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

I realize that everyone doesn’t like cooking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is our way of looking for external validation.

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

Validation comes from within.

No one outside of ourselves can validate us.

I recognize that we want to be liked.

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

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

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

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

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

That didn’t have anything to do with her.

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

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

My children and finances were on my front burner.

Hanging out with her was on my back burner.

In turn she did something very smart.

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

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

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

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

Many of us don’t do that.

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

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

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

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

“We’ll see.”

“Maybe.”

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

“I’m just so busy.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It could very well be that they are busy.

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

It’s not a good look.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check your neediness and insecurities at the door.

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

Love,

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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

 

Pattern Breaker

Photo Courtesy of Tara Blue

Red, Yellow, Red, Yellow, Red, Yellow, Red …..Circle, Square, Triangle, Circle, Square, Triangle, Circle, Square….

Oh don’t mind me I am just stuck in a couple of patterns.

It has been a year since I started this blog.

I have written about my journey and have become more aware of who I truly am.

Publicly sharing my path to things like self-love, self-respect, self-worth and self-awareness has made me vulnerable while simultaneously allowing me to grow by leaps and bounds.

Today, I am ready to make a new leap.

I want to delve more deeply into what is going on inside me that caused me to allow myself to be treated so poorly in my romantic relationships.

Saying that I had low self-esteem is not enough.

I have reached a point where I want to gain a better understanding of why, so that I can take active steps to change it.

I often have flashbacks of things that happened in my past and I find myself cringing as I think to myself ‘why didn’t I love myself enough to say this is not okay’ or ‘why did I allow myself to be treated like that’.

I want you to know that when I say cringe I mean I literally bawl my hands into fists, draw my shoulders in towards my chest like one does when going into the fetal position and I close my eyes as if I am bracing myself for impact.

Sometimes it will be a thought that I stored away so deeply that when it rises up I will think ‘oh my that really happened to me, I lived through that ‘.

Over the years I suppressed a lot of things.

I guess I did it as a coping mechanism to deal with what my younger mind wasn’t ready to process.

However, when the thoughts come up I sometimes get mad at my former self and am often embarrassed by my past behavior.

Then I have to remind myself that I was doing the best that I knew how to do at the time.

The one thing about working through the process of why you think the way you think is that you uncover some ugly childhood demons.

I have been aware that I have some unhealthy limiting beliefs.

But when did they start?

And more importantly why did I accept them as true?

The reason I want to explore these questions is because I want to pluck the lies out by the root and eliminate them from my life.

My limiting beliefs of unworthiness have led me to live a life that is less than what I have been called to live and to settle for poor treatment from people (especially my romantic relationship partners).

I don’t want to continue a path of settling for relationship partners who I know don’t value me. And the only way I know how to make that change is to understand my pattern so that I can break it.

I recognize that many of my issues with my romantic partners are rooted in my relationship with my father and other behaviors I learned from my childhood.

I so don’t want to be that person who has daddy issues, but right now if I am completely honest that is exactly who I am. And the only way forward is to accept where I am at.

This post is not easy for me. It involves publicly admitting my issues in a way that makes me feel ashamed of my past and furthermore, the notion of speaking unfavorably about my father is unsettling. I love both of my parents very deeply and it is uncomfortable for me to publicly cast them in what may be perceived as a negative light. My parents like everyone else have always done the best they can and they shouldn’t be frowned upon for that.

But I know that I am not the only person who grew up learning poor relationship skills and if I can help one person by sharing my story then it is worth me becoming vulnerable.

With that said, let’s start breaking some unhealthy patterns.

I haven’t had many romantic relationships but the few that I have had, have all been dysfunctional.

In my teenage years I accepted lies as truth when it comes to men.

A major start in my dysfunctional pattern started when I was 14 and my parents separated.

I was glad they separated because my home life was very stressful.

I love my dad very dearly but after he returned from the Gulf War his behavior simply became unbearable for me.

When my father moved out he made the decision that he no longer wanted to be a part of my life.

He didn’t attend any of my graduations, he wasn’t there when I got married or for the births of any of my children. There were no birthday cards and no holiday wishes.

To be honest I went from 1996 to 2014 without spending any special occasions with my father.

I probably saw him three times in that time frame and maybe spoke to him less than five. But when I did speak to him he told me he loved me very much.

When my father briefly came back in my life in 2014 it caused me to start dealing with my childhood demons in a way I hadn’t before.

But I am glad he came back because it helped me to realize just how much my interaction with the men I fell in love with mirrored the behavior of my father.

While I love my dad, I have grown to accept that the way my father shows love is not the way I want to be loved.

