Ask Toi: How Do you Tell your Friends to Watch their tone with you?

You have to just tell them.  This notion of allowing folks in the name of friendship speak to you anyway suggests that you are keeping them even in an unhealthy state just to keep them around.  That’s the same notion used in some romantic relationships just for the sake of not being alone. I know you want to preserve relationships and of course blowing up at everyone is frowned upon but real friends should be open enough to speak the truth in love.  I think sometimes we forget that keeping real can go left sometimes and you must have a little finesse when you deal with other humans.  People have things in their life and on their heart that not everyone needs the in your face approach or the let everything happen approach.  There is a balance but you are the ONLY one who control that.

From what I gather you have allowed a build up go on way too long and you need to address the relationship as a whole. It sounds more to do with if that friendship should stick than it does with tone.  As adults you aren’t going to necessarily get it right all the time, but friendships are a choice unlike family.  If you choose this relationship in more than one way, then you need to find out what attracted you to it in the first place.  Keep in mind that not everything can remain.  So that means that there are times when relationships can run its course.  You don’t sound as if you are just someone in a tiff with a friend but more you are recognizing the unhealthy part of the relationship.  You have two choices, keep some control of how you allow folks to speak to you, or let it continue while you get frustrated and mad that you didn’t speak up.  I would suggest you speak up when things are being said and if that doesn’t work, you may need to figure out the extent of the relationship and let it take its natural course.  Also you have to own some responsibility.  I have had friends who for various reasons have crossed lines, but it’s not the habitual line stepper that was the issue it was my issue for not making others respect me.

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Real Love: Friendship Edition

So I have been documenting my journey during various stints of my life.  I have talked extensively about moving to Philadelphia from Lancaster and how hard it was for me to adjust to life in general. I STRUGGLED. There were a lot of reasons why.  I had great friends at home in Lancaster.  I was newly pregnant with baby number 2 and a toddler as I moved into my fiance at the time’s home.  It was too much at one time and I was trying to act like it wouldn’t be a problem.  In my mind I am like I got this.  However I didn’t have it and I was too self-centered to reach out to others to tell them the REAL of how much I had been suffering but feeling like someone should just know what is wrong and rescue me.  Guess what?  I had to rescue myself.  Many didn’t know. I didn’t open up and I didn’t talk about it either.

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One of the areas that suffered the most was friendships.  All of them took a hit.  Not one was okay in my eyes.  It wasn’t that friends left me because they didn’t.  I lost the access that I once had or at least I felt that I had.  Do you know how hard it is to maintain friendships even an hour and a half away?  When you can’t drive as often as you want due to the hassle of having a toddler and a growing belly?  Listen, I didn’t invite any friends over because anybody who knows me and knows my ambitions would think (in my head) that I had accepted the very bottom by moving in with my fiance and his mom.  Now let me be clear that is how I FELT.  There was nothing bottom about taking on a plan to make sure you are secure and making sure that things aligned well as long as YOU have a self-care plan and I had ZERO!  I never let folks know not even my parents what my plan was and how having that plan is what has caused me to have a better life even now.  I just moved and acted like I was crazy in love and I was but it was a purpose for it all.

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So after I had my son and even after the birth of my youngest and last child I struggled to get out and make friends.  I am not one of those people who believes in having a thousand friends instead I believe in smaller solid circles.  To build a circle I compared them to friendships I had for over 20 years and they can’t be on that same level.  However after some self-care, some get over yourself, after some mental relief I have been able to establish some new friendships and they are proving to be something so powerful.  My new friendships have NOT replaced old ones but they are showing me that you can open your heart and life to another person and be whole.  I have learned that I can be the friend I want others to be towards me.  In that I have learned that the love will not look the same either.  We have to be willing to put it out and weed the wrong ones out.  That is a process.  It doesn’t happen overnight.

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One of my friends I will call her K is amazing.  I didn’t realize I needed her in my life until she came in and I allowed her the space.  I find that she is super refreshing and super encouraging.  If anybody would follow our daily videos or texts they would call us weirdos. I find that the love that she gives adds to me and makes me want to be a better woman and mother.  She checks me when I need it but her approach isn’t to cut.  I have had friends who kept it too real but didn’t have the finesse to be able to know where I was at moments and it would hurt my feelings.  I also didn’t speak up about the hurt either. I didn’t want the backlash. That is not a real friendship if you can’t say hey you are doing something that isn’t sitting well with me and I need you to stop.  I am glad that I am open to the kind of love where someone gives me the love I need and not the love they think I need and isn’t willing to change. I have had several budding relationships in the last 5 years and they are ALL super amazing.  They all have taught me so much about myself.  They all are a blessing.  I don’t have to pick and choose love I can have it all and having girlfriends in my life is necessary and beautiful at the same time!  This notion that having girls who are friends to avoid cattiness is ridiculous.  That only happens when you choose the wrong ones.  I have had to cut a few of those off too in the last 5 years or even just let nature take control and not see them as much too.  My friends old and new are making me better in this thing called life.  I am honored to have each of in my life.

