Saturday, January 6, 2018

It’s Time for You to Get Out of Your Own Way in 2018

Happy New Year! It’s always easy to blame someone else for your misfortunes. You then don’t have to take the fall, the rap, responsibility, or be accountable for your behavior, attitude, actions, or lack thereof. As a matter of fact, this all started in your childhood. You learned that to fall, falter, or fail, could mean dire consequences for you. You feared that you would be punished, isolated, ostracized, alienated, and sometimes castigated. As a result, not only did you learn to avoid owning up to what was wrong and what went wrong, you would also exacerbate the problem on many occasions by either trying to cover up the problem, implement unhealthy actions and behaviors, or you would just keep doing the same things you had been doing all along… what was always wrong.

You are now a grown man or grown woman, the behaviors, thoughts, and actions that you exhibited as a child should now be behind you, especially in 2018. This is clearly stated in I Corinthians 13:11—“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” During your childhood you didn’t know as much as you know now and you kept getting in your own way, creating cycles of repeated nonproductive and time-consuming behaviors that kept you operating in 360-degree repetitive cycles, instead of 180-degree cycles of change and growth. Children are usually the ones to get in their own way; adults should be the ones to clear and pave the way!

In 2017, as well as previous years, I’m sure that you can identify the times you have stood in your own way, wreaking havoc along the way. Remember that man/woman you became involved with, even though you knew he/she was not the person for you? You were so lonely, so fearful of being alone, and so desperate that you were not willing to take the time to get to know him/her, you settled for less, accepted less, and wound up with mess! You were so busy looking for somebody that you settled for anybody, who turned out to be nobody!  It’s time for you to get out of your won way!

How did you get so in debt that you are barely making it? You have been perpetrating a fraud for so long, trying to keep up with the Joneses, who are just as broke as you, and you are living way above your means. Because you want to be accepted by everybody and you often don’t feel worthy, you have found yourself spending out of control, trying to please and fit with people you don’t know, you don’t like, and those who probably don’t know you or like you.

I could go on and on, reminding you of all of the times you have gotten in your own way, but time and space won’t allow me to do so. However, I’m sure that you get the gist of some of the ways that you can get in your own way. The bottom line now comes down to, what are you going to do about it? It is time for you to put on your big girl panties or big boy britches and take a stand for growth and change.

Now that you have entered into a new year, you have an opportunity to leave the old year behind you and start doing some new, constructive, and productive things in your life. One of those new, constructive, and productive things is for you to finally get out of your way! It is time for you to stop crossing up yourself, stepping on yourself, and tripping over yourself by living on ‘Insanity Lane.’ It is time to finally admit that your greatest problems haven’t necessarily been because of others, but often because of you! And I give you permission to admit this without kicking yourself in your behind, beating yourself up, scorning yourself, or getting rid of yourself. The problem isn’t falling, faltering, or failing; it’s not getting back up! I give you permission to finally get back up and then get out of your own way!

When you finally decide to get out of your own way, you will then allow the flood gates of life to open, pushing a steady flow of new, productive, positive opportunities, options, and other possibilities that have been blocked by you getting in your own way. However, one of the first things that you must do is to recognize that you have been standing in your own way, blocking your view, hindering the new, and preventing all that you deserve from coming to and through you, without obstruction.

Now that you’ve admitted that you are in your own way, you must want to get out of your way and work on the areas in your life that need to be strengthened with hard work, perseverance, motivation, and determination. If you are ready to move forward, here is your assignment. Look at the list below of ten critical areas and determine which of them indicate areas that show where you are in your own way, blocking your way and hindering your path for success in 2018. Be honest with yourself! And to make it palatable for you, you don’t have to work on all of your deficient areas at the same time, but you must work on them if you desire growth and positive change in your life in 2018.

You need pen and paper to list your five identified critical areas that you have chosen to work on from the list below, in order for you to get out of your own way in 2018. Once you identify your top five critical areas to work on, set a goal for each of the critical areas. Setting goals will allow you to correct the areas and move out of your own way. Also, document three action steps for each of your five chosen critical areas that you can and will implement during the process of meeting your goals and finally getting out of your way. In addition to the action steps, be sure to include timelines for you to use as a measure for when you expect to implement your action steps and meet your goals. It is also imperative for you to include a contingency plan for each of your five chosen critical areas that you will work on. If one action plan doesn’t work, you will have a backup plan. Finally, keep a journal, documenting your feelings and thoughts, as well as your accomplishments during your ‘getting out of your own way journey.’ Now let’s get started! Get up, get to work, and get out of your own way! 

