Please Forgive Me

Forgive me

 

How do you move past a dark mark in your life? A time you were so hurt or betrayed or abandoned that you feel like the person you were is no longer there. The old you has changed as a result of what you went through. How do you get past it or do you?

I was talking with a friend a while back about forgiveness. What is it actually? What does it mean to forgive someone? And is it necessary? And if so, how the hell do you go about doing it? We didn’t come up with all of the answers but I did learn a few things. As I thought about our conversation I realized a few things.

1) Forgiveness has absolutely NOTHING to do with the person that hurt you, nothing. If it did the other person would have to know that you had forgiven them for it to be “real” but they don’t need to know. It’s a personal decision you make with yourself. It’s the last thing you can do and have complete control over to end the relationship once and for all. It’s closure. It’s sticking a fork in it. It’s done and over. And none of it is for them or about them; this decision is all about you.

2) Forgiving someone else is one of two simultaneous actions the other being- forgiving yourself. To be able to forgive someone else you have to forgive yourself for the part you played in the situation.

I had something terrible happen to me, it was an injustice that I worried I would never get past. I beat myself up over it; no, actually, I ripped myself apart. How did I not know better, how did I not see it coming, how did I let it happen, how could I be so stupid and naive? I started to believe and act the exact way I was accused of being and acting. Ugh!

I realized for me to go on, I had to stop talking like that to me. I wouldn’t allow anyone else to talk to me (or anyone I loved) that way, why was I letting myself do it? I started to recognize that I am human, and as a human I am imperfect. I will make mistakes and make bad decisions but ultimately I am a good person with good intentions and a huge heart. I don’t deserve to be exposed to such mistreatment especially from myself.

3) Forgiveness isn’t a one-time thing, it is a process. Yuck, sometimes I just want something over and done. I don’t always want to have to “go through a process”. The thing about it is that it sort of happens in layers, or levels sort of like Kubler-Ross’ stages of death and dying. But this is more like the stages of freedom and liberation!

First, I had to get to a place where I could wrap my mind around what had happened. This was probably the hardest part for me. I was so stunned and astonished that another human could treat someone in the way I had been treated it took some time to admit it had actually taken place.

I had to do damage control. Next, I sought out help from those I trusted and who had my best interest in mind. After that, I sat with the thoughts of how things had been before and what I wanted to go back and what had to change for good.

I sorted through and picked up the pieces as I began to forgive myself. I started to understand that to get to that place where I no longer thought about what happened I had to forgive the people that had done this. Otherwise, they were just taking up real estate in my head, and they did not deserve any of my time or energy.

4) Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. It also doesn’t mean you welcome the person or people back in to your life. You have to decide what is best for you, and know that just because you forgave them doesn’t mean they won’t do it again. Remember- forgiveness has nothing to do with them.

5) Practicing gratitude helps to forgive. Find the things that you are thankful for, and focus on them. Soon enough they will become larger and more important than the person or people you are trying to forgive. What you focus on expands. If you believe this, you understand that focusing on gratitude will make those things in your life bigger and better. And all the time you are spending on being grateful is time you are not spending thinking about the shitty thing that happened to you.

6) Forgiveness gets easier the more you do it. Become a person that easily forgives. You can practice it and practice makes perfect, right? Forgive the person that cut you off on the highway, forgive the mom for going backwards in the school pick up line, forgive your spouse for being snarky, forgive your kid for forgetting her backpack, forgive your neighbor for making ruts in your newly manicured lawn. Forgive! It feels good to not be harboring ill feelings towards anyone.

Along with this is being the person that is not easily offended. You can choose to see the good in people, and assume that their intentions are not malicious. Everyone is going through something, and everyone has shit that they carry with him or her every day. You may have come across them at a bad time, but that doesn’t mean that they are a bad person. Don’t allow your self to be offended, then you don’t’ have to work on forgiveness quite as much.

None of this is easy and I am far from perfect on any of it. I am real woman dealing with real issues and these are some of my observations and things that have helped me. I am working on forgiving others and myself every day. I try to practice what I preach but I don’t always do such a good job. I fall way short of where I’d like to be most of the time. Please forgive me.

 

 

 

 

 

Can I Be Both Vulnerable and Strong at the Same Time?

 

strength and vulnerability

I travel a lot teaching and training doulas. I love this part of my job because I get to meet so many women. I get insight on what makes them tick and how they see the world. Sociology was always my favorite subject.

