The Art of Letting Go

I’ve never mastered the art of letting go. I’d like to say I’ve gotten better at it over the years, and in some aspects I have, but it’s still hard. I am one who likes to hold on until the bitter end, even when things CLEARLY are over. I could say that I don’t know where that comes from, but that would be a lie. I believe it stems from my childhood.

Now, I am not going to go into some blaming session toward my parents. They are good and decent people. Did they make mistakes? Yes, but we all do. Did they purposely cause lasting trauma in our lives? Absolutely not. Did their decisions have a lasting effect regardless? Yes, some of them did. I have a good relationship with both parents today. That took work and lots of forgiveness (and still takes work and forgiveness) but I am thankful for what we do have.

My parents divorced when I was almost a teenager. To say it was traumatizing would be an understatement. It has caused some issues. All of the talk in recent years about having “daddy issues” has become a joke of sorts, but, it does not lessen the truth of it. I think lots of people have “parental issues” that still affect them today.

Back to my story. I won’t go into explicit detail, but, I will say that I was daddy’s girl. When my parents divorced and my dad immediately married another woman, I was left crushed, devastated, confused and very, very hurt. In my mind, he abandoned us. He abandoned me. I was left feeling (as most kids do) that somehow part of this was my fault and if daddy really loved me then how could he leave? Fast forward to my teen years and seeking love in boys who didn’t know the meaning of the word. Fast forward to college years and picking guys who were slime balls (not all were, but most were). Fast forward to trying to get my life right with God and marrying a guy who used to be a huge player, but, told me he was changing his life around and getting right with God. He wasn’t. He didn’t. The marriage was a long-lasting fiasco and complete “hot mess”. The best thing to come out of that union were my kids. Fast forward to my divorce. It caused within me such devastation that took me years to get over. Fast forward to me dabbling in relationships post-divorce. The incidences were few and far between but I will say that I did experience deep, deep heartbreak again. I also experienced going out with men who would consistently disappoint or hurt me. Ultimately, nothing has worked out so far. But, I still have hope in spite of it all.

How does this all relate to daddy issues? Answer: the abandonment. I felt my father had abandoned me and I spent an entire marriage trying to “fix” that abandonment by marrying someone similar to my dad in some major ways, but, that someone also treated me badly. You see, I was trying to stay married to someone who was unavailable to me. Someone who would leave. Someone who was not a good person. Why? 3 Reasons: (1) By staying in the marriage I was subconsciously trying to fix my parents’ marriage. If I could stay married, I’d somehow “win” by avoiding divorce. (2) I didn’t want to somehow disappoint God by getting a divorce. (3) Because subconsciously I felt a I didn’t deserve any better.  Deep down, I felt like something was wrong with me because the person I had loved with all my heart in my early years, (my dad) had left me. If I wasn’t somehow “good enough” for my dad to stick around for our family, then, I must not be worthy of love or good treatment. I couldn’t have rationalized that at the time. I was in the thick of it and often when you’re in the middle of an unhealthy situation, you’re not able to see how bad it was until AFTER you’re free from it.  And because I’d been unconsciously operating this way for so long, I didn’t know any better. Therefore the unhealthy pattern was strung through my post-divorce relationships (or attempts at relationships) as well. It took some counseling to realize it. I began to see that I always chose someone (whether a good person or not) who was not fully available to me (whether physically or emotionally or both) and of course the relationships or dating situations ultimately never worked out.

What can be done to change the cycle? First, be AWARE of the cycle. Second, when you realize you are going down the same path, catch yourself earlier and earlier so that you can “let go” and proceed in a different direction. It is actually going to take work. You will not be perfect at it. But, you will begin to see that harmful pattern sooner and sooner, so that you can stop yourself from going down that old road. The other part is realizing that you deserve GOOD. You deserve a healthy relationship with someone who IS emotionally and physically available. Someone who will treat you well. Someone, who, although not perfect, is balanced and emotionally healthy and will invest in the relationship WITH you.

What if you feel that you cannot navigate this on your own? You may want to go to a licensed professional counselor who can help walk through this process to find healing and make healthier choices. There is no shame in it. I realize there is still a stigma around going to counseling or therapy, but, think of it this way… If you are injured physically in some way, you go to see a physical therapist. If you are injured emotionally, you should see an emotional therapist. We are multidimensional human beings and therefore must care for ALL parts of ourselves. You’re worth it.

Hope this has helped someone.

~ Kay Dee © 2018 “The Art of Letting Go”

What I Needed Back Then…

What I Needed Back Then

by  Kay Dee

One of the life lessons that continues to pop up and wave ‘hello’ is this: what I needed back then is not necessarily what I need now.