And yet I have engaged in a pattern where I go years without a romantic relationship only to find myself dating someone who I know from the beginning of the relationship doesn’t really care about me.

I will consciously ignore red flags.

That’s right I said consciously.

For example I will literally sit there and think ‘wow this guy is lying to me I should get away from him’ and yet I will remain sitting there hypnotized like Boo Boo the Fool and let him lie to me some more.

Everything in me will be screaming he is not treating you right and then later I will be bawling my eyeballs out acting all butt hurt because he keeps mistreating me.

To make matters worse I will tell the person that I don’t like being mistreated, but then stay there and allow them to continue.

I will say it nicely, I will go off on them, I will hint, then I pretend not to notice until finally they do something that wakes me up enough for me to realize their behavior is unacceptable.

Sadly, it took me until very recently to accept that the old adage is true – actions speak louder than words.

The guys in my life only mistreated me because I let them.

If I wanted the mistreatment to stop it was my responsibility to walk away.

Yes, they are responsible for their behavior but I am responsible for staying.

It isn’t their fault that I told myself that if I just kept showing them how much I loved them then they would realize that I deserved to be treated better.

No, that was a lie I was telling myself.

Just because they asked for another chance didn’t mean I had to give it to them.

Yet amazingly, even though it was me that was inviting myself to be mistreated by acting like a doormat, I would find myself resenting the men who walked all over me.

I would find myself angry at them for wiping their feet on me when all the time I was laying there saying please do it again.

Well, how on earth did I get to the point where I thought doormat was my name instead of Renata?

I didn’t want them to leave me like my dad did. I interpreted my dad’s decision to not want to be a part of my life to mean something was inherently wrong with me.

I believe I subconsciously thought that if I could just behave in a way that these men who behaved like my father would find acceptable then it would mean that whatever was wrong about me was made right.

I hadn’t accepted that my dad has his own issues that have nothing to do with me.

But to further explore my unhealthy thought pattern I want to look at a few lies that I believed which ultimately set me up for major relationship failure.

I believed all men cheated, that men don’t have any emotions and that all men mistreat women.

That false belief system allowed me to call dysfunctional behavior normal.
Additionally, the fact that my father said he loved me but didn’t want to be around me caused me to believe that love meant a relationship where someone’s actions didn’t match their words and where someone who loved me wouldn’t care to spend time with me, and would constantly disappoint me.

Thus, the perfect guy to fulfill the pattern of emotional unavailability that felt familiar to me was as follows:

  1. One who is not only a liar but an obvious one.
  2. A man who says one thing and does another. He never follows through and constantly lets me down. He is consistently inconsistent.
  3. A man who is unfaithful.
  4. A man who treats me poorly.
  5. A man who doesn’t show his true emotions to me.
  6. Someone who is verbally, mentally and/or emotionally abusive.
  7. One who is a poor communicator
  8. One who makes it clear that they don’t want to hear me/understand me and who laughs at or ignores my pain.
  9. Someone who takes advantage of me.
  10. One who made me a low priority and didn’t have time for me.

As pitiful as that list is, it was my truth.

I had convinced myself that all men were abusive unfaithful liars who didn’t value women or have emotions. And even once I started to realize thatthere are good men I had accepted the false belief that they wouldn’t want a relationship with someone like me.

I hear stories where people say women have nice men who they turn down for men who mistreat them, that isn’t my story.

I have never friend zoned a nice guy. The only men who approach me are the men who fit my belief system about men. I think that is a testament to how strongly my belief system is. I attract men who prove me right.

So when people say simply pick a guy who doesn’t do those things, for me it means being alone, because guys who behave otherwise do not show interest in me.

Why would they?

I don’t mean that as a put down of myself.

I mean I have been subconsciously clinging to a self-fulfilling prophecy that doesn’t allow me to attract men who run counter to my belief system.

For I have done a wonderful job of convincing myself that if the only guys that are interested in me act poorly then that is what I have to accept if I want a relationship, because better may be out there but it isn’t out there for me. Therefore, if I want a man in my life I have to accept being mistreated.

In my soul I know that isn’t true but my subconscious says it is.

That’s why my pattern has to break.

My belief system is so outrageous that I was in my early twenties before I realized men could feel. I know that sounds shocking but it’s what I thought.

That belief was so heavily ingrained that when I would see a man cry instead of recognizing it as proof that men feel I would doubt the authenticity of it.

It simply ran contrary to my belief that they couldn’t feel. When I finally accepted that men do have feelings it was such a shock to my system that I remember I called my mom on the phone to ask her if she knew that men could feel.

She laughed and said yes.

