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My greatest moments were born from my greatest discomforts.

I’ve been pushed, pulled, and dragged into situations that I felt ill-prepared for and totally blindsided by; yet it’s those moments where I had to dig deep within myself that I discovered what I was made of. I am a combination of glitter, warmth, creativity, and boss shit.

Having to be uncomfortable, on my own, in situations that required me to perform has been some of the best life lessons I’ve experienced.

 

Comfort is…Comfortable 

Many people prefer comfort. Hell, even I love a good, solid routine that doesn’t kick up the dust of my anxiety. Needing discomfort is a real thing though. It is a necessity that doesn’t feel so great in the moment but does the most good for our growth.

Growing in a hard place allows you to rely on your natural abilities unlike a comfortable place. With comfort comes resources and assistance. With discomfort comes self awareness and reliance. Being pushed to know what your capabilities are, your strengths, your skills, your weaknesses are all lessons learned through discomfort. Reflecting inward to discover your internal resources is a gift that will continue to benefit you across all environments.

There’s so much growth in your discomfort. You learn yourself more when you’re not settled into a comfortable routine that encourages stagnation.

Discomfort can be growth.

 

Discomfort of nonconformity

As a natural outlier, discomfort is a part of my day to day life. The same is true for many of you. This discomfort of never quite fitting in or being what others expect has led to the revelation that I often seek acceptance as a people pleaser. I want to be liked. I want to belong. The topic question:

What have your greatest discomforts taught you about yourself?”

Allowed me to dig deep into other people’s brains and discover even more ways that discomfort has been a teacher in my own life. One response centered on nonconformity. Naturally having a personality that can seem too much or too little for the majority. You make attempts to dull yourself down to make who you are palatable. We want acceptance.

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Yet, how can we form true friendships and relationships if like an iceberg we’re only revealing 20% of ourselves. I understand the need to stuff down parts of you not meant to be shared with the group but it’s a fine line to walk. Hiding who you are in advoidance of others being uncomfortable just means you aren’t accepting who you are just as they aren’t . If my laughter makes you uncomfortable, that’s a problem you have to deal with. If my independence makes you uncomfortable then I suggest you figure out why. If me just simply being me without disrespecting you makes you feel a way; then you’re just going to always be uncomfortable. I hate to say it. *in my KeKe Palmer voice*  Don’t allow others to encourage being uncomfortable with yourself.

Know that acceptance starts with you. Some people will simply not be equipped to perform that level of acceptance and that’s another great lesson the discomfort of nonconformity can teach: F*** what other people think.

Seeing a direct correlation between my self-acceptance and the discomfort of others with that acceptance is no consequence. Some people will be uncomfortable with the level of freedom you showcase in your self acceptance; again not your problem. The people pleaser in me after many seasons of discomfort is now focused on pleasing only one person.

 

Fear of vulnerability  

Now that I sit in rooms where decisions are made that effect large groups of people I realize that I’m never truly comfortable. Speaking up and out draws attention in a way I still haven’t grown completely fond of. It’s in those moments that I am pushed into the spotlight that I have to work with my discomfort to keep me humble while my assertiveness keeps me goal oriented. “I’m not ready” was my mental mantra when I thought about being placed in positions or environments I thought were too massive for me to handle. Projects that seemed enormous compared to my experience and tasks that laughed in the face of my novice approach. How many times have you let discomfort sike you out of an opportunity?

Moments when I buckled down, and pushed my fear of failure aside have sparked creativity, originality, assertiveness, and decisiveness in me in a way nothing else could.

The experience of performing while uncomfortable forced me to get to know myself internally so that I could focus my energy in the right direction externally. Discomfort has been my greatest teacher. I was uncomfortable when I decided to leave home and go to college; first generation 4-year student in my family. I earned friends, knowledge, and a degree from that experience. I was uncomfortable when I got off the bus at basic training knowing that I had to rely on my mental strength to keep me resilient for the next 5 months. That experience showed me my own strength, independence, and it was one of the first true glances I saw of my quiet leadership style. There’s a job right now that you’re afraid to take because the change of routine would be uncomfortable for you. There’s someone right now wanting to spend time but the thought of getting close to anyone make you squirm a little, it makes you uncomfortable.

See, discomfort  doesn’t just happen on the job or workforce. It happens in our homes, in our beds, in our hearts.

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Our disdain for discomfort spans into the relationships of our lives even intimate ones. Allowing others to come as close and dig as deep as we’re “comfortable” with. This surface level love is the reason why we don’t feel fulfilled in our engagements with others because how could someone truly know us if we don’t show them? How can we expect others to love us as deeply as we desire when we’ve locked certain places off to them because the thought of sharing those hidden skeletons is too uncomfortable. Noticing that discomfort and allowing it to make you aware is necessary; pushing pass it to reveal what lies underneath is also necessary. 

 

Transition

Discomfort throughout my life has propelled my ambition to get to a comfortable place whether that happens through acceptance, hard work, or a change of scenery. Discomfort usually means I’m in a transitional period of life. If I successfully make it through I will find the comfort I’ve been longing for on the other side but if I allow the discomfort to distract or deter me; I’ll never get the lesson and growth meant for me.

Discomfort is the teacher that calls on you even when your hand wasn’t raised. It’s the friend that tells you to pay attention. Discomfort can be a red flag or caution light. My greatest moments were born from my greatest discomforts. Progressing through my moments of discomfort has allowed me to get to greener grass. The start of a new job, the conversation you were afraid to have, the boundaries that were uncomfortable to set. Think about it.

Discomfort is not only the feeling but the spotlight being drawn to a place that requires your focus. Why are you uncomfortable? Where does that discomfort lead? Asking ourselves these questions can help us to build the best lessons even from our discomforts. Isn’t that what life is all about?

Hey Builders! What have your discomforts taught you most about yourself?

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My generation is a fan of the labels or labeling something non label-able. I thought I was never a part of the club. Now, I’m not so sure that I’m not the president with all the rotating labels I had for myself cataloged alphabetically and color coded in my head. I took Labels like ambitious, benevolent, curious, dedicated and placed them on my forehead for the world to see how awesome I am. Yet, labels like anxious, broken, combative and the big one DEPRESSED seemed cliché and destructive; even though they’re true. I’m never in a constant state of any one label but at any time I am a combination of the above.

