Saturday, November 4, 2017

To Be Free Is to Be Me

From the time of your birth, you are provided with an identity, which separates you from anyone else. Your foot print in the nursery at the hospital, as well as the distinct name you are given and placed on your birth certificate says you are unique, you are different, and there is no one else like you. As philosopher John Locke once wrote, you are “tabula rasa,” a blank slate for the world to write its imprints. But if the world writes its imprints, what happens to your unique, personal identity?

The greatest aspects about being unique and different from others, is the fact that you are endowed with choice. You can choose between good and evil, right and wrong, success and failure, as well as the type of person you will become. However, how much freedom do you really have to be your unique self when you are born of two parents, whether they are together after you are born or not? And then, what about the neighbors, the church, the community, the schools, the media, cell phones, computers, Ipads, and many of the other external influences that impact who you are and whom you will become? And like with many other things in life, there are rules and regulations, norms, laws, and stipulations based on who you are, where you live, how you look, your race, your sex, your religion, your education, and your social standing in society, your political stance, as well as your socioeconomic status.

From the time you were born, starting with your parents, you were being shaped and molded into mini replicas of people with whom you associated. Clearly, as you grew and matured, you found yourself torn between being you and either trying to be like your friends or others you admire or wanted to emulate. The struggle to be you can be very difficult, especially if others place their values and beliefs on you.  Although you have been provided with certain inalienable rights afforded to you by the constitution of the United States of America, you will find that based on the aforementioned characteristics, you often lose the freedom you were born with, to be free to be you. There are external expectations, as well as self-imposed expectations that you often place on yourself in order for you to fit into a society that might not necessarily be reflective of whom you truly are. But then you are constantly forced to wear the proverbial shoes that don’t belong to you and don’t necessarily fit you or your feet.  

Wouldn’t it be great to live in a society where everyone looks like you, follows the same rules as you, likes many of the same things as you, respected and accepted you for being you, and so on and so on? Stop the record…it’s not reality!

Although I was born in America and have lived here all my life, I sometimes feel as if I am a stranger in a foreign land. Even though there are many people who look like me, have the same beliefs and ideals as me, there seem to be a constant battle to be me and to be free. Many rights afforded me under the constitution are often challenged or there is a calculated effort to take them away. Because of my color, my sex, and my beliefs, the right to be free is often challenged because I choose to be me. To speak up, speak the truth, take a stand, fight for who and what’s right, and not take on the identity of others or become clones of them negatively impacts my right to choose, grow and just be me. But I choose to be me; I choose to be free!

And then, I had the audacity, as an African-American female to wear my hair short! Fox television wanted me to wear a wig for a pilot television show, for which I had been selected. When they were questioned, I was told, ‘you would look softer.’ “Are you saying I look hard?”  That wasn’t for me; I couldn’t be me and I most certainly would no longer be free. All of the education I was told would benefit me, my expertise as a psychotherapist and an educator, my overall beauty, intelligence, difference in perceptions, thoughts, ideals, and abilities didn’t matter; I was expected to fit a mold and relinquish me. But, I don’t want to look like anyone else, and you shouldn’t either!

When you become someone else, you no longer exist! To compromise your beliefs, your values, your looks, and any other defining characteristics that make you who you are, is like selling your soul to the devil. Once you sell your self and compromise who you are, you will have to keep selling yourself and you no longer own yourself. Ask the many actresses, actors, those in other fields of entertainment, and other positions, who have compromised their beliefs, their values, and their very being in order to have a role, a job, a position, or perceived power. It is difficult for you to sleep with yourself, look at yourself in the mirror, and above all, it is virtually impossible for you to be yourself, when you have sold yourself to someone else. You are no longer you and you are most certainly no longer free!

I recently visited China. Although everyone looked alike, and they spoke the same language for the most part, it was hard to discern their separate identities. They don’t have to grapple with the differences among people that exist within the United States. They seem to live in a harmonious state; their streets were very clean, there were no guns, they seemed less stressed, everyone seemed to get along, and they seemed to not live in fear. However, I wondered about the freedom of individuals in China to be themselves. As a matter of fact, do they truly know who they are? But, then again, they don’t have to worry about or deal with all of the isms you and I face in America on a daily basis, causing too many of you to live in fear as you are faced with the isms that often hinders you from being able to be you, such as racism, sexism, classism, ageism, etc. 