We, as people, tend to gravitate towards what worked before or what was comfortable before.  Not that those prior answers or solutions are invalid now, but, the need is not exactly the same, therefore the solution is not identical.  Say, perhaps, you went through a tough time in the past and you spoke to a particular person to get wise advice on the matter.  That person may or may not have the advice you need for this current season in your life.  Or maybe you had a need for certain friendships or relationships in the past that you do not have a need for now.  Perhaps, you solved a huge problem a certain way in the past, and that has been your go-to problem solving method for most major issues, only for some reason it hasn’t been working as well lately.  Maybe these are signs that what worked back then or what you needed back then, is not what you need today.

We grow and change as people.  Think about that.  We are in a continuous process of growth and change.  Change does not come easily to most of us.  We often battle with it, fight it, resist it.  Why?  Because change is uncomfortable and we prefer the comfort of the familiar.  Change can be scary sometimes, but, at some point (hopefully sooner than later) we must learn to embrace it as part of the process and embrace new experiences.  It is something I continuously work on.  Sometimes I do better than others, but, I’m a work in progress.

©2018 Kay Dee Speaks “What I Needed Back Then”

photo courtesy of Pexels.com

Loving the Whole You

Loving myself has been a journey. If I am honest, I must admit that I’ve got a ways to go yet. That isn’t to say that I haven’t made any progress. On the contrary, I have made huge strides, leaps and bounds in this area.  I am doing well in this process, but, I must always remind myself that it IS a process and therefore takes time and work, which is not fun for an impatient person. I often battle inwardly thinking I should have arrived already at some great accomplished place of perfect and complete self love.

Sometimes I think to myself, where does this expectation come from?  Why do I think I ought to have “arrived” by now, somehow?? Is it because I’m a certain age? Because I’ve already accomplished some other major goals in life? Because of society’s pressure bearing down upon me? The answer is all of the above. There are internal and external pressures involved; pressures I put on myself and pressures I feel from forces outside of myself.  You could say to me, “You don’t have to accept external pressures,” and you are correct. But, it’s often not that simple.  External pressures and expectations, whether from individual people (family, friends and strangers) or from media or from society-at-large are often overwhelmingly present.

For instance, have you ever been chatting with a friend or colleague something on your mind? You were thinking maybe they’d commiserate with you or make some small comment about it.  Instead, they proceeded to give full-on advice laced with a few veiled insults in the process.  But they were just “trying to help”, right?  That’s happened to me a time or two and usually the full impact of what was said didn’t hit me until AFTER the conversation was over.  Sure, sure the insults may not have been intentional but they still made their impact and left me feeling a bit hurt, angry and temporarily insecure about something I had no business feeling insecure about.  I then would have to go into “damage control mode” to counteract the impact of the negative words. I’d remind myself to “consider the source” or that they were “trying to help and unaware of their insult” or that “this person tends to be very opinionated so I must take their  ‘advice’ with a grain of salt”.  I’d have to remind myself “I am beautiful, capable, intelligent, and I love my body” or whatever other positive self-talk phrase was applicable at the moment.

Thankfully these types of interactions don’t happen often, but, they do happen.  Maybe they happen often for you with a particular friend, family member, coworker or boss.  It’s not easy to remain unaffected when people are critical towards you. But, let’s talk about another item that may undermine our ability to love ourselves fully… the influence of media.

Perhaps you are scrolling through your social media (or media of choice) and you see an article about, “How to have the perfect body” or “Getting beach body ready” or “How to get rid of those love handles” and along with the article is a picture of a person with seemingly zero body fat and toned muscles and curves in the ‘right’ places.  Then you look in the mirror at YOUR body and see something different.  Is your body less perfect? Less desirable somehow? Less beautiful?  The subliminal messages of these articles and pictures is that if you are not perfectly toned and in shape with zero body fat, or if you don’t look like the image that is portrayed by media, then something is wrong with you.  You begin to feel as though you are not measuring up or that your body is not good enough.

These articles and advertisements may have good intentions. They may want to promote fitness information. Or… they may be advertising a product or service that they want you to buy, so the advertisement / article plays on your personal insecurities about your appearance, your body shape, etc. in order to sell their product.  These subliminal messages tell us we should only go to the beach if we have a ‘beach body’.  Or when we see the that photo of the model with amazing abs has over 100,000 “likes”, we may incorrectly internally rationalize that have to look like that model in order to be “liked”.  It is all in the marketing and we fall for it.  If we are not careful, we feel like we are not measuring up somehow.

