself on trips around the world.

I now speak highly of myself and choose not to engage with those who put me down.

I respect myself and call myself beautiful.

I take better care of myself mind, body and soul.

I spend time with myself alone – just me and no one else and I cherish that time and see it as sacred.

I am no longer looking for someone to come into my life and make me feel loved, because I realize that I am the love I am seeking.

If it took massive heartbreak for me to realize that I am the love of my life then I can assure you that despite the pain and the tears I have no regrets.

I previously wished someone would have come along and healed me of my pain, because I thought it would be faster.

I wanted them to come simply because I doubted that I had the capacity to heal my own broken heart.

But I mustered up the strength not to take a short cut.

I decided that I was going to have to heal this heart of mine the long way round.

Diving into another relationship or looking for a rebound has never been my style.

I am glad I took the time out to love on myself because for the first time in my life I understand that it’s okay if I never have a romantic relationship with someone.

Valuing myself is all I need.

I am an amazing woman and I don’t need anyone outside of myself to see that for it to be true.

So yes, I am so thankful for heartbreak, because it made me fall in love with me!



Renata Nicole

© Renata Smith and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



The Screening Process



Photo Courtesy of: Haley Hickman

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

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

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

And this is why…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do I believe that a freak accident could happen?

Of course I do.

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

Does it mean that the applicant is a bad person?

No, not at all.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This goes so far beyond physical appearance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They are wasting everyone’s time.

They are not actively hiring and should simply say so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was behaving like a low quality woman!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was not taking responsibility for my life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is because boundaries are designed to turn people away.

The wrong people.

But you want them to leave!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not at all.

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

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

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

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


Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Diamonds Aren’t Rare!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have often thought of that story.

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

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

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

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

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

When most people think of diamonds they think of Africa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was afraid to hope for love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So all of this diamond research got me to thinking.

What if quality relationships aren’t rare?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is simply perception becoming reality.

Now do I have evidence of this?

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

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

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

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

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

But a diamond is still a diamond.

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

In the sense that we all are of value.

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

I reassert that a diamond is a diamond.

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

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

The point is that you have to know your worth.

Don’t let anyone else define your value!

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

Never undersell yourself and never settle.

Always go for the highest bidder.

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

Hold out and wait!

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

Invest in those who invest in you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have value!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forget that!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forget those people!

Let them take that Ebenezer Scrooge type of love elsewhere.

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

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

Don’t fall for anything less.

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

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

I spent decades not seeing the greatness that I am.

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

For the first time in my life I get it!

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

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

Renata Nicole


© 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.

I’m Ready to Heal!

imageHave you ever had a cut and didn’t notice it until someone pointed it out to you?

It is weird how until you look down and see the injury you can walk around exposed and bleeding but yet feel no pain until someone draws it to your attention and then you look down and your brain processes the situation and instantly you feel pain.

Lately, I have been feeling much better about myself and life in general.

My broken heart that seemed as though it would never heal is beating stronger than I recall it beating in years.

I have been building positive healthy relationships and an increased sense of self-esteem that has led me to start making moves to get my professional career back on track.

Things are looking up!

While I could definitely stand to refocus myself on my fitness and nutrition I can assure you that my emotional well being is in a far better place than I recall it being in a long time.

So with that said, imagine my surprise when I realized that a place of pain in my life that I thought was most surely healed is still wounded.

Iyanla Vanzant says, “When you can tell your story and it doesn’t make you cry, that’s when you know you’ve healed”.

I believe that statement to be true.

And with that said, I recently found out an area of my life where I am most certainly not healed.

My wound came to my awareness while I was speaking with a gentleman about male and female interactions and dating. During our conversation the subject turned personal and I explained to him that it is very rare that men ever ask me out and that I can go months or even years without a guy showing interest in me.

All was going well with the conversation until he looked at me and asked, “How does that make you feel?”.

The question took me by surprise.

But what was even more surprising was the emotions that stirred up inside of me upon hearing the question.

I remember I chose not to make eye contact with him out of fear that I would start crying and that I quickly diverted my gaze.

I immediately found something to distract myself so that I could fight back the tears that were forming and then I told him a lie.

