Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Saying NO!!

I’m sitting here typing out my talking points for the support group I facilitate. I remember when I first started, I was sure to really just observe initially taking the time to listen actively to the stories being shared the non-verbal expressed and the words not said. Due to my desire to help those who are hurting my first instinct was to encourage but I needed to be a student before I could help as a “teacher”.  I began to create topical handouts that were created from the stories shared my hope has always been to empower them to trust again, love again, try again and believe in themselves to go Live!
 I often share with my Guy my thoughts and ideas and he gives great feedback and impeccable insight so in reference to this particular handout he stated “… encompasses ways on self-empowerment”, my heart smiled because that’s exactly what I want it to do. Empowering yourself goes further than we realize it’s unfortunate we don’t get to see just how much we miss out on when turning a blind eye to the many positive aspects that surround us due to being consumed by the negatives or traumatic experiences. I remember the days, weeks, months, years I sat and nursed all my woes (problems, attitudes, missed opportunities) along with those who would join me and help feed the negativity or bring their own woes. I fed guilt, regret, anger, sadness and a broken heart like they were my children.
There is this one quote that states “give yourself the permission to say NO to anything that makes you unhappy and drains your energy!” It’s not difficult for me to say no to others however during that time I found it somehow difficult to say NO to myself and allowed myself to get mad and stay mad, choose to hold grudges or be angry to the point of ruining multiple days. I embraced sadness and lived in regret allowing those feelings to consume my thoughts, my actions and/or behavior. It took time, truthful self-evaluating and change to get me to a point to alter the way I think and allow into my heart & mind.
My handout for tonight’s session is simply titled “Saying NO!” I wanted to share because it’s like my Guy said self-empowering! Now typically I go through a “spill” prior to giving the handouts, then we discuss by personalizing the topic which creates an atmosphere of openness and supporting each other. So a few discussion points on encouraging you to saying NO to you or any life circumstances that may try stopping you from reaching your place of living Free and Happy!
¨  Negative Thoughts: If there is one thing I’ve learned studying God’s word, psychology and multiple counseling theories it’s that your mind is your sacred space and to lose it would be detrimental. What do you typically think about?  Do you focus on how far you’ve come, or how far you have to go?  Do you place emphasis on your strengths or your weaknesses? Do you contemplate the best that could happen or the worst that might come to be? You can close the windows to your mind and darken your space, or you can open the windows and let light in it’s always your choice. Pay attention to your self-talk because a lot of what you say to yourself determines how you feel and conduct yourself. Say NO to negative thinking.

¨  Settling: Don’t settle for less than your worth! Being able to start or create something better in your life you have to be motivated! Moving yourself from a place of being stagnant will involve you placing distance between yourself non-progressive relationships and situations to see things clearly.  Sometimes growing up means growing apart from old habits and finding new things/hobbies that truly inspire the maturing you! Look within and explore what gets you so excited you can’t wait to go get it, that’s what life is all about.  Say NO to settling.

¨  Outside Negative Influence If you don’t value yourself, look out for yourself and stick up for yourself, you become vulnerable to the manipulation, mistreatment and misuse by others.  You do not have control over what others say and do; but you do have control over whether or not you will allow them to say and do these things to you by staying. You alone can deny their poisonous words and actions from invading your heart and mind. Remember, to protect and respect your sacred inner space, say NO to outside negativity.

¨  Unhealthy Relationships: This isn’t just for romantic involvement it’s any relationship you have that may be toxic! Choose your relationships wisely being alone will never cause as much loneliness or heartache as the negative relationships. Iron sharpens iron, be among those who will help to make you better, correct you when you are wrong and encourage you during weak moments. Leaving the wrong relationship has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength!  Say NO to unhealthy relationships

¨  Holding on to mistakes and regret: If you're thinking at all about uncluttering your life and cleaning up your space, start with the things that are truly useless, like old regrets, shame, and unforgiveness. Let me quote Erykah Badu “Bag lady you gone hurt your back….dragging all them bags like that…I guess nobody ever told you…All you must hold onto, is YOU, so pack light!” You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading your previous one. Take the necessary steps to find ways to live through what’s happen because you owe it to yourself to be free of any shame or regret. Say NO to regret!


