BOUND: Restricted or confined to a specific place; prevented from operating normally by the specified conditions.
There are times in life when we are bound, but have no idea. We can be bound in unhealthy relationships, bound to addictions, bound to habits, bound to jobs, bound, bound, bound. Oftentimes, the reason we don’t feel as though we are bound is because we have found a way to navigate around those situations to which we are in bondage.
For years, I was bound. I walked around every single day in that state. I had become used to that life. I would pray about the situation and talked about it to my closest friends and family members. At one point, I decided that it was as good as it was ever going to get – until one day…
FREE: Not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes; unblocked.
One day, I decided that my life could be better and that I deserved so much better. I wanted to be free. I decided that I could no longer live in the place of being bound.
The day that I made that the decision that having my freedom was necessary in order for me to live (mental health) was not only one of the scariest moments of my life, but also one of the most liberating.
Whatever you are bound to today, you don’t have to be. You can gain your freedom. Change is never easy. There is always fear of the unknown. I talk to my 3-year-old granddaughter when she is afraid of something such as going to the doctors because of her fear of needles. I let her know that I’m right there with her and won’t let anything happen. I explain as best I can what she can expect to happen during the visit. I also explain to her that while things are scary sometimes, there are times that those things are necessary.
If you’re in a relationship where someone is putting their hands on you, get help. Don’t be afraid to leave. You are no one’s punching bag. You’re saying, “How am I going to make it? I have no money; he takes care of all the finances. I love him. He is going to get better”. How much more of this are you willing to take? Do you want your kids to think this is normal? Do you want them to continue to stress out about it? You deserve so much more. There are resources where you can go to get help. It’s not easy to walk away by any stretch of the imagination. However, look at the big picture. Is this really what you want for your life? If this is you and you fear for your life, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Someone is available 24/7 to speak with you confidentially.
Perhaps, you’re not being abused physically, but your abuse comes in the form of mental and/or verbal. Try convincing your partner to go to counseling. If they refuse, don’t let that stop you; go and get your healing. Remember, abuse is abuse is abuse! Never allow anyone to afflict their insecurities and hurts upon you. You’ve tried sorting this out in your head, now it’s time to get someone who is unbiased that can help you get to the bottom of why you allow yourself to remain in this situation. Don’t ever be ashamed to seek help. It takes a lot of courage, but you got this! There are trained professionals who are waiting for your phone call and want to help you. You don’t have to do carry this burden alone. In the meantime, get a small support group who you can call any time of day or night.
At one point in my life, I didn’t think I deserved anything good. I felt that I should take whatever came along, and for a long time I did, but NO MORE! I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am that the chains of bondage have been broken over my life. Recently, I looked at some pictures that I had posted last year vs. the pictures that I have posted since being free, and I see a tremendous difference. I was simply going through the process of being free, but I had no idea what being free actually looked like. Yes, it’s definitely more than the outward appearance. Being free also means being at peace and that, my friends, you can’t put a price tag on.
I am somebody. You are somebody — think it, feel it, believe it and, lastly, walk in it!
The first three pictures are after I was free, and the last three are when I was bound.
Never beat yourself up about choices that you’ve made that may not have been the best. It’s okay. We’ve all been there. Use those mistakes as a learning tool from which to grow. Trust me, it’s going to be okay.
I don’t usually ask this, but would you be willing to share today’s post because I feel strongly that there is someone who needs to read it. Thanks in advance, Grace.
Some of the lyrics to this song are definitely appropriate for us women who oftentimes feel like “we are less than perfect” (by the way, this is the clean version).
PERFECT: Having all the required or “desirable” elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
So, now that we have established perfect doesn’t mean without flaw, let’s move on. It’s time for you to let go of all the past hurt and pain that people have inflicted upon you because of their insecurities. Because of them, you have been in bondage for years and feeling less than perfect. Today, is your day to begin to move past that. Have a good cry, if necessary. Purge all negative thoughts from your mind.
