Preferencing this discussion with a disclaimer would be appropriate: I speak from a place of knowledge that includes my personal experiences as a mother, co-parent, former spouse, step-daughter, daughter, niece, girlfriend, aunt, confidant and everything in between.
Today I see a lot of post where sentiments are shared, wishing Father’s Day to men who matter – patriarchal figures, brothers, brother-in-laws, male cousins, dawgs (in the words of brotherly love among black males), grandfathers, uncles, nephews and the list continues. Everyone has a narrative about how men have showed up in their life, changing them or impacting them in one away or another. However, this isn’t about the fathers today. This post is about the females and mothers who I am challenging to deposit more positive thoughts in the minds of our children who may be distant from their fathers because children aren’t given permission (verbal & nonverbal) to exercise independent thinking particularly in post-divorce and blended family situations.
Conversely, I am further requesting any person who is in a blended family to think outside of what you are used to. Think beyond your past, understanding that you are the product of your mindset. If you choose to be emotionally stuck in your past you will remain there unable to process that you deserve better. Also know that if you decide to actively live with your former self your current situation is more than you deserve and your self value will require an assessment before you enter a new relationship. The message here is that RECEIVING acceptance from whom you are with today is a risk because we each carry scars from our ex’s for our new partner to unpack, tolerate, refurbish and nurture.
What’s the relevancy you ask? Sentiments are ways of expression. How what we say, when we say it and to whom on what day is all correlated. Again – how we say what we say to whom on what day has a lot to do with what we are feeling. Today is one of those days where emotions are driving the narratives we post on Father’s Day. Let’s be mindful that we women can change the narrative about how our men think and how the way they love. We carry the power! Our children will follow our direction in post divorce situations so why not deposit positive narratives in placement of any unhealed takeaways we had with their father?
Men are so different insomuch that most of what they think they know is not accurate at all or most of what they want to know they cannot handle. Their mindset is usually one-directional where when they are challenged with a different way of thinking it is sometimes an uphill battle to defend instead of receive because the ‘head of household’ mindset they’ve adopted overrides the holistic needs of the family and inadvertently results in miscommunication instead of open communication. So there is work to be done between the genders for healthier dialog.
It is when we (women) are able to understand the inner workings of how our man perceives his role in our lives and in the lives of our children we can better communicate ways on how dads / patriarchs can become physically, emotionally and mentally involved in relationships. Therefore, ladies let us channel our strength to build and deposit love about our men (past or present) into our children so they grow mature in their understanding about how to navigate relationships of all kind on their own because there is so much beauty in one’s ability to articulate what they feel and how they feel without judgement. Let us all do our part in the love deposit circle of creating a community of children who can independently love both parents in respective ways.
For more than a decade and counting my confidant, my Dad, my friend who I once spoke to every day and my star was diagnosed with a neurological disease that has changed the course of our relationship. It was not until 2.5 years ago that I became a closet daughter to his illness. In other words, I could not bring myself to accept, recognize, talk about or even respond to questions about his wellbeing or whereabouts because angst would visit me first before I could utter a word.
It has been agonizing since then to put words to paper, voice to his wellbeing or even foresight to his condition and how our family has been impacted by what has and is occurring.
So today I am deciding to be brave about how a neurological-health diagnosis is taking front seat, bringing with it so many formations that are both unrecognizable and heartbreaking to witness.
This is my story and I am the daughter, who is giving voice to an emotional wound that has numbed me for too long. Yet, I am making a conscious decision to feel and to give voice to what I know will be a challenging road ahead for me and our family.
Take care of your loved ones.
And make sure your friends, family and loved ones know how much and how often they are valued.
There is a place called Value that resembles you having your peace and leaving another with their peace at the end of an argument. Operating from Value also occurs when you are in another’s company and you notice an enhanced emotion or wellbeing versus an observation of melancholy or sadness from your engagement – where the former, is adding value to the outcome. I had a conversation with my teen this morning that left me teary-eyed not because it was a sad conversation, but more so a dialog that had me hoping she’d share the same with her offspring one day.
