Bullying

Change Is It Possible

Bullying has become an epidemic. It is seen in both children and adults alike. People have begun to use bullying as a way to make themselves feel better about whatever inadequacies they may have. I guess one could argue that it has always been used for this purpose, it is just more noticeable because of the internet and social media. Adults seem to be bullying more than the children, especially celebrities who should be seen as role models. It is very difficult to try and get a child to understand the consequences of bullying when that is all that they see.

Children have always had a certain level of teasing a cruelty, but once again access to computers make matters much worse. 20 years ago a child could be teased on the playground and that was that. They could escape to their home life. With the use us social media though, there is no escape. The ridicule is everywhere and can reach the entire world in a matter of seconds. The epidemic has become so bad that it has formed a new epidemic of suicide. All children are not able to cope with the mass humiliation that social media can bring. It is important that parents understand that depression and suicide are very real and that children can suffer from them just like adults. We cannot write of bullying as a childhood learning experience. I participate in a youth group at my church. In this group there is a young girl who is maturing faster than the other girls. As a result, the other girls, who are clearly jealous, tease here about her figure and call her ‘fast’. They have no proof other than the fact that she has matured faster than them and that the boys are noticing her more. I pulled the young lady to the side to try and talk to her to get a feel of how she was feeling. Her response was’ I’ll be okay I was told to toughen up and that is what I will do”. This broke my heart. Though it is important to have a thick skin this was definitely not what an adult should have told a child. What if she was not able to ‘Toughen up’ and the bullying led to something worse.

It is imperative that we come together in the fight against bullying because if we don’t our children will continue to be lost.

What A Shame!!!

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Yesterday I was watching the news and the following story caught my attention…..my first response…..What A Shame….my second response was young lives wasted lives. According to ABC news two high school students (girls) were arguing in one of the girl’s bathrooms located at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware early Thursday morning. Witnesses report that the argument was over a boy. Yeah, that is an entirely different blog.  Anywho,  the argument escalates into a fight. It is believed that the victim (Amy Joyner-Francis) was attacked by more than one person. The assault resulted in Amy hitting her head on a sink in the bathroom. Amy was airlifted to a local hospital where she later was pronounced dead. How tragic. You send your kids off to school in the morning with the hopes that they learn something. Hopefully, we are instilling values to produce healthy, happy, productive citizens. Yes, I once was a high school student, so I do know the foolery that does occur….seems like it was a lot simpler back in my high school days.  Most importantly, we lived!!! Yes, arguments are going to occur between kids but we have to ask ourselves, “What are we teaching our kids?” When violence is the answer to resolving a problem. What a shame this younger girl died over foolishness. What a shame that the individuals responsible are going to endure consequences they are not prepared for. What a shame there were peers watching and joining in but no one felt compelled to be the voice of reason or to go get assistance until it was to late.  As adults, as parents we have to do a better job of teaching or kids right from wrong. We have to do a better job of teaching them to live to fight another day.

 

http://abc7ny.com/news/16-year-old-girl-killed-in-high-school-assault-remembered/1302551/#videoplayer

FORGIVENESS

forgiveness-is-unlocking-the-door

Forgiving others is a hard thing for people to do. One may ask, why is it so difficult or why do we find it hard to forgive? All of us have different reasons, but one of the reasons is that some of us don’t have a full comprehension of what true forgiveness is and how it functions. When we gain the knowledge of true forgiveness, we might find it easy to forgive ourselves and those who have hurt us.

Since we do not have a full comprehension of forgiveness, our first reaction to someone hurting us is revenge. Revenge comes more naturally than forgiveness. Even though it is difficult to forgive others, it is also important to forgive for many reasons. First, we are commanded to forgive others if we want God to forgive us of our wrong deeds. Second, forgiveness is vital for one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. In other words, it brings healing to oneself and releases the offender. The importance of forgiveness is not only releasing a person who wronged you, but brings one’s self-healing, wellbeing, and health. Third, forgiveness allows you to release the burdens. Fourth, forgiving helps individuals to grow, free an individual from the past and to move forward to a healthier present and future.

