Nourishing Isolation

Sometimes life takes a lot out of us. Especially with the drastic experiences we have encountered. there is no wonder why so many of us are drained & exhausted. We get so caught up with the hustle & bustle of every day life that we tend to forget about our needs & desires in the process. Lately, I have been relishing in positive isolation. I have specifically set aside time to isolate myself that allows me to pour into myself, recharge & regroup.

I wholeheartedly believe that we were not created to run ourselves to the ground, yet so many of us do. So many of us are functioning to get by & failing miserably at our purpose. We are to make a difference in this world while having experiences that make our lives full. We were never destined to wake up & dread what lies ahead. Life has so much more to offer than that. Instead most of us have been forced to take the route that presents “burn out” as a reward. Work harder, strive harder, go harder & all life’s promises are yours. We got so accustom to this process that we fail to realize how toxic this process is & that most of us contribute to this toxicity that drains us, kills us & keeps us from our loved ones.

Sometimes, we just need a moment to ourselves. Sometimes we need to isolate so that we can come with a new perspective. We need to understand that life will go on after we are gone; therefore we MUST make life give us its very best instead of the opposite way around. We do not need to kill ourselves to get to the finish line. But what we need to do is give ourselves the time to receive what life will offer us. If we are running ourselves ragged, we will likely miss the opportunities presented to us.

Sitting in isolation, processing our various experiences & being still can be the most wholesome thing we can do for ourselves. Isolation is a loud expression of self care.

Allow yourself the new perspective & enjoy life’s guilty pleasures that allow you to be the best version of you for you! Stop pouring into others without pouring into yourself. Give yourself the same love, the same affection & give yourself grace. God is good. Let him show what time set aside for isolation will do for you. I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

Recognizing Your Anxiety.

As I was reflecting on my week and thinking about this week’s memoir topic – I realized that it was imperative that I discuss a topic that is very personal for me. In fact, it’s quite personal for many of us. For as long as I could remember, I have had  difficulties with anxiety and managing it. It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I began learning to identify it & take the necessary steps to tend to my individual needs.

 Anxiety effects more than 40 million adults in the US. But I didn’t have to look up statistics to know that more people live with anxiety every day than those who don’t. I also don’t need scholarly articles to tell me that few people recognize when they’re experiencing an episode & even less know how to manage it &/or deal with it appropriately. Far too many of us have been conditioned to believe that that “feeling” we can’t name; is a normal way to live our lives. However, I tell you today that god did not anoint us to walk around combatting anxiety. Our lives are so much more purposeful than being concerned with what could happen today or tomorrow. Society has conditioned us into believing that being unprepared & unknowing of the future is a disservice to ourselves. As a result, life has us running a race that will kill us before we even get to the finish line. 

To put things in perspective for you, anxiety is over thinking. It’s obsessing over things outside of our control. Anxiety is the aggressive or emotional person that people often misunderstand. Anxiety is holding your breath without realizing it or feeling out of breath because you held your breath for so long. Anxiety is that tight feeling in your chest that feels like a heart attack. It’s that need to remain active because being still makes you uncomfortable. Anxiety is the stress we fail to do anything about because “this too shall pass.” It’s the discomfort felt before any social events with people & the desire to leave once you arrive. 

Anxiety is a different picture for everyone but is the culprit for us all. If we don’t begin to handle, recognize, address & treat this; we will make our anxiety generational and pass the message that “anxiety is ok” to our children.

Through the various stages of my life, anxiety has looked different. I’ve had crippling fear, I’ve cried, I’ve laughed uncomfortably, I’ve lashed out, I’ve gotten physically aggressive, I’ve isolated myself, I’ve obsessively inquired & even tried to explain my anxiety away— all very unhealthy ways of managing & dealing with anxiety. Thankfully, I’ve learned to reflect, seek out the guidance from friends, received treatment from a licensed professional, temporarily was on medication, continued to write, pray and reflect. Now that I do these things, I am able to express myself in a positive way, recognize when I’m feeling anxious & identify the cause of my anxiety. Although, it isn’t perfect, it’s a positive stride & that matters. 

Mental health concerns are coming to the surface. It’s important to learn your triggers & understand your anxiety. Recognize the signs. Address them. Seek help & learn to rely on the genuine things that bring you joy. Don’t compare your anxiety with against the anxiety of other people because it won’t always look the same. However, learning what anxiety means for you will allow you to seek the best ways to manage it. This past month, my anxiety looked different. However, had I not taken the time to study what anxiety looks like to me; I would’ve failed at eliminating my stressors & speaking about it with people I could trust. If anxiety goes unchecked it will be detrimental. Anxiety, like stress, is the gateway to many other negative feelings & experiences & is very real for many of us. Therefore, we need to be understanding with ourselves, but MORE vigilant with finding the solutions to our mental health disadvantages. We are beautiful, “flaws” and all; but if we can target this we can help make the world beautiful too. 