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Monday Reset

Good Monday morning.  I know its hard to start your week off right on days when you don’t feel you are at your best.  Today is one of those super soaker rainy days when all you want to do is get in bed.  I right now want to be curled up in my bed with my laptop and a few magazines but life calls.

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I remember on days like today when I want to escape that Mondays are the beginning to the end of the week. I can’t get to Friday without starting my Monday off right.  I have a lot on my plate and that means that I need to push forward and pass how I feel.  I have to reset my thinking to crush these goals.  I still have to show up.  Above showing up on a Monday, I need to be clear.  As much technology that we have, I still thrive on to do lists.  I still thrive on writing down goals so when I complete them I can go to the next goal.  So with that being said, reset your thinking. I looked back at things that didn’t work last week and made changes according to what will set this week on fire. Is it getting up earlier and getting things done?  Is it preparing things differently?  Whatever that looks like for you, you have to do.  Your week and life depend on changed attitudes and mindsets.  So set yours on fire by shaking the Monday blues and getting clear on what you want to do and what it will take to get there!

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Off Days

I know we all have them.  The moments when things don’t line up just right.  The laundry you thought you had gotten out of the dryer is still in there, wet because you forgot to turn it on.  The days when you feed your kids and pour juice into someone’s bowl instead of milk.  Off days are crazy.  I feel like it takes 2 on days to compensate the one-off day you may experience.  However even in the off days you can look back laugh and thank goodness that you have your wits about you.

Off days are there to throw us to be honest.  They help you figure something that you may need to change especially if you are the A type personality such as myself.  It humbles you and lets you know you good but you could be greater.  Sometimes off days make you rest because I have had off days so bad that I say you know what, that’s it let me stop and take a break.  On those days I find myself just looking around trying to not be upset and quickly gathering my thoughts.

So if you are experiencing one of those days or will experience one of those days, try to take it in stride.  Try to allow some time to not be as frustrated.  Whatever is not done can wait.  Even for the type of person like myself who thrives on being on point, just know things will get done and things will pan out and you are going to be okay.

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We stress out over a lot of things and I get it.  But eliminate the pressure and stress you place on yourself and take things one at a time that you can.  You will have enough grace to get through.  Take a deep breath and you will get through!

 

Monday; New Challenge

So it’s a start of a new week and now a new month. Now that Easter is over which also means Lent is over, I want to propose a new challenge. The challenge is to stop negative self talk.

This means no more I’m fat, I can’t, etc! No more I’m not enough! Yes we ALL have something about us that we do not like. If you’re working on it or not we are going to push to stop the negative back talk. So trust me it’s going to be hard. But what I want you to notice isn’t just how much you are doing it but also how you feel after you eliminate it from your vocabulary.

If you have power in your tongue to either speak life or death then you can change how you view yourself, speak up or down to yourself, and how your negative talk influences your life. So I’m not suggesting that it will be easy especially if you find that you talk negatively often. Do not become frustrated as you realize it may be more than then you had anticipated. Don’t get frustrated and if you do don’t stop the challenge! Let’s complete the rest of April to get through it and make the necessary steps to live a healthier lifestyle.

What you don’t realize how bad it is to down yourself but get mad at others who do it to you. You must stop this cycle. Let me give you some examples:

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It’s the negative self talk that we don’t reach our fullest potential. We hinder our blessings and our mental progress and sometimes our day-to-day progress.

So I challenge you to recognize this negativity to replace it with positive. You can do this as a mental challenge or you can write it down so you can go back later and reference the experience. Either way, let’s take charge and control in how we treat ourselves, speak to ourselves, and how we love on ourselves.

Women’s History Month: Jasmine D.

Jasmine Drake is 32 years old. from Philadelphia, Pa, but she currently resides in California. She made the move to California with Ty (her hubby) about 4 years ago. Jasmine and Ty have been together for almost 17 years. She is an elementary school teacher. She is a Sagittarius. She loves sunflowers and French fries.

