During These Turbulent Times, Here’s How We Talk About Race in Our Interracial Relationship

Tips for turning an uncomfortable conversation about race into an opportunity for growth.
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The ironic thing about being in an interracial relationship is how rarely race comes up. When my partner and I fell in love, I wasn’t falling in love with a white man, and he wasn’t falling in love with a Black woman. It was just a man and a woman falling in love.

And unlike the groundbreaking show Mixed-ish, portraying a married interracial couple raising three biracial children, not every disagreement that comes up between us is a “learning moment” on cultural sensitivity or ways to fight racism. Discord for us is like most couples: differences of opinion, being triggered by something the other did or said, old emotional wounds, adjusting to 24/7 quarantine togetherness, or just being desperately hungry.

Race so seldom plays a role in our day-to-day lives. However, following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the knee of Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, and the subsequent protests, the whole issue of race became amplified as we grappled with these issues and complex feelings.

Coming from different cultural backgrounds and different ideologies can be a cause for some tense conversations around the targeting of Black people, police violence, and systemic racism.

Here are some things we do to take the heat out of talking about race.

To love, accept, and validate

Years ago we listed things we felt were important in keeping our relationship strong. Those things have become our communication vows: to love and accept each other and to validate one another’s emotional experiences. So rather than rush in to fix a problem, we try our best to listen first, ask questions second.

Without that kind of understanding in place, tough conversations would be almost impossible, particularly those touching on subjects as potentially volatile as race, police violence, and social justice.

The astonishing thing is that by now, these “vows” have become the invisible backdrop behind our talks, so we can fall into a place of listening with acceptance without thinking about it. This comes in handy when one of us voices frustration and the other is just able to take it in without needing to do anything about it.

If this doesn’t come easily for you (and it didn’t for us for a while) you can start with these 7 ways to be more accepting of your partner.

Actively listen

These conversations usually happen when we’re hanging out in our front yard or sitting together on the couch and the subject turns to the following: “So, how are you doing with all this stuff in the news?”

During those times, when we delve into tougher feelings, we aim for being a better listener by staying in the moment. This means putting down the book or the phone, blocking out the distractions of neighbors walking by, and fully giving our attention to the other. Here’s how couples can become better listeners and strengthen their relationships.

Listen to understand the other’s point of view

It can be challenging when we disagree on something we feel strongly about. The way we try to improve our communication at those times is to take a step back and start asking questions to better understand the other person’s point of view. It doesn’t mean that we’ll end up agreeing, but it lessens confusion and defensiveness when we can understand why the other thinks the way they do.

So, as we discuss our reactions to Floyd’s killing and the protests, we may ask the other, “How did you come to think that or feel that way?” And it’s not uncommon that it’s the first time we’ve had to think about how we formed some ideas on a specific issue.

My background of living in predominately Black neighborhoods until my teens and then predominately non-Black neighborhoods thereafter shaped my feelings on how Black people are treated. Similarly, his upbringing of being raised in a predominately Polish neighborhood in an area where different ethnicities kept to themselves, shaped his feelings on how people from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds treated each other.

We both grew up in segregated environments and were exposed to ideas and beliefs about other races that reflected our environments. Some of those ideas we abandoned if they didn’t fit our concept of the world and some we’ve kept.

To hear the other’s perspective, self-reflect on, and challenge ideologies we hold helps us refine our thoughts and see a wider picture of the world.

While it would be a tall order for him to feel what I’ve experienced as a Black woman or for me to feel what he’s experienced as a white man regarding racism, we can show empathy by striving to understand the context within which certain beliefs and opinions were formed.

Don’t worry about being politically correct

Whereas we want to be cognizant of each other’s feelings, playing nice by being politically correct doesn’t work. For one thing, that’s not our style. More importantly, though, being politically correct has no place in a frank discussion about race within our relationship.

We call it as we see it because of our core belief that our relationship is a safe place to be real.

