The Power of Saying No

The Power of Saying No

Have you ever caught yourself stuck in a situation you didn’t want to be in? You defied that intuitive feeling that told you “nah sis, I don’t want to do this,” yet there you are trying your best not to think about an escape plan while engaging in an uninteresting (and unimportant) conversation. Or thinking about how you could’ve saved your coins had you just said no! If you are anything like me, a natural nurturer and giver, saying no is innately a difficult thing to do. I learned a while ago that when I am asked to do something I don’t necessarily want to do, I’m inclined to say yes despite the fact that my intuition and my body are screaming “NO” at the top of their lungs. Why is it so hard to say no?

Boundaries, that is why. Repeat after me, boundaries. Uncovering what your boundaries are means understanding exactly what it is you want. Often times I worry about offending someone and neglect the physical and mental reaction that my body is giving me. Disregarding my own feelings makes me more disappointed in myself when I end up in a situation that I know I should not be in. In the situation I’m constantly wondering why I’m there, wishing I was in my bed instead. This is where self awareness takes place. Why is that I put others before myself? Why do I consider the other person’s wants and needs quicker than my own? Why am I willing to inconvenience myself for someone else? 

My problem with saying no and lack of boundaries begins with my inability to say no to the most important people in my life: my family. Building the courage to say no to them was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do. I was torn between feeling guilt, and fearful of what the outcome would be. It was when I realized my self doubt, self hatred, and lack of confidence came from their verbal abuse. Their doubt and negativity was a drug, and I was succumbing to it in every way. I was drowning in their fears and I knew it was time to say no when I started living in them. Their doubt in my capabilities made me question every aspect of my life. I began questioning myself more than ever and thus came the dreadful insecurities that I am still fighting off today. So, how do you say no to family? 

Truth is you don’t. What you do is model and only allow behavior that you deserve. This may take some time, especially if you’ve developed an unhealthy idea of how you should be treated. Knowing and understanding your boundaries means you have to discover and explore what it is that brings you peace. That does not mean agreeing to something you don’t agree with in order to maintain that peace. That is a prime example of not loving yourself. You are choosing someone else’s comfortability over your own. Modeling and only allowing behavior you know you deserve can be difficult. If you are anything like me, stubborn and ready to vocalize herself, it takes a lot of willpower to not engage in argumentative dialogue with people who refuse to understand you.

What I learned was to express myself as directly and precise as I could. While I was ready to express and vocalize my emotions, I learned that not everyone has the same capacity. There were many moments where I felt defeated and hopeless. My family was not willing to understand the pain they were causing me.

Eventually, I walked away from anything and anyone who was unwilling to meet me halfway. I walked away from people who were not willing to be self aware and accountable for themselves, even family. More importantly, I recognized that I won’t always get the apology I know I deserve. I have learned to be okay with that. Their actions and lack of effort to better understand my emotions is loud enough.

What people’s reaction may be when you say no is not for you to control. Worry about how you are at risk of losing yourself if you don’t say no. Codependency has the potential to make you want to give more than you should. Do not let lack of boundaries be the reason you cannot trust yourself and your intuition. Do not let codependency keep you from eliminating people who drain your energy while making you feel responsible for theirs. Prioritizing yourself. Set those boundaries fearlessly. It will teach people how to treat you. Trust me, once you acknowledge your emotions it empowers you to be in control and aware of yourself. 

Conquering the fear of saying no to family, acquaintances, friends, and relationships does indeed get easier. I’m not saying this will always be easy. What I mean is that eventually it will be second nature to choose yourself over anyone else.

Perhaps the most important thing I have learned about myself in my journey of saying no is knowing when I need to say no to myself. No, I will no longer allow family to get me out of my character. No, I will not allow half assed apologies without changed behavior. No, I am not responsible for someone else’s feelings. No, I do not have time for individuals who are not reciprocating the same effort and energy I give.

One more thing: Always remember you are deserving of the love you put out. So why not give it to yourself?

Recommended crystals:

Rose Quartz

Lapis Lazuli 

Tiger’s Eye

Why I’m Alright Without Children

Why I’m Alright Without Children

Most women my age beat themselves up over their childless circumstances. In American culture, 30 seems to be the acceptable age for moving into the family-building facet of life. Women feel like they have to be married by 30, have a baby by 30, own a house by 30, be in a stable career by 30. The reality of these challenging times is that most people aren’t even self sufficient by 30.

