Food for Thought

I used to be a nice person; I would always put others before myself and appease those around me. I would volunteer to do the bulk of the work for various projects. I backed down from my requests if it inconvenienced anyone. It left me exhausted.

 

If you are always giving, people will expect that of you. You will develop an unrealistic expectation of others. I have noticed this in my life.

 

I saw a pattern, and it became quickly overwhelming. Being able to gently say no without providing too many reasons or arguing it was key. At times, I would offer the help to get a person organized so they could help themselves or refer them to people and resources. The harsh lesson: when you are busy taking care of everyone else, you forget to take care of yourself. It leads to your basic needs not being met, and you spiral into depression and burn out.

 

Imagine a world devoid of hope, a world with an end in sight; not an end that compensates by carving a meaning into the story, but an end that is brutal, destructive and soul-wrenching. That is precisely how this past week has gone.

 

So now, instead of being nice, I am practicing being vulnerable. I am using my tools to let you know I am overextended emotionally. I am not just going to sweep it under the rug. I am dealing with an unclear picture as far as my husband’s health goes, and now I am told my beloved dog is dying. So, nice? Not this week.

 

Instead, I am going to use this past week as a red flag to know I need to take care of my own needs and to keep working, which is how I thrive. The point of Soul-lutions is and always will be a place to come and see a little bit of yourself in it and realize if you look around, you are never really alone.

 

Kindness may be a prerequisite for healthy and meaningful relationships; conversely, if you cannot set boundaries, it can lead to an invitation to those who may drain you emotionally and spiritually.

 

Let’s face it, genuinely nice people are not rare; however, a series of endlessly bad days, bad weeks and bad months are, right?

 

My mantra for this next week, I am going to be very picky with whom I give my energy to and reserve my time, intensity and spirit exclusively to those who reflect sincerity. I won’t avoid conflict to keep the peace.

 

Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©

 

Written with love.

 

Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2019
MJM ®

 

*This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.

 

The Role of Free Will and Choice

Last week, someone told me a story of their adult child bullying, infighting and cursing them out. They were heartbroken. When did that kind of disrespect become okay? It will suck the life out of you. Stop giving it attention. If it were a job, you would need to quit. If it is a person, you need to cut them out long enough to get a second wind and figure out what is best for you. No one wins. You have the right to feel safe in your relationships, even with your family.

 

Selfishness is a big issue these days. How do we manage it? First, let’s define the term. The two primary characteristics of selfishness are being concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself and having no regard for the needs or feelings of others. If someone is entirely self-involved and uncaring about anyone else, they are not likely to be responsive to you in any other way other than elevating how you meet their needs.

 

Let me explain. Understanding does not mean letting someone off the hook. If you can get behind disrespectful behavior and discover what motivates it, you have a better chance of responding in a way that may make it less powerful. The truth is, we as mothers, love our children deeply. Most of us are proud of them.

 

For part of my life, I thought everyone had a hallmark card, happy family. Throughout the years of my work, it is quite the contrary. Family estrangement is an epidemic because of its prevalence, and a silent epidemic because, like myself, I have been too ashamed to talk about it. The shame is killing us.

 

The sad truth is some adult children will try to bully you into submission if you let them. We have to stop pretending that it is okay when it is not. What parents need to understand is you do not have to neglect yourself because others do.

 

Character assessments are one thing, but character assassinations are a whole different level of disrespect. Silence is not weakness; silence is not ignoring the problem; silence should always be in your toolbox. Reciprocating their anger and adding fuel to their fire will just make things worse. Silence is always there for a moment of clarity.

 

Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©

 

Written with love.

 

Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2019
MJM ®

 

*This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.

 

 

An Open Letter

I am going to be honest with you. For a long season in my life, it felt like I was going through the motions trying to get through the next day. Because of that, I was not able to enjoy what was right in front of me. At other times, I carried an abysmal pit in my stomach. It felt like my true self was locked up inside crying out for freedom with no way out. It is not how God intended for us to live our lives. Then, for another season, things got better.

 

When people are ill, my husband included, and the prognosis is poor, you feel like the Red Sea is in front of you, and you reach for God in despair. You try hard to trust with your whole heart, but sometimes the waves become huge. We try to keep our eyes on the moment, but we feel shaken.

 

It can be emotionally challenging, and at times it can be lonely, overwhelming and exhausting; yet, it is normal, the new normal. I have stopped pretending that everything is like it used to be. You need time to grieve your old life.

