Feelings Are Often Liars

 

Feelings Are Often Liars

How we feel is not necessarily indicative of what is. How we feel is often subject to those we have chosen to surround ourselves with, the voices we choose to hear, and the choices we’ve made for ourselves based on circumstances. Choice is about freedom. But our choices are not always what serve us best. Sometimes, through our freedom of choice, we end up crippled and imprisoned by that same freedom. Not by way of the freedom itself, but because we mishandle our own freedom. We sometimes make the wrong choice, and in turn, hurt ourselves or others in the process.

As I said in my last post, Feelings: Friend or Foe?, feelings can sometimes be fickle and sometimes be liars. A person can be told that they are worthless or ugly or that their dreams are stupid and will never come true. If they begin to believe those lies,  they’ll start to feel that they are worthless or ugly or that their dreams are stupid and they will never come true–essentially, coming into a false agreement.

There are people whose own parents, bosses or culture told them that they were worthless and would never amount to anything, and so, they didn’t. Women who have countless times been turned against by a lover, family member or so-called friend who labeled them “ugly” or “less than”, and they took that sting and allowed themselves to start believing and perpetuating that same lie to themselves. How often have we seen the pulling back of someone who once believed in their dreams, but because someone’s words tore the roots of their dream right out of their heart, they curled up and wilted right in front of our eyes?

On the other hand, there are people we know who have faced the same exact accusations, and yet, in the face of hate, hardship and hurt, chose to reject those words and those feelings. As if symbolically taking the poison arrow out of their own heart and saying in faith, this is not who I am. What a better way to take a stand and show the world, than to rise and to shine? It’s beauty from the ashes. It is shining a light of truth on a lie. It’s calling foul on the lie and on our own negative feelings. Even when it’s painful or uncertain, we stand. We keep moving forward. And importantly, we don’t wait to rise until we feel strong and able, but in our smallness, our weakness. Because we know, when everything feels hopeless and broken, feelings are often liars.

Best not to mix the past with the present. The present paints the past with gold. The past paints the present with lead. –Henry Rollins

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. –Lesley P. Hartley

Bring the past only if you are going to build from it. –Doménico Cieri Estrada

The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings. –Ralph Blum

Look not at the days gone by with a forlorn heart. They were simply the dots we can now connect with our present, to help us draw the outline of a beautiful tomorrow. –Dodinsky

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. –William Shakespeare

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar. –Raymond Lindquist

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. –Anaïs Nin

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship. –Louisa May Alcott

There is much in the world to make us afraid. There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid. –Frederick W. Cropp

Never let the voice of others drown out your dreams. Never let how you feel dictate who you are or where you want to go. Never let your past define you. Never let the circumstances of what has been, keep you from what can be. Our courage to climb a mountain, real or perceived, always begins, as the saying goes, with a single step.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Dispelling Shadows

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.  -Michael Strassfeld

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Martin Luther King Day: Things That Matter

Today, January 20th, 2014, is a day set aside to commemorate humanitarian and human rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. Many of his words remain immortal, as if suspended in time. In large part, because they cross man-made boundaries, borders, and heart lines. One of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes is:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

If there is to be any significant and lasting change, then our “weapons of warfare” must be tools that allow for the greatest good (for all of humanity). Tools that make room for forgiveness, reconciliation, and understanding. It’s a type of violence of the heart–a formidable purposed action plan that invites sanity, promotes healing, cherishes true human brother and sisterhood, celebrates human potential for progress and good inclusive of all, and refuses to settle for less than pure truth.

Another Martin Luther King, Jr. quote that underscores the sacredness and the gift of life:

“Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about the things that matter.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

So, what are the “things that matter”? They are the things that bring life, and light, and love. Apart from them, we can go through our entire life believing a lie, basing our attitudes and actions on false evidences, promoting disharmony, and limiting all that was meant for us–never living our true potential. These are the threads that bind humanity together despite our uniqueness. They help us see that we are more the same than different. We celebrate our individual uniqueness with a concurrent understanding that we all share in our humanness, in that, we are each made up of body, soul, and spirit and wired with dreams, goals, and aspirations.