I am not sure if she even knows how big of an epiphany that was for me.

To the men reading this post, I don’t mean to offend you, I was very naive and didn’t know any better.

And to make matters worse I also thought yelling and screaming was normal. So my relationships consisted of me being mistreated, yelling and throwing a fit about it, saying I was going to leave and then staying for more mistreatment.

Yeah that was crazy I know.

Believe me my ex husband wasn’t crazy all by himself I brought my own dose of crazy to the table. (I never want to give the impression that my ex husband is some horrible person. I wasn’t the worst wife but I was far from perfect and I played a role in that marriage failing as much as he did).

And to make matters worse a few months after my divorce I repeated the pattern of allowing someone to behave badly then complaining only to stay in the relationship that caused my heartbreak.

I knew from the beginning of the relationship that the person meant me no good but somehow I felt drawn.

Every time he lied, I knew it and tolerated it.

But why?

Because I had convinced myself that all men lie.

He would tell me he was going to do something then he wouldn’t do it and that felt painfully normal.

It was all too familiar to how my father would tell me he was going to do something and not do it, so this guy’s failure to follow through was uncomfortably comfortable.

I had a false sense of normalcy because my idea of normal wasn’t healthy.

To be honest I am not confident that my problem is so much that I didn’t think good men existed as much I thought that they did’t exist for me.

I felt too unattractive to attract a man that could love me in a healthy way.

As I explained earlier the mind has a wonderful way of making itself right.

Perception truly becomes reality.

That is why I started telling myself a new story. And why it is imperative I break this pattern. I want to create a new reality because my old one no longer serves me.

I am taking a break to work on me so that if I enter another romantic relationship it won’t be about me trying to subconsciously seek my father’s love and approval from a poor relationship partner or for any other unhealthy reason.

No, when I finish my dating hiatus I want to come to the table with a healthy self-esteem, sense of self-worth and with healthy relationship skills. That way I can add to someone’s life and have room for them to add to mine.

I had previously said I was taking a year off of dating. I recently decided a year is my minimum. I will take as long as it takes for me to go from an unhealthy belief system to a healthy one.

I have to stop believing the thought that no one will want to be with someone like me or that I have to settle.

Because it isn’t true and I have to know mind, body and soul that it isn’t true.

When my gut tells me to exit or to not enter a relationship I need to listen and stop thinking that being mistreated is the best treatment I will ever receive. And when I am approached I cannot allow myself to think that he is my last chance at love.

Dating is a screening process.

From my standpoint it shouldn’t be about proving that I am good enough for him, but rather if he is someone who would be a positive compliment to my life.

No one is going to come along to save me from my childhood hurt or emotional issues. I have to take active steps to work through my pain.

And I have to be patient. Waiting for someone who values me as opposed to settling for someone who mistreats me simply has to become my new pattern.

It’s either being in a relationship and emotionally healthy or alone and emotionally healthy there is no longer room for any alternatives.

When people feel comfortable letting me down I don’t need to see that as normal but as a sign that they don’t value me and that it is time to value myself enough to leave.

I need to stop trying to teach grown men how to love me.

If they don’t know how to love that is their issue and not mine.

So today I remind myself that my dad is my dad. The men I date cannot erase my childhood hurt. I have to make peace with it and stop breaking my own heart.

I am currently reading self-help books and articles as well as listening to teaching tapes so that I can find avenues to heal my pain and stop subconsciously seeking engagement in unhealthy relationships.

I want to thank you for allowing me to share my truth with you on yet another occasion. As I previously stated this isn’t exactly easy, but it is helpful. In the meantime I hope you are able to break any unhealthy patterns in your life.

As for me my new pattern is:

red, yellow, red, yellow, red, yellow, LOVE!

 

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman Smith, Renata Nicole and RenataNicole, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/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.

Do They Miss Me?

If you end a relationship where you have over invested it is bound to happen.image

One day you will be sitting there and your mind will start to wonder and then the next thing you know – the question will pop into your head:

Do they miss me?

I confess that I myself have had this thought about different people on more than one occasion.

As a matter of fact I distinctly remember allowing my mind to wonder there a few years ago when I first separated from my ex-husband.

I didn’t want to get back together but I did want to know if he missed me.

I thought about it so much that I eventually did what many of us do when we want to know the answer to something, I went to the world of Google for the answer.

There I was on my iPad typing into the search engine ‘Does He Miss Me?’

Thankfully, I found this article written by Natalie Lue.