One time I was having dinner with a couple of ladies that were in the class I was currently teaching. We got to talking about some things that were really deep. I shared a part of me that isn’t the side I want every one to see. It’s the dark side of the moon. It’s the part of me that gets scared, and feels weak, and unworthy. It’s the part of me that wants to run and hide and stay out of the light.

One of the women was feeling particularly vulnerable, and was somewhat afraid to talk about what she was really feeling. That’s why I shared that part of me with her. I wanted her to see that everyone is human and everyone has a part of himself or herself that they would rather keep hidden.

I am a smart and savvy businesswoman, a mother of 5 children, and a wife to my husband of 20 years. I teach, train, and mentor women from all over the country. They look up to me. Sometimes they put me on a pedestal (something I am not very comfortable with, but I get it). They see me as someone they want to become. They look to me for advice. These women share some of their inner most thoughts and dreams. They see me as strong, confident, and secure.

She asked me how I could be so vulnerable. My response was “it is because of my vulnerability that I can be so strong. In my vulnerability is my strength. ”

Being vulnerable isn’t a weakness, or a flaw. In fact it’s just the opposite. I allow myself to be seen as vulnerable at times and that move shows more strength than any other one action I could take. To let someone in, to let him or her have a taste of what my biggest fears are, that takes a great amount of confidence.

If I can get real with who I am and what my biggest fears are it allows people around me to feel comfortable being themselves, and showing a little bit of vulnerability too, which is really us just being human. Staying authentic means showing who I really am and being unapologetic about it. Who I am is a strong woman that is vulnerable at times.

I invite you to get real with yourself first. That is the first step. Recognizing that you aren’t perfect. Believing that you, just how you are right now, are enough. You are enough to be loved. You are enough to be worthy. You are a human. Imperfectly perfect in every way. And you are vulnerable and you are strong!

Thanksgiving at Granny’s

 

Thanksgiving

This time of year most people start to plan their Thanksgiving feast. That one day a year when not only is it okay to stuff yourself to the gills, so much that you either puke or pass out, it is expected and considered offensive if you don’t in some families. By now most probably know where they will be on Thursday, and what dish they’ll be bringing to dinner. Typically there is some sort of TRADITION that is followed each year.

From the time I can remember I grew up having Thanksgiving dinner at noon on Thursday around an enormous table in my Granny’s dining room. Everyone that could come that year would gather around. It was very common for there to be at least one person that wasn’t a family member in the traditional sense to be at the table as well. We welcomed all, and if someone didn’t have a place to go they came to Granny’s.

I remember there being so much food that as a kid it made me giddy. The turkey was the biggest I had ever seen, the potatoes perfectly fluffed, and the gravy smooth as silk. We had cranberry salads, copper penny salad, marinated vegetable salads, and lettuce salad. There were sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and green bean casserole with fried onions on top and freshly risen dinner rolls. Then there were pies. My Granny is the original Queen of Pies (now my mother has taken over that role, I suspect one day it will be me, as the throne goes…) Even if you don’t like pie; you’d like my Granny’s.

Gramps would carve the turkey. Dinner was more formal than Thanksgiving is in my house today. We would peacefully and graciously pass each dish to the next person. The silver was placed perfectly and the napkin was tucked discreetly in your lap. You said “please” and “thank you” and you tried every dish, at least one bite.

After dinner the kids would usually go to the basement. There was a pool table, a Ping-Pong table, and shuffleboard. But my very favorite thing to do was sit at the computer, and play games on the Apple II E. It was probably only one game…and after awhile you’d get a headache from the flickering green screen.

The women would start the Christmas decorating and the men would watch whatever game was on from the back of their eyelids. Then in a few hours we’d drag all that food out again and start all over, this time we’d eat cold turkey sandwiches. It was heaven.

A lot has changed over the years from the time we had dinners at Granny’s. For one, the house has been sold. Gramps is no longer with us, and Granny is in her last years. The family is a little more scattered around, and we aren’t always able to get everyone together every year.

I host the dinner at my house now. Mom and I, and whoever else wants to pitch in, make the food on Wednesday. We have the same basic menu we’ve always had, why change a good thing? We spend the afternoon and evening playing games.

I have so many fond memories and know my kids are making them too. My Granny isn’t able to remember a lot of things. Last year she was concerned and told my mother that she just couldn’t do the dinner. As of last year it had been about 20 years since she’d had a Thanksgiving meal at her house. Her mind gets stuff mixed up now.