 

First Step to Recovery – Acceptance

Why has it been so difficult for me to admit it?

Somewhere along the way people looked to me as stoic. So I brought into the idea others had of me as being a level-headed, private fortress that was unfazed by the many obstacles and troubles the world offered me. The truth is that the “positive” labels has made someone who’s quite sensitive feel powerful. My introverted quietness and isolation are seen as independence and wisdom rather than as a result of burying difficult emotions in a difficult environment. I donned the labels that made me feel more than capable to take on the big bad. Brave, smart, strong, wise, mature, all code for someone who has their shit together. Someone who doesn’t need but go gets.

I put on that persona like it was shiny armor and I was Joan of Arc marching out into the unforgiving world. The armor has since cracked and dulled and I now realize that I’m just human. Wine won’t band-aid resilience that’s been repeatedly tested. A kiss from the love of my life, walk in the park, favorite show…nothing seems to help. And after a few weeks of coming home and crying in my bathtub over a glass of Cabernet that’s filled with more tears than wine, I finally realized, oh fuck…I’m depressed.

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What Does it All Mean

Depression, much like sexuality, is a spectrum. At some point any one of us will experience it. This certainly isn’t my first rodeo with it. I mean, hell, I’ve even been through a Quarter-Life Crisis. This particular phase, however, is mixed like a top shelf cocktail. Grief, disappointment, struggle, depression with just a hint of self-loathing at the finish. Needless to say it’s this phase that I find particularly hard to shake. One minute I’m starting to hear the birds chirp with a peaceful feeling that everything will be okay; the next I catch myself staring up at the ceiling while Netflix has asked if I’m still watching for the past hour. So! What do yah do when you’re in the sunken place of depression? Here are some ways I plan to Daniel Kaluuya myself outta here.

 

Allow Yourself to BE Yourself

How much pressure do you put on yourself to live up to all the other labels that you’ve stamped on your forehead for the world to see? I get it. No one wants to claim something so dark and uninviting but the truth is, there’s liberation in admitting your reality. When I realized that I’d gotten into a bout of depression it was a relief because now staring at the ceiling and being unable to control my crying made sense with the appropriate label.

What didn’t help was reiterating that I was smart, strong, and dedicated on a constant lope in my head when the proper label was depressed. Once I allowed myself to be honest and clear on the state I’m in I was able to retrace the steps that brought me here. After a thorough review of those events, it’s a wonder that I didn’t find myself in the sunken place of depression a while ago. Knowing this allows me to truly see myself as strong and dedicated.

 

So I donned the labels that made me feel more than capable to take on the big bad. Brave, smart, strong, wise, mature, all code for someone who has their shit together. Someone who doesn’t need but go gets.

Think of what’s on the other side of your pain

Whether I believe the day-dream or not I still allow myself to envision my deepest desires for my life. Reminding myself that this long ass chapter shall too pass keeps me sane enough to make it through each day. Looking at the faces on the other side of my depression helps me to remember that my life is not only about pain but love and light in the relationships I have with all those who love me.

Walk it like you Talk it

I’m good for giving an impromptu pep talk. Encouraging, actively listening or in general counseling people through their anxieties/troubles. I’m fucking horrible at being in the reverse role. I’m still discovering that the early labels that created my armor didn’t leave much room for vulnerability or trust. I don’t trust people. It took years for my friends to earn my trust. It’s taking even longer for me to trust myself. One thing I’m learning day by day is that I have to allow others in. Attempting to fight the good fight alone is one of the ingredients that made up this depression recipe in the first place. Are you allowing those who love and support you to be there during this time?

It’s More like a Vacation

Being in the sunken place of depression is more like a vacationing spot. You won’t take up permanent residence here but it is a reminder that there are certain things happening in your heart, mind, and spirit that you need to sort out. Don’t get me wrong, depression honestly sucks, but the emotional growth and intimacy with others that I’m discovering here is truly amazing.  While I don’t know how long this particular “trip” will last, I plan to discover ways to metaphorically sit back, sip on perfectly mixed cocktails as I allow myself to be myself, gaze at the greener grass on the other side of it and embrace the love and support those in my life offer me.

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Your turn Builders, what are some ways you have gotten through a bout of depression (asking for a friend)! Comment below or Email if you need to talk. 

#LETSBUILD

Someone recently said that you shouldn’t grieve until the person is actually gone. Part of me agrees. Yet, part of me is familiar with that technique among others that I get advised to take. Grief is defined as a loss of something. If you perceive you’ve lost something or are losing something, is that not grief as well?

Couples divorcing grieve over the life they envisioned for themselves, growing old with a wife/husband, that will never happen. After a serious injury athletes grieve over the dream career they will never be able to achieve. Grief to me, is loss, whether realized or pending. Grief for me set in when hospice sat us down with calm voices and soft smiles to tell us about the end of life care they can provide for my dad. He’s 59. Grief set in.

Maybe he will live long enough to walk me down the aisle or to hear my child affectionately call him PaPa. Maybe. There’s hope in maybe. There’s heartbreak in maybe. I’ve lived through both. What is definite is that we will forgive, shower love and try to convince time to slow down in the coming months or years. What is Certain is that we will watch him grow weaker and the heart beat that echoed in my ears as a child will fail him. We will watch him leave.

A niece.

A brother.

Two grandmothers.

Two grandfathers.

A close brother-in-law.

An Ex.

We watched sudden and slowly as they left.

Around times such as these there will be a band of people confident that their sage advice about “death happens to all of us” and “enjoy the time you have/had” will be of comfort when it’s just infuriating for the person on the receiving end of it. Personally, I don’t want pity; I would settle for the closest thing to understanding.

To help both sides through difficult grieving, here are some ways to support your loved one and also some tips for those who are in the grieving process.

 

Tip #1

You don’t have to be happy, peaceful or “together”

Recently, years of grieving has taken its toll on me emotionally and mentally. There use to be a time when I dished out and took the beautifully simplistic advice that others throw out in times like these. That was about three deaths ago. For those of us born into a family where hospitals and funerals are the norm like reunions and yearly cruises are for other families, it’s easy to hide or downplay your grief. Don’t. It’s the process necessary for you to get back to living your life. At times during this process you may be angry and want to scream or want to be alone to cry. It’s okay. Feel what you need to feel in those moments. The world won’t give you permission to be a mess right now but I will.

