As I sit here, some things come to mind…

Many of us live through other people’s experiences. We dislike and fear what someone else dislikes and fears. We ourselves haven’t experienced what they did, yet we embrace the feelings and beliefs as though they are our own. Someone else was harmed by another person, so now we dislike that person for the harm they caused.

Someone didn’t like the food at a restaurant, so we never go and try it for ourselves. A person had a bad experience on their vacation, so we swear we will never visit that place.

That’s why so many people never travel beyond their town, city, county, state, region, or country.

That’s why some people never get on planes, trains, boats, and ships.

We never try new foods. We never read a different genre of books or listen to a different style of music.

That’s why some people don’t pursue educational dreams and career goals.

That’s why thousands of people can’t figure out how to fix their raggedy love life.

That’s why so many of us suffer.

We let other voices dictate to us.

We don’t know the truth but we accept someone’s words as truth.

We don’t think.

We don’t question.

We don’t seek answers.

We choose to exist rather than live. We confuse living with thriving.

When we’re thriving, fear has no stronghold, it has no footing.

When we’re thriving, our experiences are uniquely our own. No one else will have that exact same experience.

We know this.

That’s why two people can sit side-by-side on an amusement park ride and walk away with different experiences. Two people eat the same food at the same time but share different things about the food. One person tastes spices the other one didn’t notice or didn’t know what they were to define them. Two people arguing aren’t having the same experience, they are merely sharing the same space in time.

You have never eaten artichoke but you declare you don’t like it. Never tasted rhubarb but you swear it’s gross. Most likely, because you heard of someone else’s experience, or worse, their uninformed opinions from lack of experience.

How many of you have resolved to settle for a life of seeing the world through the pictures and experiences of other people?

You have to go to know.

People have opinions about cities, states, and countries that they have never visited. It’s hilarious and sad at the same time.

I smirk when I hear people make generalizations about a nationality, race, religion, or gender of people. Do you know every person of that nation, race, religion, or gender? Then how can you say, “all_____people…” or “____people do/say___”? But you don’t know all of them. So how do you know what they all say or do? You most definitely can’t say what one person thinks about all things, so how can you speak about an entire group of people?

I’m guilty of these ignorant statements. I try to catch myself after saying them.

I laugh when I hear or read people make statements about a group of people, yet they don’t know anyone from that group. They don’t know any Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, or Satanists. But they speak as though they do. They don’t personally know any people of African, European, Latin, Hispanic, or Asian descent—but from listening to them, you would swear that they know plenty.

Are all law enforcement officers corrupt, racists, bigots, sexist, and egomaniacs? No. Yet, there are people who see one officer and in that one, they see all. The broad generalization forms and becomes your personal belief system, creed, law.

And your one or few experiences doesn’t mean the totality for all humankind. Remember, those are your experiences, not mine, not your neighbors, and not your child’s.

We speak and act from ignorance. Since we choose not to educate ourselves through asking questions, researching, and stepping beyond our comfort zone, we say and do the stupidest of things.

You become more of what you are against than what you’re for. You are operating from a state of lack. That is a danger zone.

We regurgitate words from religious texts and ceremonies, without knowing their true and full meaning and application. We cling to historical figures and celebrities without knowing the person. Our idolization restricts us from being our authentic self. Our insecurities force us to manufacture false narratives to boost our desired perception. We follow man rather than lead ourselves. Because it’s an easier path and then you have someone to blame other than self.

There’s a reason for these words of declaration:

self-esteem, self-worth, self-enlightenment, self-empowerment, self-acceptance, self-actualization, self-awareness, self-control, self-expression, self-healing, self-help, etcetera.

It starts and ends with self.

We keep expecting others to do it for us. Be the positive change you want to see, stop waiting for it to happen. Take responsibility.

You must lead yourself or you will most definitely be led. And since you don’t know yourself, you will allow someone else to dictate and create your story for you. They will define you. You will allow someone else to determine your worth and value.

Your ignorance comes with a harsh penalty.

We spread our ignorance. We deposit it into our families, our children, our houses of worship, our workplaces, and our communities. We manifest the lack we obsess over.

The uninformed are the easiest to recruit, brainwash, and mold.

What you don’t know that you don’t know, can literally destroy you. Those who feel lost, neglected, powerless, voiceless, and forgotten are prey. That is why drugs, gangs (defined by many names), prostitution, and the sort have great prevalence in society.

People are being preyed upon and they don’t even know it. They have no clue that the biggest predators are the ones standing next to them, hugging them, and cheering them on.

You can blame whomever or whatever you like for the person that you are today. Or you can make the decision to intentionally live with a clean slate. You have the choice to write or re-write your story however you please, with your unique experiences. Your learning only stops when you choose to close yourself off from life. You may not be able to choose where to live your life, but you can choose how to live where you are.

You can live in the world and not be of it. You can be like the fish in the ocean, surrounded by salt, but not consumed by their environment.