I have shared with my friends and family members that it was her work that helped me to recognize how I was seeking external validation from my relationship partners as well as an understanding of what emotional unavailability is. I myself am particularly prone to looking for validation from emotionally unavailable men because (while it isn’t something that I want to remain) I myself am an emotionally unavailable woman.

Prior to reading her work, I falsely believed that the intensity of how much someone missed me at the close of a relationship or lack thereof was a indicator of my worth.

They don’t miss me = worthless

They do miss me = worthy

I find it particularly interesting that I believed this because if I had a friend say ‘hey this person doesn’t miss me therefore I am worthless’ I would quickly correct that faulty line of thinking.

And yet for some reason I had bought into that flawed thought process when it came to myself.

With my question of whether or not I was missed in mind I sat there reading and rereading not only that article but several others on Natalie Lue’s website over at baggagereclaim.com.

Additionally I also bought and read three of her books. I highly encourage anyone who is in or who has come out of a toxic romantic relationship or even friendship to visit her website as it has helped me immensely to work through a lot of things in my own life.

But I digress.

Fast forward from me first reading her work in 2013 to it now being 2016 and lets have an honest talk about how I caught myself wondering if someone who was no longer in my life missed me.

Yep, there I was giving yet another human being the power to determine my worth.

Natalie Lue explains that the reason you want to know why they miss you is because you are seeking validation from them.

And you guessed it – I am guilty as charged of doing that.

She further explains that while the person probably does miss you it is most likely not for the right reasons. Rather they miss no longer being able to do things like take advantage of you and mistreat you.

I think that she is correct.

And so with that understanding I knew I had to get a hold of myself.

I fully accepted that the reason I wanted to know if I was missed was because I thought that if I was then I wouldn’t be as worthless as I felt. And once I did I immediately let go of the question.

Who cares if they miss me?!

Well I did….

But that was up until the point that I realized that what they thought of me doesn’t matter.

What I think of me is what matters.

I can’t change how someone else feels about me but I can change how I feel about me.

I was allowing myself to feel down in the dumps about myself because someone with poor relationship skills had treated me in a way that I found hurtful.

Guess what?

People with poor relationship skills treat people poorly.

By definition that is just what these people do.

Chazz Ellis says that a person can’t love you beyond their character.

For example if they are a selfish person their love will be selfish.

I have found this to be true.

Their behavior doesn’t define anything about you, they just are not good relationship partners point blank and simple.

If they were not mistreating you then the would be in a relationship mistreating someone else.

So recognizing that, I decided to cast the question of whether or not someone who treated me poorly misses me, from my mind.

Them missing me or not missing me is irrelevant.

I am a valuable person even if no one recognizes it.

I have to come to a point where I do more than write and talk about self love, self worth and self value, I myself have to believe it!

Realize as I did that when you find yourself feeling worthless while wondering if someone else cares about you, loves you or misses you that it is a warning signal that you are not properly valuing yourself.

People who mistreat those who love them don’t value themselves enough to accept love from other people. So why in the world would you allow them to determine your value when they can’t even come close to properly assessing their own?

Thankfully, I wrapped my mind around the fact that them missing me or not, doesn’t matter when it comes right down to it.

I then gave myself a pat on the back only to have another thought pop up.

Do they feel guilty for what they did?

I believe this thought is the fraternal twin of do they miss me?

There I was washing the dishes and thinking do they truly feel sorrow or remorse for hurting me?

Do they care even that they hurt me?

Will they ever come to see that what they did was wrong?

Will they regret losing me?

After some self-analysis I realized my questions of ‘if they felt sorrow’ were all rooted in the same vein as my ‘do they miss me’ question?

I still wanted to know if they saw my worth.

There was that flawed line of thinking coming back at me.

I thought ‘most certainly if I have worth then they will feel sorry for what they did’.

Also I really wanted to see the scales of justice balanced for surely when someone does you wrong they should apologize and make it right.

But that isn’t how it works.

People can die without ever offering up an apology or receiving one.

This means that it is unwise to wait to hear a sincere “I am sorry” for you to move on.

Realize when you refuse to forgive you become stuck.

I don’t want to be stuck on anyone who doesn’t care about me.

I simply don’t.

I don’t forgive for them – no my forgiveness is selfish!

I forgive because I do not want to carry the weight of a person who means me ill will in my heart.

I will be honest, I don’t care to think about people who have done or want to do me harm.

When I see people from my past who have wronged me I treat them the same way I would treat a stranger on the street – with indifference (I am able to do that because I work to let past hurts go).

Another reason that I don’t wait for an apology is because I have come to learn that everyone doesn’t live by the same set of rules as I do. Everyone doesn’t feel guilty for the things that I think people should.

