Emotional Healing

Finding Hope In Your Brokenness

November 25, 2017
Finding Hope In Your Brokenness

I think the biggest misconception about diving back into your faith is that God waves His magic wand and life instantly gets easier for you. When life gives you lemons, it’s easy to make lemonade because well, you’ve got God on your team! If God is sovereign, God is good, God is almighty, and God’s love never fails, then we can mix those ingredients together and you’ve got the best tasting lemonade around, right? For me this wasn’t exactly the case as I journeyed back into my relationship with Jesus. I often found that my feelings of unworthiness and my feeling of being completely broken kept God at arm’s length. My lemons seemed to be the worst of the batch and I couldn’t ever see how God was going to turn them into something sweeter. I never felt like I could accept the fact that He loved me too. I found it difficult to accept that He had a greater plan for me.  I felt stuck and didn’t realize that He was waiting to turn everything around. I knew God loved everyone else, but I didn’t believe that He loved me. I knew that God could work miracles, but I didn’t ever believe it was going to happen to me. I thought I was the one person on this earth who was searching for God, but He wasn’t searching for me. Naive right? But it was how I felt deep in my inner core, and it was a huge hindrance in allowing me to dive deeper into my faith. So how do we find hope in God amidst all the brokenness that is within us?

We as Christians, are often told of God’s unending mercy and God’s limitless grace. The bible paints a beautiful picture of how we are to set our eyes on Jesus, on Heaven above, and not let worldly things hinder our faith in God’s goodness.  But what happens when you can’t accept the fact that Jesus loves you just as you are? That the grace and mercy He talks about so often in the bible is meant for you as well?

I struggled with being lost in my brokenness for as long as I could remember. I felt like God had left me alone and I would struggle with these dark emotions forever.  Some days were easier than others, but I often felt weighed down in my emotions and struggled to see where God was working in my life during these dark times. Naively, I used to think that becoming a Christian meant that my life was going to become instantly easier the moment I said yes to Jesus. That I was going to have a radical transformation and I would no longer struggle with the demons and dark emotions of my past. That I would wake up one morning, leave my past behind and head off into the glorious future that God had planned out for me. I no longer would deal with these feelings of unworthiness and heaviness. I saw people around me who had these radical transformations and because I wasn’t experiencing this change, I thought I was somehow so broken that not even Jesus Himself could save me.

What I have since come to learn, is that this is simply not the case. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.  I was watching a sermon by a pastor named Matt Chandler, who runs a church out of Dallas and he said something that profoundly hit home to me… “As a believer in Jesus Christ, thinking you are too broken for Him to save you is simply known as reverse pride. The idea that you are too far gone, that you are the worst of the worst, and that the salvation that comes with Jesus’s resurrection on that cross can’t possibly apply to you, is just as bad as thinking that you don’t need Jesus to be the King of your life at all.”

This hit me straight to the heart. God so loved the world that He gave his only son for us! This meant EVERYONE. He literally died for people who were going to turn against Him, who would commit heinous crimes, and people who would deny his existence all together. He is always there to welcome them with open arms when they accept Jesus as their savior. He died for them, so why did I think that this love didn’t also apply to me? This is where I learned the lesson that prayers really do get answered. As I started to ask Jesus to heal the brokenness in me, I slowly started to learn that the thoughts and emotions I had been feeling were not ones that God had given me. They were not how He thought of me. Those little lies that constantly plagued my mind were not coming from the One who loves us most. We have an enemy and he will do anything to make you think that you are not worthy of God’s love.  These little lies are placed in your mind to make you feel distant from God in hope that you will eventually turn your back on Him. Once you realize that these feelings are not yours, it becomes easier to realize that they are lies. I found that as I drew nearer to God, He drew nearer to me. Exactly like the bible says. God cannot lie, His words are truth. Once you learn who you are in God’s eyes, you have so much more power to turn from those nasty little lies that are placed in your mind to hold you back.

I’ve talked in past blog posts about how I was always looking for something or someone in this world to fill a void in my life.  This lead me to make some choices that were not in my best interest. When I got back into my faith, I quickly learned that what I was missing was Jesus. But at that same time, I dictated to myself that I was only worthy of God’s love once I became a better version of myself. That the person I was right now, wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t the prettiest, or the kindest, or the most selfless, and I definitely wasn’t the most giving person around.  I found myself surrounded by my weaknesses and I slowly started to feel the weight of them crushing all around me. The guilt I felt for how I had been living my life came in like a tidal wave and further fueled the brokenness that I felt. I found that I would try on my own to fix my weaknesses and was ashamed of the ones that I had. This is exactly when Jesus showed up for me. I learned that His grace and His mercy shine brightest through our weaknesses. The areas of our life where we cannot seem to overcome, that’s when our need for Him is the greatest. I’ve since learned to accept the areas of my life I cannot change, as the areas He works the greatest in. It affirms my need for Him and generates more and more thankfulness for the fact that He loved us so much that he died for us. It’s a humbling view point to recognize the need you truly need for Jesus.

Finding myself in Christ has been a slow process, one that I am sure I hinder every day by focusing on things that shouldn’t be as important to me as they are. I constantly find that I am trying to control my life and make it how I think it should go. I am stubborn and am always trying to do things my way just one more time. But the brokenness that had always left me empty, quickly became the areas where God’s grace was the most present. He loves to be welcomed into broken peoples lives. He works with our brokenness. As soon as your start realizing that He loves you for exactly who you are in this very moment, that you don’t have to be the perfect Christian to attain His love, your whole life changes. At least it did for me.  There will still be days when you struggle, but knowing who you are in Christ and recognizing  the lies for what they are, is transformative.  God is always with you and nothing can separate you from that love.

It can be tough when you come face to face with your brokenness.  But isn’t that where God meets us? In our imperfections?  I do think that God is always working things out for our good, that He does have a genuinely good plan for each and every person, and that He is always with us. It’s often easy to get lost in the mess of our own lives and forget that He is always there. While the world may change around us, we have a God who never does. He is always for us. He is always there to show you how much He loves you. All you have to do is ask. We can always find His love, even amidst the mess, chaos, and brokenness of ourselves.

Christianity is not about us attaining perfection. It’s about learning that we are loved exactly as we are. Brokenness and all.

It’s about acknowledging our weakness and accepting the fact that we weren’t ever meant to save ourselves.