“Saying yes when you need to say no, you cripple the most important relationship in your life: the relationship between you and you.” ~Nea Joy


BE Strong and Live Free

Thursday, April 14, 2016

....with Humility comes Wisdom

I was discussing humility with a friend last week it was quite thought provoking so much so I found myself reviewing our discussion.  Of course this always makes me go into this desire for information overload and I research and read until my fingers go numb and my eyes beg for mercy. Lucky for my fingers and eyes I’ve been way too busy to spend the time to research, read and then compose how I feel. So I’m “shooting from the hip” on this one.
I want to begin with a quote I have on my desk about humility my personal interpretation of what humility looks like to me and some of the statements made in conversation. I must forewarn you that I’m running on fumes so if I began to ramble blame it on the alcohol I wish I was drinking right now. I’ve been working excessively for the last week and I’m starting to feel it!

 I wanted to talk about humility and how I have often observed the way an overabundance of pride will cause a person to miss the lesson life is attempting to teach. One of the comments I made during my discussion about humility is “I’ve learned how to humble myself through my adversities because what I figured out is when I don’t it tends to happen again. I watch others go through difficult situations come out with minimum repercussions or by the skin of their teeth and not have an ounce of humility from what they’ve been through”.  Internally I wanted to know why some people don’t but I then I swiftly decided to focus on why I now do. Maybe just maybe by doing that something else will reveal itself.  
The first quote I have to share is one that I’ve had on my desk for about 8 years or more, it’s a quote by Ezra Taft Benson, who I believe was Christian of the LDS faith. He states “Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right”. I believe I retrieved the quote from a picture frame that was used as a centerpiece at a women’s retreat I attended some many years ago. I remember thinking while sitting at the table how I didn’t want to be so prideful that I would not be effective in ministry work. I was given the frame and I placed it on my desk and referred to the quote when conflict appeared in my life. The quote helped me to take self out and concentrate on what would be the best course of action as it relates to the Word of God. Of course this would usually cause inner struggle between my flesh and spirit. I’m honest enough to admit that my flesh would win from time to time because a lot of my conflictual problems were marital. However the process of taking the time out to think about “being more concerned for what’s right than just being right” began to become second nature, compelling me to follow the path of doing what’s right.

We don’t often see ourselves as prideful; I mean how many times have you heard someone state “Hey I’m just too prideful to admit I’m wrong!”?  Being too prideful will take you to a place of justifying, blaming and losing sight of the message. How many times have you been able just to take full ownership of something that didn’t turn out right due to your choices? Did you say “I was wrong.”?  I mean just really took ownership with no excuses coupled only with a sincerely remorseful heart. You see, that’s part of what I think humility is! It is a masterful balance between thinking less of self, your feelings or how this will make you look to others and yet empowering yourself. Humility allows you to enrich your inner strength with wisdom that many desire to have but haven’t acquired. It’s being able to see that others are just as important as you are no matter your status in life.  It understands that I have to truly embrace that I don’t know everything and still could be taught valuable life lessons at any age by someone younger, older, richer, poorer and less educated or from a different culture.  
My embrace of humility is due to a combination of things such as; a difficult period in my life, education, opening up my mind to listen to others and wanting those around me to experience happiness. Ok let me close, because I will ramble. :) I must end with Mr. Chronicle of Narnia himself, C.S. Lewis, who states that “true humility is not thinking less of yourself it’s thinking of yourself less.” Humbling yourself doesn’t make you the weaker vessel it actually strengthens the vessel that you are in. ~LatriceRenee

Be Strong! Live Free!!  

Saturday, April 2, 2016

In the words of Maya Angelou....."and still I Rise"!