So, when we’re talking about things we’re seeing on the news, there are things that are just unequivocal: These are images of white cops killing Black men or these are images of Black people looting businesses downtown. We don’t dance around the issue.

MAPODILE/GETTY IMAGES

Keep the dialogue flowing even if we hit a sore spot

To say that talking about race doesn’t press some sensitive buttons would be a lie. The worst thing to do, though, is to clam up and stop talking (or stonewall) because we’ve become upset. That can lead to passive-aggression and resentment. Or the opposite: speaking out of anger and saying things you should never say to your spouse or partner.

What we do instead is keep talking until both have stated their point of view and if we can’t come to an agreement, let it go and move on.

What I’ve seen happen in our conversations is that when we hit upon a provocative issue like where to draw the line between social reform and community responsibility (or if such a delineation is even useful), after a couple of turns in sharing our thoughts and hearing the other person out, we’ll eventually get to, “Yeah, I see what you’re saying.”

Be all right with opposing opinions

We have to be all right with the other person having a different opinion because we’ll never agree on everything 100 percent. Since we base opinions on feelings or ideologies and not facts, they can be contentious if we hold on to them firmly.

Knowing that we try to be clear by saying: “This is just my feeling; I’m not saying it’s a fact or that it’s even right. It’s just how I feel.”

When it comes to discussing things like social justice, we both have opinions on what should be done to address the issues, the points that should take priority, and who should shoulder responsibility for what.

And since we are not part of a governing body, but a couple having a conversation on their couch, it’s just better to allow for the fact that we see some things differently.

Build on common ground

Because discussions about race and social justice can be fraught with tension, we’re sensitive to jump on things we agree on. We take some fire out of the conversation and reestablish our connection by taking a moment to acknowledge the points where we overlap and say, “You’re right about that, or I agree with what you just said.” Those moments feel more affirming than the moments of asserting our individual point of view.

An easy point for us to agree on is that the protests are good for raising awareness, propelling social reform, and showing global solidarity against racial injustice; while looting is untenable and deplorable, detracts from the movement, and gives those who already hate people of color evidence to prop up their hatred.

Come from a place of mutual respect

We can easily reduce differences of opinion on race within a group of acquaintances by saying, “s/he just doesn’t get it” and writing the person off. Within a couple, though, where you have history and know this person intimately, you also know the following: 1.) They have a genuine interest in doing the right thing and 2.) Dismissal would be disrespectful and damaging to the connection.

One of the signs that your relationship is solid as a rock, is your mutual respect of each other. One way we show that is in the value we place on our connection and the steps we take to keep that connection strong.

Mind you, these conversations don’t go perfectly every time. We’re human and sometimes we don’t get the words right. However, we know that we’re coming from a place of wanting to understand, to be understood, and to gain a wider perspective.

These could be some of the hardest conversations interracial couples have and as we move through this moment in history together, it’s important to remember that we’re on the same team.

On the macro-level, as we hold conversations across cultures in the United States, the same holds true: We’re on the same team.

Next, read how to support the Black Lives Matter movement and become anti-racist.

For more on this important issue, see our guide to the Fight Against Racism.

[Article first published on Reader’s Digest.]

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Tamara Jefferies MA is a freelance wellness writer and holistic counselor/coach based in Long Beach, CA. She has worked in the wellness field since 2005 and holds a Master’s in Somatic Psychology from John F. Kennedy University, several certifications in the specialization of trauma and trauma resolution, and is a certified yoga teacher and holistic practitioner offering transformational counseling to women.

Writing on topics that help women heal, grow, and live fulfilled and happy lives is her passion as is writing for wellness businesses, publications, and brands. She is a regular contributing writer to the wellness brand, The Candidly, and a Brand Ambassador to ADORAtherapy.

Contact her at info@growandthrivewellness.com for all your wellness writing or counseling needs.

Or just fill out the form below.

Be Well!

If You Do This One Thing You Have A Higher Chance Of Getting Divorced

(Article first published on The Candidly.)