Be patient my dear, let God do His things on His time. Your brokenness is always welcome with Him. Accept who you are, including your flaws.

 

Phillipians 4:4

Relationships

Boys Don’t Dictate Your Worth

November 15, 2017
Boys Don’t Dictate Your Worth

Who do you find in your life that you continually allow dictate your self-worth? Is it your friends? An ex boyfriend? Or a stranger you barely know? A while back I had someone comment to me that my blogs were very one sided… that I was only portraying one side of the story, and that story was vastly unfair. In all reality, I can only portray one side of the story because that side is the side I have experienced… But I’m not going to lie, it seriously hurt me knowing that someone had a critical view about my honest words and all too real experiences.  I try to pour out my thoughts in an attempt to help other girls escape the negative cycle of emotions I had felt stuck in for far too long. It sat unsettled with me for a while, quite a while actually… way longer than it ever should have. I admit that I let the comment of someone who was basically a stranger to me, effect my view of my blog a little too much. I let once again, what some random person thought about my blog, dictate my worth. It discouraged me. I took it way too personal. I started to doubt what I was doing and if this is really where God had called me to be. I started to really think about this dilemma and how it mirrored my life. It took me back to those dark dark days where I constantly let what other people thought of me, dictate my self worth. So why did I let this person plant this seed of doubt in my head? Why did it bother me so much about what others thought?

I realized that deep down I was so scared of failure, scared of not being liked, and scared of not being worthy enough to share my experiences.  I realized that I really did care what everyone thought. I was scared that once again, I was not living up to some unrealistic expectation that I had dictated to myself. I felt like I was not as accomplished as I thought I should be at that specific point in my life. I mean, I am 27 and single… If I was going to be single, I had dictated that I needed to at least be successful in something! So, what are we supposed to do when we feel defeated? When we feel like we have no purpose, and we feel like what we are doing doesn’t matter?

After weeks of letting this wound fester within me, I soon came to realize that I was letting the opinion of someone else control my reality. It truly did not matter what this person thought- about my blog, or about me. One person’s view of me cannot dictate who I am. I had to learn to stop caring about what everyone else thought about me. Once again, the disease to please had reared its ugly head. But God showed me that in life we are always going to face opposition. Someone is always not going to like you, like what you are doing, or like how you are living your life.  But what we as women need to learn, is that we need to stay true to who we are, and who we are called to be!

God has such a beautiful life planned out for each and every person. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you are at in your life, we all are put here on this earth for a specific and important purpose. We have worth in Jesus, even if you don’t feel that way at this very moment. We may struggle day to day with finding our purpose, or even struggle daily to find our worth. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t matter and we aren’t loved. It can be hard to accept the love HE so freely gives when you’re at a low point in your life. But we still need to know that no matter the circumstance, we are worth more than rubies in Gods eyes. No matter what the world says, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made! Our worth should never be dictated by some person who doesn’t know us, or by some boy who doesn’t care enough to really care.

I have such a special place in my heart for girls who have been broken by boys who don’t see the value of the girl standing in front of them. It breaks my heart to see these beautiful girls give all of themselves to boys who don’t appreciate their value and beauty. It’s a shame that these boys are so blinded and broken themselves that they don’t think these girls are anything more than someone to mess around with until the next good thing comes around. What’s an even bigger shame is that girls think they aren’t worthy of a man who treats them like they deserve to be treated. I’ve been there, and it’s not a fun place to be. Feeling like you don’t matter unless you have the attention of a boy is a lonely place. I realize that not every couple works out, but there is a difference between being incompatible and stringing someone on because you’re afraid of being alone. If a boy isn’t going to treat you how you know you deserve to be treated, then ladies move on. Seriously! If he is causing you more heartbreak than happiness, say goodbye! The longer you hold on to an emotionally unavailable man who doesn’t respect you, the more time you are wasting from finding the one who will. This may be cliché, but ladies it is the cold, hard, honest truth!

The pressure to fit into a perfect cookie cutter mold of the “perfect” woman in 2017 is so unrealistic. Yet so many of us strive to be that woman. The woman that social media dictates us to be. It’s so easy to lose the beauty that is really your authentic self when you start comparing your worth to women who seem to have it all. Comparison is the thief of joy, after all. You are never going to like who you are if you set unrealistic goals of who society dictates you should be. What is so wrong with the girl staring at you from the mirror? God made you. God loves you. You may not be the prettiest, or the skinniest, or even the funniest, but those little quirks that you try to hide, are exactly what makes you so special and authentic.  When you stray from your authentic self, I truly and honestly believe you are only hurting yourself. How exhausting is it to play make believe all day, every day? (hint: it’s exhausting!) Soon you get so used to playing pretend that you lose who you truly are, and when that happens it is near impossible to be honestly happy with your life.

We were all made to be different. You are you! And my dear, that is perfect in God’s eyes. Find your worth in Jesus. He is the only one who can show you the kind of love your heart truly desires.

I struggled with the feeling of shame for who I was for as long as I can remember. I never liked who I was, so I found my new identity in drinking at a decently young age. It was easy to hide behind the party girl identity. It was easy to make friends when you’re the life of the party. It’s easy to play make-believe when you’re not of sober mind. But soon that lifestyle became unfulfilling and I tried to fill the empty void I felt with myself by searching for my validation in boys. I thought all I needed was a prince charming to come save me, sweep me off my feet and magically everything would be fall in to place.  But this didn’t ever happen, and all I ended up with was a string of boys who were searching for the same thing.  Together in our brokenness we created an even bigger mess, leaving one of us with an even bigger wound when the so-called relationship came to an end. We were both looking to fill a void that was only ever meant to be filled with Jesus.

Boys DON’T dictate our worth. Jesus loves all of us equally. He doesn’t give His love in pieces. It’s not insecure love. It’s not shameful love. It’s not convenient love. It’s not here today, gone tomorrow love. It’s empowering, self identifying, flaw including, shameless love. The greatest mistake of life is going through it not experiencing the love of God all because we are ashamed of who we are. Our worth is not found in our accomplishments, it’s not found in some boy, and it’s not even found in this world. If we allow circumstances and people to determine our worth, then guaranteed at some point, we will be let down. But if you root yourself in Jesus, then my dear, you’re going to find your worth and identity on a whole new unshakable level.

