Monday, July 4, 2011

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Loving Ourselves Unconditionally By Melody Beattie

Love yourself into health and a good life of your own. Love yourself into relationships that work for you and the other person. Love yourself into peace, happiness, joy success, and contentment.
Love yourself into all that you always wanted. We can stop treating ourselves the way others treated us, if they behaved in a less than healthy, desirable way. If we have learned to see ourselves critically, conditionally, and in a diminishing and punishing way, it’s time to stop. Other people have treated us that way, but it’s even worse to treat ourselves that way now.
Loving ourselves may seem foreign, even foolish at times. People may accuse us of being selfish. We don’t have to believe them.
People who love themselves are truly able to love others and let others love them. People who love themselves and hold themselves in high esteem are those who give the most, contribute the most, and love the most.
How do we love ourselves? Buy forcing it at first. By faking if necessary. By “acting as if.” By working hard at loving and liking ourselves as we did at not liking ourselves.
Explore what it means to love yourself. Do things for yourself that reflect compassionate, nurturing, self-love.
Embrace and love all of yourself---past, present and future. Forgive yourself quickly and as often as necessary. Encourage yourself. Tell yourself good things about yourself.
If we think and believe negative ideas, get them out in the open quickly and honestly, so we can replace those beliefs with better ones.
Pat yourself on the back when necessary. Discipline yourself when necessary. Ask for help, for time; ask for what you need.
Sometimes, give yourself treats. Do not treat yourself like a pack mule, always pushing and driving harder. Learn to be good to yourself. Choose behaviors with preferable consequences---treating yourself as one.
Learn to stop your pain, even when it means making difficult decisions. Do not unnecessarily deprive yourself. Sometimes, give yourself what you want, just because you want it.
Stop explaining and justifying yourself. When you make mistakes, let them go. We learn, we grow, and we learn some more. And through it all, we love ourselves.
We work at it, and then work at it some more. One day we’ll wake up, look in the mirror, and find that loving ourselves has become habitual. We’re now living with a person who gives and receives love, because that person loves him- or herself. Self-love will take hold and become a guiding force in our life.
Today, I will work at loving myself. I will work hard at loving myself as I have at not liking myself. Help me let go of self-hate and behaviors that reflect not liking myself. Help me replace those with behaviors that reflect self-love. Today, God, help me hold my self in high esteem. Help me know I’m lovable and capable of giving and receiving love.

--An excerpt from Melody Beattie’s Language of Letting Go

Friday, July 1, 2011

What Would You Do Friday

I always considered myself a pretty smart girl, with good values and morals and high
standards. I had made up my mind that I was not going to fall for the okie doke. I had it
all planned out, I was going to finish high school, go to college , fall in love and get
married at the age of 25 and have two kids by the time I was thirty. My husband was
going to be tall, dark and handsome and totally in love with me. In exchange for his love
I was going to present him with my virginity on our wedding night.
Unfortunately it didnʼt turn out quite that way. Instead I was pregnant at seventeen and
a mother at eighteen. A statistic, a big disappointment to myself and my family.
Eventually though I had to get over my disappointment and figure out how to take care
of myself and my daughter. I got a job at the local mall and started Community College.
My life seem to be getting back on track and I started to feel good about myself again. I
met this guy at work and he was really cute and nice. We started flirting with each other
and we became friends. I told him I had a baby but he didnʼt seem to mind. He even
dropped me off home after work a couple of times and met my daughter. He said she
was really cute and funny. He finally asked me out and I eagerly accepted. I was so
excited and must have changed outfits about six times.We went to the movies and
afterwards went to get something to eat. At the end of dinner he asked me if I wanted to
go to a hotel!! I was stunned and insulted. I told him of course not for what?? He was
pissed off! I told him to take me home. In the car on the way home he gave me the
silent treatment. My feelings was crushed. When we pulled up in front of my house. he
turned to me and told me “I donʼt see what the big deal is? Hell you ainʼt no virgin and
you already having sex. You already have a baby so what you saving it for???

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Story From The Pages of Our Lives--By: "Lola"

 This is a testimony from one of our loyal readers. She asked me to post this as apart of he delivery. Please leave words of encouragement and love! Thanks for the support!

