Top 20 Songs In My Playlist

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Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while since you heard from me. I took a break longer than I anticipated. Covid has been a lot to deal with, but I have to get back to consistency with this blog. I will let you all know when I plan on taking breaks. It’s not fair to leave all of you hanging, but I appreciate everyone who stuck around with me during this time. I thought it would be fun for all of you to get reacquainted with me again. I want to start with a light-hearted post for my first entry back to blogging. I can’t think of a better way to start a post than with music. The songs below are in heavy rotation within my playlist at the moment. The list changes often, but the list below includes my current favorites. 

St. Vincent

Savior

Masseducation

Slow Disco

Down

My Baby Wants A Baby

The Strangers

Cheerleader

Digital Witness

Celine Dion

Lying Down

Flying On My Own

Tinashe

Naturally

333

Undo (Back To My Heart)

X

I Can See The Future

Solange

Don’t You Wait

Don’t Touch My Hair

Taylor Swift

Cruel Summer

Doja Cat

You Right

Woman

I hope you enjoyed learning more about me via my playlist. Please share your current playlist below and let me know if some of the songs or artists are your favorites. I’ll chat with you all in the next post! 

Turning Your Passion Into a Career

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I want to extend a special thank you to Emma Grace Brown for contributing to the guest blog for this week. You can contact her at emma@emmagracebrown.com or her contact form from her website emmagracebrown.com/meet-emma.

Do you feel the call to switch careers to follow your passion? CNBC cited a survey showing that 49% of respondents had a dramatic career change, and 65% of the respondents who hadn’t yet switched have considered it. Changing careers to pursue your passion can be scary, but these pointers below can help.

Dream Big

Allow yourself to daydream about your passion and how it could become your career if there were no potential barriers. A straightforward strategy is to pretend you won the lottery, so money isn’t an issue, or imagine there’s no way you can fail. What would you do? Brainstorm ways to make those dreams a reality and earn income from your passion.

Consider Ways to Make Your Passion Profitable

Think of ways you can make your passion profitable. If travel is your passion, you might find a job in the travel or hospitality industry, work as a travel agent for an established company, or create your travel agency. Starting a monetized travel blog or YouTube channel and creating online courses, ebooks, and other products about traveling is another option.

Try Job Shadowing

When you have an idea of what you want to do, search for businesses that do the same thing. Joblist suggests reaching out to see if you can do a job shadow experience with them. You will get an opportunity to test out the career or know if you want to start a similar business. 

Create a Concrete Plan

A clear career path or business plan helps provide a roadmap to success. If your passion requires a specific degree, research colleges that offer the program and determine how long it takes to earn it. To start a business, you may need a special certification or license. If landscaping is your passion, you may need a commercial pesticide applicator license.

Find Mentors

Connecting with mentors who have successfully made a similar career switch can give you expert insight. If your goal is to start your bakery, consider joining other bakery or restaurant owners. Ask them questions and soak up any knowledge you can get from them to make your journey easier.

Start a Business

Choosing the correct business structure is essential if you decide to start a business related to your passion. It affects your liability, business operation details, and how you pay taxes. For example, forming a limited liability company (LLC) provides more protection for your assets in case of bankruptcy or a lawsuit. 

Go Back to School

If you’re starting your own business and passion project, you may need to gain some new skills to ensure it’s profitable. Earning an MBA will allow you to build your knowledge in leadership, business operations, communication, and marketing. If you enroll in an online program, you’ll have the flexibility to start planning your business while you learn. Online learning is also considerably more affordable than in-person learning. 

Follow Your Passion

Switching careers to follow your passion can give you a more fulfilling career while paying the bills. Follow the above advice, and you’ll be open for business!

If anyone is interested in being a guest blogger on my website, please reach out to me at https://thkeyalifeinspiration.com/contact/.

Importance of Setting Boundaries

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One thing that I have always struggled with is setting boundaries. I was too busy with being concerned about people liking me and avoiding conflict. Now that I’m self-reflecting, I have realized now more than ever how essential setting boundaries are. Not only does it help prevent conversations that make you uncomfortable, but it also keeps your privacy to yourself. The fewer people that know your business, the less likely you have to worry about information getting out. I came up with four steps to help with setting new boundaries within your relationships.