I’m sure there are many people who think what I am doing is stupid and that maybe my blog won’t amount to much, and maybe it won’t… but at this point in my life it has been confirmed to me time and time again, that I am doing exactly what God has called me to do during this season of my life. Sharing my side of how I let certain types of boys dictate my life and how I struggle daily with finding myself again, all with the hope that others can make the change too. So, if I can help just one person realize that God’s love for us is so much greater and deeper than the so-called love we think we are getting from an undeserving boy, then that’s a big check mark in the win column for me!

Psalm 4:1

sarah sig

 

Relationships

The Messiness of Breakups

October 19, 2017

Let’s face it. Never in the history of breakups has anyone ever said, “that breakup was fun!” Unless the person you’re breaking up with is a monster and you have no positive or genuine feelings towards them, you likely spend your time dreading an impending breakup. The hard time of being emotionally raw, heartbroken, and sometimes utterly lost is daunting at best. When the feelings you are experiencing are deep, breakups can leave you feeling like you are wandering around without a much-needed limb.  Every day tasks seem impossible, and even just getting out bed some mornings can be one of the hardest of things to accomplish. It’s easy to hide away and seclude yourself in your little den of depression where darkness seems to overtake you, and some days it’s hard to see any way out. When you have a life planned out with someone, and that life comes crashing down, it can be of the most catastrophic events you may face. So how do we learn to deal with the negative emotions in a positive way?

One thing I have learned from my past breakups and mistakes, that I seriously wish I could go back and slap my younger self in the face with, is to make sure you take the time to feel the pain. It’s messy, it’s uncomfortable, and it downright sucks. But you know what sucks even more? Taking that brokenness into another relationship and having it turn out the exact same way as the rest of your relationships. If you are not taking the time to heal your wounds, you’re unknowingly allowing yourself to carry them with you wherever you go, with whoever you encounter. You will soon find yourself in a situation where you are on an endless merry go round of toxic relationship, after toxic relationship. By continuously subjecting yourself to breakup after breakup, you lose the value of what love really is. Love isn’t meant to be messy all the time.

Yes, there are ups and downs- not every relationship is puppies and rainbows. But love isn’t mean to be heartbreak after continuous string of heartbreak. Love is hard, but love isn’t intentionally hurtful. There shouldn’t be more sadness than happiness. There shouldn’t be more pain than joy. When you lose the value of love and learn to just expect heartbreak, you start to build up a wall of emotional protection and let me tell you, eventually that wall becomes so impenetrable that not even prince charming himself can breakthrough.

Take the time to feel the pain. To learn to forgive. To grieve the end of the relationship. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to take all the time you want. There is no time limit on how long it takes you to get over someone. It doesn’t matter if it takes days, weeks, months, or years. Everyone deals with heartbreak different. Everyone deals with breakups different. Don’t let someone else dictate how, or when you should be over someone. Heartbreak is real, no matter how long or short you were with someone. Feelings are feelings and they should never be ignored. Everyone heals at different rates. Don’t rush it, if you rush through the process or use emotional band-aids to cover the problem, you run the risk of not healing completely. Not allowing yourself full healing is inevitably going to lead you back into the same situation– either with that same person, or with someone just like them.

You’re going to consider going back during the post-breakup period and I think that anyone who denies that they even gave it a moment of thought is a liar. Hey, you may even do it a time or two. But through each breakup (hopefully it doesn’t end up being multiple) you will learn to see through the façade of a “healthy” relationship you may have thought that you had. If you are anything like me, you learn these lessons the hard way. I gave way too many chances, to all the wrong people. I still do, I am a work in progress.  I used to beat myself up for giving someone the time of day who I knew didn’t deserve it. But now I have learned to see it as a learning experience. I’m not perfect, I get lost in old feelings. But that’s exactly what they are… old feelings.

It’s easy to go back to what you knew. What’s scary is facing the unknown. The possibility of a future without someone you are so used to having around is terrifying. I would hold on to people I knew where not right for me, all because I was terrified of what my life would be without them in it. I had become comfortable in my own mess. Even though it was a mess, it was my mess, and I knew how to haphazardly navigate it. Even when the final destination of that navigation was always heartbreak. I knew how to deal with that heartbreak and breakups- patch it up haphazardly and on to the next one… if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you all know how well that worked out for me.

Never did I ever think that it was necessary to allow myself to truly feel the feelings that came along with breakups. I never wanted to feel the disappointment, the sadness, or the aloneness. So I would find any outlet I could to distract myself. I do think that during a breakup you need to find reasons to get out of bed in the morning, distractions are needed to keep yourself from fully giving into the self-pity that may come with a breakup. But completely shutting out the emotions is what I continuously found myself doing. I pretended that I wasn’t hurt, or that I didn’t really care and I would bury my emotions. Ignorance is bliss, right? I was in denial. Denial about the disaster of a dating life that I had. Denial about how hurt I really was when another relationship didn’t work out. In denial about how much I needed some help.

I wish I had some secret formula I used to navigate the mess of a breakup and to learn to heal my heart.  That A+B= C and boom, you’re fixed. I tried everything, and I mean ev-er-y-thing. I found myself getting to a certain point in my healing and then would hit a wall and be stuck, not knowing which way to turn. No matter what I did, that wall was not moving. But you know what finally changed? I turned back to my faith. So, I guess in turn that is the secret formula.

You see, I finally got to the point in my life where I gave up on doing it on my own. I realized that I couldn’t do it on own. I don’t think we are meant to deal with the messiness of breakups on our own. We aren’t meant to have to focus on healing ourselves alone. I’ve learned that I have weaknesses that I simply am unable to heal or deal with on my own, but in those weaknesses I can count on Jesus to help get me through.  Psalm 34:18 became a verse that I leaned on during the times I was at my lowest. “The Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” He can heal all wounds. He can turn everything around if you just allow Him to help. He is always there ready to help you if you just ask.

By finding my way back to my relationship with God, I have started to realize what true, no strings attached love is. I started to focus my attention back on Jesus and slowly my tolerance for things of my past melted away. I’m not saying I don’t have days that I don’t look back at things in my past and miss them, I’m human… But I do have a much larger hope for a greater and better future. You know what? It’s taken time. It’s taken patience, and it’s caused me to deal with some pretty deep emotions.  I’m still learning, I still mess up and I know I will always mess up. I have my days of doubts, and my days of darkness still come and go (although much fewer). But I have hope now. Knowing that I am not alone in this, and that I wasn’t meant to deal with a string of dark and harmful emotions all the time was life-changing for me.