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I’m not even going to make you scroll to get to what the “one thing” is.

It’s sarcasm.

But sarcasm is fun! It’s funny! It’s easy! People boast about how “sarcastic” they are on their Hinge profiles to show what a great hang they are!

But using sarcasm with your partner during conflict is completely ineffective, distancing, maddening, unhelpful, and turns out to be one of the biggest predictors of divorce.

John Gottman, psychologist and author of loads of books dealing with marriage and relationships, says the reason the use of sarcasm is so threatening to a long-term relationship is that it’s a clear sign of contempt. And where there’s contempt in a relationship there is the loss of appreciation, admiration, and respect. According to biggest predictors of divorce, when we’ve reached this phase it’s as though we “can’t remember a single positive quality or act.” Which is just about the time that sarcasm rears its head.

However, before things get that bad, before we jump into the boat of contempt together, there can be other reasons we use sarcasm in our relationships. Namely? Fear. We are afraid of our partner’s rejection, judgment, ridicule, or abandonment.

Another common reason is that we’re just not very good at talking about our feelings because we just don’t have the words. Likely because we also can’t identify our feelings. By not having a sufficient vocabulary for our emotions, even if we wanted to express ourselves honestly, we can’t. One of the first skills Gottman teaches couples to improve their communication is “being able to put one’s feelings into words.”

Whatever reason you may have for being sarcastic toward your partner, just know that sarcasm damages romantic relationships. Period. So what if sarcasm has become your norm? Read this.

So how do we keep sarcasm from ruining our relationships?

1.    Awareness.

The first step to stopping sarcasm from wrecking your relationship is being aware of it in the first place. Start noticing when you use sarcasm. And start noticing why you used it. Is it used jokingly? Or is it used passive-aggressively? This can look and sound like a joke but you can feel the cut underneath it. Like, ‘Thanks, honey, you were soooo helpful.’ And you can hear the salt in your voice. That’s passive-aggressive.

2. Notice

The next step is to give yourself a minute. In the moment between your partner doing something that bothered you and you shooting back a sarcastic cut-down, there is a gap. In this space is your power to choose a different response.

When you’re caught in being reactive, then you will speak without thinking. Once you’re aware of what’s happening, you get to take a moment before you react.

Here’s an alternative to being sarcastic in that moment. When you sense a sarcastic comment about to explode from your mouth, stop. Take a breath. And notice what you’re feeling inside.

For example, say you had something happen in your career that you’re stoked about. The first person you want to share your excitement with is your partner. But when you do, they dismiss it as no big deal. They are not there for you to share your excitement or your pride. That can sting. You feel hurt and let down. Instead of saying that though, you say as sarcastically as possible, ‘Thanks for your support.’

Then you wait. Did it register? The baffled look on their face says no. You walk away feeling crushed.

3. Speak up.

Once you’re in touch with what you’re feeling, say it to your partner. It could be as simple as, ‘Wow, you know, I’m noticing that my chest feels really tight. I feel like I just had the wind knocked out of me.’

Your partner might look at you a little puzzled. They may not respond or they might ask why. You may notice that now your heart is racing and you’re feeling nervous because now you’re on the spot. It’s okay. Just keep breathing and keep noticing without trying to change what you’re feeling or dismissing it.

You might add something like, ‘I was really excited to share my news with you and I was hoping you’d be excited too and when you weren’t, I felt sad.’

It could be as simple as that.

Now, I don’t want to give the impression that just because it’s simple it’s not also scary as shit; it can be terrifying to admit our true feelings so frankly.

What I can say is, get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Sarcasm is the shield we put up when we don’t want to deal with discomfort. To be real about your feelings is to be uncomfortable and to risk being uncomfortable in front of your partner. It’s that kind of vulnerability and openness that creates closeness. While sarcasm only creates distance. Sarcasm can become a habit. And with any habit it takes time to change.