Decide Which Boundaries to Set
Before you can set boundaries, you need to determine what your limits need to be. Get a pen and paper to write down your limits and to whom each category represents. For example, finances and dating are off-limits to parents for discussion. Follow this exercise for others, such as friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. Doing this will help with oversharing information as well. Conversations should be a dance, and if it’s turning into a solo act, you’re sharing too much. Having boundaries will help you with not sharing details before it’s safe to do so.

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Start Implementation of Your Boundaries
Now here comes the fun part of implementing the new boundaries that you set. It won’t be easy at first, but people will learn to adjust over time. You will most likely get backlash from folks closest to you but stick with it. People who love you will respect your boundaries after some time. Start with someone who will be least resistant to your limits. That will give you the confidence to continue down this new path. Don’t give up easily if people start to provide you with a hard time. People will try to see how far they can go, but enforcing your boundaries will let them that’s not possible.

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Continue to Reinforce Your Boundaries
The best way to keep people on board with your boundaries is to continue to enforce them. Once someone tries to overstep, you have to shut it down immediately. Also, people need to know there are consequences to their actions. For example, if you told someone that dating was off-limits and they continue to push, the result is that they don’t get to speak with you. I understand that sounds harsh, but you have to put your foot down. People need to respect the boundaries you have set forth. However, if you don’t consistently enforce your limits, people will walk all over you. You have to be intentional for people to understand why your boundaries are vital for them to follow.

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Reassess Your Boundaries as Needed
As life changes, so should your boundaries. There may be new topics to add or old ones to remove. Whichever way it goes, continue to reevaluate your boundaries. Make sure you do this often to avoid conflict when a topic comes up that you weren’t expecting. For example, a newly married couple will receive unsolicited advice from different people. It can even become overwhelming at times. When a new life event like this occurs, your boundaries need to include it. That way, people will understand that every new life event is not up for discussion. If you do decide to share, it will be your choice to do so.

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Setting boundaries can sound scary if you never did it before. It can seem like a difficult undertaking at first, but it’s worth it in the end. I recently started implementing boundaries, and it’s working out great. I’m not forcing myself to discuss or do things I’m not necessarily comfortable doing. The beautiful thing about boundaries is that it helped me improve my self-care and improve my overall mental health. Boundaries are helpful because it sets expectations of what topics you will share and which ones are off-limits. Don’t look at it as a bad thing, but something beneficial in the long run.

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Be sure to check out the discussion questions below before you go, and I’ll chat with you in the next blog.

Do you have boundaries set up? What type of challenges did you face while implementing your limits? 

Quarantine Life Part 3: Embracing Change

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I understand that people need things to return to normal. Keep in mind our previous way of life wasn’t all that glamorous. We worked long hours, hardly spent time with family, gave away our dreams, and for some trying to keep up with the Joneses. This quarantine time has been very reflective for me, reflecting on my life pre-COVID to now. I don’t want things to go back to how they were. Yes, I’m looking forward to getting back outside, but I want things to be different. In the coming paragraphs, I’m going to discuss why change after the COVID pandemic is a good thing and what I expect to change. With the current reset, we’ve now is the perfect time to examine our lives to see what changes we can make for the better. 

Family Time

I’m close to my family, but if I’m honest, we could be spending more time together. I can’t remember the last time I’ve spoken to my family this much. We’ve been reaching out more via phone calls and video chats. We even made plans to do more traveling and spend more time together very soon. This ordeal made us realize now more than ever the importance of family. Having loved ones who genuinely care for you is so amazing. You have to embrace and cherish those moments. Anytime that we get to spend together is a blessing that we mustn’t take for granted. Life is fleeting, and this quarantine is proving that every day. Live in the moment for as long as you can and let go of unnecessary baggage. Move forward in love is the best option and provides a more fulfilling life. 

