Thursday, July 9, 2020

Who's drawing your lines?

"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen", this most definitely includes boundaries. I recently did a short series on stressing the importance of boundaries, diving into identifying what healthy boundaries look like, types of boundaries and defining boundaries. Another focus was to recognize how abandoning self, displays a lack of boundaries in our lives. For instance, avoiding  uncomfortable situations, absence of self-care rituals or the inability to say "no". Our goal should be doing what's necessary for us to maintain positive energy within ourselves through the lines we draw. So who's drawing your lines? Family? Friends? Social media? Peer pressure? Take a moment to think about what is motivating your actions, this will assist you in validating that your motives are indeed, yours!

What I found personally helpful is making sure I communicate my thoughts and feelings clearly as it relates to my boundaries. Stating my boundaries helps me professionally and personally, because it removes assumptions. Take a moment to think about the last time you assumed someone knew your boundaries and they didn't, how did that work out? We do ourselves and loved ones a disservice when we don't clearly identify boundaries. This does not have to be a difficult conversation, if we respect each other enough to listen. I've stated before how important to me being "heard" is, because for many years I allowed someone to take my voice away. This has now become a boundary for me, I need to be heard because I will take the time to listen. I no longer expect others to know, I am sure to state it prior to beginning a conversation if the person is unfamiliar. I draw my own lines. 

It is important that we feel equal and understand that your voice matters, so draw the line. Asking for what you want, such as negotiating your salary, draw the line. Understanding that your happiness is your responsibility so draw the line! Being comfortable with saying no and placing yourself first, draw the line. Healthy boundaries are extremely important and key to maintaining the proper self-care. Drawing the lines in your life is solely your responsibility and so is who you allow to hold the pen. 

Be Strong & Live Free!! 

Article on setting boundaries:

Thursday, April 18, 2019

How valuable is your time?

Learning a lesson happens when you are prepared and freely willing to receive what’s being shared.  “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I find this quote to be liberating and invigorating because it reveals that upon an inner awakening one acquires an essential key to better living practices. It is in due time that we learn how to heal, grow, release and mature when ready. I’ve reached the time in my life that being mindful of my time and skillfully managing it has assisted personal growth. It’s only taken me about 40 years to fully comprehend the true essence of what time is, where to limit it, recognize why time should be valued and when to treasure it. 

Read this: “We grieve for time’s passing, but do not respect it in the present. We want it back after it is gone, but ignore it when it is here. We do not properly value it.  Money can be built back up if we spend it all, and yet we value it more than our time, which could run out at any moment. By knowing deep within ourselves that time is a finite resource, we can start to give it value. What will you do with your next hour? What would you do differently if you knew it was your last hour?” Far too often we only recognize time’s value when it’s loss. We don’t seize opportunities due to being wasteful, unproductive or allowing others to apply their limitation. Understanding that the more time you waste the less time you have for achievement (moving forward). Valuing time also helps us in being productive and effective in our pursuit to greater heights.

How valuable is your time? Let’s consider the time allowed to be consumed by negative and/or toxic energy. Far too often individuals make the statement “my time is valuable” and yet they consistently waste time consumed in gossip, arguing, holding a grudge, being mean spirited, procrastinating etc. In the past I can recall allowing myself to be drawn into madness and accepting all kinds of invitations to petty parties. During this journey of self-improvement I’ve learned to place value on time in general. Currently, I spend time wisely by doing fun or adventurous things with those that I love. I am intentional in being mindful so that I am productive with my day. Unfortunately, this wasn't always the case for me, as I allowed time to be wasted. Take a moment to consider how valuable is your time? Do you think about how you spend it as much as you think about how you spend your money? Start tracking how you are spending your time, it will began to explain where you are in life. Succeeding in our goals or making dreams a reality relies heavily on good time management. Time is your most valuable asset and your next level in life is determined by your value of time.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

One Word Theme – FOCUS

2019 brings in another opportunity to either readjust or start a new path. We don’t necessarily have to wait for the New Year to begin anew, because every day we are given brand new mercies to start again. I love the idea of starting each year off with a motivating word that sparks the inner flame and propels me into action. I believe that it is equally important to use a one word theme as the central point to draw from it helps encourage me to remain diligent on the course of self-improvement, enlightenment and living my best life.