We look at the celebrities and often admire them for being glamorous. Sometimes, we even allow ourselves to become depressed because we feel like we don’t have it going on they way they do. The truth of the matter is we have to be disciplined to make sacrifices like they have. We have to hit the gym and change our diets or cut back on our eating if we want to lose weight. Find the makeup that’s right for you. Find the clothes that fit your body type. Create your own style. You never have to be envious of anyone. Be your own beautiful, bad self. Be you. We all want to be glamorous, but check out the definition below; it’s just not based on outward beauty as people would have you think.
GLAMOUR: The attractive or exciting quality that makes certain people or things seem appealing or special (allure, attraction, fascination, charm). Glamour is just not just being physically attractive, but attractive on the inside as well.
People have torn you down. Forget about them! Put them on the back burner of your mind. They are irrelevant and if they’re not, they should be. If you have zero self-esteem (like I once had), devise a list of all of your positive attributes. You will be pleasantly surprised how quickly that list fills up. Now, if you are feeling so low and so down and out, and can’t think of a single, solitary positive thing, ask someone you can trust to help you start your list.
I was in a relationship once with someone who tried to make me feel less than perfect by talking about my flaws. What they didn’t know was that I had already been done that road. I knew what my flaws were and had allowed myself to be impacted by them negatively for years until one day I realized that my flaws made me unique. I am free from that mindset, and will never allow anyone to make me feel less than perfect again.
Don’t you ever feel like you’re less than perfect — because…
Most recently, mental health issues have been one of the most talked about topics in our community. Celebrities are even sharing their stories of depression, bipolar disorder, suicidal thoughts, and some have even talked about the need for medication. Two people who were well-known to the world committed suicide in one week. The world was shocked, and some of us even questioned why. We looked at those two people who were extremely talented as well as admired and loved by so many. We felt they had everything to live for, and couldn’t imagine why they could have been so unhappy. Of course various stories, speculations and assumptions have come out, but does anyone really know about the fight they had within themselves?
Let’s make this a little more personal. I shared in one of my earlier posts how I was depressed day in and day out for many years, and not one single soul on the face of this earth knew about it. I was extremely well at hiding my feelings. However, I was in excruciating pain. No one could run to my rescue because they were clueless. I was too ashamed of myself and the suicidal thoughts I had on a regular basis.
When I looked at the graphic above, it described my exact feelings back then. I wanted to give up. I absolutely hated myself. I felt useless and the list went on and on. Most of us have come in contact with people who have felt the same way. It hurts our hearts to see them suffering because looking from the outside in, they have everything to live for, and we tell them as much.
What is the definition of mental health illness? Mental health illness are disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Under this umbrella falls: depression, anxiety disorders, addictive behaviors, eating disorders and schizophrenia, etc.
DEPRESSION: Depression is a common medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, think, and act. Depression causes feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, sleeping too much or lack thereof, increased fatigue or loss of energy just to name a few.
ANXIETY DISORDER: Anxiety disorder is worrying about things all the time, and fear of life in general (always thinking something is going to happen).
ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS: Addictive behaviors are actions beyond conscious control that are constantly repeated by a person who is dependent on a chemical substance or activity (even when you know it’s not good for you and even when you tell yourself and others you are going to stop).
EATING DISORDERS: Eating disorders are illness that are characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
SCHIZOPHRENIA: Schizophrenia is a mental illness that can affect how clearly you think, how you relate to others, and how you handle your emotions. Some of the symptoms of schizophrenia are: hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, social withdrawal, flat affect, loss of pleasure, inability to focus, troupe processing information, and learning difficulties.
If someone you know is suffering from any of the above listed illnesses, I implore you to encourage them to seek help because it could be the difference between life and death.
Please don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to get assistance if you’re suffering. You don’t ever have to suffer in silence because you are not alone, though it may feel that way. We are in this together. Your friends and family are fighting for you. Now, it’s time for you to fight for yourself. Get the help that you need so that you will be whole, healthy, and happy. We want to keep you around for many years to come.