4. Build your vocab of “feeling words.” 

If you struggle to find the right words in describing how you feel, a great resource to start with is the Non-Violent Communication site, based on the book of the same name. It gives a handy download called the “Feelings Inventory” to help us better express ourselves.

5. Talk with your partner.

Arrange a time for you and your partner to talk. Talk openly about the ways you’ve used sarcasm to mask uncomfortable emotions. Or if it’s your partner who is the more sarcastic one, still frame the conversation around how you would like to have more honest and effective communication. And share how their sarcasm has affected you.

Bring up ways you haven’t been showing up as you would like. Because let’s be real, if your partner is sarcastic there is a possibility that you haven’t been showing up for them how they’d like. I know, it stings to hear it but it’s probably true.

By being the first to volunteer where you feel you’ve fallen short, you open an invitation for your partner to follow suit and express their feelings as well. Unless you’re dealing with a narcissist. But that’s a conversation for another time.

Our relationships offer us incredible opportunities to share life, love, and growth. Hiding behind sarcasm robs us of these moments and makes having a close relationship a challenge. Life can be challenging enough on its own. Make your relationship a safe place by being real about your feelings and encouraging your partner to do the same.

When Is It Time To Let A Relationship Go?

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Good Day, Dear Reader,

Today I’d like to talk to you about when it’s time to let a relationship go. We are talking about all types of relationships be they romantic, platonic, work related, or even familial.

A hard truth that is often a painful pill to swallow is that at some point, what was once good for you outgrows its usefulness and becomes something that holds you back. In terms of relationships, this can look like anything from a general lack of support to being caught up in a toxic (romantic or platonic) relationship that only seems to block you, tear you down, or take your energy.

Do you know what I mean?

When is it time to let a friendship go?

Years ago, I had a girlfriend who I would hang-out with from time to time. At the end of our visits, I began to notice that I would have a headache and feel drained. I began to pay attention to our dynamic and what I noticed was that whenever we would be talking about something she would always say something to “one-up” me. For example, if I said that I went for a hike the day before, she would respond with, “Oh yeah! I’ve been to that spot! Me and my boyfriend used to go there all the time.” No matter what I would say she would tie it to something she had done in the past with a boyfriend in the past and how great it was.

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Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

This kind of conversation can seem benign on the surface but when you start paying attention to people who talk like this, you quickly realize just how tedious, tiresome, and boring this kind of talk is. In a group of people, when one person monopolizes the conversation in this way by always bringing the subject back to themselves, you will notice people in the group shifting in their seats, averting their eyes, or zoning out in some way.

Few enjoy the company of a self-centered person.

Eventually, I began spending less and less time with this friend.

I use this example to get you to think about anyone in your life who may be like that.

More recently, I was speaking with a friend and she was explaining how she was noticing that many of her relationships, particularly those at work, were very one-sided. She found herself reaching out to her coworkers who had become friends and offering them her support and not seeing any of that support returned. She was the one stopping by their offices to say, ‘Hi!’ or see if they needed help with anything. Many would take her up on her offers for help but none would return it. She had come to a place where that was no longer acceptable. She wanted reciprocity and if her coworkers weren’t willing to do that then she decided to distance herself from them.

I agree. If your relationship feels one-sided where you are the one showing up, offering support, and staying in touch more than the other person then you are in an unhealthy and unbalanced relationship. Such an imbalance can only foster resentment and anger or at best indifference. You won’t stay interested for long in a person who shows little interest in you. Eventually, the connection will dwindle into nothing.

That is unless both people are invested in nurturing it.

The failing of relationships lies partly in one or both parties taking it for granted. This can be disastrous in friendship and devastating in a romantic relationship.

Our closest bonds must be continually nurtured with care, attentiveness, and appreciation.

But what if the relationship that has soured is in your family?

When family ties no longer support you, when do you cut them?

I have come to see that the old adage, “Blood is thicker than water” doesn’t hold water. Some times our blood relatives can be the most problematic for us.