Then, there are the articles saying things like, “Things you should accomplish in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s¨ or “What you should wear in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, etc¨?  Who are “they” to be saying what we should or should not wear or what we should have accomplished by a certain age?  Sure, you can use these types of articles as a LOOSE guideline if you’d like, but, people are defying age stereotypes daily!  But, if we buy into these articles as more than for just entertainment or opinion, we could get caught up into thinking we’ve failed somehow by not reaching a certain goal or marker by a certain age.

Sometimes I swear this system is meant to keep us living in a state of dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives. We can fall into the trap of endlessly striving to be some ideal rather than learning to actually LOVE ourselves as we are.  Not that we will never need or want to improve in some areas or facets of ourselves because we will.  But, we must first learn to accept and embrace ourselves FULLY.  We all have shortcomings, flaws, things that we don’t necessarily prefer about our appearances, etc., but we must love these parts of ourselves as well, and love them wholeheartedly.  Do you have stretchmarks?  Love them.  Do you have “love handles”? Love them.  Do you have scars? Love them.  Do you have a tendency to chatter on and on? Love yourself.  Do you stutter? Love yourself. We are all imperfect and it’s okay.   What’s not okay is allowing your own self-talk, other people’s opinions, or other external sources to make you feel less worthy as a human being.  You, I, we … do not have to be perfect people. We should strive to be good people. We should strive to be the best version of ourselves and that is different for everyone.  But, do not cast aside who you are at this moment.

It can be very difficult to manage if we have people in our lives who constantly tear us down. Or if we are in social situations on a regular basis where we must deal with negative and/or bullying type people (work, school).  There is no easy solution in those situations. The dynamics are not always identical.  But, if you are being bullied at work or school, talk to someone you trust and someone who can help you.  Try talking to a teacher, administrator, friend, parent. At work you may also want to speak to a manager you trust or to the HR department or to a friend outside of work who can give you wise counsel.  Also try using Google to look up information for resources who might be able to help you.

The last thing I will mention is this.  When it comes to learning to love your whole self, the only caveat to this is if you know that you are harmful to other people or to yourself. If you know you are someone who purposely hurts others or if you purposely hurt yourself, loving yourself does not mean staying the same.  If you struggle with some dark parts of yourself or something that is bigger than you can handle that you know is destructive, then loving yourself would mean getting HELP for yourself so that the harmful behavior does not continue.  Loving ourselves also means doing what we must to help ourselves to get better.

These are my thoughts.  Blessings.

Kay Dee // @kaydeespeaks

https://iamkaydee1.wordpress.com
Facebook, IG, Twitter @kaydeespeaks
YouTube: bit.ly/KayDeeSpeaks

Photo credit: pexels.com

Forgiving Yourself.

IMG_5092Forgiving Yourself.

Today, as I sat in church listening to the message many thoughts ran through my mind. It wasn’t your typical sermon for Mother’s Day (which was kind of a relief in some ways). It touched on how God allows both joys and sorrows in our lives. And in particular, how it seems we learn the most from sorrows (or difficult situations). It’s true. Whenever we go through joyous events, we’re not really thinking, “what am I learning from this?” We are just reveling in whatever amazing thing is happening. But, when we experience the tough stuff, we go through the full gamut of emotions and thoughts. We ask “Why?” And it also causes us to be more reflective.

In reflecting on these things, my thoughts turned to some tough situations I have gotten myself into over the years. As much as we all want to believe we pretty much have life “together”, there are times when we lack judgment or experience or good sense. There are times when we’ve thrown caution to the wind and acted on a whim and it’s come back to bite us in the rear end.

As someone with perfectionistic tendencies, I’ve often beat myself up over these kinds of mistakes. Also, I’d falsely think, “There’s no way God is happy with me. No way he really loves me after this (whatever the mistake was).” It took a long time for me to realize that God loves me regardless. He may not be happy with all of my choices, but, his love never ends. His grace never ends. And he forgives when I ask sincerely. I’m sooo thankful for that!

Then there’s the topic of forgiving other people. That’s reeeeally rough to do sometimes. Especially when you know they don’t deserve it. But, I’ve learned that forgiveness is more for MY heart, than for their benefit. I forgive so that I can live free from bitterness and anger.

The last thing, yet possibly one of the biggest hindrances to our overall well being is self-forgiveness or lack thereof. ‘Can I or will I forgive myself?’ Can I forgive myself for messing up? Being human and flawed? Lacking judgment in that instance? For saying that thing? Or doing that thing? I think forgiving ourselves can be one of the most challenging things to do, especially if we hold ourselves to a high standard, and if other key people in our lives do, too.

