I decided to add some flavor to this post by using my Bitmoji’s to visually express what I’m thinking and feeling. I don’t know if you or someone else will relate to my message. I don’t know if it will help you, but I hope it helps someone while it works on helping me. Are you ready to begin? Then let’s do this!

Starting today I’m focused and committed to …

I can’t count on anyone else to take care of me in all the ways that I need, or even in all of the ways that I care for others. And that’s okay.

My self-care is vital to my survival, mission, and calling. I can’t take care of anyone else if I’m neglecting myself. If I die today everyone and everything will be left as they are. So I can’t walk around feeling guilty for lovingly saying…

Or “No” or “Not today” or “Not this year” or “Thank you but no thank you”.

Because if I weren’t alive those same people couldn’t ask me. Right?!? I mean some folks would probably DM or text me not knowing I had passed away, because they only hit me up when they need an endorsement, donation, or help in some other way. You know exactly what I’m talking about, you have some of those folks in your life too. Funny thing, it might be you!

I have to keep reminding myself what my therapist told me years ago— I have to “set healthy boundaries with everyone and stop erasing those boundary lines to accommodate people and then get upset when they cross the line,” and remember that “A giver always attracts takers”. So I have to be okay with respectfully telling someone…

Whenever I feel pressure mounting and begin realizing that I’m being clobbered spiritually, emotionally, and physically, I’ve learned that I’m leaning too much on the natural and not enough on God, so it’s imperative that I get realigned. I’m at that point.

I’m not writing this message because it’s a new year. Not for some daggum resolution. But because I’m only given one life in this one body. I only have 24 hours in a day and can only safely take in 17 of those hours, because at least seven of those 24 hours I’m supposed to be resting and recharging. Little by little, day by day, I’ve been growing into this realization that enough’s enough. Like, when people say “are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?” And you sit there nodding your head up and down in the affirmative, wondering “how did they know?

I saw a post on Instagram that said that, pandemic aside, if people’s homes brought them peace and tranquillity they would rarely leave. The video had images of the person’s apartment, all plush and inviting. It went on to say that you see folks rushing to go to bars and this place and that place, basically anywhere, because they can’t stand the clutter and chaos of their home, or maybe it’s lacking the positive energy that they desperately crave.

Many of us have laughed at jokes and stories about people who get off of work and find every excuse to not drive straight home, sitting as long as possible in shopping center parking lots, slow-creeping, like a snail, taking forever to get out of the car and trying to take as long as possible to enter the door of their home?

Yeah, see I don’t want that. I don’t want to slow-creep at any point of my day. A casual stroll in the park or on the beach, yes I will take that. But where I rest my head should bring me peace. Whether I call it my home or just a place where I’m staying, it should be filled with peace. I want to rush there and be enveloped in its warmth and coziness. I want to inhale its healing essence.

But something that also comes to mind is how many people are working like crazy to have the house, cars, bling, and all of the stuff that screams success but then they’re too busy working to appreciate all of it? I mean, you have a pool and tennis court but you rarely use them. That sucks!

So that means that starting today, I’m reclaiming me and all that that means. It means fully embracing my positive femininity and dropkicking the toxic chick down the road. I want to embrace the fullness of my strength that comes from grace and dignity. Reclaiming me means obsessing less on that stupid hustle and grind nonsense for some crap I can’t take with me into the hereafter. I will do what I can with all that I can, and then I’m tapping out until the next designated day. I’m not here to compete to see who can slave away more hours in a 24-hour day. The most successful people have actually mastered getting more done in less time. It’s the rest of us who are clamoring to take part in the circus. I take no pleasure in killing myself and advertising it online or trying to rationalize it to my Creator.

Reclaiming me also means more focus on my dreams and taking in the daily gifts of this world. Time for nature, travel, exercise, game-play, pampering, and eating healthier— because let me keep it real with y’all, my vegetarian lifestyle has oh so been hijacked with processed junk over the past several months.

Let’s be clear, I’m not reclaiming with ultimatums or brute force. I’m not about to act a fool with you or anyone else over my peace of mind. I’m also not about to waste my time with long and drawn out pity parties. I will follow the rules I learned from a Mary Kay director in 2003. She said something to the effect of, “Set a timer for however minutes you need. Have your pity party and when that timer goes off, your party comes to an end”. I used to practice this all of the time and it worked. It gave me the moments I needed to fuss and cry, stomp around, shout, sob like crazy…

And then I would exhale, clean up my face, look around and see the world hasn’t ended, and then with gratitude in my heart, I would proceed with my day. Those moments were cleansing. They helped me flush out the energy that was trapped inside, rather than walk around all bottled up. Try it yourself and tell me what you think.