I hope that every girl or guy who reads this blog realizes that they deserve so much more than a continuous string of boys or girls who don’t care enough to really care. Don’t waste your time trying to push a relationship that brings you more sadness than happiness. If someone is continuously taking advantage of the love you so freely give, it’s time to walk away. I know breakups are tough. But take the time to allow yourself to be healed, to feel the pain, and to realize that you deserve more. I do think it’s always going to be a continuous path, it doesn’t happen over night. You’ll grow over time and learn so much more about yourself than you can imagine- the good, the bad, and the ugly. But when you realize what love is really supposed to be, your tolerance for anything less becomes greater.

Psalm 34:18

 

Emotional Healing

How I Stopped The Endless Cycle Of People Pleasing

October 2, 2017
How I Stopped The Endless Cycle Of People Pleasing

People Pleasing. I’m sure everyone has felt the struggle at least once in their life. But have you ever found yourself doing tasks you absolutely despise on a continuous basis for people you know don’t really care about you? I realize in life, sometimes we have to put on our big girl pants and do things for people that we don’t necessarily want to do. But when you’re plagued with the tortuous disease of people pleasing, saying no to things is sometimes downright impossible. Halfway through the tasks I often found myself wondering “how in the world did I end up doing this?” I was always in a position in which I would bend over backwards for certain people in my life, especially when it came to a guy. Whether these tasks were good for me or not, I was the one they could always count on to drop everything and come running.  With most relationships it’s general knowledge that at some point what goes around, comes around, and the favor will be returned. The same can’t be said with toxic relationships. One person is always giving and the other one is always taking. When do you decide enough is enough? When do you decide that you can’t always be the one giving? Especially when it’s for all the wrong reasons. If you’re constantly saying yes to helping others out because you want to gain acceptance from these people, then my friends, you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons.

I was one of those girls who was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I wasn’t necessarily doing things for anyone out of the goodness of my heart or to be genuinely helpful towards them. I would be doing it for my own selfish reasons. I would try and gain acceptance from them by doing whatever it was they asked. I needed to be needed. I wanted to be wanted.  I would try to go out of my way to prove my worth to them by essentially being a doormat. This need to people please got even worse when it came to guys I was in a relationship with.  I would see a guy who needed help, and there I would be to lend the helping hand. He needed a ride? Sure, I would drop everything and go get him. He needed to borrow money? Okay here you go. You can’t pay me back? Okay… some other time… and so on and on the cycle would go.  Some may call it desperation to be in a relationship, but I never saw it like that. Rose coloured glasses were always my best friend. I’m sure other girls who are, or have been in the same situation, feel the exact same way. You care for the guy, so you want to help him anyway possible. It wasn’t necessarily desperation to be in a relationship (I guess a part of it was), it was more of a desperation to be needed. To be wanted. To feel like you mattered. If you could just change this guy to be the guy you had decided he could be by helping him through any situation, then you would have succeeded in your mission and you could finally feel accomplished and worthy.

I had a bad case of the disease to please. While some people see this as a good quality (I mean the bible often says we are to serve others out of love), others see this as a weakness. I ultimately think that viewing it as healthy or not healthy, all derives from where your source of helping comes from. Does it come from a place of love? Or does it come from a place of brokenness? People pleasing wasn’t something I was doing out of necessarily the goodness of my heart. I was doing it for my own selfish validation.  Underneath the smiling, helpful face I would put on, was a girl who was always striving for acceptance. I was always looking for validation of the fact that I was a good person, so I would drop everything and run to help. I was searching for the validation I needed, in guys who weren’t ever going to be able to give it to me.

The cycle only perpetuated itself when it came to toxic relationships. The reason I let any guy into my life who didn’t genuinely care about my emotions time and time again, was a question I would ponder over after every failed relationship. I eventually came to realize I had this innate desire to feel like I mattered. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I continuously chose guys who I knew were never the right guy for me, so I could view it as some type of challenge to change them and feel like because I had changed them I was worth something. I was the party girl, so I chose the party guys. The guys who were a good time and always were having some type of fun. But most of these guys were about as emotionally constipated as I was. They were great distractions from what was really going on inside of myself.  I would ignore my problems and try and fix theirs, even when they didn’t ask or know they needed to “be fixed.” I see now that because I had a gaping war wound on my heart, I would try and fix whatever gaping war wound that was on theirs. I would try and be the happy go lucky girl that could take away their problems and eventually their self worth became more important than my own. I had become an emotional hostage by my own doing.

I often found myself head over heals for guys who I knew could not emotionally give me what I truly desired.  Messed up I know. I put myself into situations with guys who were not good for me because I didn’t have boundaries. I would stay with guys who were not good with me because I didn’t value my own self worth. Their inability to truly care for me only reflected my own inability to truly care for myself. I let guys trample on my heart because I never took the time to step back and say no. I let my need to be in a relationship and my need to be wanted be the driving force in my life, and in turn I got my heart broken often.  I didn’t care enough about myself to really care, so I found myself in a string of relationships with guys who treated me the same way.

My bad case of the disease to please soon allowed whoever the guy in my life was to become priority one. He called the shots and I would follow. I was always at his beck and call because I had placed him up on this pedestal where he mattered more than I did… and he knew it. So how did I decide to stop people pleasing my way through life? I had to learn to recognize that my low self esteem had become my own worst enemy and realize that I was at a point where I would do just about anything to try and fix the brokenness I was feeling inside. I would drop anything to help anybody out, even if it was at the expense of my own dignity.  I constantly found myself doing things and bending over backwards for people who didn’t really and truly care about me. Desperation? Maybe. Suffering? Definitely. But my need to people please came from my desire to feel wanted. So I had to learn it was time to heal myself and start putting my emotional health first.