Ten Critical Areas of Getting in Your Own Way

1.     Your self-esteem-How you see & feel about yourself-Low & negative self-esteem can and will have a detrimental impact on your belief in yourself, your motivation your outlook on life & your overall success. You must work to increase your self-esteem.
2.     Your belief system-You have a negative belief about yourself and your abilities. As a matter of fact, you don’t believe that you deserve anything or anyone positive in your life & you will often sabotage your success. You believe I can’t instead of I CAN! You must learn to trust yourself in order to believe in yourself, using oral positive self-talk, learning to state aloud, ‘I CAN, I WILL & I AM.’ 
3.     Your faith-You don’t seem to have a spiritual connection, a spiritual foundation, or a belief in a higher power-- God. You are very pessimistic and you don’t have an anchor to hold onto when your life is spinning and/or spiraling out of control. Because you have no faith in a higher power, you often feel hopeless & helpless, rendering you unable to see and believe that your life, your life situations & life circumstances CAN & WILL get better & be better!
4.     Your mindset-Your mindset is one of negativity! You think negative & you speak negative on a daily basis. You have a firm hold on Murphy’s Law; if it’s bad & it can happen to anyone, it will probably happen to you. Because you think negative, you feel negative, often times finding yourself psychologically unstable. It’s time for you to engage in mental health treatment.
5.     Your outlook on life-You have a negative outlook on life. If you don’t see it, you can’t behold it!! You see failure as the norm, rather than the exception in your life. You are often depressed, because you see no way out of tough situations & you believe you are a failure & your life mirrors the same. Not only does your future look bleak, you live in bleakness everyday, with a cloud hanging over your head. You must begin to open your blinds of life & let the sunshine in; just stop standing in the rain!
6.     Your lack of forgiveness- You have difficulty forgiving yourself & for others. You are burdened down on a daily basis because you hold onto past hurts, pains & disappointments. Let it go! Let them go! Your heart is too small to carry people in it!
7.     Your selfishness-Everything is about me, my & I; you are always taking and rarely giving or sharing! In some cases you are narcissistic; no one matters but you. You walk around with both hands open when you want something from others, but you stand with closed fists and a closed heart when it comes to sharing & giving to others. You believe everybody owes you something. You can’t hold onto everything; closed fists not only keep things in, they blocks things from coming in! Learn to be more conciliatory & altruistic!
8.     Holding onto dead & lifeless situations-You don’t seem to know when to let go. You hold onto people, situations & circumstances that have no meaning for or in your life and they have no life of their own. These people, situations & things are not only dead weight, they are leeches; sucking everything they can from & out of you! They mean you no good! There is no value or worth to them. They are liabilities instead of assets & they yield no return. However, you hold on to them…they are Toxic! Purge & cleanse yourself of these liabilities; you’ll do much better without them!
9.     Residence on ‘Insanity Lane’ & ‘Fool Street’-You keep doing the same things, you go in the same direction & you follow the same paths that take you nowhere and net you nothing, time after time, expecting a different results. You keep expecting people & situations to change…PEOPLE DON’T CHANGE; THEY MUST GROW! You must stop investing in negative situations & negative people going nowhere. If he/she has crapped on you for the past five years & you have accepted it, he/she will continue to crap on you in the New Year! Wake up, smell the roses & stop sniffing dried weeds!
10.  Your decision making-You make poor decisions or you just don’t make any at all, because you don’t trust yourself. Too often, you make decisions based on the needs and wants of others, on a hunch, or on your feelings, and not on the facts, your beliefs, or your faith! Either you make decisions that are prudent & beneficial for you or someone will keep making them for you! Learn to trust yourself! You are probably just as smart or smarter than the average person!

Go ahead…just GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY in 2018!



©2018; J. Morley Productions, Inc.; P.O. Box 1745, Decatur, GA 30031; 770-808-6570; www.doctorjoyce.com

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Celebrations During Life Allow Celebrations of Life!

It’s amazing that at the end of each year, and especially during the holiday season, we will often exclaim, ‘I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by; can you believe it is Christmas already!’ And each year, especially during the Christmas holiday season, we begin to remember our loved ones who have transitioned from our lives in many ways, but especially because of death.

There is something about the Christmas holidays and the deaths of our loved ones that seem to have us much sadder, more depressed, more inhibited, more moody, more isolated, and more out of sorts than any other holiday, including the birthdays of our loved ones, Mother’s Day, and father’s Day. It has a lot to due with the festive occasion of the holiday season, as well as the longevity of the celebration of the holiday season. Christmas decorations are commercially placed in full view right after Halloween, and in some cases, just before Halloween. The festive celebration not only includes gifts, but grand feasts, wonderful scents, and songs with deep-seated emotions and memories.