But, forgiving yourself is part of loving yourself. It’s part of healing. [This is not the same as excusing repeat bad behavior. If you know you have a pattern of doing something wrong or harmful to yourself or others, then you should seek out professional help.] But, if in the normal course of life, you make mistakes here and there, or you really mess from time to time, then it’s imperative that you forgive yourself. Love yourself enough to do yourself that favor. On this journey of life, we’re all learning and growing and hopefully trying to be better people all the time. We do have to remember that we are flawed but as long as were trying to learn and grow and be the best we can be, then we’re on the right track.

©Kay Dee Speaks “Forgiving Yourself.”

photo credit: google pics and here

Random Bits of Wisdom

Random Thoughts:

  • If you don’t deal with your own stuff/issues & keep ignoring them, they’ll seep into every other area of your life.
  • Sometimes you have to be alone to figure out WHO you are, what you want & what’s important to you. It’s in that alone time where you get to know yourself best, because there are no other distractions.
  • Waiting is not fun, but, sometimes it’s the best option. We tend to want everything immediately & immediate gratification is not always best. If we got everything we wanted immediately, (1) we might not be able to handle it all (2) we might not fully appreciate it or know how to take care of it properly (3) we might mess it up.
  • Sometimes when you get back what you lost, you realize that it needed to stay lost.
  • Sometimes lessons learned the hard way are the most lasting & life changing.
  • You have to purposely decide to work on yourself, improve yourself, be your best self. No one can do that for you.
  • You can want the best for someone, but, THEY have to decide to want the best for themselves. You cannot change them.
  • Don’t you love when you finally “get” something you’ve been trying to learn or understand? It’s the best feeling!
  • Oftentimes, it’s not until later in life that you can look back and understand WHY something happened the way it did (or didn’t).
  • Some things we will not understand on this side of heaven.
  • Learning to love yourself and accept yourself is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself.
  • Truly experiencing the love of God is life altering and life-elevating.
  • Stop boxing yourself in. Stop putting limitations on your capabilities and dreams.  You can do infinitely more than you can imagine.
  • When you get knocked down, get back up, dust yourself off, learn the lesson & keep going!
  • When you’re going for your dreams and goals, you may face many hardships & failures along the way. Remember it’s all part of the process & don’t give up.
  • Surround yourself with good people.
  • Some friendships are seasonal. They’re not meant to last forever.  And that’s okay.  Thank God for the blessing of that friendship at the time you needed it.

That’s it for today.  Be blessed folks.

@KayDeeSpeaks on FB, IG, Twitter & YouTube & WordPress

©2017 Kay Dee Speaks “Random Bits of Wisdom”

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

When GOD Gets You Out…Don’t Run Back In

There are soooo many times I’ve gotten myself into a tough spot, or a bad place, or a potentially dangerous situation because I wanted my own way.  Although not all of these were major incidents (thank goodness), this is an aspect of my life that I’ve consistently had to work at improving.  I do much better than I used to, but, more often than I’d like to admit, I still battle in this area.  I think it’s part of human nature to want your own way.  But, oftentimes we don’t count up the cost before plunging ahead.

You see, I believe in God and live my life according to that belief. There are times when I’ve prayed for things, expecting God to basically to “bless” the way I wanted to go, or to say “YES” to whatever my request was, without regard to what His answer might be.  God may have said ‘no’ or ‘wait’, but, I would willfully ignore this.  Many times stubbornness and impatience would win out.  Many times I chose to go full steam ahead with my own plan, knowing full well that I wasn’t going in the right direction.  I was running TOWARD what God had told my heart to stay AWAY from. As a result, I got myself into deep waters when I didn’t really know how to swim, and didn’t have a life vest or anything to keep me afloat.

In those moments, I inevitably came to the point where I had to acknowledge my own weakness, lack of judgment, and propensity for making mistakes.  Most of all, I had to humbly acknowledge my lack of ability to save myself. In those moments, as many of us do, I cried out to God, saying “God, help me! Please! I know I don’t deserve it, but if you please help me… I’ll do better.” And like the faithful Father He is, without hesitation, He came to save the day!  But, often the method of the rescue wasn’t what I’d bargained for. I wanted the rescue to be easy and painless and have no consequences, but, most times that wasn’t how it happened.  The rescue was not a pleasant process, and because it wasn’t pleasant, I had the nerve to be a bit miffed with God.  My prayer would go something like this…

“Thanks God.  I appreciate you helping me get out of that situation.  Not to sound ungrateful, but, this is still not exactly what I wanted. I mean, yes, I wanted your help but I didn’t think it would involve any discomfort or pain. Couldn’t you have just slightly tweaked things so that I could still have what I want?  If not, why not?  And maybe I shouldn’t feel this way, but, I still kind of miss [certain aspects of] that past situation. Forgive me…”

Have you had similar conversations with God? You wanted out of the mess you’d gotten yourself into. God got you out. But, it didn’t happen the way you thought it would. Then, you had the nerve to complain, and wanted to go back into the mess He’d just gotten you out of. Ahh, human frailty.  I’m so glad He loves us regardless.