I said, “you know it used to bother me and make me feel like I was ugly or that something must be wrong with me but now I know better.”

My lie wasn’t a conscious lie, it was a cover.

The cover was so good I almost believed it until I realized that had it been my truth then I would have cried when I spoke it.

This is because even though my words came out with ease inside I felt unease.

There was a mismatch, therefore it could not have been my truth.

I was hurting inside at the question and yet my response felt smooth, and easy and I most certain it dripped of false confidence.

I wish what I said was my truth but the fact that his question triggered pain let me know that there is still a part of me that isn’t pleased with myself.

It isn’t so much that I believe I am physically ugly.

And it isn’t the great distance of time that lapses before a man expresses interest that I find alarming, because I have had enough of my female friends share with me that it isn’t often that men ask them out either (and I have some stunningly beautiful friends).

No, it is because deep down I think the reason men don’t ask me out that often is because I am overweight.

And sadly, my self-esteem is so low that when someone shows interest in me I am often surprised that they are okay pursuing someone my size.

And yet in a twist the reason my response to him was able to come out with ease is because I have not always been overweight.

So my statement that I used to think it was because I was ugly wad a half truth at best.

There was a time in my life when I would tell myself that the reason men don’t pursue me was because I was ugly.

But I started seeing myself as beautiful and I immediately replaced the reason with it being because I am overweight.

When guys try to talk to me I don’t know how to process it.

Because somewhere in myself I simply refuse to see myself as good enough to be worthy of romantic love.

I have blogged about the subject of my weight and how I want to reach a place where I love myself no matter what I weigh.

Unfortunately, I clearly am not there yet because as much as I try to be okay with things I am still ashamed of my weight.

I have this false belief that my weight defines me.

I look at myself and I think that I am beautiful but I can’t shake the thought that my weight makes me look disgusting.

While I definitely need to eat healthy and exercise I don’t like the fact that I have this false belief that I am disgusting because I am overweight.

I think that my weight is actually a symptom of something deeper than me eating my pain.

I think that I use my weight as an excuse not to open myself up emotionally because I have a fear of getting rejected.

Don’t get me wrong I know there are men who will love a woman who is my size and larger and see her for the greatness that she is.

But I have been living with myself long enough to know that my weight is about so much more than the fact that I love eating simple carbohydrates.

I am using my weight as an excuse.

I don’t really want to get in shape because if I did I would already be in shape.

I am overweight because I have convinced myself that it serves me.

It serves me because I am afraid that if I am in shape and a man still rejects me then what story do I get to tell myself as to why the relationship failed?

What do I get to blame him leaving or not loving me on?

I am afraid that if I look amazing and he still doesn’t choose me then that means that instead of him rejecting my body that he is ultimately rejecting me?

He would be rejecting me the same way my father did, the same way that the other men did.

And I am still making fruitless attempts at gaining my self-worth through the love of a man.

A man who will stay in my life when my father chose not to.

And so being overweight is my twisted way of not allowing the authentic version of myself to show up in a relationship out of fear that yet another person will find my core being unappealing.

I am trying to protect myself from the pain of rejection.

Because, I can change my body but I can’t change my core being.

And there we have a bit of my truth.

My truth that I am afraid to allow a man to see my character flaws and so I hide behind visceral fat.

Sadly, I have done a marvelous job of letting the world convince me that something is wrong with me.

I have gotten so good at seeing myself in a negative light that I even make negative comments and jokes about myself in the hopes that I could beat people to the punch.

I know all too well that people make jokes about themselves due to low self-esteem but  it wasn’t until I recently heard Jaime Primak Sullivan explain that when you exhibit a certain type of behavior such as making self-deprecating jokes about yourself that you are teaching the people around you what you are comfortable with. This means my self-deprecating jokes are inviting people to mistreat me by essentially setting the standard for what type of comments I will and will not allow to be spoken about me.

She further cautioned that you should never say anything about yourself that you don’t feel comfortable with other people saying about you because what we speak becomes our reality. In essence my self deprecating jokes were an open invitation for people to speak as negatively about me as I spoke of myself.

