Do you remember what it was like to be told you couldn't have something or you couldn't do something as a child? Maybe it was sweets, toys, the freedom to play with friends? Do you remember thinking... I can't wait until I get older, so I can do what I want? Do you remember the pleasure that came from finally being able to have what you wanted? Did you overdo it or were you able to indulge without going too far? For some of us, being deprived of certain things may have caused us to indulge a little too much as we got older. Some of us can't resist sweets and/or fast foods and now it shows in our weight. Some of us shop too much or buy too many toys, like electronics and cars, whether we have the money or not. Then you have those of us who were deprived of love and affection. These are the individuals who may have the most difficult struggle as they tend to over-indulge their inner-child in a very different way. For their pleasure is found in the attention, love and or validation given to them by others. This is a delicate subject as no two people are alike and there are of course always exceptions to every rule. A mental health professional once told me "An emotionally deprived child will never be satisfied". She further explained that such a child will grow up desperately looking to find what he/she never had. Only they will never find it. It saddened me to hear that, because I imagined a hopeless future for many young children who will or have grown into adults desperately trying to fill a bottomless void. Throughout my life and in my current occupation, I meet many such individuals. Just as she described, they are running from relationship to relationship trying to find that person who will complete them and restore their fractured hearts. Some of them are on auto-pilot and aren't even aware of what they are looking for. Some have resigned to the momentary pleasure of casual encounters, multiple partners and maybe even an addiction to pornography. On the outside they appear to be happy, but deep inside they are terribly sad. For despite their many attempts to satisfy their inner-child with over-indulgence, they fail. So what does one such individual do? Inner healing must take place before healthy relationships can be maintained with others. I personally don't accept what the mental health professional said, as I ascribe to a Higher Power. I personally have experienced great change and healing through a personal relationship with God. However, for those who don't share my beliefs, I would love to hear your opinions and or solutions, as this is a place to share for the benefit of others.
Have you ever tried and tried to use your willpower to help you overcome something or to quit something? You found yourself trying over and over again, and you told yourself: This time I will do it for sure! Or, this time is the last time...but it wasn't? Perhaps you are trying to quit smoking, end a relationship, or even start one? Perhaps you have an addiction to food, drugs or alcohol? Or maybe you are depressed and you can't seem to will yourself into happiness? I don't know about you, but my willpower has failed me time and time again...even now! I long to get in better physical shape and to have a healthier lifestyle, but no matter how uncomfortable or dissatisfied I am with the way things are and no matter how many times I talk myself into a frenzy, swearing that I'll make a change...I do nothing! My willpower simply is not strong enough to do the job. However, as I reflect back to when I made the most lasting and positive changes in my life, I realized something. I realized that I didn't use willpower in those instances. I used prayer instead. I know... most people hear about prayer and they run for the hills. Maybe that's because they think to pray is laborious and that you have to pull out a list of impressive vocabulary words. Or maybe some feel like you have to be a perfect religious person in order to pray. NOT! I used to think that way too. First of all, simple is always best. There's no need to try to impress anyone and you don't have to be religious or perfect. NO ONE IS PERFECT...and I'm not just saying that to make you feel better. It even says that in the bible. Anyway, just have a conversation about what you're going through and ask for help. I find that thanking God for the blessings I already have is a good way to start. Prayer has helped me out of some really big battles. For example: I was really depressed for years and no matter what I did I couldn't snap out of it. It's only when I prayed about it and believed that things would change, that it finally did. It was much simpler and less exhausting...not to mention effective. As I write this, I am informing you but also reminding myself as well. As there are several areas in my life that I need to and will apply this to. The bottom line is that some battles require a little spiritual help and there's no shame in that. It's like asking your parent who would do anything for you, to help. There's a reason why 12-step programs start off with the Serenity Prayer. Willpower is great, but sometimes it just isn't enough. So, what will you do the next time your willpower fails you? Will you give up and throw in the towel? Will you keep trying even though you keep getting the same results? Or will you try something new? As for me, I know what I need to do.