“Always operate from a place of Value” when you have relationships with people, I explained. Her eyes hinted at a further explanation and I began to share the following with her. Any time you are with someone, e.g. friend, relative, significant other, aunt, parent or in a professional setting, you want to aim at leaving the table having had a positive impact on the person’s life where the next encounter brings not only joy but spiritual uplifting and emotional wellbeing for both parties, particularly the other party. Before she could ask what I meant, I elaborated using myself as an example.
At 49-years old in October, I am welcoming situations that add value to either my presence, life, emotional state, holistic wellbeing and time because anything or anyone that goes against this desire or request is negating from my self-healing, growth and presence. Too often we see couples break up to later learn they are now at each other’s throat because of a promise made that now, suddenly, cannot be trusted from the other’s mouth who they previously loved. Crazy? No, accurate. What about a situation that invites a misunderstanding and now both parties involved are leaving the table with inconceivable stress that didn’t exist before?
Both aforementioned vignettes are discounts to one’s health; thus, taking away from what could have been avoided to begin with. Adding Value simply means enhancing one’s present situation, e.g. offering a smile to brighten up their day; validating their point of view or emotion or even something as simple as trusting their truth because from this delivers an exchange of harmony, peace, respect and dignity. Conversely, when we don’t bring Value with us, we do just the opposite: we deposit reservations, invite stress, create strife and may leave emotional scars that are all sometimes challenging to correct yet are unavoidable.
How do we add Value? Arriving at the answer is simple, yet not simply stated because one may say ‘treat the person the way you want to be treat,’ which begs a question? Is the person doing the treatment treating her/himself the way s/he ‘knows’ is the best treatment for themselves?! Therefore, adding Value requires you to assess and evaluate your purpose by looking from the outside in and arriving at your answer when you know that your objective should be to leave the person in a better state of mind or in a better emotional space.
So, if you find this a challenging task – don’t, just envision how you could benefit if you were the recipient! Promise yourself to add Value and if you are incapable of doing so, don’t negate. Don’t take away! Aim to always ADD!
Recently asked by my counselor, and I paraphrase, “Each time you leave you expect a different outcome,” when I explained about how each visit home rarely ends the way I expect – on a positive note. “Felita, I’ve never seen anyone so hopeful” about potentially Correcting the Wrongs of such a difficult relationship she explained when I began to question my sanity.
Be it what it may, I will forever vow to do my part, show my face, lend my hand, reach out with full effort and defend my belief, which is – continue to make small, forward steps so that when you reflect on your habits in the past tense you can exist in your present state saying that you’ve tried to do your best with what you have and with what is before you.
This weekend was a good one and today was a great day! My time was spent with whom, where and how I wanted, and I feel good about listening to my own intuition instead. Although the clouds hovered, I managed to create my own Sunshine.
Although I was bitter about going to my late afternoon session I left with great takeaways! My typical one-hour session usually begins at 11:00 AM on Saturdays, but because there are so many wounded persons like me who are seeking their healing my energy was channeled elsewhere. I thought, adaptability is far more important so adjust your mindset (is what I told myself).
Today was a great day, and I left more equipped with tools and resources I will begin to apply for small improvements. The takeaway from my session, and I paraphrase “If you were full (engaged in present activities for self-nourishment), you wouldn’t be seeking things and results from an empty well,” she explained. I didn’t quite grasp the message in my two previous sessions, but this time her message resonated: don’t expect things from people who are without the things you need or are unable to comprehend your request.
So how does this analogy equate to self and what practices are employable for one’s healing? Below are a few tips to keep in mind – not in any specific order:
- You must do your own work to receive results
- You must be willing to make small steps first
- If you accept mediocre, you will receive no different
- You cannot want more for a person than they want for themselves
- Stand in your own judgement before you stand in another’s judgement
- Know the journey to healing is a slow, methodical and strategic practice
- Be willing and receptive to embracing your brokenness in exchange for proper repair
- Know that your reach to someone or for something great may yield an empty return
There are others, but these are a few!
