Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Left

You need to learn how to be left. Left alone. Left behind. Think about this, how would you feel if you were forced to stay in a situation, with people, in a job, in a space you felt you didn’t want to be in for whatever reason? Oh! You’ve felt that feeling before, huh? You know that suffocating, funny, detached feeling that makes you feel stuck. You feel it your body and it weighs heavy on your mind. I have to tell you this, you’re not going to like it but, sometimes you are creating that for someone else. BREATHE. Sometimes they do not love you like you love them. BREATHE. Sometimes, they don’t like you for valid reasons or simply, they just don’t. BREATHE. Sometimes, they just don’t like your energy. BREATHE.

They have their reasons and it may hurt you. It may disappoint you. It may shock you. Especially, if you feel you haven’t done anything wrong or that bad. It may make you feel bad about yourself. And let me say this, if it does make you feel bad about yourself, then reflect, observe, and analyze. Because I would not have known the things I needed to correct or heal within me if someone had not left me or distanced themselves from me! “HARSH TRUTH will wash you clean. If you allow it.”-Nicole Jackson

People have a right to be free. Even if it’s to be free from you. I have learned to take it as it is. But the greatest thing I have learned is NOT to TAKE IT SO PERSONAL that I am angry, upset, mad or carry a grudge about it. How? I think to myself and put myself in their shoes. If I have a right to change my mind, fall out of like or love, remove myself from something or someone that is not a right fit for me, then SO DO THEY. Do I cry sometimes? Yes. Do I feel bad sometimes? Yes. Has my heart been broken at times? Yes. Have I been disappointed, shocked, bewildered? Absolutely. But when the emotions subside, I have to respect their decision. I don’t have to agree with it or like it. I want them to be free because if I need to leave, I want to be free to do so.

~Nikki

Women’s History Month: A Woman’s Worth

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As we near towards the end of March and Women’s History Month, I think about all of the women that have made history that we know about and all of the many women that make history and a difference in their communities we will never know about. In a world, and especially in countries and cultures where women are often thought of as second-hand citizens, and in America and other countries, once were (still are) considered property, what is the value of a woman? Studies done by men in the past determining the intelligence and the emotional dissecting of a woman were nearly always biased and harsh. Even in religious texts women were treated poorly. Yet, I could never understand how you could be religious and treat another human being poorly. That’s another topic for another day.

A woman’s worth is priceless. Invaluable. Yet we, even women, continue to devalue women based on economics, social status, race, religion, bodies, and lifestyle. A woman has proven over and over again her value to this world and some women of color have to prove to other women the same thing those women are trying to prove to men. In my opinion, you can’t want equal pay and rights for women of your race and religion only. Either fight for ALL women or take some time to work on your inner self to find out why you don’t want to share your victories with ALL women. Resolve that conflict. If women are to move forward and to make more history, it has to be done in unity. In unity, there is power. In division, there are weak spots.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Spring Peptalk

My Aloe Vera Plant, Gloria

“Thoughts that are out of alignment with your spiritual truth are toxic”- The Sacred Yes

Spring is the NEW YEAR.

You may now FEEL like doing those things you set out to do on the Gregorian calendar in December/January. You might feel more energetic, optimistic, refreshed. It took me a while to start moving along with nature and God.

I’m still learning to be attentive of the seasons and the timing of them. And leaves, flowers, vegetation, don’t just happen overnight in spring. There’s a process underneath and within. And even that process is affected by its region, environment, and weather.

Purge your space, circle, mind, body, and spirit.

Get your fresh nourishment. Get your fresh information. You’ve written the vision and now your steps are being ordered. Introduce some movement, action to the vision, dreams, goals.

~Nikki

Moving Through Depression

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On my way home from dropping my daughter off at campus Sunday, I felt my mood change. It was like that light switch. I am now familiar with it and I knew what was happening. Familiar, yes. Understand it? Not quite. I am always so frustrated when depression hits “out of the blue” or I can’t figure out what triggered it. If I know what the trigger was then I can better address it. But when I do not know, I get upset. I get angry because I don’t want to feel the way I am feeling and it takes some time for me to know if this is light depression? Moderate? Are we headed towards severe? I get anxious. I get…frustrated.

I just didn’t have the energy to figure it out Sunday evening because I was tired from the ride. I was able to make dinner and to just do the best I could to take care of myself. I showered. I did my nightly routine. I decided to just tune everything out and watch TV. I made myself comfy on the couch and called my parents and texted my daughter early to say my goodnights, etc. I thought maybe if I can just sleep when it’s time for me to go to bed, I will be okay Monday. I did not eat healthily that evening. I snacked quite a bit. Note: On my way home, I tried listening to positive things like a sermon and things that interested me on YouTube. I didn’t want to sink too low, too fast.