None of us placed ourselves on this planet. We are all pilgrims on a journey, co-travelers. We are individually responsible to discover and then propagate that life, light, and love. It’s profound in its seeming simplification, but there’s nothing ethereal about it. It’s owning the stewardship of our own lives, families, and responsibilities; being responsible for, and propagating things like justice–true justice, mercy, and compassion; and, being aware and intentional about the purpose of our lives–being about our personal destiny–the why to our being here. These are things that matter.

A recognition that hate against our fellow humans is a useless destroyer that invokes darkness. Unforgiveness kills the potential of the one who refuses to forgive. It invites a sickness that cannibalizes the one who holds it close to their heart. Then there’s selfishness. A pathetic desire to indulge ourselves above all regardless of the outcome–to hoard and cling to every good thing and opportunity for ourselves before others. And what about pride? A lie that allows individuals, people groups, and entire cultures to believe they are better, more worthy; and, more valuable or important than another. All of these petty and frivolous thoughts can become attitudes that eventually become behaviors. That’s why it’s so important to guard our hearts and think for ourselves. These “ways” can creep into our thinking and set up shop, creating mindsets that are destructive both for us and those we live alongside in this life. Ultimately, they insidiously weave their way (because we’ve invite them) into our way of “being”.

In remembering Martin Luther King, Jr. today, I want to be about the things that matter. The things that underscore and highlight life, light, and love. The things that will make a positive ripple effect in the world. The things that have power to make a meaningful difference, inclusive of all. Apart from truth, nothing else matters.

Let us be radical about love, about moving toward the light, and radical about seeking out truth. We are all on this journey together, how will we steward our lives and our part in the lives of those we co-journey with?

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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20 Quotes about Light

Light clarifies, illuminates, guides, and warms. Without it, we are lost. With it, we have hope. Hope for understanding, a vision, a next step, and a way out of the cold and darkness. When in doubt, look for the source of light. And when you find it, reflect it, because there will always be someone else out there who needs it too.

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.  –Michael Strassfeld

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. –Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. –Aristotle Onassis

Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby. –Ruth E. Renkel

It takes great courage and determination, to keep looking for light in all the darkness of life. –Menna van Praag

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t. –Blaise Pascal

The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light. –Joseph Campbell

Stop looking for the Light. Be It. –Lori Moreno

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light. –Norman B. Rice

Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?  –Maurice Freehill

An age is called “dark,” not because the light fails to shine but because people refuse to see it. –James Michener

As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others. –Marianne Williamson

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. –Eleanor Roosevelt

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. –Edith Wharton

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. –Desmond Tutu

When walking through the “valley of shadows,” remember, a shadow is cast by a Light. –Austin O’Malley

When you live in love and light, you will not go unseen; ignite the world with every flame of your being. –Alexandra Elle

Light reveals us to ourselves, which is not always so great if you find yourself in a big disgusting mess, possibly of your own creation. But like sunflowers we turn toward light. Light warms, and in most cases it draws us to itself. And in this light, we can see beyond our modest receptors, to what is way beyond us, and deep inside.” –Anne Lamott

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. –Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never find it. If you don’t know what you deserve, you’ll always settle for less. You will wander aimlessly, uncomfortably numb in your comfort zone, wondering how life has ended up here. Life starts now, live, love, laugh and let your light shine!  –Rob Liano

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Freedom Series: Fear To Courage

Unhealthy fear is a liar. If not stopped, it will always seek to bully us into believing lies about ourselves and about others, ultimately morphing our reality. It is a thief. It robs our peace and joy, and in many cases, the faith and courage to follow our dreams and live healthy fulfilled lives. But the worst part about unhealthy fear is that it can become a slave master. Its single focused goal is to destroy the truth and any potential goodness in our lives by disempowering us and holding us captive.

From Fear to Courage is a 96-page minibook that is part of the Freedom Series created by author and popular women’s speaker, Michelle Borquez. Women desperately want to get to the other side of fear, shame, low self-esteem, hopelessness, or any other issue that keeps them from finding their ultimate freedom in life, but often they don’t know how. The book’s authors use biblical truths to guide readers out of their unhealthy fears into a place of understanding, healing, and freedom.

Have you (or someone you know) kept a secret that has bound you in chains, choked off your voice, drowned your hopes, or silenced your dreams?

