If only

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Have you ever wondered if you could go back

To a time in your life where things were not so black

To a place in your life

Where there was not much strife

Where you could be you and I could be me

Pure and innocent

Wild and free

Untouched by the pestilence known as hatred

That sometimes fills the air like rotting garbage every where

Its stink can be found almost everywhere

Sucking up all the fun

Should we run? Should we fight?

How could being ourselves not be right?

We must resist the cold and instead be brave and bold

Be ourselves no matter what we’re told

So you be you and I would be me

Because in the end that’s when we’re truly free.

If only…

By: Cherylene Nicholas

 

 

Hey YOU over there!

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Steering me down from head to toe
Talking about me like I’m some kind of show,
No time to waste to get up in her face
I won’t let her dictate my pace
People will talk, that’s what they say

She’s even got her friend commenting too
She smiles and she steers as she sits on her chair
She better stop, before I go over there
Now I’m counting from 1 to 10
Then I repeat it again

People will talk and that’s a fact
In your face or behind your back
So what do we do? Sit there and feel blue?
Just tune out the noise with grace and poise
Let’s lift our heads up and never give up

Forget the chatter and always remember
Being yourself is all that really matters.

By: Cherylene Nicholas

 

Forgiveness: Why is it so difficult?

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Forgiveness is when you choose to free yourself from all the hurt, pain, resentment, bitterness and anger that you would have acquired as a result of someone hurting you  emotionally, psychologically or through their actions. 

“What is the big deal with forgiveness anyway?  What does it mean to forgive someone?  How is this going to help me? They don’t deserve it!”   These were the thoughts that often raced through my mind before I made the decision to forgive for the very first time.

Why is it so difficult for us to forgive?

From my experience I can tell you, I was filled with so much hurt, anger, pain and resentment that just the thought of forgiving angered me even more.   After all, I trusted, respected and loved those offenders with all my heart.

Looking back now I can see why it was so difficult for me to forgive them. The reality is someone would do or say something we don’t like but the people who we consider near and dear to us will always have the biggest impact on how we feel.

It is our love for them that makes their betrayal so difficult for us to forgive them. When the people we care about and love do or say things that hurt us, their behaviour can be interpreted to be one that is not reflecting that love and consideration we’ve come to expect from them and this is what hurts more sometimes, than the actual wrong itself.

Let’s look at the side effects of unforgiveness:

  1. It keeps you prisoner of your hurt and pain.
  2. It prevents you from being truly happy.
  3. It hinders your personal and spiritual growth.
  4. It could negatively affect your health.
  5. It is a toxic and unhealthy type of existence.

Take the key and let yourself out of the self-made prison called “unforgiveness”.

Choose to forgive:

Sounds easy enough, but it isn’t.  I won’t pretend or lie to you.  It took me a long time to really  forgive the people who hurt me over the years.  Just saying, “I forgive you” didn’t make me feel better. I had to decide in my mind and spirit that I would say it and mean it.  That I was going to release those negative feelings towards those people and not look back.  Once I did that, I felt that heavy burden lift off of me. Say it and mean it!

So we’ve chosen to forgive our wrong doers and set ourselves free from the hurt and pain. Well done! What about the memories?  That is another story.  Any negative experiences that you have that caused you to unforgive in the first place, won’t just disappear.  However, the process of forgiving and time would help you cope and even heal those wounds.

I recognized that I could not do it on my own.  I had to dig deep and ask God to give me the strength and courage to face my demons.  You can do it too!

Now let’s recap:

  1. Forgiveness is for YOU, not the person who hurt you.
  2. Forgiveness does not erase the memories of the hurt but it can free you from the prison of pain you often find yourself in.
  3. It is difficult at times to forgive but the benefits such as happiness and peace of mind are much better than the hurt, resentment and pain that unforgiveness brings.
  4. It feels good.
  5. Ask God for the strength and courage to overcome this once and for all.

I understand that you’ve been hurt and I understand that what I’m suggesting would take tremendous courage and emotional strength but believe me when I tell you this – YOU CAN DO IT!    The focus here is YOUYour happiness and peace of mind. Forgive them so you can be free.  The choice is yours.

 

 

 

How to find your gift?