The fact of the matter is that most grown adults are still dependent on their families to survive. Gone are the days of the Baby Boomers where a teacher or a mechanic could afford to support a family and there was such a thing as employment security. Nowadays, we have grown adults with families of their own who receive continued financial support for various reasons stemming from economic inflation and mental health issues. And in this age of entitlement, it’s becoming the norm for grown adults to expect their parents to pay their mortgage, student loans, health care; then they have children and expect their parents to pay for them too.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with parents who want to help their kids, regardless of age. But that reality is a mere fantasy to others. For the rest of us who have to support ourselves— truly support ourselves— bringing a child into the world isn’t the smartest decision just yet.

We also live in a technological era that causes us to want everything now. It’s to the point we are destroying the planet at alarming rates simply for immediate gratification. How will this pan out for future generations?

These are a few factors I consider when I think about procreation:

Environmental Security: Now this is a hard one because most of it is out of my control. But I think about it a lot, which means it’s an important factor to creating life on this planet. It makes me so upset to go to the beach and see endless amounts of litter blowing by my blanket in the sand. I pick up other people’s trash constantly. I read about the devastating state of our oceans. I know about overpopulation and the earth’s dwindling resources. This is all common, accessible knowledge. And yet, people continue to litter, to ignore conservation efforts, and destroy the very world they bring their children in to live. It makes no sense to me. So I do my part, and when the time comes, my future children will do theirs. At this point, nothing less should be tolerated.

Financial Security: I’ve been asked a few times why I do “all this.” Well, number 1 because I can only rely on myself. The more trades I am able to work, the more likely I am to not only survive, but to thrive. People can achieve a certain level of success and lose it all within a matter of months. You can assume that the relationship you’re in will last forever, but patterns of marriage and divorce in America prove otherwise. When you don’t have people underneath you holding a safety net made of cash, this reality is enough to make you put the breaks on starting a family prematurely. This is a sink or swim economy. Sinking alone is one thing; sinking with an innocent life that depends on you is quite another. For me, being a parent means I am required to swim, and swim well. But I admit, I have high standards. If it’s not good enough for me, it certainly won’t be good enough for my offspring.

Emotional Security: Too often I see women have babies simply because of co-dependency issues. They just want someone to love them unconditionally. What better plan than to have a tiny person “need” them? What they fail to recognize, however, is that it’s the parent who is supposed to love the child unconditionally. The parent isn’t supposed to be the one “needing”; the parent should be the one teaching and leading. A child shouldn’t be the one expected to support the parent. This creates toxic patterns that will affect the emotional stability of the child well into adulthood and possibly the rest of his or her life if left untreated.

Furthermore, the child is a separate person from the parent, with his or her own likes, dreams, and aspirations. No one wants to be a vessel for their parent to live through, especially when he or she doesn’t even like the same things. I am not done living my own life. There are still personal accomplishments I’m striving to achieve and until I have done that, I won’t bring a child into this world. For me, forcing the things I didn’t do onto a child isn’t good enough. It’s not good enough for me, and it certainly isn’t good enough for them.

In my opinion, we’re at a point in society where Darwinism is at its best: survival of the fittest. We must learn to adapt to changing times in an era where our very world disintegrating beneath our feet due to the negligence of political leadership, artificial intelligence (AI) is replacing jobs left and right, and depression and anxiety are at an all-time high due to lack of mental health care. This may seem pessimistic, but I don’t believe it is. It’s reality. And it’s the reason I am alright without children for now.

For those who feel societal pressure to fit into this unrealistic cookie-cutter scenario of kids by 30: have the courage to walk your own path. Trying to control divine timing will only lead to karmic situations. I’m sure in a few years I’ll post another blog about the joys of motherhood and all the wonderful feelings that come along with it, because I do want a family. Though only on my terms, and in the very best conditions I can provide. Don’t all children deserve that from their parents?

