amwriting, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Forgiving Ones Self is Harder!

When you have an extensive network, and you know a lot of people, you feel blessed when you can say you have more than five intimate friends. All my life, people have moved me from one house to another, from one city to another, and from one state to another. Networking became second nature.

Last night I learned that a man I’ve known for seven years passed away suddenly. He was a heavy drinker when I knew him, but that increased over time and the profound sadness of losing both his parents ended with the crescendo of Sorosis of the liver and failure of his kidneys. What could have been completely avoidable, ended by taking his life.

The minute I heard, thoughts of how I could’ve reached out flooded my soul. The guilt of not keeping in touch, not cultivating, not even picking up the phone to see if he was okay, because he was such a alpha male, that it never occurred to me he wouldn’t be okay?!

Which brings me to the topic of this discussion. It’s so much easier to forgive others when they offend us, then it is to forgive ourselves for our transgressions. How do you forgive yourself when you know there is something you could have done and yet did nothing? What are the steps that you take to forgive yourself?

Guilt is poison! You can’t hold onto it! It cannot be resolved! It is the toxic chemical that poisons your soul and your mind. Living with guilt is harder than living with pain or sadness because it is all consuming. Releasing that guilt is what is necessary, but when you have the understanding the fault lies with in your actions, how do you get to resolution?

Thoughts?!

Inspiration, Reflection

Time to Serve Only You

One of the hardest things for me to do is to ask for something for myself because after I ask, I feel selfish.  In the era I grew up, women were taught to be “quiet about” the things that they could do better than a man. We were put in our places, told that we had a place along side a man, but certainly never in front of one.  Biblically we were taught that a woman’s place is in supporting her husband. The community of men aspired to get that message out to every single woman.  So, when it came time for me to want a little alone time (something every human on the planet SHOULD have) I felt selfish.

Today, I sit here knowing that after 3 harsh months of school, activities, behavior modification for the kids, husband schedules, date nights, friends, family, and my adult children I feel horrible that this is the first day I got to sleep in. What’s going through my mind? The numerous things I SHOULD be doing not the numerous things I COULD be doing. Instead of taking the day off for me, or carving out some much needed writing time, in my head is a laundry list of items that still need checked off.  “Ortho appointment for the eldest.” Check.  “Dry cleaning for my husband.” Check. “Pick up kids at three separate times.” Check. “Plan dinner so husband isn’t mad.” Check. “Take dog for grooming.” Check… and the list goes on and on. So much so that I honestly do not have two consecutive hours of my own.  There’s no time between travel and duty.

Nights offer no downtime because the kids are old enough to go to be at 10 o’ clock.  So after dinner, homework, activities and being available to “look at” my husband as I listen while he talks, there is no room to escape for some me time.  Life becomes all about pleasing someone else, and the more you do, the more they have no concept of the lengths that you go to make them feel included, happy, fulfilled; until you’re brain is completely fried and you’re an empty shell.  It’s a mother’s life and we have all felt those moments from time to time.  Serving other’s is a powerful gift, but when is it time to serve yourself?

My advice, is to do it. It’s that simple. Put off the chores and take a day off.  Go do whatever it is that fills your cup.  Whatever brings you a blissful moment.  If you have to ask in advance, stop beating yourself up. Your husband clocks out. Your kids some home. Your friends can wait.  You never clock out. You keep going like that annoying pink Energizer rabbit.  It’s time to replenish the batteries and NOT feel guilty for it.

Psychology today says, “Being alone allows you to drop your “social guard”, thus giving you the freedom to be introspective, to think for yourself. You may be able to make better choices and decisions about who you are and what you want without outside influence. Often, we are swayed by the thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and behavior of those in our immediate sphere. Of course, you may ask others for their advice and opinions but ultimately, consulting yourself and making up your own mind about what you want to do will lead you into the life that’s best for you.”

Don’t wait. Make today great. Make it about you.  It’s normal and it’s so very necessary. For me? I am going to Louisiana to see my adult kids for one weekend. I’m leaving behind the people who need me the most so that I can gain a newer perspective about where I should lead them, about how much patience I should have and maybe gain some joy along my journey.  Just a moment of peace.  That’s all I ask. For me.

The Children

Why did God choose me?