Surround yourself with a good support group. Talk to your family. You may need to see a therapist who can give you some thoughts on how to manage your feelings or you may need both a therapist and a psychiatrist (who helps with medication). The only way to get help is to seek it. Some people are opposed to medication, but you have to do what’s right for you. I know someone who once thought that if they didn’t take their prescribed medication that the diagnosis would magically disappear. It didn’t, and they suffered.
I don’t care what you’re going through currently or what your past looks like, I want you to always remember that #GurlYouGotItGoinOn. NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER GIVE IN. NEVER STOP BELIEVING IN YOURSELF.
Let’s keep these families in prayers as they struggle to find answers, and deal with their losses.
Several days ago, I cleaned my bathroom mirrors and they looked pretty good, or so I thought — that is, until I STEPPED BACK. Once I did that, I was able to see the smudges, and realized that I needed to clean them again. This time, when I stepped back, the mirrors looked great.
Sometimes, we are so close to the situation, that we really can’t see the “big picture”, so we have to TAKE A STEP BACK.
In life, we go through many things — people getting on our nerves, finances, health issues, relationship concerns, etc. Some of us react immediately rather than TAKING A STEP BACK. I have found out that the older I get, I don’t always take the necessary STEP BACK, but have become more reactionary, particularly, when I’ve had the same conversation multiple times. Let’s just say that my patience has gotten a lot shorter (which can be both good and bad). It used to be when people did or said something I didn’t like, I would “politely” ignore them. Now, there are moments that I’m at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Rather than holding it in and seething about it for days, I let it out, and boy do I ever. My thoughts and feelings are splattered all over the place. Depending upon the situation, sometimes, I have to take a STEP BACK by taking the high road and apologizing, even if I’m not the one at fault. One of my favorite quotes is “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”. I said that to say this, I meant what I said, but there are times when my delivery needs some work.
When we take a STEP BACK, and analyze the situation, not only do we see things more clearly, but we feel so much better. I have found this method to be most liberating (that is, when I follow it). I want you to keep in mind that we will not always pass the test. However, we can certainly be a work in progress. Because I’m learning to STEP BACK, I’m passing some of my tests with check marks and even some check pluses instead of always getting big fat red zeroes. There have been times when I have actually shocked myself. 🙂
I’ve had to take a STEP BACK from relationships. I’ve had to take a STEP BACK from acquaintances that I thought were friends. I had to take a STEP BACK to allow my adult children to begin to understand what it is to be independent and not dependent. I’m still working on this one because it’s tough; however, if I don’t let go, they will never learn or grow up because I would have been instrumental in their growth being stunted. There are times when I have had to take a hundred STEPS BACK when someone cut me off in traffic or when they got over and didn’t drive the speed limit. Whew!
There are times when we should take a STEP BACK before allowing ourselves to become enthralled in other people’s affairs; rather than staying in our own lane, we cross the lines and crash into their lane. Everything is not our business nor should we force our “unwanted” thoughts and opinions on others. However, there are exceptions to this rule and we have to use wisdom and exercise good judgment. If you discern someone is hurting, it’s perfectly fine to ask them if they’re okay. You don’t want to see people drowning without throwing out the life line to them. However, it’s totally up to them if they want to share. They may open up or they may not. Whatever you do, don’t pressure them. Keep in mind that prayer can reach places that we can’t.
In life we are ever learning and ever-growing; therefore, don’t be too hard on yourself if you forget to TAKE A STEP BACK. After all, you are only human! If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…
My post is a day late because the original blog just didn’t “feel right”, so I had to go back to the drawing board which, I have to admit, was more than a little frustrating. However, it’s extremely important for me to make sure that I’m posting about the right topics at the right time; otherwise, what’s the point. While wrestling with myself and my thoughts, one of my friends texted me because she didn’t see a new post for the week. I told her my situation, and her response was “It’s not good to have you (people) waiting and wondering either”. I had to laugh when I read her message, but she has absolutely no idea what those simple words meant to me. My best friend told me that she is a captive audience member now. My other closest friend is constantly coming up with marketing ideas. One of my coworkers is always saying, “You need to do something with this”. There is another person, whom I’ve never met, that follows me weekly and leaves kind comments. One of the members of my church also follows me faithfully. What none of these people understand is that they keep me going by their support, kind words, and suggestions; I will be forever grateful to each and every one of them.