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Work/Life Balance

Before COVID, I was working a lot. Not as much as I’ve been in the past but enough to interfere with my life. Cue in traveling, which helped to break up the tedious daily routine. I would have fun while enjoying a break from work. Now during this quarantine, I’ve had time to reflect on the things that matter in this world. Honestly, work is not as important as your life. Anyone working until oblivion makes no sense, especially since these companies will replace you in a heartbeat. Supporting yourself and your family is critical, but there needs to be a balance. Take those vacations, sick, and personal days. Work will be there once you return. Burning yourself out will only cause resentment, depression, and anger into your life. You don’t want to look back on what you should’ve done. There are no do-overs in life, so it’s best to live it to the fullest. 

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Dream Chaser

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I could remember. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow my heart as I believed that I could never make a living doing what I loved. Instead, I took up a more practical skill to make an honest living. The projections that others put on you is more of a reflection of themselves than you. I wish I would’ve listened and followed my gut instinct years ago. My regret as far as writing goes is that I should’ve started sooner. Anyway, it’s better late than never. I’m telling you that narrative as an example to chase your dreams. Sure, people will think you’re out of your mind, but so what? Do you want to look back on your life and wish, or do you want to live for you now? That’s your only option as you can’t go after your dreams and please people. If people are going to be mad, at least be winning at your goals. During this quarantine, you see how quickly things can change in a matter of minutes. Chase your dreams with the highest amount of urgency and give people something to discuss. 

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Love Unapologetically

One thing that saddens me during this time is the lack of empathy for others. I hear people say I don’t know anyone impacted, so the virus isn’t that serious. That is beyond disrespectful to the men and women who risk their lives daily as essential employees. I know four people who suffered from COVID, and one person still battling it. I never thought I would live in a world where this would be the norm. As a human being, you need to show compassion to others. You are blessed not to know anyone personally, but don’t be miserable about it to others. Also, let’s please learn to celebrate someone else’s successes. The number of negative responses I see regarding someone saying they purchased a new home, a new promotion, etc. is unwarranted. Have some of you lost your humanity? That’s why things aren’t going right for you because you can’t be happy for others. When someone is in their winning season, cheer them on. I’m sure you want the same thing when it’s your turn. Learn to be happy for others and watch how you become blessed—being mean spirited blocks your happiness every time. Don’t be afraid to give and spread love. Love is something that we all can’t get enough of, and it’s best when shared among many people. 

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That concludes the last part of my quarantine life series. I hope you all enjoyed reading as much as I had fun writing it. I understand how easy it is to look at this from a negative vantage point. My intention with creating this series was to show the positive aspects during the quarantine life. This reset button, as I like to call it, allows us to reevaluate our lives for the better. I understand the difficulties many are facing, and I pray that things turn around very soon. I hope that this series gave you some solace of better days ahead. If I learned anything, it’s that perception is everything. If I perceive it isn’t good, then it is. However, if I believe things are lovely, then they are. As the old saying goes, perception is reality. It’s up to you which reality you want to represent you. 

Don’t forget to check out the discussion question before you go, and I’ll see you next time!

What do you want to change or stay the same after quarantine? Why or why not? 

Quarantine Life Part 1: Relationships

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I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. It’s been a lot trying to get through the current stay at home order. I’ve observed something about relationships during this quarantine life. I’m going to write a three-part series, including this post about my direct and indirect experiences that the quarantine life has impacted. I was in a relationship before this coronavirus changed our lives drastically. Once the stay at home order started my relationship eventually changed. I let him stay with me (in hindsight, that was a bad idea)for three weeks. Honestly, I learned an infinite amount about myself into two categories, what I did well and what needs improvement. I realized within those three weeks how incompatible we were. He was happy as he got everything he wanted, but my needs not so much.

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There were red flags that kept coming up that I tried to look past. Let’s say something came up that I couldn’t ignore anymore. With the help of the quarantine, it allowed us to speed things up and notice that we weren’t right for each other. No love lost as you live and learn. The pro to this situation is that it saved me heartache later on. I discovered this information in less than two months as opposed to four/five months down the line. That sounds like a blessing to me. I’ve never lived with a man before, so that was a significant growing pain for me. I have to be with someone I’m compatible with, as it will be much easier to compromise within a relationship. When you’re with someone, you have a deep connection with compromising will come naturally. Unfortunately, my newfound relationship was short lived. I gained knowledge that now I know the changes I’m making are in the right direction. Now I need to find someone I’m more connected with, and that will be my last relationship (God willing!).