I wish I could tell my past self that this wasn’t how it had to be. That I didn’t have to torture myself with relationships where I was always giving and never receiving. I wish I could tell myself that I deserved more than the continuous string of broken hearts… but unfortunately, I can’t. What I can do is change the future. I can change how I handle certain relationships and I can change who I let into my life. I’ve changed who is in charge and I’ve learned that I matter. I’ve learned that God doesn’t want me to be in a relationship filled with pain and regret and an endless cycle of people pleasing. That I am in not in charge of fixing anyone, and I don’t need to be in relationships where the guys need “fixing.”  I wish I could tell myself to take a step back, realize my self worth, and work on what was really going on inside of me. You can’t expect people to feel a certain way about yourself, if you don’t feel that same way about yourself.

I still believe that we should help others as much as we can, but that helpfulness should come from a place of love, not a place of brokenness. There is a difference between helping out and being taken advantage of. As much as I think that we are called to serve others, I think that sometimes that serving can be taken advantage of if we aren’t in a healthy place. If we are continuously looking for love and validation from other people than we often loose who we are. Our self worth and our true identity becomes over-ridden by the need to people please and we end up giving all our attention to helping someone who is only taking advantage.

All we can do is step back, give it to God and let it go sometimes.  The one I’ve learned to please is God. His love is always there and by serving others out of love, we are serving Him.

Psalm 30:2

sarah sig

Relationships

I Quit The Relationship… So Why Do I Feel Guilty?

September 21, 2017

Guilt. It’s a powerful emotion. Its an emotion that is so overcoming and so all- consuming that it’s easy to get lost in. Guilt is huge when it come to toxic relationships. It is one of the major factors in why some people stay in bad relationships long past expiration dates. The guilt of hurting the other person’s feelings, the guilt of walking away when you’ve finally have had enough, or even the guilt of putting up boundaries and actually sticking to them, are all enough to cause negative feelings that can end you back up in the same relationship you know is not good for you. When you’re stuck in a toxic relationship cycle it’s so easy to lose who you really are, lose your sense of boundaries being more than trampled on, and even lose your sense of self-worth. I don’t think that people necessarily know how it feels until you really experience the emotional roller coaster that comes along with the hot and cold nature of a bad relationship. One day he likes you, the next you’re nothing. One minute he’s telling you he loves you, the next he’s making you feel like you’re the worst person in the world. The intensity from one emotion to the next is what some may call passion, some may see as normal, and some may see as just plain toxic.

So why do we allow guilt to consume us while we are working on distancing ourselves from toxic people? Why do we let guilt take over as we are removing ourselves from toxic relationships all together? Why do we feel guilty for putting ourselves first for once and saying no? And why do we allow a man who doesn’t respect us, to consume such a huge aspect of our lives?

For me it was always hope. Naïve optimism is what I have now come to call it. The hope that one day he would change. That one day he would become the prince charming that I had always knew he could be, if he just dug down deep into himself. I had projected the man I wished he would become into a future that potentially could be, but likely would not ever be. I was living in a fairy-tale land where reality and fantasy, were two different stories. I hoped that if I just stayed a little longer, bent this boundary just one more time, or continued to hold on to what we had, eventually he would come around and would turn into the man that I saw the potential he could be… But eventually every girl gets pushed to her breaking point. The devastating point where reality sets in and everything around her begins to come crumbling down. She is forced to come face to face with the reality that this man isn’t who she has projected him to be. That the way her feelings are continuously taken for granted isn’t normal and she has to start to instill boundaries. Eventually she even knows she will have to start the process of exiting the relationship all together, that things can’t go on like this. She is forced to choose herself for once. Cue the initial sting of guilt that plagues her after the initial break-up “I’m better off without him” high has worn off.

The high that comes along with standing up for yourself is sadly, usually short lived after you’ve ended a toxic relationship. The guilt for potentially hurting his feelings come flooding in faster than you can even imagine. You may start to feel guilty for standing up to him, for cutting him off, or for walking away completely. Why do we feel this way? After struggling with this battle for years I came to realize it was always because I didn’t love myself enough to realize that the boundaries I halfheartedly instilled should have never been crossed. Somewhere along the roller-coaster ride of a so-called relationship, his feelings had somehow become priority one. I had put this guy on a pedestal where what he thought, and how he felt, mattered more than I did. The moment boundaries were crossed the first time, was the moment that I should have said goodbye. When they were continuously crossed over and over, and my feelings were continuously taken advantage of I should have simply walked away. But instead I allowed the guilt I felt towards him to push my feelings to the side once again. My emotional investment kept me in a place where I allowed his feelings to come first, and in turn, right back up on the pedestal he went.

The guilt that had been ingrained into my mind was just a natural reaction to every other fight I ever had with any of the toxic relationships that I allowed to come into my life. He would do something that took advantage of my feelings for him, I would get upset, and he would make me out to be a crazy person for apparently over reacting. The guilt would set in for standing up for myself and I would give back in to him. My lack of a backbone when it came to guys I cared about was a weakness. I would always be scared that he would leave me, he would end things with me, or he would say something hurtful and all my self-esteem issues would come flooding in. I couldn’t handle the rejection so I would do anything to get us back to the place where we were “normal.” I would let way too many things slide. My fear of being alone allowed men who didn’t really care enough about me to really care, take advantage of my emotions. I guess in all reality, I allowed it because I didn’t have a strong enough sense of self worth to say a solid no. This is every emotionally unavailable man’s weapon. His lack of empathy and lack of genuine feelings towards you are made clear in this moment. He knows he can manipulate your feelings to make you feel like it is your fault for whatever had just happened, and you unfortunately start to believe him.

Every time you start to feel like you did something wrong, you start to lose a little bit of your self worth. Every time you start to lose a little bit of your self worth, the more control he starts to have over you. You stay in the relationship because you have created these excuses in your mind that aren’t true. You start to think that maybe he is right, maybe you are crazy. Maybe you did overreact. Or the even worse excuse of he’s the best I am ever going to get. I love him, doesn’t love conquer all? Or even the excuse I have heard time and time again- I’ve put so much time into this relationship I don’t feel like starting over again. So what happens? You stay and nothing ever changes.