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Sage Advice #1  SAY LESS

So you’re along for the ride on your loved one’s grief and let’s be honest; it’s a complete downer. When you’re not in their front row seat some advice seems logical. But this is the time when you should SAY LESS. Between all the different stages of grief including anger, which I’m currently in, the last thing your loved one needs are words. If you MUST say something it should be confined to something like this:

I love you. I know this has to be hard for you but I am here every step of the way. Period.

 

Tip #2  It is not Your job to make others comfortable with your grief

Like the first advice of feeling what you need to regardless of others, this goes hand-in-hand. Negative emotions generally make people uncomfortable. They say too much or not enough. They smother you or avoid you. It’s because negative emotions, especially grief, are things we are convinced should be hidden and dealt with alone in the late hours of night. Work only gives you 3 days to process it because society dictates it’s not important. Get Over It. So essentially most of us are terrible at dealing with it. Expressing your grief, trying to gain control of it or make sense of your situation will make other people uncomfortable.

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Their world could be just fine and you are like a rain cloud sitting next to them. Understand their awkwardness or discomfort but don’t apologize for it.

 

Sage Advice #2 Create Peace

Your loved one’s world just got turned upside down and the grief of their world has created chaos in your otherwise peaceful relationship. It’s then important for you to create peace, for your sake and theirs. They likely don’t expect you to know what to say. And just as you are confused on what to do or how to handle things, so are they. So, depending on their personality something like taking in nature, to make sense of life or playing Call of Duty, to distract from it, could be the thing you both need to find peace in a chaotic situation.

 

Personally, I don’t want pity; I would settle for the closest thing to understanding.

 

Tip #3 & Sage Advice #3  Give Yourself Space when needed

The reality of the situation makes it hard to be honest with ourselves. Someone who’s constantly dealing with negative emotions can strain/stress someone who isn’t use to them or the frequency of them. Getting the space needed to ground yourself but not so much that you’re absent from the scene can create harmony in a less than ideal situation. It is, however, important to communicate this because seeking space in a critical moment can cause a rift in an already emotionally charged environment. Love each other enough to see the other’s perspective while loving yourself enough to get the space needed to be true to your emotions, good and bad.

The tips and advice discussed are there to get you both thinking of ways you can improve this experience so that all parties are getting what they need. Grief is not a science nor is it controllable but our actions are. Make sure you’re caring for each other during this time.

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So Builders, what are some other tips or advice that can help during the grieving process. Comment below and Let’s Talk!

Practicing delayed gratification is said to be something successful people do but when you’re not yet successful it can just feel like an endless cycle of telling yourself “No, not yet.” “No Wait.” “Don’t spend that you may need it.” or “Don’t go there you can’t afford it.”

Destination Gratification: Flight 2018 Delayed

I love going into the mall to gaze longingly at all the s—- I can not afford. I am the queen of delayed gratification but the truth is, it only works because I “gratify” myself in some way. If you’re trying to save money or spend less, it’s often believed that you must cut out activities that encourage consumerism. I, in fact, think that the best advice is to conquer those places, because let’s face it, my favorite coffee shop is a place I go to clear my head or bury it deep into a book.

The $5 iced mocha with cinnamon and whipped cream is a knee-jerk reaction to feeling like I’m expected to buy something because I’m benefiting from the calm, creative environment. NOBODY said I had to buy a $5 coffee though; I could buy the orange juice for $1.50 and enjoy a few hours of uninterrupted reading/writing just as much. Sometimes delayed gratification doesn’t mean skipping gratification altogether, it can also mean just downgrading it.

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Treat each personal expedition like a trip into the super market because no one likes to be caught in the grocery store starving, with no list.

 

Modify to Moderation

How often you do something effects aspects like enjoyment and expenses. If you’re at Starbucks every day then not only will it get pricey but that caramel macchiato may not taste as great because of over saturation (OKAY it definitely will) but the idea is to place yourself on a consumer diet. You can cut back on your weekly/monthly/yearly intake of shopping/eating out/pampering without completely stopping the things you enjoy like going to the mall or that cute, pricey restaurant downtown. Spread out how often you visit places that encourage you to buy, buy, BUY!

Any healthy, effective diet allows you to indulge a little to keep you from falling off the wagon. I try to give myself a small break of dinner and a movie once a month like discussed in Fajitas and Feeling Myself because no one wants to be all work (or delayed gratification) and no play. It’s important for your mental health to do the things you enjoy but it’s equally important to your wallet to do so in moderation.

 

Budget to Your Benefit

Whenever I go to the mall, Barnes & Nobles, or my favorite coffee place, I go in with a set amount that I’ve saved up just for the occasion. I usually go to my coffee shop 1 to 2 times every two weeks and the mall every couple of months (because I can honestly find whatever I need cheaper somewhere else, so I go solely for the atmosphere). Whether I place my money cap at $5 up to $25; I know that I have a set amount I’m not going above. I treat my personal enjoyment outings like a trip to the grocery store with a mental list of what I want out of my experience.  If my goal is to enjoy the company of 10 strangers while reading Gather Together In My Name by Maya Angelou then I really have no desire to spend on others things like the huge brownie staring at me from the barista’s counter. Which brings me to the next point…

 

Game Plan

Treat each personal expedition like a trip into the super market because no one likes to be caught in the grocery store starving, with no list. Going with a specific purpose works wonders. When you have no idea what you want out of your experience you could end up overspending.

Going to Soule Cafe usually means I want to get some blogging or reading done so picking water over a huge mug of delicious coffee only slightly hurts. And for the ones that are saying, “Why not just stay home?” the answer to that lies within the fact that many creative types have a certain place or zone that stimulates their craft. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice that place unless you find it particularly difficult to stick to your original game plan. I personally still feel gratified having accomplished the task I set out to do in a soothing environment. When I go to the mall it’s because I want to be out and do something; If I walk away with one small Forever 21 bag with a $7 shirt in it, I still feel like…

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because I effectively scratched the itch to shop while staying within my $20 budget and still have enough for a trip to the food court (WINNING!)