By the way, you know that the inflammation that is killing so many of us is trapped unprocessed toxic energy, right?

Another benefit to the timed pity parties is that it took less time and was safer than the long drives I would take on Pacific Coast Highway looking at the ocean and having a meltdown behind the wheel. I used to drive for hours. I mean don’t get me wrong you can have an amazing purge of energy at the beach. But ummm you need to park the car, not scream and cry while trying not to swerve into lanes of traffic.

I’ve known some things for years that I have struggled with and gotten counseling for, and read countless books on, but haven’t fully overcome. And that is, that I’ve given and sacrificed, lifted, protected, supported, nurtured, encouraged, sponsored, loved on, prayed for, poured into, and enabled a whole lotta folks—all while neglecting myself. This is something that we find countless women suffering through, oftentimes in silence.

I’ve been everything for everyone else, except myself. I’ve showed up for everyone else, except myself. I’ve been the biggest cheerleader for everyone else, except myself. I’ve invested in others but not enough in myself. I’ve promoted the heck out of other people’s businesses but not my own. I know some of you are guilty of doing the same thing. Don’t walk around carrying the shame. Recognize the err of your ways and then counter-correct.

I’ve watched myself disappear at times. I’ve watched myself shrivel and gasped in horror as parts of me began to die. The good parts. There have been times when I stopped recognizing lil’ ‘ole me…All the while I carried someone else, furthered someone else’s mission and vision, and helped someone else live out their dreams. Does this sound like someone you know?

That’s why I started picking up hobbies like hiking, crocheting, genealogy, puzzles, card games, learning new languages, and other interesting stuff—to make deposits back into me! What fun things are you focusing time and energy on to redeposit back into yourself?

I’m even reimagining where and how I want my next home. I’m tired of aligning to accommodate other people. I want what my heart and soul want and what I want is peace, joy, and tranquility. So I will make my space as I see fit. God’s providing me with the GPS and I’m excited about the adventure that awaits me.

I’m no martyr. I have no desire to be. I’m just a big-hearted empath that gives without expecting anything in return, and I give until I’m tapped out, drained, and limp. I don’t have healthy boundaries. I struggle with saying “No”. Then I get butt-hurt when someone takes advantage of me, when someone keeps taking because I keep giving. That’s not their fault. I just need to learn how to establish and enforce my rules of engagement, hours of operation, and how to focus on what I’m supposed to (like I shared in Episode 56 of the Don’t Call It Small…Business podcast). Maybe this reminds you of you or someone else that you love.

I love myself too much to be a shell of who God made me to be and called me to be. I’ve turned things and people into substitutes for Him. I’ve given things and people more attention than Him. I’ve ignored Him to rush to someone else. I’ve ignored Him thinking I was obediently following Him. I’ve ignored Him and involved myself in relationships that He had to shut down because I was too loyal and committed to walk away. My health problems over the years are from my neglect, from ignoring signs, from not taking care of me. How many of you are walking around ignoring the signs that your body is clearly sending you? How many of you are deferring that annual checkup and making excuses for why it can wait?

Whether you understand or not, can handle it or not, today and moving forward, I will be joyfully oblivious to anything that is not on God’s To-Do List for me. I will be unsubscribing from the drama. I will be tuning out the negativity and ignorance.

You can argue with your daggum self. You can have an attitude and give me the silent treatment. You can un-friend me, unsubscribe, block, do whatever. It’s all good. Because none of those things are on my To-Do List.

And there will be days where I’m going to be so focused on what I need to do to be a better person and servant of God, that I’m not going to even notice if aliens are morphing and finally letting us see they’ve been living next door (or under the same roof). I may be too focused to even do a double-take if the dinosaurs start resurrecting. Because guess what? It ain’t on my To-Do List.

I love you all and I hope and pray that you’re loving on yourself too. You can’t truly and fully love others until you learn to truly and fully love yourself.

~Natasha

Copyright 2022. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Pam Hale Burns Quote_3.30.18jpeg

These words shared today by Pamela Hale-Burns moved me so that I was motivated to stop what I was doing to take her words and provide a visual stimulant. She was speaking to herself but I’m sure just like others who read the words, it feels as though the words are just for me.

So I took Pamela’s words and strategically placed them on this image of a hand holding a rose.

