Are You Surviving or Living?

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Every man dies – Not every man really lives~ William Ross

Each of us was given at birth, a birth certificate which indicates our name, birth parents, place of birth, birth date, etc.  This piece of paper signifies the day in which we were placed on this earth and indicates that we were born living in to this world.  And while this birth certificate signifies that each of us was born alive, it does not necessarily mean that we will all live.  The reality is that there is a difference between surviving and living and it is up to you to choose which route you will go.  Take a moment of authenticity to ask yourself…

Are you surviving or living?

All of us have basic functions which keep us alive.  We all have a heartbeat, we all breathe  involuntarily, and we all use our senses to assist us with understanding the world around us.  But just because we are surviving doesn’t mean we are living.  You see, to survive means that we are doing the very minimum to make it in this world.  For instance, our basic needs are being met because we are going to work, we have clothes on our backs, and food on our tables.  Fulfilling these needs sustains us and keeps us surviving.

But is that really living?

Living is much more than surviving.  Living means that we dare to take risk, love as if there is no tomorrow, and we are comfortable with vulnerability because it introduces opportunities for intimacy.  You see, living means that while we know that we are each mortal people, capable of death, we live as if there is no tomorrow , because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Many of us are dreaming of starting our own businesses, writing a book, buying a house, getting married, having children… WHATEVER…  But these things take effort, more-so than many of us are willing to give because of fear of failure. Hence, we continue to survive by suppressing our desires and staying “safe.”  We fear living, because we do not know what the future will hold and are too afraid to step out and try…

Well, I’m here to tell you that you deserve more.  You only have one chance at this thing called life, so you may as well make the best of it.  It’s true that surviving will get you through life.  After all, you can’t possibly live if you can’t even survive.  However, living will cause you to exist within your purpose and whenever you live in purpose, you are destined for success.

Wishing you lots of fortune and prosperity as you not only survive, but learn to live…

Blessings on your Sacred Journey!!!

 

 

 

Authenticity, Confidence, Happiness, Healthy Relationships, Inspiration

Four Theories of Marital Functioning

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You’ve gotten married… Now what?!?!

Many of us work so hard to obtain marriage that many of us do not have the slightest clue of what it takes to maintain marriage.  With the divorce rate now reaching 60% of all marriages, this might be something that all spouses and spouses-to-be would like to take interest in learning.  In studying my Marriage and Family Course at Regent University, my head is growing inundated with a variety of resources that address this very dilemma.   Hence, with pleasure, I will share something that I think might shed light on this very important issue.  Read below to become more familiar with  Four Theories of Marital Functioning.  This evidence based practice which defines models of marriages, will be a great asset to developing and/or improving any marriage with which you have or will have in the future.  Good luck on your marital bliss!

FOUR THEORIES OF MARITAL FUNCTIONING

A Companionate Model An Equity Model

 Egalitarian patterns of work, earning, and housework in marriages foster greater emotional intimacy and more emotion work on the part of husbands. They do so by creating marital role homogamy, and by eliminating patriarchal patterns of power and authority, thereby allowing husbands to take a progressive approach to their marriage that includes more emotion work on their part.

A Gender Model

Because wives – even wives with egalitarian attitudes – have been socialized to value gender-typical patterns of behavior, wives will be happier in marriages with gender-typical practices in the division of household labor, work outside the home, and earnings.  Because husbands – even husbands with egalitarian attitudes – have been socialized to value gender-typical patterns of behavior, husbands will be happier in marriages that produce gender-typical patterns and will be more inclined to invest themselves emotionally in their marriages than husbands organized along more egalitarian lines.

An Equity Model

Wives who perceive housework arrangements as unfair are more likely to report lower levels of martial happiness.  But wives who hold traditional gender attitudes expect less equality in the division of housework and less emotion work from their husbands.  Consequently, traditional wives are less likely than their more progressive peers to view the division of household labor as unfair, or their husband’s emotion work as inadequate.