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks” – Winston Churchill. Thus my one word theme this year is FOCUS! If there is ever a time in my life that I need to readjust and realign my thoughts on my goals it’s now. I took the time to “Embrace” all that was coming my way in 2017 and in 2018 I was sure to “Celebrate” all of those accomplishments. This year I begin the third stage in my five stage long term goals and it requires my complete focus. I anticipate distractions, hell I’ve had several while writing these short paragraphs however I refuse to allow every distraction to hinder my progression. If I am aiming to achieve what I've set before me then not every "dog that barks" will be worth my time.   

My main focus is to remain focus on the objectives I created and formatting a strategy on obtaining them. I know that staying focus can be tough with the constant distractions and nuances each day presents. I, personally had to train myself not to reach for my phone in the mornings, but intentionally say a prayer or words of affirmation. That change has assisted me in setting the pace to a positive start to my day. My definition of being successful is accomplishing the goals I set for myself and that can only be done through dedication and concentration.

Practicing mindfulness has helped me to improve in multiple areas, such as controlling my emotions, calming down and being present. Mindfulness is about focus and training your cognitive abilities to be present in the moment. So much of what we encounter can be a deterrent that if one isn’t careful can easily be lead astray. I’m currently nurturing a positive space and that alone is compelling me to concentrate my focus this year on continued personal growth. I was reading an article titled “Improve Your Concentration” by the mind tools content team, in early 2018, the article was so helpful, I saved it. Here is an excerpt I thought could be useful:
Follow some of these guidelines to help focus your mind:
·        Set aside time to deal with worries – Many of us have trouble concentrating during the day because we're constantly worrying about other things. It could be an approaching deadline for a project you haven't started, a new colleague who's causing problems, or just the amount of work on your desk. If you find yourself distracted by worries, then note these down so that you don't need to hold them in your mind. Then schedule time to deal with these issues.
·        Focus on one task at a time – It can be much harder to focus if you take minibreaks (15–30 seconds) to answer emails, send text messages, or take quick phone calls. Some researchers believe that it can take up to 15 minutes for us to regain complete focus after a distraction.
·        Close your email inbox and chat program – Let your voicemail do its job. If your office allows it, close your office door or put up a "Do Not Disturb" sign to let colleagues know you need to focus. (If you're a manager and you want to operate an open door policy, then consider working from home or from elsewhere for times when you need to focus.)
·        Switch between high- and low-attention tasks – This can give your brain a rest after heavy concentration. For instance, if you spend two hours working on your department's budget, you'll probably feel tired afterward. You can recharge your energy by working on a low-attention task, like filing, for 15 minutes before going back to your budget.
·        Prioritize – Having too much to do can be distracting, and this sometime causes procrastination. Or, you may quickly jump from task to task, creating the illusion of work – but in reality, you're not accomplishing very much. If you're not sure which tasks to start or which are most important, take 10 or 15 minutes to prioritize your To-Do List. Our article Overcoming Procrastination can also help.

I thought why reinvent the wheel, when I can just share good advice that I've used and rendered good results. The article is filled with more constructive tips, if you are interested in the entire article the link is below. I’m sending out positive energy to everyone reading this because I want you to go out and live your life on your terms! Be Courageous!! Live Free and FOCUS on being a better YOU!!!

Monday, November 19, 2018

“Who are you going to blame your life on today?”