Three years ago she asked, “Will you love them like they’re your own?” And I answered, “Of course!”  Did I understand the consequences of my agreement at the time? Probably not!  I believe I just wanted then what I want now, and that is to be part of the proverbial “village” that is needed to raise the kids?

Three years of not being able to hug a parent, or play ball, or talk to them, or shop, or eat dinners, or believe that the security they provide is actually going to last?  These kids came to me broken.  They’re all riddled with the absence of constant attention. Their grades plummeted.  Their behaviors were horrible.  It wasn’t because their mom and dad didn’t love them.  In fact, what really matter is that the base of a good kid is in each one due to the fact that their parent’s adored them!  They’re all just sucking the life out of everything they can, because they each believe that people come into our lives, and then they leave.

In the process of becoming the authority, the responsible adult, the security blanket, poor Aunt Rebecca became the disciplinarian. Yes, and in doing that, I lost my fun Aunt Rebecca title and became, “mean Aunt Rebecca!” I have to tell you that the beginning was not as much fun as I thought it was going to be. In the end, though, this journey is proving to be an incredibly honorable experience. I’m not only learning about them, but the second turn of raising a set of kids is forcing me to learn more of myself.

There’s so much to do.  There’s so much to say.  There’s so many things that I want to teach them.  Much to prepare them for.  I’m up to the challenge. I am.  Sometimes, I fade into the despair of what it must be like to lose both your parents at once.  Sometimes I weep because they didn’t know how absolutely incredibly loved their parents were.

Here’s what I do know. I try every single day to be a better person. To be kind and put the frustrations of my inadequacies behind me.  I don’t show weakness to the children. I show them consistency. I know I am not supposed to be their friend, I am the person who puts them before myself, or anyone or anything. That’s my job.  I don’t take it lightly.  It is my belief that I am profoundly and irrevocably committed to their overall happiness and well being.

I’m no longer complain. I try to do things a little different and let go of my own expectations.  I’m not going to try and reason or understand because it does me no good. I’m not going to spend this year lost in the muck of pain and anger of what has been lost, or what will come when the ultimate loss is paid.  All I can do is push through to the good, the joy of what I see in the community around me. Take stock in the kindness of others and not ask what the angle is. To revel in the fact that I have the skills necessary to do this job and thank the good Lord he saw fit to prepare me for this journey.

I pray every day that I do a job that deserves praise.  I love them. Unconditionally. I may never know why God chose me, but what I do know, is that I thank God every day that he did.  Amen.

Inspiration

Cultivating Fabulous Friendships

When you’re my age it’s a remarkable pleasure to look back on your life to view the milestones.  Thoughts of what I have or have not done parade around my mind as though they own the space in my memories.  The key to unlocking them is by listening or talking to the friends, colleagues, or family who knew you way back when.  Add a little music and it’s as if you’re walking through a video of a past you’ve long forgotten.  If you feel a little self conscious about the memory you have the powerful truth that whatever it is; it’s behind you.  It’s like dancing through time with all the power to turn it on and off.  It’s very addictive to some of us who use that walk in the past to propel our behavior into whatever it is that we think it should be.  Retrospection is a tool i use probably more than most, because I am in a continuous state of trying my absolute best to be good enough to get into heaven.  To be kind enough for people to say nice things about me. To leave enough of a legacy of love that is what people remember when I am gone.

What I have learned however, is that some people; especially family, will always see me as weird, confusing, odd, off balance, untrustworthy, etc. The list goes on and on because sadly, once you make a mistake and you know the same people all these years; they never let you live past it. They never really learn to know the you that you have become.  They only want to remember the you who disappointed them. The you who hurt them. The you who isn’t perfect and that taints the perspective upon which everything you say or do is judged by them.

The good news is that as I have grown I have learned that all people make similar mistakes that I have. I have learned that every friendship has bumps of disappointment.  Some would ask why it has to be that way and the answer is simple.  None of us are perfect and we set all of our expectations unrealistically. When we’re hurt we forget that adjusting those expectations could lead to a happier relationship, but we’d rather just accuse, stand on some made up moral high ground or list our “principals” as the reason for our inability to forgive and move past things.  It’s a sad day when we expect others to be more perfect than we hold our own behaviors to be.