There was a time when friends would sit around and talk about what they were looking for in a man. Each would recite a list of criteria that her ideal man must have. For example: Educated, funny, financially independent, interested in marriage, good looking...etc. Are those days gone? Or were we being unrealistic? Could it be that there is no such thing as the ideal man? Or could it be that when it comes to relationships, some of us just sell ourselves short and settle for far less than we deserve? Is it a matter of impatience or is it about a diminished sense of self-worth? What about faith? For those of us that believe in a higher power, is it a lack of faith that causes us to settle? The answer may vary from woman to woman. However, far too many women are settling for men that use them, abuse them, treat them like whores instead of Queens, and/or men that want to be taken care of in every sense, but have nothing to give. Why is that? How long will you allow yourself to settle? How long will you allow him to remain where he doesn't belong? There is nothing keeping you from moving on. People only come into your life if you open the door for them and welcome them in. Does it make sense that you are unhappy and unsatisfied while he is as happy as can be? What is it that causes us to settle for Mr. Wrong when we don't have to? Forget about Mr. Right! Is it not better to be alone, than to give yourself away? Or is the fear of being alone greater?
Do you remember what it was like to be a teenage girl? So many changes happening all at once! Remember when your hormones took over and your emotions and body changed? Remember when your friends were experimenting with cigarettes, alcohol and maybe even drugs and they told you how cool it was; right before they asked you to try some? Remember the boys that said anything and everything including "I love you", in hopes that they could convince you to have sex with them? What about the adult men that gawked at you on the street, or worse yet, tried to pick you up...offering to buy you things? Remember the lessons you learned about relationships from what your parents taught you with their actions as opposed to their words? Meanwhile, the only thing your parents told you was to stay in school, get good grades and don't have sex before marriage. If navigating through the teen years was not so easy for you, can you imagine how difficult it is for your daughters? So...I'll ask you again. Are you talking to your daughters? It is so important that our daughters are able to come to us as their mothers, to help them make sense of their world. We cannot sit back and allow them to fend for themselves. Otherwise, there is a great possibility that they will learn the wrong things from the wrong people. What happens if your daughter finds herself in a place where she is not supposed to be and in a predicament that she is unable to handle? Will she feel comfortable enough to call you to help her get out of it? Or will she be more fearful of your reaction? Will she be so fearful, that she would rather remain and deal with the situation the best way she can despite the consequences? Think about it...and be honest. I work with families everyday and there are so many teens who have big secrets: They are in domestic violence relationships; they have or have had STD's; they have had abortions; they have had multiple sex partners; they think oral sex is not sex; they know what it is to get high and drunk from drugs and alcohol; they've exchanged sex for money and/or gifts from older men; they have been raped or molested by the mother's boyfriend or a relative...and believe me the list goes on and on. All of these experiences are taking place right under their parents' noses. Which means, just because they still look like your baby, that doesn't mean they aren't having adult experiences. And when I say teen, I don't mean 16-17 yrs old, I'm talking about 12-13 yrs old and sometimes younger. So wake up! Please... talk to your daughters, and be careful how you do it. Remember, the objective is to bring them closer to you so that you can help guide them in the right direction; instead of pushing them further into harms way.
Have you ever been in a relationship that literally sucked the life out of you? Maybe there's too much arguing and/or name calling going on; maybe he hits you; maybe you're the one with all of the financial responsibility or perhaps he is repeatedly and/or blatantly unfaithful? Perhaps you are the one he is unfaithful with. Perhaps he misuses alcohol or drugs...and you have to rescue him. Clearly I can go on, but I'm sure you get the point. Does any one or more of these scenarios ring a bell? Do you have more to add to the list? If your answer is yes, then you couldn't possibly be happy...right? So why are you sticking around? There is no black and white answer here, because relationships can be very complex. People remain in relationships that are dysfunctional for reasons that make sense to them. However, why would you want to remain in a relationship that is killing you? What are you getting out of it? Who will you become after your life and love has been depleted? Will you have anything left over for yourself? Love does not drain or destroy, it nurtures and promotes growth. A loving relationship is supposed to make both parties better and stronger as opposed to one suffering at the hand of another. So... what do you do? This is a touchy area, as we as individuals don't like to be told what to do. Friends and Family can talk to you until they're blue in the face and it wouldn't matter right? I know, I've been there. However, I will leave you with this. At night, just after your head rests on your pillow, pay attention to what your gut is telling you. There lies the truth... a truth that even you can't deny. What happens after that, is entirely up to you.