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I notice that relationships are taking a toll during this time as well. I heard my neighbors arguing across the hall the other week. I never want to be in a relationship like that. The way the woman was yelling at her boyfriend, I thought I was in trouble. Sorry not sorry, but if someone can yell at you, then it’s time to go. I always believed that if someone could yell, then they can raise their hand to you. I don’t have time for either situation, so I’m out, no, thank you. I can see why domestic violence is going up if this is the situation folks are experiencing. I know a few people who’s relationships have ended due to the quarantine. I guess their relationship couldn’t handle the proximity to each other. That’s something I don’t understand either. If you’re with someone you can’t stand, then how did the relationship occur? The new criteria to add to your dating questionnaire is, can you be quarantine with this person? If the answer is no, then keep it moving. You’re going to be spending massive amounts of time with this person, so you should want to be around them.

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Stop getting into relationships with people you only spent limited amount of time getting to know. I have a few coworkers who were complaining about not being back at work. I asked them why, and the response was they couldn’t stand their spouse. Again I’m confused as to why a person would marry someone they don’t like. The quarantine life is going to show different aspects of a relationship. Either it’s stable, and this situation will only make things healthier, or the relationship will be coming apart at the seams. Of course, this time will be difficult on everyone, and it’s essential to be with someone who will help you through this event. I suffer from anxiety, and while I was still in my relationship, it took a beating. It was something about that relationship that was bothering my spirit. God has a way of telling us things if we would only listen. It took me going through that rough patch to realize it was time to move on. Better late than never as it could’ve been worst.

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Being in the home 24/7 is an emotional blow to anyone, particularly those who suffer from mental health issues. My anxiety was through the roof for the first few weeks of the stay at home order. I would have panic attacks, and I had trouble sleeping. What has been a tremendous help to me is exercising, yoga, meditation, reading, writing, virtual happy hours, and my all-time favorite therapy. There are so many other things you could be doing during this time. I’m sure there is something you want to do that you’ve been putting off. Now is the perfect time as any to focus on those goals that have been on the back burner. The bright side of this is that it will give you something else to discuss. Talking about the same thing over and over becomes tedious, especially during this time. Bringing something else to the table will break up the monotony. Let’s try something different since you don’t have anything better to do. You mind as well be more constructive with your time. I saw someone who made a dress and put braids in her hair, thanks to YouTube University. Be creative and Glow Up! By the way, that’s the title of the second part of this series.

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Don’t forget to get involved in the discussion questions below:

Has the quarantine impacted your relationships in a positive or negative light?
What steps are you taking to help keep yourself sane during this time?

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7 Deadly Sins of Dating

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With 2020 just around the corner, it’s becoming even more important to rid yourself of the deadly sins of dating. You must avoid these sins to have a productive relationship. The list that I compiled is by no means all of them, but the ones I feel will quietly kill a romance before it has time to bloom.

Ghosting

Come on people it’s 2019 and ghosting is still a thing. I understand not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings but trust me leaving their messages unread isn’t the answer. Of course, some folks will take the hint and move along. Whereas other people may feel desperate to continue because they aren’t sure where things took a wrong turn. My advice is DON’T DO THAT EVER! I don’t care how great the person is or if the chemistry was on 1,000. People who are vested in you don’t ghost PERIOD. If this happens chunk of the deuces and start dating other people. It is critical not to put all your eggs in one basket. Especially if that person hasn’t displayed that they’re worthy of you doing so.

Bare Minimum Standards

Let me break it down if you aren’t familiar with the concept. It is praising your dates over necessary dating etiquette. For example, texting back, opening the car door, and checking that you arrived home safely to name a few. With standards that low nobody can complain about getting less than stellar dating prospects. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have standards as they’re necessary while dating. However, set your standards a bit higher to weed out the non-committers from your dating pool.