For instance, I had a counseling client who had come to see a very destructive pattern in her family – holding grudges. She traced it to her father’s side of the family and saw how that behavior of holding grudges had filtered down to her siblings. It was so severe that few of the siblings had any contact with each other at all. And when they did talk it would just degrade into vicious and hurtful words.

BOXING FAMILY

At some point, she had to make a decision for herself that no matter how much she would like for her family to be close and bury those hatchets, it most likely wasn’t going to happen. And if she wanted to preserve her peace of mind the best thing she could do was to wish them well and go on living her life.

It’s never easy and often quite painful to discover that your family ties are not supportive of you. The best thing you can do for yourself is to make peace with that. I heard someone say, “Family is where there is love.” That rang so true to me.

Unfortunately, sometimes we are born into a family that does not love us, does not know how to love us, and does not want to learn how to love us. In those cases, as soon as we are able, we must create a family of our own. And that can be your friends, your pets, your spouse or partner, or whomever you choose to be your “family of choice” rather than your family of origin.

Your family is where you are loved and where you are safe to love.

So far we’ve talked about friends and family. Let’s move on to romantic relationships.

When is it time to let go of a romantic relationship?

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This one can be a hard one to see. Usually, we are so deep in our relationships that we can become blind to the indicators that things aren’t right.

This can be particularly true of those who have a strong sense of loyalty or a value system that says to work things out rather than bail out.

We can find ourselves struggling in bad relationships for far too long.

So how do you know when it’s time to end it?

Ask yourself some questions –

  1. Are you two fighting a lot?
  2. Are you avoiding one another?
  3. Do you feel better when you are apart?
  4. Do you feel emotionally supported, cared for, respected, and loved? If not, how long have you felt this way?
  5. Is this relationship supporting you in reaching your life goals?
  6. Do you feel like the relationship is keeping you from doing, having, or being what you want?
  7. Do you think about leaving but are afraid to? Perhaps it’s financial? Or perhaps it’s fear of loneliness?
  8. Is there any kind of abuse happening – physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, financial?

How did you do with those questions? What came up for you?

Did you notice that I did not ask about infidelity?

There is a reason for this.

I have seen that infidelity in marriage is not a reason in and of itself to divorce. It is generally a sign of other problems in the marriage. And if the couple is willing to work on those issues then they can usually repair the damage caused by the infidelity and move past it.

If you are not married, however, and involved exclusively with someone and they are unfaithful then that is probably a pretty good sign that person won’t be monogamous in marriage and its best to let them go.

Ending a relationship can be one of the most emotionally painful experiences a person can go through. It can leave you feeling like a part of you is missing. But if you are in a relationship that is bringing you down rather than building you up and you’ve talked to your partner about it and they are unwilling to make suitable changes then the best thing you can do is respect yourself enough not to put up with it any longer. Cut your losses and end it. It will hurt but you will recover.

Lastly, I want to talk about work.

When is it time to leave that old job behind?

First, you need to figure out your career goals. What do you want for yourself in terms of a career and lifestyle? Is your current job helping you achieve that? Maybe your current position isn’t but is there a place somewhere else in the company that might? If so, talk to your boss or supervisor about your career goals and work with them to create a career development plan that will put you on track for promotion or transfer.

PLANNING WORK
Pixabay: Rawpixel.com

If you answered no to the above questions then it might be time to take a good hard look at your life and where it’s going. If you’re at a dead-end job, find a way out. Start applying elsewhere. Take classes to improve your skill set and make yourself a stronger candidate for a new job. Start talking to people in your social circles about jobs. See if they know of any openings that might interest you.

Don’t be afraid to take risks. Life rewards those who are brave enough to risk going after what they really want.

I wish to leave you with this thought: Don’t settle for any relationship that does not feed you in positive ways whether it’s a friend, family member, partner, or job.

Go where you are nurtured.

Go where you are supported.

