The Cleaning Agents Truth and Honesty: Inner Work

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I have a friend that deals with reality by not dealing with it. He likes to pretend that his world is perfect in public. He puts his parents and marriage on a pedestal to the world. He is in photos that would make you think all is well. Yet, in his private life there is a different story. He’s the type that makes idle threats about what he’s going to do and say but never acts on them. He’s the one that upholds the wrong doing of his father by being silent. He needs the acceptance of that parent. Plus, the public thinks his parents are amazing. Deep down inside, he’s drowning. The things he does, the moods he has, the thought patterns that keep him trapped, all connected to childhood, religion and young adulthood experiences. He internalizes all of his grief, sorrow, hurt, disappointments, and I worry about the toll it takes on him physically.

If you are ready to heal, grow, improve, stop a bad habit, if you have lost too much and too many people, then take a couple of deep, deep breaths and prepare to go inward. In fact, you may need an oxygen tank because it’s going to take many deep dives to get to the root of some things. Some people start in shallow waters and then make their way to the deep and some just jump in. It’s an unraveling. Some said it’s like peeling back and onion layer by layer. But for me, some of my baggage had more layers than an onion. And if you want to know how long it takes to be healed, check out my other blog post from last week https://nikkisconfettilife.com/2023/01/11/how-long-does-healing-take-inner-work/

You just may have to admit that you are not perfect. You are not always right and may be rarely right. You may have to tell yourself the truth about your household, your feelings about it. You may have to tell yourself the truth about how you grew up and that perhaps your parents were not so perfect, either. You may have to untangle the web of your actions and behaviors. This can be some work and this is why most people leave this earth bound instead of free. They remain the same, sad or angry, silent or pretending, trapped in denial, and steeped in open or hidden misery.

Truth and Honesty are like ammonia or some strong cleaning agent mixed with water. Mixed just right it can get the job done without damaging what it is cleaning. If you ever decide to HEAL or CHANGE you can’t do it without Truth and Honesty. Here is what I have learned about inner work, it’s rewarding. It’s freeing. The “work” can be tiring, dirty, exhausting, but when you are clean, when you come into the light of understanding why you do what you do, say the things you say, act a certain way it gives you knowledge. It gives you POWER to be your AUTHENTIC SELF and to walk in the fullness of your destiny. It gives you WHOLENESS like you have never known but before you may feel like you are being ripped apart. Fear not. It’s only so you can be put back together, with some new parts and reprogrammed. This is when people will say, “Hmm, you’re acting funny. You have changed. There is something different about you.” And it will be true. There is something different about you when you do the work of healing yourself.

~Nikki

Know the Signs: Inner Work

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At its core, inner work is the process of getting to know yourself. It’s a form of introspective self-care where you can help yourself let go of harmful attachments, habits, people, and thoughts. -brainmd.com

The most important relationship you can have is the one you have with yourself. It determines how you treat yourself, how you treat others, and how you allow others to treat you. I did some research and along with my personal experience, came up with some signs you may need to work on yourself. I’ll say after reading some of this I can tell you that WE ALL probably need to do some inner work.

Inner work can be scary and daunting because it requires you to take an honest look at yourself. When was the last time you were honest with yourself about yourself and NOT blamed others or came up with excuses for your behavior or thoughts? You can’t control others but you can learn to control your responses. And even after you become aware or honest, what do you do about it? Shrug your shoulders? Apologize over and over and secretly say to yourself, “Why do I keep doing that?” Maybe it’s not your behavior that’s an indication that you need help or to work on yourself. Maybe it’s your obsessive worrying that is anxiety. Maybe it’s your mood swings you can’t explain but expect everyone around you to just deal with it or get used to it.

  • You think negatively or have a negative view about yourself/other people, gender, cultures, etc
  • You suffer from anxiety and depression
  • You’ve had a traumatic change in your health
  • You’re going through or have been through a rough patch in your life
  • Your childhood was not the best and deep down you suspect it has impacted your thinking. other relationships and your behavior
  • You don’t treat yourself with respect and/or you don’t treat others with respect
  • You are in an unhealthy relationship
  • You allow people to take advantage of you
  • You have unreasonable expectations of yourself and others
  • You are unhappy with your life
  • You are a habitual giver and you give more than you can afford or have to give. This includes time.
  • There is a persistent feeling of emptiness, unfulfillment, or failure
  • You have anger issues

These are just a few examples. Have you ever read a book, talked to a spiritual leader, or therapist because you knew you needed to do some inner work? If you don’t mind sharing, what were some of your signs?