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Being a Pick Me

I’m not going to lie I wasn’t as familiar with this deadly sin previously. I honestly had to ask a few friends what this was. In a nutshell, it’s someone who screams desperation. They will say and do anything to get someone to date them. Even if that means settling for less and not having their requirements met. Dating has become so challenging that it’s hard for people to maintain positive. It’s essential to stay with a positive mindset at all times while dating. Things can be bleak and then turn around in an instant. Never settle as forever is too long of a time to be miserable.

Holding on to Past Hurt

Remember the old saying the best way to get over someone is being with someone new. I personally only agree with that statement if you’re ready to move on. Making others pay is played out, and we’re too grown for that. Your date has nothing to do with the situation, so why should they suffer? Do the right thing like Spike Lee and don’t start until you’re emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally healed. Otherwise, you will be helping to create more damaged people, and there’s enough of that.

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Consistently Inconsistent

That is a term I coined to describe someone who can’t consistently be present, but who will pop up from time to time. They will send that dreaded “I miss you” text or the classic “Hey stranger.”Ugh please do us all a favor and go away like the dinosaurs. Nobody wants or needs that in their lives. If you don’t have time to date, then be an adult and say that. I have a better idea: DON’T DATE until you can devote time to it. Overly simple right. It will avoid so much drama and make dating so much easier.

Lying

Of course, this deadly sin is apparent, but I would be remiss if I didn’t put it on the list. The whole point of the dating phase is to see how things would pan out on a romantic level. If you’re dishonest during this phase that pretty much describes what someone would look forward to in the future. We all tell little white lies. For example, I ate pizza when I stated I would eat salad as apart of my new diet. If a person lies about something significant like where they work and not having kids. Those are red flags that are too glaring to be ignored.

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Rushing

It’s essential to remember that while dating the purpose is to get to know someone and see if a relationship can build based on similar interest. None of this can occur when rushing comes into play. That could mean after the 2nd date ready to move in together. Some people may feel that’s too soon, while others are all for it. You have to take the time to figure the other person out before determining the best way to proceed. Making sure both parties are moving at a healthy pace will make the dating phase more comfortable and enjoyable.

That’s my list on the seven deadly sins of dating. I’m thinking about revisiting this sometime in the future to add more. Let me know your thoughts, and what are some of your deadly sins of dating? Please rate, comment, share, and subscribe.

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Happy dating!

 

 

Dating Challenges

Getting back to dating after years of single hood can be somewhat of a challenge especially if you spent many years coming and going as you please. Once you’re in a relationship those dynamics quickly change and you have to embrace having a partner in your life. I felt vigorous about writing this post because I am currently experiencing this now. One of my dating prospects stated that he was concerned about my ability to include someone in my life. I have been independent for so long that it’s something he will keep in the back of his mind. Honestly, I was a bit shocked to hear this, but at the same time, I appreciate the sincerity. It was time for me to reflect on how I am presenting myself and what I could be saying as well. The messages that I’m putting across could be giving mixed signals that I didn’t anticipate. I would be saying I’m available and unavailable at the same time. That is not what I want, so I need to make some changes in this area. I had to set down with myself and examine what I could be exuding out to others.

The first mixed signal I was giving off was not wanting to give up on my current routine. I am a creature of habit. I would get off work, do my typical after work rituals and be okay with that. However, when you’re dating it is essential to learn to compromise. That is the first example of compromising that many people miss entirely. If you can’t compromise with making time to meet up for dates, then it’s not a good indication of starting a relationship. In my mind, I would instead make time when I’m not exhausted from work as I want to make a good impression. The other person doesn’t view it that way and thinks I’m not interested in dating. I prefer to plan dates on the weekend and days when I don’t have to work. On those days I’m more alert and present. Now I understand that this doesn’t come across the way I think it should. It’s a better idea to explain a little more about your thought process. Some jobs are more demanding than others so maybe dates during the week won’t work. It’s best to communicate and find ways to compromise that works best for everyone. Otherwise, people will come up with their own opinions, and it can impact a potential relationship.

