We Repeat What We Don’t Repair 

Beyoncé image credit Daily Herald Blog
We repeat what we don’t repair. 

We repeat what we don’t repair. 

We repeat what we don’t repair. 

We repeat what we don’t repair. 

We repeat what we don’t repair. 

From my heart to yours. 

I saw a meme with that phrase on it today and had to get off the treadmill to address it. In all honesty, I needed a treadmill break anyway. It inspired me very deeply. I want to share a few things with you (whoever it resonates with). 

THE POINT: We replay scenarios we haven’t healed from even as far back as childhood. They create a stain and emotionally stunt us. Forever. We replay and reenact them in our interpersonal relationships over and over and over and over. How awful this is for our partners and loved ones who see the good in us? What torture it is for someone who loves you to try and save you from “you” over and over?
How taxing it must be to repeat unhealthy habits learned from childhood influences like poor financial management, poor eating, conflict styles, emotional abuse or neglect? 

Wondering why we can’t reach our goals???…because we aren’t repairing the real sh*t inside. We aren’t dealing with the damaged children inside. Perhaps we are in self-preservation mode or a state of constant defensiveness? Perhaps we are harboring anger and resentment, expecting someone other than ourselves to satiate the pain. When we look externally for relief from personal pain, we soon realize no one can fix us, but us. Not a man/woman, not booze, not food, not money. We must repair ourselves. 
What if we examined our actions for what they were? Objectively. What if we had the balls to decide to divorce ourselves from perpetual victimhood and toxic cycles to just live our best lives and be better f*cking people? What if we forgave ourselves and our parents/relatives/teachers/friends for what they indirectly taught us and said “Today, I am different” and truly meant it?


Here’s an example of what I mean:

Are you constantly going from relationship to relationship and when things end, your rhetoric is always the same? “He’s crazy” or “she’s not good enough for me?”…chances are it’s you, bruh. It just is. Maybe this person is crazy because they can’t fill the void your parent left when they passed away or walked out of your life? Maybe you cannot see what baggage you bring to the table and the games you expect people to play with you? And not just for dating, but friendships too. Are we going from circle to circle? These things follow us. 

We repeat what we don’t repair. 

We repeat what we don’t repair. 

We repeat what we don’t repair. 

In the African-American community specifically, I know that many things are prayed away but not necessarily dealt with head-on in the sense of seeking mental health treatment. What if we broke the cycle and sought out the many resources available? 

We pick up learned behaviors of gossip, passive aggressiveness and conflict avoidance from childhood as learned behaviors (in some cases), but what if we stopped ourselves like “why am I doing this?” “What is the desired result?” “What if I broke the cycle?” “How do I feel when I do this?” “How do I feel when it is done to me?”

These are all things to consider. Things I’ve considered many times. 

Personal Application: Personally, it took me years of therapy and intense self-reflection to free myself from a lot of the things I saw growing up. Many things to unlearn-when I say this I mean television shows and movies also. Not just family and grade school influences. I had to divorce myself from who I thought I was supposed to be, financially irresponsible behaviors, toxic relationships, commitment issues and much more. 

I’m sharing this to say IT IS possible. I’ve never been more free or more self-confident and it reflects in everything I do. 

The thing is, the ego makes us feel like we need to protect ourselves and put up walls and facades and such but when you are honestly able to own your sh*t and be vulnerable, life becomes even more enjoyable. No one can hold anything over your head if you own it. You don’t live in fear of exposure if you own who TF you are. 

You can be intentional in your words and actions and be taken seriously. You are free from anger and resentment if you truly understand what life is about beyond those personal frames and external influences. 