Heading out on a Saturday afternoon with a game plan I’ve concocted throughout the week helps me stay true to my emotional/mental needs as well as my financial ones.

In the mall

First I make a strategic B line for the $10 sales rack at Aeropostale; head straight up the middle of the mall (Avoiding all eye contact with kiosks!), tackle the stacks of sales books at Barnes and Nobles then rush the end zone (parking lot) for the win! BOOO-YAAA.

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How do you conquer YOUR consumerism? Comment below and Let’s Talk. 

#Let’sBuild

Ever made the right choices and got the wrong results?

Can I raise two hands and a leg to show that I have, multiple times throughout my young adult life?

Currently I’m battling the cancer of student loan debt, have just been informed that my broke ass actually owes the federal government in taxes and still can’t seem to get my blogging schedule on a set pattern. Meanwhile as I scroll my feed for funny videos after a roller coaster day, I find myself double tapping successful business ventures, vacation photos and new home purchases all made by people from the same town/school/background as me.

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In those moments it’s not envy that I feel (‘Cause live your best life boo) but confusion because I want to know how they’re making life look so effortless. Now you know “the home girl” in my head from Fifty Shades of Crazy just coolly reminds me that on social media everyone highlights the good, disregarding the bad; even me. Still, I want to take a moment to be there for those who feel the same confusion.

 

Let’s talk about when you’re doing it right but everything is going wrong.

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Right Concept. Wrong Execution.

So there you are, a degree in one hand and debt in the other.

So there you are, a business in one hand and no support in the other.

So there you are, a plane ticket in one hand and no money in the other.

With a decreasing faith in the “American Dream” and no rich relatives to even fall back on. You did the right thing in seeking an education/starting a business/traveling the world but somehow your execution of the endeavor fell to pieces. This caused damage to how you enjoyed the rewards of your labor. Now your early morning and late night mental question is “Was it worth it?”

You had the right concept,

Get a degree, Get a good job, Escape poverty.

Be a boss, Become a millionaire before 30, Retire at 40.

Travel outside your small town, Experience different cultures, Embrace life.

But you didn’t account for factors outside of your control like the economy, job market, or getting sick. You didn’t account for life being life.

You made a perfect plan for an imperfect world.

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Sometimes the execution is wrong because we didn’t do enough research, get enough details, ask enough questions or have a mentor. It’s OKAY. BREATHE. Adjust your plan. Take where you are now and figure out several ways you can maneuver yourself out of the sticky spot you’re in. Make a plan B for your Plan A and a Plan C for when those don’t work out.  Find a mentor. Make a vision board and know that you’re on the right track just going in the wrong direction.

 

Right Time. Wrong Place.

You’re at the height of your creativity and ambition more than ever before. Ideas and strong work ethic radiate off you like a steam engine but now you just feel like wasted energy. Ever watch a scary movie where the person is running toward a door at the end of the hallway but no matter how fast they’re running the door just gets further away?

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That’s how it feels to be at the right time in your life in the wrong place. You said you’d stay to be close to family. You feel that all you’ve ever known is where you are and moving would be too scary to do alone. But how can you stay in the same spot you’ve seen not work for others who’ve gone before you. If you plant yourself in a different environment/work industry/relationship/city you may just find that your life takes off into the stratosphere.

 

Right Frame. Wrong Mind.

You made it out. The only problem is you don’t realize you made it out. You’re hoarding stacks in your savings because you’re convinced that the peace you have is short-lived and too good to be true. You could take that vacation but you don’t because you’re saving up for a rainy day or twelve rainy days. You could start-up that non-profit/business/program but you don’t think you’re qualified enough. You could not only be making it in life but living out your dreams yet somehow you told yourself that they don’t belong to you.

Right now, you’re in the right time frame with the wrong mindset. Traumatized from the troubles of your past, you inflict unnecessary pain and longing in your present; then you wonder why you’re unhappy even with money in the bank and good credit. Post Traumatic Broke Syndrome  and Suspicions of Me talk a little about this mindset and how to overcome it. You keep waiting for the perfect moment to align in the stars before you make any moves. What you don’t realize it that you’re living in that moment. Take a chance on yourself. Fix the way you see yourself and your circumstances so that you won’t continue to hold yourself back.

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Was it Worth it?

Was it?

I definitely can’t answer that for you. I can; however, encourage you to look at the full scope of your life and your choices. Realize that you’re not the only one at a crossroads in life because if no one else says it, I will…I’m still getting my life on track. I don’t have it all together. I’ve made good decisions with bad execution. In fact, I can relate to all three of the topics I covered. I’ve even made bad decisions and I’m still figuring out this complicated, convoluted, mysterious , beautiful, make you wanna simultaneously cry and laugh, life, out. Let those doing well around you be a beacon of light and hope. Reach out to those doing similar things or overcoming similar things that have happened in your life. The greatest lie of the American dream is the idea that we can go it alone. Everyone needs a little help so let this post be that help.

 

What are some of your “Rights” that turned out Wrong? Let’s Talk about it! Like, Comment, Share and #LETSBUILD

 

 

P.S. I appreciate you stopping by for another Let’s Build post about millennial mistakes and being young, broke and unapologetic. I write about the things happening in my life; attempting to make sense of it all and drop some kind of knowledge along the way. You, my fellow bloggers and followers, have afforded me the opportunity to be honest and vulnerable in my posts. As we step back from this one, I want you to know that even in the mist of my toughest situation I am inspired by your readership and interactions to provide the best material I can. You guys are awesome. Thank You.

In the past 10 days I have been hit where it truly hurts…my pockets and my family. This one-two combo punch not only knocked me out in the first round but it sent me crying to every one who would listen. As a millennial there are few things worse than thinking you’ve outgrown your naive, ill-informed mistakes of yesteryear only to have it sneak punch you in the teeth when you’re smiling.

I was completely out of my element and subsequently completely out of character. This wasn’t just another millennial mistake. And this didn’t just feel like a set back but like life was telling me to GET BACK in my place because who did I think I was trying to be successful with good credit and goals.

Life VERSUS Me. I’m still standing damnit!