Sadly to say, in 2017, the freedom to be you and the freedom to be free is often hindered and hampered because of your differences, including, who you are, how you look, how you view life, how you speak, your race, your color, your nationality, your sexuality, your religion, your socioeconomic status, your abilities, your aptitudes, your thoughts, and your beliefs. However, you have the right to stand up, speak up, and speak out! You also have the right to stand for and declare your constitutional rights to be recognized and respected. And if you choose to take a stand or stance against your mistreatment and maltreatment, based on he aforementioned characteristics, by taking to one knee, you can. Taking a knee, basically says, I am me, and I choose to be free! Don’t let the rhetoric from the white house or any other house misconstrue your intentions or what you stand for. The flag and our soldiers are important, but without your freedom, you don't matter. Just tell them to remember who wrote the national anthem, as well as the words contained in the national anthem and the pledge to the flag. They don’t fit all of us and we have the right to bring attention to them. If the words mattered, you and I would matter, and we would not have the continuous loss of lives and freedom by individuals who are born different, or choose to be different.

The games are finally over. Either you stand for something, or you will keep falling for anything. Never fall for anything or anyone, who denounces and denies you being you and you being free! It is time for you to take a stand and take a stance to longer pimp or prostitute being you. You will no longer compromise who you are, because of your race, your sex, your social status, your sexual orientation, your religious beliefs, your socioeconomic status, your nationality, how you look, where you live, where you work, what you do or don’t have, as well as the kind of car you drive! You must take a stand today and loudly proclaim, I AM SOMEBODY, BECAUSE GOD DOESN’T MAKE ANY JUNK! You must further exclaim, I am not for sale; my mind, my heart, and my spirit are all mine and I choose to be me, all because I am truly free!

Please see my “Declaration of Self-Esteem” below. Post it where you can see it, touch it, and repeat it each and every day.

©2017; J. Morley Productions, Inc.; P.O. Box 1745; Decatur, GA 30031; 770-808-6570; www.doctorjoyce.com
 
DECLARATION OF SELF-ESTEEM

I am me, the best in the world! There is only one me; no other like me. I can’t be what everyone wants me to be, because I am unique. I may not be able to do what everyone else does, but I have unique things that I do in a special way that no one else can do like me; for I am me…unique, different, I am me.

From my head to my toes, I am who I am. I am me! If I become you, I am lost; I no longer exist. Therefore, I must remain in my shadow and act the way that I am. Whatever I may become; whatever my shortcomings and limitations may be, they’re all a part of making me be me. MY FEELINGS, MY ATTITUDES, MY BELIEFS, ARE ALL REAL BECAUSE THEY ARE MINE! THEY BELONG TO ME!

A…………………….            ACCEPT YOURSELF
L…………………….             LOVE YOURSELF
T…………………….            TRUST YOURSELF
A…………………….            AFFIRM YOURSELF
R…………………….            RESPECT YOURSELF
B…………………….            BE YOURSELF



©1984--2017; Joyce Morley, EdD; Morley& Associates, Inc.; J. Morley Productions, Inc.; P.O. Box 1745, Decatur, GA 30031; joyce@doctorjoyce.com; www.doctorjoyce.com; (770) 808-6570

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Falling Isn’t the Problem; It’s Not Getting Up

Throughout your life you will fall, falter, or fail. However, having either of these tragic experiences doesn’t designate you as a failure or indicate the end of the world or the end of your life. Falling, faltering, or failing are not the issues. The issues are what you experience on your way down, how you view yourself and your experiences once you are down, as well as your need, your want, and your willingness to rise again.

Life itself can deal you some tough hands, but you must learn how to manage and read the cards that you are dealt, instead of becoming the cards. Disappointment is always waiting to knock on your doors of life or to knock you down throughout your life. However, until you recognize that you do have the power, you do have the authority, and you do have the right to choose how you stand against and combat life’s ills, without constantly falling, faltering, and failing, you will continue to welcome disappointment into your home and into your life, believing that you don’t have a choice in the matter.