I woke up Monday and I was still depressed. I said to myself, “Well, this must be moderate depression. I feel like I can fix me something to eat. I don’t want to be bothered. I can still do a few things on my list that are easy for me. I don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t want to talk.” If this was severe, I would not want to do anything. This includes fixing food. Getting out of bed. I wouldn’t want to hear any noise. Go anywhere. Do anything.

It feels like strings of cans tied to my ankles and making noise every time I move. Weird. I know. The noise is the sharp criticizing negative inner dialogue that takes place during these episodes. If I drop something. “Clumsy.” If I can’t remember something, “Stupid”. Or just crazy thoughts from current, the past, “Look at you. Can’t even get dressed. No man wants to be around you if you ever get one. He can’t take this. Hell, people can’t take it.” “What the hell is wrong with you? Why was I born with these issues?” “What is wrong with my brain?” “Can’t live out your dreams like this.”

I FIRED BACK. LIES. GO TO HELL. IF HE CAN’T DEAL WITH IT, HE’S NOT THE ONE. PEOPLE ARE STUPID. I CAN NAME FRIENDS THAT UNDERSTAND. THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT DO GET IT. THOSE THAT DON’T, DON’T MATTER. I CAN ACCOMPLISH MY DREAMS AND REACH MY DESTINTY. SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE THESE ISSUES AND ARE SUCCESSFUL.

When it’s severe, it feels like a mountain on my back or like I am carrying around twice my weight. I imagine. So, instead of fighting it, I followed my normal morning routine. Well, sort of. Pray. Instead of coffee I wanted something cold. Read. Meditation. Post. I prayed some more. I called my parents so that I could see how they were doing and to let them know what was going on. I didn’t feel like being bothered unless it was urgent. I do this for two reasons: If you don’t tell the people you talk to daily, they will think something is wrong and worry if you don’t answer. Second, if I do answer and I have this mood they will take it personal because…they don’t know what is wrong.

Eat Well. I ate well for breakfast and lunch. I snacked well, too. I made myself do yoga for depression. It was restorative yoga where the poses were held longer and were to target specific areas of the body. I almost said forget it. But I stayed with the practice. I gave into it. I opened up my notebook of affirmations and I read some and then I wrote some that came to me during this depressing episode.

Even in my depression, I am loved. I deserve love. I am love.

I am worthy of love. I am still valuable. I still deserve to be happy.

Even under this dark cloud, I deserve the sunshine.

This too will pass. It’s just a moment. Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning and morning can come at any time.

I will wait for morning. I don’t have to wait perfectly. But I know morning is coming. Always.

I don’t have to understand it. I don’t have to explain it. I just have to know I will be okay. God is with me. God is with me. God is with me.

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Later Monday evening, I begin to feel lighter. Yes. It was lifting. I felt like talking to a friend that called earlier. I felt like going for a walk and I did.

~Nikki

Women’s History Month: Making Your Own Her-story

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I know you are probably thinking you haven’t made history as a woman but, oh yes you have! You are making history in your own life that will become HER-STORY. You don’t have to be famous or to break a glass ceiling. You just have to look back over your life and see all that you have overcame. You just have to look forward and think about what’s next and plan it out. We all have a story to tell and stories that are forming as long as we are living. Why do you think the elders in our lives have so much to talk to us about? How do you think they gained so much wisdom? Our mothers, sisters, aunties, cousins, coworkers have HER-STORIES.

Tell me something you have overcome! Or share something you have done or do in your community!

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Don’t Go Back or Forward

DON’T GO BACK TO WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN DELIVERED FROM

I had a discussion with a person I was involved with and there were a few “ah ha” moments that enlightened me on his behavior. Although, we are somewhat friends with boundaries (I should do a blog post titled Friends with Boundaries), we have had two huge discussions about our past unofficial relationship. It’s almost like a balloon being blown up slowly to its capacity and then you let it go and it flies around the room and lands “splat” on the floor. We exhale and it’s like, “Well, don’t know how we got started on that but, you enjoy the rest of your evening.” I think it’s unresolved issues that are aired out in these sessions.

The other day I asked him if he thinks about the conversations after they are over. He said yes. So, do I. It’s like pieces of a puzzle and some things make sense after the session and others are still a mystery. A mystery I have no desire to solve. I pondered the conversation and then I started getting messages from EVERYWHERE about “NOT GOING BACK” to situations or relationships that you have been delivered from. Message received.