Sometimes we place so much pressure on ourselves that it makes it hard to pull oneself from that heavy load.  What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell myself to see the beauty in my flaws. I would tell myself to love myself. I grew up with very low self-esteem and I just wish that I could tell my younger self to not be so focused on my physical appearance as compared to social norms and to really truly see the beauty in myself inside and out. 
There isn’t a woman who hasn’t made many mistakes in life, love or career.  We are always striving to find a balance in the things that we are, where we want to be, and we constantly beat ourselves over where we think we should be.  What are the lessons you have learned thus far?
I have learned that happiness is all that matters in love, life and career. What makes one person happy doesn’t necessarily make another person so happy, so we all have to first find what makes us happy and then build up from there. If it doesn’t make me happy then it’s not for me. If something doesn’t make me smile, then it’s not for me.
My Nana used to tell me that, life is what you make it. If you want something in life to change you have to make the change. The only thing that can hold you back is yourself. I choose happiness in life so I fill it up with things that make ME happy. Ty brings me happiness and creates the loving and caring environment for my happiness to grow, bloom and rejuvenate. I was so lucky to meet Ty at such a young age and for my first love to be my only love. We have ups, downs and all around, but at the start and finish of everyday we choose each other. I went to college the first time to get a job that I will make good money. I later learned that just working a job that pays good was counterproductive to my overall goal of being happy and that my work itself should make me happy, so I changed that and became the teacher that my kindergarten aged self always wanted to be. 
I have also learned that there is a lesson is every mistake. It took me a while to get where I am today. I don’t regret what I have been through to get me here, because it has all helped guide me to the woman I am today. I still make mistakes and I am still learning and getting better from them. 
That’s truly beautiful. It often takes folks years before they learn to be happy in their career and what they do verses only chasing the money.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I see myself reaching new levels of happiness in my life. As I grow some things that used to make me happy, don’t have the same effect and vice verse. I want to be more in tune with myself, I want to make memories and inside jokes with Ty, I want to make more time for family and friends, I want to create new streams of revenue, explore the world, and become a mom.  
What is on my heart that I look forward to just “crushing” in the future is motherhood. My new focus in life is beginning a family. After the loss of our first baby during pregnancy, recovery was the focus. Recovery not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It was one of the toughest things I have had to go through in life. 
I always wanted to be a mom, but was very cautious about when to begin that journey in my life. I just wanted to make sure that I was fully prepared for parenthood and that we would be ready for the life long responsibilities that would come. My mother did it by herself and made a way and sometimes made it look easy, but she also struggled and I just wanted to improve on that with my family. When we said that we were ready, it was almost to easy- we got pregnant that month. We were looking forward to welcoming our baby girl to the world, but we lost her at 20 weeks and it was devastating to say the least. The physical pain was brief compared to the emotional pain that will seemingly always linger on. 
We are still working to start our family and becoming parents. When the time is right it will happen and we will “crush” it for sure!
Again this is why I dislike for people to put pressure on someone else who is either not a mom or desires to be a mom.  Sometimes people mean well but be careful on how you address women.  Let them go through their processes without the added pressure.  Jasmine from Toitime we are so sorry for you and your family and your daughter.  I pray continued peace as you continue to process that pain.
What are your accomplishments to date?
I don’t give myself enough credit for my accomplishments. Getting my masters degree was quite an accomplishment for me, because I proved to myself that not only can do it, I was awesome at it and graduated with a 3.97 GPA. Some other accomplishments I am proud of, learning to forgive the right people, learning to let go of toxic relationships, learning to speak up for myself, learning to let my light shine, overcoming depression, learning to be more vulnerable and open and learning to put myself first, just to name a few. 
What I liked about your accomplishments were the fact that you chose to highlight the accomplishments that will overall make you a better person.  I am grateful for any accomplishment but the ones that go past, education, past status are the ones that will pull you out on a dark day. The ones that will keep you grounded.
How do you feel about the #metoo movement?
I feel encouraged by the Me Too movement and how it has empowered people to speak up and expose those who have violated their human rights. I think that it is wonderful that the Me Too movement is challenging “social norms” and helping those effected to stand up and be seen and heard after being silenced for so long. I think that the Me Too movement is going to create a lot of change for the better for women’s rights in the future.
One thing that I do not like is how the Me Too movement can be taken advantage of and used for personal gain or notoriety. I have heard the stories of all the celebrities who have been guilty of abusing their power to mistreat women and I am glad that they are being held accountable for their actions. I just do not like a few of the stories that I have heard of women just trying to get fame or notoriety from using the Me Too movement to get in the spotlight.
How do you practice self-love?
I can be really hard on myself and sometimes I only see my flaws, so I have to remind myself to practice good habits of self-love. I practice self-love, by being gentle with myself and treating myself with care. Self love for me can be making healthier meal choices, treating myself to something I’ve been wanting, reading a book, exercising, indulging when I want to have a dessert, distancing myself from negativity, etc. Anything that can help me enjoy life, make me smile and be a better me is self love and I try to practice that in someway everyday.

So we ended this month-long celebration with a bang.  Jasmine thank you for being vulnerable and stepping out of your comfort zone. I speak continued blessings as you educate our young people and that every goal that you have for yourself, your relationship and for your future!

jasmine

Monday Madness

Happy Monday. I find when I say that I get so much backlash.  Already today I have been confronted by the “it ain’t no happy Monday.”  Or I got “I hate Mondays!” I get it. It’s hard to push through after having a few days off however if you are starting your Monday off with negativity you are essentially going to be the cause of your mood for the day. Yes your day can pick up but be in charge of the charge you put before you by attempting to do better with how you speak in your life and on your life.

I used to complain about any and everything. Nothing was good enough.  There was a reason to spew so much hate but I was super unhappy in my own skin that reality took a twirl when someone pointed it out to me. Changing it wasn’t smooth sailing but it definitely allowed me to see how much negative talk I was doing on a daily basis.  It’s draining. I know its only about Monday but that negative talk filters into other areas too.  The next thing you know you are talking about how bad you look, how bad you feel, how much you can’t stand whatever and then you aren’t in solution mode, but in just bad talk and nothing about that helps you.

Today take a step back from the negative talk and use Monday to set up your week. What didn’t you do well last week that YOU can change this week.  Do those things. Put your energy into positive movement. Negative is like having weights on your legs and expecting to run. You won’t, you can’t UNLESS you take the weights off and take flight!