Recommended healing crystals:

Carnelian: grounding stone to embrace reality and the cycle of life; motivates positive choices that lead to success

Fire agate: grounding stone that promotes inner security; helps heal unresolved emotional issues

Ammonite: ancient mollusc of the sea that is now a fossilized shell; awakens Kundalini energy and provides clarity of the bigger picturepatiencesurvivalfinancial stabilityfamily

More Money, More Problems

More Money, More Problems

People are too quick to believe that money solves all problems. The sentiment is that if more money would come in, then everything would be fine. Everything. There would be no more fighting, the bills would be paid, worries would cease to exist and life would be grand. This dogma has often backfired, leaving people railing against the current of life wondering why fortune (and sometimes fame) isn’t enough. Money is power, and with power comes great responsibility. How you choose to use money reveals if your ego is in charge, or you are. 

More money, more problems— it’s no lie. The more you make, the more people enter your life in ways that could bear fruit, or end with a knife in your back. The sad truth is that naiveté will often leave you bleeding on the ground. Money has the ability to throw all the rules of civility out the window. It creates an egocentric landscape where everyone is out for themselves, where comradery only counts when life in on an upswing, and many people you called friends are now frenemies. Whether there was “team” or not doesn’t matter. Any successful business person has a story or two about horrible partnerships. Money is food for the ego. And if you’re not careful, it can land you in a trap of your own nightmare, or someone else’s. 

Feeding the ego can become an addiction. Whether it’s shopping, gambling, alcohol, or drugs, there’s always another hit to be had. The endless spending is a physical manifestation of filling a void. What void depends on the individual. But there’s a void present nonetheless. The fleeting moment of happiness when buying something new, or having another drink, or taking another hit wears off fast. The emptiness expands quicker than your wallet empties. And when you have more money, it flies out faster to get something else to distract you from what’s really going on. It’s futile. 

This is how the seemingly rich lose everything, even their lives. I’ve often heard people flabbergasted at how so and so lost their ass when they had “so much money!” Money isn’t infinite. And if you’re constantly spending it feeding your ego, the ego grows strong. Doesn’t matter how many hours you put in, the ego will outrun you. You’ll be left choking on dust, trudging along with heavier baggage on your shoulders. 

Money has the ability to create an insatiable ego. No matter how much there is, it’s never enough. Another pair of shoes, another bag, more decor, a newer car, another bump, another round, a  bigger party, a bigger house: the list is endless. It seems the more you have, the less satisfied you become. There’s so much unhappiness permeating the homes of the rich. This is why you can find the best drugs in the biggest mansions.

The money makes them feel they have nothing left to learn. They hide behind the ego. What else is there if you can buy anything you want, even the judge and the jury.

No amount of money, or drugs, or material possessions will heal trauma. The more you try, the more pain you perpetuate into your current life. Families break apart. Relationships that could’ve been lifelong, whether love, platonic, or business, get destroyed by feeding the ego. The debt becomes overwhelming, and some people end up with nothing and no one.

Money won’t fix trauma. Doesn’t matter if you were born into money, or acquired it on your own, it won’t mend a single thing. Problems are just exacerbated with an influx of cash. The only way to heal is to do the inner work. To face to demons from your past, grieve the losses, and start building the solid foundation of your true identity is the only way to find stability in who you are, with or without money. Otherwise, you remain corruptible. And if there’s one sure thing about money, it’s that it will corrupt the corruptible. 

Everyone has some amount of trauma. Whether you decide to live with it and the involuntary actions that stem from the pain is a personal choice. But know this— money won’t fix it, it will just make it worse. We see it everyday on television, in the homes of our friends, even in our own. You are no exception. We can choose to live in the light of truth, to face our past with courage and honesty, and heal the wounds that would otherwise overcome us. Then nothing could stand in the way of our growth. Standing strong in our identity makes it harder for the ego to rule. This space is where we are free to focus on creating the dreams for our future. Prosperity flourishes there.

Healing crystal recommendations:

Gold Pyrite (Fool’s Gold): Aids in overcoming feelings of inadequacy and boosts confidence; helps to see the truth behind the facade. 

Mahogany Obsidian: A stone of growth and soul healing; brings flaws and negative energies to the surface in order to dispel them.