Ladies! Why do you think that someone who exploits your emotions, who plays continuous mind games with you, and doesn’t care enough about you to really care, is the best you’re ever going to get? You deserve so much more from life and from a love that is mediocre at best. I know he may be like the drug you can’t quit, but since when is a drug habit ever healthy? A toxic relationship is not ever going to be the best you’re going to get! One sided relationships are not worth your time. If he really and truly wanted to keep you around, trust me he would. I learned that lesson the hard way. It was time to stop living in my fairy-tale land and face reality. What if he doesn’t ever change? What if this is how he is going to be for the rest of his life? Are you willing to spend the rest of your life being unhappy, manipulated, and walked all over, all because you don’t think there is someone out there who really will love you the way you deserved to be loved? Don’t get me wrong, every relationship is going to have ups and downs. But it is only ever going to work out if both parties are equally invested. If you’re holding on to a toxic relationship and the other person is doing little to nothing to try and work at making the relationship better, then do yourself a favor and walk away. Let go. The longer you hold on to someone who doesn’t care, the longer you rob yourself of the opportunity to find someone who truly will. Dating is the time that your relationship should be at its best! If it’s terrible during the dating stage, what makes you think it’s going to get better once you’re married? Why torture yourself with spending the rest of your life feeling less than loved?

I know the guilt is real. You feel guilty because you truly care for this person. Your feelings were genuinely real and you’ve been engulfed in a relationship that is so one sided you’ve conditioned yourself to feel this way. You’re so used to always giving, that when you finally stopped you feel like you’ve done something wrong. You feel guilty because you’ve been manipulated into feeling like a horrible person any time you ever tried to stand up for yourself. This has become your new normal. You feel guilty because maybe you did hurt his feelings for a split second, but remind yourself of how many times he has hurt yours. That guilt will go away with time, trust me. You need to learn how to stay strong and slowly each day will get easier. The beginning is emotionally torture. It takes time to grow your self worth, so be patient. It’s like any other muscle you want to get stronger… You have to keep working at it and eventually your stamina increases.

I used to be a big believer in “it is hard for people to really change who they are.” I used to believe that people are who they are at their core, but maybe with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, toxic people could change a small part of themselves… eventually. I spent so many years trying to force relationships that weren’t in my best interest, all because I would hope something would finally give and either him or me would change and things would fall in to place. I always hoped that he would change for ME. Or I would change and just accept all the toxicity as my new normal and learn to be happy. It honestly got me no where but more and more heartbroken every time a new problem would arise. I stayed in relationships way past expiration dates and wasted precious time on people who had no interest in anyone but themselves. I stayed in toxic relationships all because the guilt of giving up on someone who claimed they needed me was too much for me to handle. It would continuously eat away at me. I found it so hard to find the strength to walk away…. So I prayed. I prayed for strength. I prayed for the courage to walk away and I prayed for the wisdom to know that I deserved so much more.

It has become so clear to me that you can’t force anyone to change… but God can. He has the ability to change anyone’s heart if THEY ask. It can’t be forced. While this gives me hope that people can change, I’ve also realized I need to remove myself from situations that are not in my best interest. I can’t sit back and hope someone will change and put myself through agony over and over because this change is never guaranteed. I’ve prayed over the feelings of guilt and I have learned to walk away. I decided to give it all to Jesus. He is the one who can move mountains. If it’s meant to be, it will be. I’ve seen Him make huge changes in people… but these changes can’t be forced, and they can’t be done by YOU. You can’t force anyone to pray for the changes, or even to be open to allowing God to make these changes. All you can do is decide what’s best for you, stick to that decision, and pray. Let go and let God.

I had someone who mentored me through a tough time tell me that God never wants us to go back to a situation that He has called us to leave, especially when it is something toxic that is draining us of our happiness. If you want the change, but they don’t, then that’s not an open invitation to just stay in the mess and pray for a miracle. Pray for the strength to leave, pray for God’s will in the relationship, and take the time to really listen. If you know it’s time to go, which deep down we always do when the relationship is bad, then it’s okay to walk away. Don’t ever feel guilty for taking steps back when the situation is toxic…

Like I have said before. Like attracts like. Broken attracts broken. Step back and really look at yourself. It’s okay to focus on making yourself a priority. To find out who you are, and to learn to really love yourself. Take some time to address the emotional issues hiding inside yourself that has made you think that someone who continuously exploits your emotions is the best you’re ever going to get. You can’t ever expect anyone to deal or fix these issues that even you don’t even want to address.

The hardest part of letting go of a toxic relationship is learning to put yourself first. Your needs. Your wants. Your boundaries. They all matter. Don’t let the guilt of standing up for yourself allow yourself to go back to a situation that doesn’t bring you the happiness you deserve. You don’t deserve to feel like you’re wrong when you’ve been mistreated. Don’t let yourself feel guilty for ending a relationship that is not healthy for you, or is no longer something you want. Its time to switch off heart mode and switch on brain mode. Listen to what your friends and family are saying, even when you don’t believe the words they speak. These are the people who love you the most and only want you to have the best in life. Stay strong, even when you don’t think you can. Every day will get easier so please don’t give up. Focus on yourself even on the days where it seems downright impossible. Pray to God for the strength to tackle this mountain, and eventually you will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You are worth so much more!

Psalm 86:13

 

Emotional Healing

Finding Yourself In Your Emotional Discomfort

September 8, 2017
Finding Yourself In Your Emotional Discomfort

Everyone has something, someone, or some way to find solitude in times of emotional discomfort. Whether it be turning to friends and family, a glass of wine, or a pint of ice-cream, we all have ways of coping with the uncomfortable situations that life always has a way of throwing at us. We all have a way to dull the sting of rejection or a certain routine we use to deal with a day that just doesn’t seem to be going right. Some people may be in a season where they have to fight more uphill battles than normal and there seems to be days where more of the bad outweighs the good. Some may feel like they are completely stuck at rock bottom with no way out. Searching for comfort during these times is only natural, after all you want to find a way to put your soul at ease. We all search for something to let ourselves feel secure, and to validate that we are going to be okay. I had always been told to be thankful for the discomfort because it’s during these valleys where we experience the most growth. But for me the discomfort of facing myself and my issues was something that sometimes was too much to handle. I found myself turning to new relationships, a bottle of wine, or distracting myself from whatever emotional mountain I was tackling, by pretending it wasn’t there and then constantly getting frustrated when I would end back up at square one. I knew something had to change, but what exactly was it that needed to change?