~Nikki

Unauthorized Sacrifice: Inner Work

*sadness*

I was going to post about something else but this has been on my mind as so many people struggle with sacrificing themselves for things or people they were never called to sacrifice for. They seem to be sacrificing their happiness, their joy, their lives, their freedom, and destiny for things that depreciate quickly and for people whom obviously do not deserve the sacrifices.

I see how this self-sacrifice is related to Inner Work. Some are making sacrifices and are YET unaware they are not getting anything or much in return. They have not discovered what the empty feeling on the inside means. They have not experienced frustration. Oh, but when they come into awareness of the unbalance, they will face a choice. A choice to stop it or to continue doing the same things hoping for different results.

Others self-sacrifice because it’s something they have done their entire lives. Putting other people’s wants and needs ahead of their own. It may have started in childhood by putting parents’ wants and desires ahead to please them. Yet, unhappy in the family business or as a doctor. Maybe it started when they became a parent and now it flows into the role of husband or wife. It flows into the job. Making sacrifices and even volunteering to stay over so much people expect it of you. “But you always stay over. You always change shifts with me.” The moment you can’t, it’s a problem and you’re being selfish. I know you may have heard that before. Things like, you’re a wife now or husband now and you must sacrifice your happiness, needs, wants, dreams, and desires. It’s the “godly” thing to do. The honorable thing. All the while you are miserable as hell. And Hell is pretty miserable.

Then there is the one that “saves the day”. You’ve been saving the day since you were young. Maybe you were the older sibling or the most dependable one. You drop what you are doing to “save the day”. You had something planned but dare not tell your mom or pops you will have to take them tomorrow if it’s not urgent. You must save the day. You’re the good one. Everyone wants to borrow money from you. You stay in relationships you know you should have been left but, you can’t let the other person down even if they are letting you down. You need to be the hero because you need validation that you are worthy of their love. You need to be needed even if it makes you sad.

Unauthorized sacrifices can wear you down, out, and take you out of this realm. It can have you living outwardly or secretly a life of misery. We do have to make some authorized sacrifices in life. Most sacrifices are not pleasant. However, I want you to think of this scripture from the Bible, “Obedience in greater than sacrifice.” If you obey, you don’t need to sacrifice. King Saul of Israel disobeyed God’s command. He thought that by altering God’s command, he somehow developed a better solution than what God had outlined. This is the context for the statement “obedience is better than sacrifice” spoken by the Prophet Samuel.

If you obey the soul, the Spirit, God, your spirit, your gut feeling then you would not have to make unauthorized sacrifices. I have sacrificed for people and they have been ungrateful and in return I would get angry. God never told me to do those things. I was conditioned to do those things trying to get something that was not there. Or trying to look like the best employee to receive the position or trying to “save the day” and make everyone happy at the expense of my own happiness. I don’t believe God has called us to this type of sacrificing. There is no way you can convince me that a loving God would call you to a life of unhappiness by the way of unauthorized and habitual self-sacrifice. Be obedient to the soft spoken, “Stop. Leave. Do not say yes. It’s okay to lose this friendship. It’s okay to back out of this relationship. You’ve sacrificed for your children. Now go and do you.” Be obedient to the “something” saying to you, “You need therapy. You need to listen to your quiet inner voice. You need to listen to how your body feels when you agree to these things. The anger. The sadness. The loneliness.” I mean if God didn’t join (or there is no divine connection) the relationship, marriage, friendship, or job then you don’t have to remain when it’s time to depart. Everything has a season, a reason, a lesson, and a lifetime. Locate yourself in these unauthorized sacrifices.

~Nikki

My Top Lessons of 2022 Lesson # 9: Sleep is POWERFUL

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As a person with underlying conditions, sleep can be allusive. In addition to insomnia, there is pain-somnia (the inability to sleep well due to pain through the night) and then there is the thing I do from time to time. I am wired and cannot sleep until late into the night or early morning. This year I have ensured I go to bed on time for the most part. I have created a flexible routine.