Go where you are loved, respected, and appreciated.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Be sure to join me next time when we will talk about the power of your thoughts. You can create exactly the life you want for yourself. It all depends on your thoughts. We’ll go deeper into this next time.

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O.k. my friends, until next we meet, take care!

Peace unto you.

Peace in your mind.

Peace in your body.

Peace in your surroundings.

Peace to all.

May there be peace all over the world forever.

 

Tamara

© 2019 Tamara Jefferies, Wellness Expert and Holistic Life Coach

 

Are you facing a crossroad and having a hard time figuring out which way to go? Are you feeling stuck and not sure why? I help women get out of those stuck places, unleash their worth, and get on their way to creating the life they want. I’d love to help you, too!

Call 657-464-7297 or Email tamara@tamarajefferies.com, today!

 

 

 

 

I Stopped Reading Relationship Advice and it Saved My Relationship.

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Each week I get about a dozen emails from various relationship coaches or therapists offering their best practices for making love last, getting back the love you lost, keeping the love you found… you name it. And for a while there I was reading each one in earnest bookmarking pages, taking notes, and committing these tidbits to memory.

Love won’t be tampered with,

Love won’t go away.

Push it to one side and 

it creeps to the other – Louise Erdich

See, overthinking things is one of my biggest struggles. I am constantly seeking new ways and best practices ceaselessly striving to improve myself. In and of itself, improving one’s self is fine. But when you drag another person into your Self-Improvement Crusade, you can quickly become a drag.

Unbeknownst to me and against my best intentions, I was doing this to my relationship. I was overthinking my relationship.

Basically, I was “Boot Camping” my relationship. Like – THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST RELATIONSHIP IN THE WORLD OR WE’RE GOING TO DIE TRYING!

Eventually, my dear partner (poor man) was like, ‘HONEY! Cool it!’ I was completely driving him crazy with my incessant need to do more and be better.

What can we be doing better now?

O.k., how about Now?

….

And now? What can we be doing right now?

See how that would get annoying?

Like, real quick.

So I finally had to calm the F- down and chill out. Stop all this DOING and just BE.

Which for me and my overactive brain is a hard thing to do.

I started deleting the relationship emails without even opening them.  I had become so caught up in the language of a “conscious relationship“. A conscious relationship doesn’t happen by accident. You must be intentional in order to create a conscious relationship. If you’re not intentional and doing things every day with intention then your relationship will fall apart! (Duh-duh-dumm!)

See how that kind of thinking could soon drive you batty? I put down the idea that we always had to be doing something to actively improve our connection.

And what I discovered, to my immense delight, when I stopped acting like a relationship guru on steroids, is that our relationship is pretty freaking amazing as is.

We’re totally goofy with one another, which to me is the hallmark of a great match. Can you be just flat out silly with your partner?

“Anyone can be Passionate, but it takes

Real Lovers to be Silly.” – Rose Franken

We support each other in our respective pursuits. There is ample tenderness, love, and affection between us.

And we just plain love being around one another. That is the most striking thing to me about us. Even after being together day in and day out for days on end we’re both like, ‘Yeah, sign me up for more of that.’

If I had to give relationship advice to anyone choosing a partner, I would say this one thing is crucial: Pick someone you cannot get enough of.

Then whatever comes your way you know you two will be able to withstand it because you love being with one another that much.

Now, I breathe easier and relax in the knowledge that we’re actually pretty great. And we’re getting better just by being ourselves.

“Love doesn’t make the world go round,

love is what makes the ride worthwhile.” – Franklin P. Jones

© 2019 Tamara Jefferies.

~

Dedicated to my partner, Gary.

001_4082aWriter and photographer couple, Tamara and Gary (respectively), are based in Long Beach, CA, and spend much of their free time taking photos and writing about the new places they discover together. Learn more about what they do at imaginedphoto.com, tamarajefferies.com, and evolvinglifeco.com.