This Week’s Formula…

I think today calls for some reminders to get through the week—

Literally, the start of each day, is a new beginning.

Every problem has a solution, even if it isn’t evident right away.

The world will not always understand your perspective, still stand by it.

Being misunderstood is about perspective; use it to your benefit.

Be compassionate. Compassion makes all the difference.

Give yourself grace. You will not execute perfectly; every time.

Love without conditions; do it freely.

Make sure what you say has substance. Your word is your bond. If you fail to deliver on that word, what else do you will have?

Money is nice but it should not be your sole interest. Seek peace.

Having emotions is not the problem; it’s how you express them.

Don’t stay in any situation that makes you uncomfortable.

Pick and choose your battles, but feel confident advocating for yourself.

Never allow discouragement to keep you from playing the game. The outcome will surprise you.

Be confident. However, be mindful- there is a fine line between confidence & arrogance.

Stop second guessing yourself. Trust your instinct.

Be ok jumping in the unknown. It’s going to all work out.

When negative thoughts surface in your mind; profess with your mouth the opposite.

Ask God to give you wisdom before making decisions & be patient. He will answer.

Be ok with feeling how you feel; use it to reflect.

Stop using horoscopes to predict how your day will go; YOU set the trajectory of the day.

You really are in charge of your destiny; do it one step at a time.

Make the best out of this week. You got this.

Suppressed Childhood Traumas…

Hey ladies, Happy Sunday.

Hmm…

Let’s talk about childhood trauma & how important it is for us to deal with it. As children we have a variety experiences that contribute (to an extent) the type of adults we will be. However, many of us have had positive & negative experiences that we carry around with us– whether we know it or not. Like I said in the memoir I wrote a few weeks ago, “Let’s Talk About Trauma”, if we do not deal with what we have dealt with, we will never reach the pinnacle of our very best.

Let me give you an example. Like many people I know, I was raised by a single mother. I was abandoned by my biological father before I was born & I spent a large portion of my childhood feeling discarded. That later began to trickle down into how I handled my relationships with love interests, family & friends. I found it better to discard of people before they could discard me. I left very little room for errors & I never looked back. It was not until I began to deal with some of my deep rooted issues of abandonment that I started to recognize my own toxic behaviors. Had I continued on that course; I would not have been able to maintain the wonderful relationships I have now. As I have said before, I am grateful for the people who loved me even when I was not so pretty to love.

You see, many of us walk around everyday with the facade that what happened is irrelevant. We suppress without realizing that in doing so we allow negative behaviors to surface. We have to recognize that in denying ourselves the correct outlet to heal; we give our trauma the victory. Address it. Talk about it & then work on forgiving yourselves. Because trauma, especially those brought to us in childhood, creates a gateway that causes us to blame ourselves for what has happened. The truth is, we have been raised by people with their own trauma, had interactions with people that suppress theirs, encountered people who cause distress as a result of their own & we have contributed to the trauma of other people. However, when we make a conscious effort to deal with the wounded child, teenager & adult– we make positive strides to ensure that we stop contributing to the negative experiences of other people people. We clear the slate to raise people without our own trauma in mind & we further work on ensuring that we end those generational curses we often hear people talk about.

Life is absolutely too short. Wouldn’t you want to have a positive experience with it where you set the standard & create that trajectory. Life really can be beautiful. We just have to give it permission to be.

See you next week.

You Are Gifted

Every couple of months my church comes together in agreement to fast for 3 days & spend time with God. We end our fast with a celebration we call a “Prophetic Night of Worship”. It is an exciting night that encourages those within the walls of the sanctuary to feel the move of God. In this setting, prophetic wonders happen that are specific to people’s individual situations & need for healing. It is truly a beautiful thing to experience; so beautiful it is difficult to put into words. However, I can say that every time is a new experience, but yesterday was specifically special.

I was in the line of prayer when the guest pastor came to pray over me, she asked for my hands. When I gave them to her she grabbed them firmly & asked me what it is that I do with my hands. I responded that I write; she smiled & started to pray for me. Her desire to pray over my ability to write was confirmation that what I do every week is a gift afforded to me by God & that I am not doing this every week for nothing. That night, my desire to spread love & encouragement through my writing was confirmed to be the right thing.