I will never forget the day. It was Fatherʼs Day weekend and I was still grieving the loss
of my parents, but was hiding behind the pretense of being helper/savior to my best
Friend and God Daughters, who had suffered their own tragic loss. Feeling lonely and
trying to find my way in life as a 24 year old. My friend was newly engaged and the girls
seemed to be doing much better. So here I was feeling down and depressed because it
was Fatherʼs Day weekend AND my birthday, I had nothing to do and no one to
celebrate with. Every one was busy or just didnʼt take birthdays as seriously as I did at
the time. So I decided to take a drive to clear my head and ending up at the Rainbow
City Flea Market. A place for trendy fashions accessories, local hood delicacies and
vultures preying on young ladies with kind hearts. Excited that I had found my favorite
hair care products,vI was walking out the door with a big smile on my face and then I
heard a voice. “Come here sexy! Over here Mami!” (red flag!) I looked up to see this
fine guy decked out in baggy jeans, gold chain and head scarf (red flag!) I really wanted
the attention so I ignored the warning signs and turned around. He looked like the
typical bad boy and modern day thug. Definitely not the type interested in a shy, chubby
bookworm. I decided to throw caution to the wind and live in the moment for a change. I
was tired of following all the rules, doing the right things and being Ms. Goody Two
Shoes. By the time I left he had my phone number, home address and my permission
to stop by so we could get to know each other a little better. I was so flattered when I
learned he was a former NFL football star and we would spend hours talking about all
his game highlights, his close friendship with local celebrities and national rap stars.
Before I knew it, I was hanging out at all the local hotspots and rubbing elbows with his
celebrity friends.I found myself staying out all night, dressing and acting out of
character, missing and calling in late for work. I was in total awe of my new lifestyle.
Never mind that all of his great moments was in the past and he was essentially
unemployed. I mean after all he was working on a “major record deal”. Forget the fact
that after a few weeks, more and more bags started showing up at my apartment and
he was practically staying over every night. Although I was enjoying every minute of it,
deep down inside I knew something wasnʼt right, I felt powerless and spellbound. Before
long tragedy struck. My God daughter told me he tried to kiss her! Of course he denied
it and said she had a crush on it. But I knew better! I was pissed and I came to my
senses and accepted the fact that he was a user, liar, a cheater and a worthless
asshole looking for the easy way out, living off of his glory days and failed attempts at
the NFL. I broke it off and after a couple of months I was finally beginning to feel like
my old self. One night I was sitting at my computer writing and I heard a tap on my glass
sliding door. I looked up and there he was smiling and asking me if we could we talk. I
told him there was nothing to talk about, but he starting getting loud. Against my better
judgement, I let him in because I didnʼt want him to cause a scene. He closed the blinds
and threw me on the floor. He pinned me down and began to violently rape me!! Saying
and doing the most horrible and degrading things to me. It was the most terrifying
experience of my life and until today I have never shared it with anyone except my
husband. I kept it a secret out of shame and humiliation. I told myself I deserved it
because I knew better and because of the horrible attempt he made to my loved one. I
felt like no one would believe me or even care for that matter. I wanted to die, because
although I knew he was trouble from the beginning, I chose to live in the moment. For
five years it has been this deep dark secret that I have kept inside myself. Today I
chose to be free! I am no longer willing to be a hostage to a wrong that is not mine.
God has been so good to me!! Mine is a story of survival, healing and redemption.
Thanks to Godʼs Grace and Mercy I am now in a happy and healthy relationship. Please
donʼt make the same mistakes I did. Trust your instincts and the God in you.
Sometimes we have to follow our head instead of our heart. Giving your power and
yourself to unworthy people is not worth the heartache and anguish you will suffer.
When I think about the fact that my God daughter could have been hurt, it tears me up
inside. Trust God, He will send you everything and the one you need in HIS time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

“Our Power is in our ability to decide.” Jill Welsh

I remember the first time I fell in love. That excitement and anticipation, every thought
consumed with him, even in my dreams. At the time I was seventeen, idealistic,
optimistic and totally vulnerable. Willing to make any sacrifice, sleep, school, friendships
and my motherʼs disapproval, just to make him smile. At the time I though he was
Romeo and I was Juliet. So I willingly gave him my power and I believed everything he
said about me. It was if I didnʼt even exist prior to knowing him. I became a chameleon,
changing in an instant ready to satisfy his every whim. I now realize it was a recipe for
disaster. And of course I got my heart broken, my spirit crushed and it changed me
forever. It stole my innocence, my softness, my belief in fairytales and my willingness to
ever love with that much abandon. In retrospect, I now know that I was as much to
blame if not more than he was. It was unfair of me to allow someone else to have that
much power over me and expect him to be able to nurture and care for it. After all he
was only human, flawed and imperfect, just as I was. The blame is mine for not realizing
how valuable I really was. For not setting the standard for how I wanted to be treated
and for not drawing the line in the sand. When things didnʼt work out I thought I was
going to die.. but of course I lived. I emerged stronger, wiser and independent. I vowed
to never allow anyone else to treat me badly, take my feelings for granted and having
control over me. It took that heartbreak to teach me how to set the standard, define my
morals and own my power. That heartbreak taught me that I had a voice and no one
else no matter how much they say they love you is going to take care of me better than
me. I learned that it was up to me to determine my worth. It doesnʼt matter how cute,fine, popular or rich he is. The bottom line is if he doesnʼt value you or respect you he is not going to be capable of loving you. And as quiet as itʼs kept, love is not enough!

--Lesson from a Lioness

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Jar of Bloody Hearts.....