An Institutional Model

Husbands and wives who are integrated into institutions that endorse marriage (e.g., churches) and who share a high commitment to the institution will construct a “family myth” that they are happy with their marriage. This commitment will also make spouses more likely to trust one another and to adopt a long-term view of their relationship; accordingly, they are more likely to adopt a logic of gift exchange, rather than market exchange, in their marriages and to experience the benefits this logic accords marriage.

Question:  Which marriage model do you prefer and why?

Side Note: This chart was taken directly from the following article:

Wilcox (2006).  What’s love got to do with it?  Equality, equity, commitment and women’s marital quality. Social Forces, 3, 1321-1337

Communication, Happiness, Healthy Relationships

Healthy Relationship Quiz

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Relationships are things that we all desire at some point in our lives.  Yet, relationships are also amongst one of the most difficult experiences that we will ever encounter.  Because relationships are highly sought after, yet difficult dynamics to experience, sometimes we may miss important clues that warn us that the one’s in which we participate in are unhealthy.  Take a moment to read an excerpt from Sacred Journey to Ladyhood which demonstrates such an example, and then take the Healthy Relationship Quiz below.

Sadly, another dysfunctional form of family conflict is present in the various types of abuse that exist. Elements of familial abuse include emotional, physical, and sexual abuse that can plague many families at any given time. Abuse, by definition, is considered any form of oppression based on a power and control dynamic. One may assume that this is clear and that everyone knows what abuse is, but within my practice, it is surprising to observe the amount of people who have experienced (or witnessed) some form of abuse and had no idea. During a meeting after a violent interaction with her husband, my client recently stated, “We are married. It [violence] happens!” I felt so sorry for this woman because she was being abused and had no idea. For the sake of clarity, I want to take advantage of this time to specify the different types of abuse that exist in order to bring awareness to this popular and under discussed phenomena for woman.
 
 
 

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HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP QUIZ

Each relationship is unique, but all healthy relationships have a few things in common.  In a healthy relationship there should be trust, support, respect, equality, and it should be fun.  Take the quiz below, and find out how healthy your relationship is!

Directions:

Indicate who in your current relationship does the following things by marking one of the boxes to the right of each statement. You should put an X in either the Neither Person/One Person or Both People columns.

Statement

Neither Person or One Person

Both People

Considers partner’s likes and dislikes when making plans
Shares things he/she likes about their partner
Supports partner in setting and meeting personal and school goals
Encourages partner to be the person they want to be
Comforts partner when upset, sad, frustrated, etc.
Asks for and listens to partner’s point of view (even when having a disagreement)
Respects partner’s need for alone time
Treats partner’s property/belongings well
Treats partner as an equal
Respects online privacy (Facebook, e-mail, text messages etc)
Respects decisions around sex
Admits mistakes
Okay with partner spending time with family and friends
Trusts that partner is being honest about his/her actions and activities
Cares if the other person has fun when going out
Communicates respectfully both publically and privately

 

TOTAL: Count the number or X’s for the Both People column only.

 How Did Your Relationship Score?

Score of 0-8: This relationship has room for improvement. A healthy relationship needs both people to contribute equally. A score between 0-8 indicates that the relationship is either one-sided or nobody’s trying very hard. This relationship might work with combined effort and commitment, but it may be time for a reality check for both partners. Does this relationship feel good to you?

 Score of 8-12: Your relationship has potential but it might take a good amount of work. If this is a relationship that you and your partner want to continue to be in, you both need to pick a few areas to work on in order to make this a more healthy relationship. Make it a shared goal with your partner to increase the number of X’s in the Both People column.

 Score of 12-16: You’re on track for a healthy relationship! Healthy relationships take time and effort and you are both definitely working at it. You have high levels of trust, support, fun, equality, and respect in your relationship. Both partners should keep up the good work in this relationship and remember that there is always room for improvement!

The Healthy Relationship Quiz was taken from the Boston Public Health Commission.

Communication, Healthy Relationships, Inequality, Ladyhood ,

Is the Inside Done Yet?