Even more difficult than having to deal with life’s falls, falters, and failures, is the fact that you can’t seem to wrap your mind around them, understand them, or make sense of them. In essence, it is hard to deal with something that you don’t understand and something that you can’t control. No matter how many losses you face, no matter how many times you stumble, no matter how many times you fall, no matter how many times you fail, the emotional toll you experience can serve as stumbling blocks against you or stepping-stones for you. Although you probably question the role you might have personally played in causing your falls, your falters, or your failures, the answers rarely seem to come.

I am sure that for many of you it seems as if your life has been plagued with one fall, one falter, and one failure after another.  One thing about these disappointments is that they do not have names on them, and you are not the only one having such experiences. Along with being nameless, the outcomes of disappointments are broad and far reaching. And if you haven’t experienced any disappointments yourself, you must be living in an unrealistic state of mind. I’m sure that you know of friends, colleagues, and family members who seem to have more than their fair share of disappointments. As long as you live, there will be one disappointment or another; you will fall, falter, or fail! However, at some point, you must decide that you will no longer fall the same way as you have in the past, and failing will no longer serve as a hindrance to you recognizing your success. You are going to take the lessons garnered from the tragedies and disappointments you have experienced and use them to develop your personal formula for success. However, you must get up!

Disappointments resulting from falls and failures are very difficult and they are just as disastrous as they seem when you are experiencing them. However, the real issues are, how you perceive your disappointments, how you deal with your disappointments, when you come to recognize the lessons being put forth as a result of your disappointments, and what you do with the lessons learned from your disappointments. Too often, you get so caught up in the disappointments of life that you miss the opportunities for learning the lessons being forth in order for you to engage in the positive transformations that are meant to take place. It is imperative that you recognize the importance of getting up and letting go of your disappointments. And if you can’t pull yourself up, find something or someone that you can hold onto as you embrace the recovery process from your falls, your falters, and your failures. God is always there for you; hold onto him, lift your eyes, and your voice in prayer to him! Get up and speak up with positivity!

To keep falling, to keep faltering, and to keep failing without learning lessons and implementing those lessons into your life are signs of insanity. Until you see, hear, and learn from the lessons related to your falls, falters, and failures, you will continuously walk the paths of insanity, falling head first, with your head in the sand, instead of falling feet first, allowing you to finally look up, get up, and climb up and out of the holes in which you have fallen.

When you decide to get up and not wallow in the devastations associated with your falls, falters, and failures, you will come to recognize that you have a choice as to whether you want to belong to the insanity club or not. You can also decide to wallow in your falls, your falters, and your failures, without getting up, or you can decide to look up and get up! You can decide to look at the glass as being half full, instead of being half empty, being the victor and not the victim, by getting up, brushing yourself off, and starting again, without worrying about how it looked to others, what people might say, or what they think. Your worrying, self-deprecation, being emotionally distraught, bing emotionally dependent, coming unhinged, your ‘woe is me’ attitude, as well as your anger, and hatred will not fix your falls, your falters, or your failures; it’s you getting up with a realistic plan of action that will indicate that for you, defeat and failure are no longer options.      

You must come to recognize that each time you fall, each time you falter, and each time you fail, you are experiencing a season in your life. I am sure that through each season of these disappointments, you question whether some negative behaviors that you have put forth against yourself or against others have contributed to the negative occurrences in your life. You also probably ask yourself, ‘Am I receiving payback or being punished for something I did or didn’t do to or for someone else?’ Guess what? God is not siting in heaven slapping his thigh as he kicks up his heels waiting for something negative to happen to you. He doesn’t have time!

On the other hand, your falls, falters, and failures aren’t necessarily payback, but they are grand lessons for you and others. As a result, one of the lessons you’ll learn is that you can’t treat people the way you don’t want to be treated and expect to prosper.  Treat people right and you don’t have to worry about the falls, falters, and failures in your life. As a matter of fact, disappointments will occur anyhow; they might be compounded when you tend to forget how you got to where you are and when you step on the heads and backs of people and forget the bridges that brought you across in order to get to where you want to be. Karma really is a bitch!!!