“You can’t undo anything you’ve already done, but you can face up to it, seek forgiveness and let God do the rest.”  Anonymous

Someone once told me that you can never find yourself until you face the truth. So here are my confessions.   Although I have allowed myself to be the victim in many situations, the truth is I have also been the perpetrator.  The sad reality is I used to be beast, insensitive, heartless and uncaring about the feelings of others, until I met my match and was stopped cold in my tracks. It really is true that you reap what you sow. Everything happens for a reason and experiencing heartache made me come face to face with the fact that I too had been reckless and thoughtless in matters of the heart.  Although I may never speak to these gentlemen again, I still feel the need to reconcile things:

To My Athlete: Although we were very young, you loved me in the most gentle and caring way and I didn’t appreciate it. I took your kindness for weakness and used you as my trophy for the entire world to see. Always there for me no matter how callous and selfish I was.  You were PERFECT and I didn’t even see your worth because everything was all about me.  When I finally realized that you were the guy that I heard about in all the best love songs, you had moved on. The love you once had for me, bitter and rotten, shriveled beyond recognition, irretrievably broken and dead.    Even though it is my loss, I am glad that you found that special someone who has given you all the things that you deserve. I apologize sincerely and know that it may be a non-factor to you.

To the Ex-Bestie:  Things could have been so much better if I had only had the courage to tell you that I didn’t love you, the way you loved me. I lost the best friend I ever had because in my selfishness I cross the boundaries, forever marring the innocence of our friendship. Although I haven’t talked to you in years, even now I know you would forgive me in a heartbeat, because that’s the kind of honor and integrity you have.  Faithful, loyal and true blue. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about our friendship and how good you were to me. There is no doubt in my mind that you are the man that you have always strived to be. Please forgive me for my thoughtlessness, and selfishness. I really do know better now.

To the Engineer: SMH, I treated you  so bad, when all you wanted to do was love me and I took you for granted.  Words cannot express how sorry I am for the heartbreak I caused you. At the time, I didn’t think I was wrong, but I in fact was doing major damage. I apologize for stringing you along for all that time, and keeping you there for my convenience. Instead of being brave enough to endure things on my own. Although I told myself it was a mutually beneficial relationship, the truth is I used you to distract me and you did not deserve that.  I wonder all the time if you have yet forgiven me for what I did. The last time we spoke, I knew you were done with me and in my arrogance, I really didn’t even care. When my heart was bleeding and I realized I was only  reaping what I sowed, I tried calling you a thousand times to try and make things right.  I hope eventually you can and will find it in your heart to forgive me.

Women too have the power to hurt.  We need to look in the mirror and face our truth. How many broken and bloody hearts have you collected?  The law of reciprocity assures that you will reap what you have sowed.    I too have stolen power, manipulated, deceived and played games. I thank God everyday that I am not the same person.  In my quest to live my truth I seek redemption and liberation. It is my prayer that these magnificent men aren’t making a good woman pay for the mistakes I made.

--Lioness in Waiting

Monday, June 27, 2011

No One Man Can Have All My Power

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they donʼt have any.” Alice Walker

It was a beautiful day and I was looking forward to just relaxing and getting some much needed rest and then out of the blue the phone rings and one conversation changed everything. I hung up and all of a sudden it hit me that once again I had let him steal my joy and my peace. We have all met that someone special where just the sound of his voice, his presence or a gesture makes you weak. I am sure it is not a unique story; you meet someone, fall in love and make him or her the center of your universe. Before you know it you realize that you have willingly gift-wrapped all your power and dignity into a lovely package and handed it over to someone else. In an ideal world, he loves you back and values you and your trust and handles it with tender loving care. Unfortunately that is not my story and my experience. I had to learn the hard way that most people canʼt handle that much power and ultimately I was trying to take the easy way out. If I gave them my power then that means I don’t have to be responsible for anything. My happiness and my well-being becomes someone else responsibility and all I have to do is wait on them to make it happen.

The journey to owing my own power and taking responsibility for my own happiness has been a painful one, It is a trail littered with lies, deception, denial and bloody hearts (both mine and others). My unwillingness to take responsibility for my happiness have led me to some abusive, controlling and even dangerous situations. Unfortunately as much as I would love to blame my disappointment and suffering on someone else, it is ultimately my responsibility. In order for me to take possession of my power, I have had to face some brutal truths. The most difficult being that I am responsible for my own happiness. DAMN, why canʼt
someone else do it? The truth is we canʼt experience true happiness until we are happy with ourselves. I have had to accept the fact that no one else can solve my problems for me. It is my responsibility to deal with and work my way through my own stuff. In order for me to own my power, I have had to be honest about the fact that although there may be situations in which I am powerless (I canʼt control other people thoughts, actions or behavior). BUT I am not trapped in any situation. I have the right to remove myself from any situation I am unhappy with. I DO NOT have to stay anywhere I am unhappy. I am NOT helpless. And I have the right to take care of MYSELF in any circumstance with any person. I have the right to do what is BEST for me!!

--Lioness in Waiting