It is important to bring this up because I need you to understand that you have gifts too. Not just one, but multiple. Many people walk around unsure of their purpose & what their talents are. They look at the talents of others & attempt to compare it to theirs. There is no need. Your gift is your gift. It is yours to do with it what you please. It does not matter what people think, nor does it matter if it’s “flashy” enough for people to be shouting your name or increase your wealth. Just embrace it & manifest your desires in this gift because when God has a calling on your life the limits are non-existent. So keep working on perfecting your talents, keep striving to get it out to the world, stay encourage & steadfast. You have an imprint to leave on this world, this is the sure way that you will do it.

Healing Your Way

There is no surprise that through life we all have our own different experiences that effect us differently. How we perceive & cope with this may vary from situation to situation. Therefore the generic ways people, blogs & other outlets encourage us to heal is not always so helpful. In fact, more often than not, we become extremely hard on ourselves because we have decided that the appropriate way for us to heal is the way other people tell us we need to– false.

Our experiences are uniquely ours so the way we choose to heal is entirely up to us. We can receive words of encouragement but when it comes to the act of healing there is no cookie cutter method to doing so. Unfortunately, we just have to allow ourselves to go through the motions– the good, bad, the ugly & the worse. Sometimes we need help getting through it but we should never allow ourselves to be confined to the way the world tells us is the best way to heal. The world is not us & it does not know us better than we know ourselves. As long as we acknowledge that healing takes time, we are already well on our way. There is no need to add unnecessary expectations & time frames to the process. We just have to focus & do what needs to be done to get back to who we really are.

When we emerge; we will very well meet the next & better version of ourself; regardless of how long it took us to get there.

A Word on Gossip

I am excited to announce that we have another Guest Inspiration, Susan (Susie) Wood, who is with us today to share with us her thoughts on gossip & what impact it can have in the various facets of our lives. I personally have watched Susie evolve in her pursuit of self-reflection & it has been such a beautiful journey. She has mastered the art of reflection & has done an amazing job at sharing what she’s learned about herself & the actions of others in a way that helps us understand our own individual circumstances. Therefore, today, I am honored to have her here on Nickkie&Co. to share with us her thought out analysis on Gossip.

Have you ever been the target of unkind gossip at work or other communities? Have you ever been the source of it? Chances are you’ve experienced both sides to some degree. I usually don’t care what people say about me and prefer not to waste my energy on self-defense. Usually it’s best to let people draw conclusions from their own observations because my behavior speaks for itself and my conscience is clean. What others say usually only reflects poorly on the gossiper in those cases. However, I did recently become targeted by someone at work that I considered a friend, and it felt particularly vicious and public. It led me to explore a lot of questions beyond just our personal relationship, but about the broader topic of gossip in general and why people do it. Entire industries are built on this guilty pleasure. We all know how painful and damaging it can be, so why do we persist? Why do we even lend a sympathetic ear?


There are different kinds of gossip and it isn’t all bad. I’ve learned a lot of valuable work-related information over the years through a game of whisper-down-the-lane as a result of poor, spotty communication on the part of management. But it’s also valid and useful in preparation for interviews, for salary negotiations, or for keeping your guard up around a known sexual predator. Women may tear each other down with gossip, but we also protect each other from the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. We just need to consider carefully the information and its source, and discern which kind we are hearing.

This recent work experience was of the malicious, personal variety, and it was painful. It led me to read about some of the neuroscience research by Naomi I. Eisenberger on Social Pain (e.g., resultant of public criticism, rejection, exclusion, being shamed, etc.) She found that social pain will trigger a response in some of the same neural pathways in the brain as physical pain. This has been proven on fMRI scans in many different studies over the last decade of research. Certain drugs that are prescribed for physical pain, like opioids, have comparable outcomes on relief of social pain. Similarly, antidepressants which are prescribed for anxiety and depression, have also been shown to reduce physical pain. There is an undeniable overlap. Social rejection is arguably worse than physical pain because it can be experienced repeatedly each time an event is recalled in your mind. You can relive the pain ongoingly if you don’t have a healthy outlet for your stress and learn to move on. Ann Betz, CPCC and international executive coach, also wrote an article on the neurological effects of too much stress. It leads to functional impairment of the pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for high-level thinking. She wrote that acute, chronic stress leads to foggy thinking, poor impulse control, poor memory and decision-making, and lack of empathy. It’s not difficult to understand why, then, the biggest gossipers tend to be the most high-anxiety individuals.

When faced with any problem, it’s good practice to have enough self-awareness to be willing to ask yourself how you may have contributed to the situation you find yourself in. Even if it’s only 5% your own doing and 95% theirs, you can learn and grow a lot from that 5% that you owned and make better choices next time – especially if any part of that mean gossip was true. I concluded that this work friend was in pain and that I compounded it by saying something hurtful during an argument. This was her way of hurting me back, creating alliances, and protecting herself from potential professional consequences.