Another mixed signal is that my plate is full in life and that I don’t have room for a partner. When my dates ask what my interests are I thought it was a great thing that I have so many things that I like. To my surprise, I come across as having too much going on and not enough room for a relationship. I even had one guy tell me that I come across as too independent and he doesn’t know what role a man could play in my life. I had male friends tell me that men like to feel needed and if that doesn’t occur they typically will not entertain a relationship. Now that I’ve been made aware of it I try my best to make sure to state that I want to incorporate my hobbies and interest with my partner. That way potential suitors don’t feel left out and that I don’t want to intertwine my life with theirs. Dating is all about could you see yourself potentially with someone, and if they aren’t presenting themselves as a candidate, it’s a turnoff. In the future, I need to be more mindful of what I’m saying as not to scare off my soulmate.

The last mixed signal is related to communication styles and being adaptive to them. In my current job, I talk a lot and often for the whole day. Of course, once I get home, I want to take a break and not be on the phone. Depending on the day I had I will want to talk more than other days. However, when you’re dating someone or trying to get to know someone communication is essential. The problem I have is at times I don’t want to be on the phone for hours. I struggle with trying to get someone to understand that because they take it as I’m not interested in them. Then I’ll try to speak with them anyway when I didn’t want to talk, and it sets a wrong impression. I try to explain why but sometimes they believe I’m making excuses not to communicate.

Another thing is adapting to the need for video chatting. I noticed many guys love to do it, but it’s cumbersome at times. Who wants to hold the phone for hours? I get it especially with online dating people want to make sure they aren’t involved in a catfish situation. However, there should be a compromise between video chat, texting and phone calls. Depending on someone’s day it can be easier to use another form of communication. I feel that I adapt pretty well to other people’s communication style even though I don’t always feel the same in return. I need to do a better job of explaining the nature of my career, so guys don’t think I’m blowing them off. I may have experienced a long day at work, and I feel like being in a mood to text only, and then tomorrow we can video chat. I have to do a better job of setting expectations around communication and compromising more often.

Dating already comes with its’ set of challenges as you learn to adapt to the other person’s expectations. You also have to be open and honest about what you’re expecting as well. Communication is vital as it solves about 90% of the problems that people face today. To overcome challenges, you must pay attention when they come up and correct them. Even though to you it may not be a bad thing but it comes across differently to other people. Be mindful of what you’re putting out there and if that has anything to do with the results that you’re experiencing. If you notice that the results in dating are less than stellar, then its time to self reflect. You could be doing things without even realizes it, and that could be hurting your chances for a relationship.

What are some of your dating challenges and how did you overcome them?

Are You Too Empathetic?

Are you the type of person who can pick up the emotions and energy of other people? For example, if someone cries you immediately feel that pain and cry as well. If you see something disturbing on television, does it tend to stay with you for the rest of the day? If you answered yes to these questions, then you are very in tune with your emotions. Some may even argue that you are too emotionally ingrained in your feelings. Having these feelings can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. The blessing is that you are very empathetic to others which can be very helpful in romantic relationships. The downside is this makes you very susceptible to energy vampires. They tend to prey upon your empathetic nature and guilt you into things you may not necessarily be comfortable doing. You become so engulfed with that person that you forget who you are and lose yourself in the process. Here is when you have to be careful with your emotions and who you let in your life. It’s effortless to get caught up with other people as you feel you are helping them. The issue becomes when they are taking, but won’t be there for you when you need it. When this happens, it leaves you high and dry with nothing to show for it. You felt empty and drained of all your resources.

I have this issue myself, so I have a tough time not offering to help. I guess I feel like I have to or I should since the person is confiding in me. However, just because someone is venting to you doesn’t mean you have to take that on. Especially if that person is never pouring back into you, you must protect your mental peace and learn to say no to people. You can have empathy, but that doesn’t mean owning what that person is dealing with currently. There’s nothing wrong with saying this is too much for me to handle, so I need to back away. I am giving that other person time and space to work through their issues. I know people say that if you back away you are selfish and never cared about that person. I disagree with that statement. If your problems are escalating to a point where it is impossible to have a healthy happy relationship, it’s time to leave. Relationships involve two people growing together and moving towards becoming one with each other. If one person isn’t in a position to do this then how is the relationship supposed to last? You can only take so much and if that person isn’t trying to fix it then what other choice do you have? The same can be said for friendships and family members as well.