Another thing I have learned is that friendships are a gift. They don’t come easy. Long term friendships seem insurmountable to some. They take reaching out to remind someone how much they mean to you. Doing that and many of the accolades that people require from other people may cause a sense of being vulnerable to many. I believe it’s in this human interest where true love comes from any relationship. Where bonds are truly formed. Where the love lies.  It’s in our ability to feel and see others as fallible where we all reside in the company of each other than lifts or encourages us to be better than even we think we can be.  Thats the bond that separates acquaintances from that inner intimate circle that few get to see.

It’s so worth it to have friendships that take effort. The reason is because when you see each other, there’s a familiarity that is only due to faithful friendships. People who care enough to reach out. That’s just me. I care. It was important to be to write all those Christmas Letters. To reach out with phone calls. To keep in touch and be there through the saddens and the glad.  That has value in my life so I take a great amount of my time and I cause action to let someone know I remember, I admire and I still care.

Today when you’re thinking about that friend that just upsets you so, remember friendships are a gift. There has to be a way to save that relationship. To make it mean more to you.  Every season requires a moment to pass and that should too. Remind yourself that people need someone to lift them up, believe in them and to be their cheerleader. If you begin to do that for people, they in turn, will begin to do that for you.  It comes full circle.

I want to say thank you to the woman in my life and the men who have impacted me in profound ways. Either positive or negative means very little because at one point you had direct meaning in my life.  I am honored you call me a friend and blessed to have you in my life even if our friendship hasn’t lasted as long as we wished or is as strong as it could be.  I cherish friendships. You are important to me. I’m thankful to know you.

Inspiration

It is Tough to be in Pain

Sometimes I forget that life can truly be painful when it’s not so much for me. Pain is a relevant thing in my life… that being said, it isn’t a constant but I have had tremendous burden of it throughout my whole life. So, for someone such as me to admit that I am one of those ‘take a pill and get over it’ individuals it is not because I haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, it is because I am not currently walking in them. Speaking to you about your woes pulls me back into my own and like a crab trying to get out of the water while other’s pull them down, I run the opposite direction. Shame on me.

There is a moment when we realize maybe someone could feel less wounded if we took a minute not only to share our burden but to life someone else’s above our own. The loss of a child, a man, a job, may seem merely an obstacle for some while for other’s it may be their biggest burden. The measure of main is indescribably difficult from person to person and it shouldn’t be up to those of use who have endured to sit in judgement of what that actual affliction should be.

It is with powerful reverence that I can even utter this retrospective conclusion given that my admission to the offense is certainly evident, however, I will pause to give a forlorn gaze upon you as I whisper, “You are not alone. I am ready to hear.”

There are moments when people want to know that their worries are held in high regard. The one denominating characteristic is that they want to be valued. How dare I not give credence to that basic acceptance we all feel?

I do value yours as you have mine. I do see you for what you in see me. I hate the things in you that I hate about the things I see in me. I am you, further, distant, different having past through the torment you currently suffer. I am hope, and light, and forgiveness and you in the infinite wisdom of time healing all wounds will be resolute in the completeness of knowing that you too will one day erect from whatever feeds your life a living hell right now, much more victorious than I should have ever or ever will be. For you have the benefit of acknowledgement and affirmation and that my friend is the first step to the momentous climbing out of the depths of despair you find yourself in.

You are worthy, admirable, and possess great strength and courage. All things are possible through these actions. I do have faith in you. You should too.

To learn more about me, check out http://www.RebeccaNietert.com or catch me on one of my social sites through twitter: @RebeccaANietert or Facebook: BexNietert

Inspiration

Convictions or Rationalization for Condemning?

Last week I commented to a friend on a post she made on Facebook.  Instantly I was berated for my opinion.  By that word I mean told that my understanding was not based by the heart but merely by the perceptions I merely thought.  After a long banter back and forth of me trying to help the offended understand my intent, the dialog never really made it past an agreement to disagree. Further the offended, nonetheless without evidence except absence, is still somewhat concerned that their interpretation of my actions are not only just; but they’re tantalizing the thought of severing any kind of kinship with me whatsoever, because of the inference.  I find this disturbing.