Coming to an understanding of this unhealthy behavior I am fully convinced  that something is going to have to change in my life because as much as I have grown in the self-love department there is still a gap.

I don’t fully believe that there is someone out there who will love all of me.

Because I don’t love all of me.

I don’t like the me that is blunt,sloppy, forgetful, harsh, irritable and withdrawn.

Those negative aspects of me that I had from my associates and the world out before but the my close friends and family members are all too familiar with.

You know the real me that my children and other loved ones critique me on. 

I have convinced myself that a guy will find me too much of something and not enough of something else and I am terrified of not being good enough.

And I have virtually given my power over to this nonexistent guy to deem me as worthy of love.

Along with some childhood demons to include abandonment and daddy issues I am also clinging to society’s false notion that if you are not in a relationship that something is wrong with you.

I know logically that a relationship doesn’t speak to my self-worth but I must say that grasping that mind, body and soul has been a challenge.

I am going to have to refocus on my fitness and nutrition.

Not because it would make me more attractive, but because I need to face my fear.

I need to make myself vulnerable.

I have come to realize that I don’t give anyone a chance to reject me because I reject myself before they ever even get to know me.

I have even been guilty of showing all of my negative traits in the beginning of a relationship out of fear that if the a person was going to reject me that I wanted them to do it sooner rather than later.

I don’t give a guy a chance to know the real me because deep down I don’t really like me and I fear that if I show him myself he won’t like me either.

While I am loving myself more I started from such a deficient that my gains leave me with much room for growth,

But that is okay because I am growing

So no, I don’t truly love myself completely.

Not the way I need to in order to show up fully in a relationship.

I am going to have to keep working to change the way I think, speak and feel about myself.

My decision to make a conscious effort to no longer engage in self-deprecating jokes is because I need to stop believing them and I don’t want to give other people permission to mock my insecurities.

And my realization that my weight is about so much more than me eating my pain but that I use it as a way to protect myself from having men reject my core being means that I am going to have to let the weight go.

While my goal is to be confident in who I am whether I am a size 2 or a size 22, I have to reach a place where I realize I am not my body and that this self-love journey is about so much more than loving my physical appearance.

When I say I want to love myself, I mean I want to love myself character flaws and all.

Is there something you are doing to cause people to reject you before they get the opportunity to know you the real you? If so, I hope you will join me in my journey to doing the work it takes to accept yourself fully.

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


Respect, Dignity and Pride

Yesterday, I was watching YouTube and I noticed a new video had been uploaded from one of the YouTube Channels I follow called DatingLogic.  After viewing the thought provoking video I knew I had to share it and have provided a link below for you to view it.

The video is the response to the question of “How to regain your own dignity and pride after you’ve lost it chasing after an ex?”

The gentleman who responds to the question explains that your dignity and pride don’t belong to your ex but rather it belongs to you.

When I heard those words I realized that meant not only does it not belong to your ex it doesn’t belong to your coworkers, supervisors, neighbors, friends, family or your enemies.

The creator of the video further expanded on his argument and explains that we are the governor and caretaker of our dignity and pride and that we have to realize that our pride and dignity is not something outside of ourselves that we have to grab and reach out for because it is already inside of us.

He says, “No one can ever take away our dignity it is ours and ours alone.”

But the most powerful he thing he said for me was:

“When you are trying to regain your dignity and pride you have to understand that you never lost it in the first place!”

This conversation is powerful beyond dating!

There are times when I have handed my dignity and pride to other people to include family members, friends, coworkers and dating partners because I didn’t realize that my pride, dignity and respect are mine and mine alone.

I thought that what others thought of me had more weight than what I thought of me.

I failed to see myself for the valuable person I truly was.

I cannot count the amount of times I have walked around with a bruised ego because I felt like someone had got over on me, made a fool of me or that I had made a fool of myself.

I had this deep fear that people were sitting somewhere laughing at how foolish I was.

I didn’t realize that even if people were laughing at me it didn’t decrease my worth.

I have cringed with embarrassment reflecting on how I had not behaved in a way that cast me in a brighter light in the eyes of other people.