But the greatest question always seems to be, ‘Why me?’ And why not you; aren’t you human? In all actuality, when losses occur, it’s time for you to gather the lessons being put forth by the losses in order for you to experience the next fall, falter, or failure in a different manner. Losses are opportunities for transformation in and around your life! In order for you to transform from being down, lying down, or feeling down, you must gather the strength to get up, determined to stand up and move up and onward!

You must believe that you can stand once again, recognizing that you will fall again, falter again, and fail again, but they won’t occur as they have in the past. You are now stronger, wiser, and more determined to not be defeated. As a matter of fact, you will no longer cry and wallow in your falls, your falters, and your failures, you will examine how they occurred, gain an understanding of the circumstances in which they occurred, clean up the mess (es) that contributed to your falls, your falters, and your failures, deciding that you will walk differently, stand differently, speak differently, feel differently, believe differently, and fall differently…yes you can!  

When you recognize that “Falling Isn’t the Problem; It’s Not Getting Up,” you will come to recognize that you can triumph over life’s disappointments. You can also confront the emotional fallout that occurs when you fall, falter, or fail, and you can forgive yourself and stop blaming others. You are an overcomer who will not stand down, lie down, or stay down! Once you recognize and learn from the lessons that appear from your falls, your falters, and your failures, you will come to see them as set asides instead of setbacks. You will give God all the glory not only for the lessons learned, but for your falls, your falters, and your failures; without them, there would be no lessons and you wouldn't have another chance at living your life in abundance, with purpose, direction, and love!   



©2017; J. Morley Productions, Inc.; P.O. Box 1745; Decatur, GA 30031; 770-808-6570; www.doctorjoyce.com

Saturday, September 2, 2017

What You Allow Others to Contribute to Your Relationships Will Determine What You Receive from Your Relationships

I am sure that at one time or another, you have had a relationship (or two) to fail. On many fronts, you have been perplexed as to how and why your relationship failed in the first place. The question you must ask yourself and at some point answer for yourself is, “How did I get to the point of being involved in a failed relationship?” Once you realize that for too long, the problem has been that you have allowed others to choose you to be a part of their relationships, rather than you having a say and control over who engages in your relationships with you. You have rarely made the choice to be in relationships with others, allowing them to choose you to be in their relationships.

When others choose you to be in their relationships without you being a part of the choosing process, you allow them to contribute what they want to contribute to the relationship, as well as how they want to contribute, and when they want to contribute. After all, the relationship does belong to them; they chose you! What you allow them to contribute just might not be healthy for you or the relationship, resulting in hell on earth and eventual failure.

Once you have asked and answered the preceding question, hopefully, you will come to realize that what you allow others to bring into and contribute to your relationships will be based on their terms, rendering you helpless in making contributions to your own relationships, based on your terms. You will come to recognize the failures of your relationships, instead of the healthiness and longevity of your relationships, all because they are truly NOT YOUR relationships.

Just as you work hard in deciding the kind of work you do on your job, ensuring that your boss and your coworkers approve of you, providing you with an excellent and favorable evaluation, and an eventual nice raise and bonus, you must work even harder in ensuring that there is harmony, happiness, honor, and approval in your relationships, by managing what and whom you allow to contribute to your relationships. If you continue to allow individuals who are observable wrecks, “slackers,” and “lackers,” including those who lack boundaries, are unstable, and are directionless, to contribute to your relationships, the outcome of your relationships will be based on the contributors and the contributions that they make. Whatever you allow to cross the threshold of your life will infiltrate the very fiber of your relationships, whether good or bad, negative or positive.

If you allow others to contribute nothing to your relationships, you will receive absolutely nothing as a result! If you expect nothing from those you allow into your life and into your relationships, you will still receive absolutely nothing! On the other hand, if the contributions of others are based on the horn of plenty, the results will be plenteous. Your relationships will be filled with all that is great and good. You must remember that people can only contribute to your relationships what you expect them to contribute and what you allow them to contribute. But you can only control the contributions if you choose the relationships in which you engage, as well as the people with whom you choose to engage. Your relationship choices should never be based on a game of chance or checkers, but a game of choice and chess. It’s all about the strategy!