I have the wonderful memories of dinner at her house. I can smell the turkey basting, still. I can hear her laugh as she throws her head back and whips the potatoes. I can see her take charge of the kitchen, all of her 4’11” and 110 pounds. I can remember her reminding me that the knife and spoon go on the right. I can still feel her push the black olives on each of my fingers, as she smiled knowing I’d bite each one. I can see the pickled “baby corns” I knew she put on the relish try just for me. It’s all still there, each smell, look, laugh, and taste. This is my most fond memory of my little Granny.

 

 

I Do What I Wanna Do

KC-Real_estate

 

How many careers have I had? How many can you have in one lifetime? That’s how many I’ll have. Here’s the list so far:

Restaurant manager

Licensed cosmetologist

Retail sales manager

Doula (presently)

Medical office manager

Realtor (presently)

 

It’s the two I am actively working right now that I want to address. It’s amazing to me how many people have no idea what a doula is so I’ll give it a brief description to get started. You can also visit my website if you still aren’t sure after reading this blog.

A doula is a woman that provides emotional, educational, and physical support to a woman during her pregnancy and birth of her baby. Like I said, that’s the brief description. I use this definition purposely using the word woman and women because I personally have not worked with anyone that identifies otherwise and I am a woman.

I began this career about 13 years ago. The reasons I became a doula are not the same reasons I have remained a doula. The one thing that has been consistent is that I love helping and serving others. I enjoy working with families and helping them through what is one of the most exciting, nerve wracking, and memorable events of their entire lives. I love giving them what I can to make them happy. I love supporting them and helping them find exactly what they want and then achieving it. That’s why I am a doula.

I am never satisfied. I am never just okay with what I am. I need more. I need to constantly be reinventing myself. It’s not because I don’t know who I am or what I want, it’s because I know EXACTLY who I am and what I want. I know that I get bored easily, and that I love a challenge. I want the best and I want to be the best. I am a curious person always asking why or how and searching for the answers. I just can’t settle and that’s a good thing.

So why realtor? Isn’t it obvious? Okay maybe you need a little more than that. To me it makes perfect sense. I enjoy working with families and helping them through what is one of the most exciting, nerve wracking, and memorable events of their entire lives. I love giving them what I can to make them happy. I love supporting them and helping them find exactly what they want and then achieving it. That’s why I am a realtor. Sound familiar?

Being a doula and being a realtor are so much alike it’s almost unbelievable. Almost. Being a realtor also fulfills a passion I have for houses, homes, and buildings. Bob and I share this passion. When we vacation we’ll drive around and look at houses for sale, and then look them up on the internet to see pictures, discuss floor plans, neighborhoods etc. I love it! He gets into the architecture more but I want the stories, the history.

I also like the fast-paced sales, and exciting aspects of real estate. I’ve always loved helping customers find that perfect thing that their heart desires and then helping them get it! I thrive on the competitive nature of real estate. Who can buy it or sell it first? That’s what makes me a good agent. I want it as much as you do!

It’s also about learning something brand spanking new to me. To figure out every aspect, every nuance, everything it is to be a real estate agent. I want to know it all. That keeps me current on all the latest trends in housing. Not just in home design, but also the most relevant statistics for our area. I want to know it so I can help you buy or sell your property.

One last thing that excites me about real estate: I am working on a team that is about to make history. As part of Keller Williams Realty Partners Inc, I will be amongst the first agency to reach one Billion dollars in closed transactions in one year in the KC area. I like being on a winning team!

 

 

 

 

 

It Really Isn’t That Hard to Love Yourself

 

Learn To Love Yourself

Learn To Love Yourself

 

Do you love yourself? Do you know how to love yourself? Do you even know what that means?

I didn’t for a very long time. I could always come up with a reason to hate some part of me. From my physical self to my inner most thoughts and feelings, I hated me. It’s been quite a journey to get where I am now. I am far from perfect and continue to work at it every day.