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Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. ~ 1 Peter 3: 3-4

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. ~ Proverbs 31:30

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. ~ Matthew 5:8

The picture above represents my most time-consuming, emotionally draining, and financially investing commitment which I have partaken in to date… It is MY NEW HOME…  And while I take great joy in the results of the image before you, what good is having a home with external beauty, when the inside isn’t done yet?  My mind wants to accept my home as a complete package… My heart reminds me that this cannot be done until I am able to answer the following question: is the inside done yet? 

In case you’re wondering…

Yes… this photo is my REAL HOME…

No… I’m not sharing my address… (but if you’re close to me… you will be receiving a house warming invitation :))

Anyway, the building of this home has been met with many emotions… excitement towards the prospect of home ownership, financial stressors associated with budgeting and long work hours, and ups and downs which took us on fast-moving, relentless, emotional roll-a-coasters…  But the most complex element of this experience has been the role that it has played on our stability.  You see, this home was something that my husband and I agreed to begin building in March 2013.  At that time… we were quoted that the home would be built by June…  As June approached, we were quoted July…

then August…

then September…

and now October.

As you can imagine, this brings a sense of anxiety and frustration from my husband and I, as it makes it difficult to make the transition from renters to owners in psychological, financial, and emotional ways.  We really just want to get on with our lives, but cannot do so until the home is built…

In its entirety…

To reduce anxiety, we have practically frequented our new lot on a bi-weekly basis…  And this has been frustrating…

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Our Empty Pot of Land

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Sold to the Omari’s!!!

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I don’t know what this is, but I know it must be something great!

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I had to take a photo to see where the water goes… Didn’t want any water problems…  Can’t remember the response, but I was confirmed that it’s okay!

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Yeah Right!  I don’t see ya’ll working!

Overwhelmed with the challenges that this has posed, we stopped visiting our lot for a couple of weeks…

Then…

Out of no where…

We saw signs of a home in the making…

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We barely saw the signs… This picture was taken during my 3 am lunch break from the graveyard shift at the Hospital.  I thought I was hallucinating!

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So I went back during the day time to confirm… Yep… Our Home is being built!

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Take a look at our side view!

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But… Is the Inside Done Yet?

When we saw the completed outdoor image of our home (5 months after the beginning decision for this project), we were ecstatic, as this represented the first time that we saw what our new home was going to look like in real life.  Overcome with joy, we took pictures and sent them to our close friends and family.  But each time we sent a photo, we are given the following response…

That’s pretty… but is the inside done yet?

Pause for a second…  Notice how excited we were about moving into a home with only a completed external image.

For all we know, the inside could be a catastrophe!

It better not be, but let’s just assume it might be to illustrate this perspective…

With frustration, we answered this question with a grueling NO and welcomed our onlookers to continue to brag about our home’s external beauty.

Now let’s think about everyday life…

Isn’t it common for us to ignore our insides in favor of glamorizing the outside?

Don’t many of us invest far more into our external beauty than we do our inner beauty?

Why do we do this?

What can be done differently?

What motivates us for change?

God reminds us continually about how important it is to focus more on whom we are as individuals and not what the world sees materially.  Yet, in a world that is growing increasingly obsessed with physical appearances, this is becoming harder and harder to do.  Nevertheless, having internal beauty is a pre-requisite for living in eternity with the Lord, our Creator.

So ask yourself…

Are you more motivated by your clothing, makeup, and hairstyle or are you focused on your soul?

Where do you stand in God’s image of beauty?

Is the inside done yet?

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Trayvon Martin – Justice Denied

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Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.  ~ Psalms 116:15

There are no words that can truly express how I feel about the travesty of what has become of Trayvon Martin’s legacy.  For this poor… sweet… innocent… Angel… has been taken from his loving family, and America as a country has failed to protect him and his family from injustice.   Some say that it’s not a race thing… That the Stand Your Ground Law was in effect and that because Zimmerman felt that he was in life-threatening danger, murder was justifiable…  What the law fails to take into consideration are the variables leading to the Stand Your Ground Law.  In America, the Black Man always has been a threat… a source by which one should exercise fear and caution…  In this case, due to this fear and caution, as indicated by Zimmerman’s report that “he [Martin] appears to be up to no good…” Zimmerman stalked him, which instigated a fight, got beat up, and was protected by the Stand Your Ground Law…  Where’s the Justice?  In the case of Trayvon Martin – Justice Denied!

