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?

Protect Black Girls

I watched the first two episodes of “Surviving R. Kelly,” and I was punching the air. I was disgusted by what all these women described, and my heart goes out to them. They were very brave to share their stories, and I pray that they continue to lead productive lives in spite of what has occurred. This story brought up many emotions in me, but one, in particular, is related to anger. Black girls are not even thought of when it comes to matters of sexual abuse. There are countless stories of abused black girls, and it gets swept under the rug. When things like this happen to other girls, it makes national headlines, and there is a public outcry. What about black girls? Do their lives not matter? It raises even more questions about why in the black community do we protect the abuser instead of the abused. There is that one uncle that is a little too friendly, or you hear family members speak about not letting a specific person babysit. Let’s take it a step further to mom’s new boyfriend/husband or even the pastor. It’s that guy that hangs out at the school that graduated many years ago or picking up a young girl from school. It’s the guy that has a preference for young girls or a hiring manager telling a potential hire how badly do you want this job? I can go on and on with a gamut of situations. Everything goes back to why is this allowed to continue?

The worse part of it all is women victim blaming other women for their sexual abuse. They will be very quick to say she’s fast or she deserved it based off how she dressed. It doesn’t matter how someone looks or acts. They can be butt naked walking down the street. Nobody has a right to touch or harass them in any way. As a society, there is too much victim blaming, and the anger should be towards the person who deserves it. When will protection for the abusers STOP?! Every person who is aware of a black girl who is victimized and does nothing is just as guilty as the person committing the crime. Please stop having girls go around their abuser pretending as nothing happened. That is hurtful and insulting to their mental wellbeing. You are in essence telling them to accept toxic behavior and don’t expect anyone to come to their aid. Being silent is also telling girls that their only purpose is for the sexual gratification of men. This brainwashing mentality then gets passed down to the next generation and so forth. Break the cycle now and stop protecting these revolting men and have them locked up.

Some things you can rehabilitate from, but pedophilia is not something that I believe you can turn around (my opinion). One of the hardest things for survivors to deal with is people calling them liars. Once you do finally get over the guilt/shame and then to be called a lair is disheartening. I can think of many things to lie about but being sexually abused is not one of them. You are scrutinized and deemed as a deviant so who would want that drama. Put your pride to the side and loneliness to protect your child. Single mothers especially need to be careful as someone could date you to get close to your daughter. We all could be more vigilant and be more cautious about who we let around our children. Also, we need to create an avenue when girls speak out about being abused that help at the forefront. Support is going to the police and getting therapy to name a few ideas. It takes a lot of courage to speak out. If more girls saw that it was safe to tell their truth, it will help others to say theirs as well. Not everyone who smiles in your face has good intentions. Stop protecting these abusers as speaking out can save someone else’s life.

What are your thoughts on the R. Kelly situation? Have you dealt with this or know someone who has? If so, what was the outcome? What are some ideas that we can do as a community to prevent this from happening in the future? Let’s continue the dialogue in the comment section below. FYI I know that many girls are impacted by sexually abused. I’m calling out black girls due to the backlash that these brave women were receiving online from speaking out about R. Kelly.

Until next time,

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)

Overcoming Heartbreak

This past weekend was a whirlwind of emotions. I found out that an ex-boyfriend from a few years ago was cheating on me with his best friend. I was inclined to believe that something was going on between them, but I never had any proof to validate my feelings. Not only did I discover that he had a relationship with her, but I was the other woman the whole time. Isn’t that a strange revelation to have to understand? I have moved on from this relationship I can assure you, however, to learn this information started to put a lot of things into perspective for me. It helped me to understand better how things played out the last few months of our relationship. I seriously thought there was something wrong with me and that I did something inaccurate to cause our breakup. The truth of the matter is that I wasn’t who he wanted to be with romantically. There was another woman in his life that I could never compete against because his heart belonged elsewhere. I honestly felt like why even bother to date me if you knew this already. It was at this moment that I realized I made the right decision to end that relationship. At the time I wasn’t sure if I made the right choice, but God always has a way of bringing information to the forefront. All I have to say at this point is thank God things ended when it did. I believe that the conclusion of this relationship was the best thing that ever happened to me. I am in a much better place, and I have that relationship to thank for it.

I learned to never settle for something just because you are lonely and think you will never find anyone. Please never do this ever in your life. One of the worst mistakes you could ever make is by staying with someone for these reasons. Realize that as lonely as being single maybe being with the wrong person could feel much worse. Don’t waste the best years of your life on someone who doesn’t deserve your pretty as it’s entirely not worse the hassle. If you are in a vulnerable state, it is even more imperative that you stay clear of entertaining any relationship. Until you work through your issues, you won’t be of good use to anyone. It is not fair to ask someone to deal with your past issues from another relationship. Yes, that person can help you work through those problems, but they can’t help you fix them. That is your job and do yourself a favor and work on that before getting into a relationship. Jumping from relationship to relationship is unacceptable as you need time to heal from one situation before moving on to another one. Being a healthy and happy person entering into a new relationship is the best way to be.