You can love people from afar, but that doesn’t mean let that drama enter your life and impact your wellbeing. For those of you who don’t have this issue, I am jealous of you. You can separate yourself from people and the problems that are surrounding them. However, to those who tend to take on the emotions and difficulties of others, we must be careful. We must be very picky about who we let into our personal and mental space. People can pick up on how we are and then it can be used to their advantage. Look out for the signs that this person isn’t as generous and using you to feel better about themselves. Listen to your gut and remove yourself from any situation that is detrimental to your health. We aren’t going any more days, months, nor years with toxic behavior. We will no longer allow this to dampen our spirits. We are moving forward in life with our peace and anything that disturbs that is way too expensive.

Do you feel that you are too empathetic? If so, what have you done to correct this? If not, what do you think makes people more empathetic than others?

Happiness is Waiting

I’ve spoken previously about the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone to grow. You learn so much more about yourself when you take these opportunities. Recently, I put this thought process to the test during my latest trip to Los Angeles. I know family and friends don’t want me to move there, but I love the weather. We’ll see you never know what happens. Anyway, the purpose of this trip besides a vacation, of course, was to visit a relative of mine. I haven’t seen her in two years since she moved and this would be an opportunity to see her new surroundings. Since I knew she had to work, I decided to create an itinerary for myself. The flight was six hours from NJ, and I am not about to be sitting in a hotel waiting to hang out. I am incredibly grateful that I took this approach. I went overzealous with the activities, but I still was living my best life.

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The best part about having an itinerary in place is you never have to worry about what to do next. Having your activities planned out for the day takes out the guesswork of what to do on a given day. Of course, you don’t have to follow an itinerary word for word. However, it allows you to focus on the trip and not stress about what activities to do. Having these preplanned activities in place worked out perfectly as I was solo for half the trip. I spent time with my relative but not for the whole duration of my stay. The best part of this is that I was able to do the things I wanted to do without judgment from someone else. Spending time with myself not only allowed me to fulfill my interest but to learn how to deal with my own company too.

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Another significant part of my Los Angeles trip is that now I made a new friend. When you go on a trip solo, it forces you outside of your comfort zone.  Then for you to connect with others, you will have to put yourself out there. That is how I made a new friend in Los Angeles, and I gained a new travel buddy. She was out in Los Angeles solo as well, and we met at the same hotel. We even were staying on the same floor only three doors down from each other. I’m a firm believer that we were destined to meet. I heard of coincidences, but that had to be fate involved. I seriously would’ve missed out on all the fun and the people I met if I didn’t go on this trip.

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Of course, I would’ve loved to spend more time with my relative during my time in Los Angeles. However, I learned so much about myself due to this trip that I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. I learned how resilient I could be when faced with new obstacles and challenges. This trip opened my eyes to the endless possibilities if only I would be willing to try and stop being scared. Remember you can’t have a lasting relationship with anyone if you can’t have one with yourself. Go on that trip, try out the new cooking class, or whatever your interest takes you. Stop letting the fear of the unknown stop you from living your best life. The happiness you are seeking is on the other side of fear.

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Until next time,

Thkeya Life (1)

Battle with Depression

I’m writing this in complete shock of what transpired with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. My thoughts and prayers are with their families at this difficult time. I’ve been reading a lot of comments regarding this situation, and everyone keeps saying how they don’t understand how Kate and Anthony got to this point. The comments are beyond hurtful as many people don’t know how mental illness and depression can alter your emotions. You will have mood swings, and thoughts of suicide can occur. These thoughts take place over the course of days, weeks, months, and even years. It is a constant battle of trying to get better and pretending that you’re okay. It is a private hell that I don’t wish on anyone. My intention with this post is to shed some light on this subject. The insensitivity I’m seeing is all the more reason why it’s essential to have this conversation. With many prayers and conversations with myself, I decided to share my own story. I have reservations about it, but I think it’s critical that I put my feelings aside. If this story can save one life, then it will be all worth it. Most importantly I hope that someone out there will think before they bully or judge someone. You have no idea what that person is dealing with or if the night before unsuccessfully (Thank God) tried to commit suicide.

