When “love” is not enough

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Do you know the feeling of frustration you can get from loving someone so much that no matter how bad they treat you – you love them anyway?    They disappoint you time and time again. You love them still.  They hurt you in ways that no one who truly loves another human being should – and we make excuses for them and love them anyway.  You love them so much that it drains you emotionally and physically.

The people around you don’t understand what you see in this person sometimes but you know what and how you feel.  Their judgements don’t sway you because you are in love. However, as the emotional load you carry starts accumulating it begins to weigh you down.  You are ignoring your own needs because all you do is try to make this person happy at the sacrifice of your own happiness.

I have been there and when you’re in it – it does not feel like you’re doing anything wrong.  In fact, it feels like you’re doing everything right.  Just what a person in a relationship is supposed to do compromise and be flexible.  After all, no relationship is perfect.   However, all your efforts always seem not enough.  You guys can’t seem to stay happy long enough before there is something new or old to argue about.  It feels as though he or she does it on purpose sometimes just to pick a fight.

You are always arguing and everything seems to always be your fault as they seldom take responsibility for any failures within the relationship.  While in my relationship, I honestly never thought anything was wrong with it.  I loved him and I honestly believed that he loved me at least that’s what he would say but his actions sometimes did not match his words.

Denial kept me in a false reality for so long that when I eventually woke up I was so angry with myself.  I thought if I loved him enough he would do right by me and that things would get better but it didn’t.  He convinced me and I convinced myself that we could work through our issues and emerge the successful couple everyone or rather most people thought we were.  I comprised and comprised more than I should have.

I soon realized that loving him was not enough.  It was eating me alive.  The hurt and pain just kept compounding.  Was it really my job to make him happy and keep him happy?  Enough was enough and eventually the time came when I had to decide for myself – to love myself as much as if not more than I had loved him.  It was time to do what was best for me.

I later learnt that it was not my job to make him happy and that he had his own issues he needed to deal with if he was ever to be truly happy.  I had my own issues to address if I was ever to have a healthy relationship going forward.

You see me loving him despite his mistakes and poor decisions didn’t make him a better person; it didn’t make him stop doing or saying things that hurt me.  If nothing else, it gave him the permission to continue with his poor choices as he knew I would forgive him and try to work it out.  He took me and my love for granted.  Love was not enough to save my relationship.  It took a rational view of what was really going on for me to see that I was losing myself in that relationship. It had become toxic.

I am all for working on relationships but it is not a one person job because it takes two. To love and be loved is a beautiful thing but we must never lose sight of the importance of loving ourselves.  Any relationship that is taking more than its giving is one you should review.  When you are loved you should see it and feel it.  Your partner’s actions and words should match up.

I am in a much happier and healthier place in my life and I’m proud of myself for making the tough decision to move forward.  It was not easy but I am glad I did.  I know it can be difficult to walk away from someone you love but there are times for your own well-being it is necessary.  Do what is best for YOU!  You owe that to yourself.

STOP ignoring the signs

 

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Image Credit: Dan Gerhards

Traffic lights save lives but only when we pay attention and obey the signs.   They are there to facilitate the safe and smooth flow of traffic as well as to protect pedestrians.  For most of us the red light means stop; the amber light to slow down and the green light to go.  Unfortunately, for a few of us red, amber and green mean GO, GO FASTER and GO ALREADY!  When we ignore the signs and their significance we can sometimes bring harm to ourselves and others.

This can be applied to our everyday lives as well.  There are ‘seen’ and ‘unseen’ dangers out there that we can see and yet we run in with our eyes wide open because we tell ourselves we’re in control of the situation – we have our high levels of denial to thank for that. 🙂

Then there are those dangers that are not as obvious and often blind side us.  This is true when it comes to our relationships with others and ourselves, our finances, our children and our health and many other areas of our lives.

You are ignoring the signs when: 

  1. You are constantly making excuses for yourself and others.
  2. You are always trying to justify why things are the way they are.
  3. You choose to stay in a situation that is hurting you either physically, emotionally, psychologically or spiritually.
  4. You choose to stay silent.
  5. You let your anger and bitterness consume you rather than treat with the issue in a healthier way.
  6. You choose to use negative and unhealthy ways to numb yourself from the pain and pressures of life.
  7. You ignore or down play negative behaviour.
  8. Do nothing positive to change the negative things in your life.
  9. You pretend bad things don’t bother you.
  10. You don’t admit or seek help when you need it most.

If you could relate to any of these that’s a relief because it tells me I’m not alone. I have been at each of these stages at one point or another and not dealing with them never makes things better.

Ignoring the signs often results in stress, illness, conflict internally and externally, grief, resentment and maybe even death.  You don’t have to accept things the way they are.  Assess your each situation to determine what you have control over and what things you don’t. The things that you have control over like your actions and thoughts take action to improve whatever areas need adjustment. 

The things you really have NO control over like the weather and other people’s actions and behaviour.   Ask God for the strength and ability to accept it and move forward.   There may be some people and situations you may have to distance yourself from, so be it.  Life is too short to go around bitter and angry.

Stay blessed and remember you’re not alone and drive safely.  🙂

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.

 

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?