Think about it.

Last week, I heard a message from Darren Hardy that spoke of this amazing truth. That fish of the sea live in salt water, they breathe and take in salt water. They eat things that are also in the water. Yet they don’t taste like tons of salt. All they do is swim around all day and night in salt water. But we barely taste the salt in them. That is how we should live our lives.

We can live in it but not be of it.

You aren’t your environment, circumstances, or your past. You aren’t the family you were born into or raised by, or the people you associate with.

Unless you choose to be.

You choose to associate with toxic people and behave like them. You choose to live in fear and ignorance. If you live in a “free” and “developed” nation, you choose to not journey beyond your town, city, county, state, or country. You choose to believe what you think, and to entertain the thoughts that surface. How life unfolds is based on the choices that we make.

How will you choose to live your life, experience the world, and see the people in it?

What will you choose to do without thought of your age, gender, or where you’re from?

What healthy choices will you make starting today?

This very moment.

Then do it!

I love you all,

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Life is about choices. How we invest our time and energy each day is a choice. I choose to spend today shining brightly and focused on doing better and being better. I choose to inhale the goodness of positivity and close the vents to block out the negativity.

My vents were open this week and the toxic fumes were choking me. Yesterday I wised up and decided to close them. Today I will keep them closed. Each day I will make the choice as to how I will live and respond to life’s challenges and the consequences to the decisions that I’ve made. I will choose whose energy to embrace or reject.

What about you? What choice will you make today for today?

Special thanks to my sis-in-love Arleen who has showered me today and all week with love, and sent me this Friday image that you see below. I love you much Arleen!

Here’s my wish, hope, and prayer for you—for all of us….

Embrace and enjoy all of the blessings before you and around you, and don’t waste one single moment on negative things, people, and experiences.

Don’t waste one moment being negative, spiteful, vindictive, or retaliatory. Choose instead to shine brightly! Be the best you that you can be. You’re either investing in your life or pressing the fast forward button to your demise.

You are making the choices for you. Your unhappiness and disappointment is your doing, not someone else’s. If someone did or said something negative to you (or that disappointed or upset you), you make the choice as to how to respond or react to them. You choose how to invest your time and energy. You choose to engage or walk away. You choose to punish or forgive. You choose to hate or love.

The more negativity that you ingest the more you pour into others. The same is true of positivity!

What is sad is that some of us are still dwelling on past hurts when the people who hurt us have moved on. We make the decision to continue to dwell and wallow in that darkness, rather than to turn to that bright light and hold on to save our life. It’s a choice.

Some of us continue to engage with bullies who are only fueled through that engagement and by our reactions. Wake up folks, energy must be shared for the bully to be fueled. Stop fueling the bully. Stop engaging in battle with them. Go no-contact and watch that goliath come tumbling down. It’s your choice.

It’s a choice to listen to other weak and insecure people tell us how to retaliate and do harm to someone who harmed us emotionally, physically or financially. But our choice is a foolish one. That choice keeps your vents open and the junk flowing through on full blast.

There is no joy in that state of being. The only space you can exist in is misery, even after your retaliatory achievement you will find yourself miserable. Why? Because you gave in, gave up, and jumped head first into the pool of negativity. You actually drowned in it. There’s no joy and happiness in negativity. You’re just miserable and you’re making everyone around you miserable.

That’s because you’ve been wrecklessly misinformed.

See, the best revenge is living well, living on purpose, living in love with life and with self, and without a care about the shoulda coulda woulda. When your focus is on loving yourself and being the best you that you can be, your mind, body, spirit and soul reject the ideas and actions of retaliation and other negative displays of darkness. When you’re filled with the focus of living well you’re too busy shining brightly to ever let anything or anyone cloud your day. It’s your choice. It’s always your choice.

What do you choose?

Let’s shine brightly together, starting first with today.

Have a beautifully blessed day!

Love always,

~Natasha

Copyright 2018. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.

By Natasha Foreman Bryant, MBA
 
 Every day we must make a conscious decision to either be violent or nonviolent. We choose to “go off” on someone verbally or physically. We choose to have road rage. We choose to allow that road rage to escalate to physical violence.
 
 We choose to load the bullets, draw the gun and pull the trigger. We choose to swing that bat or 2×4 at someone’s body or property. We choose to strike that match or land that punch. We choose to throw that rock. We choose to kick someone while they are down. We choose to stab someone.
 
 We choose to join a group of people to jump one or more other people. We choose to riot. We choose to destroy private and public property. We choose to give in to our insecurities. We choose to live with rage.
 
 We choose!
 
 We can also choose to walk away and calm down. We can choose to apologize and try to make amends. We can choose to squash conflict, that “beef” we have with someone, and just let bygones be bygones. We can choose peace. We can choose freedom over jail or death.
 
 We choose!
 
 
 What choices will you make?
 
 
 
 Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.