I vividly recall my session. It was day 3 after I found my new counselor. The person I had looked for when I began calling a list of individual & family therapists who would meet my standards was exciting, overwhelming, scary, promising, yet fearful.
She knew I’d be a handful when I initially called her, outlining exactly what I needed for my emotional-mental therapy! “Are you African American; are you older than 50 and are you credentialed in family therapy?” were the questions asked of her. “Yes, I am, but why?” I continued to explain that my personal issues directly stem from systemic patterns in the black community that negatively impacts relationships I have with loved ones, inadvertently affecting friendships.
I had reached a point of lethargy! The intersection of what to do + where to go was too confusing for me to navigate. After all these years I had finally run out of tools and resources on this solo ride to self-healing. A plateau. I needed professional, clinical intervention but not at the hands of a novice.
She needed to know the depth of my hurt and wounds without being coached. I had to have someone who could not only relate, but look me eye-to-eye and break through my guarded heart and passive-agressive assertions to see my bullshit. This professional had to also be a ‘she’ because I know that effective empathy + combined wit + careful delivery would give me a safe space to talk. This was vitally important because I am particularly known to shut off emotions and recoil when I feel attacked – a place where only my dad understands.
“At the time, it seemed clear to me that any between-sex differences in thinking abilities were due to socialization practices, artifacts and mistakes in the research, and bias and prejudice. … After reviewing a pile of journal articles that stood several feet high and numerous books and book chapters that dwarfed the stack of journal articles … I changed my mind.” – Diane Halpern, PhD
Dr. King is and has been my safe haven. Her teachings, techniques, discernment, communication style, presence, aura, spirit, strategies, methodology and various specialities have traveled a 35+ year journey from the academia, turned clinical sector with awe-inspiring accolades. When she told me that I needed to hear the BUT behind every explanation I knew there was an incredible breakthrough on my end. Not only did I hear her explain the importance of why, I also understand how effective communication is discounted when we are unable to remove our BUT from conversations!
About a month ago Dr. King said to me, and I paraphrase: “Felita, listening to the BUT when a person is explaining themselves will allow you to visualize, listen, have access to, witness and perceive their mindset about a subject issue, which will give you both an opportunity to clear up and potentially resolve any misunderstandings you would never know otherwise.” This was the best advice I had received in a while, as it reminds me of instruction I received years ago about my writing, which is ‘the best way to notice your errors in writing is to read your sentences backwards because the pace is slower in the backwards direction.’
Today, removing the BUT allows me to sit in the present; to hear and stand witness to a person’s heart amidst their explanation of what they believe they’ve heard about our conversation that may be confusing to them. I remember removing my teenager’s rights to use her bathroom until she was tidy enough to maintain her own, and while she began to explain her point of view – I interrupted her at “BUT, mommy” — I later learned that she needed to know more about the why. We concluded that our definitions of tidy differed, and my inferences were confusing instead of helpful.
Thank you Dr. King for inspiring and teaching me to become a better me! The words that follow ‘BUT’ will be heard before I speak further; I will also commit with a thoughtful mindset. I promise to remain conscious of my ‘BUT’ so that others may also heal because words unheard are feelings unexplained. The takeaway – communication should be fluid, unambiguous, simple, sincere, gentle, kind and delivered with empathy. I get it — we all fall short, however, speaking in our present state will allow us to exercise care and attention for a created platform that is safe for all to share a seat at the table.
I recently read Oprah Winfrey’s book, titled “What I Know For Sure” at the recommendation of a dear friend, my daughter’s Papa. Our conversation initially began with the normal chats about co-parenting but ended with a discussion about great books I can read, and he suggested this one along with a few others. As I combed through each page, highlighting what resonated most, I further shared excerpts with friends and posted some on Facebook that were both inspiring and thought provoking. The takeaway: to make conscious decisions about why I shop for what I do when, where and how often.