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For as long as I could remember, I have always heard the term “gift” in relation to someone’s special talent or ability and wondered, what was my special gift?  What is that one thing outside of my physical attributes and personality that made me truly unique?  I never knew for sure what that special ‘thing’ was or how to find it and that sometimes left me feeling unfulfilled.

You see, despite holding various positions in different organizations over the years I could never shake the feeling that I was supposed to be doing something more with my life.  If you have ever been there or you are still trying to find yourself then you know how frustrating that can be.   I will share with you how I found my gift; some of the challenges I faced along the way and how I overcame them.

Definition – What is a gift?

When I use the term ‘gift’ here, I am referring to that unique ability or talent embedded within you that no one else can do the way you do It is what makes you – YOU! 🙂  It’s like a finger print – no one else in the world has your unique prints.  Whether that gift is singing, dancing, cooking, teaching, story telling, poetry, interior design, hair dressing or photography just to name a few – no one can execute it the way you do, no matter how hard they try.

Where does your gift come from?

Some say, that we’re born with it.  Others say that it is something you develop over time.  There is also the belief that, a ‘gift’ is a blessing from God.  I believe ALL of the above is true.

I believe that from as early as the womb we are blessed with  unique and special talents and abilities from God.  If we develop  them correctly can make us great and successful in this life.  Likewise, if the ‘gift’ is left undeveloped it could result in us feeling lost and unfulfilled in life.

This was something I struggled with for many years.  You see, I was not ready mentally and spiritually for the journey. My life was filled with all sorts of distractions such as negative and unhealthy relationships, poor view of myself and a poor attitude.  I lacked the drive and motivation to go after what I claimed I really wanted and often made a lot of excuses as to why I could not succeed.

The PROCESS –  here are some things I did  to help me through this.

  1. Freed myself from all the negative people in my life. I recognized how their contributions only held me back and decided it was time I moved on.
  2. I decided “enough is enough”.  No more self-doubt and self-pity. It was time to stand up and take an active role in shaping my happiness.
  3. I started to monitor my thoughts.  The saying “words have power” is so true especially when they are coming out of your mouth.  I was sometimes the negative voice in my head, so I told myself to “SHUT UP”.  “Starting from today, if you have nothing good to say about yourself or others just be quiet!”
  4. Improve my attitude.  Many times we often underestimate how important our attitude is to our success – not only in finding our gift but in our everyday lives as well.  To discover your gift, I’ve found that gratitude, humility, patience, positivity, determination and perseverance are key elements that we should foster to not only find our gift but develop it.
  5. I limited and removed any negative distractions.  The distractions I am referring to included: watching too much television, excessive gaming on my devices, excessive partying, hanging out with people who are constantly negative and any addictions. Don’t let your distractions continue to have control over your mind, body or spirit.  Take control of your time and you’ll take control of your life.
  6. I created a list of the things  that I ‘loved’ doing versus what I ‘liked’ doing.  These are the things that made me happiest when I was doing them.  Please note , that nothing is insignificant, trivial or unimportant, if it is something you LOVE doing, be sure to list it.
  7. I confided in someone I trusted and whose opinion I respected. Please note, that this would ideally be someone who has known you at least 5 or more years. This person should be someone who is constructive in their feedback.  If you feel you don’t have anyone, I would suggest keeping a journal.  List your thoughts, aspirations and fears.  Be your own best friend!
  8. I regularly prayed and talked to God.  God is always with you, don’t be afraid to reach out to him through prayer and he will provide the answers you need.  Ask him for guidance, strength, patience or courage whatever you feel you need and he will grant it to you.  Open your mind and don’t limit yourself to only what you can see and imagine for yourself.  THINK BIG!
  9. Don’t let FEAR of the unknown or what people might think paralyze you and keep you stuck.  I used to be concerned about what people might think about my new pursuit but when I weighed who stood to benefit the most when I succeeded – I didn’t care about those people anymore.
  10. I started believing in myself and my abilities.   We ALL have something uniquely specific to us that can ADD VALUE to the lives of others.  Explore and nurture it!
  11. I had to learn to be patient with myself. I found everything was taking too long and wondered if I would ever have my breakthrough.   I had to focus more on improving myself and my thinking and spend  less time worrying about the days that went by. Remember, it’s a process!
  12. No matter what that little ‘voice of doubt’ might chant as it sits in the corner of your brain.  Don’t ever give up! 
  13. Don’t focus on what others are doing or saying.  Your success, your happiness and your future should be your primary focus. The focus of this exercise is YOU no one else.  I understand how difficult it could be at times when we look at other people lives and it seems to be so much better than ours but trust me, they have their own crap and issues that they are dealing with too.  Stay focused!
  14. Power of forgiveness.  Unforgiveness has kept me stuck for a long time and it was only through forgiving those people in my life that wronged me that I was able to really grow and find happiness.  Until I released myself from the hurt, pain and anger they caused me, I could not really move forward.  It is time to set yourself FREE, this is not about them.