It amazes me how experiences which may have taken place many years ago, can still have an impact in our present lives. There are so many of us who are still wrestling with issues from our childhood, whether we'd like to admit it or not. These issues can prevent us from having productive relationships many years later in our adult lives. Why is that? Why is it so difficult for some of us to let it go and move on? Without getting into a long discussion about Freud and Erikson's psychoanalytic theories, it is easy to understand on the most fundamental level, that if a wound doesn't heal, it will continue to hurt. So... how does one heal an old festering wound that even time can't seem to heal? There is no easy answer to that. However, in the case of a nasty wound I sustained in my childhood, which had its grips on me in my adult life; I found that forgiveness was the solution. Believe me..it wasn't easy. The pain was so prevalent that it even defined me to a certain degree. I was walking around with sadness and anger because of this old unresolved pain deep down inside. So I had to pray about it, because as you know, to forgive someone who hurt you deeply is not an easy thing to do. It's just not natural! However, afterwards, when I was ready, I forgave that person. Once I did that, I felt light. The pain from that wound was gone. It was such a relief! No, of course I didn't forget what happened to me, but it no longer controlled me. Now, that experience is able to be only a part of my past , instead of my past, present and future. So... are you still wrestling with your past? If so...what are you going to do about it?
Doubt is one of the most powerful tools of defeat in my opinion. Doubt is like a seed implanted in your mind, and the more you nurture it, the bigger and more expansive it will grow until it has control of your life. How many of us have failed to act because of those two little words...what if? What is it about the fear of the unknown that keeps us bound to familiarity even if familiarity is killing us? Why do we fail to act when we already know that the present circumstance is not what's best for us? Sometimes what stands between us and a better and/or happier version of ourselves is nothing at all. Nothing except for us, because most of the time, we are the only things standing in our own way! We sometimes create these scary scenarios in our minds that make the possibility of change seem laborious, frightening and even impossible. Have you ever done that? For example: "If I leave him, I won't find anyone else to love me. If I get up and sing...they will laugh at me. If I go back to school...I'll fail. If I try to lose weight, I'll give in just like the other 10 times. If I ask her out...she'll reject me. If I leave this job...I won't find a better one" The list can go on and on. We all at some point have given in or have been bound by doubt whether it was momentary or for many years. I've learned over the years that most of the time when I did decide to act, it was much easier than I thought and the outcome was far better than I could have ever imagined. So what if...today was the day that you got out of that toxic relationship that was killing you? What if today was the day you took a chance on your future by going back to school or getting a better job? What if today is the day you ask that girl or guy out? What if today is the day you decide to get in shape and live a healthier lifestyle? What if today is the day you stop self-medicating and deal with what is really bothering you? What if today is the day you say you're sorry? What if today is your day?
How far would go to please your partner? If your partner asked you to get plastic surgery to enhance your breast size or increase the size of your buttocks to give Kim Kardashian a run for her money; what would you do? What if you were asked to gain weight or to lose weight? Would you comply with the request? If you did comply, what would that say about you? If you didn't comply, would you be concerned about losing the relationship or would you simply get rid of the person making the request? I remember several occasions where the person I was dating strongly implied that I should lose weight because they wanted me to be lean and mean. Another person asked me to gain weight because they preferred me with a plump backside. Last but not least, one had the nerve to ask me to dress more like Kim Kardashian. No offense to the beautiful Ms. Kardashian, but I like myself just fine. Needless to say, these individuals that made these requests of me didn't last very long. My view is, if you want someone that looks other than the way your partner looks, then you shouldn't be with your partner.The relationship probably won't last very long anyway. The world is a big place with lots of options in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Why would a person try to change their partner into another person's image in order to suit their own needs? What does that say about the person making the request? Would that person make a change if they were asked to? In my opinion it is far better to be with someone who loves you from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. First and foremost, that person should be you. Then the icing on the the top of the cake would be to have a partner that loves you for who you are, just as much. Any thoughts?