“Who are you going to blame your life on today?” This question was presented by a woman to herself during a tumultuous period in her life. A time in her life when she didn’t own up to the choices she had made that lead her to despair. In a podcast the woman was on, she describe how during that turbulent time she desired major life changes however she didn’t want any disruptions, suffer any possible consequences nor give up any current comforts. Listening to her speak, I reflected on my own life and wondered if I had ever been so ridiculously conflicted about taking ownership while desiring change. To be honest I did recall the time when I too lacked – personal accountability. I remembered when I blamed someone else for where my life was, until I realized how stagnant it made me mentally and physically. 

Being willing to answer….for the outcomes resulting from your choices, behavior and actions.” – Todd Herman. Personal accountability is a consistent commitment to yourself to consciously take ownership and responsibility for the direction of your life. I understand that bad things happen however your response to situations and/or misfortune is often the deciding factor for the path you are now on. I know that accepting personal accountability in all areas of one’s life can be a difficult task if you lack self-awareness. Self-awareness assist in holding yourself accountable for your decisions and actions. It builds character and enriches your personality. I know I can attest to how I feel better allowing myself to accept that it’s ok to make a mistake as long as you self-correct.  

There is growth in your character helps to withstand all that you’ve been through when you assume accountability” – Dr. Leroy E. Adams Jr. I had to write this comment down my fiancĂ© offered in a discussion we were having on the topic of personal accountability. Breaking habits and reconditioning yourself can be a complex process due to how complacent we become in our practiced behavior. If it is brought to my attention that I offended someone, I like to consider their point of view. On my self-improvement journey I’ve learned to accept the negative impact my actions can cause even if I had good intentions. A healthy form of communication helps to alleviate misconceptions and resolve potential problems. Why does this process become such a daunting task to some? Because it means you have to assume accountability, what your actions were and most importantly admit what you could have done better. Your growth can only be hindered if you refuse to acknowledge there is a need to grow. 

So tell me who are you going to blame your life on today? Who’s at fault for you choosing to lose sight of your peace, contentment or joy? Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become character. Watch your character for it becomes your destiny” – Lao Tzu. We know that with our words we can motivate ourselves to do incredible things or we can discourage our own progression. Our words can create intimacy or separation. With our words we can motivate ourselves to do things we never thought we could do or bury us alive. How much has your pattern of thinking allowed you to succeed or be unsuccessful? 

Remember you become what you think, so it is your responsibility to assume ownership of your thoughts and actions. The energy you use to blame others for where you are in life can also be used to figure out a solution to change where you are in life. Remaining idle in a negative space is a choice you make either consciously or sub-consciously. Develop the capacity to be objective about yourself and become self-aware. The woman in the podcast shared how she empowered herself by saying “Your life isn’t someone else’s fault, your life is what you decide to make it, from this point”. The details of her story I didn’t feel were necessary because the essence of what she was saying is universal. We must be mindful in taking personal accountability for our own lives and stop blaming. Your growth is in the lesson of the misfortune so don't give up your power to grow by blaming others. Whatever has happen.....happened, get up from it and move forward! 
Be Courageous & Live Free.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Life Lesson on Overcoming Self-doubt

Today for Monday Motivation, I wanted to repost my reflection on an assignment I completed four years ago. The lesson I learned about myself and overcoming self-doubt were valuable and timeless, so I thought I’d repost the story:

“In my Interpersonal Relationship class I had to do a presentation on resolving conflicts. We were given two nights to present on the first night there was a guy in class who did an amazing job on his verbal and nonverbal communication presentation using an interactive PowerPoint with the audience. Instantly I could sense my overly competitive nature wanting and “needing” to do a better job. I decided to scrap the idea I had initially and come up with something better for the following week my presentation was due. After a few days of brainstorming I came up with the grand idea to do a puppet show. I had previously been nervous with thinking out of the box however settled on doing my presentation via a skit I would write and to be “acted” out by sock puppets, I’d make! Unfortunately, as the time drew nigh I became overwhelmed with fear that I was near tears thinking the presentation would not be received well. I began to believe I would fail. However, I did it anyway, I presented “Pat&Ollie Resolving Interpersonal Conflict” and to my pleasant surprise the show went over extremely well with everyone. I also received extra points for the most creative presentation! *victory dance* I’m sharing because I was nervous and unsure of myself and I almost held myself back from at least trying due to fear. What I learned in that moment of accomplishment was I know sometimes we defeat ourselves before we even take the first step. We create the failure through quitting. My take away is when trying something NEW embrace the fear but do it anyway! It’s ok to be afraid just don’t let it hinder you from thinking outside the box or going after being your best self. #YouAreStrongerthanYouKnow”