In Fear to Courage, Kim Vastine shares her personal story of shame, betrayal, loneliness, and anger brought on by childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by an uncle, someone she “should” have been able to trust. Instead, she was lied to, stolen from, and enslaved to her abuser.  Fear became an unwanted and demanding companion. She uses words like torment, pain, fear, and grief to describe how the abuse made her feel.

Adding fuel to the fire, yet another family member compounded her abuse profile. Speaking of her father’s volatile outbursts that would leave the family, “cowering, sobbing, or desperately striving to seem invisible,” she concluded, “as bad as it was physically, emotionally it was worse.” And just when you wonder how much more a child can endure, she tells of yet another abuse in a place she “should” have felt safe and secure.

The images and memories of abuse branded in her mind helped formulate how she saw the world, God, and herself. My voice was silent, but my heart cried out for justice.” Like flecks of emotional shrapnel searing through the skin, unless extracted, they remain embedded in our minds and spirits. In her case, she learned to mask her negative emotions in deceptive and unhealthy ways.

Paige Henderson writes, “When fear dictates, love is silenced.” This booklet invites women to take the critical journey “moving from life-crushing fear to life-changing courage.” None of us can survive without hope or apart from love. She helps readers put fear into perspective. To understand the awe-inspired “fear” of God and positive healthy choices, as opposed to unhealthy fear that distorts truth, steals our voice, and robs us of our intended destiny. Love is more powerful than fear, but as long as we give fear a place, we give it power.

Then she uses examples from the Bible to show the consistency (predictability) of human nature in our reaction to fear: hiding or running in the opposite direction, and then speaks to trust and identity issues and how they inform us on how we relate to ourselves and the world. The heavy burden of abuse and its fallout are real, but remember, we are not alone in the battle. When childhood abuse occurs, children are left to define their trauma through their own experience and feelings, never grasping what it all means and where they fit in the overall scheme of what has happened to them. (Underscore, to them.)

Abused children typically draw conclusions based on false thinking, and as they mature and advance into adult relationships, they act out what they believe. Although a woman’s body matures and changes, for those who have suffered from childhood trauma, their wounded little girl remains still very much a part of them. That little girl is desperate to be loved, feel worthy, and to be seen and heard. She needs healing.

Henderson talks about the significance of fortifying our lives (how we think, feel, and act) in the way we build our life foundations.  How important it is that we build wisely, and with truth, because eventually, we act on what we believe. We live out our lives, based on what we believe to be true. Using a simple Q&A format, she encourages readers to pause and reflect, and then record their thoughts and feelings. The process helps define the root causes of fear and the difference between healthy and unhealthy fears and their effect.

Armed with a healthy understanding about fear, love, and the importance (and power) of taking personal responsibility for our ultimate wholeness and freedom, Sharon Kay Ball rounds out the book with a section called, “Steps to Freedom.” She discusses the devastation of sexual and emotional abuse including disempowerment and trauma. Readers are then given steps to help in the process of healing those broken places.

Victims of abuse will learn how to un-pack and re-pack, so to speak, their belief systems (about truth, themselves, and others), so they can move from fear to courage, and from victim to survivor. That means taking the power away from the perpetrators, and reclaiming it for ourselves. She reminds us that, “secrets only carry power when they are kept secret.” And discusses how to get past self-blame, the importance of not stuffing bad memories, and how to process anger in a healthy way. She also underscores the value of journaling and working with a professional therapist if necessary.

“When fear enslaves us, it paralyzes us and keeps us from having the courage to live out our purpose in life.” –Michelle Borquez

This booklet begins with Kim’s story about sexual and other abuses. Maybe your fears have different origins. But the fact remains: fear is a liar and fear is a thief. Eventually, unhealthy fear becomes a slave master, and until we replace it with truth, it will keep us where we don’t want to be, in a perpetual internal prison.

It’s time to let go of fear and claim your freedom. Commit to the process because you are worth it. Give yourself permission to take the journey that will eventually lead you out of the cage and into your freedom.

Purchase the book: Fear to Courage

You may also be interested in:

Fear is a Liar

20 Quotes about Pushing Past Fear

Live Fearless, Live Free.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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20 Quotes about Pushing Past Fear

Fear is the enemy of our potential and our freedom. Life is full of challenges and struggles, disappointments and disillusionments. But the good news is, even in the midst of the uncertain, scary, or dark times, there is always hope. In reality, fear is a poser masquerading as truth. 