Give Yourself Your All – How to Feel Emotionally Full

Energetic-People

Good Day, Dear Reader,

Today, I want to talk to you about your emotional needs. How do you get your emotional needs met? Do you feel emotionally satisfied and full? If not, what do you feel that you are in need of? If yes, how do you go about meeting your emotional needs? (Please, feel free to comment below.)

Do you experience disappointment because your emotional needs are not being met and you’ve been waiting (ever so impatiently… or not) for the people in your life to give you the emotional nurturing you long for?

What many don’t realize is that they hold within them the power to give to themselves the very things they wait for others to give them.

Say you’ve been waiting around for the person in your life to romance you; follow the advice of relationship coach, Rori Raye, and start romancing yourself. Buy yourself flowers, play your favorite music, wear something that makes you feel your best, treat yourself to your favorite luxury, or whatever it is that makes you feel romanced. And when you do these things savor the good feelings of giving to yourself and let that fill you up.

Woman Buying Flowers And Fruit

Or if it’s something else you crave like validation or affirmation, a good ol’ pat on the back for a job well down, well rather than wait for someone to dole out these appreciations, start appreciating yourself. Give yourself the dopamine surge (dopamine is a neurochemical associated with happiness) that sparks when you give yourself a high-five and think, ‘I did it!’ Tell yourself how incredible you are, what a badass you are, or how worthy, or how loveable.

You don’t have to wait for anyone to give you the kudos you crave.

Why It Works

When we were kids, if we had attentive, supportive adults in our lives, they were always on hand to congratulate every little thing we did. From mud pies to finger paintings that ended up on the fridge, we were met with, “Look what you did!” And each time that happened, your self-esteem grew, as did your sense of self-worth. Until you no longer needed them to tell you that you were wonderful because you felt that inside. Then you became your own cheerleader.

But not all of us were surrounded by such attentive and affirming adults so it can be especially hard to muster up those feelings of positive regard for ourselves.

Here’s the thing: the support your parents, caretakers, and teachers gave you was merely a proxy or substitute until you could cheer for yourself.  Without even knowing it you took in their affirmations and became capable of mirroring that behavior within yourself. The downside is that if you didn’t get that you also took that in and mirrored the lack of support within yourself.

But now you have the power to take out the middle-man and give yourself those affirmations.

AWESOME

What’s important (most important) for you to know is that all the things you are longing for already exist within you.

It’s All Inside Of You

Remember the movie The Wizard of Oz? At the end of the movie, they meet Glinda the Good Witch and she tells them that the courage, brains, heart, and (even) home that they were searching for was inside them all along. This is the case, as silly as the example may seem, for each of us. These things we search for outside ourselves are all available inside of us.

Psychologist and author Dr. Robin (as she is known) was interviewed by Oprah as part of her Super Soul Sunday podcast. In the interview, Dr. Robin spoke about knowing yourself and affirming yourself.  She remarked that people think they need all these outside affirmations but in reality, all they need are two: God’s and their own.

Now, that could prove problematic if you don’t believe in God and I will get to that later but for now, I am going to take it a step further than what she said. Because I believe God (and I use that word only because we don’t have a better one) or what I like to call The Totality or The Great Mystery (some call it Source) is all there is.

I don’t believe that I nor you are an “extension” of God. I believe that God and I and God and you are One.

God is the Totality of all there is, or put another way The Totality of Creation is all that is. (But for simplicities sake, I will just use the word God and you can replace it with whatever you connect with.)

So if you doubt your worthiness yet believe in God then let me tell you this – You and God are One and what is more worthy than God?

What?

You are worthy. You are absolutely worthy because you are One with the Most Worthy, the Most High, the Totality.

So anything you seek outside yourself – or I should say, the seeking of anything outside yourself is a lie, it’s an illusion because you contain all things.

And now you might say, ‘But I’ve done bad things. I’ve let people down. I’ve let myself down. How can I possibly believe that I contain all things?’