Matthew 18:21-22 states that “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times I shall forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Forgiveness does not only bring healing, but it also empowers individual(s) and helps them to gain their power back. It assists any individuals in releasing themselves from the effects of bondage and opens the door to the Lord to bring a total healing their lives. “And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12).

Lastly, forgiveness is crucial for any person because it assists an individual in a reduction of physical symptoms of stress, decrease depression and increases self-confident. Among other things, it assists an individual to be healthier.

According to Rose Sweet from the Focus on the Family, “Granting Forgiveness” is as follows:

  1. Forgiveness is not letting the offender off the hook. We can and should still hold others accountable for their actions or lack of actions.
  2. Forgiveness is returning to God the right to take care of justice. By refusing to transfer the right to exact punishment or revenge, we are telling God we don’t trust him to take care of matters.
  3. Forgiveness is not letting the offense recur again and again. We don’t have to tolerate, nor should we keep ourselves open to, lack of respect or any form of abuse.
  4. Forgiveness does not mean we have to revert to being the victim. Forgiving is not saying, “What you did was okay, so go ahead and walk all over me.” Nor is it playing the martyr, enjoying the performance of forgiving people because it perpetuates our victim role.
  5. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciling. We can forgive someone even if we never can get along with him again.
  6. Forgiveness is a process, not an event. It might take some time to work through our emotional problems before we can truly forgive. As soon as we can, we should decide to forgive, but it probably is not going to happen right after a tragic divorce. That’s okay.
  7. We have to forgive every time. If we find ourselves constantly forgiving, though, we might need to take a look at the dance we are doing with the other person that sets us up to be continually hurt, attacked, or abused.
  8. Forgetting does not mean denying reality or ignoring repeated offenses. Some people are obnoxious, mean-spirited, apathetic, or unreliable. They never will change. We need to change the way we respond to them and quit expecting them to be different.
  9. Forgiveness is not based on others’ actions but on our attitude. People will continue to hurt us through life. We either can look outward at them or stay stuck and angry, or we can begin to keep our minds on our loving relationship with God, knowing and trusting in what is good.
  10. If they don’t repent, we still have to forgive. Even if they never ask, we need to forgive. We should memorize and repeat over and over: Forgiveness is about our attitude, not their action.
  11. We don’t always have to tell them we have forgiven them. Self-righteously announcing our gracious forgiveness to someone who has not asked to be forgiven may be a manipulation to make them feel guilty. It also is a form of pride.
  12. Withholding forgiveness is a refusal to let go of perceived power. We can feel powerful when the offender is in need of forgiveness and only we can give it. We may fear going back to being powerless if we forgive.
  13. We might have to forgive more than the divorce. Post-divorce problems related to money, the kids, and schedules might result in the need to forgive again and to seek forgiveness ourselves.
  14. We might forgive too quickly to avoid pain or to manipulate the situation. Forgiveness releases pain and frees us from focusing on the other person. Too often when we’re in the midst of the turmoil after a divorce, we desperately look for a quick fix to make it all go away. Some women want to “hurry up” and forgive so the pain will end, or so they can get along with the other person. We have to be careful not to simply cover our wounds and retard the healing process.
  15. We might be pressured into false forgiveness before we are ready. When we feel obligated or we forgive just so others will still like us, accept us, or not think badly of us, it’s not true forgiveness — it’s a performance to avoid rejection. Give yourself permission to do it right. Maybe all you can offer today is, “I want to forgive you, but right now I’m struggling emotionally. I promise I will work on it.”
  16. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It’s normal for memories to be triggered in the future. When thoughts of past hurts occur, it’s what we do with them that counts. When we find ourselves focusing on a past offense, we can learn to say, “Thank you, God, for this reminder of how important forgiveness is.”
  17. Forgiveness starts with a mental decision. The emotional part of forgiveness is finally being able to let go of the resentment. Emotional healing may or may not follow quickly after we forgive.

Are You Codependent?

are-you-codependentHas someone said, “You’re so co-dependent?”  “I can’t take it, you’re so needy!” and you begin to wonder “Am I?  What does this mean for me and my future?”  Simply put, being co-dependent means the relationship you are involved in is one-sided, as you are willing to sacrifice your happiness and emotional health for the benefit of your partner or child.