“He who fears something gives it power over him.” –Moorish Proverb

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Fear is the prison of the heart.” –Anonymous

“We have lived through fear all our lives, and when you have gone through a whole lot of fear, sometimes all you can do is resist the fear, and resistance comes in the form of courage.” –Leymah Gbowee

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'” –Eleanor Roosevelt

“I had to live because I wasn’t going to give my attackers everything.” –Congolese Woman  

“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” –Bill Cosby

“The wise man in the storm prays God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Feed your courage, starve your fears.” –April McCallum

“There is much in the world to make us afraid. there is much more in our faith to make us unafraid. –Frederick W. Cropp

“Fear cannot take what you do not give it.” –Christopher Coan

“Being afraid is a state of paralysis in which you can’t do anything.” –Marcus Luttrell

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.” –Rosa Parks

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.” –Denis Waitley

“I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back.” –Erica Jong

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” –Dale Carnegie

“As fear is a close companion to falsehood, so truth follows fearlessness.” –Jawaharlar Nehru

“How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives.” –Judy Blume

“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” –Louis E. Boone

“The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing truth really will set you free.” –Oprah Winfrey

Fear tries to keep us from living the lives and dreams that we were intended to live–fully and wholly alive. It is a liar and a dream killer. Fear in and of itself is not an end. It is an obstacle, but it is not an end. Hope says, there is more to this story!

Related Article: “Fear is a Liar”

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–“Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Innocence Lost: Women and Childhood Sexual Abuse

Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of.  When you imagine little girls, maybe you think of soft pink bows and pretty summer dresses, hearts and flowers, dollies and kittens, giggles and laughter.  Tiny little treasures brimming with life and hope–a future of possibility and promise.

But, in a single solitary moment, a little girls innocence can be violated, stolen. Through a single touch, her precious sanctity shattered.

“The long-term emotional and psychological damage of sexual abuse can be devastating to the child”

  American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Whether a family member, trusted friend or a stranger in the community, the perpetrator always comes to ravage. “Sexual abuse kills your innocence, your sexuality, your life, but most of all your soul,” says Gwen, whose sexual victimization began when she was only 5. Sexual abusers take what is not theirs for their own twisted perversion and pleasure.  They use, destroy and throw away the innocence of a child’s life.

DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL

In some cases, the words: “Daddy’s little girl” take on a dark and sorrowful meaning.  At the age of 18, Stacey Lannert shot and killed her father while he slept. He had sexually abused her from the age of 8, but the final straw came when she learned that he’d also started raping her younger sister.  

When Helen was a tiny girl, her father repeatedly raped her. “In the years of our marriage, sex was a terrible nightmare.  I was unable to forget my past as I constantly relived the rapes I experienced as a child,” she said.  Helen is now 60 years old.

“You have no idea how much of an impact your actions have on a child, how it can absolutely devastate a person’s life, and how much work it takes to reverse the damage done.” –Survivor of childhood sexual abuse

LITTLE GIRLS BECOME WOMEN

As seasons lapse one into another, the day comes when a girl looks in the mirror and a another person’s face is reflected back–she has become a woman. She has left behind her shiny little shoes, roller skates, coloring books and dolls. Her body and her life have changed on the outside, but on the inside, she cannot leave her childhood behind. The memories and that part of her seem frozen in time. 

As she carries the secret of childhood sexual abuse into her future as a woman, the effects of such a personal and invasive abuse can leave radical imprints. “We now clearly know that sexual abuse is a major risk factor for a lot of later mental-health problems” –David Finkelhor

SHATTERED MEMORIES

The beautiful and sometimes tragic truth about time and memory is that humans have the innate ability to capture details, things like atmosphere and feelings–like a snapshot from a camera. That includes for many women, the single solitary moment when their carefree innocent life as they knew it, changed forever. That moment when her life morphed from carefree and innocent to being held captive. Captive by her abuser and enslaved to her own thoughts, questions and feelings. 

GUILT AND SHAME

Many women who are victims of childhood sexual abuse live with a crippling sense of shame. Oftentimes victims don’t believe something bad happened to them– they think they are bad personally and that’s what caused the abuse. Tragically, the debilitating shame perpetuates the secret and keeps victims silent.