Cinnabar (Dragon’s Blood): The super abundance stone; aids in selling, aligns energy center, and releases blockages to prosperity. healing crystalsmoneyaddictionpainsuccess

To the Troubled Some

To the Troubled Some

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven,” says Satan in Paradise Lost as he tries to make the best of his banishment. And that’s the devil for you. Doesn’t matter what you believe in, evil is human nature’s fundamental flaw. Most people are able to keep it at bay, mostly because they’ve been exposed to more good than bad. Life blesses some people that way. Others know nothing but pain and struggle. Fear and anxiety. It becomes so common it’s a normal way of life. The only way, so it seems. For the troubled and tormented, there was never a paradise to lose. 

It’s basic psychology that how you grow to perceive the world lies solely in the environment you’re born into. It’s luck of the draw really. Some call is fate. Others call it karma. Why we come into this world with the reality we’re faced with has been a topic of research since the dawn of conscious thought. Some people are perfectly happy with next to nothing while others are drowning in the misery of their own materialism and lack of self love. The less fortunate seem to have endless suffering. Being planted in a garden of manure with little to no sunshine leaves a small chance for growth. 

One of my students said it best when she told me “these kids have nothing to live for.” Unfortunately for troubled some, this statement is true. Living in poverty, violence, disappointment, anxiety, and hardened sadness has the ability to turn anyone, no matter how good their intentions may be. There is no self care. It’s hard to find the light when you’re buried under the burning barrel of a gun. It seems like the only option is to play in the fire. 

Regardless of the circumstance, everyone is given a choice of which road to take. We either go down the road of the same pain we grew up with because it’s familiar, or we take our chances on the unknown in hopes of a better life. This sounds like an easy enough choice, but it’s harder than it sounds. The latter is scarier because it’s more work, less familiar, and the outcome is unknown. We prefer to stick to what we know, even if what we know we know isn’t right, or even what we really want. 

For some people living for themselves apparently isn’t enough. Somewhere down the line they were taught that they weren’t good enough, smart enough, strong enough. Somewhere down the line they were taught there was only one way, this path of pain, and that paradise was exiled for them from the very beginning. It’s too hard to believe, then, when someone tries to lead you to light. Learning isn’t very difficult, but unlearning is a task only the strong will take on. 

And if they refuse, then that is their path to take and choice to make. Unfortunately the ones who need the most love are the same people you should stay away from. This is where the word “toxic” comes in. People will play their pain onto everyone, and if you’re not careful, you’ll get sucked into the vortex and dragged down to their personal hell. How deep this goes depends on the person. How far you’re willing to stray from your own truth and value is tested. We’re all on a journey of choice and consequence. Do your best to stay on your own path. 

It’s true that you can’t change anyone, you can only change yourself. There are some real angels in the world who will try and lead the inflicted to light, but ultimately the acceptance of guidance can only be granted by the person to whom it’s offered. If a person wants to suffer, then suffering it is. As time goes by, the offers and chances dwindle like a candle burns through wax. And then only darkness ensues. 

So choose the path of the light, no matter how dim it may seem. Dark tunnels lead to a brighter endings. We may not know what’s outside, but we definitely know what is in— darkness. And is that really something you want to live with forever? The choice is yours. 

Recommended Crystals: 

 Clear Quartz

Smoky Quartz

Pyrite

Want to read more like this? Check out To the Broken Being. 

 

Moth To A Flame

Moth To A Flame

What is it with lights and shiny things? The sparkle draws you in, tempting you with the unknown. This is the confession: my whole life I secretly desired the attention of being in love. Something boils deep inside me, a curiosity, a burning desire that I can’t seem to get in check. We tango in the red flickering light. We caminar in soft hues turned fluorescent blues; lead and follow in the ivory glow, the light I loved the most. It was soft, and its sparkle held a gleaming stare that ran right through my soul. I hadn’t tangoed in that light before. The ivory light that was warm and cold in unison, each step bringing a new temperature until the music stopped. 

You think the silence could crush you. The dull afterglow is a sad reminder that once there was music. How can it be now there’s nothing to step to? My thoughts are a rumbling thunder over my heart and lighting strikes it with fury. What is there to hear in a silent room?  I smile standing there alone, the sun peeking in through a window.