The opposition was whether or not we have a right to form a working hypothesis about a group of individuals or behavior.  My position is that we not only have the right to form conclusions and thereby our convictions, and the opponent view was that in doing so; I am condemning without the benefit of concern or kindness.  In other words I was putting myself above another human being in their eyes and not putting the regard/respect of any individual’s right to determine his or her own faith above my judgment.

My thoughts are ever processing because it is very important to me that others see my heart despite the things I’ve learned to be true; such as people are both good and evil. Relationships are tricky because people always get disappointed in them.  Love sometimes hurts because nothing is great forever.  These absolute statements are the much formed opinions that I own due to my experiences.  They’re working hypothesis after years of studying the human behaviors that to this day I find confusing because others do not react, create, or act in the same ways in which I would. It takes me a long time to compartmentalize behaviors that I find offensive and put them in a context that I am able to conceptualize without feeling wounded by them.  I’ve learned sometimes people are cruel.

Despite that I tout that forgiveness is the only way to break the bondage of pain.  That a good heart is better than a great mind. That life without the blessings of being loved isn’t worth much or several cliché’s I am sure that you randomly get tagged with on Facebook. That’s how I genuinely believe.  I possess the gift of inspiration.  Whether it’s inspiring others to think of their own actions or offending them in such a way that they hold me accountable for mine. I inspire action.

Then I have to ask myself why is it that none of that mattered in the conversation. My conclusion? The offended didn’t really read about me. They don’t know my path or the great lengths I have taken to sacrifice my own happiness for the betterment of another.  They do not know of my years with women who were beaten. Nor do they know that I mentored many women and men through the years or even that I hold two masters degrees and one of those is in behavioral science. So how do you respond to a person who is so appalled by your proclamation that they cannot see past the offense? I have to question.

It is true that my convictions will not change the offended’s principals. It is true that theirs will not negate my own.  How do we get to a common denominator? Here’s what I know to be true.  With that being said, I am highly aware that my truth is NOT the same as another’s.  It is my conclusions of the experiences and inference to the data I have been subjected to all these years and it is in those convictions that I find myself defending.

I think it’s important to pause to understand how the things we say impact others. I think it’s further detrimental when one of those people tell us how they’ve been damaged.  It’s a responsibility to determine the facts presented and if ones actions have been faltering in the principals or beliefs behind the person, altered in such a way that it does not offend.

It is true that I believe in God. I believe that the teachings set forth by our great Lord are there because they are applicable to all people on this earth. It’s hard to negotiate that with someone who proclaims themselves to be an atheist but that goes back to a fundamental belief system that I wholly agree is non-negotiable.  It is in that reverent believe where my opinions of right and wrong principals are born.  Add some experience and education to the soup mix and you have the confidence to birth a conviction.

Promiscuity as I know it to be several indiscriminate partners; and as Physiology today claims it as the epidemic of anti social behavior I am perplexed why one would not understand why the conclusion to that argument is made. Further one could argue why they could not come to a conclusion.  The answer? Conviction becomes action and that has proven to be horrific for the community ethically and legally.  Now, we’re getting into the brass of it.

My understanding is that I have not condemned one for their promiscuity. I have in fact taken women and men into my home and given them rest. I have given counseling, and I have picked up the broken pieces of many who choose this life. I understand it. I don’t agree that’s it’s okay to live one’s life that way because I have been witness to the aftereffects many times over; first hand.  It breaks my heart that it is so ramped here in America and it a true cultural issue.

The offended understanding is that by concluding that there is a sense of brokenness or damage implies that the person making a choice for indiscriminate partners has his or her own mind and is making that choice. That choice should be done so without contempt, judgment, and or labeling.  No one has the right to form a conclusion because it takes the power away from the person making the choice to step outside the social boundaries of religion and social norms.  That’s a very strong argument.  One that should be considered.

Is the word “judgment” become a slanderous word by putting down to elevate oneself? In this case, I felt that “judgment” was conviction to assist where needed by applying scientific and physical evidence to the claim that people of this lifestyle were broken. Were my convictions simply a rationalization so that I can feel better about providing my time and effort?  I think not…but how does the other person feel about that?

My question to you is this. If you judge something you know to be true are you condemning it or are you concluding your findings? Food for thought. Would love it if you responded.