As I began to realize that I didn’t even make my own top 10 list of people I love the most, things got ugly for a while, scary even. You may have been there too, or maybe you’re there now. Here are some things I learned on my journey to self-love that I work on each day:

  1. I am a work in progress. There is no finish line. All I have to do is keep working on being the best person I can be and that puts me in a better place.
  2. Learn to forgive yourself. You forgive your kids, your spouse, your roommate, your boss, and your co-workers…why can’t you forgive yourself?
  3. Admit when you are wrong. No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s not a weakness. Admitting when you have made a mistake allows you to move forward from it.
  4. Stop comparing yourself to others. In our society at this time, this one is so difficult to do. Seeing other seemingly perfect people, hearing about their so-called perfect lives. Believe me, everyone has something they are trying to hide.
  5. Play to your strengths (hire out for everything else). This was a big one for me. I had to figure out what I do really well and forget everything else. I don’t have to be great at everything- I can’t. I’d rather be perfect at a few things than mediocre at a bunch of things.
  6. Spend more time developing and enjoying the relationships you have with other people. What else in this life do you have? Material possessions come and go, people are all that matter. Love on them, nurture them, and let them know how much they mean to you. Love them with everything you have! It will help you love yourself that intensely.
  7. Visit the ocean at least once in your life. It’s important to feel small, but to understand that even you, one person, can cause a ripple through the water.
  8. Stop saying “some day”. Make today the day. Some day will never come. Well, it will but you may be dead and long gone by then.
  9. Choose to be happy. I heard this saying from my mother growing up “You can get glad in the same pants you got mad in.” Basically, you can choose to be mad or happy, might as well choose happy. This saying later got shortened to just “get glad…” This is one of my favorites, thanks Mom!
  10. Be okay with being alone. How do you get to know the person or people you love? You spend quality time with them getting to know and understand them right? Do the same with yourself. Being around others 100% of the time is a distraction from your self-awareness and our self-love.
  11. Take care of you. Treat yourself like the other people you take care of. You are a nurturer by nature right? Don’t leave yourself off of the list of people to nurture.
  12. Dance in the rain. I believe in living life to it’s fullest. Push the limits so you can feel alive. Whether you dance in the rain, or jump out of a plane, say yes to your life!
  13. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh! We’re all human. Humans are very funny creatures! Laughing lightens the mood, and let’s others know you are real and relatable. Being able to laugh at yourself helps keep you authentic.
  14. Stop judging yourself. This starts with being more tolerant and accepting of others. Recognize that everyone is living on this planet it just trying to make it through the day. There is no black or white, wrong or right. We are each having a human experience. You are too.
  15. Do what makes you happy. You can’t make everyone happy, and you are the only person you have to live with.
  16. Say what you mean, but don’t be rude. Knowing what makes you happy, or what you won’t allow is so very important to self-love. Know your boundaries and stick to them. Be willing to speak up for yourself and not be taken advantage of, but do so in a way that doesn’t hurt or berate another person.
  17. Take pause and see the world around you. Breathe it in. Smell the smells, feel the wind, hear the sounds that bring your heart joy.

 

 

 

Real Love Is A Choice

I choose love

Love is a verb, an action word. Love is not a feeling, it is the way someone acts towards and treats another. I learned this a long time ago. You can feel like you love someone but until you show it, the feeling won’t matter. You can’t convey a feeling to another, but you can act or treat someone with love.

What are some ways you can love someone? It starts by realizing that the feelings of excitement and euphoria are not what are important in a lasting relationship. You can certainly still have them, and I definitely do, but it’s more of a choice you make to continue to feel that way.

You have to choose to love the person you fell in love with. You have to choose them everyday. It’s really quite simple. You make a decision that every day you will put your relationship with the person you love at the top of your list.

You have a choice in how you feel. Do you get angry? Choose to not be offended. Do you get jealous? Choose to forgive. Are you bored? Choose to be happy and grateful for what you have. Do you seek revenge? Well, that’s not ever going to solve a problem now is it? These feelings and emotions are all just choices. Get control of your emotions by being mindful in what you choose.

It comes down to respect. Bob and I have arguments, I don’t know of a married couple that doesn’t, at least not one that is healthy. I mean we can get down with the best of them, that’s what having a passionate relationship will do. But there is a certain line we will never cross. It’s unspoken in that we have never sat down and gone over what’s okay and what constitutes “hitting below the belt” but we have a huge amount of mutual respect for each other and things that are said can never be unsaid.

We also never discuss our disagreements with anyone other than each other. Just like we never discuss our sex life with anyone other than each other. We keep these things private. No one needs to have any input in my relationship other than the person that is in it with me. He is the only one whose opinion matters.

Ultimately my relationship with Bob is my number one priority. I put it first, before anything else. I will fight to the death to keep it strong and healthy. I protect it. I choose to love him. He happens to do the same thing and that ‘s why it works. It’s certainly not perfect; we don’t always get it right but we choose to keep going. Real love is a choice and we choose it every day.