And on the same note there are things that I have done that other people feel like I should feel remorse over and I honestly don’t.

So instead of wondering if they are sorry I have decided it doesn’t matter.

If they are sorry – it is okay.

If they are not – it is still okay.

As far as justice I pray that they don’t have someone hurt them the way they hurt me. I pray that they are spared that kind of pain. I send them love, laughter, joy, peace and light. I don’t want God to punish them or karma to get them.

You may wonder if I want them to learn that mistreating people isn’t the right thing to do?

– Most Certainly!

But I don’t want anyone else walking this earth to hurt even if they hurt me.

I have decided to continue my work of becoming my best self. Not because I want to show people who have wronged me what they have lost by no longer being in my life but because I want to pour into me and to value me regardless of what others think of me.

By the way, I often hear people say the best revenge is success/happiness. But for some reason that always stuck in my craw. Not so much because I disagree with the statement but because for many it is based on the desire to prove your worth to someone else by being successful or happy.

Ultimately when our motive is to prove to other people who have wronged us what they lost by no longer being in our lives, we are still making our lives about them.

Again, I am not saying that success isn’t the best revenge or that bettering yourself isn’t the next step.

But I am saying that I find far more joy in bettering myself because I love myself as opposed to doing so in order to prove a point to someone who thinks very little of me.

When I find myself caring what people who don’t love me think about me I immediately work to no longer give them my energy – they simply don’t deserve it.

Please recognize that in the bigger scheme of things the thought of their guilt level falls in the same category as thoughts about their level of missing you – It belongs in the “It Doesn’t Matter Category”.

This is because it really doesn’t have a major impact on your life unless you allow it to.

People call me bad names and they do not feel guilty.

My name is still Renata.

I have been cheated on in a romantic relationship and never heard an I am sorry.

I am still lovable.

I have had people I call friend lie on me and speak poorly about me and never apologize.

I still have worth.

I have had coworkers do things to harm my career and not bat an eye.

I am still a valuable person.

Over time I chose not to take what any of those people did to me and their lack of remorse define my worth.

Recognize that if you have ended the relationship, their apology or lack thereof has no bearing on what you are going to do with your life unless you decide to give it that kind of power.

Don’t be their victim.

Take your power back and don’t let another flawed human being have the power to make you feel unworthy and/or unloved.

Some people just have issues.

Seriously, there are just some people who are wired differently.

Personally, I am not big on diagnosing people as narcissists, psychopaths, or sociopaths because one I am not a therapist and two I am trying to figure my own life out so with all due respect, I have no time to figure out people who the psychiatric community struggle to help.

But with that said some people just don’t believe in being caring and compassionate and some people are simply selfish.

What that means for you is that it doesn’t make sense for you to expect them to act in a way that a unselfish person would.

There really are people who simply believe in putting themselves first even if it means hurting everyone who comes in their path.

They will lie to you and on you, steal from you, cheat on you, beat you, betray you, berate you, disrespect you and hate you as long as they think it will make them feel better or give them the chance to get ahead.

They don’t feel sorry because they believe that life is all about looking out for themselves.

They see people who help others as weak and prey.

They hurt people and find it funny and they thrive off of the pain they inflict on others.

My advice is to get away from those type of people.

It isn’t your job to diagnose them, teach them a lesson, show them the error of their ways, to make them become a better person or regret hurting you.

No your job is to put on your Nikes tie them up tightly so the laces don’t come undone and run away from them as fast as you can!

Don’t think you can outsmart them because your brain doesn’t think like theirs.

Don’t think you can help them because you will simply get harmed in the process.

Forgive them, send them love, wish them the best and RUN!

And if you choose not to run or you have already fallen victim to them and they break you down a bit (and they will) then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, count it as a lesson learned and strap on your Nikes and run like the wind!

Don’t look back, don’t wait for an apology, don’t ask do you miss me!

Run from that level of crazy before they suck you in and convince you that you are the one who is crazy and bring you back in for their version of Crazy 2.0 The Special Edition.

Don’t expend your energy looking for or thinking about an apology from someone you are no longer in a relationship with.

Think of it, for whatever reason the relationship is over, so how does an apology change the course of your life as opposed to no apology. It will only have weight if you decide to give weight to the apology or the lack thereof.

Make your life easier and decide it doesn’t have any weight.

Granted the apology may make forgiving them easier but ultimately aren’t you still you – apology or not?

Many of us don’t like forgiving people because we think it is giving them some sort of victory.

Did you know you can forgive someone and never speak to them again?

You don’t even have to tell them that you forgive them.

You can even forgive people who have passed away.

It isn’t about giving someone else satisfaction, nope it is about you!