Conclusion:
You don’t have any regrets if you are intentional with your word and always doing your best. (Seriously,  I got this from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz). No one can successfully project things onto you if you know who you are. Surround yourself with people who will help you heal from these things and hold you accountable for your bullsh*t. The immediate sting of an uncomfortable conversation will do a lot of good in the long run. We cannot grow being surrounded by people who agree with us or feed into our personal demons-we must work to challenge that sh*t. We must. That is totally why I am so grateful for my village-eternally. 💜

Extra Credit: For the over achievers who are already free from their personal bullshit, I offer you this-consider exercising patience when dealing with a person who isn’t “there” yet. People were patient with you, so think about how much they will appreciate you for treating them with respect through their process. Guide them- and be honest, of course, but be sure not to condescend. I’m saying this from personal experience. In short, just because you want to say “what the f@ck is wrong with you!??!” doesn’t mean you should. 👍🏽

As always, I hope this resonates with whoever needs it. ✨✨✨
(Photo credit: Daily Herald Blog 2017)

You Don’t Have to Attend Every Party You’re Invited to: How to Protect Your Energy and Your Power

turnup

I no longer attend every party I am invited to.

When I say this, I’m basically saying that I am fiercely protective of my energy. I do not give away my power. For a person to take your power, you have to allow them in. Similar to True Blood, the vampires cannot enter your house without an invitation and expressed permission from you.

So, how does one decide what to accept or decline? 

See, we all have triggers and we often don’t notice that our triggers do the driving. Simply put, we don’t view the world as it is, we view it as WE SEE IT through our own biased frames that are formed by our experiences. So the focus of this post is to acknowledge the triggers within and then control them when interacting with others.

Here’s a personal  example to better illustrate the point,  throughout my 15 year career, I’d sometimes encounter colleagues that say negative things about me, discredit my work, or simply drain the energy from a room. I find myself in situations that could possibly bait me into a street fight an argument.

A few years ago, I would have been going back and forth on conference calls and sending unnecessary email dissertations addressing people about how they got me f*cked up may be inappropriately engaging me.

Today, I do not. In 2016, I know who I am. I do not seek validation from anyone outside of myself (and my mamma). 

I am aware enough to understand that I had maintained a chip on my shoulder for years. I transitioned from being an intern to a full time employee. I was damaged and insecure from being treated like “the kid at the grown up table” for years and I would unnecessarily prove my competence and worth to anyone who challenged me. I’d be crying in bathrooms and getting all worked up and offended over things that truly meant  nothing to the people who offended me. I was in an energy deficit every time. Didn’t even see it.

Today, I do not respond that way. Acknowledging my “demons” let me see the world and the interactions clearly and ultimately see the bait a mile away. I can read the tone of an email or comment and say “Okay, this person wants to party with you, Nikki? What say you?” And I simply do not engage. I can politely decline the invitation and move on with my energy intact.

Another example is in your dealings with friends and relatives. If you have a loved one who is constantly antagonizing you or saying/doing  hurtful things, you cannot take it personally. We all have that draining *ss friend who is constantly complaining/beefing with someone in the  circle. Don’t accept that energy in your space.

That is their business, their energy. You have to maintain the self-confidence and control to engage your energy on YOUR terms. Love energy vampires from a safe distance.

The most frequent party invitations come via (drumroll)….SOCIAL MEDIA…Oh LAWD…

There are many reckless invitations on social media. And we have to be bigger than those as well. These invitations come in the form of  inflammatory posts from Facebook friends, attention-seeking behavior, passive-aggressive messages directed our way, people being extra in general, someone posting false news to incite panic-the list goes on and on.

Yes, you see these things, and yes they annoy you, but you can move past it without participating. The trick is that you must understand it for what it is.

Example:
 A polarizing incident occurs (let’s say Brock Turner for the hell of it) and an otherwise decent friend, posts some sexist remarks on their page (the usual “she asked for it” kind of sh*t) and you see it.

Trigger:
You’re a woman, you understand rape. You are infuriated. It hits your core.

Consider this:
Acknowledge the trigger within and then process it. Refuse the urge to jump in and respond or post a status about the rape-apologist *sshole on your timeline. Channel that energy into rape victim support or educating your community on rape culture.