The answer –

Because the force that created you is complete and whole unto itself. It expresses Itself in a multitude of forms but It is still just One entity. That entity is God, or Source, or the Totality, whatever you want to call It.  And you and the Totality are One. You and God are one. The Totality includes everything and excludes nothing. But we, in our limited thinking, focus most on our shortcomings and not on our virtues.

If you spent as much time extolling your goodness as you do condemning your shortcomings you would begin to understand the profound goodness in yourself. You would start to see your talents and your brilliance.

You would also start to see the talents and brilliance in others.

No longer would you feel envy. No longer would you seek to criticize or belittle. No longer would you see someone as less than or greater than yourself.

Once you see the beauty, the grace, the goodness in yourself, you will also start to see it in others.

FriendS

… and the justice. Justice seems like a strange word to include, doesn’t it? Justice? In this unjust world?

What do I mean when I speak of justice? Another word for justice is balance or things being in harmony. The symbol of justice in our society is a blindfolded female figure holding scales. The scales signify things being in balance.

Justice is simply balance, or things being in harmony. Yin and Yang. Both containing each. There is innate harmony in you, in the world, and when you see it in yourself and in the world you will no longer feel victimized. You will no longer feel a lack within yourself. This is part of feeling emotionally full.

You will see the balance inherent in all things: the times of wakefulness and the time for sleep, the time of struggle and the time of ease. There is a natural ebb and flow of life.

In the teachings of Jesus, he was asked what was the evidence of God within him and his disciples and his response was, “It is motion and rest.”  He was speaking of this natural balance of existence, in which you work but you also rest.

That is the rhythm of life. And it is your task to uncover that rhythm, that harmony, within yourself.

Harmony. Balance. The equal weighing of all things.

All things are in harmony within God. And you.

You only need to let yourself see it and embrace it.

There are those who would say all you need is God or all you need is Jesus.

And if you feel that God and Jesus sustain you, then I encourage you to hold fast to them.

But I am here to tell you something else – All you need is You.

All you need is YOU.

The Big You. Your greatest YOU. The one that is identified with God. “The Lover and the Beloved are One.” Have you ever heard that? That’s what that means  – God and I are One.

People seek God. Yogi Bhajan, the teacher who brought Kundalini Yoga to the States, taught that we are to make ourselves so spiritually strong that God would be forced to seek us out, to find us, and look after us. I always liked the sound of that.

Yet to me, it is as Hafiz (the great Sufi poet) wrote:

When no one is looking, 
I swallow deserts and clouds
and chew on mountains
knowing they are sweet bones!
When no one is looking
and I want to kiss God,
I just lift my own hand to my mouth.

You and God are One.

And for those who don’t believe in God (I didn’t forget about you) and still want to feel this sense of Oneness, I say, all you need to do is believe in yourself. With all caps – BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Don’t give in to negative self-talk, doubt, or despair (despair is simply forgetting or not believing that you are capable of changing your circumstance and forfeiting your power to create change. ). Believe in your own wholeness. Believe in your own goodness. Believe in your own talent to create your own destiny. Believe it until it stops feeling like belief and starts to feel like knowing.  Know that you are whole and that all that IS is in You.

Don’t think it.

Don’t believe it.

Know it.

~ ~ ~ ~

O.k. my friends,

Until next time, take care.

Peace unto you.

Peace in your mind.

Peace in your body.

Peace in your surroundings.

Peace to all.

May there be peace all over the world forever.

Tamara

Join me next time when we will look at when it’s time to let go of certain relationships that are no longer supportive.

Resources:

https://www.havetherelationshipyouwant.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TshNeNSYdU4&list=LLDqxOR2WvOPvPsEoLfoEGbw&index=2&t=0s

https://www.3ho.org/yogi-bhajan

https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Habits-of-a-Happy-Brain/Loretta-Graziano-Breuning/9781440590504

Ladinsky, D. (1999) The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master. New York, NY: Penguin Putman Inc.

Meyer, M. (1992) The Gospel of Thomas: The hidden sayings of Jesus. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

© 2019 Tamara Jefferies.