 

What I know for us no topic is off limits. All subjects are fair game, the good, the bad and the ugly. I remind myself to listen, and I honestly hear what my husband is saying. I do not wallow in self-pity, which is very unattractive. I have learned to find what works as a team with my husband and others to improve the predicament.

 

We will all have times where there does not appear to be a way out. Always remember, only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

 

What was very normal the other day, watching my husband play with our small grandson. Hearing that little voice say, “I love you, too, PaPa,” and the light in their eyes illuminating would warm up the coldest days. It reminded me, if for a moment, right now everything is good, and I thank God for our Grandchildren.

 

Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©

 

Written with love.

 

Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2019
MJM ®

 

*This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.

 

The Role of Free Will and Choice

One of the joys of being human is we do not have to be perfect to be one of the good ones. As a parent, the word estrangement was not in my vocabulary before it happened to me four years ago. And like many parents, I was ashamed and reluctant to talk about it. I have discovered 68% of those who are estranged to a family member believes there is a stigma attached to it. Once I started researching it, I realized I was not alone.

 

My older son and I had a typical mother and son relationship. I believed it to be close and loving. I could always count on him if the driveway had snow on it, if the computer had a malfunction in it or just for a laugh or hug.

 

When his wife and I were first introduced, I remember her face lighting up. I know it sounds cliché, but I remember thinking she was cute as a button, and she was. I was thrilled my son had someone to love and be loved back. Then, one day, I received a phone call from him that made no sense from the moment we started to the moment we hung up. The last thing he ever said to me four years ago, “I am going to abandon you, mom, before you abandon me.” I was reeling. For me, motherhood has been and continues to be a rollercoaster of emotions, some good and some not so good. It has been a journey of loving, learning, and being humbled every single day.

 

Estrangement triggers so much shame, especially when the answer you are left with is – I am not sure. It feels like everyone is making judgments about you. Believing you must have done some awful thing. There were people close to me that had made statements that were supportive and kind because it was unbelievable based on the relationship my son and I had. My thought was I do not know, but I am not going to say anything bad about anybody.

 

How could someone you have loved their whole life act this way? I walked around in a daze. Every time the phone rang, my heart would jump, thinking it had to be him, and this cannot be happening. He is going to call. But when it was not him, it was a sense of relief. He had been so cold, and I could not bear the thought of hearing that angry tone in his voice again.

 

It was more painful than you could imagine. I had to learn to accept a new normal. It was clear my son had changed. It seemed he was done with us, and we could not fix it even if we wanted to. I thought for awhile will everyone else leave me too? I was a basket case during the first six months. It was pitiful, but the fear of abandonment is common for estranged parents. You devote your entire life to your child, and if they can leave, anyone else can. I remember one-night laying in the darkness, thinking of all the time and energy I wasted crying over a grown adult who wanted to be anywhere that his family was not. I could not help but think about how much time I had wasted. I had worn my husband out, my other child, and even some of my friends with sadness. They missed the old optimistic Joy, and so did I.

 

Sometimes people judge me. They say they would never give up on their child. I understand their feelings, but sometimes giving in to an adult child’s decision is the only sensible choice. I wish my son the best. I genuinely hope he is happy and well, but I count too. What I want you to understand is if you can let go of all the whys and what ifs and move on to what is next, you can live a fulfilling life. I would say if he knocked on my door tomorrow, I would open it. I have been forced to love him from a distance.

 

Strength is what we gain from the madness we survive.

 

Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©

 

Written with love.
Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2019
MJM ®

 

*This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.

 

Food for Thought

The act of disappearing like a phantom is known as ghosting.

 

Ghosting is when a person suddenly ceases communication with someone out of nowhere, seemingly without warning or provocation. The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference. Little did I know I have actually experienced it myself in the past! I was thrilled to have finally found some answers to why it made me feel so awful.

 

If you have been ghosted, remember you are not the cause of the other person’s actions or choices. The act of ignoring is seldom discussed as a psychological weapon though it is a mighty powerful one. It is powerful because it requires minimal action from its user and uses the mind of their victim to attack itself in a kamikaze fashion.

 

Ghosting is a way to avoid confrontations. It is a way to reject someone or cut ties without proper closure. The people who usually choose this method are generally emotionally immature or do not know how to deal with their feelings. It is an extremely hurtful betrayal. The disregard is insulting. The lack of closure is maddening. You are forced to move on but not before your self-esteem has taken a hit.