I hope today you decide to go after whatever it is you’ve allowed fear to stop you from doing. Time is fleeting if you wait too long……it’ll be gone.  
Live Free!! Be Courageous...

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Twins Series: Summer Reading Review

I haven’t given an update on the summer book series that I planned for my twin sons. I also read the books (or already have) so that I can schedule time for us to share our thoughts. I am delighted to give a positive update about how enjoyable the conversations have all been. Although they were reluctant initially the Twins have become more involved and dare I say eager to share their thoughts and discuss the books along with the major theme and/or topic of the book choice. We began with reading "Unlocking the Truth", our discussion emphasized thinking outside the box and not allowing people to contain you to their limits. We then read Sharon Draper’s "Tears of a Tiger" this particular discussion focused on friendship and suicide. I believe that prevention is in talking about suicide to ensure that your teens don’t feel so isolated that the option to reach out isn’t contemplated.

The next selection was "A Long way Gone" by Ishmael Beah this book was tough due to the hardship that is being currently experienced in the Sub-African countries. The twins appeared to be quite sad about Ishmael’s journey and the loss he suffered. I must say as I consider all the books we’ve read this book stirred the most emotion. Unlike the other book, with this one I observed them reading together, sometimes taking turns to read out loud. I highly recommend the book if anyone is looking for something to read. I needed to be sure they read my high school favorite, by S.E. Hinton “The Outsiders”. The discussion focused on classism and stereotypes. I wanted to be sure they had a healthy comprehension and able to articulate their own thoughts. One aspect I cherish most about reading is being able to think about what I read, considering what I know about the content and formulating my own thoughts/perspective/assessment. I've notice from our first conversations up until now how they actually take the time to process what they've read, think about the questions and share their thoughts. They actually began to present questions and using examples from their life to explain or associate their reasoning.

So yesterday (9/5/17) after an hour and a half of some impressive conversation, I asked one of my favorite questions, “What character impacted you most and how do you identify with them?” Darrin Lee answered first, “Well I liked Scout the most, because she didn’t allow others to tell her how to feel about people or how she should be, she was an individual. I like being a twin but I like being me more. We do things different but I like being my own person” Then John answered, “I liked Tom Robinson the best, because he was a good man that loved and protected his family. He believed in being fair and I like treating people right.” What’s funny is that their character truly reflect the way they answered. John has always been the more caring of the two and Darrin Lee is the twin that will correct you should you call him by the wrong name or say “twin”. He’s also the one that asked me at a young age to stop dressing them alike. J When I inquired about which book out of all the books we’ve read, which book you enjoyed reading the most, and they both said in unison “The Outsiders”. They both stated they liked the “action” and the relationship between Darry, Sodapop and Ponyboy.

The idea to add summer reading for the Twins went so well, I decided to continue. Our conversations alone allow me an opportunity to connect with them about their views and how they feel about various topics and social issues. It’s a joy watching my sons use critical thinking skills and expand their minds. I want them to consider others, be empathetic, accept differences and hold firm to their own values/beliefs. Books allow so many paths to be explored that I dare not place limits on their potential. It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to encourage my sons to do more than just read but pick up a book to be enriched. There’s a quote that says “We lose ourselves in books but we find ourselves there too”.