The next time you are tempted to share something mean, personal or private about someone, ask yourself why: What need am I trying to fulfill by sharing this information with this person? What might be the consequences? Is there a healthier way I can meet this need without hurting anyone? There almost always is.
Susie

What am I trying to fulfill with sharing this information with this person…Is there a healthier way I can meet this need without hurting anyone?

Inspire

To INSPIRE is to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something.

Every morning I wake up with the deliberate intent to inspire someone. I understand that every encounter I may have with someone (stranger, friend or foe) is an opportunity for me to do so. I recognize that many of us are walking around aimlessly, uninspired & without purpose. So the greatest blessing I feel I can offer anyone is to inspire them. Because in inspiring them, they come into realization of their abilities & the potential to pursue all the dreams they never imagined they could make a reality.

As women going places, it is imperative that we keep this same mindset, at all times. Unfortunately, with all that is going on, people feel incapable to make their gifts & talents work for them. They need to be inspired, to have something to strive for, something to give them purpose. Life is too beautiful to just be in it living aimlessly. We need to make it work for us. We need to inspire & be inspired. Once we realize the way this can impact the lives of others we MUST share it with the world.

So wake up. Take on the task to inspire the world.

No Pain, No Gain.

Unfortunately, in order to become who we are meant to be, pain is apart of the process. That being the case, I have had my share of pain that has been inflicted by rejection, abandonment & disappointment. As time progressed, I learned how to not allow what hurt me to cripple me from advancement & that beauty is morphed from my pain.

I was born a fatherless child to a young single mother who harbored her own pain. Although I did not know it then, I carried that pain for a long time & used his abandonment as an excuse to distrust & dislike people. I chose not to live my life or engage with new people out of fear of becoming a familiar friend to abandonment & rejection, yet again. I had a personable personality, but put the people who loved me through hell to ensure their intent was genuine. As time progressed & I loosened the reigns, I began to trust the wrong people. People who were less than worthy of my time. People who reminded me of what it felt like to be that little girl who was rejected by her father. People who took advantage of my vulnerability & my new attempt to forgive & disguised it as love. People who made it difficult to trust when amazing people who are worthy step in.

As I pursue new adventures with new people, I hold certain lesson extremely close to my heart. For instance, putting people under strict confines, not only made me a sh*tty person, it is asking for people to screw up. There is a clear difference between bad people & people who make a mistake & just because someone makes a mistake, does not make them a bad person. Being anti-social does not hurt the people that hurt me, but instead limits me from reaching my potential & engaging with people that can offer enjoyable experiences & lasting relationships. Some people are not supposed to be around forever. Sometimes their season is to serve a purpose & to go on their way. However, I learned to appreciate the people who stuck around even when I was not worth sticking around for. Although I still work through my trauma, I am healed enough to know that it is important to take ownership of my pain, regain my power & live my life.

The aftermath of my pain has given me the ability to empathize with those that are hurting & has allowed me to speak life into those who need it. I encourage you to do the same. People need your testimony. Your pain alone gives you a story to tell. A story of a journey consistent with perseverance & healing. Pain, although the effects can be long lasting, was never meant to be around forever. It’s purpose is to make a bad situation a positive transformation. What we gain from the experience, we are to help pour into others. We should never get it mixed up – pain is temporary. YOU are FOREVER.

Mind Your Business

Ladies, the older I get the more I can identify with the mindset that minding my own business allows me all the opportunities to literally, mind my own business. Unfortunately, we have been conditioned to engulf ourselves in the lives of others. So much so, that we can barely embrace the effects of what is going on in our own lives. We allow other people’s circumstances to spark a flame in our lives instead of fueling a fire that allow us to become & remain inspired in a way that benefits us. We become inspired by other people’s misery & wonder why our lives are not where we want them to be, why our goals have not be obtained & why we are always in some form of mess/drama. Well, say hello to the side effects of not minding your own business.

In order to tackle obstacles & make our dreams a reality, we have to literally take the time we spend checking on the lives of others & apply it to our own. Because the truth is, none of us are in a place where we should be comfortable knowing & searching for all the scoop on someone’s else’s life knowing we can always be in a better place than where we are now. There is nothing on this earth worth inhibiting us from striving to be our best selves. How interesting it is, is irrelevant. It serves as a distraction. A distraction from finding our ideal job, going back to school, tending to our families or opening our own businesses. So it is imperative that we strive to actively mind our own business. If it is not self-productive, it is not business to be tended to.

So before we entertain the action in someone else’s life, we need to think about the time we are sacrificing & how we can apply it to something else; something more productive. We are big girls & life, as I always say, is too short. Too short to strive for anything other than someone better than we are today. Remember that.