One thing we have to remember is that all of our actions have consequences, whether good or bad. And God never promised that “the rescue” would be a comfortable process, but, He is faithful to help us. When God rescued the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt under Pharaoh, the journey to freedom was not easy, nor fun, and it was even a bit scary!  Still, God freed His people.  But, after they were freed, they longed for certain elements (in this case, food) of the place of their captivity.

Sadly, we do the same thing.  We look backward, seeing things with rose colored glasses.  We have “selective memory” when it comes to recalling the situation we were in.  We only want to remember the parts that seemed “good” or “pleasant”, and we choose not to remember the havoc and devastation that was being caused in our lives as a result of that situation.  Or we try to justify the bad parts. But if we’re honest with ourselves and choose to look the entire picture, we remember that we were in quite a conundrum.  And, at a certain point we had enough sense to know that we couldn’t rescue ourselves from what we’d gotten ourselves into, and we needed God to rescue us.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  Maybe you were in a situation that was severely toxic or dysfunctional, and the toxicity or dysfunction became your “new normal”.  Maybe you invested yourself emotionally, or invested in a partnership or invested financially, and you feel a great sense of loss even though you know it’s best that God rescued you from that situation.  God promises to be a present help in time of trouble and to comfort the brokenhearted.  Prayer and God’s word are certainly key ways to heal from the situation you were just rescued from.  But, you may also need mentoring or professional counsel. You may need to separate yourself from your former environment completely, or as much as possible.  You may need to seek a godly community of believers and/or a core group of mature friends who can help to be a support to you and perhaps keep you accountable as you heal.  God provides all of these types of resources to us. Just remember, it takes time to heal.  And sometimes you may slip a little or be tempted to go backwards.  But, God is there to help us get back up and get on track.  He will walk with you through all of the phases of healing and bring you to a place of peace.  Stay the course.  Stay encouraged. And remember… you are loved. Period.

 

©2017 Kay Dee Speaks, “When GOD Gets You Out…Don’t Run Back In”

photo credit here

“Likes” Aren’t Real Life

It’s been some years since I entered the land of social media.  It is its own entity.  It should have its own zip code.  Maybe even its own country code.  I initially (and hesitantly) entered this new place, just to monitor my kids … and to see what all of the hype was about.  I gradually got sucked into the vortex of “likes”, “shares”, “RT’s”, “thumbs up”, “<hearts>”, etc.  I also realized it was a place where I could network with others; where I could keep in touch with the goings on friends and family  who live far away; where I could grow my business; where I could have an outlet to express myself artistically; and where I could share from my heart things that are important to me… as well as share posts just for entertainment value.

There are times when I honestly have loved and hated social media.  Sometimes my newsfeed looks more like a bad infomercial, or the latest edition of the National Enquirer, than a “news” feed.  On the personal side, I’m embarrassed that I have, from time to time, gotten sucked into liking the “likes” (or equivalent) and have become very discouraged at times when I did not receive many.  I began to equate these “likes” with some sort of approval, or self-worth.  Foolishness, I know.  To re-center myself I have found that talking to my REAL friends has been of immeasurable value.

What do I mean by REAL friends?  We all know that if you’re on social media for any length of time, you have what I’ll call “social media friends”.  These are people with whom you don’t really have a real-life relationship.  They are merely online contacts.  I’m talking about friends I interact with on a regular basis, and even more so, friends who are in my close-knit circle with whom I’ve built and established trusted relationships.

By concentrating more on my real life relationships, I am able to put social media life into its proper perspective.  None of it really so very important.  Understandably if you’re an entertainer or promoter and rely heavily on social media metrics for your livelihood and future opportunities, then, yes, I can see it holding more importance.  But, if  you’re the ‘average Joe’ and social media is just one of your hobbies or something you engage in for fun, then it shouldn’t hold such a high place in your life (in my opinion).

Like anything else, it has its good and bad points.  For kids/teens/young adults it’s a primary form of communication and of relating to the world.  But, we’ve also seen its destructive side, and we need to keep it in balance.

 

 

©2017 Kay Dee Speaks, “”Likes” Aren’t Real Life”