I can probably count on one hand how many times I’ve been humiliated. I’m sure others may have had more experiences than I have and probably to a degree of greater severity. What I can express is how much I loathe enduring the emotions that transpire while being humiliated. The shock that happens during this time all but paralyzes your vocal cords rendering you speechless. The anxiety and embarrassment overwhelms your sensory. The anger, my goodness the anger makes you want to vindicate yourself “by any means necessary” as Malcolm X would say.  However as with anything I’ve encountered in this stage of my life, I actively seek out the opportunity for self-improvement. This is a tough one though; I mean how do you turn an experience that crushes your spirit in the presence of others into an empowering lesson?
Humiliation involves an event that demonstrates unequal power in an encounter where you are in the inferior position and unjustly diminished. I understand that there are multiple ways a person can experience being humiliated so for the sake of clarity I’m speaking to being placed in a position where someone is misusing their power/authority over you. Often the painful experience of being humiliated can be vividly remembered for a long time, if the individual allows it to consume every aspect of their thought process. It’s difficult to reach a point beyond being humiliated but it can be done.  Now I haven’t quite figured out a magic remedy or ran across a fabulous five step plan to give you; I’m just sharing my personal perspective and opinion. I took a rigorous self-inventory, you know really just thought about every facet of what happened. What did I do? What didn’t I do? What could I have done better? I wasn’t looking to excuse the other person’s behavior however I understand how we can become our own worst enemies if we aren’t extremely honest with self about our role and what if possible, could have been done differently.
The “inspiration” for today’s writing stems from a recent experience I had three days ago. I don’t really want to go into many details however I should at least inform you all of the following to assist you should your mind starts to prejudge;
  • This isn’t a situation that needed a judgment
  • This was only a hearing of inquiry for information
  • I’m not now nor have I ever been a criminal.
Ok with that being said here’s the short version of what happen.  Being the custodial parent with physical and legal custody of my kids, I scheduled some time to meet with the judge that recently made a ruling over my daughter’s trust. I was not notified that there was a petition made to withdraw a substantial amount of money by the EX conservator of my daughter’s trust. The ex conservator was granted the money despite being prosecuted and convicted, by this very same judge for basically stealing and gambling some of the trust money. The day of the hearing (side note: which I had to request after finding out) I patiently waited to be heard on three main concerns; to have the conservator officially removed, request to be notified should any other petition for withdrawals be made and inquire about having the trust being changed to a college fund.  I was called to the front, and asked “What are you here for?” before I could get a complete sentence out I was berated and ridiculed by the judge in front of others. It was as if he blamed me for his poor decision making. I paused due to being stunned mostly and waited for the opportunity to speak.  After I sheepishly attempted to state that his initial assumptions were false he then proceeded to interrupt me again to make another unfounded assumption louder and in a more belittling tone. I thought to myself “hey you should probably leave”. It was all becoming a bit too excruciating to stand there.
“Thank you for your time Judge ---, but I can see this isn’t getting me anywhere”, with that statement I grabbed my purse and made a beeline for the door. There was no desire to battle him with words or counter in a disrespectful manner. I cried as I shared my awful encounter with my guy. Its tough going into a courthouse, I mean seriously you are already feeling anxious about being there. Or is that just be me? It didn’t help that I was addressing a judge known to have a haughty attitude and consistently gets the lowest ratings from the state’s bar association due to his unfair rulings.  
In an effort to adhere to one of my goals “aspire to inspire”, I thought about how could I turn this horrible experience around, what could i glean from this? I decided to do a few things.
First, I accepted that it happened and allowed myself to be idle while I processed through my emotions. Life can be a persistent teacher and learning a lesson the first time helps to hinder a reoccurrence. It was an unfortunate and hurtful situation but it wasn’t going to consume another day of my life. What happen was more about his inability to accept his fault and poor judgment than it was about me, so there was no need for me to hold on to that negativity he spewed.
Secondly, one of the actions I took to affirm that my feelings were valid was researching what measures that could be taken to be heard, helped mentally. I know that my status as a divorce middle class working mom isn’t viewed by society as prestigious as a sitting judge but in my heart I know no one has the right to abuse their position of authority. There is a Commission on Judicial Qualifications that according to the law of this state review complaints of misconduct by a judge. Yes it sounds like the “police policing the police” however doing something was better than doing nothing no matter the outcome.
Lastly, I’ve decided to be proactive in moving beyond the whole incident. I mailed the letter off the other day, and decided to write about humiliation as part of my plan of “letting go”. This doesn’t mean I’m discounting the way I felt or what happen but what I am doing is choosing to grow and when you are growing you are moving away from one place to the next.  
This was a difficult situation but I’ve got through tougher situations. Being proactive in practicing to face your emotions without running away and shrinking when they manifest, helps you in processing through those feelings that may arise inside of you. Again I ask, how do you turn an experience that crushes your spirit in the presence of others into an empowering lesson? Accept it! Take Action! Advance ahead!

Be strong and Live Free!