Today there is a culture of “Grind until I die, Team No Sleep, or I’ll Sleep When I Die”. Sleep is seen as a sign of a lack of drive and weakness. Boy, if they only knew the power of sleep. I dream most of the time when I am sleeping. I get messages for myself mostly when I dream. If I don’t sleep. I don’t dream. I like to dream. Sleep gives your body time to repair cells and rejuvenate itself. We were designed to sleep. Sleep can help settle, declutter, and clear the mind. It can give you new and fresh ideas. It can give you strength and the power to keep going. You can run circles around people that intentionally do not rest. Some sleep but not many rest. Rest involves your whole being and not just your body. Keep this in mind when it comes to sleep. I added the parenthesis of mind and spirit on the list below.

Getting enough sleep has many benefits. It can help you:

  • Get sick less often
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease 
  • Reduce stress and improve your mood
  • Think more clearly and do better in school and at work (mind)
  • Get along better with people (mind and spirit)
  • Make good decisions and avoid injuries (mind)

https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/healthy-living/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep

Sleep has blessed my life tremendously this year. I now see it and use it as tool for my overall health and mental wellbeing.

~Nikki

My Top 12 Lessons of 2022 Lesson #6: Sort, Wash, Dry, Repeat

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I thought I was over it and I thought I was healed. Nope. This year I learned the Creator is meticulous. I learned that CLEANLINESS is GODLINESS. I learned the only remnants that need to remain are ones that strengthen you and not ones that hinder you. A tiny pebble in your shoe will certainly bother you. You can walk around all day with it and be annoyed and irritated or you can sit down, untie your shoe, and shake it out.

How many times must one be washed to remove the dirt of our past? I guess it depends on the depth of the pain or shame. God goes to the innermost parts to clean you and it’s dark in there. You can’t see the dirt so God reveals the dirt through your actions, reactions, and hurt. It’s like something happens, it triggers your past, and boom! You’re angry. You’re sad. You’re going off! You’re shrinking into isolation. Yep. You “may” need to heal some more. That thing may need to be washed again to get the stains out. It may need to be washed again because there is this tiny speck that is hindering you.

The other side of this lesson is there are some things that happened to us or we did we may have to contend with for the rest of our lives when thought about, reminded of, or triggered within. People will keep bringing it up. People will unknowingly trigger you. You could go years and be triggered by a thought or memory. God will help you SORT it all. God will WASH you again with comfort, wisdom, guidance, books, therapy, etc. God will hang you out to DRY so you can return to a new state of being. Refreshed and smelling like Clean Linen or some scented GAIN 😀 And if you need it again…God will once again help you SORT, WASH, and DRY.

~Nikki

No Stress November? Really?

Pathway in the autumn forest

This is the time of the year many of us are wrapping up our goals. The holidays are upon us. There is also the putting away of summer clothing, summer items and putting the fall and winter things where they belong. It’s the organization and preparation of your home for winter. There are events, celebrations, festivals, and family gatherings. Finances and traveling factor in as well. What can we do to make sure we don’t become overwhelmed and “wig out”?

Keep your routine of exercise and eating as healthy as possible. Don’t neglect your self-care routine either. Get a massage to help you with all of the stress or do an Epsom salt soak in the tub.

Keep to your routine of prayer, meditation, daily devotions and religious services.

Make a budget and STICK TO IT.

Remember, YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING OR EVERY ACTIVITY. You can’t make it to EVERYONE’S EVENT.

With that being said, decide what you are going to and where you are going to in advance. Also, leave room for adventure. Be flexible to change. We should know by now things don’t always go according to plan and we must be able to adapt. Oh, and adjust our attitudes in the process! Your FUNKY little attitude can affect the group and ruin everything.

Apologize.

Take off your cape and learn to say NO. Take off your control freak cape and delegate things to others. They can handle it and it doesn’t have to be exactly how you want it done.

Take a breather and some time alone. Go for a nature walk or a walk in the neighborhood. Listen to music. Read a book. Stargaze.

Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too. -Mayoclinic.com

Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events or communities. Many may have websites, online support groups, social media sites or virtual events. They can offer support and companionship. If you’re feeling stress during the holidays, it also may help to talk to a friend or family member about your concerns. Try reaching out with a text, a call or a video chat. Volunteering your time or doing something to help others is also a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships. For example, consider dropping off a meal and dessert at a friend’s home during the holidays. -Mayoclinic.com

If you have any tips, chime in!

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 7

Avoid minimizing

People face all kinds of unpleasant situations in life. Some of these challenges have a much broader or far-reaching impact than others.

It’s not for anyone else to say how upset someone should (or shouldn’t) feel about any given type of distress.

Comparing a loved one’s difficulties with problems faced by other people often happens inadvertently, as an attempt at consolation.

You might intend to cheer them up by saying things like, “It could be a lot worse,” or “At least you still have a job.” This denies them their experience and often implies they shouldn’t feel bad in the first place.

No matter how trivial you think someone’s concern is, avoid brushing it off.

Sure, maybe the lecture your best friend received from her boss wouldn’t have bothered you. But you can’t fully understand her experience or emotional response, so it’s not fair to minimize her feelings.

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#avoid-minimizing

My thoughts: When I was younger and I was having these mood swings or thoughts, my parents told me to “pray about it”. I really didn’t understand the whole concept of God and prayer. As time went on, not only did I not pray about it, I did nothing about it for a very long time and it was just accepted behavior or “something is wrong with that one”.

Since I have become older and I finally started to not only get the help I need but, also to understand what it was I was dealing with, my parents seem to have grown as well. They have somewhat of a better understanding and acceptance that praying is necessary but, so is self-help (meditation, reading, exercising, etc.) and therapy.

I figured out who I could talk to and who I could not by the responses of those in my circle. If I was minimized, if anxiety and depression was minimized, if they stared at me as if I had a unicorn horn in the middle of my forehead, or the pompous, “Sorry, I don’t have anxiety. So, I don’t know what to tell you”, I never opened my mouth to those people again. When they ask me what’s wrong, I say, “Nothing.”

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 6

Build them up

Times of personal difficulty, especially ones involving rejection, can bring people down and make them doubt themselves and their abilities.

If you notice someone you care for seems to be a little low, harder on themselves than usual, or going through some self-doubt, a sincere compliment or two can go a long way toward improving their outlook.

When offering compliments, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind:

  • Keep them relevant to the current situation. For example, you might remind a friend who’s upset about a mistake at work about their usual pattern of success.
  • Choose compliments that highlight specific strengths over empty compliments that might apply to anyone. Instead of simply saying “You’re so thoughtful,” pinpoint what makes them thoughtful and share your appreciation for that skill.
  • Don’t gush. A well-placed compliment can make someone feel great. Overdoing it can make people skeptical of the compliments, or even a little uncomfortable (even when you do really mean them).

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#positivity

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt 5

Skip the advice

You might think you’re helping someone by telling them how to fix a problem. But, generally speaking, people don’t want advice unless they request it.

Even when you know you have the right solution, don’t offer it unless they specifically ask something like, “What do you think I should do?” or “Do you know of anything that might help?”

If they’ve moved from “venting” to “talking through the problem,” a better approach often involves using reflective questions to help them find solutions on their own.

You might, for example, say something like:

  • “Have you been in a situation like this before? What helped then?”
  • “Can you think of any specific changes that might help you feel better?”

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#avoid-advice

I know you know everything or maybe you know exactly what to do BUT, SKIP THE ADVICE UNLESS YOU ARE ASKED!

~Nikki

What to Do When It’s a Friend or Loved One w/Anxiety or Depression Pt. 4 You’re a Judge?

Avoid judgment

Nobody likes feeling judged. Someone facing a difficult situation as a result of their actions may have done some self-judgment already.

Regardless, when seeking support, people generally don’t want to hear a critique — even if you offer constructive criticism with the best of intentions.

When offering support, try to keep your opinions on what they should have done or where they went wrong to yourself.

Avoid asking questions they might interpret as blaming or judgmental, such as, “So what made them so mad at you?”

Even if you don’t offer any direct judgment or criticism, tone can convey a lot of emotion, so your voice might share emotions you didn’t intend to say outright.

Take care to keep notes of disapproval out of your voice by focusing on feelings like sympathy and compassion when you speak.

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#avoid-judgment

~Nikki