Tag Archives: love

If it’s not your story, don’t tell it – IV

‘Gossip is when you have a malice of intent or mindless, third party conversation to someone about someone, something you haven’t said to that someone’ -Iyalna Vanzant

Growing up, my brothers and I were always told by our mother that our tummies fit a lot of food so it would also fit a lot of talk, so never gossip about anyone and if anybody tells you a secret, you keep it. We were told what the outcome of gossiping would be and we definitely didn’t want to be the cause of any trouble or hurt anyone’s feelings. Mum and dad taught us to love and respect all those around us. If family or friends ever came into our home and started to gossip dad would stop them in their tracks and say ‘not under my roof’. Looking back I am proud that my parents taught us this powerful lesson. I think that may be why I have never been betrayed by true friends and vice versa. I can honestly say when it comes to gossip, my life has been drama free.

However, growing up in the community I am from, I see lots of people, particularly women hurting each other. Whether you gossip to a friend or whether you shamefully bash someone on social media it is unnecessary bitchiness and what I believe is a reflection of ones self. Regardless of whether you are male or female (although women seem to betray each other more so).

When I catch up with friends I always feel great afterwards. I feel like we were able to discuss life issues, we were able to vent our stresses to one another and generally I just feel good. I will admit, there have been times were a topic will come up and I find myself gossiping. I know when something has turned into gossip because I get an ill feeling. A guilty feeling and a shameful one at that. I feel like I have betrayed the person I just gossiped about. So I stop. It is very important to me that I am mindful of it. I want to lead a life by example for my mother, father, my brothers, my children, my nieces and nephews and for my community.

We as humans gossip to try and divert attention away from our own lives because we are unhappy with an aspect of our lives. We try and seek validation from others because we are insecure about something within ourselves. We become mean when we hear something we don’t want to hear because some of us are envious or feel threatened by the person we just gossiped about. We gossip because we don’t value relationships and most importantly we gossip because we don’t value ourselves.

So I would like you to ask yourself if you gossip. If yes, why? How do you feel when you gossip? Do you feel empowered or ashamed? Furthermore, ask yourself when you find yourself gossiping or you are in a situation where gossip is occurring:

– Are you honouring yourself by gossiping?

– Are you honouring your relationship with the person being gossiped about?

– Are you envious or do you feel threatened by this person you are gossiping about?

– Are you making gossiping acceptable by being apart of it?

– Are you diverting attention away from your own issues by gossiping?

– Are you lying or shifting information around?

– Are you aware of the damage that spoken words can have?

If you have been or are guilty of gossiping, it is never too late to change. Try and focus on yourself, on your own life. Surround yourself with like-minded people and don’t compare yourself to anyone. You are your own person and only you can decide what you allow or don’t allow in your life.

If you have ever been betrayed by family or a friend, remember that whatever happened is a reflection of the person who betrayed you, not a reflection of yourself. Learn from the experience, accept the situation, forgive and let go. From here on learn to trust yourself, learn who you can really trust even if it is just one person. Share your story with people who have earned your time or who deserve your time. Think of who has really earned the right to listen. Make your life a gossip free zone.

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Gratitude

Gratitude is something that has been on my mind of late. In the past few weeks it has come up in conversation with a good friend and most recently with my family. So it’s only fitting that my blog post be about gratitude.

For the last few months I have been taking time out each morning to write down in my journal what I am grateful for in my life. The following are the most prevalent;

~ my children
~ my health
~ a roof over my head
~ food on the table
~ having my parents here with me
~ being loved
~ gift of life
~having genuine people/relationships in my life

I feel like in this day and age we forget how lucky we are to have what we have. Life is busy in general. I understand that. Add into that mix media, social media and consumerism and we begin to stop to appreciate and be thankful for all that we have been blessed with.

One thing I have been trying to work on is teaching my son gratitude. I know I want to nurture him in a way to appreciate what he has and to learn that life is not all about receiving but also about giving. This week I happened to have found a plastic bag in the mail from a charity foundation asking for books, toys and clothes. Together with my son, we chose some toys and books he no longer plays with and some clothes he had outgrown. We placed them in the bag and I explained to him that there are children who are not as lucky as he is and that passing his toys, books and clothes onto them will make them very happy. I think if we want generations to come to be grateful we need to start now. What will you do or what do you do already that reminds you and/or your family about being grateful?