DON’T GO FORWARD

I am reading a book titled, “Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents” and as I was reading the chapter that describes the characteristics of the parent, I realized not only do I pick relationships where the person is emotionally unavailable but, I also have picked some associations where this occurs. I also, have remained in some circles that I now realize embody the characteristics of the emotionally unavailable parent. When this was brought to my consciousness, I was dumbfounded. I am still shocked today. However, the thought is, “STOP. DON’T GO FORWARD.” Yet, I attempted one last time to connect and saw nothing except a sarcastic response. What am I afraid of I ask myself and do I really want to know the answer? Why am I still hanging around? The truth is I already know the answer and I need to accept the truth.

With these two things occurring in a week, I realize that just because you know the truth, make a declaration, things don’t always end immediately and things may end immediately and linger. A train doesn’t suddenly stop. Breaks are applied miles before its destination. Some relationships come to a halt months after they end. None of this makes me feel really good but, it does make me aware. I have hope that something much better is ahead.

~Nikki

The Love Experience: Heartbreaks and Attachment Styles. What’s Yours?

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According to Psychology Today, about 80% of people have experienced heartbreaks as it relates to relationships or dating. The main causes of heartbreaks were break ups, infidelity, and rejection. People with a strong attachment style (as opposed to those with a low attachment style i.e. anxious or high avoidance attachment)- tended to view their heartbreak experience as leading to some form of character rather than a deficiency within themselves. In other words, they framed their experience as one that helped them to grow and become stronger or as useful lessons about themselves, relationships, and life. A heartbreak is not indicative of bad luck or personal flaws or failure because heartbreaks are common. In research, 4 of 5 people said they have had heartbreak. -Psychology Today, The Most Common Causes of Heartbreak by Jessica Schrader

Let’s take a look at the “Attachment Styles” so that you can HONESTLY identify your style and understand it.

1. Secure

What it looks like: A lucky 60 percent of us have a secure attachment style. For these people, it’s a walk in the park to show emotion and affection in a relationship while simultaneously maintaining a sense of autonomy and independence, i.e. not letting the relationship become all-consuming.

They’re generally able to work through and move forward from conflict with ease. Secure folks aren’t the type to read through their partner’s phones or freak out when they don’t receive a text.

How it forms in childhood: A secure attachment style forms when caregivers quickly and sensitively give a child the support they need while still giving them space to develop their own autonomy. When parents recognize and attend to their child’s needs on a consistent basis, the child trusts they are there for them.

2. Anxious-preoccupied

What it looks like: Those with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style may have doubts about the relationship’s strength, feel unreasonably jealous, or harbor constant fears that their partner is going to leave.

The anxious-preoccupied tend to overanalyze their relationship. They may obsess over their partner’s social media, thinking there’s hidden meaning to a post when in fact nothing is wrong. To keep worry at bay, they may over-communicate, texting all day long or needing to know where their partner is at all times.

How it forms in childhood: You may have an anxious-preoccupied attachment style if your caregivers were inconsistent and unpredictable with their attentiveness. With this style, caregivers tend to be overprotective and/or excessively hold and touch the child.

Often anxious-preoccupied children imitate this overbearing behavior in their own relationships.

3. Dismissive-avoidant

What it looks like: A person with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style may see themselves as independent and refrain from asking for help. They might deny themselves emotional intimacy because they don’t want to be perceived as needy, and they may reject such openness from others.

This is the type who has a seemingly endless string of semi-serious partners to whom she refuses to fully commit. Or maybe it’s the ex who wasn’t comfortable expressing vulnerability with you.

How it forms in childhood: When caregivers dismiss the emotional needs of a child, or treat them in a detached, aloof way, the child might eventually stop communicating their emotional needs altogether, as they believe it has no effect. This helps explain why dismissive-avoidant styles often have trouble expressing emotion and affection to their partners.

4. Fearful-avoidant

What it looks like: People with a fearful-avoidant style often crave a close relationship but feel unworthy of love or afraid of losing the intimacy once they have it. Because of their insecurities around love, they tend to avoid intimacy and suppress feelings that do arise.

The fearful avoidant might feel intense feelings of love for a new partner but right when things start to get serious they start to panic and search for reasons the relationship could never work.

How it’s formed in childhood: If your caregivers subjected you to abuse, neglect or rejection, or if they were volatile or unpredictable, causing you fear as a young child, you may have a fearful-avoidant attachment style.