So I encourage you to not sit in the ashes of a broken relationship wondering if they miss you and/or if they feel sorry.

Instead realize that whether they miss you are not you are still you and forgive them whether they truly regret hurting you or not

When you walk around not forgiving others you spend so much of your time and energy on someone who has harmed you.

I assert, that isn’t the best use of your time and energy.

Wouldn’t you rather spend your time and energy on people who love you, to include yourself?

And please don’t go off into the world of revenge.

Revenge is like telling God that you do not believe Him when He says vengeance is His.

And I am aware that everyone doesn’t believe in God and that there are some who don’t believe in karma.

And for you who don’t I offer this:

When you try to seek revenge on someone else you are showing them that you still care. You are putting all of your energy into destroying them. Recognize that there is truth to the argument that the opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference.

Love and Hate are on the same wave.

In the bigger scheme of things it doesn’t matter if they regret what they did.

It doesn’t matter if they see the error of their ways and want you back in their life.

And it doesn’t matter if they miss you.

When it comes down to your life, what matters is what you think about yourself.

You deserve to have friendships, business partnerships and romantic relationships with people who value and appreciate you. Anytime you catch yourself thinking about do they miss me and are they sorry, remind yourself that their thoughts don’t matter when it comes to your life and then expend your energy on the people, things, places and situations that actually help make you become a better you!

Renata Nicole

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

 

 

 

 

Flawed Perfection

 

image

Photo Courtesy of: Nathaniel Witherspoon Jr.

In an attempt to love myself I have started doing things such as giving myself a daily foot massage before bed.

I have to tell you that for me giving myself a foot massage is akin to tickling myself – it simply is an entirely different experience from when you have someone else doing it.

But I massage my own feet because I desire to have them massaged and I have decided not to wait for someone to come along to do it for me.

And as I was giving myself a foot massage and looking at my feet I saw where skin discoloration had taken place on the top of both of my big toes.

And as I was looking at my feet I thought to myself here I am loving and caring for my feet and yet they are flawed.

I mean I was massaging them, soaking them, removing dry skin, moisturizing them and even placing them on a pillow so they could rest.

And yet they were flawed.

It was as I gazed at my flawed feet that I had an epiphany.

I need to love all of me in the same manner that I was loving on my feet.

For I love my feet even though there is now a discoloration on the top of my big toes.

And I wasn’t waiting for someone to come along and care for my feet.

One of my guilty pleasures despite others finding it peculiar is walking outside barefoot so that I can feel the earth between my toes.

I love to walk in rain puddles barefoot and yes I have even walked barefoot on snow and ice.

I can’t explain it, I just love to walk barefoot while out in my yard whenever possible.

For me allowing my foot to experience the sensation of earth against flesh does something for me that I don’t think there is a word that I can use to explain it.

The other night when I realized that if I can love my feet like that then I can love all of me like that was a turning point that caused me to take my love walk on a whole new level.

I started to understand in a greater way that I don’t have to wait until I am perfect to love me, pamper me, honor me, respect me, value me and to care for me.

I write about love and I speak about love but it was as I massaged my feet that it occurred to me in a way that it had not before that I am indeed lovable right now!

For some reason I was waiting on someone to validate me.

I have shed so many tears because I didn’t have a healthy romantic relationship.

A part of me thought that because I didn’t have a man who loved me that it was a direct correlation of my worth.

That part of me thought wrong.

I am glad I made the decision to take a break from dating and shower myself with love, because even though I wrote about it, even though I spoke about it, apart of me was still waiting on someone to deem me worthy of love.

It has become clear to me that it wasn’t until I decided to spend some time alone in order to really love myself that I started to realize just how much I was erroneously looking for someone to cosign and say that I was worthy of love.

It also occurred to me that the reason why it hurt me so deeply that I wasn’t able to maintain a healthy relationship was because I was valuing the opinion of someone else greater than my own.

I was giving my power away and that is such a dangerous thing.

I would wonder why I wasn’t attracting  healthier potential relationship partners and then I would beat myself up because I wasn’t experiencing the love from someone else that I thought I should.

I wasn’t giving myself credit for releasing myself from my old poor relationship partners and refusing to accept any new poor relationship partners.

I was simply wondering ‘well if I am doing better than where is better’.

Evan Marc Katz says, “You’ll never stop attracting the wrong men, but starting now, you can stop ACCEPTING the bad behavior of the wrong men.” and I think he is right.

For some reason I was thinking that since no one had come along who was seeking a long term relationship and was willing to treat me with love and respect that it meant that there must be something wrong with me.