Prior to making a decision to write down what I am grateful for in life, I would often look at experiences in my life and either feel sorry for myself or I would think that I was being punished by God for something wrong I had done in my life. I now realise that life is a blessing and our experiences whether good or bad make us stronger in some way. We all have some struggle we are going through in life but we need to focus on the positives and look at what good has or will come out of it.

Things that I am trying to master nowadays to live are life filled with gratitude are as follows:

~ Try to focus on what I do have not what I wish I had
~ Instead of asking for things, I thank God for what he has already given me
~ Surround myself with people who appreciate me as I not only believe in giving but also in receiving
~ Focus on the good in my life, not my struggles
~ Continue writing in my journal and to also get my husband and son on board

What I would like to ask of you all is that each day remind yourself of the basics you have been blessed with. We have all been blessed with the air that we breathe. We have all been given the gift of life and that in itself is the biggest blessing. Look at yourself in the mirror each morning and be grateful for having your eyes to see the world you live in, the ears you have to hear with, the mouth you have to eat and taste with, the arms you can touch with and the legs you have been given to walk with. Be grateful.

Positive Energy

From the age of about sixteen my weight has been a major struggle. At sixteen I had what was called ‘puppy fat’ so when my sister in law asked me to come along to an aerobics class I agreed. Within a month or so I began losing weight and within three months friends and family began noticing too. It felt good to hear ‘you’ve lost weight’, ‘you look much better’, ‘you look younger’. In a space of a year, I went from doing aerobics two nights a week to joining the gym and going twice a day, in two hour blocks. I didn’t watch what I ate and looking back now I didn’t have an understanding of health and fitness. I just wanted to be thin. Real thin.

Fast forward to when I hit the age of 24. I was about to get married and like most brides, I wanted to lose more weight for my big day. At this point I was going to the gym once a day for about two hours. I was doing weights and lots of cardio. I began seeing a personal trainer who for the first time put me on a weight-loss diet. So here I was training hard (not smart), doing crazy amounts of cardio and on a high protein diet which pretty much consisted of boiled chicken breast, steamed broccoli and boiled eggs.

About 4 weeks into this diet I was at a session with my trainer. She had me holding dumb bells in each hand and doing lunges. As I went to lunge, I lost balance. I shook it off, picked myself up and went to start over again. This time I had no balance and lost bodily control. I collapsed and was out for about a minute. Before I knew it I had the owner of the gym making me gulp down two sugar drinks. After I felt well enough to stand up, I made my way down the stairs to head home. The owner stopped me at the counter and asked me what my trainer had me doing. After I told him about my program and diet he was pretty shocked. He advised me that the diet I was on was for people looking at participating in bodybuilding competitions and the diet was too high in protein with no carbohydrates which was not sustainable for somebody like myself. I ended up training on my own and my eating went downhill. I binged to the point I ate two entire packets of teddy bear biscuits in one sitting and of course the guilt kicked in straight after.

That week I spent $70 on fat blaster at a chemist and didn’t eat for 3 days. Again after the 3 days I went on binge which consisted of chocolate, pasta and ice cream. Then I tried weight-loss patches. Worked a treat but not realistic at all. My big day came and I had lost weight but definitely not the right way. I gained 13 kilos in my first year of marriage simply by not eating right and heavily consuming comfort foods such as ice cream, chips and chocolate. Skip 10 years and here I am today finally with balance in my life and most importantly happy about myself and how far I have come.

Instagram has driven me crazy with all this ‘clean eating’ business and to exercise ‘this way’ or hang on it’s ‘that way’! It made me think long and hard about what connection there was between my self worth, weight and food all these years. It finally dawned on me. My desire to ‘eat clean’ was actually me yearning for pure ‘clean’ love in my life and genuine ‘clean’ relationships.

Once the connection hit me, I began to distance myself from people who presented a negative attitude and only bought negative energy into my life. I started doing things for loved ones because I wanted to not because I felt obligated to. I surrounded myself with people who raised me, not bought me down. I met up with people for coffee who I could learn from not tell me I wasn’t good enough. I distanced myself from friends and family who enjoyed being mean to others and who loved gossiping.