The truth is there are people who think little of me and there are people who think well of me, but at the end of the day all that matters is how I see me.

We are all learning, so none of us have all of the answers.

This means that we are all going to make mistakes.

But one area that I have grown in is that I have learned to never give another human being the power to determine my worth.

I have also learned not to chase people.

Someone not being attracted to me whether it be a romantic relationship, platonic are professional relationship is not a signal of my worth but rather a red flag that they are not the person for me.

I have been guilty of begging people to stay in my life because I didn’t understand that life had something better for me. I had a bad habit of thinking that the person before me was my last chance. I would settle for less than I deserved because I didn’t know my worth.It was if I thought that if I couldn’t get a certain person to accept me that no one else would come along and see me as valuable.

I simply didn’t know how valuable I was!

The reason I was so concerned at the notion that someone thought little of me is because deep down inside, I thought little of me.

I didn’t think anyone would ever really love me because I didn’t really love me.

This led to me giving my power to other people.

Like the speaker said I didn’t have to regain my power, I simply had to acknowledge it and become aware of the fact that it was mine and mine alone.

Once I did I gained value in my own eyes.

I stopped being so concerned about how others saw me.

As a result the people who I interact with treat me with more respect.

Because ultimately, I see myself as someone worthy of respect.

I will not deny the fact that I have previously stayed in relationships longer than what was healthy because I was afraid that if I left nothing better would ever come.

I have laid in bed paralyzed with fear that someone was laughing at how stupid or worthless I was.

I didn’t understand that the people I was giving all my power to were just as human as me.  I failed to see that when it comes to defining my worth, I and I alone am responsible for that.

This video helped me to realize that I never have to worry about regaining my dignity because it isn’t something that can be taken away.

The people who I allowed to make me feel small were only able to do so because I gave them the power.

And I gave them that power because somewhere inside of myself I decided I was powerless.

Well, thankfully I made a new decision that I am powerful.

Since I have started reclaiming my self-respect and loving myself flaws and all I have seen myself create boundaries for what I will and will not tolerate in my life.

And I have taken proactive steps to dismiss people who have chosen to trespass.

I have increased my faith that not only do I deserve to be treated well but that I will be treated well.

I have begun to see people leaving my life as making room for those who are meant to be in at as opposed to believing that it meant that I was unlovable.

I am starting to see myself as valuable and as I do I don’t feel comfortable interacting with those who treat me with disrespect.

Unrequited love is not attractive to me, because I realize that if someone doesn’t love me I have enough love inside of myself to sustain me throughout this life time.

The moment that you see yourself handing your dignity over to someone else is the moment you need to realize you are clearly have lost sight of who you are.

Don’t worry about what the people from high school, college, your old job, former friends and associates, family or your ex thinks about you.

Trust me we all are simply learning how to become secure with our own insecurities.

Many of us try to cast ourselves in a better light before other people simply because we have a bruised ego.

Don’t do as I have previously done wasting my time trying to show someone that I am not who I was.

It doesn’t matter if they think small of me, what matters is what I think of me and I have to tell you that through my self-work I have begun to think a lot of me.

I say that not with arrogance but with complete confidence in the fact that I am just as valuable as anyone else.

Believe me when I tell you that I know what it is to come to the understanding that I have played the fool, been used, or that I have chased after someone or something that will never be mine and as a result taken quite the blow to the ego.

That bruise to the ego caused me to misinterpret what actually happened. I thought being viewed small in someone else’s eyes meant I had to prove my worth to them. I thought I had to show them that I was better than who they thought I was…. I thought wrong.

The only person that gets to decide my worth is me!

Understanding that I will never have to regain my self-respect is powerful and it is freeing.

Some people will never see me as valuable, and you know what that is okay, because I do and that is all that matters.

Make sure that you are not giving your self-respect, self-worth, pride or dignity to someone else. You and you alone are responsible for its measure and it is my invitation to you to make sure that measure is high! We are all learning so don’t beat yourself up for the mistakes that you made in your past. And don’t ever worry about trying to prove yourself to someone else. Love yourself enough to know that you are highly valuable and that your view of yourself is the only view you need to work on.