I was so emotionally and mentally drained to the point where writing felt like a chore as I wondered, how the hell can I ever write on the level of some of the more popular blogs when my life is a hot ass mess. I lost my mind by attempting to take on this mountain of hot ass mess on my own, while bottling up my emotions with no release or contact with the outside world.

My mind was reeling from the blow that life perfected just for that moment. The world lost all the magical luster that it had just a week before and sounds were nothing but dull annoyances. It took me a week and some change to begin feeling like myself again. But Alas! Here are some tried and true ways that I have found works for when the “It’ll all work outs” and “Just pray about its” offer little to no comfort.

 

GET OUT!

When we get hit with an unexpected blow to our ego, pockets, family or whatever it is we hold dear, the first thing we want to do is run for cover under the covers (literally). I don’t know about you but I want to shut myself in a room with blackout curtains, slip on my gray sweatpants and not shower for a week because what’s the point, right? WRONG.

…while it’s easy to shut ourselves off from the world after getting bitch slapped by life, it’s counterproductive to all the progress you’ve made when you attempt to bury your sorrows under the covers.

I was put in a situation where I was forced to be outside and interacting with others. At first the butterflies I felt in my stomach and chest were persistent but the more I faked laughed with my friends the more I realized that I wasn’t faking after a while and that, hey!… maybe life hadn’t ended on Thursday despite my incident.

Fresh air seemed to clear all the debris from my imploded mind and after a few days I was able to see myself out of a situation I had been sure was the nail in the coffin of my hopes and dreams. Point blank, take a walk, grab onto some sunshine, go to your favorite coffee shop. Go to places that remind you that life is still moving forward despite your setback.

 

Cry Yourself a River

I prided myself on only crying at sappy movies, during that time of the month or when something died and especially never in front of any man. But boy did I throw that notion into the wind when shit hit the fan. I cried on Thursday, twice on Friday, and late Saturday night into early Sunday.

We tell ourselves (or listen to other people tell us) that being upset and expressing those feelings is childish, ungrateful and annoying.

Yet, having a good ole cry session, I’m talking about the one with snot dripping down your face and you huffing so hard that you don’t even give a damn, yea that kind of cry, is needed. Say it with me, Cathartic. Crying releases a lot of the pint up pressure that you feel from your stressful situation and is honestly a healthy first step in you processing how to recover from your incident. So I cry…You cry…and WE cry Together.

 

Be Aggressive…B…E…AGGRESSIVE!

Sweat it out, punch it out, drive it out, find something to take out your frustrations on (just not a loved one). During my 10 days of hell I was able to drive huge, diesel up-armored military vehicles on the highway  and on winding paths in the back woods for miles. Commanding something so powerful allowed me to feel powerful and capable of dealing with the difficult things going on in my life. It did this without me actually having to think about the situation as the monotony of driving soothed my mind; while successfully distracting me. So find a boxing gym, go for a run, break some dishes…do something to express your anger and frustration in a way that won’t further harm you or anyone else.

 

Keep Talking

I bottle stuff up better than the coca-cola bottling company and I eventually explode like I was shakened up just before being opened at the wrong moment.

It’s taken a lot from me to talk about any issues I have because I don’t trust people to actively listen and care. It is, however, worth while to discuss your difficult issues with at least one person you trust; no matter how many times it takes. I cried and talked through my problem with someone I trusted every time I was hit with another blow from the Muhammad Ali sized issue.

 

My poor, sweet boyfriend only heard “Sniff, Cry, Cry IDON’TKNOWHOWIWILLEVERBOUNCEBACKFROMTHIS…Sniff, Cry, cry…HOWCOULDIBESOSTUPID…OMGMYLIFEISOVER...the drama was on level 10,000 and he handled it all like a champ. Sometimes all we need to do is give people the opportunity to be there for us in order to curve the feeling of having the weight of the world squarely, solely on our shoulders.

 

Functional yet Certifiably Insane

Congratulations! After you,

-Get out of your head and into the world

-Have a good cry

-Find an aggressive activity

-Talk it out

You won’t find yourself cured and your situation disappeared but you will feel better. Life can be overwhelming with its twists, turns, dips and sometimes, like a roller-coaster, you have your steepest fall just after your highest peak. So grab your tissues and head out to the park with a friend. Afterwards you won’t hear “Awww, it’ll all work out.” and try to convince yourself it’s true. At the end of doing these things you’ll KNOW.

 

What are some ways you cope with difficulties? Comment below and Let’s Talk!

#LetsBuild

 

Do you trust yourself?

“No. I don’t….because of past choices I’ve made and I always need verification.”

Can you relate to this quote? I definitely can.

When it comes to making any important decision I collect advice from those I trust with the hope that it will aid in me avoiding the wrong decisions. I do this because I don’t trust myself. I am always suspicious of my reasoning behind actions, always questioning my motives and wondering whether I’ve made another bad decision based on poor self-esteem versus logic.

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All the scars visible from my past are there to taunt me and say “YOU DID THIS!” and so it’s because of that hurt and those wounds that I find myself hesitate to make any major moves without the green light from those I actually do trust. Usually I just hoard this advice and end up going with my gut feeling any way. So why is it that I even seek it but rarely use it or in many cases, the advice just reaffirms my own thoughts? Why is it so hard to listen to me before anyone else?

 

“YOU DID THIS”

I’m riddled with scars.

Love scars, Battle scars, Why didn’t you love me and want me scars, Damn I’m too broke to do anything scars, Why can’t I be normal and not awkward scars….the list goes on.

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And I blame myself for every scar, scratch, rash (Ok…I truly am to blame for that one). I ask myself, constantly, What could you have done to prevent that? Why didn’t you work harder…why didn’t you know more? The problem isn’t in the asking. The problem lies within discovering the answer and still somehow never forgiving myself as quickly as I would others in my life. I’ve written about forgiveness in The Infamous Reputation of Forgiveness  but only when addressing others; not when addressing yourself. Have you forgiven yourself lately?

 

Make up with Yourself

Could you imagine messing up and instead of forgiving you or handling the situation with grace the person you disappointed asked you those questions over and over and over….never giving thought to forgiving you?

