To be heard is to…

via Daily Prompt: Heard

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“Is anybody out there?  Is anyone hearing our cries for help?”  Who are those voices and where are they coming from?  The voices I am referring to belong to the children, women, families and individuals out there that go through life just existing rather than living because most of the people around them only hear rather than listen to their pain or unfortunate circumstances of either abuse, domestic violence, addiction or poverty. These people believe it or not are the lucky ones.

You see, there are many other voices out there that have been sworn to secrecy or terrorized to keep silent.  The feeling of not being heard can bring about anger, frustration, hopelessness, depression and resentment.  Who is hearing their faint cries for help?  We rely on our ears to hear and our mouths to speak and hopefully be heard.  However, our eyes sometimes catch glimpses of questionable behaviour and interactions that make us stop and think but then we dismiss it as if it never happened. Why? “It is not my business.”  “He or she is NO family or friend of mine.”

I agree. They are not members of our family nor are they our friends.  Some people are of the belief that they should only care about people and situations that directly affect them.  These people tend to reserve kind and uplifting words and good deeds only for persons near and dear to them.  Whereas there are those people who are always giving of themselves to help others.  They seem drawn to people or situations that need an intervention. They are usually positive in their attitude and genuine about their purpose.   They don’t just hear, they listen and show their audience that they have indeed heard them.

I have no doubt that we hear the stories of others and say, “Wow, that is tough!” I know, I have. How many of us use what we’ve heard and take action or try to make someone’s life better even if in a small way.   I recognise that every situation is different but the commonality of all the situations is the same and that is help is needed.

For me, to be heard means that I can see by the actions and behaviours of my audience whether they have not only heard me but more importantly if they understood the message I was communicating.

To be heard for me, brings a feeling of joy and accomplishment.  For someone else, to be heard could mean they are no longer hungry, no longer being abused,  they have a voice that would be acknowledged and listened to.  It can mean many things for different people.  When we’ve been heard we are really looking for a positive response.

Today look around in your community and see if there is anything you can do to make someone’s life a little better.  Sometimes we just need to listen, really listen to gain a better understanding of a situation.

Before I close, I would like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to those of you who answer the calls for help in whatever way you can.  You are awesome and this world is truly blessed to have you in it.

Let us try to make a greater effort to listen not only with our ears but with our eyes and hearts. It is not too late.  Show someone that you’ve heard them and make today a great day.

15 Signs of a Toxic Relationship

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What is a ‘toxic’ relationship?  For me, a toxic relationship can be described as any relationship that is constantly filled with negativity that makes you question or play down your self worth.  Any relationship where you feel like you have no voice or say in your own life.  One where your thoughts and needs are not up for consideration.  This type of relationship is often a breathing ground for constant anger, sadness, depression and resentment.  If there is any joy or happiness it is often short lived and for some reason can never really last for any meaningful length of time. It is not gender specific as there are some good men out there in toxic relationships too. This is an article for anyone out there in a toxic relationship.

I have been there and I’ve seen more toxic relationships than I care to count.  Looking back on my own experience I can honestly say, that I never thought my relationship was bad or ‘toxic’, just that we had some issues to work on.  I did not realize the damage I was causing myself psychologically and emotionally.

Here are some of the observations I made looking back not only on my own experience but some other relationships I saw around me.

1. Always made to feel as though you are never good enough.

2. Sometimes discouraged from spending time with friends and family.

3. Always made to feel paranoid about any negative observations –  even when your  suspicions turn out to be true.

4. Always made to feel as though any problems the relationship has is your fault.

5. Your partner may be very secretive and not forthcoming about his or her affairs but would inquire about every detail in your life.

6. Your partner frequently apologizes for hurting your feelings but would do the same stuff over and over.  This applies to physical, emotional and psychological abuse.

7. Try to numb yourself emotionally. Trying to not let the things he or she does affect how you feel but we both know that does not really work because now you’re just beating up yourself internally rather than externally making a scene.

8. Withdraw from your friends and family because they sometimes share things about your relationship that you just don’t want to hear.

9.   Make tons of excuses for their  behaviour.

10. Blame yourself.  “Maybe if I didn’t do this or say that…” ; “Maybe if I would dress more like this …” ; “Maybe I am too sensitive or making too much of a deal about it.”

11. Always looking for ways to make them happy even though they aren’t reciprocating.

12. You are always the person making the comprises.

13. Often try to use your insecurities to control you or even create insecurities.    Example: “A woman like you, should feel lucky to be with someone like me.” or “A man like you, should feel blessed to be with a woman like me.”   People who truly care about you would always try to lift you up not break you down.

14. Extra moody and snapping at other people for little things rather than dealing with the real issue that is bothering you.

15. You feel drained emotionally and physically sometimes. This is because the work of constantly trying to fix yourself or the relationship is always on your mind.

I have only listed 15 signs of a toxic relationship but please note that there are other signs that the relationship you may be in, is unhealthy for you.   I honestly believe that deep down we know that the situation we find ourselves in may be hurting rather than helping us.