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.




Fear and Boundaries


I have a confession to make.

I am five months into my break from dating and the truth is a part of me was kind of scared that once my dating hiatus is over years will go by and I will still be single.

It isn’t so much being single that I was afraid of.

It is the story I was telling myself of what being single meant.

I had come up with this silly idea that if I was single it meant that something must be wrong with me, or worse, that other people would think something was wrong with me!!!

But that can’t be true because I know more than my fair share of people who are in relationships who without a doubt are coo coo for Cocoa Puffs.

I also didn’t want to have to conjure up an answer to the “why are you single” question.

For example when people currently ask me that question I can now honestly say it is because I am taking a break from dating.

But what will I say once the break is over?

Do I blow them off with some non answer?

Do I tell them I just haven’t found the right person?

Or do I realize that I shouldn’t take the question personally and recognize that my relationship status doesn’t define me?

I think I should go for the latter.

You see, I took a break from dating not because of some I hate dating, the opposite sex is crazy, I give up on love kind of reason.

No, this is an I clearly need to do some self-analysis, work on my self-esteem and learn some healthy relationship skills kind of break.

During this hiatus I am actively working on improving myself so that I can become and attract a high quality person.

In these past months I have become more aware of some of my opportunities for growth as well as many of my strengths.

I am also learning more about boundaries and how to set them as well as how to be secure in my insecurities.

But above all, I am learning that being single doesn’t mean that there is something inherently wrong with me.

Thankfully my self-esteem is much better today than I believe it has been in my entire life.

Do I still have work to do? – Of course!

But I love myself in a way that I never have before.

The things about myself that other people find weird or quirky I no longer try to change, rather I fully embrace them.

Thank God for improvement!

I have come quite a long way.

I now see those failed relationships as life’s way of telling me I was with the wrong man instead of viewing them as life’s way of telling me I wasn’t good enough.

Previously, I was at such a bad place that I thought I had to settle.

I didn’t trust that someone good would come into my life and therefore I had to put up with poor behavior if I wanted to have a relationship.

And to make matters worse I wanted a relationship because I thought that having a relationship would mean that I was lovable.

My thinking was so misconstrued that it hadn’t occurred to me that I could die single and it would have no bearing on my self-worth.

No logical person would hear about my death and think ‘Wow, she died single she must have been worthless’.

My desire for a relationship was coming from an unhealthy place because emotionally I was in an unhealthy space.

Ultimately I was aiming low, because I felt low.

I didn’t see myself for who I was.

While I have always had standards I think if I was truly honest whenever I was in a relationship there would come a time when something in me would be screaming you deserve better than this but my self-esteem was running on low and I didn’t have the confidence to believe that better would come. I have often stayed in bad relationships longer than was healthy out of fear that it was the best I could do.

I think that by the time I took a break from dating my self-esteem had hit empty and I was simply running on fumes.

I had to pull over and refuel.

Before refueling I recall being in such a bad place that I took someone choosing not to interact with me because of my boundaries as a signal that there was something wrong with me.

I didn’t realize that I should have simply been patting myself on the back for setting a healthy boundary and sticking to it.


When the gentleman I was previously interacting with saw that I was not going to budge on my boundaries he walked away.

At the time I interpreted him walking away to mean that if I kept enforcing my boundaries that men would continue to behave like he did and they would all walk away.

I made the mistake of thinking that the behavior of one man constituted the behavior of all men.

I had to remember that one man does not all men make.

I also had to understand that him walking away meant I had successfully set a boundary and when someone tried to cross it I stood firm and didn’t weaken my defenses.

He showed that he did not have the fortitude to behave in a manner that would allow us to both be comfortable. And I showed that I respected myself enough to stand alone rather than lie down and be a doormat.

This was an all around good thing.

Setting that boundary was me standing up for me. And it allowed me to find a way to keep people away who ultimately don’t mean me well.

The person for me will respect my boundaries and in turn I will respect theirs.


With that in mind a boundary shouldn’t be something artificially constructed.

By this I mean it shouldn’t be something you set because someone else told you that you should, but because you genuinely believe you need to put in place in order for you to be comfortable in a situation.