CONFLICTING EMOTIONS

A girl might learn that the only way to get attention or love is to give something sexual or give up their self-respect.   In Cheryl Burke’s case (Dancing with the Stars), she recalls, “I felt guilty for wanting his love and affection.”  In some cases–although perverted from what a pure and innocent adult-child relationship is suppose to be--a bonding takes place and because of it, a girl may find herself trapped between affection and loyalty for her abuser. Sex can become confusing and many victims of abuse mistake sexual activity for love, and vice versa. This can be carried into their adult relationships.

TRAUMA AND COPING

Trauma so often associated with sexual abuse can leave survivors to wrestle with some form of addiction as a numbing or coping mechanism aka strategic survival.  Seventy to 80 percent of victims live with a shattered sense of self by medicating their pain with alcohol or drugs. Through various forms of coping mechanisms, women attempt to mask their shame, numb the pain and erase the memories of the trauma. Even in adulthood, they may try to prove to others (or themselves) that they are “clean”, “to be believed”, or are “good girls”.

RESTORING TRUST

It is no surprise that sexually abused women have problems with trust, because the vast majority of perpetrators are people that she trusted as a child. Her experience has taught her that people in general, are not trustworthy. Victims oftentimes expect to be hurt.  No one understands better than she does what it feels like when those she trusted most didn’t save her, help her, believe in her, or even see her.

HOPE AND HEALING

Though childhood sexual abuse is a debilitating experience with potentially lifelong effects, it is not a life sentence. Hope is that little flame that refuses to give up, it is the little bit of light that penetrates even the darkest of times.

In order to recover, adult survivors must adopt positive coping behaviors, forgive themselves, and relinquish their identities as survivors (Sgroi, 1989). The healing process can begin when the survivor acknowledges the abuse.  

They can learn to heal through counseling, making positive empowering choices, washing themselves in the light of truth, and surrounding themselves with a strong support network. Over time they will learn that they no longer need to wear that coat of guilt and shame that was wrongly placed on them by someone else.

Stacey Lannert:

“Coming forward helped me find forgiveness. I learned that no matter how badly I wanted to I could not change the past, I had to accept it for what it was. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it set me free – on all levels. Speak up, shatter the silence that binds us. Our chains of silence can be broken with just a whisper.” 

Our innocence may be forever lost, but as long as we are alive, we still have a future of possibility and promise, and no one can take that from us. Break the chains, silence the silence, and yes, speak up—because the only voice that matters is the voice of Truth.

Additional Reading:

Redemption: A Story of Sisterhood, Survival, and Finding Freedom Behind Bars by Stacey Lannert, and, The Case of Stacey Lannert by Charles Montaldo

Please Tell!: A Child’s Story About Sexual Abuse by Jessie Ottenweller (1991)

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (4th edition) by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis (2008)

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

(Photos by bithead, Caroline, AJ Baxter, Mary, Melanie Cook)

Sources: National Center for Victims of Crime,, The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, National Center for PTSD, Childhelp

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The Power of Words: Women and the Negative Voices Within

You’ve heard the expression: You are what you think. All of us have positive and negative voices, but the negative ones can be crippling. They can advise, dictate, taunt, mock, measure and define us. They are constant reminders to us of who we are, and who we are not.

They may scream or they may whisper, be constant or intermittent, but as long as we listen to them, we feed them and give them permission to keep us in bondage. Like internal slave masters–they are oppressors who keep us locked in heavy chains–held captive within our internal prisons of self-doubt, self-deprecation and/or self-loathing.

But where do these voices come from?  From mothers, fathers, other family members, caretakers, teachers, coaches, friends and strangers. They also come from the media or the culture we are a part of. But sadly, and more often than not, they originate from the very people who were meant to love and nurture us the most– our families. Napoleon Hill said, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