Ivory sparkles still linger on my skin. I miss the way it moved in the moonlight, glistening in the soft, still evening of the night. Standing in solitude, the sun sets on my face. Slowly, it begins to envelop me. The warmth grows within my body and projects back into the room. The ivory lingers in the shadows, backed into corner like a secret I no longer wish to know. 

It flickers. Beckoning to me, testing my will. I know that the desire can burn so bright it blinds you. So I keep my distance and watch the ivory sparkle and fade. 

We often become infatuated with stories we build of a person and the ideas of how things should be. We create illusions of a time that hasn’t been or may never be. Although it feels real, it isn’t. Some stories work out and other times it doesn’t. When it doesn’t we tend to become upset with the other person for not fitting into the stories we created. These moments are important for self growth. In this pain, we find out what we want, we realize what we don’t want, and what we need— actually need. There is a very distinct difference between feeding our fears and feeding our souls. 

We must peel back the layers of our hearts. We must toss aside the thick, defensive armor we built to protect ourselves from the brutality of others. This has to be released in order to give yourself all the things you desire from others, all the love and compassion you thought you needed from another person. For some, it won’t be simple. It will take practice and dedication and deep exploration. It will mean confronting childhood traumas, crying it out, release, and healing. It will be a process. But soon enough, you will be drawn to yourself. Like a moth to a flame, you’ll be free to follow the light except the flame will be your own, harmless and like a warm hearth at home in your heart.

In order to find the ones who treat us like we deserve we must change our personalities to reflect the qualities we want to attract from others. We must release negative self talk, self doubt, and lack of self respect. We must go inward, do the work, and project what we want into the world. Then, and only then, do we get what we’ve been looking for in our everyday life. 

To begin the process, identify the cause of heartbreak and pain. Who or what was the flame where you got burned? Focus only on yourself; leave the other person or circumstance out of the equation.What have you learned about your needs? 

Only Child Syndrome

Only Child Syndrome

“Are you an only child?” Every time I’m asked this question there’s always a feeling of dread that I’ve exposed some negative trait about myself. In my early years, I probably did do something that was selfish or bratty. I was oblivious to how I was perceived, but thinking only of my comfort and convenience was all I ever knew. Through no fault of my own, I am an only child.

As I got older I learned how to interact in close relationships through my friends who looked passed the “only child syndrome” straight into the heart of who I was. These friends became the siblings I never had, my truest, most loyal confidants. We fought, we cried, we got over it, and moved on. I grew as a person because of these friendships. 

It bothers me when people perceive only child-dom as a bad thing. Sure, we’re not used to sharing, and most of us are accustomed to getting what we want. But does our initial brattiness make us bad people? Absolutely not. In fact, there are some very positive traits of only children that are harder to find in people with siblings. 

1. We are fiercely independent.

Why? Because we have to be. Outside of our parents spoiling us, we’ve had to figure out how to navigate through life with our own brains. We didn’t have older siblings to watch and mimic, we didn’t have any sibling to help us do anything. It’s just me, myself, and I. This made us into adults who can figure things out alone. It made us incredibly resourceful, which leads us to:

2. We tend to be more creative.

Being an only child may have been lonely growing up, but it made us much more creative in the long run. We learned to entertain ourselves with our imagination. We learned how to problem solve alone. And our likes and dislikes? There was no copying a brother or sister because that person didn’t exist. So the things we like and do are really all about our secure sense of self. 

3. We are loyal friends. 

What happens when an only child finds a person to develop a strong bond with? That friend has the ability to grow into a pseudo- sister or brother. Since we don’t have siblings, our friends become our family. We cherish these relationships, especially because they don’t exist at home. 

4. Only children are more successful

Studies have repeatedly shown that only children spend more time around adults, developing faster cognitively and emotionally, since their sense of self is clearly defined and not in competition with siblings. Only children don’t have to “fit” into any family dynamic, and are therefore able to develop themselves more fully. We set the bar of achievement, no one else. What can be more empowering than that? 

I can tell you, there are some people I know who grew up with siblings who are far worse for wear than I ever was. They become frantic when something goes wrong, they vie for attention to the point of desperation, and can’t seem to stand on their own two feet to save their life. From an only child’s point of view, that behavior is weird. 

So the next time you come across an only child, don’t assume the worst. We learn how to share, we learn how to admit wrongdoings, we grow, and we cherish your friendship.