Some hallmarks of co-dependency are

  1. No relationship with self. You do not know your own needs, wants, and desires.
  1. Depends on others. You only receive total fulfillment and satisfaction from your relationships with your spouse, child, etc.
  1. Compulsive Helper. Helping others makes you feel in control and safe.
  1. People Pleasing. You will honor others’ needs and wants at the cost of your own needs and wants.

Co-dependents take on 3 roles in relationships with others – the rescuer, persecutor, and victim.

The rescuer’s survived a childhood home where where their needs were not met.  As an adult, they feel safe and at their best self when they are helping others.  They do not know how to set limits and make their well-being a priority.

The persecutor’s family was one where mental and/or physical abusive ran rampant.  They hide their pain by coming off overconfident.  As an adult, they cannot tolerate vulnerable feelings.  When vulnerable feelings arise, they feel weak and will develop unsafe ways to release their angry feelings.

The victim felt damaged and inadequate in their family.  They will allow others to take care of them because they do not feel capable of doing so themselves.

If you find any of these to be true, seek professional help through a mental health professional and or Co-dependents Anonymous.

Stress and Self-care

LettingGo

With the elections coming up, I have become more and more aware of the state of the world, or at least the state of these United States. Who would have ever though that Donald Trump with be a candidate in a presidential election with a possibility to win? Certainly not me. Just watching these debates and thinking about how much life could possible change if presidential hopeful Donald Trump is elected puts me in an area of fear and stress like no other. Which brings me to my point. In this fast paced rapid world that we live in stress has become a ritual. Being under stress has become as routine as taking a bath or brushing one’s teeth. I can’t tell you the amount of coffee consumed each day or the amount of cigarettes that are smoked each day in an effort to relieve stress. It is important that people understand that stress is just as deadly as any other disease. It is known as the silent killer. Stress will eat away at a person until there is nothing left. Too much of anything can lead to depression and stress is the number one culprit. Having to live with these levels of stress daily make it important to have the tools for self-care and stress management. Self-care includes any intentional action you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. We tend to only think about self-care when our body are telling us that it is tired, and even then we only focus on the physical. The truth is self-car should be a daily venture and has to very well-rounded in order to be effective. I found and article with some self-care tips that can be done daily in order to relieve stress. This list is below broken down into the three major areas of self-care; self-care for the mind, self-care for the body and self-care for the soul. The list can be viewed below.

Tiny Self-Care Ideas for the Mind

1. Start a compliments file. Document the great things people say about you to read later.
2. Scratch off a lurker on your to-do list, something that’s been there for ages and you’ll never do.
3. Change up the way you make decisions. Decide something with your heart if you usually use your head. Or if you tend to go with your heart, decide with your head.
4. Go cloud-watching. Lie on your back, relax, and watch the sky.
5. Take another route to work. Mixing up your routine in small ways creates new neural pathways in the brain to keep it healthy.
6. Pay complete attention to something you usually do on autopilot, perhaps brushing your teeth, driving, eating, or performing your morning routine.
7. Goof around for a bit. Schedule in five minutes of “play” (non-directed activity) several times throughout your day.
8. Create a deliberate habit, and routinize something small in your life by doing it in the same way each day—what you wear on Tuesdays, or picking up the dental floss before you brush.
9. Fix a small annoyance at home that’s been nagging you—a button lost, a drawer that’s stuck, a light bulb that’s gone.
10. Punctuate your day with a mini-meditation with one minute of awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations; one minute of focused attention on breathing; and one minute of awareness of the body as a whole.
11. Be selfish. Do one thing today just because it makes you happy.
12. Do a mini-declutter. Recycle three things from your wardrobe that you don’t love or regularly wear.
13. Unplug for an hour. Switch everything to airplane mode and free yourself from the constant bings of social media and email.
14. Get out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just talking to a stranger at the bus stop.
15. Edit your social media feeds, and take out any negative people. You can just “mute” them; you don’t have to delete them.