Sounds pretty awful right; so why do it to yourself? Life is a cocktail of mistakes and wins but if you  fault yourself for making bad decisions based on blind love (been there), lack of knowledge (done that) then you’re probably in the same boat as me.

You have to get to the source of why you’ve made the decisions you have, understand how to prevent collateral (you getting hurt) in the future, forgive yourself and move on with a clean slate.

 

Sugar, Spice and a Pinch of Consequence

Me: “So. Do you trust yourself and why?”

“Yes. I trust that whatever decision I make is mine. I accept the consequences that come with my choices.”

The consequences of an important choice hover over us like a personal cloud ready to pour down the disappointment that we so often anticipate. It isn’t fair that we do that to ourselves; make decisions based of the possibility of hurt. We live our lives through a lens of fear that often paralyzes us because we’re too afraid to move at all. So we don’t move backward but we also don’t move forward.

We’re stuck in a quick sand thought that buries us deeper in the suspicions we have of ourselves. Somehow we forget the message that consequences can be bad AND good. We forget that with every choice or non-choice (making a choice to not make a choice) comes with a pair of consequences with both good and bad sprinkled in it. In acknowledging the consequences beforehand we can accept not only the choice but move closer to trusting the process of decision-making and ourselves.

 

 

Love Yourself like Those Guys at Wal-Mart Do

If you’re ever feeling down go into a random Wal-Mart and I promise you’ll hear at least two “Damn you fines!” and one “Aye, AYE ‘SCUSE ME MISS!”

No matter how you’re dressed. Point? If random people, family, strangers, the guy at Wal-Mart can see how amazing you are; then why can’t you.

P.S. I’m only kidding about going into a random store and expecting compliments.

However, it is my belief that lack of trust not only comes from past wounds but low self-esteem as well. When we don’t trust ourselves we’re inadvertently exposed to all the negative realities about who we are. We highlight our flaws in an attempt to deter any further damage they might cause. But do we so proactively highlight what we love about ourselves?

There seems to be an interchangeable link between confidence and trust. Many times we can agree that both are built with time. Both require a good history for someone or something to be considered trustworthy or confident. Take a look at your level of confidence then take a look at the level of trust you have in yourself. If one is low or poor then chances are the other is suffering as well. By forgiving yourself for past transgressions, highlighting your amazing qualities and understanding the process of decision-making; you could begin to rebuild that broken trust.

Be Good to yourself. Forgive yourself. Trust yourself.

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It takes work and understanding to get to a place of trusting in any form; just make sure that you’re giving yourself both of those things in the process.

 

Do you find it difficult to trust yourself? Do you think lack of trust in oneself is linked to poor confidence/self-esteem? Comment below or Share! #LETSTALK #LETSBUILD

 

Check out this article!

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-22729/21-signs-you-dont-trust-yourself.html

 

Also I watched this Super Soul Sunday episode and discovered so much about myself! Have a listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYFRcK4hDes

 

 

OK. So BOOM! There I was in the middle of my crappy job having started a mutiny amongst my co-workers to the big bosses; all because I had a conversation about the amount I was being paid with another co-worker. I assumed they were making more.

All I heard over the roar of power tools and radio chatter was “KRYSTAL! Come here for a second!” The way my name had been called made me feel like an 8-year-old walking to my doom as my mother confronted me about her delicious candy bar I had eaten. Only this time my mother wasn’t around and I was a grown ass woman confused on why I felt like I was in trouble.

Boss: “Did you discuss how much you’re getting paid with anyone here?”

Me: “Yes.”

Boss: “Why would you do that?!”

Manager Bystander: *scoffs and twists up their nose at me*

Me: “I didn’t know it was a secret. They asked and I told. Was I not supposed to?”

Boss: “No, you’re never supposed to discuss money.”

Manager Bystander: “Yea you’ve never been told that?! Never discuss money or politics!”

Me: Naw.

Boss: “You’ve started a mutiny because you make more than them.”

Me: *stares unimpressed* “Oh.”

Exits stage left

 

Apparently there’s this unspoken rule that you NEVER, EVER discuss money. At that moment all I could think about is the random conversation that I’d had with the bystander about politics in which he was hell-bent on hating Hilary at the time but somehow talking about money was an issue…?

The sad part is I was only being paid $10/hr and my first thought was “SO WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU PAYING THEM?!” My co-workers had been there longer and were more experienced than I was. If they were starting to complain about how much they were being paid then it was long overdue.

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My Coworkers went to the boss like…

I was unimpressed with the hourly rate I had so anything lower than that would have been a deal-breaker for me. I inadvertently get people to demand more of themselves and their jobs but that’s a post for a later time.

Right now let’s discuss why the world sees money talk as a profane language.

 

What’s Done in the Dark

Not on the job. Not in the living room of your rich Uncle’s mansion. Not even while living in the cardboard box in the alley. The message we’re being sent is simply don’t discuss it. It’s uncomfortable, unprofessional. It’s none of your business.

YET, it’s by keeping the numbers in the dark that inequality is able to thrive in almost every aspect of business as it relates to money. Regardless of if it’s women being paid less than men. Brown people being paid less than Vanilla people. Brown women being paid less than EVERYBODY

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…it’s able to thrive because no one talks about what’s in their wallet.

I’ve always been open with how broke I am and not afraid to discuss it with others. Or so I thought. Until I found myself actively avoiding money related questions like “how much did that cost?” or “You must be making pretty good money.” Then a light bulb went off because I realize now that what steers us clear from discussions of money is fear of judgement.

We don’t want to be held accountable based of our $$$.

We don’t want to be pitied based on our lack thereof.

We don’t want you to price check every purchase based off the understanding of our financial situation.

We don’t want that negative judgement that comes with having money or not having money.

The crazy part is by keeping our money issues, anxieties or celebrations on the hush, hush we often miss out on deep conversations that could be a milestone in our lives and in paving the way for others.

Case-in-point? What’s one of the top reasons that couples get divorced?

Money.

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Balance, No Balance…Balance

If you’re making a little more money than people around you are used to then you are familiar with hearing “Boy let me hold sumthin’, you big money now!” OR “Everybody ain’t got it like you do.” This could lead to a feeling of disconnect and unwillingness to share in money-related discussions as people assume you have it and life is good.