It is those scents, foods, gifts, and songs that permeate deep within each of us to trigger the memories of our loved ones who have transitioned through death. And often, because there was an annual celebration for you and your family, it is no wonder that the Christmas holiday season is much more difficult for you to deal with the loss of your spouse, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, your best friend, and especially your child. Isn’t it amazing that although you celebrated the holidays with your loved ones when they were alive, that it is very difficult for you to continue to do so after the death of your loved ones? 

 And no matter how many times you experience death among your loved ones, it is still a very difficult, and seemingly tragic experience. It is a phenomenon that has no explanation, no understanding, and no matter how many times you are faced with death you are never prepared. Death is never on your appointment book, and it is an appointment that will occur at an appointed time, that you and I must keep, just as those who have gone on before us. Ironically, as you have been late for many appointments during your lifetime, and you have missed a few, and cancelled just at many, you will not be late for your appointment with death; neither will you miss it or cancel it! However, if you live your life to its fullest and your loved ones live their lives to their fullest, every day will be or should be a day of celebration.

It’s amazing that we only seem to see the need to celebrate during the holiday season, on birthdays, anniversaries, and on other noted occasions. But we don’t seem to realize that everyday you open your eyes, take in and release breaths, talk, and walk, and perform other activities of daily living, are days worth celebrating. Think about it! Did you take time to celebrate life with your loved ones while they were here? Did you talk with them, speak to and with them, visit them, support them, help them when there was a need, and most of all, did you love them unconditionally? If you celebrate your loved ones while they are yet alive, there will be no question that you will be in line to celebrate them once they transition. The same goes for you. If you take time everyday to celebrate your life (not just materially), it will be much easier for your loved ones to celebrate you and your life, once your appointed transition time has arrived.

A celebration of life is filled with love, honor, respect, care, kindness, regard, understanding and acceptance. If these characteristics are put forth during life, there will be less guilt once life is over. There is nothing wrong with being sad when your loved ones transition from this life, and there is nothing wrong with missing your loved ones on a daily basis. However, it is imperative that you begin to attend to how you celebrate those you claim to love, in life, and for their life. It is important that you begin to count your blessings each and everyday for the loved ones who have graced your life with their presence. Celebrations in life will most certainly make it much easier for you to behold the death of your loved ones and deal with them during the holidays as celebrations of life!

I am the youngest of fourteen children, born to the same mother and same father. I discovered my father dead when I was the tender age of ten, and I lost my mother at the age of twenty-seven, and my grandmother at the age of fifteen. Of my thirteen sisters and brothers, there are only four remaining, for a total of five out of the fourteen still living. I have lost best friends, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, and two surrogate godmothers in the past year, one as recent as this past Wednesday. However, although I experience pain and grief because of the loss of these wonderful and extremely meaningful loved ones, I learned early in life to celebrate their lives while I had them in mine. As a result, although I miss them immensely, and at times I might feel a little sad (not for long), I am exuberant and thankful to God that I had them in my life.

I count the blessings afforded me by my loved ones who have transitioned this life. I can laugh about the laughs we had, I can joke about the funny things that they did, as well as the funny things we did together. I can go back down memory lane and view the many photographs, with love, happiness, and admiration…that’s how I looked at them and saw them when they were still on this side of life, with love, happiness, and admiration.

In addition, you can celebrate the life of your loved ones who have transitioned by leaving an empty chair to commemorate their spiritual presence at the dinner table. Have every guest to engage in a celebration of live activity with you and your family by jotting down three to five great memories they have to share about your transitioned loved one. The rule is, although some in attendance might feel sad and shed a tear or two, they must share memories of laughter and happiness, allowing them to laugh and shine through their sadness and tears.

I can truly say, that because I celebrated the lives of my loved ones who have transitioned this life, I can stand firm and tall and engage in a celebration of their lives during the holiday season. The same love I had for them, shared with them, and displayed to and with them during life, still exists within my heart for them, after life! I celebrated their lives and I continue to celebrate the fact that they lived!  You can learn to do the same. Take a stand, take some time to reach out and call, touch, and celebrate the lives of your loved ones while you still have a chance! Pick up the phone, face time, Skype, but reach out! You never know whether this holiday season will be your last holiday season with your loved ones. And if it is, how will you spend the next holiday season; will it be in celebration or one with deep mourning, guilt, and depression? Only you can decide. I challenge you to join in celebrating life with your loved ones so that when the time comes, it won’t be difficult for you to engage in a celebration of life!


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

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