Now notice how each bold word usually leads to a thoughtful response because they are used in open-ended questions; however, I could not find a satisfying answer to justify my actions – a rude reality, particularly because this is my last year in the 40s club.
“I hope the way you spend your money is in line with the truth of who you are and what you care about.”
– Oprah Winfrey
I call this blog ‘Ridding Yourself of Clutter’ because I have firsthand knowledge of how accumulating items on a regular is like hitting the cruise control in your car without sensing your speed, i.e. you buy because you have the power to do so; you have the money to spend; you are replacing a personal emotion you can’t quite kick or you are following the Jones’ and must remain in the game. Whatever your reasons – they are your reasons because I have my own. However, I am challenging you to buy with a conscious mind that has purpose. No, you don’t have to do anything … nor am I suggesting, but I’d like to energize you to adapt to something different that can bring spiritual awareness and personal satisfaction.
Buy plants (see image below), rearrange your bedroom, practice yoga, watch less TV, read more, walk around the block, take a drive up the mountains and the list continues. If you’re wondering how reducing one’s buying habit relates to the list of things you can do in its place I’d like to explain the tradeoff. When you turn off the cruise control in your car you then begin to feel the speed at which you are traveling that directly correlates with awareness practices, such as the ones described. Above is an image of what happened when I turned off my cruise control, as I continue to sort through what to keep and what to sell.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather boost my mood, add life to my sterile office space at home – especially during these times, brighten up my day with a little outside inside my home (e.g. plants are living organisms) and increase my concentration, which are all believed benefits of having a plant. So, kudos to Oprah Winfrey when she wrote “When you define yourself by the things you can acquire rather than see what you really need to be happy and fulfilled, you’re not just living beyond your means or overextending yourself. You’re living a lie.”
So to you, the reader, come join me on this pursuit to simplicity. It may be challenging at the start but you need only be willing because the first step will take you forward when you begin to realize the calming benefits of Ridding Yourself of Clutter. Above is a couch that sits in my bedroom and confronts me to commit to wellness each day before I begin my work.
Until next time be kind to yourself and be safe, keep and stay well…
Elite Daily: Does Abstaining From Sex Create A Stronger Emotional Connection? An Expert Say Yes. https://www.elitedaily.com/p/does-abstaining-from-sex-create-a-stronger-emotional-connection-expert-say-yes-22795649
It was the 89th day of 2020 and two sent texts: SC & GA.
My heart was racing to receive a response: a call or even a text reply. But nothing! I sat on the edge of my seat all day long. Hoping. Yearning. Wishing. Praying.
Not even an acknowledgement! Did he know? Did he remember? For goodness sake – it was his birthday! 67. But nothing!
The pedestal once given to her has lost all value. This is the “Final Straw…”
Ahem – practicing the epitome of Parental Alienation. Her voice was so loud amidst the silence, but it wasn’t until midnight that we realized the intentional communication.
Too often we are afraid of not being that exact ‘fitted’ piece of the puzzle that remains glued in the fabric of relations
Too often we speak the wrong things in our head and grow angry with our heart because our emotions don’t align with our thinking
Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.
– Oprah Winfrey
Too often we pace back and forth, wondering if we can fit in where we get in
Too often we inhale on numerous occasions, wondering why the heart is palpitating when we forgot to exhale and let go
Too often the thoughts of yesteryear will overpower us until we decide that risking the practice of vulnerability is probably worth it
Too often we choose to live and exist in solitude, not because we want to but because we choose it
Too often we confuse dusk for night because our mind has wandered so far in the past until today passed us by
Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change.
– Iyanla Vanzant
Too often we’re concerned about what he or she may say or think but we fail to know that he or she lives in our head, rent free, because no one really knows our masquerade
Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.
– Oprah Winfrey
Too often our stomach aches, not of hunger, but from our inability to release the panic button that controlled us for many years
Too often we want to manage, monitor or control a situation, forgetting that a second becomes a minute that grows into an hour, turned days into months and years of missed opportunities because our ‘self’ was important for way too much