The truth is usually that you are making just enough to not be wholly considered broke but not enough to “Let them hold sumthin.” So you don’t discuss money because having a little extra is often expected to be shared in your circle and not for personal enjoyment in the form of a nice dinner or trip out-of-town.

Growing up around those who only express money issues and go radio silent around tax season has led many of you to distrust discussions of money with family and close loved ones. Also, the fear of being judged for enjoying your new-found money causes you to *Exit Stage Right* whenever your Great Aunt Cheryl starts loudly complaining about her bills for the month at the family gathering.

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Great Aunt Cheryl: “Lord, I don’t how imma pay that light bill and you know Walter ain’t get his disability check. We just got a letter in the mail saying our insurance going up and I need to get my medicine for this gout on my right toe but I’m sure glad to be ’round family. Some of y’all doing so good for yourself…”

 

Broke Back Money

Truly being broke comes with its share of embarrassment. You don’t want anyone to know your struggle so you act like money is no issue.

“You’re blessed to even have a job” you tell yourself as you stave off the itch to ask for a raise or require a family member to pay for work you’ve done for them.

Us women do this a lot.

We don’t want to be seen as problematic, desperate or dependent.

With less than $20 in the checking account, no direct deposit in sight and bills just over the horizon the last thing you want is the judgmental, pity face from those who look up to you or depend on you.

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You shower your friends with excuses on why you can’t attend brunch or tell your family you don’t feel well enough to attend that birthday party instead of admitting to them that you simply don’t have it. Bending over backwards to cover up your money issues only ends up breaking your back and your wallet.

 

Know Your worth

Us millennial are familiar with the endless sea of articles that tell us how worthless we are. No…literally. At the rate we are going most of us will likely die with a negative net worth. The culprit? 1.4 Trillion dollars of student loan debt. Here’s where I’ll make it personal and be transparent in an attempt to connect with you. Right now I make a decent living; working two jobs (looking for a third) and braving the road of entrepreneurship is no easy feat.

I pay my bills on time (most of them) and I try to do something big for myself at least once a year in the form a trip so that I don’t go crazy. I fight the urge to leave it all behind to go live in Tuscany like that lady in that movie because even when life is unicorns and rainbows I still feel the weight of my $40,000+ student loan debt.

I’m constantly having to choose between quality of life and financial responsibilities all because I started off into adulthood coming from a low-income background and had the audacity to want to further my education.

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“I put myself through school and worked a full-time job” Yea, well Grandpa Ricky-Bobby, I’d have to work 200+ hours a week to keep up with tuition and to graduate without debt; I don’t think my boss would go for that.

 

But instead of telling my partner why I am such a stickler for saving and money handling in general; I let him suffer thinking that I was a crazy person. The truth is that every dollar I make feels unreal because I know that I am working myself out of a hole big enough to fit a mortgage and new vehicle in. But because we don’t discuss money our debates would seem like I was bitchin’ about a Wendy’s 4 for $4 over a $7 baconator combo when what I really was saying is “I GOT MONEY BUT I’M BROKE N****, I’M BROKE!”

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I couldn’t talk to my family about it because I was their beacon of light. I was “The one they didn’t have to worry about.” I was the one that made it out. And I couldn’t talk to my friends because in some financial form they were or had been getting help with their debt. I was on my own I told myself. I would die having worked all my life only to leave my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren with nothing.

How depressing is that?! I finally got over myself and opened up to my boyfriend about my anxieties. We had the “MONEY TALK” and got a better understanding of how our personalities, realities and experiences play a part in how we handle the green. Better yet it took a weight off my shoulders and allowed me to see possibilities of getting out of debt within this actual lifetime.

 

Bank of Knowledge

Imagine if we openly discussed money…

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No, No, No…that wouldn’t happen but a lot of people seem to focus so much on all the reasons you shouldn’t discuss money and none of the reasons of why you should.

Imagine young adults having a better understanding of how to open a checking/savings account in a bank or taking on student loans because they discussed it with parents or received a money management course in school.

Imagine that inequality in pay among women and men were seriously addressed once people start chattin’ about their paychecks in the break room over coffee and doughnuts. Dave from accounting is making $4.00/hr more than Jessica but she will never know this because money is never to be discussed; especially in the workplace.

Imagine couples having a serious discussion about money management and debt before the I dos.

Don’t shout your account balance from the rooftop…that’s not at all what I’m trying to say. My point is simply this…

Having the Money Talk with those who you trust and will likely be actively managing money with in the future is important. It is also important to encourage others you’re around to actively seek rightful pay from their contributions and performance.

Money doesn’t have to be vilified but the way we approach it should.

 

Does talking about the green make you uncomfortable? Have you had the “Money Talk” with a loved one? Let’s Talk about it, Comment below or Share. 

#LETSBUILD

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hate conflict.

It makes me itch and sweat in the most private places; that’s why I attempt to avoid it at all costs. Actually, only one part of me wants to avoid it while the other part has taken off her earrings, shoes and started lathering globs of Vaseline all over her face.

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While ANOTHER part of me is sitting, crying in a corner talking to this OTHER part that’s telling all the other parts that it’s not that big a deal and to forgive and move on.

As you can see I’m effectively crazy but one thing I’ve learned is to actually listen to each of these parts of myself to uncover the best solution; otherwise, I’d just find myself screaming “SHUT UP!” at the top of my lungs in the middle of Wal*Mart while the lady that was headed towards me down the aisle busts a U-turn and speed walks away.

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See the problem is I avoid difficult situations because I have so many intense, conflicting emotions about them; it just makes sense to run for the hills instead of deal with them. I knew this was an issue once my therapist pointed it out halfway through our session. Now I’m attempting to make sense of the different parts of myself and why they behave the way they do. Let’s take a trip into Crazyland to uncover some shit about dealing with intense emotions and listening to yourself.

All of yourselves.

 

Do you Like, LIKE Me?

I’m a people pleaser. Ew. (It stung to admit that) I absolutely hate this aspect of myself most days but in truth it has opened a lot of doors for me. Still, having that little girl inside me that wants to be loved and adored can be annoying as hell. All she ever wants is puppies, sunshine and ice cream nostalgic feelings in every aspect of life.