What if you accept the invitation?

Let’s unpack this a bit.  Do you want people to know you’re smart? Maybe you just want people to know you have an opinion the matter? Jumping into an online argument simply because something offends you will not change the perspective of the  offending force. Even if you make great points, it becomes a matter of saving face and no one will concede. You’ll end up losing moments of your life on a futile effort-just because you needed to tell him or her that “they’re wrong.” 

At least you got it off your chest right? Wrong. Human beings want to be heard. That’s the true driver here. Everyone wants to be heard, not even half as many want to listen. Learn to satiate that urge by processing the trigger internally and hearing yourself. You do not need external validation. You will feel complete and your energy will be intact. (This is a constant struggle for me but I have yet to regret it).

Conclusion

Simply put, you can either increase your power by actively supporting the eradication of rape culture (outside of social media) OR you can decrease your power by arguing with someone online about their personal thoughts and feelings and all that.

Let’s take a look at Beyoncé (surprise lol). She barely comes to anything unless it meets her standards. As her career progressed, we saw her at even fewer events. However, we all know she NEVER cancels shows and fully engages when she performs. She’s selective with her energy. Treat your energy like this. Some parties are appropriate to attend and others aren’t. Use you sense of discernment to decide.

I hope you find this helpful and that it resonates in some way. It’s truly all about perspective. Lastly, I’ll leave you with this:

“The only regime you must overthrow is your present way of thinking. As you will soon see, this is not nearly as difficult as it may sound.” -Guy Finley

Photo cred: Daily Mail

 

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#LIKEABOSS: Entrepreneurial Survival Tips for Unicorns and Unicorn Enthusiasts

Definition of Terms UNICORN: From mythical horses to sexual acts to metaphors for unrequited love, this term is defined in many ways.  When I use the term “unicorn” I am almost always referring to any WoC in a white male-dominated space. WoC: Woman of color. Why Am … Continue reading #LIKEABOSS: Entrepreneurial Survival Tips for Unicorns and Unicorn Enthusiasts

Just Be a D*mn Star: The Importance of Silencing Self-Limiting Beliefs

 riricigar

Hi everybody…

A dear friend said this in our GroupMe thread the other day, and it motivated the hell out of me. She was referring to someone else, but it TRULY resonated. Well what she actually said was “Become a star, b*tch,” but I know that many would find that title off-putting and could place yourselves at risk for missing out on the next 1500 words….I internalized it like “D*mn, it really is that simple.” I added it to my personal mantras immediately.
Language aside, what it truly meant to me was:

YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BE.

SO JUST BE THAT.

 NOW.

Background
Here’s a quick story to explain why this is on my heart. I’m in school this week, preparing to change the world along with 12 other amazing doctoral students very, very soon. I sat at lunch the other day with one of my ultimate girl crushes classmates and she was telling me how much she enjoys my ballsy articles and how much she wishes that she could write and get her thoughts out BUT

She lost me at “but.” And here’s why-when I see this woman, I see someone who is intelligent, successful and a fighter. She has strong and informed opinions on just about EVERYTHING! I’ll hear some sexist or condescending bullsh*t in class and while I’m thinking “Did this really just happen? Should I say something?!?!”  I’m still sitting there thinking and she has already addressed it out loud…SO I was stuck wondering, how could someone like HER feel that there’s no audience for what she has to say?

And then it hit me- those f*cking self-limiting beliefs. They are the worst. I would’ve never imagined that a person I found so fascinating dealt with them too.

So What Are Self-limiting Beliefs?

In short, self-limiting beliefs are things that we tell ourselves that convince us not to access or express our true power – be it a goal, talent, passion, technical skill, etc. We convince ourselves of reasons why we shouldn’t or couldn’t do “it” and we accept it. It’s much easier to spot self-limiting beliefs in others before ourselves because we accept them as facts within our own minds, not realizing they are merely beliefs.