I wanted change in my life. I wanted to feel good about myself and that started with surrounding myself with positive people and positive energy. I didn’t want to be a toxic person or be friends with toxic people. I no longer wanted to pretend I was happy with myself and I no longer wanted to pretend I had the perfect life. I wanted to be happy, I wanted joy in my life and I wanted to be a genuine person who was authentic, honest and most importantly I wanted to be me.

I would really love for each and every one of you to think about the people you surround yourself with. Ask yourself these questions:

Do you have a real connection with them?

Do you have ‘fake’ conversations with them?

Are you yourself around them?

Do they raise you and appreciate your authentic self?

Do you become a different person when you are with them?

Do you take your own direction or theirs?

I let go of the ‘clean eating’ analogy as I knew in actual fact it had nothing do with food but everything to do with the energy around me and what I actually wanted for myself. Yes people have disappeared from my life but they would not have done so when I stopped being a reflection of them. I stopped becoming a people pleaser and I became someone who knew their self worth and authentic self.

‘When you know better, you do better’ – Maya Angelou

For some reason, this week has been a week for reflection. In particular one damaging relationship I had when I was 19. I had met this guy who was 27 and who was a close friend of my cousin. We met at party and it just so happened that the cafe he owned was across the road from where I was working while attending university.

On the night of the party, he asked me to come into his cafe on my lunch break and so I did.  From that day I felt that we had a connection and I felt that I was attracted to him. My visits became regular and we started seeing each other more often. Since I was 10 years of age, my parents always told me to be honest and forthcoming with them, especially when it came to boys. So the time came to tell my parents that I was in a relationship with this person.

Mum and dad didn’t respond well at all. They had heard of his bad boy reputation and they made it very clear that they did not want me involved with him at all. But of course I thought I was in love and I pretty much begged my parents to let him come over and rather then make a judgement based on other peoples opinions, I wanted them to make a judgement for themselves.

The first time he came over my parents were impressed by his mannerism, the respect he showed and how easy he was to talk to. My younger brother was far from impressed and told Me immediately.  I was blinded by love and I felt protected, safe and loved. What more could I ask for?

Three months into our relationship things began to change. First it would be comments like ‘why are you wearing a short skirt? Only prostitutes wear those’. So my skirts became longer. ‘Why are you wearing such bright colours?, That is not classy at all’. So I began to wear black only. ‘Your too skinny, you need to eat more’. So I began to eat whatever he asked me to. Then came ‘You don’t need your friends, you have me’. So I began to ignore my friends and eventually I was not even allowed to answer their calls without his consent. I interacted less with my family and I became so distant from everyone and I would barely utter a word.

This relationship went on for a year and a half and for a year and a half I was drowning in self hate, fear and embarrassment. On the outside my life looked like a picture of bliss. Everybody thought I was happy, in love and had an amazing life with an amazing guy. Little did anybody know that I was screaming for help and I had never felt so depressed and lost in my entire life. I had lost all support around me. I no longer had friends and I couldn’t go to family as I thought they would say ‘I told you so’. I had fainted several times at work and when the ambulance would be called, I was told it was stress and anxiety. I no longer recognised myself when I looked in the mirror.

Then came a day where he had asked me to call him at 9:15pm. I was laying in bed after a shower and just happened to dose off. I woke up suddenly and looked at the time frantically….it was 9:16pm. I called him and he could sense the fear in my voice. He called me hurtful names and was adamant that because I didn’t call at 9:15pm as asked I didn’t care about him or our relationship. He hung up on me and would not pick up his phone despite my numerous efforts to speak to him and ‘fix’ what I had done.

Mum entered my room. She looked at me as I sat there crying and she cried with me. She turned to me and said you have to leave him. Look at you. I don’t even know you anymore. You are not the daughter I know and love. I looked at her said ‘you are right. I know what I have to do. I’m going to leave him’. Mum gazed at me with some hope, hugged me and walked out of my room.

The next day, he came to pick me up to talk about the incident that happened the night before. I told my parents that I was going to break up with him and not to worry about me. I jumped in his car and off we drove. I turned to him and said ‘I just can’t do this anymore. I can’t be with you anymore’. I couldn’t believe I had the courage to say those words. In an instant he turned into a monster. He began yelling at me and making me feel guilty for giving up and not fighting for our relationship. He then went from angry to outraged. He began to threaten me and when I tried to get out of the car he put me back in and locked the car. As I screamed for help he covered my mouth with his hand. I kept crying and begging for him to take me home and he wouldn’t.