In favor of today’s post, I searched for songs that were geared to women’s empowerment. In doing so, I came across the lyrics to “This Girl Is On Fire” by Alicia Keys. Some of you have probably listened to it a million times but, until now, I had never heard the song in its entirety. The words are absolutely beautiful and oh, so powerful. I’ve included a small portion of the instrumentals for you to take a listen to and, perhaps, even sing along.
While being on FIRE, you must be bold in your statement towards life. You have to learn how to put fear aside as you accomplish those things that you are passionate about — no matter what it is and regardless of whose support you have. You have to keep going; somebody is depending on your gift to the world.
You must be on FIRE: as you fight for that relationship that’s worth saving; and advocate for your children (because who knows them better and will fight harder than you) all the while loving them unconditionally; and by being a voice in your community and/or place of employment. Let your FIRE burn, burn and burn some more; don’t let your circumstances extinguish it. In other words, don’t be robbed of your FIRE.
Unfortunately, there are times when your FIRE dies a slow death because you feel the need to be all things to all people at all times, and you are literally burned out by the cares of this life. You’ve never unplugged, and taken time for yourself — ever. You don’t say “no” because you don’t want to disappoint anyone or have people angry with you, even though you’re dog tired from life’s hustle and bustle. People have sucked the life out of you and drained you completely dry, and you’ve allowed it. Then, you become secretly resentful, but you plaster on your happy face anyway and say nothing. STOP RIGHT NOW! Do you really think your mission on earth is to take care of everyone and everything except yourself? I guarantee you that if you weren’t here to do those things, the people who you permit to run you ragged would figure it out — been there, done that!
Let’s relieve some of that anxiety and pinned up stress that you’ve been carrying around. I want you to grab your microphone or your make shift microphone by the way of your brush or broom or whatever you choose, and sing your heart out as you release those endorphins. Don’t be concerned about not hitting the notes (Lord knows I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, as the old folks used to say and Simon Cowell would probably chase me off the stage, LOL); just have fun with it. For those of you who have the vocals, imagine yourself singing at a large stadium or Carnegie Hall in front of thousands and thousands of people. Now, belt out those lyrics by giving it all you’ve got. You feel good, right?
Now, it’s time to give yourself permission to recharge — to REIGNITE that FIRE, and I don’t mean just having a few sparks here and there. Trust me, the world is not going to come to an end if you don’t do laundry for a day or clean your house or cook dinner or be the maid or act as a 24/7 unpaid taxi driver who doesn’t even get a simple “thank you”. Believe it or not, it really is okay not to be “Wonder Woman”. Whew, what a relief!
I want you to exhale and let out that deep breath that you’ve been holding since forever. Gurl, you know you’re mentally and physically exhausted, and have been for years but you’ve pushed yourself for other people day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year. Today, put everyone on notice that there is a new sheriff in town, and that you are no longer going to continue neglecting yourself. Yes, they are going to pout and ask what are they going to do. You simply say, “Figure it out”. That’s not being rude. It’s just saying that you care enough about yourself to take care of you. Don’t allow them to make you feel guilty about hanging out your imaginary do not disturb sign.
I want you to LIGHT the FIRE that you once had and as you come in contact with other women, IGNITE their FIRE as well. Don’t feel inferior or intimated , but rather focus on the lives that will be changed as we encourage and support one another. No matter who you are or where you’ve come from or your social status or your race, the bottom line is we are WOMEN who should come together to BUILD UP and not TEAR DOWN.
I’m on FIRE, and plan on motivating other women to catch on FIRE too. What about you?