Now, not all self-limiting beliefs are bad. Some messages like “don’t drink and drive,” “don’t sleep with him” or “don’t curse out your boss” are necessary messages in most cases. I’ll spare the in-depth lesson, but you can learn more about self-limiting beliefs here and here.

Okay…So How Do We Deal?

The following is a list of ways to deal with self-limiting beliefs.

  1. Unpack the Message.
    What does it REALLY mean? Who do you visualize when you hear the little voice in your head? Who do you associate these thoughts with? Is it your mom? Your husband? Your boss? Evaluate your relationship with this entity and determine if it speaks to a deeper issue in the relationship.For example:
    “My family will laugh at me.”
    “I’m too old.”
    “My best friend will think this is stupid.”
    “My wife thinks we can’t afford it.”

2. Simply Tell The Voice to STFU.
Isolate the belief and acknowledge it for what it is. If your dream doesn’t require you to break the law, harm yourself, harm others or waste wine, just go get it. Grab it by the balls and don’t look back.

3. What Does This REALLY Mean to You?
 What are your values? What are your core beliefs? Does your passion align with these values? Ensure that they do. It’s easier to persevere when the work you do aligns with who you are at your core. Successful people are intrinsically motivated to do whatever it is they do. People know when you are intrinsically motivated versus extrinsically motivated. If those words are over your head, no worries.

Here’s an example:
My friend is a DESIGNER; she works HARD for her dream. Like…she is up all night, sometimes, perfecting garments and sketches, and I can tell that her effort and her love for this is IN her. It’s who she is; it makes her happy. She is intrinsically motivated.

I won’t give an example of an extrinsically motivated person, but if you take a look at the more sh*tty Instagram boutiques or online stores, you’ll notice who is simply regurgitating other folks’ ideas, selling you clothes or goods that don’t match the item description once you receive your order – you know, shady or half-*ssed efforts like that. These types of people are more motivated by participation in trends that will make them money more so than creating a good or service that they feel compelled to share with the world.

4. Attend a Vision Board Party.
If you’re an introvert, order a VISION BOARD PARTY IN A BOX ,and do it alone.  And thank GOD that’s a thing you can buy. Vision Board Parties are events where you can visualize your goals, place them on a board in collage form, and THEN share the board with other people. It makes the goals a reality once you state them out loud. Hold onto the feedback you receive when you share your goals. When the voices creep in to tell you that you can’t do it – channel the thoughts of the enthusiasm you saw in your friends’ faces as you shared your goals at the party.

You know what’s awesome about people who attend Vision Board Parties? They’re wine drunk too! They ALL have goals too. You can be honest and vulnerable and receive the support and, often times, connections you need to support your goals. There are also opportunities for accountability partners. Another plus is that these parties almost always have cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres.

5. Kill The Excuses.
 Everyone can tell when you’re making excuses. They’re just being polite by tolerating the conversation. It’s weird. Don’t be weird. Believe in yourself.

6. To Hell with Social Constructs.
We live in a society where for whatever reason, women are made to feel less than. We are treated like we don’t matter as much in many environments. I have always believed that any dominant culture that attempts to demean you unprovoked, sees something in you that threatens their security. Know that. Keep going. It isn’t personal.

7. Step Your #SQUADGOALS Up.
Do you spend time with people who encourage you or tear you down? Hold on…let’s back up a bit. Do you have friends? Get friends. Make sure they’re the right friends. You need a circle of people who are motivated. They should also respect and understand your goals.

And yes I do realize that #SquadGoals is very 2015. Don’t email me.

8. Guard Your Dreams against Villains. They are here to destroy your goals.
Everyone has that negative friend or two who never has anything positive to say, yet never follows their own dreams.  I don’t recommend unfriending them but I do recommend being very selective with how much you share and to what degree. Sometimes envy, resentment and other negative thoughts can take over a person with nothing of their own to look forward to. Yes, even a person who loves you. Take a proactive approach to it.