If you are reading this and find that you can relate to any or all of these feelings or experiences, then my friend it is time to say, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”.  This situation that you have called “home” all these years or months is not what a healthy and loving relationship should be like.  I know and understand how scary the thought of having to find someone else seems, but that’s the problem – don’t focus on finding a replacement,  focus on finding YOURSELF.  Only then would you be truly ready for a real relationship.

I pray that you find the courage and strength to TAKE ACTION and TAKE BACK CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE.    YOU are AWESOME and YOU DESERVE BETTER!!   The only happiness you should be concerned with at this point is YOUR OWN.

The choice and power to fix this lies within YOU.

 

12 Signs You are ‘Living’ and not just ‘Existing’

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‘Living’ versus ‘existing’, is there a difference?  Is it important?  How does this apply to my life?  First, let me say that, there is a difference.  Yes, it is important, only if happiness is something you want for your life.  As for how it applies to your life, you would have to read on to find out.

Living for me, goes beyond the typical definition that is, “possessing or exhibiting life”.  It is taking the life you have and making the best and most use of it.  When you are living you are constantly moving, improving and learning. Existing on the other hand, means “having existence or being or actuality”.  My version, just sustaining life.  We do this when we go through our daily routines day after day with no real drive or sense of purpose other than to get through the day and hopefully not die while we do it.  Our lives should be so much more than that.

Here are my Top 12 Signs you are ‘Living’ and not just ‘Existing’.  

  1. You make time to treat yourself ever so often rather than list excuses as to why you should not.
  2. You make time to do fun things with your family and friends. It is not just about work, work, work.
  3. You do not allow the challenges that life brings your way to keep you down or depressed.  
  4. You are always seeking knowledge and wisdom in various areas of your life.
  5. You are willing to explore new things and places. Start small by doing simple things example, try new foods, go to a dance class whatever excites you.
  6. You are resourceful at solving difficult situations.  You are not afraid to go after what you want. You do not allow the word “No” to discourage you instead you use it as a motivator to find a solution.
  7. You do not let negativity of any form keep you from enjoying your life.  You know that life is too short to waste it on negative thinking or negative people.
  8. You strive to be positive and not negative. You choose to enjoy the good moments; learn from the bad and move forward.
  9. You recognize that you don’t exist in this world by yourself and thus you try to help others less fortunate than yourself whenever you can.
  10. You recognize and accept that no one is perfect.
  11. Your focus is on striving to be your best self and living your best life.
  12. You do not leave your happiness to chance.  You recognize that true happiness comes from within and thus do not depend on others to make you happy.

Living versus existing is therefore a state of mind.  Someone who is ‘living‘ makes the decision to do more with the life they have and often push themselves to do more because they expect more.  Whereas a person who is ‘existing’ often chooses not to “rock the boat” opting to do no more than they have to as they go through the motions of their daily life.

Ask yourself, am I existing or living? What is more important though is, what are you going to do about it?

 

 

The Power of Limits

Why do we need limits?  Limits are the things that directly and indirectly affect our lives either positively or negatively. They encompass your values, attitudes, behaviours and thoughts.  They provide guidance as to what you will and will not accept or put up with as it relates to yourself and others. In this article, I will …

The brain and tongue are more than just organs in the human body.  They have the power to make you feel like a million dollars or make you feel invisible.  Together they are lethal weapons for either positivity  or negativity.   These organs create  what I call ‘limits’ in our lives.

Some limits we learn from our parents growing up; others we tell ourselves based on experiences we’ve had and the rest come from people who we consider to be near and dear to us like family, friends and a spouse. These ‘limits’ encompass our values, attitudes, behaviours and thoughts.  They are the seeds that are planted by us as well as others that can directly and indirectly affect our lives either positively or negatively.

In this article, I will try to show you the pros and cons of limits so that you can use them to improve your life.   I believe that limits can be classified into two main types that is, the one we set for ourselves and the other, is the one set for us by others.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages since both have positive and negative limits within them.

Some examples of positive and negative limits we set for ourselves are:

POSITIVE

  • “I will strive to be positive in my thoughts and behaviour.”
  • “I will not be excessive in my shopping buying things I do not need.”

NEGATIVE

  • Using the words “I can’t …” as a justification for not doing something.
  • Negatively stereotyping yourself.  “I’m too old.” or “I’m not pretty enough.”

Advantages of Positive Limits (set by ourselves)

  • They can provide guidance for various situations such as what you will and will not tolerate from yourself and others – for example, negativity, abuse and self- pity just to name a few.
  • They give a sense of power and control over our lives.  We ideally determine what, who and how we feed and nurture our mind, body and spirit.
  • They tend to attract similar minded people to you.