Tiny Self-Care Ideas for the Body

1. Give your body ten minutes of mindful attention. Use the body scan technique to check in with each part of your body.
2. Oxygenate by taking three deep breaths. Breathe into your abdomen, and let the air puff out your stomach and chest.
3. Get down and boogie. Put on your favorite upbeat record and shake your booty.
4. Stretch out the kinks. If you’re at work, you can always head to the bathroom to avoid strange looks.
5. Run (or walk, depending on your current physical health) for a few minutes. Or go up and down the stairs three times.
6. Narrow your food choices. Pick two healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and rotate for the week.
7. Activate your self-soothing system. Stroke your own arm, or if that feels too weird, moisturize.
8. Get to know yourself intimately. Look lovingly and without judgment at yourself naked. (Use a mirror to make sure you get to know all of you!)
9. Make one small change to your diet for the week. Drink an extra glass of water each day, or have an extra portion of veggies each meal.
10. Give your body a treat. Pick something from your wardrobe that feels great next to your skin.
11. Be still. Sit somewhere green, and be quiet for a few minutes.
12. Get fifteen minutes of sun, especially if you’re in a cold climate. (Use sunscreen if appropriate.)
13. Inhale an upbeat smell. Try peppermint to suppress food cravings and boost mood and motivation.
14. Have a good laugh. Read a couple of comic strips that you enjoy.
15. Take a quick nap. Ten to twenty minutes can reduce your sleep debt and leave you ready for action.

Tiny Self-Care Ideas for the Soul

1. Imagine you’re your best friend. If you were, what would you tell yourself right now? Look in the mirror and say it.
2. Use your commute for a “Beauty Scavenger Hunt.” Find five unexpected beautiful things on your way to work
3. Help someone. Carry a bag, open a door, or pick up an extra carton of milk for a neighbor.
4. Check in with your emotions. Sit quietly and just name without judgment what you’re feeling.
5. Write out your thoughts. Go for fifteen minutes on anything bothering you. Then let it go as you burn or bin the paper.
6. Choose who you spend your time with today. Hang out with “Radiators” who emit enthusiasm and positivity, and not “Drains” whose pessimism and negativity robs energy.
7. Stroke a pet. If you don’t have one, go to the park and find one.
8. Get positive feedback. Ask three good friends to tell you what they love about you.
9. Make a small connection. Have a few sentences of conversation with someone in customer service such as a sales assistant or barista.
10. Splurge a little. Buy a small luxury as a way of valuing yourself.
11. Have a self-date. Spend an hour alone doing something that nourishes you (reading, your hobby, visiting a museum or gallery, etc.)
12. Exercise a signature strength. Think about what you’re good at, and find an opportunity for it today.
13. Take a home spa. Have a long bath or shower, sit around in your bathrobe, and read magazines.
14. Ask for help—big or small, but reach out.
15. Plan a two-day holiday for next weekend. Turn off your phone, tell people you’ll be away, and then do something new in your own town.

Bard, E. (2015). 45 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body, and Soul. Retrieved 2016, from http://tinybuddha.com/blog/45-simple-self-care-practices-for-a-healthy-mind-body-and-soul/

Exercising Your Right to Vote!!!

Craziness is in the air……it could only mean one thing, election year is upon us! I have a had a few conversations with younger generations as well as a few with older generations and I was somewhat surprised with my findings. On average most of the younger generation did not know all the candidates running for president. Sure they knew the names of the current leaders but no information about their platform. As for the older generation, a few suggested that they had done their part and now it is time for the younger generation to stand up and do their part. I find both of these stances concerning and problematic for me because then I, a person who exercises her right to vote, maybe be stuck with an undesirable for four or more years.  My son, who is of the younger generation (of course) is over the moon about the idea of casting his vote. This year will be the first year he is able to do so.  No, we did not tell him who to vote for….thought about it but didn’t. His dad and I told him to pay attention to what that candidates are saying they can do to better America and his current situation. We also told him to read between the lines…….anyone can make a lie sound good! Two ladies from the older generation basically said they had done their part to bring about change and now we younger generations can have it. What the what!!!! Growing up, my family, (some who lived thru it) informed me of the struggle and what African Americans had to endure so that we may share in the same equality’s and exercise our right to vote. I do not take lightly, the blood that was shed so that I  may have the right to vote. The only way to aid in getting your candidate of preference elected is to vote. Choosing not to vote is your right as well….but if you choose not to vote….then do not complain!!!!