The Power of  Words — Messed Up Messages

You’re Not Good Enough.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t measure up. You will never be good enough, so don’t even bother trying. You’re not capable–you don’t have it in you–you’re not cut from the “right” cloth. You’re not smart enough, hard-working enough, talented enough, charming enough, thin enough, pretty enough. 
You’re a Bad Girl.
You’re not a good little girl like those other girls. You’re dirty and you’re a bad girl. Look at what you’ve done and look at what you’ve caused other people to do. You should be ashamed of yourself, you’re a nasty girl. 
You’re to Blame.
It’s your fault, you’re to blame. Whatever bad things happen to you, it’s because of you, you deserve whatever negative things come your way. If something bad happens, you probably provoked it, either by something you did or something you neglected to do—either way, it’s your fault.
You’ll Never Be Anybody.
You’re not going anywhere in your life. The stars don’t shine for you like other girls. You’re not meant to be anyone or anything. You just stay low, that’s your “place”, that’s where you belong. Don’t dream, wish or imagine, because that’s not for you. You’ll never be anybody and you’ll never go anywhere.
You’re Worthless. 
You’re not wanted. No one truly celebrates your life. You’re a nobody, you have no worth or value, and you are not cherished–because you are considered to be nothing.  Or, “You’re just like your… fill in the blank.

In some families and cultures, you are de-valued simply because you were born a girl — Talk about a no-win proposition!

The Power of the Mind — Influence & Choice

The human mind and emotions are powerful forces. They are fertile fields ripe for planting and we reap a harvest from whatever seeds are planted. The question is, what kind of harvest?

  From the mind and emotions our spirits can either shrivel or soar. We can hear beautiful melodies, or hear stabbing, painful or judgmental tones. We can envision greatness, manage complex processes and dream dreams, or see only darkness, locked doors and certain failure on our personal horizons. Because of them, we can believe in endless possibilities and a future with hope, or we can believe in nothing because the voices tell us not to bother–those things are for other women, not us.

Like pre-programmed computer chips, the voices embed themselves and create strongholds in our minds. They translate to our senses and emotions how we “should” feel, and define consciously or subconsciously, who we are. If we listen to a lie long enough, we begin to believe it to be truth. The destructive voices hold us back from being our true selves, stunted from all that we are meant to be.

Certainly, there are some places around the globe (or in some family structures) where women and girls are treated with high esteem and are given equal opportunity compared to their male counterparts. It is also true that in many cases, females have become much more self-confident, self-reliant, successful, truly happy and free. But for the ones who are not yet there, and are caught in an oppressive place (in the cultural or familial context) because of the voices who have not stewarded, taught, or nurtured them well — there is hope!

“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” –Author Unknown 

Saying Goodbye to the Voices

To recognize the negative messages being piped into our minds as lies, is key. We don’t have to live with the voices, but they will not go away on their own because they are deeply rooted. It may take some time, but it will be time well spent.  For women, the voices are so intricately tied to our self-image.

By purging the lies, we choose to invest in reprogramming our view of ourselves in order to bring a true sense of reality, peace and overall well-being. It’s time to say goodbye to the harsh masters who have held the keys for far too long. The plaguing thoughts that have held us captiveincapacitating and hindering us from living our lives in freedom and confidence.

“No power in society, no hardship in your condition can depress you, keep you down, in knowledge, power, virtue, influence, but by your own consent.”  –William Ellery Channing

Replacing the Voices — Choosing Life

So how do we begin to make a change for better?  We begin by washing our minds with truth, which is what will set us free. We make a conscious choice to say yes to right thoughts about ourselves and no to the negative ones. We keep company with positive and honest people who will act as mirrors in our lives, speaking truth to us about ourselves, our dreams, our futures—and we rid ourselves of regular contact with the toxic ones. “Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.” –George Eliot

We lose the things in our atmosphere that bring death (belief systems we’ve subscribed to, harmful relationships, bad habits or addictions, places we frequent, or any inputs we listen to through media, music or literature that reinforce the negative or dark messages) and replace them with the things that bring life. Our thoughts can be like a tape stuck in an infinite loop that runs and re-runs in our mind. The good news is, we have control over what tapes—messages—we choose to play.  Choose life!  Choose the things that bring you peace, joy, encouragement, inspiration, challenge and fulfillment.

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.”  –Wilma Rudolph

And, we welcome the voice of God and let it tell us who we are. We are cherished, capable, valued and loved—we are here for a purpose. We have a future and a hope, and thankfully, we are not alone. Our true destiny awaits us.

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women
(Photos by Heal and Inspire, Jason Borneman, Alice Palace, AJ Bruestein)

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©Destiny's Women™ is a blog founded, written and published by April McCallum -- "Championing the Life, Freedom and Destiny of Women" Creative Commons License
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