Disadvantage of Negative Limits (set by ourselves)

  • They can damage your self-esteem.
  • They can leave us feeling broken and helpless, open to all the negative energies of the world.  Note, I use ‘feeling’, not because you feel a certain way means that you’re stuck that way.  You can choose to ‘feel’ differently.
  • Unforgiveness of yourself or others.  This can stunt your mental and spiritual growth and healing.  Practicing forgiveness will break the shackles that have been holding you down for so long.  This process is for YOUR betterment no one else.
  • They negatively affect how we see and treat others.

Such negative limits only encourage negativity.  They tend to shut people out and act as a barrier to attracting positivity in your life.  I suggest reviewing your thinking and behaviour to ensure that it is fair and objective in how you see yourself and others.

Some examples of positive and negative limits set for us by others are:

POSITIVE                                                                            NEGATIVE

  • “You are an amazing friend.”                              “You will never aspire to anything.”
  • “You are a good parent.”                                       “You can’t do anything right.”
  • “You are an excellent lover.”                                “You are such a failure.”

Advantages of Positive Limits (set for us by others) – positive people

  • They tend to be positive and uplifting often encouraging us to be better.
  • They are motivating and thought provoking.  They make us stop and think about how we are behaving.
  • They tend to strengthen and reinforce a positive self-image.

If you have people like this in your life keep them close.  Let them know how much you appreciate and value having them in your life.  They are true assets to have and cherish.  Try to reciprocate in their lives as well.  Be an asset in someone’s life today. Don’t always make everything about you. Be a giver and not a taker.  Try and strike a balance.

Disadvantages of Limits (set for us by others) – Negative People

  • They tend to create or maintain a false picture of who you really are and often label you as weak, foolish and unworthy.
  • These people want to hurt you by their words and actions and tend to be consistent in their efforts to break you down every opportunity they get.
  • They use these limits as a way to control various aspects of your life – relationships, finances, emotions and how you feel and see yourself.

Many of us often underestimate the power of the spoken word.   Hopefully, if not before, now you do see that words have the power to not only build and strengthen but also damage and destroy  your self-esteem, self-worth and self-image, if you let it.  The power that the spoken word has comes from the meaning and value we put in the words and the person or persons using them.

Do not allow yourself to be anyone’s punching bag emotionally or physically.  They have their own issues to fix.    If you are guilty of this, it is not too late.  You need to reclaim the reigns of your life.  For too long, you have relinquished control to negativity.

I want to encourage you to take corrective action immediately.  If you are guilty of  negativity within yourself, then be quiet! Look for positive things such as inspirational and motivational books, uplifting music, talk to someone about it and surround yourself with positive people. This process requires a reconditioning of the mind, body and spirit and thus it would not be done overnight.

Start by identifying what and where your problem areas are and TAKE ACTION to improve and in some instances remove them. YOU are in CONTROL.  BE CAREFUL of WHO and WHAT you are listening to.  What you ultimately BELIEVE about YOURSELF is what will MAKE or BREAK YOU.

I hope that this article was useful. Thanks for reading.

What’s holding you back?

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Have you ever felt as though you were destined do more with your life but could never put your finger on it?  I have been there and I know how frustrating and depressing that can be.

Do not be discouraged. I have highlighted eleven things that I believe play a huge role in keeping us stuck in life.

  1. Distractions – refer to all of those things in life that prevent you from seeing and being everything you’re meant to be.
  2. Negativity – will only break you down. This can be internal or external.
  3. Stuck in your comfort zone – take small steps to overcome your fears. Don’t  let fear keep you from learning new things.
  4. Poor Attitude –  our attitudes both positive and negative play an important role in developing and shaping who we are and the quality of our life experiences.  Be mindful of the messages you are sending.
  5. Lacking Gratitude – showing our gratitude to others for all they have done and do for us is good, not only for the soul but our relationships with them.
  6. Lacking Perseverance – perseverance is that drive to see things through no matter what. It is critical to our success without it we tend to give up easily.  We only fail when we stop trying.
  7. Lacking Guidance –  there is no shame in asking for help.  No one has all the answers, when in doubt I suggest prayer.   Ask God to guide you as you look for answers and I believe that he will give you the answers in a way that you will understand.
  8. Unforgiveness – is toxic and unhealthy.  When you choose not to forgive, you are choosing to keep yourself a prisoner to that negative experience.  Forgive that person and set yourself free. It’s not for them but for YOU.
  9. Not knowing your WORTH and LOVING yourself –  If this is broken you have to fix it.  Repair this relationship with yourself.  You are worthy!  You are an amazing person with so much to offer.  You CAN do anything you put your mind to.
  10. Denial – gives us a false picture of what’s really going on.  Take a step back and try to view  your situation as a ‘bystander’ and not a ‘participant’,  the aim here is objectivity. Once you have done this, take the necessary corrective action.
  11. Self-pity – this is a state of mind. This is when we choose to allow negative experiences to lock us into emotions that keep us prisoners of those experiences.  STOP BEING THE VICTIM AND BE THE VICTOR!

The common element in each scenario is YOU.  YOU are ultimately in control.  YOU have the power and say in your life as to what goes and what stays. Remember that!!!

Get behind the driver’s seat and take control of your life today! 🙂