Many of us go through life without purpose and direction and it does not have to be that way.  If you are tired of doing the same old, same old and you are really ready to shake off fear and go after your passion, then there is no time like the present to take action. I am happy to say that my gift is writing and helping others.  This blog makes me happy.  The feedback from my readers encourage and motivate me.

When I use my gift it does not feel like work because I enjoy doing it so much.  I don’t get tired of doing it because there is a passion and love for what I am doing.  Your gift should  benefit others – always bringing joy, pleasure and happiness when you use it. I believe once your gift meets that criteria you are on the right track.

 Stay strong and keep pursuing your dreams.

 

Conquer or be conquered?

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Conquer or to be conquered? That is the question.  To ‘conquer’ is to defeat or overcome someone or something whereas to ‘be conquered’ is to be defeated or overcome by someone or something else.  I found myself pondering on this today. Do you know that we have a choice in how the situations we sometimes find ourselves in ultimately affect us?  Joy, sadness, fear, anger and depression.  We can choose to walk away the ‘victor’ or the ‘victim’ in most of our circumstances.

Yes, I said “most” because there are those situations where the victim did not see it coming or was paralyzed with fear and could not act.  These are really difficult situations that cannot be predicted and I am sorry that we even have to go through things like that but unfortunately it happens.

The situations however, that I am referring to are those that we struggle with everyday but have the control to improve and fix such as our relationships with each other and ourselves; our thoughts; our image (how others see us) and our self-image (how we see ourselves), our jobs, our addictions and our finances.  These various aspects of our lives can often feel overwhelming and stressful when they are not going in the direction we want them to. So, what do we do?

We often get stressed out, angry and depressed when things in our life don’t unfold the way we want them to.  In an effort to forget even if only for a few minutes we sometimes knowingly and unknowingly lash out at others, become introverted, over eat, not eat, for others it maybe more drinking or smoking and sometimes over spending.   Do these actions help us fix the issues or just temporarily numb us up to them?

None of these responses to our various problems actually fixes them.  In fact, those emotions create other issues for us that may affect our health and lives negatively. Some examples are frequent headaches, insomnia, develop eating disorders, acne and more. These symptoms vary from person to person but most of us have a negative reaction to stress in our lives.

When faced with difficult situations especially regarding some of the issues highlighted above we need to ask ourselves, “How do I want this to end? Am I going to conquer this or be conquered by it?”  We must then take the necessary actions to overcome our situations.  Here are some tips or suggestions.

  1. Change your attitude and perspective.  Stop being negative.  A negative attitude will only block the answers. A positive attitude will help you find solutions.
  2. Take action. Standing still and not taking the necessary steps to improve your situation won’t make it go away.
  3. Take responsibility for your own life, the good and the bad.  Some of our actions and choices have led some of us to where we are today.  Let us stop blaming others entirely for our problems –  as this keeps us stuck in the mess that we’re in.
  4. View your problem or situation with ‘fresh eyes’.  I have found more often than not that we usually have all the answers for others when it comes to their problems but sometimes feel stuck in our own issues.  Take a step back and try to view your situation as if it was someone else and think about what you would tell that person to do.
  5. Don’t hold onto guilt and regret, they only slow you down.  We have all made mistakes or did things that we aren’t proud of, so stop beating yourself up about it.  Choose instead to learn from that decision and move on.
  6. Talk about it.  I can’t say that enough. Having someone you can trust to talk to even if it is just to listen to your concerns can be so relieving in itself.  It gives your brain some much-needed time off.
  7. Do not accept defeat!   Fight that urge to quit.