For many of us, the inherent elements of race and privilege are just far too overwhelming to ignore.  But sadly, many remain oblivious to such social structures and injustices in the world today.  For those who remain ignorant to those life challenges, let me take a moment to enlighten you:

  • For the Black Man in America, the process of getting their license is more than a celebrated event of independent driving.  For in nearly all Black Households, parents and/or guardians  discuss with their black boys about certain precautions to make while driving (ie.behaviors while driving, certain areas/people to avoid while driving).  Driving represents independence, freedom, etc, which means that there is only so much protection that parents can provide for their children when their children are not in their care.  This “talk” prepares our little black boys for the reality of this world and speaks to ways to reduce the potential for them to be victims of racial profiling because there continues to be punishment for “driving while black.”  Sadly, each parent knows that despite the best preparation, their boys will become a product of these stereotypes and are feared and often perceived as threatening… characteristics which could have dire consequences.
  • For the Black Man in America, there is constant pressure to confirm to social structures and expectations from their community, irrespective of how that might actually reflect their goals.  There is a large misunderstanding pertaining to the “thug” mentality that largely attracts our Black Men; sadly rather than understanding them, the world ignores and/or fights against them.  This further marginalizes this group, making it increasingly difficult to eliminate such barriers.  Another area of concern, is the one inherent in the LGBTQIAA community for Black Men.  There’s not enough understanding, acceptance, and appreciation for unique perspectives of this community, and as a result, the Black Man, once involved, becomes further marginalized.
  • For the Black Man in America,  a historical context by which they have been emasculated due to the various forms of oppression and injustice, has deprived them from their God-Given  position as leaders and heads of the household.  This, in many ways, has resorted in a less respectable or desirable approach to their role in the household, which is compacted by ideas such as a of lack of understanding of their roles, abuse of their roles, and/or hypersexual behaviors.
  • For the Black Man in America, the life of Trayvon Martin is in some way, shape, or form inherent within each and every one of them.  As where Martin’s life was spared from going through an adult lifetime of such barriers and discrimination, many other Black Men have been forced to live the life of racial profiling on a daily basis with nothing but a hope and prayer that their ending will not be the same as Trayvon’s.  Trayvon is dead and therefore his struggle is over.  How do we intend to honor his legacy, such that the remaining Black Men can be protected from such injustices?

Trayvon, you represent my brother, my father, my husband, my cousins, my uncles, my community, my state, my country, and my Universe.  Because you died, many more of us will live.  Thank you.  While your life ended way to soon… you died a hero, an Angel, and a Legacy… May Your Soul Rest in Perfect Peace…

Tribute to Trayvon Martin

Advocacy, Inequality , ,

Big Things Come In Small Packages

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I was recently reminded that big things come in small packages and… well… the saying that less is more has never been more true.  You see, while going outside on a lunch break while working a new job, I was bitten by a vicious creature.  My mind assured me that given the size of the little nuisance, certainly it couldn’t be a big deal….

Boy… was I wrong…  Relax and explore with me, the ways in which a simple insect bite changed my life (and social perceptions) forever.

I felt the pain… the shock… the discomfort… but in spite of my instincts telling me that something was terribly wrong, I allowed the pain to intensify.  By the time I decided to check on this uncharacteristically annoying sensation, the little critter was gone.  I never even got a chance to see it, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there and that it wasn’t VERY REAL.

How often do we find ourselves undergoing painful circumstances while doing nothing about them? 

Don’t we often feel things “sting” us, but ignore them with the hope they may soon go away?

As I watched the enormity of my arm grow, I realized that this wasn’t just any type of bite.  Something was terribly wrong!  I knew that my swollen forearm required immediate attention… but I had something else to attend to.

