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.

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/

Unequally Yoked

What Is LoveSocial media is very entertaining for lack of a better word. I have witnessed today a couple break up over EASTER. Now being in the field of counseling I am sure that it was more than just the ‘Easter’ argument and more about being unequally yoked, but the break-up was played out on Facebook. The entire fight, though was over the relevance of the date. The gentleman was saying that Easter is just another holiday forced by the government. He said first of all Easter is supposed to be in April He also mentioned that it is a known fact that it rains on Easter and today was clearly sunny- I am not sure if this is a ‘fact’ but it does happen often. He finally ended it by saying that people keep saying it was three days when in actuality it was two nights and two days. His fiancé on the other hand, is a devout Christian and she found everything that he was saying to be blasphemous and embarrassing. Needless to say, since this argument played out on social media there were others involved, thus escalating the situation past what it should have been.

This argument reminded me of two things. One it reminded me of the importance of couples keeping their business private. Many relationships have been broken due to outside sources. It is a proven fact that when couples bring people into their arguments they are going to choose sides. Choosing sides can be detrimental because the other person becomes a target and it puts a rift between the couple; sometimes ending in a split up or a divorce. Two, it reminded me of the old saying about being unequally yoked (‎2 Corinthians 6:15). I can totally understand where the woman is coming from, yet as a Christian I have to wonder if this is something that she brought upon herself. The Bible clearly states that we are not to be unequally yoked. Had this couple been better familiarized with each other, this conversation may have been avoided. To make a long story short, when choosing a mate choose carefully, don’t be blindsided by love, and be open honest. Mates are supposed to be lifelong commitments. Relationships are hard enough on their own and as a result it is important that the playing field is equal as possible from the beginning.

Formation

A No Regrets Life

A No Regrets Life

Formation by definition means to get into line There seems to be a new rave around Beyoncé’s new song Formation. I really do not see what the hype is all about. I can see the significance of the Super Bowl Halftime Show and I understand that it was the anniversary of the black Panthers. I applaud the fact that she had an all-black all female background support cast and most importantly, as an African American woman, I really appreciate the use of natural hair on all the women. I thought it was BEAUTIFUL. The problem that I have comes in with the song. The song has absolutely nothing to do with anything remotely related to black power. It is just another song, to me, that Beyoncé has used as a platform to tell people off. She understands that many people do not find her husband attractive and that many have called her daughter’s hair unkempt. All these things though, are personal. Below are some of the lyrics to the song.

“Y’all haters corny with that Illuminati mess. Paparazzi, catch my fly, and my cocky fresh. I’m so reckless when I rock my Givenchy dress (stylin’). I’m so possessive so I rock his Roc necklaces. My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana. You mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas bama. I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros. I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils”.

Personally none of these lyrics make me proud to be black women nor make me want to march for a cause. In actuality the just sounds good. There are a few references in the video like the don’t shoot clip or the paper with Martin Luther King Jr. on it that have to do with ‘black power’, but for all intents and purposes the video, like the song has nothing to do with civil rights of any kind. As a matter of fact, I think it is reaching to say that the song Formation has anything to do with civil rights. Especially when there have been previous ladies such as Lauryn Hill, Angela Davis, Erykah Badu, and Nina Simone have been trying to get us as a culture (females in particular) to ‘get in formation’ for years. I also think the use of hurricane Katrina was in poor taste. I do not believe that anyone who lived through that tragedy will take comfort in the depictions that are in her video. I do though want to make it clear that I am in no way bashing Beyoncé. She is a wonderful artist and from what I hear very active in the black community with charity and time. What I am saying though is that maybe she should had rethought the video and the message that she wanted to convey through the video.

Compromise

20 Minute Challenge
Comprise is an important part of life. By definition, to compromise is an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions or to accept standards that are lower than is desirable. No successful relationship can have either party giving less than 50%. My grandmother used to say “make sure in every relationship that you are in that ach party gives 100% that way you know they are not b-sing you because you are not b-sing them”. I have found this gem of wisdom to be so true. No relationship can thrive without compromise at some point. What I have noticed though is that compromise has become synonymous with conceding. Compromise is no longer a labor of love but a sign of disrespect. No one wants to compromise for fear of being played.

The truth is that love is an exercise of faith that we sometimes get played in. To fully love and or trust someone takes an act of selflessness and full disclosure. One cannot fully love someone without ever catering to their needs. Likewise, one cannot fully cater to someone else’s needs without compromising their own at some point. As I watch TV, Lifetime and Hallmark Channel mostly, and the main issue that couples have are communication and lack of compromise. When someone’s needs are not being met they are going to be unhappy and sometimes unhappy people do not so appropriate things to pacify themselves and obtain the missing happiness (i.e. cheating). Compromise is an essential tool in maintaining a healthy relationship. One must be careful not to lose him or herself in the art of compromise. It is very easy to lose oneself in pleasing others. In order for the compromise to be effective it has to be a sacrifice and not a chore.

Social Media and Relationships

Disconnect to Reconnect

Social media has become a very prevalent part of society. 98% of all people in the world, or at least the United States of America are on some form of social media. If used correctly, the internet can be a wonderful tool. It can keep us in touch with friends and loved ones. It can keep us in the know on current event and what is trending (what is popular). It can also entertain us. Sites such as Facebook or Twitter, and the internet in general, puts the entire world at our finger tips. The problem comes into place when social media becomes all consuming. It is very difficult to be intimate when your partner is on the phone all the time. How can you possibly get a teenager to complete their homework or have family dinner when everyone is texting? When it comes to relationship, whether romantic or platonic we have to learn to monitor the use of social media. Just like the TV did in its earlier days, social media has just crept into our homes and is ruining our bonds/relationships.
Another con of social media/the internet is the easy access to adult material. Pornography is and has been running marriages forever. The only difference now is it has become a hot button topic thanks to social media. This is a common crossroad with social media. On one hand, the internet can be used as an outlet about the perils of pornography and the effects that it can have on relationships and marriages. On the other hand, though, the internet a can make it just that much more accessible perpetuating the problem. The internet can make the world a much smaller place so things such as cheating or communication that would have been impossible 10 years ago are no longer an adversary. Although cheating has never been a positive it may have been a bit more difficult 10 years ago when the girl on film was as easy to contact or meet as she would be today. We must make a conscious effort to use social media for what is for a that is to connect with people and be careful not to fall into some of the traps that may be presented when using it