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5. Disorganized

What it looks like: Similar to the fearful avoidant style, people with a disorganized attachment style want and crave love but experience severe stress and fear in relationships. They’re often overcome with low self-esteem and talk themselves into believing that no one will love them.

If they are in a relationship, they may rely heavily on their partner to ease their stress or anxiety. Yet, they may never feel at ease in a relationship because of a lack of trust and a fear of abandonment.

How it forms in childhood: A disorganized attachment style is often rooted in unresolved trauma. This may be trauma you experienced as a child or it could be inherited from a parent who faced severe emotional hardship in their own life.

You may also have a disorganized attachment style if your caregiver had a personality disorder and was therefore unpredictable in their parenting strategies.

Source:Attachment Theory 5 Styles greatist.com Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD — By Jennifer Chesak on March 13, 2020

I want to hear from you! What is your attachment style? There is no shame here. Mine is Anxious Preoccupied. I therefore desire a Secure Attachment but, I’ve been getting most of the other stuff and no wonder it’s been a train wreck in the past! Mostly fearful-avoidant is what I seem to attract.

~Nikki

The Love Experience: What is Love? And is it Choice or Uncontrollable

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Love is complex.

A mix of emotions, behaviors, and beliefs associated with strong feelings of affection, protectiveness, warmth, and respect for another person.

Love can also be used to apply to non-human animals, to principles, and to religious beliefs. For example, a person might say he or she loves his or her dog, loves freedom, or loves God.

WHAT IS LOVE?

Love has been a favored topic of philosophers, poets, writers, and scientists for generations, and different people and groups have often fought about its definition.

While most people agree that love implies strong feelings of affection, there are many disagreements about its precise meaning, and one person’s “I love you” might mean something quite different than another’s.

Some possible definitions of love include:

  • A willingness to prioritize another’s well-being or happiness above your own.
  • Extreme feelings of attachment, affection, and need.
  • Dramatic, sudden feelings of attraction and respect.
  • A fleeting emotion of care, affection, and like.
  • A choice to commit to helping, respecting, and caring for another, such as in marriage or when having a child.
  • Some combination of the above emotions.

There has been much debate about whether love is a choice, is something that is permanent or fleeting, and whether the love between family members and spouses is biologically programmed or culturally indoctrinated. Love may vary from person to person and culture to culture. Each of the debates about love may be accurate at some time and someplace. For example, in some instances, love may be a choice while in others it may feel uncontrollable.

Source:https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/love

Let’s talk about that last sentence? Do you believe love is a choice or is it uncontrollable?

The Love Experience: The Characteristics of Love

Love is patient and kind;

Love does not envy or boast;

It is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;

It is not irritable or resentful;

It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a (ESV)

How do I know if he/she loves me? How do I know if I love myself? How do I know if I love others?

~Nikki

The “H” Bomb: Inner Work

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I don’t want to talk about it because I have some habits that keep me on the hamster wheel. However, I must talk about one of them in this post. But first let’s define the word HABIT.

habit, in psychology, any regularly repeated behaviour that requires little or no thought and is learned rather than innate (natural) (britannica.com)

But you need know this, too;

Habit formation is the process by which behaviors become automatic. Habits can form without a person intending to acquire them, but they can also be deliberately cultivated—or eliminated—to better suit one’s personal goals. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/habit-formation)

I have a habit of procrastinating when it comes to making my dreams and goals come true. Last year I did really, really good and stayed on task. I was laser focused. I was not easily distracted or deterred by the work of it. It paid off. and I like that feeling. I seem to be able to execute projects or things for others to the “T” and even plan out things for vacations. I can organize and execute. However, when it comes to my dreams and goals I seem to procrastinate. Let me tell you how therapy helped me.

Therapy helped me to see that I was afraid of success. It helped me to understand that the very goals I want to achieve are in the category of the very things I was told as a child would not make me money. Instead, I was instructed to take a safe, secure route. Now that I have the opportunity to be creative, I hesitate. I procrastinate. One book that is on my list is titled, Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Changing or getting rid of habits that keep you from reaching your goals or improving yourself is inner work. It is literally brain and mind work that extends outward in the form of actions. I have not struggled with procrastination but, I have also struggled lately more than ever with the awful habit of mindless snacking. I could literally eat the apple in the photo and turn around and eat the donut, too! I know it’s connected to something emotional but, I have yet to figure it out. Anyways, I believe that you don’t have to always or only seek professional help to help yourself. I think books are an amazing way to do inner work and to grow!

Definitely check out the link from Psychology Today about habit formation. It was very interesting! And helpful!

Have you ever read a book, other than a religious book, that helped you?

~Nikki