Aren’t we always too busy to engage in self-care?

In my case, I was expected to attend a highly anticipated family reunion and making a pit stop at the local Urgent Care would have delayed this feat.  The results… instead of completely enjoying the festivities of my family to the extent in which I hoped to do, I was distracted by the growing, itchy, sensation that was consuming my aching arm.  I was forced to seek counsel from several family members on how to best handle my increasingly growing arm.  In fact, as I approached the stage for my turn to speak in the program, the ice filled bag attached to my arm received more attention than I had hoped for.

Ignoring my arm was mistake #1…

Mistake #1 lead me to mistake #2…

Don’t we frequently prioritize things that we shouldn’t?

I was so consumed with making sure that I attended to the needs of my family reunion that I neglected to take care of the unexpected needs of my aching arm.  We often find ourselves sticking so far to the “plan” of our lives, that when anything interferes with what we have arranged, we find ourselves in compromising situations.  Living a life of rigidity, while great for organizational skills, requires some flexibility.  When we get so used to “going through the motions” we fail to realize that we might be missing out on things which are equally, if not more important.  I don’t know about you, but my health, in this regard was very important and I failed miserably when it came to recognizing this.

And then Mistake #3…

Why do I need someone else to tell me what I already know?

As I commuted back to work (after leaving the reunion early because of my “rigid” schedule) I was confronted by the nurse who instructed me to leave work right away and go to the doctor to be treated for scoliosis.  I don’t know what that is, but it has a name that I don’t want associated with me so I left to go to the doctor’s appointment immediately.  You see, though she was a professional, she was only telling me what I knew anyway, but didn’t trust myself enough to adhere to. You see, while my heart was telling me the whole time that this was something that I needed to take seriously, my mind just wouldn’t allow the messages of my heart to prevail.  I trusted someone else to take better care of me then I was willing to do for myself.  And while I certainly appreciated her concern for my health and welfare, I am deeply troubled that I allowed my own fears, inflexibility, and wants to interfere with me doing for myself what I knew was the right thing to do… seek treatment!  I assumed and wanted to believe that nothing as small as (whatever bit me) could be strong enough to disrupt my pre-existing plans, but the reality was there was something strong enough to do so and it did.  My stubbornness almost made me become further victimized by its circumstances.

The moral of this story… Sometimes it’s the small things that matter most.  Had I been hit by a tow truck or gotten into a car accident, I wouldn’t have thought twice about changing my course.  But when something as small as an insect bite entered my world, I overlooked all clues that suggested that this was bad news.  But despite the smallness of insect bites, the consequences of insect bites are as follows:

And like these problems suggest, not taking seriously “small” problems might lead to “big” consequences.  After all, big things DO come in small packages!

 

 

Confidence, Discipline

Woes of a Dumb Red

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“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

Proverbs 14:23 NIV

Well… it’s that time of year again!

I’m looking for something new!

I have this pattern of just wanting to have something about me stand out… Sometimes it’s my nails… sometimes it’s my jewelry… sometimes it’s my hair and other times it’s my clothes…  Basically, at any given time, I change something about myself and enjoy doing so!

You can call me a narcissist… I don’t care…

So anyway… while in the mist of trying to figure out what it is that I want for myself… I decided that it would be red hair.  But if you know me, you know that I didn’t want just any old red hair… I wanted the sharp, bright fire engine red hair…  I was going for the look that is often achieved by pop artists Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, and/or K. Michelle.  The only problem was… I didn’t know how to do it!

UUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!

Not wanting to invest in the time, or money for professional services, I decided to dye my hair myself (despite my ignorance in doing so).  In dying my hair, I first bought an over-the-counter hair dye.

It didn’t work… but it did leave my hair in four to five different shades of red… none of them the desired hue in which I sought.

So what did I do?

I bought another kit and did the same thing! (Sometimes when things don’t work for us, it’s a clue that it’s not the correct choice. When we don’t listen, we make the same poor choices over and over again).