My first experience with depression started when I was a teenager. I experienced a traumatic event in my life which prompted this. I didn’t properly learn how to process and deal with my emotions. I sought help, but the first therapist that I interacted with wasn’t helpful. She made me feel as if the situation was my fault. I was already blaming myself, so this situation just pushed me over the edge. I had so much pent-up aggression inside that I just wanted it to be released. I begin to self-harm as a way to cope with my emotions. Of course, this didn’t help at all, and my pain only intensified as time went on. The pain was becoming unbearable to the point where suicide was viewed as the best option. I didn’t feel comfortable discussing my struggles with anyone. When I would explain my issues with family, I would hear you don’t have anything to be sad about, or you need to pray more. Not sure why people think hearing that would be helpful in some way. Of course, this does nothing to cure your depression or boost your self-esteem. I kept myself busy with school and extracurricular activities. All I did was mask the pain I was dealing with, but it did nothing to cure the depression I was feeling. My family and friends thought I was okay because I did an excellent job of hiding my emotions.

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I am a very great actress, and I hid it very well. I don’t want to come across as weak or complaining, so I keep things to myself. When I did open up to the family, I didn’t get the support I was seeking. They were listening to me, but they didn’t understand what I was feeling. In their mind, I was a teen, and this is what teens deal with, so you will grow out of it. This thinking was wrong as I didn’t grow out of it and it only became worse. When you first open up about your feelings and don’t  receive a heartfelt response, you decide to not speak on it anymore. Everybody wants to be understood so when that doesn’t occur it’s easier to keep your thoughts to yourself. Depression followed me well into my adulthood, and I still struggle with it daily. Happy events were occurring in my life, but I was battling my own demons that I couldn’t enjoy it. I know I wasn’t the most relaxed person to date during that time as I was suffering in silence. I was going through the motions of life and being miserable at the same time. I got to the point when ending it all was the best option just to alleviate the noise in my head. This is when I unsuccessfully attempted suicide, and I’m so incredibly grateful it was unsuccessful.

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I went to work the next day as if nothing happened the night before. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. I had a horrible day at work, and my coworkers had no idea the previous night I had. At that point is when I decided to seek therapy again. I know you are wondering the first attempt didn’t work out so why try it again? I knew that I couldn’t do this alone and who better to see but a professional. I met an excellent therapist and credited her with helping to save me from myself. I had been a broken person all these years. My inner child never fully healed, so she became an adult without the emotional coping skills necessary in life. Even though I was an adult emotionally, I was still a teen, and that version of myself was the one making the decisions. Until I learned to heal that inner child, I would never be able to move forward. Those were the skills I learned in therapy, and that’s why I’m here today. With her guidance, I was able to finally heal my inner child and gain the closure I desperately needed for that chapter in my life.

I am a stronger, healthier person now because of therapy. I am a massive advocate for treatment, and I encourage anyone who needs healing to get it. After speaking about my struggles, I noticed that some family and friends are going through similar issues. Being preoccupied with how I came across, I never thought that maybe there are people who understand me. When you are in your head too much, you don’t reason with reality. My family and friends are more than willing to help me if I would let them in my world. Therapy taught me that I need to stop building walls around myself and be open to people as everyone isn’t going to hurt me. I don’t want anyone to read this story and feel sorry for me. I’m in a much better place, and this experience has only made me stronger. I hope that you read this story and it opens your eyes that depression doesn’t have a look. Anyone at any given time could be experiencing depression. If you have a loved one that is struggling even if they give hints, please don’t ignore them. That is their way of asking for help.

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Unfortunately, there is a still a stigma associated with mental illness and depression. Due to that people are still afraid to come forward with their truth. If you are struggling, please feel free to email me even if it’s to vent. I don’t want you to feel alone. Seek treatment and speak to a trusted friend or family member. Use this post as a way to help facilitate a conversation if necessary. Don’t let your struggles get the best of you. There is a way that you can overcome your obstacles don’t be afraid to ask for help. If one person doesn’t listen or give you the response you are seeking keep trying. There are others out there who do so don’t give up. Please share this on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and leave your comments below. Let’s continue to add commas to our lives and not a period.

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Until next time,

Thkeya Life (1)