To be honest I even wondered if maybe I needed to just go ahead and settle for a poor relationship, because it seemed like the men in my life just don’t want the type of relationship I hope to have. I thought maybe I had been fooling myself when I would go through the process of believing that a healthy relationship partner was actually attainable.

Thankfully, I  have turned away from that line of thinking.

I was operating in a scarcity mindset that there weren’t that many good men out there. This was causing me to feel the need to settle.

That is entirely not true. There are good men and women living all over the world who are seeking healthy relationships. I have to believe that I am worthy of finding a man who wants a healthy relationship with me.

I am gaining a deeper understanding of what it means to be confident in myself and I am beginning to see in a whole new way how much I am indeed lovable.

It is my goal to learn to hold myself in such a high regard that I never allow someone to treat me as poorly as I have allowed myself to be treated in the past.

I forgive old me.

Old me did the best she could and she got me to where I am today.

And even thought I am striving for better I am proud of where I am today.

I have spent far too much time hating myself.

I felt unworthy, unlovable, unattractive, unwanted, undesirable, unneeded, I just felt “un”.

I am always going to be too much for some people and that is okay. I am not meant for everyone. But who I am meant for will love me for who I am, the way I am.

I have been blessed with wonderful friends and amazing family members who love me for me. And while that is great, what is even better is that I am learning to love me – flaws and all.

I am finally starting to understand that I don’t have to wait until I am a better woman to love me.

Instead of waiting, I can love on me the same exact way I have been loving on my feet.

I can love me flaws and all.

That’s because no matter how much I try to improve myself and despite what Beyoncé says I can assure you that I won’t be waking up flawless.

I will always have idiosyncrasies and that is a good thing.

Those quirks and oddities are what help make me, uniquely me.

The people who don’t like me are not meant for me.

I cannot grow with them.

American Pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes once said “When people can walk away from let them walk….. because your destiny is not tied to the person who left.”

So here I am being me with my flaws and my perfections for I like you am indeed a flawed perfection.

I spent so much of my life upset with my flaws.

I don’t think it was until this week that I truly understood what it meant to give myself permission to love myself right now as I am in the present.

I believe I was so infatuated and awestruck by the woman I know I have the ability of being that I simply forgot to work to love the woman I am today.

I was mad at myself for accepting poor relationship partners.

I was upset with myself because I wasn’t able to get myself where I wanted to be in life.

I thought poorly of myself because I was a flawed human being.

I was forgetting that no one is perfect.

I simply wasn’t giving myself a break.

But this week I realized that I need to fully embrace where I am at. I need to enjoy my present. I will never have this moment again and so I truly need to cherish it.

I think I spend far too much time thinking about what is wrong with my life and not enough time giving thanks for the blessings that abound in my life.

I have been guilty of spending an unreasonable amount of time worrying about my future and an unnecessary amount of time regretting my past.

I have decided that where I am today at this precise moment is a place that I need to enjoy.

I need to love me right now!

I don’t have to wait until I lose weight, have a clearer complexion, get my career on track, break my bad habits or most certainly until someone comes along and tells me it’s okay to do so.

Here is the thing I can live out all my days and never have a man come along and offer me a healthy romantic relationship but that doesn’t mean that I am not lovable.

I am starting to truly see and accept that now.

I am starting to understand that if  I die never having someone to share my life with I am still an amazing woman who is worthy of love- and if no one else’s then I am most certainly worthy of my own.

While there is indeed room for improvement there is absolutely no reason for me not to love myself 100 percent today.

Flaws and all!

I am lovable.

I don’t need anyone to cosign on it or give me their stamp of approval.

There is no need for me to have low self esteem or doubt my self worth.

No one else can appraise me or assign me value, especially not the people who have left my life.

So I have given myself permission not to fret over people and things I thought I lost.

I have also given myself permission to stop pondering on whether or not I meant anything to the people who have exited my life.

Why expend energy thinking about what is gone when I can use my energy to cherish what remains?

Why ponder about people who are not in my life when I am surrounded by people who are?

When it comes to my worth and my value I now award myself the position of decision maker.

And as the decider I have arrived at the conclusion that I am worth far more than I have ever allowed myself to believe.

It is for this reason that I am going to keep working on my confidence.

I want to value myself so much so that loving me will become second nature.

I recognize that my journey to self-love will be life long, but I have decided that my ultimate goal in life is to love myself and I am willing to die trying.

Please know that you don’t have to wait another day to love yourself. You can love yourself for who you are the way you are flaws and all. It doesn’t mean that you are not trying to better yourself but it does mean you love yourself for better or worse. You don’t need anyone else to validate you, you get to decide your worth.