When it became apparent to me that my attempts at “half-stepping” were not going to work, I decided to up my efforts by buying hair bleach to add to the red dye.  However, once the bleach reached my hair dying station, I became too devastated to use it!

The outcome of my fear and shortcomings!?!?

A subtle auburn hue that pales in comparison to the bright, fire engine red in which I was seeking.

This story represents the way in which we as people often set goals for ourselves, but are not willing to do the necessary work to achieve them.  As the proverb listed above indicates, hard work achieves goals.  We often try to put in minimal effort but we want big rewards.  The scripture confirms, that is not the way life works.  We have to be willing to put in the work, to enjoy our rewards.  Next time you set out to achieve your hearts desires, ask yourself if you are really putting in all you have to achieve your goals.  If you’re not, then you need to figure out where you fall short, why you fall short, and what you can do to prevent yourself from doing so.  Then, with all your might, achieve your goals and live the life in which you deserve.

Blessings on your Sacred Journey!

Discipline, Inspiration, Perseverence

A WARNING TICKET

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Sometimes we are met with the most random of experiences. We wonder what messages, however minute they may be… may be found in our everyday life experiences.  Below is one of those messages…  Stay tuned to find out how I was moved by the power in a warning ticket.

I was recently driving home from an out of town job.  In my haste to shorten the time towards the end of my journey, I apparently loss track of the speed in which I was driving…  Care-freely coasting to the sounds of Jill Scott’s “I’m Blessed” , I never noticed that the state trooper that was once riding in front of  me had slowed down, pulled over to the medium, and gotten behind me.  The next thing I noticed, my rear view mirror was tainted with the sight of blue lights in my rear.

I pulled over and spoke with the cop.  Accusingly, he informed me that I was driving a 75 in a 55.

In my head I thought… If I’m driving behind you, then wouldn’t that mean that we were going about the same speed?!?!

Out loud I responded… I’m sorry sir…  I hadn’t realized I was speeding…

The cop asked for my license and registration, examined them closely and returned to his car.  I sat patiently in my car, fuming with rage because I was being detained for something that I felt confident was not correct.  To make matters worse, I had already developed my strategy for who I was going to contact to assist me with getting out of this “wrongful” situation.

The cop returned to my car, ticket in hand.  After handing the ticket to me, he responded “Okay Mrs. Omari…  Have a great day!”  As I watched his reflection get increasingly smaller as he moved away from my car, I began experiencing feelings of animosity towards him.

How dare he try to be polite to me, after giving me a ticket!

It was then that it occurred to me that maybe I should look down to figure out the details of the ticket.  And there it was… the following words.

A. WARNING. TICKET.

I was shocked!  I just knew that he was going to give me a ticket for speeding that I would have to go to court to fight against.  And yet, he gave me a friendly warning and let me off the hook…

And that’s just what I did…  I let the whole experience off the hook…

And then I thought about it… When I thought that the outcome was going to be something bad, I did everything that I could to try to fight against it.  I gave it considerable thought, I considered all my resources, and I was even developing negative feelings towards the state trooper for doing his job.  However, when the outcome acted in my benefit, “I let the whole experience off the hook…”

I, like many people, get motivated more by conflict and shortcomings, then I do for things that actually are considered a blessing in disguise.

Thus, I ask that you take this moment seriously.  Look at your life and your circumstances.  Make a commitment to praise the things that are going right in your life, more than you condemn the things that aren’t.

God Bless

Gratitude, Happiness

When a Person tells You Who they are Believe Them

BELIEVE

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I recently met someone… I know what you might be thinking… It’s no one bad, but just someone who reminded me about the saying “when a person tells you who they are believe them.”  Though I knew this from the moment that I met her, I can’t help but wonder… why didn’t I listen?