I had hit a roadblock in my emotional growth. I had accepted who I had become and while I wasn’t the best person, I also wasn’t the worst. I had become accustomed to a certain way of life and I figured that I was, who I was, and these were just the cards I was dealt with. I honestly didn’t ever think too much about changing the way I viewed life. I definitely didn’t ever think about taking control and changing my behaviours. I always just figured I would find a guy who would come in, sweep me off my feet, and fix whatever it was that I couldn’t fix myself. I didn’t feel like I needed to put any effort in, all I had to worry about was my own selfish motives and everything was going to be coming up daisies…. Eventually….

I had become someone who feared the unknown. I hated feeling discomfort in my emotions. I would use any avenue to dull the sting I felt deep down after a breakup, rejection, or when something didn’t end up going my way. I would turn to alcohol, junk food, another boy, TV, or the loving ear of a friend and family, all to try and dull the ache I was feeling deep inside. I would talk to my friends about the same issues over and over and constantly felt the need to seek the validation I was an okay human being for acting the way I did. I hated heartbreak, I hated rejection, and I hated loneliness. These are my weaknesses, and I used to do anything in my power to do what I thought I had to do to dull the sting of these emotions. But what I learned along the way was the longer I put off the feelings of discomfort I had to deal with that surrounded these emotions, the longer I was going to be stuck wandering in the wilderness.

Not everyone is going to have to deal with their issues this way. Some people tackle that mountain head on. Some people can deal with their emotions and still find comfort in the use of other band-aids. They are able to find that middle ground where healing derives from. For me I recognized that seeking outside validation didn’t help me heal who I was inside, it only helped me to keep going down the same path I had wandered down hundreds of times. I needed to learn to press into the discomfort. Press into the ugly emotions and tackle them head on. To really feel what I was feeling and see what was causing me to act certain ways. I realized that what people told me was true… beauty really does rise from the ashes. I found a new strength in myself. I battled through the darkness with the help of friends, my family, and mainly with the help of God. I have always had to be one to learn the lessons the hard way. I spent 27 years running from my emotions, running from the wounds I needed to heal, and running towards worldly things to gain my validation and find my place in the world.

I really had to press into my faith during these times. I still have days where I have to ask God to give me strength. I pray for solitude to learn His lesson through the dark times, to transform my heart and allow me to see the plan that He has for me. I stopped running from Him and asked him to show me His plan. I faced the discomfort head on. I took time to myself, away from all social media, away from all outside distraction and I took some time to really see who I was, who I wanted to be, and who I was called to be. I decided that I was no longer going to live my life based on what I had planned for it to be anymore and to fully submit to what God was trying to tell me. The discomfort sucked, like really sucked. I took myself through some really dark emotions, emotions I had always been scared of or ashamed to feel. There were times I just kept to myself because I knew that if I started to turn to someone else I would stunt my growth by falling back into the same known paths. I wanted to know what God wanted to teach me. I was tired of skirting the issues that I need to deal with to become exactly who God wants me to be.

God turned out to be my anchor. He guided me through every storm, through every emotional discomfort and through every day where I struggled to just make it through. Depression used to be such an ugly part of my life that I honestly thought I was going to be plagued with it forever. I used that time to seek out God and He slowly started to heal me. The farther I turned from worldly validation and the more I turned towards the guidance of the One who loves us the most, the more I started to learn about myself. Sometimes God allows us to go through the dark times over and over, at our own accord to force us to realize that we need Him.  Gods love for us is always there, He is always there. But we have free will and sometimes He allows us to do it our way in order to bring us back to Him. I am sure He struggled watching me struggle as I tried to do everything my way.  I am such a stubborn person, that I always thought I could do everything on my own. I felt the burden of my life and felt like such a weight was on my shoulder. Times were dark, I will not lie. I was drowning and had no way to know which way was up, until I was forced to readdress the choices I was making in my life. God was there. He was there the whole time. He never left me, I turned from Him. I struggled for so long all because I would not choose to live the life He had planned for me.

I still deal with valleys. I still have good days, and bad days.  I still have days where I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing. I still struggle with issues and wounds that have been with me since I was a child. But now I see the beauty in the struggle because I know I am going to learn something about myself and come out on the other side stronger than ever. God doesn’t ever leave us. He will never give us emotions that are too hard for us to handle. He guides us through the discomfort.  If we submit to Him and ask Him what we are supposed to learn during these difficult times He is always there to lessen the burden.

We all have our demons to deal with. Our struggles are all different, some are worse than others. But knowing that God has our back seriously was life-changing for me. There is beauty in the discomfort if we take the time to figure out what we need to learn. Every valley pushed me closer to Him. Every trial, He was there. Every hard night, He guided me and gave me comfort. So don’t ever give up, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Deuteronomy 31:8

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Emotional Healing

Dear Younger Self… Stop Worrying About Gaining Acceptance

August 30, 2017

The struggle of gaining acceptance has always been something that has plagued me. I was always worried about what other people thought about me, or didn’t think about me. I was continuously worried about gaining the approval of everyone around me, specifically when it came to relationships. I always found myself bending my values and allowing my boundaries to be trampled all over, just so some guy would half-heartedly like me. I found myself people pleasing my way through life, which in turn left me in some heart breaking and uncomfortable situations. I find myself looking back to 6 months ago, a year ago, and even multiple years ago and genuinely wish I could have saved myself from all the pain and suffering I endured. Some of it was self inflicted, some of it was at the hands of others. But no matter the source, a lot of heartbreak could have been avoided if I could just give myself some advice about the cold hard facts of life. Acceptance isn’t everything.

The sad thing is that younger me probably would not have taken those words of advice to heart. I wish I could have crammed it into my stubborn head that you’re not always going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that is okay!  I see so many girls who are enduring the pain that I put myself through, just to feel loved and accepted. It honestly breaks my heart to see girls not being true to themselves just to gain some boys acceptance. I know all to well the pain of heartbreak all because you want to be wanted… but what I have learned is that all of that suffering can be avoided if you just take a minute to step back, reassess, and realize that the right people are going to love you and fit perfectly into your life without having to force it.

“Don’t chase people, chase yourself. Continue to always strive to grow emotionally and spiritually. The right people will fall in line.”