 

One of the most insidious aspects of ghosting is that it does not just cause you to question the validity of a close, loving relationship it causes you to question yourself. Why didn’t I see this coming? What did I do to create this?

 

After this kind of rejection, realize they do not respect you. It is passive aggressive. It is self-protective at the expense of other people’s feelings.

 

Do not allow there to be many loose ends or burnt bridges in life. The important thing to remember is when someone ghosts you, it says nothing about you or your worthiness for love and everything about the person doing the ghosting. Be the better person, retain your dignity, and let him or her go peacefully.

 

Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©

 

Written with love.

 

Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2019
MJM ©

 

*This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.

 

An Open Letter

My philosophy is I have more faith than fear. I choose to be grateful. I take responsibility for my happiness. I am not a victim. I do not replay hardships of my past over and over. I have learned to save myself from myself. I chose to stop listening to doubt. I own my mistakes then forget them. I love myself first, and I get on with my life. I have never let failure convince me to quit. I am not the best at everything. I do not know if I am the best at anything. I do not ever let that prevent me from trying. Failure is a gift, and without it, you will never be successful.

 

Everybody has dull moments in life. When happiness eludes you, your soul is disturbed somehow. You do not feel anything because you are trying to be strong. How do you bounce back when life knocks you sideways?

 

We all go through times and seasons, and our joy seems to get lost. If we have not mourned it, if we have not grieved it, we switch into “coping” mode. The road ahead can be wide open, and you can be happy. There is a delicate balance. Perhaps you might have lost your sense of joy trying to take care of someone else’s constant sorrow, cynicism, anger and loss. You do not always want to be the strong one.

 

Until you decide to get to know yourself and make a connection with your inner self, you then will realize you are the only person who has the power and that power comes from the inside. The truth is, the moment we look outside for happiness is the moment we allow our happiness to be controlled. Every time you seek social validation or acceptance, you are handing your power over to others.

 

There could be a breakthrough ahead. Your breaking point is a solo journey. No outside feedback allowed. If you are feeling so unhappy, maybe your philosophy can be your entire life is based on external feedback and contributions that were never truly welcome in the first place. When you feel like you have reached that breaking point, something beautiful happens, you begin to listen to yourself, your truth. Your suffering will be where the healing begins.

 

Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©

 

Written with love.

 

Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2019
MJM ®

 

*This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.

 

Food for Thought

Be willing, not perfect. You have to decide how you will deal with a crazy situation before you get into it because when you are dealing with an emergency or making a decision on the fly, your immediate needs and fears typically cause you to make choices you would not have made if you were thinking clearly.

 

If you knew what you wanted, what is the compulsion for asking for advice if you honestly have confidence in yourself? What we hope is the vast majority of guidance you will receive comes from a place of love. Ultimately, you have to make your own choice for what is best for you. Do not let people who do not matter too much, matter too much.

 

Be okay with taking responsibility regardless of the outcome. Look at every situation that comes up in your life as a chance to get to know yourself better. We cannot own our choices by thinking. We have to practice with action.

 

Friends and family force their wishes for your life on you because they are afraid to know their truth. That is not your responsibility. That is their issue, and they have to deal with it, not you. When I began realizing the difference from owning other’s problems and giving support, I started creating my own positive space; this has a lot to do with boundaries. Then I could say I choose to stand with you.

 

In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to avoid, suppress and force ourselves into fake states of positivity. Clearly, our negative emotions are bubbling to the surface. It is no wonder so many of us get stuck in apathy, pessimism and distractions. Eventually, everything connects with the life you were intended to live.

 

Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©

 

Written with love.

 

Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2019
MJM ®

 

*This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.

 

 

 

The Role of Free Will and Choice

There is a difference between giving up and knowing you have had enough.

 

If you are not one of those beautiful people in the world, then to some people you mean nothing. You seek people who express themselves by wearing darker clothes, too much makeup or piercings we do not understand. We judge them. Sometimes you may get a bit envious because there are others that are wearing trendy, in-style clothes and seem as if they have it all together.

 

We were all created differently. You have to like yourself first before anyone else can love you. Relating to, “Beauty is only skin deep” means that people look at the outside and are not aware of what is going on in the inside. You see someone who is outwardly beautiful and desirable, but when you get to know them, you find they are shallow, mean and cruel.

 

Everything is based on assumption, and people want to show you the good things about themselves that they are willing to go so far to hide the bad or the ugly they do not want to publicize. The choices we make, the people we are when no one is watching determines our beauty.