After and hour of begging and crying and screaming for help he drove me home. No one was home and I didn’t have the key to the house. So we sat there waiting and waiting for my parents or brother to come home. Forty five minutes passed and that entire time he was begging me to give him another chance. After hearing the begging for that long something inside me was thinking maybe I should give him another chance. He has never been so sorry and forthcoming before. Maybe I do mean something to him. Maybe I was making a rash decision. As I was thinking this I hear the words come out of my mouth… ‘Ok, I will give you….’

Knock, knock….knock, knock. That is what I hear on the car window. I turn and my brother who happened to be driving past home with his mate had see our car parked and wanted to see if we were ok. I looked at my brother and said ‘I’m ok’. He says ‘cool, I’ll be home soon, I’ll see you later’. I look at my boyfriend and he says to me ‘what were you going to say?’ I said ‘nothing…we are over. I can’t do this anymore’.

God was definitely looking out for me that night and gave me a second chance that second my brother knocked on my window. Shortly after my parents arrived home. We both got out of the car and I told my parents our relationship was over. I broke down, ran inside and left my parents standing outside with my ex-boyfriend.

Mum and dad walked in the house and saw me sobbing hysterically on the couch. My dad got down on his knees, kissed my hand and said ‘thank god I have my daughter back’.

I spent years after ending this relationship blaming myself and calling myself stupid for allowing someone who I thought loved me treat me like this. It wasn’t until I heard the saying ‘when you know better, you do better’ that I was able to let go of the blame I was putting on myself, the guilt I felt towards my family and friends and the regret I had for entering this relationship in the beginning.

I now see what happened to me as a second chance at life. I knew if I had stayed in that relationship, I would’ve ended up dead. The things I have learnt from this experience is;

– I won’t hold myself hostage to my past

– I was foolish, but I was given a second chance

– it’s never too late to change and repair the damage that has been caused

– when I blocked out my family and friends, it was a result of the pain I was going through not a reflection of who I really was

– my life is my responsibility and mine only

– what matters to me is now, the present

– I have accepted what happened, I have forgiven, I am at peace and I have let go

– I look at this relationship as an experience, not a regret

– I am a better person, more focused and stronger because of this relationship

If you have anything in your life that you have been through and you continuously punish yourself for it or have kept it a secret you need to stop. Stop and remember that you can’t change the past. You did what you did because that’s what you knew then. You are not the same person today because you have grown and you now know better. Let go, be free and live in the moment.

Self Worth And Ego

Up until two years ago, I would measure my self worth based on my appearance and material objects. If I was thin enough, beautiful enough and carrying my Jimmy Choo bag then I was worthy of love. Right? Wrong. I thought people around me would accept me and love me if I was externally perfect and if I had nice things. My entire self worth was based on my external appearance & material objects to the point I became obsessed with my weight, looks and shopping. It has taken me years to get to where I am today. I have had to re-wire my brain and get to know my true authentic self again to enable me to find my self worth.

Looking back at my 20’s, I identified myself with objects such as what bag I was carrying, the designers shoes I was wearing and what size jeans I was wearing. I allowed myself to value my life by consuming to the point of suffering. I was unhappy, I had low self esteem and I was spending all my hard earned money on ‘things’. What I now realise is that it was my ego determining my self worth.

Let’s get something clear when it comes to ego. Ego can often be perceived as ‘showing off’, ‘stuck up’ or ‘arrogant’. I can assure you I wasn’t any of those things. Ego as explained by the author of the book the power of now, Eckhard Tolle defines ego as ‘Any identification with form’ i.e.; possessions, cars, social status or simply a desire to be thin. Unfortunately we live in a society that cares about what car a person drives, what house somebody owns and what bag somebody is holding. Unfortunately I got sucked into that way of thinking.

As I came out of my teens and hit my 30’s I realised all these years of consuming and unrealistic and unhealthy desires to be perfect were going to be unattainable. I made a decision that I was going to stop the consuming and stop my obsession with my weight. I wanted to purchase something because I really needed it not because I wanted it. I wanted to exercise and eat good food to be healthy not to be thin. I am enough just as I am. I am worthy of love and belonging just by being me.