Those of you who have never suffered from depression may find it difficult to understand what it's all about. I could provide you with statistics that show how much of an epidemic depression has become, but that wouldn't translate into much. Media coverage of beloved celebrities like Robin Williams who have lost their battle with depression, only shine a momentary light on the subject, and whilst people are saddened and shocked...they still won't get it. They still will not be able to understand the magnitude of the struggle to overcome the pain that rages on within the mind and heart of a depressed person. Yes, I said in the heart. For that is where emotional pain is felt and when you're depressed that is what you feel...pain and lots of it. It is a sensitive topic for me, because I was one of those people for many years...and just the thought of being in that dark place still brings tears to my eyes...even as I write this. The most perplexing thing about depression for me was that it was invisible. If I didn't speak of it, one would never know that I suffered from it. No matter how I tried, I couldn't escape from it. It was exhausting trying to fight something I could not see, but was affixed to me; like my own shadow. It was like being alone in a house without lights during the night, the doors are locked and you can see everyone outside playing in the sun...but you can't join them no matter how hard you fight to get out. Depression doesn't care how much money you have, how many degrees you've accumulated or other reasons people think you may have to be joyful about. It is an illness that impairs the mind, and the mind is our most powerful tool. Without a healthy mind, the quality of your life will suffer. So, how do you explain to others something that you can't see or touch? How do you explain a pain that is so beyond physical pain that it rocks you to your core? How do you explain what you're going through without feeling shame or that you might be perceived as crazy? That is the dilemma that causes those that suffer with depression to feel even more isolated. There is still so much shame associated with having a mental illness. Some people still perceive those that suffer from depression as being weak (some cultures more than others). So much so, that many would rather suffer in silence than seek treatment. It's when the suffering becomes too much that desperate thoughts of alleviating the pain once and for all present themselves...yes..suicide. I'm sure you've seen it in the movies when a person sustains a fatal injury but is suffering and they beg to be put out of their misery? Well suicide is the same concept for those that suffer from severe depression. Pain is pain! Needless to say, suicide is NOT the answer. My intention is to bring insight where there appears to be very little, in hopes that you will get a better understanding of what it's like inside the mind of a Depressed mind.
In memory of Robin Williams (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) R.I.P
For more information about Depression and Suicide click on the Depression page of this website.
To sacrifice, fundamentally means to give up one thing in order to obtain another. However, what makes the connotation of the word so strong is that the thing being given up is extremely valuable. Which means to give up this thing, requires some form of pain or loss prior to and even after relinquishing it. It also implies that the object being exchanged for what's being sacrificed, is of more value. Now keeping that in mind, answer this: Have you ever sacrificed something for the sake of love? Was it your goals, beliefs, morals, religion, freedom, friends, family, self-respect...your life? Was the exchange worth the sacrifice? How much of a sacrifice is too much for the sake of love? Some would agree that the idea of loving someone and being loved is what drives our human existence. The idea of true love has been idealized and portrayed to be so rare and almost mythical, that people are hopping in and out of relationships desperately hoping to find it. People are hurting others and / or sacrificing key parts of themselves just to have a taste of what could be love. If that's the cost of love, then maybe what we think is love, isn't really love at all. Love isn't supposed to cause collateral damage or require that you sacrifice so much of yourself that you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror...right? In religion, sacrifice was the ultimate demonstration of love from a perfect deity. However, for us imperfect humans, will sacrifice give us the opposite of what we want? If we sacrifice the wrong thing(s), or too much of ourselves, will the end result do more harm than good?