Our next book selection is “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, not sure what lead me to pick it but variety is good. I’m open to suggestions should you, yes you being the reader, want to share book selections. Thanks in advance and I appreciate your contribution to helping me to continue to parent enthusiastically.    

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The True Defeat

At first glance what does this meme say to you? No really look at it and take a moment to think about it and respond to self. Honestly speaking did you see yourself as the dog or the eagle? How did the situation end? Where were you, mentally when it ended? I saw this meme on social media and was drawn to it because this picture depicted what I see on social media whenever I log in. The amount of energy people use to spread negative and hateful messages is astounding. I call it self-destructive behavior because well essentially it truly only hurts self. (I’ll refer back to the meme as “exhibit A”) This type of self-destructive behavior can be seen in the passive-aggressive and aggressive form.   
Okay so we’ve heard the sayings, "If you dig one ditch you better dig two because the trap you set may just be for you" or how about "holding on to anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die"? For the believers the bible states in Proverbs 26:27, “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.” In my estimation, the true defeat in revenge returns to the hand that dealt it. I often use social media as an observation tool to help me pinpoint patterns in human behavior, test theories and make general assessments. Personally I had to reevaluate my own social media interaction and retain a better handle on being triggered and responding to negativity. A few years ago as I engaged in a war of words with a complete stranger and I remember thinking “What am I gaining?” I believe that question is vital to the individual that actively seeks revenge.
Vengeance is a monster of appetite, forever bloodthirsty and never filled.—Richelle E. Goodrich
It’s like chasing waterfalls, an intangible dream with no thought of the consequences. Take one look at the dog in “exhibit A” and we can see how that scenario will end. Please don't invest a lot of time and energy chasing issues, situations and people that are beyond your control. You can be more productive resolving personal concerns and concentrating on self-improvement help in the betterment of your daily living.  

Revenge can only be found on the road to self-destruction.—Wayne Gerard Trotman
If you are not careful the essence of who you are can be consumed and damaged. So many people are never able to notice how deep the pit they are in is until hopelessness and loneliness appears. The dog is so obsessed with snatching the eagle out the sky, he’s lost sight of the road….well the lack thereof. So tell me, why aren’t you more important to YOU than the person/situation you’re after? Note: non-verbal (actions) supersede the verbal (words).

Revenge is not worthy of you. If you concentrate on revenge, you will keep those wounds fresh that would otherwise have healed.—Adeline Yen Mah
Healing is a response to an injury this sets into motion a sequence of events to restoration, physically and emotionally. I read that there are basically four phases to the healing process as it pertains to the physical. I won’t go in-depth because the research is for an analogy I’m using on another blog but dammit it’s fitting so I will use some information. Ok so the four phases a wound goes through are: the hemostasis, inflammatory phase, proliferation phase, and maturation. There are absolutely no suggestions made that one should pick over the wound, pour salt in it or consistently stare at said wound. The phases show how the body identifies what’s going on, takes action essential to fixing what’s wrong, covers the wound to allow time for it to recover and gain strength. This physical healing process resemble what is necessary for emotional healing.   

The best way to refocus, readjust an attitude and remove a self-destructive cycle after being wounded by life/person/people is to identify, cleanse, learn and apply. Identify what you’re feeling, why and where you are emotionally. Learn what it will take to help you cleanse yourself of negative emotions so that you don’t become consumed. Apply what you’ve learn so that you can eliminate self-destructive behavior releasing revenge for YOU. Why? Because you are more important than what happen to you, or didn’t happen for you. I know how-to steps always sound so simple however I understand all too well that the steps to transforming is the process of improvement. Let’s face it you don't want to be the German Shepard in the picture so consumed with snatching the eagle from the sky that he has lost focus on remaining grounded. He's allowed his pursuit to take him to the edge and possibly his demise. The moment he realizes his surroundings it will be too late and the eagle will continue to do what he/she was born to do, fly higher.

Moral: Be the Eagle, beware of the dogs and don’t be the cause of your own defeat.

Be Strong and Live Free