Renata Nicole

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

No More Crumbs!

Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Cave

Photo Courtesy of: Stephanie Cave

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would think:

How could they use me like that?

Why would they take advantage of me?

I was so kind to them!

Why didn’t they treat me better?

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

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

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

Why did I allow them to take advantage of me?

I was so unkind to myself!

Why didn’t I treat myself better?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People treat you how you allow them to treat you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And those people are not your friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t worry about seeking revenge on them.

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

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

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

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

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

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman, Renata Smith and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Excuse me…. Do You Validate?

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I took my kids to an art museum. When I arrived in the vicinity of the area I decided that using the parking garage was the most convenient choice. I entered the garage and retrieved my ticket. I parked the car and the kids and I got out and walked towards the museum. I was excited, I love museums and spending time with my kids. Also to top it off this was a free exhibit – so I was super excited! Well, I walked toards the entry of the museum only to see to my dismay a sign informing me that the museum was closed. I told my kids “Okay well I guess we will have to do this another time”. We all got in the car and I proceeded to the gate to see what the cost would be for using the garage. I thought, I have been here less than 10 minutes so maybe this will be a freebie. I inserted the ticket only for the ticket reader to inform me that I owed $5.00 for parking. I thought $5.00?!?  I have only been here no more than 10 minutes and the museum is closed!!!

I wondered does anyone validate or something because this was supposed to be me enjoying my day on the cheap! And $5.00 to park for ten minutes felt all but cheap! Even if someone had offered to give me the five dollars, I felt like either the museum should have covered the cost or that the company responsible for charging parking prices should have ate the charge. I really would have preferred validated parking rather than be held accountable for paying what I felt was a high price. Especially when I didn’t feel I received much of anything other than disappointment. I thought why should I pay if I could find someone to cover the price.

You see it is fine to look for someone to validate your parking. But I have found that sometimes I have been guilty of looking for other people to validate me in my personal life. For example, I have really nice handwriting. I have nice handwriting because I would practice it every day for years just so that my dad would compliment it. My dad had nice handwriting and so I wanted him to notice I had nice handwriting also. For some reason I felt that I needed him to take notice and let me know I had reached the pinnacle of the handwriting hall of fame. One day when I was 16 years old I overheard my dad make a comment saying, “hey whoever wrote this has really nice handwriting”. And in that moment right then and there I had it, my dad finally said it. Yep he told me I had nice handwriting. I waited almost 11 years to hear that.

I am certain you realize that logically that my need for validation did not make any sense. Why did I need him to say that, what was I looking for?

I was looking for him to validate me. I wanted him to tell me I had made it. I wanted him to tell me I was good enough. For years people told me that my handwriting was very beautiful. But what they said didn’t matter, because they weren’t my dad. Why did I need my dad to validate my handwriting? Why didn’t I feel confident in myself enough to know that my handwriting was good?

It was because I was looking for someone else outside of myself to validate me. You know the funny thing is after he finally said I had nice handwriting, I wanted him to start validating me in other areas of my life. I was constantly chasing his validation. It would have been much easier for me to know for myself I had good handwriting and not wait 11 years for my dad to agree. Just like it was far easier for me to pay the $5.00 for parking and go about my day than it would have been for me to try to figure out how I would get the closed art museum to validate my parking.

Realize that when you look for someone else to tell you that you are good enough you are seeking external validation. You have to know within yourself that you are good enough. Do the necessary work in yourself to know who you are. Believe in yourself and don’t let how others perceive you define you. When you get in the habit of seeking external validation from others you will always be chasing a feeling. They can tell you they love you, but you will find the need to hear it over and over again, because you don’t love yourself. They will say you are beautiful but you won’t believe it, because you don’t believe it for yourself. You alone have to believe you are good enough. Validate yourself! Know who you are and be confident in it. Love yourself flaws and all.

Stop looking for others to tell you how good you are, how beautiful you are and realize the beauty that you possess. When you don’t love yourself flaws and all you will find yourself constantly wanting someone else to tell you how good you are. And even when they do it won’t be good enough, because you will not believe it for you.

You can’t get someone else to validate your life in the same way you can have a company validate your parking. You can’t refuse to do the work of loving you and expect life to give you a free pass and think you are going to feel secure in yourself. You have to do the work of loving you.  Understand that it would have been far easier for me to recognize in grade school that I had excellent handwriting than it was for me to wait 11 years for my dad to take notice. Don’t wait for someone else to give you the green light on loving on you. Go ahead and put in the work of loving yourself and stop seeking external validation.

Renata Nicole

© Renata Pittman and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.