I know for me, I always thought I had this thing called life figured out. Anyone that knew me around that time knows that my life motto was “I do what I want.”  My parents knew nothing, my friends knew nothing, and I spent every waking moment trying to control every single aspect of my life to fit into this grand idea I had of how my life was supposed to turn out. I searched for acceptance from boys, from family members, and from friends to gain the validation that I was on the right path. College, marriage, kids… that’s what I based my value on. If I didn’t have some type of relationship I found myself feeling worthless and during these difficult times my self esteem came to an all-time low. I continuously struggled to gain acceptance and I based my worth on if I was in a relationship or not.  I’d assess my happiness based on if I had a guy in my life. Even if it was clear to me and everyone around me that he did not fit, at least I had someone. I would allow my loneliness to dictate my mood, and even worse I would let the guy who so clearly did not belong influence my views. But at that point I figured that a bad relationship was better than no relationship. Even if I was in a relationship that was not good for me emotionally, I would stay because it was better than being alone. I would struggle to conform to be someone he wanted me to be, just to say I had a relationship. I would do anything to gain acceptance, and it started to control my life.

I think this is a struggle that so many women deal with. We have been brought up in a society where being single is sometimes looked down upon. People feel sorry for women that are in their 30’s and single. It used to be the norm to just get married and have kids, but times are evolving and so should our mentalities about being single. Your life doesn’t start until you start a family or have found the man you want to spend the rest of your life with. Your life starts when you start to accept that these are the cards you were dealt and its time to make the best of them. I think one of the major problems we deal with in society is that so many girls feel the pressure that they have to act a certain way, look a certain way, or have a certain mind set to be good enough and worthy enough for a relationship. Social media has become such a strong influencing force that as soon as you get one new trend down, a new one is already popping up making you feel like you’re always one step behind. So many girls are influenced by celebrities and people in the media. They are the ones who set the standards for how to act and how to look. But the truth is that these standards are unrealistic and nearly impossible to live up to. Self worth when you’re at a young age is already hard enough to attain and in this time and age I believe self worth is at an all-time low.  I constantly find myself looking back at my past and cringing in some situations I think about. I want to go back and tell myself to stop stressing, stop worrying, stop caring what others think and just do you.

So, this week I asked some of my closest friends if they could go back and give themselves at a younger age some words of about relationships what would it be? These are the answers I received…

 

“I would say to quit worrying and putting so much pressure on myself. I didn’t take the opportunity to enjoy that season in my life because I was more concerned about finding a man over finding myself. My self esteem was at an all-time low because of it. I also wish I would have just put it all into God’s hands.”

“Probably to just be open to meeting new guys and have them be friends first.  You don’t always have to be on the prowl for a boyfriend. I think if I would have just taken the time to actually just hang out and really get to know certain guys first, I never would have taken certain relationships to the next level. I would have realized that I had nothing in common with the guy in the first place and nothing romantic would have ever come from it. If nothing did then at least you have the bonus of a new friend!”

“Don’t rush. Don’t worry about finding a boyfriend. The right one will come to you and in the mean time take the time to enjoy the single life while you can. Also listen to your friends and family. They have your best interests at heart and can always see past the bullsh*t.”

“Be patient. Don’t worry so much about finding someone when you’re young. Be more worried about experiencing life on your own and finding out who you truly want to be. Give yourself that time to go to school and travel the world, all without the stress of finding a relationship. Don’t be afraid to express how you feel about someone. The worst they can say is they don’t have the same feelings and then you’ll save yourself heartbreak by not wasting time wondering.”

“Things happen for a reason and sometimes you have to endure the bad to get to the good. Never regret a dating situation because it forms you into being a better person. Learn from your mistakes. It will help you figure out what you like and what you don’t. Sometimes you have to go through some sh*tty relationships before you find the right one. But always love yourself and work to build that confidence in yourself. If you’re not confident, or have self love, any relationship is likely not going to work very well.”

“I’ve always had issues with trust due to my parent’s problems. I always thought that not trusting someone and being vulnerable would be less heart ache if I was ever cheated on. So, I would tell my younger self to let go of that fear because if you don’t trust your significant other, chances are you’re only pushing them away. Its okay to be vulnerable and let people in. The right person won’t hurt you.”

“Don’t push too hard for someone when it works it work, when it doesn’t it doesn’t. They aren’t the right one so just let it go and move on.”

 

The period in life where you are trying to figure out who you are and what you want to accomplish with your life can be daunting, frustrating even. Some days you feel so lost, and some days you feel like you’re on top of the world. Loneliness, low self esteem, and low self worth are something we all deal with at some time or another. They can be unfortunate factors of life that drive you into situations that weren’t necessarily the best thing for you. They can make you feel like you have to be a certain person to be loved. They can make you search for your validation in men, and they can keep you in relationships long past their expiration dates. I found that I was constantly trying to people please my way through life and conform to fit a certain mold just to gain acceptance. I would not only deal with toxic relationships longer than I should have, but I would also deal with toxic friendships past their expiration date because I was terrified to lose someone. Losing someone meant to me that I was no longer good enough for them, and that was something my broken ego could not handle.  I would give in to doing things for people that I loathed doing, and would partake in activities that I new were wrong, all to gain that acceptance. The worst thing I ever did to myself was conforming to be what I thought I had to be to get a guy to like me. To allow my values to be skewed, boundaries to be crossed, and ultimately hide who I truly was all to gain the acceptance of someone who didn’t really care enough to really care.

Some of the closest people in my life would tell me to just focus on myself, love myself, and the rest will all fall into place. I really do wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to just enjoy the ride, instead of constantly struggling to find a man. When the time is right, the right one will come.

Even when I started writing this blog, I was worried about what people would think. What would my exes think? What would their friends and families think? I found myself constantly worrying about losing people in my life because I was doing something different. Sure, some people have made comments, some people have criticized what I am doing. But ultimately it has shown me who are the people who will stand beside me and belong in my life. When you stop forcing relationships, and just worry about yourself you will find that life gets a whole lot easier.

Ultimately, I found that I needed to surrender myself to God. I gave myself fully into his plan and the stress of always having to worry about what other people thought about me has faded away. By learning that He has a plan and submitting myself to that plan rather than by controlling everything around me, I have slowly started to figure out who I am, what I want, and how I expect to be treated. I no longer search for the acceptance of others. So take the advice of people who love you, take the advice of everyone around you who only wants to see you succeed in life. Stop worrying about the opinions of others, or if some boy that’s not worth your time likes you. The right person will come in to your life at the right time. If they are apart of God’s plan for your life, they will be there.  

Philippians 4:6

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