My brother once told me that feelings are important because they're an indicator. They let you know what's going on within as well as externally. They will tell you when you're hungry, sad, angry, afraid, happy, aroused, in love...and the list goes on. I totally agree with him on that. Feelings are very important, for what would life be without them. The point of life is to live it and in order to live it, you must feel; otherwise we'd be dead. However, what I want to explore a little more is: How do we know when our feelings are leading us in the wrong direction? Clearly we aren't talking about the obvious here, such as committing crimes and anything dangerous. I'm talking about more subtle things that can amass into huge dilemmas/problems like getting into a relationship with someone because you feel lonely, or sleeping with a married man/woman because it feels right or feels like love. Do those feelings justify the actions? Or how about something as simple as eating or drinking alcohol? What happens when the taste is so sweet and the feelings are so enjoyable that we can't stop ourselves even when the mirror or those around us tell us we've gone way too far? Does there come a point where our minds step in and call the shots before it's too late? It almost seems like a rhetorical question right? As I'm sure many of you will answer within yourself: Of course the mind has to step in and take control! Well, if it were that simple, then why are so many people (not unlike myself) still allowing their feelings to make poor decisions that affect their lives and health for the worse? Perhaps the question is not can we trust our feelings..maybe the question should be: How do we walk in the other direction when we know our feelings are leading us into a place we don't belong? Maybe if we can figure out the answer to that, then perhaps we can avoid a lot of damage before it's done. For sometimes, the damage caused by following our feelings is irreparable. Any thoughts?
Many people don't like the word prostitution, but it's been around for a very long time. Prostitution is defined as: The practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment. Now that we understand the meaning, allow me to present my case. I have overheard and talked to both women and men about this issue and there appears to be an unspoken understanding between the two.
Here is what one man said: Nowadays, women only want money. They want their bills paid, nails and hair done; otherwise they won't sleep with you. We men know that, so we put some money aside just for that purpose. The woman feels good because she feels like she did something great to get us to give up the money. But the reality is, it's just a part of the game and you play until you are ready to get rid of her. She's not the type of woman you keep. She probably does this to every guy and sees more than one guy at the same time anyway. Here is what one woman said: I don't give a man sex if he doesn't give me money. I don't have time to waste with these fools, my bills need to be paid. If he can't do it then another man will. Yes, I deal with more than one person at once. These guys out here are stupid. They only serve one purpose.
So here are my questions: If these two individuals got together, would that be a form of prostitution? If not, then what is it? Neither of the two conversations ever touched upon the subject of love or companionship. So...is love, romance and marriage an antiquated notion these days? If a man can easily pay a woman for sex, what does that mean for single women who are looking for the real deal? If a woman is only looking for money, then what does it mean for a man who is looking for real love? I guess my final point is this: At the end of the day, when a person engages in such a transaction, is he/she satisfied? Is sex and money so important that love no longer matters? What do you think?
For most of us, the choice is clear. Of course you'd choose the daughter! However, you would be very alarmed to discover that it is more common than you think, that some mothers choose the boyfriend. If your daughter approached you and told you "mommy, he touched me..." what would you do? Would it matter how many years you were with this person or how much you loved him? Is the topic of sexual molestation still so taboo that people would rather ignore it, than to face it and help the victims heal from it? I can't tell you how many little girls I've met who have not been chosen. Not only are they not being chosen, but they are also being blamed. Imagine how it must be for a girl to know that her parent didn't believe her. Imagine how that choice shapes the rest of her life. If you can't imagine, allow me to enlighten you. The girl grows up with shame, confusion, hyper-sexual behavior, relationship issues, depression and/ or other forms of Mental Health issues. Yes, of course there are exceptions...but this is not about those exceptions. This is about the girls and even the many adult women I've encountered that are still wrestling with the demons associated with this type of crime. Oh yes, it is a crime! I make no apologies for this topic. It must be brought to the light because it is still very prevalent. I will say this, talk to your daughters. Give them the confidence to talk to you about anything. Provide them with the love and security they will need in order to take on an already harsh world. Oh and by the way, while you're talking to them, let them know that predators can be ANYONE! So when a teacher, priest, next door neighbor..or relative etc..attempts to steal her youth, they'll know how to deal with the situation. So...please don't let them fend for themselves out there. The end result is not a pretty one. Prevention is way better than a cure. Oh and by the way, this also applies to your sons.
I love to dialogue with men, because you learn the most interesting things! As I reflect on two different conversations with two different male friends recently; I ask myself, why would a woman choose to be a mistress? Is she looking for love or is it a safe way to have a relationship without the commitment and possible heartache? Is the mistress being mislead or is she completely at fault? Is it an issue of lack of self-esteem or is she intentionally out to wreck a happy home just because she doesn't have one?