9. You’re Not Going to Die if You Fail.
I promise. Take failures as lessons. Seriously, I am an entrepreneur and sometimes I make mistakes. Sometimes I mess up in school. Sometimes, I am a sh*tty girlfriend. I’m still here. I own my mistakes, and I keep going.

The anxiety about it is the most difficult part. And you know what else – how do you know you can trust a person or service that hasn’t failed? You don’t know your strength until you are faced with adversity.  That’s where character is built and demonstrated.

Contrary to what we tell ourselves, there is no huge press conference held to announce your failures. Unless you’re Britney Spears or someone fancy like that. She bounced back and so can you. Also, consider this:

If you own up to your failures, NO ONE can throw them in your face.

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.” -Patton

10. STRETCH.
 More often than not, if it makes you uncomfortable, it’s the RIGHT move. Stretching outside of your comfort zone requires discomfort. You can stay comfortable if you want, but there’s nothing more insufferable than being around a frustrated mind. Let your mind do what it was meant to do.
Spoiler alert: Stretching will suck just before it gets awesome. It will suck a lot.

BONUS:
Visuals are important when combating self-limiting beliefs. I do not work for them BUT I strongly recommend buying a Mantraband. Mantrabands are bracelets that have mantras on them that cover several areas in life. You can gift them to a friend or collect them for yourself. I wear mine as a constant reminder of who I am and what I stand for.
#NAMASTE #FOLLOWYOURBLISS #FEARLESS

Because sometimes I forget.

Conclusion
Okay so why did I write this? I wrote this because life is stressful. There is so much war, sexism, racism, socioeconomic division, job stress, financial stress, local levels of shade, etc out here to f*ck with your Zen. I am a hardcore advocate of enjoying life by any means necessary -and am a constant work in progress.

I have my own struggles and I sometimes hate taking my own advice. I mean, h*ll, look at me. I am more than halfway done with a degree program that I cannot even afford, constantly driving 300 miles away while being an entrepreneur and a full time employee. I want it all. I am going to get it. This is the STRETCH before I get to my true Zen. I would never recommend anything to you that I wouldn’t do myself. I have to #WHOLEASS this sh*t.

Many of these points are based on personal experience. We aren’t going to survive out here without internal happiness. Follow your bliss.

So what do you think? Did I nail it? Did I miss anything? What resonated with you? As always, thank you for your energy. Please share it with someone who needs it.

-RLC

The Evolution of Gratitude

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Hi, thanks for reading this. I am about to take you on a difficult, but necessary journey. Please share with anyone who needs this in time for the holidays.


Background…

It starts like this…I am at a family function or just sitting around my mother’s house-doing nothing in particular and he’s there or I hear that he is on his way. I can’t  put my finger on the specific distance between us, but I am always excited to see him. 

When I am in his space I feel normal and relaxed. It’s a familiar feeling, but not one that I have often these days-if that makes any sense.

….We talk casually and I tell him what I’ve been up to, he never responds and I always get annoyed like “Helloooo… I’m talking to you…don’t you care? Didn’t you miss me?! (Just being spoiled and obnoxious as usual).

…Anyway, this casual conversation goes on for a few and I start to realize he isn’t responding to me. I don’t hear his voice, nor his laugh. I don’t smell his aftershave because he never gave me a hug. I  think, “Wait. He didn’t hug me??? But we’ve been apart so long- did I upset him?!? OMG I forgot to ask him how he’s doing!”

 

And then like a ton of goddamn bricks, it hits me.
He has not been out of town.
He is not finally returning from the hospice.
He never came home.
He is dead.
And has been for some time.
He cannot hear me tell him about my day.
He is still not walking me down the aisle.
We will not awkwardly dance to the Chi-Lites, nor the Doobie Brothers at my wedding reception.
Because I am dreaming.
Again.