I don’t want to “out” this person, because you never know who is reading about the Sacred Journey to Ladyhood… but to illustrate my perspective, I have to provide some details.  For me, my relationships with people are very important.  I use them to keep me inspired and empowered.  So when someone demonstrates questionable character… something that might put a breach in my relationships with others… it is a means for extreme precautions.  In this case, this woman was critical about marriages.  She expressed having a tumultuous relationship with her “ex-husband” which I felt empathic for to begin with.  Then, however, it became clear that she was a contributing factor to her own chaos, based off of her self-centeredness and ego-centrism.  As this became more evident with me, she then began to discuss her current affair with a married man.  To solidify her argument, she informed me that in having a conversation with her boyfriend’s wife, she responded, “you know those freaky things with you do with your husband… I taught him that!”  I’m not trying to be judgmental, because I don’t have a heaven or hell to send anyone too, but all of this rubbed me the wrong way.  It soon got me thinking that if this “friend” of mine would behave in this way, this energy may one day rub off on me…

And it did…

One day while expressing my heart’s desire to her, she made some… “shall I say/write… condescending statements about me and my relationship with my husband.”  Her energy was so intoxicating that I became easily sucked into her like the house in the twister from the Wizard of Oz …

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The Consequences…

A yelling and invigorating fight with my husband.  You see, she had dumped her negative energy regarding marriages on to me.  I had then internalized those messages and allowed her story to become my own.  This was not something that I was very proud of but something that I was very responsible for participating in.  So Let’s ask ourselves the following…

How often do we allow the negative energy of others to dictate who we are in our own lives?

When the experiences of others are used to adversely affect us… is it as much our fault as it is theirs?

Are we really strong enough to allow the people in our lives to be one way, while we, ourselves are different?

The moral of this story is that you are only as good as the company that you keep.  Your company will inevitably influence you one way or another.  Thus, when a person tells you who they are believe them!

 

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What are you telling yourself?

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A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22

There’s no secret that we all talk to ourselves, but the question is what are we saying?  The messages that you send yourself, are important indicators for what your life will become.  For this reason, it is important to be intentional about giving yourself positive messages so that you can reap the benefits of desirable experiences. To be most effective in this, it is important to learn to identify faulty messages, counter those messages with more positive one’s, and make choices according to your new and refined thoughts.   In order to do this, one must ask…

What are you telling yourself?

The interesting thing about understanding this is that many of us know how important our thoughts are on our actions, but this does not make changing negative thoughts any easier.  This is because we often overlook the key issues which lead to our negative thought patterns to begin with.  Aaron Beck, one of our first cognitive behavioral therapists, identified the term “core beliefs,” which is essentially the belief that each person holds underlying thoughts and assumptions regarding specific events, experiences, etc. within their lives.  When these core beliefs are positive, responses are positive; however, when the core beliefs are negative, negative responses introduce themselves.  The key then, according to Beck, is to begin to learn how to identify these core beliefs as a means for confronting them and replacing them with new, more productive core beliefs.

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So what is all this talk about changing your core beliefs?  Below you will find an exercise intended to assist you with the challenges associated with changing your core beliefs.  Take a moment to review this exercise and then apply it to the core beliefs that bring you elements of unhappiness within your life.  I encourage you to copy this page verbatim and complete it as a worksheet.  By getting familiar with this process, you will be well on your way to building for yourself, the best ways to confront your own pathological thinking and create for you the life that you deserve.

CORE BELIEF EXERCISE

Old Core Belief: ________________________________

How much do you believe the old core belief right now? (0–100) ____

What’s the most you’ve believed it this week? (0–100) ____

What’s the least you’ve believed it this week? (0–100) ____

New Belief: __________________________________________

How much do you believe the new belief right now? (0–100) ____

Evidence that Contradicts Old Core Belief and Supports New Belief:

  • ____________________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________________

Evidence that Seems to Support Old Core Belief with Reframe:

  • ____________________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________________
  • ____________________________________________________________________

I hope this chart begins to get you on the right track with your thinking and good luck!

For more information about challenging your core beliefs, please take a moment to review the concept from the experts, Dr. Aaron and Judith Beck (daughter of Dr. A. Beck) themselves.

 

Contest, Discipline, Happiness, Perseverence, Uncategorized