Having boundaries is my way of saying I love myself.

There are just somethings that I am not willing to fold on.

Unfortunately, I think that when it comes to boundaries many of us have things twisted.

At least I know I did.

I had this hope that when I set a boundary that people would change so that I could continue to interact with them on my terms.

But see that would be manipulation and I don’t believe I was put on this earth to control people.

No,boundaries are not about control. They are put in place to help us to screen people and to determine if they are good candidates to journey with us on our life’s path.

If someone doesn’t like your boundaries and they try to cross them and you say no and yet they continue to push the issue it is a red flag that you need to stand firm and dismiss them from your lives.

At no point should we allow them to cross the boundary or take them disagreeing with our boundary as a sign that we are being too firm.

As I mentioned before the boundaries I set are because I know that I don’t feel comfortable when they are crossed.

They are there for a reason and that reason is out of love for myself.

When someone disagrees with my boundaries it simply means they want different things at that particular juncture in life and that’s okay but we will have to part ways.

This is why I say you have to set boundaries specific to you.

If your friend is not willing to have sex before marriage but you don’t have an issue with it you will not be able to successfully maintain that boundary because it will be artificial and so it won’t work for you.

This is because it is your  friends standard not yours.

Search yourself and determine your deal breakers.

Boundaries have to be something that you know for yourself you are not comfortable having occur in order for you to stick to it.

Once you set boundaries you have to overcome the irrational fear that if you stick to them that you will never have what you ultimately seek.

Unfortunately, I have previously allowed my fears to cause me to allow people to cross my boundaries which resulted in me settling for relationships be they business or personal that I should have removed myself from.

You have to remove yourself from fear because I can assure you that if you live long enough your boundaries will surely be tested and if you are operating in fear you will allow people to burst your boundaries every time.

I for one have allowed people to make me uncomfortable because at the time I didn’t love myself enough to stand up for me.

I now see that when people try to get me to remove my boundaries they are simply showing me that they are not the type of people who are meant to be in my life.

Does this mean that I have times where I am alone?

You betcha!

But it is better to be alone with my boundaries intact feeling comfortable then it is to be interacting with someone who leaves me feeling uncomfortable.


We have to stop looking at people walking away or things ending as a sign that we should settle.

When things don’t go as planned be it the end of a relationship, the loss of a job or what you perceive to be a missed opportunity you have to trust that there is something better out there for you.

You have to believe that when things don’t work out it isn’t because life is trying to punish you, but because life has something better for you.

I’ll be honest as I think of some of the things I have done or allowed people to do to me I cringe.

I think oh my I definitely wasn’t loving myself at that time.

There was a time that whenever I reflected on the person I used to be I thought that my past made me damaged goods.

I guess I visualized myself with a sign on my forehead and T-Shirt that read “DAMAGED”. I felt that people knew my whole life story and were all laughing at how naive I was for all of my mistakes.

It never occurred that there was no sign and that we have all made mistakes and everyone of us has a past.

I have issues just like everyone else.

But my past behavior was to sit and sulk about all that is wrong with me and wonder who could ever love someone who has those issues. I truly believe I spent years lamenting about what I perceived to be my faults.

But thankfully I have reached a point in my life where I have realized that while I could definitely stand to improve myself the woman I am right now sitting here typing out this blog is completely lovable.

I do not have to change anything about myself for someone to walk into my life today and find me lovable and that even if no one does I AM STILL ABSOLUTELY LOVABLE.

It wasn’t until recently that I fully accepted the fact that the guys who didn’t want to date me be it because I am the mother of three teenagers, because they weren’t physically attracted to me, because my finances took a nose dive after my divorce or because they didn’t care for my personality were simply  not the guy for me and life has intended someone who was a better fit.

I had it wrong and I suffered because of the way I viewed the situation..

I falsely thought it meant that I wasn’t good enough for them.

Don’t be a afraid to set boundaries and to stick to them. Don’t take someone walking a way as a sign that you need to remove your boundaries. See it as a sign that they are not the person meant to be in your life. Don’t allow your fear of being alone to cause you to settle.

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.