 

How do we deal with the total allurement of the flesh and how it gets confused with subconscious matters?  Especially in regards to the most elusive part of the body, the soul. Here is what is disconcerting, we all seem to be attracted to material things and beautiful people; but when those things are gone, what then? You possess a delicate flower at the height of its bloom, one day it is going to lose its petals, you run after ephemera, things that are enjoyed for a short time, at your own peril. Usually, a person who is enamored with him or herself will become mean and spiteful if things do not go their way. That is their character showing through in their words and actions.

 

I am an old soul. I have genuine kindness, and I want to attract the same. If you are not deep, do not swim in my pool. If you have a pretty face and do not have a pretty mind, pretty heart and a pretty soul, do not waste your time.

 

Not one drop of your self-worth should depend on someone else accepting you. Beauty should be from the inside out.

 

Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©

 

Written with love.

 

Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2019
MJM ®

 

*This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.

 

 

 

An Open Letter

If I were writing a letter and I am supposed to be loving me first, should not the letter be addressed as “It is me?” I would address the letter as, “Joy, wake up. How have you been?”

 

I have been on quite a journey these past two weeks. I hugged my knees, cried for hours until the tears dried, and then I started to cry again. I sat there on the floor in a daze at the stormy situation around me. The fear was palpable, and the pain was real. It was heart-wrenching pain.

 

Life is never a straight line. Calamities and hardships are your greatest blessings. You know, the lessons in disguise. What the difficulties, the unexpected do is force us into a new and better version of ourselves. You are made to survive the hardest days of your life. I choose to live life on purpose. Here is to today and the week that awaits me and no matter what the week serves up, may I be grateful through it all.

 

Some years back, I had a grand epiphany. What I have learned is you have to stop giving so much of yourself to people who cannot even identify who they are. If these people do not sacrifice for you, then they should gain nothing from you. Things of value require sacrifice. It is a work in progress.

 

If people are too hurt, too busy or just too damn stupid to see you are the blessing they have been asking for, then, fall back. I know my worth. I deserve happiness, I deserve respect, and I deserve love. I have everything I need.

 

Deep down I am still haunted by past experiences. I know there is still unfinished business. I hope there is a resolution one day. I am grateful for the life I have now. It is my life, and I would not change a thing. If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans for the day.

 

Everyone has a story, and no two stories are the same. Remember, there are over seven billion people in this world, and none of them are like you. Your entire life journey is a series of footprints that have brought you to this very moment in time. Life is a tapestry of people weaving in and out of your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Every one of them has something to offer and share with you.

 

Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©

 

Written with love.

 

Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2019
MJM ®

 

*This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.

 

Food for Thought

I hate every cliché about forgiveness. Forgiveness is a vast untraversable land for those of us that crave justice. The very thought of letting someone walk away scot free makes me sick.

 

I can see all of your faces the moment I say I am writing about how to forgive someone who never gave an apology. When people treat you like they do not care, believe them. Today I decided to forgive you not because you apologized or because you acknowledged the pain you caused me but because I deserve peace.

 

Many offenses are personal. Let us be clear; do not confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. Reconciliation is a beautiful, magical, redeeming experience if it happens. Forgiveness is for you and your heart without the other person’s participation. It is not an eraser that will wipe away the pain that has happened to you.

 

The wrong way to apologize for me is when somebody will justify, minimize, excuse their behaviors or not say anything. The right way to apologize is to acknowledge, accept and express. I am not talking about a quick fix to years of pain. We need to all start looking simply to arrive at our best possible selves.

 

Forgiveness is reclaiming your power. The misery you will feel is heart-breaking. Your soul hurts, your body feels tortured, you do not sleep, and your mind is shattered. You lose your power when you feel abandoned. You cannot control what other people do. We can only control how we react to them even if they never know. Either we choose to empower or disempower ourselves with our reactions.

 

Forgiving a person does not mean you have to trust them or forget what they did. You do not have to stay there in the replay of the pain. You can move on.

 

Forgiveness is the final step in a healing process. When we let go of our painful past, we make way for a bright and hopeful present and future. Forgiveness is the ultimate expression of love; the best gift we give ourselves.

 

Remember to keep the circle positive, peaceful and loving. ©

 

Written with love.

 

Joy M. Mills (IP)
Copyright © 2019
MJM ®

 

*This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal or other professional advice. This article was written to support, not replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you feel you have a condition.