From experience I can tell you, that to be a conqueror takes a mind shift.  It is easy to go through life existing because it takes very little effort.   It is choosing to live that really brings more happiness and peace of mind.

I do not know what your struggle is.  I don’t know where you’ve been or what you had to endure but what I do know is this, we ALL face challenges everyday and how we choose to handle them will separate the conquerors from the conquered.

I want to encourage you today, do not allow yourself to remain a prisoner of your circumstances.

What to do when you feel like giving up

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We all have moments in our lives when negative things happen that sometimes force us to ask questions like:

  1. “What is the point?”
  2. “Why do I even bother?”
  3. “How could this happen?”
  4. “Why is nothing I do ever good enough?”
  5. “Why me Lord?”

At these moments in life, we often feel at our lowest because in those moments it seems like nothing is going our way.  As if the universe decided you know what, “I’m going to turn his or her life upside down and see what happens!”

I’m here to tell you, you are not alone!  We all have our moments of frustration, depression, anger, sadness and loneliness that for each of us is a difficult period in our lives.  Yes, granted our circumstances themselves may vary but does that take away the emotional discomfort we all feel about our situations.

So what do we do when we feel to give up?  Let’s first take a look at what we should not do.

  1. Give up.
  2. Hold onto the negative thoughts
  3. Take out our frustrations on others
  4. Accept that this is how life is going to be

Now that we’ve seen how we are not going to act going forward. Let’s look at our situations with fresh eyes.  The first and most valuable message I can give you is:

  1. DON’T EVER GIVE UP! No matter how bad you’re feeling or how bad things may appear. Fight that defeatist feeling and instead choose to persevere.
  2. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way?”  By first determining the cause of your emotional discomfort, you would be better able to treat with your feelings.  I have often found that until I could pinpoint the cause of my upset – I remain stuck in my feelings for a longer time.   So if you want to feel better, you need to identify the cause.
  3. Ask yourself, “Is this a situation within my control or outside it?”   This is very important, too often we beat ourselves up over things we really have NO control over in particular other people’s actions and decisions.
  4. REFUSE to stay stuck in your negative feelings.
  5. CHOOSE to be happy and actively pursue it.  There is always something positive in your life that you can smile about. All is not lost, you will overcome this!
  6. Do not transfer your negativity.  Easier said than done, I know.  Take control of your emotions, do not let them take control of you.
  7. Talk about it with someone you trust and respect.  Keeping it bottled up inside is not healthy.
  8. Pray about it. Ask for God for guidance and clarity.

I understand that in the moment we feel how we feel and I respect that because I feel like crap too when I’m in that zone. However, I try to find the cause; determine if I can or cannot fix it; fix what I can and accept what I can’t.  I choose not to remain stuck in the negative emotion.  I choose to feel better and YOU CAN TOO!

Blogger Recognition Award

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Blogger Recognition Award – wow!

Thank you for the nomination besondersite.  I am truly speechless.  This is the second nomination I received today.  I am feeling super motivated and inspired right now.  There are so many inspirational bloggers out there so I recognize that must have been a challenge to select a few.

Please see the rules below:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

 

“Living vs Existing”– How it all began.

I was inspired by my sister, Candice.  After reading a book I was writing she suggested that I use my talent to inspire others.  She saw in me the joy and passion I felt when I was writing. Her belief in me is what prompted me to take action. I took action by researching what “blogging” was all about and then made a decision to commit to. Here I am roughly 1 month later, with no regrets!

Advice to New Bloggers:

  1. Do not let the blog traffic or lack thereof be your focus.
  2. Write, create and design as you feel moved to and don’t be afraid to share your post in the community pool for others to see and comment on.

Each of my nominees bring their unique styles and messages to the table. My list could go on and on but unfortunately I can’t.  I admire what they do and just want to recognize their efforts.  My nominees for this award are:

  1. eloisabunny
  2. hernandeznovels
  3. besondersite
  4. theslingsta
  5. writingnatural
  6. Bhavana Jha
  7. Charis
  8. jadecostello
  9. sibillerose
  10. iamsunnyd

To my fellow bloggers out there keep writing with purpose and passion.  I look forward to sharing my thoughts as well as reading yours.