Inspiration

Making a choice to put myself last!

Not that I believe in horoscopes. I just happened to be perusing the yahoo page when I came across mine. Gemini. The ad said, “The role that money plays in your life is going through a transition, and it is beginning to seem like there are a few things in the world that are more important than account balances and shiny new things. Material goods are losing their luster and your eye will be drawn to humbler objects. Other people in your life might be confused by your new focus. This change in your attitude could cause a wrinkle in your social life for a little while, but only until everyone adjusts.” I thought to myself, there has been a change. It was my conscious thought to change recently. A friend reminded me that my actions although crucial in point, were without the best of intensions. I acquiesced and here we are. Modified and humbled by the woman who epitomizes grace and love. Thank you, Mary. Sometimes my actions need to be called into check, because people ruffle my feathers. I cannot for the life of me understand why it doesn’t happen that way for everyone, but that’s my burden.

Last week according to my sister I was in my own little private pity party. It’s something which I do from time to time and usually when something seems a tad unjust. However, given the fact that she lied about her concern fueled a fire I haven’t had in quite some time. Being the extra-introspection guru that I am; I quickly began a dialog with my inner conscious. Was it me? Did I do something again that wasn’t justified? Was I thinking only of myself again? (Admittedly something else I do as well from time to time.) I beat myself about it for about a day and a half when it hit me after receiving the following email from another of my most eloquent of confidants.

Leanna wrote: “You are a deeply introspective soul. Probably the most thought-provocative person I know. In every human interaction, you come away with a deep lake of introspection and probably most everyone else walks away with a puddle. You are rare, Rebecca… and wonderful. Society needs people like you to help keep us from degrading into a culture like “Lord Of The Flies”. Tell yourself often that “this conversation will be a puddle to the other person” … but yours will be something complex and thoughtful. You see human interactions much like a symphony composed by Mozart and thank you, God, for you. I need your introspections to know how others think, and feel, and regard others. But, never forget… most people really don’t care about the subtleties; they just want the “Like” button tapped.”

I thought all weekend about what she said because she gets me. She really truly gets me. I began to read the words, “Don’t define yourself by your family’s opinions.” I know this to be my truth and so I decided to make a list of all the things I’ve done, without hesitation or question or thought to show my family I love them. So from the weddings I went to, and the Christening, and the birthday parties for a father who never acknowledged me, to throwing a surprise 40th that was 1,200 miles away to trips to see children, and sick relatives, and the list goes on and on and on. Then it hit me. In the times when I was either on the phone with them or at their doorstep were the worst or most celebrated moments in their lives. I was there. My actions are pure. My sentiments revealed, and my time was given freely without the benefit of my whole immediate family because of costs. If I needed to go, I showed up.

I looked back on the last 15 years of my life. I’ve been married, had two kids (of who know very little of the extended family). Both of my kids were christened. My son was in critical condition at age 5. I was devastated when I had to have my hysterectomy because I wanted more children, and then I got gravely ill about a year ago. None of which did I get one phone call, or did anyone show up. It hit me. It’s not me. I have engaged, supported, encouraged and dreamt of a union a whole lot stronger than my siblings and I have. What need to accept is that this fantasy of mine is mine and mine alone? They just want to hit the “like” button. They don’t want to create puddles. Okay. Got it.

I think for me and all the waters of my soul, what I have to come to terms with is the unconditional love that I have for my siblings regardless of their actions. Is that being a doormat for their actions or can I freely and wholly accept that they will be someone I speak with or potentially see every decade until I am dead? We won’t really have any more than that. I’ve accepted reluctantly. It’s never what I wanted.

To the gal pals who keep me sure footed in the reality that I am no better or worse than any other girl on this planet thank you. For those who share my daily life, create joy, lift me up, say silly things and have cocktails; you are my support, my life and my love. To those who let me know I’m being self-centered, and focused on the wrong things thank you too, because without you my pity party (unjust or not) would probably continue. I need you too.

Today, I’m going to let all this should I or shouldn’t I feel about what did or didn’t happen affect me. Today my goal is to seek out a better more amiable attitude and force a perspective change to include those who might need me to make their day a little more kooky or crazy or fun. It’s my turn to lift, to elevate, to be there, and to listen. Thank God I get that chance.