It is important for you to identify and develop the ingredients, as well as the overall recipe for what and whom you want in your life and in your relationships. Although God is the author and the finisher of your life, you are the author and the finisher of how your relationships will start, continue, and end. You have the power and the authority to mandate and dictate what it will take for the people you invite into your life to earn and maintain the love, respect, commitment, positive communication, trust, and other favorable attributes necessary for them to engage in a healthy relationship with you. In essence, you will determine what you will allow into your relationships, what you receive from your relationships, and begin to dictate the outcome of your relationships.

How do you allow someone to tell you that God told him/her that you are meant for him/her, when supposedly you know the same God and He did not tell you that that person was meant for you? And God will not tell you to allow a fool to direct your life! How do you allow someone to fill your life with bags containing rocks of anger, confusion, animosity, hatred, and abuse, when you know that eventually you will sink?  What you allow into your life, based on the contributions of others will determine what you receive…exactly what was contributed.

You must decide to work hard at investing the time necessary for you to ensure that the measure of the people you invite into your relationships actually fit your needs and that they accentuate and enhance your life and your life directions. It is important to recognize that oil and water don’t mix. Toxicity is never an option and will never result in positive and healthy relationships. If you are not willing to drink from bottles with cross bones and skulls on them (poison), why are you allowing others into your life who are offering these bottles of poison to you? If you allow the poisons of negativity, jealousy, infidelity, control, and other infiltrators to dictate and orchestrate your relationships, your relationships will surely fail.

In order to ensure that your chosen relationships are healthy, positive, and long lasting, it’s imperative that you work hard on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to establish your relationship expectations and for you to become aware of and wise enough to recognize the “relationship slackers,” prior to allowing them into your life and most certainly prior to them contributing to your relationships. The same fervor you display on your paid job must be displayed on a daily basis in the work needed for the success, health, and wealth of your relationships.

Although it is imperative that you work at your relationships, work on your relationships, and work in your relationships, you cannot downplay the reality that you must also have people who are contributing to your relationships positively. Along with many of the aforementioned attributes that you must allow others to contribute favorably to your relationships, financial resources are also important.

Why are you allowing your mate, your friend, or your family members to live in your home without healthy and positive contributions to the relationship? What you allow them to contribute to the relationship will determine what you get out of the relationship. And if they are “relationship slackers,” refusing to work or refusing to financially contribute to the household and to the relationship itself, you are receiving the short end of the stick. It is time for you to require those around you to work and contribute financially to your home and your relationships, just as you contribute to them.

It is also time for you to require your grown ‘children’ to get off their butts, engage their feet, their minds, and their abilities to not only find a job, but to also maintain a job and contribute to the household expenses. Stop allowing your chronically unemployed mate and/or chronically unemployed adult children to contribute absolutely nothing to their relationships with you. Stop allowing them to take up space in your home and in your head, while paying no rent, while eating your food, and while usurping your time, your energy, and your emotions, as they display daily levels of disrespect and bad attitudes.

In other words, it’s time for you to stop putting up with the “relationship slackers” in your life!  Stop enabling your lazy mate and your lazy adult children in their refusal to take responsibility for the role they play in their relationship with you. If you have to work inside and outside of your home and work in your relationships, everyone in your household should also do the same! What you allow others to contribute to your relationships will determine what you receive from your relationships!

You now have the awareness, insight, and understanding as to why it is important for you to choose the people in your life and to choose what you allow them to contribute to your relationships. It is now up to you to muster the confidence, the strength, and the tenacity for you to decide when enough is enough, as well as when to draw the line regarding whom you allow to contribute to your relationships, as well as what you allow them to contribute.

Take back your control, take back your household, take back your zest for life, and take back your healthy and positive relationships! And if you can’t do it alone, seek professional help from a licensed relationship/mental health professional. You deserve the best! However, you have to request the best, expect the best, and only allow the best to enter into and permeate throughout your life.  When you decide whom you will allow to enter into your life and into your relationships, as well as what and how much you will allow them to contribute to your relationships, you have made the decision that you will only settle for what’s right, what’s healthy, and what’s best for YOU! The ball is in your court; now make your goals!

©2017; J. Morley Productions, Inc; P.O. Box 1745; Decatur, GA 30012; 770-808-6570; www.doctorjoyce.com