Another valuable lesson I learned during the ending of that relationship is never to ignore the glaring red flags that are in front of you. Sometimes we want something to work out so much that we discredit the signs that are in front of us. There are no benefits to overlooking this information as it will only hurt you in the end. Please follow your gut instinct as it will not steer you in the wrong direction. If you get an atrocious feeling about something, there is a reason for that. The idea is that you need to step away from the situation as it is unhealthy and damaging for you. I’m speaking from experience as I didn’t follow any of the red flags and I ended up staying in a relationship I should’ve. This relationship caused me a lot of unnecessary heartaches. I should’ve followed my instincts once I felt that things were taking a turn for the worse. Yes, I realized things eventually, and the relationship ran its course. However, if I would’ve listened earlier, then I wouldn’t have wasted a year of my life with this person. The cookie crumbles this way as they say and I became a better person on the other side. I am in a much happier place in my life, and I owe it to that failed relationship that not only helped me restore my faith but forced me to love me again as well.

I’m a much stronger person now than I was a few years ago. I’m ashamed to admit the things that I allowed to occur in the past. You live, and you learn and let me tell you I learned a whole lot. I will never allow anyone to bring me down as I have done in the past. I know what I want and what I won’t  tolerate from any relationship regardless if it’s romantic or friendship. I know my worth now, and you should know your worth as well. Don’t settle for less and never let anyone make you feel inferior to build themselves back up. If you see that you are leaning too much on one person, then you should realize that you are becoming codependent on that individual. That is absolutely the wrong way to go. Once you do this, you are giving someone too much control over your life. Being single does have its periods of loneliness, but nothing is more lonely than being in a relationship with the wrong person. Embrace your single season and work on becoming a better you while you are rolling solo. This way once the right person comes along you will be ready for them to be apart of your life.

Until next time,

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The Fear of Starting Over

Falling deeply, madly in love with someone is a petrifying experience. The vulnerability that you feel is most terrifying. However, the love that you have for that person is worth all of the anxiety you feel. You want to spend the rest of your life with this person and the thought of living without them causing you unmeasurable pain. To hear those four words, “Will you marry me?” is something most women will long to hear. Unfortunately, for me, I didn’t get my happily ever after.

After a completely romantic proposal that was everything from my wildest dreams quickly came crashing down on me. I found out not even a month later that the love of my life wasn’t ready to get married. To say I was devastated would’ve been an understatement.  He felt pressure from his family to propose and he claimed he didn’t want to keep me waiting for a proposal. To be honest, I never pressured him and at that time I was so in love I would’ve waited forever for him. However, what he failed to realize was his deception would cause residual effects that I’m still experiencing today.

I was so hurt, confused, mislead, and most importantly I felt unworthy of love. How could someone who claimed to love me hurt me this way? I lost all faith in people especially when it came to men. Every person whom I came in contact with was scrutinized with a fine tooth comb. I got involved in situations that I had no business being in. Remember what I said last week, “Hurt people will always hurt others around them.” I was involved with men who were horrible for me, but I let my fear of desperation get the best of me.

Everyone kept telling me that I needed to start dating again. People don’t understand how it feels to go from being engaged to newly single. You often wonder if you will ever find love again or if marriage will ever be a possibility. Also, it doesn’t help that I had a few bad relationships since my engagement ended. I started to experience a serious bout of depression. I didn’t want to interact nor did I want to be around family and friends. I started to distance myself from the people who know me best because I was ashamed to admit what was taking place in my life. My depression had spiraled out of control that I even attempted suicide. At this point, I knew I needed help and I wasn’t going to be able to deal with all these emotions on my own.

The next step for me was attending therapy. This was a scary thing for me to do, but overall I made the best decision possible. I honestly don’t know where I would be right now if it wasn’t for therapy. I had to learn how to love me again and not to look to someone else for my happiness. This is something that I am responsible for and I am the person that can change the course of my life. Therapy helped me to realize that each experience in life is a lesson learned. Things will be okay if they don’t work out as life goes on. It will be devastating of course, but not life-threatening.

The biggest lesson of all that I learned is that forgiveness is most important. Forgiveness is more for you than the other person. As cliché as it sounds, it is so true. It means letting go of past hurt in order to move forward in your life. From my therapy sessions, I became a stronger and wiser woman. I’m so proud of the person I am today. If you need therapy for any reason, don’t be afraid to seek treatment. You never know how it could change your life.

I don’t know what the future will hold, but I do know that I’m finally ready for it. It took a long time, but I can’t wait to see the outcome. Starting over is an overwhelming task, but it can be the most rewarding experience. Give yourself a chance to see how it goes. You never know what may be waiting for you around the corner.