I chose this image because of what it symbolizes to me.

That delicate rose represents you. Be careful with it!

Love,

~Natasha

Copyright notice for quotation from Pamela Hale-Burns:  Copyright 2018. Pamela Hale-Burns. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright 2018. Natasha Foreman Bryant/Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

 

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

I have had the opportunity recently to forgive some people in my life who wronged me over the years. I had forgiven them already, but I guess for them, it was necessary to ask…and in some cases, this was not the first request. In all relationships- business and personal I believe that when we part ways, even on bad terms, you should still forgive the person that you believe wronged you. It’s not so much for them as it is for you. This is your opportunity to leave the past in the past, release the weight you have been carrying around on your shoulders and in your heart, and free yourself from the venom inside that causes you to roll your eyes and suck your teeth every time you think of them.

So a few years ago I walked away from a personal relationship. I had forgiven that person for misleading me, betraying me, and mistreating me. I forgave that person for not treating me with the respect that I deserved- that I had given him. He thought money and gifts were good enough, and they would make me overlook his indiscretions in our relationship. He thought that material possessions and a ‘status’ and ‘title’ excused his behavior and treatment of me. He thought that telling me lies and misleading me were excusable offenses because he was, “a man” and “men will be men”, and some other nonsense.

He forgot he was playing games with a child of God. He also forgot my clear declaration that I shared with him, and every man before and after him…”Be honest and upfront. If you want to see other people then let’s just casually date, so we can both be free to date others” because “Once I’m through I’m through, there are no re-takes, breaks while we figure things out, or break-ups to make-ups…if you cheat I’m gone….”

But what was I thinking? Women didn’t leave him, he left them, so I was obviously delusional and way in over my head in his opinion.

It would appear that he was actually the delusional one. Once I walked away from the relationship there was no looking back, no holding on to memories and hopes for something more with him. No desire to punish him, get even, or parade around him and his friends as a reminder of what he had and lost. I was at peace. I had already moved on before I made the decision to say, “this isn’t working out.” But to have this overwhelming sense of peace and resolve it required me to forgive him, which I did.

Years have passed and it never crossed my mind that this individual would spend the time and resources to track me down to ask for forgiveness. But he did. So once again I forgave him. No emotion, no questions of why, how, and “what did I do to you to make you think I deserved this?” Instead, I calmly and rationally told him that I forgave him years ago, have no interest on rekindling flames or even being friends. I wished him well in life and said a quick prayer hoping he receives the life he has always wanted, and that it falls in line with what God believes he needs.

For him he felt he needed clarification; he needed to know how I knew he was cheating because he had been so careful; he needed to know if we could be friends (I guess he thought the first time I said “no” it was a typo), and if we could meet up from time to time. Quickly, clearly, and succinctly I explained the following…

I knew he was cheating because I pray throughout the day every day that God always reveals the truth to me and never allows me to be hidden from it or blind-sided by it; I told him that he should never attempt to mislead or battle with a ‘believer’ because no weapon formed against us shall ever prosper. I firmly yet respectfully told him again that he had no reason to contact me after that point, that if he has learned from his past and has no intention on repeating it then it’s time for him to move on and learn his next lesson.

Had I still been carrying around resentment, anger, desperation, or even a romantic-type of love for him, this moment would have been destroyed because I would have reacted and responded emotionally, and would have allowed myself to be engaged in a lengthy conversation. I would have allowed his need to feel like he closed the chapter on ‘us’ or manipulative desire to start a new one overwhelm me. Instead this dialogue lasted no more than 10 minutes (the time it took me to finish eating my sandwich, chips, and most of my drink).

Forgiving him once more was again for me.

I have learned over the years that I am quite capable of walking away, moving on, weeding out people who serve no purpose but to distract me, and doing so lovingly. My high self-esteem is an added benefit, because I know that no matter what I go through and who I go through it with, that there is always someone better out there for me; that God is there watching over me and setting things in motion where I eventfully (through obedience) afterwards end up with bigger, better, and more beautiful experiences each and every time…and this has happened after each and every ‘failed’ relationship- both in business and in my love life.

The only way to truly prepare for bigger, better, and more beautiful experiences and blessings is to unload the weight from anger, guilt, fear, and negativity. We have to drain the venom from our minds and bodies that poisons us and everyone in our path. We have to forgive those who wronged us past and present. If you haven’t done it, if you haven’t let go, release that weight and start living your life fully…today!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

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