The realization always happens during this dream and it feels like my heart is being ripped out of my chest. It’s a fresh pain every time. I start to panic and reach for him and he moves further away.  I quietly plead “OMG Please don’t leave me again. I really, really need you. I can’t do this. ”

I never want to wake up and when I do, it HURTS. I feel abandoned, panicked, and all the other emotions I felt when I received the initial call that his battle with cancer had ended. I try so hard to go back to sleep and beg my brain to go back to the dream and to revisit where I left off and it NEVER happens. My stomach drops. It is devastating.

TEARS.
UGLY CRY FACE.
LOUD SOBBING.
It’s never a dignified cry. 

Evolution…

I have this type of dream pretty sporadically but it’s always the same. It always feels like the first time. It used to devastate me and I’d take a personal day and cry and just be a mess. But after a tearful conversation with my paternal grandmother, I decided to evolve this scenario and find the positive in the dream. And all of the triggers like songs we loved or movies we watched. I am learning to welcome them like a hug.

The positive is GRATITUDE. I am now grateful for these dreams because I realize they are visits. I find comfort in the fact that we are still connected in my subconscious. This means I have not completely lost him. I just have him in a different way now-and I must accept this reality and adjust. Just like I adjust to paying tuition in my mid-thirties, ridiculous traffic, bad breakups, etc. It’s all in how we choose to process the event. For example, I can no longer stay in the space of “it’s not fair, why did this happen to him?” Life goes on and we do ourselves an injustice by “crying over spilled milk” and staying there. We owe it to ourselves to live our best lives and that sometimes requires a shift in perspective…and everyone knows a shift in perspective requires work.
I accept that my life is different now. I am not just “thankful for food to eat” or “clothes to wear,” etc. I have a different level of gratitude to express.  


I am THANKFUL that I even realize this.

I am  THANKFUL to live in a world where technology allows me to view his Facebook page if I need to see him immediately or read his emails if I need good, honest comfort.

I am  THANKFUL that I could articulate the many life lessons/gifts he gave me into words that will live on for the future generations of our family to see.

If I need to cry, I still cry but I also whisper
“Thank you. Thank you for visiting me.” 


I hope this message resonates with those of you who have lost a loved one and try to get through the holiday season. We are part of a fraternal order that unfortunately bonds us in pain, but we can encourage each other and make the best of it.

It is not the easiest time of year, but maintaining a spirit of gratitude and demonstrating appreciation for family and friends who are here is a great way to survive the holidays and all days. Think of the positive energy this mindset can create. In my life, there are many kind people who support and nurture me, my mom & my sibs through this-especially my uncles and godfathers. And even my Grandma who put her own pain aside to help me reach this realization and decipher these dreams when we were supposed to be watching Scandal-what an awesome demonstration of love-what an awesome display of selflessness.  All of these things are reasons to go on and to be thankful.

I understand that this may not work for everyone. I wanted to get this out in hopes that it helps at least one person get through the upcoming holiday season. This is my heartfelt gift to my sisters and brothers in the struggle of  navigating life without a parent. This is my gift to the mother-to-be whose soldier will never return home. This is to the widow who now raises and nurtures her husband’s legacy on her own. This is to the man who lost a loved one in that car accident on 210. This Thanksgiving will be a difficult and new reality for him. I am in this with you all, as I would never recommend you do something that I don’t have the courage to do myself….and it takes courage to shift perspective-especially when it comes to grief.

So What Now?…
If this post does not apply to you, please think of the person in your life who is grieving especially hard during this season. Send them a kind word, offer to include them in plans, and just check in to ensure their overall well-being. We all wear tough exteriors to mask pain and vulnerability so just because a person isn’t screaming “I am so sad about Christmas. I feel so alone,” it certainly doesn’t mean that’s the case.

Think about the people you will be spending these holidays with. Think about the grudges held and how much they truly mean at the end of the day. What can you forgive this year? Who can you place ego aside for-and apologize to?

For those who try this approach, will you please let me know how it works for you?

Do you have any suggestions for coping with the loss of a loved one?

Be well.

-RLC