It is so important that we all find our true authentic selves. What helped me achieve this was when I found stillness in my life. I don’t mean going to a room or place where there is only you. When I say stillness, I mean that amongst any situation you take a moment when you block everyone else’s voice around you,the judgement, the opinions and you make a decision for yourself. A decision that is going to make you happy before anyone else. As difficult as it may be, don’t give meaning to other peoples observations of you. I did that for years and it is very damaging.

So believe in your self, define your self worth with the qualities that you possess. Measure your success not by how much money is in your bank account or how thin you are or what car you drive but by your being. Start making decisions for the most important person in your life and that person is you. Love yourself unconditionally. Look in the mirror every morning and instead of judging yourself, say to yourself ‘I love you’.

The power of forgiveness

I have no doubt that we have all been in situations where we have been hurt by a family member, a friend, an ex-partner, a current partner or a work colleague. Have you ever felt hurt as a result of someone’s actions? How did you deal with it? Have you let go? Did you tell them? Do you have someone close to you that is a repeat offender?

To me, forgiveness is about letting go of a situation where someone has done or said something to me that has left me upset, hurt and betrayed. Up until about a year ago I used to deal with negative actions by crying, getting angry at the situation/person and simply just bottling up all my emotions until one day I would just explode! Really explode! I would feel negative and often felt frustrated at why I would let these situations get to me so much. I would think to myself ‘I am not deserving of this behaviour or action from someone I care about’, ‘I know I am good person so what have I done to deserve such hurt and suffering’.

I recall watching an Oprah episode where she was speaking to a bishop about forgiveness and he used the following analogy: he says that as humans we can be as full as a gallon or as full as a pint. When you are a person that is full as a gallon and are treated badly by someone who is full as a pint, there are going to be issues. Here you are giving so much of yourself and the other person is only giving you back half of what you giving of yourself because that’s all they have. They are half empty.

Over the last year I have written down the following notes in my journal as part of my path to master true forgiveness:

~ True happiness = forgiveness

~ When you say ‘I’m going to let go’, you really need to mean it. Letting go means you have given up the hope that the past cannot be changed.

~ Accept the past. Accept what has happened and ask yourself ‘where to from here’?

~ Don’t hold a grudge. Holding a grudge affects you as a person, affects your relationship/s with those around you and stops you from learning to love yourself.

~ Don’t build up walls around you. Try and surround yourself with people like you. People that are full gallons and give to you as much as you give them.

~ If the person hurting you is a family member and you have constant contact as I do, you need to try and understand why they are like that. Once you understand why they are a certain way, lower your expectations from them so you are not left disappointed.

Forgiving someone is not telling them what they did was ok. Forgiving someone is you as a person accepting something has happened, acknowledging it cannot be changed and then letting it go. If there is no forgiveness in our life then there is no room for change.

Love Matters

It has been a tough this week on the home front. I am missing my brother who moved to Paris almost 2 months ago dearly.  My heart aches each time I think of him and what lengths I would go to just to be able to hug him. My children have been hard to handle and my patience has been tested one too many times.  There is so much going on in my life at the moment that I feel so overwhelmed to say the least.

Through all the emotions I have been through this week  I have had to remind myself I am human.  I cannot control what is going on in my life at the moment but what I can do is control how I react to it.  A part of wanting to change myself as a person, to grow as a person and to follow my purpose in life, I need to take responsibility of my place on this earth.

This week I have had to play the role of a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a sister-in-law and a friend two-fold.  It has felt incredible helping all those around in some way.  This is how I know that I am on the right track in life.  I feel that all I have to give is love to all those around me even through these incredibly stressful times.

There was a time where I would hold grudges, give my partner the silent treatment and just sit alone crying and frustrated at life.  Now I express how I feel, I give love to everyone around me and I let go of all the small things in life.  It is not worth holding onto negativity and ill feelings.  When you do as I did, you will ride a dangerous roller coaster in life where only negative things will occur day after day.

Showing love to others and receiving love from others is the greatest gift in life. Think of how you feel when you give or receive love from someone.  Think of all the positivity that stems from love.  What would our world be like if we just showed love to one another.  How much less hurt, war, rape, human trafficking, child slavery would exist if we just showed love to another human.

The first step in experiencing true love begins with ourselves. We need to respect and LOVE ourselves for others to respect and love us back.  We are all loveable and we are all worthy of love.  There is no other way.  This is the only way.