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Me and my Inner child on any given day.

She is the main reason why I break out in hives every time I have a disagreement with a loved one or a friend. Don’t get it twisted I am a Superwoman when it comes to handling my business and protecting my people but conflict is like my kryptonite. So there’s always this voice left wondering…

“Will they still like me if I blow up the way I really want to?”

“Will that person look at me different for cursing them out?”

“Can we make it past things if I were to truly speak my mind?”

“Are my hurt feelings worth a friendship/relationship?”

It’s ridiculous and these questions always happen after someone has hurt or disappointed me. I’m constantly aware and cautious of other people’s perspective and feelings for this reason. Crazy right? yea…I know. Focusing so much on everyone else’s feelings only crowds the already crowded room of my mind. The shit is exhausting so I’m attempting to identify these different “parts” of myself that make life confusing.

 

Meet the “Parts”

I read an article, as I often do, about a female who had the same issues I seem to have. She wrote, “I simultaneously wanted to run away from my friend, totally forgive him, and mercilessly destroy him in a savage counterattack.” She had learned of these different aspects of oneself from Richard Schwartz, PhD who believes that there is not just one internal self but multiple. Sounds nuts right?!

But just think about it, how many times do you hear annoying voices in your head that challenge your decisions? Yeah…you’re nuts and it’s perfectly normal. From my interpretation we all have one main “true” self and the other parts of ourselves develop as defense mechanisms to protect us from things we have difficulty dealing with. Take a look at the articles linked below:

https://selfleadership.org/the-larger-self.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/elizabeth-gilbert-toxic-friendship_us_5845e3dde4b028b32338e4c4?utm_hp_ref=friendships

These articles could help give you more insight into the workings of your inner self as they have done for me.

Now let’s attempt to unveil my mental ladies, shall we?

 

Mosaic AF

From my count I have about 4 or 5 very distinct “parts” of myself. The People Pleaser, the Smoking Gun, the Home Girl, and the Delicate Flower. Don’t worry I will break each part down for you as you might find one part of yourself in some of these descriptions. Right now I invite you to take a moment to call out to your different parts and to formally meet their crazy asses for the first time…

….

….

 

The People Pleaser

She is an annoying ball of joy. She gives love and trust freely no matter how many times she’s been hurt and always sees the good in people. Her optimism stems from a need to see the bright side in life and people, rather than deal with ugly truths that would make her feel mistreated, alone, and unloved. She counters every negative experience with a “Maybe she/he didn’t really mean to.” or a “Forgiveness is a virtue.” Most of the time I just mentally kick this heffa in her teeth and tell her to go play with Barbies.

 

The Smoking Gun

The smoking gun is a true bad-ass. She strings her curse words and witty rebuttals out way better than the real me could ever do and her temper is the stuff of legend. Through her I am able to express all of my suppressed rage.

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She is truly merciless but I’ve come to realize that she does this because she’s afraid of being hurt again. She’s the one that usually kicks the People Pleaser in the teeth because she refuses to be anybody’s doormat. Pain from the past is always fresh on her mind and she feels it is her duty, NO!…Her Right to be let out every now and again. But because she is ruthless I just tell her to hush and go play with matches. Letting her out would ensure that I alienate myself from everyone and everything and she would be just fine with that.

 

The Home Girl

The home girl is like the equivalent of the stoner. She is soooooooooo chillllllllllllllllllll. Her emotions are always level so she looks at the other “selves” as dramatic and unnecessary. The home girl is the ultimate friend when it comes to chilling and having laid back conversations.

She’s cool and she knows it which is why she won’t let complicated emotions jeopardize her chill reputation. Her responses usually include “So they f****d you over, it’s not that bad” or “Dude, you’re totally overreacting; just forgive the damn person and move on because all this mental chaos is annoying and blowing my high.”  The real, MAIN me usually asks what high? She then promptly lights up a blunt and I have no idea where she got it from.

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I allow her to stick around longer than the others because her nonchalant demeanor is a welcomed “Switzerland” to all the extreme highs and lows of the other selves. Still, she’s one of the most dangerous because she simply doesn’t deal with emotion at all. Just good vibes and high vibrations.

 

The Delicate Flower

She is best friends with the People Pleaser for one reason; she wants to keep the peace because if not she erupts into water works like the world is ending. Her petals are fragile and welt every time someone does anything that intentionally or unintentionally hurts.

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She is annoying but honest because while the People Pleaser is only concerned about the other person’s feelings, and the Smoking Gun is plotting her revenge and the Homegirl is emotionless; the delicate flower is the only one who expresses her hurt feelings in a way that doesn’t attempt to cover them up or dismiss them. She bawls her eyes out and yells “HOW COULD THEY DO THIS?!” The People Pleaser consoles her while everyone else closes the mental door to drown her out.

 

And then there’s ME. The real, main self among the multitude of selves. Attempting to listen to the advice that each one offers while they over talk each other.

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I made these emotional selves literal  so that I can better understand how to listen to what I feel and think. By asking the Smoking gun why she’s so angry I can then get to the root of what it is I truly feel and how to handle it in the best way.

When asking the Delicate Flower why she’s been crying all damn day I’m giving myself the opportunity to express the why without internal judgement. Asking my selves to explain their reasoning behind their thinking offers me a well-rounded understanding of why they ugh…why I feel a certain way and how to handle difficult situations instead of avoid them altogether.

At this point you’re either thinking “This B***** is crazy and needs help!”

(To you Sir I say too late I’m already in therapy so HA!)

OR

“Damn, I feel understood because I have the same issue.”

Either way it pays to note that everyone on some level has this mental battle within themselves over things that are important or intense in nature. Admitting that you have voices in your head is the first step to conquering them all. I allowed my many emotional selves to discourage me from handling a situation that upset me recently and in turn wasn’t true to any of myselves.

So next time when I’m feeling conflicted inside I won’t be so quick to run from myselves or the situation; instead I intend to square my shoulders and unleash what I think and feel onto the situation. Because only then can anything be resolved with honesty, respect and love for myselves and the other person(s).

DO YOUR THING SYBIL!

 

Do you have emotional selves that keep you from dealing with difficult situations? Comment below and Let’s Talk about them.

#LETSBUILD