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Self-Care

Why Safe Friendships Matter and How To Get Them

Renee Reese

Photo by OITNB

Photo by OITNB

By Renee Reese

“ You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

Year after year, I would cringe every time I heard this quote. Deep down, I knew that I didn’t want to be like the majority of the people I surrounded myself with. Even deeper down, I knew that while I was giving my time, heart, and energy to these friendships and romantic relationships, I was doing deep damage to my soul. It may sound harsh, but let me be clear.  These people weren’t all truly horrible people, but the relationships were horrible for me. As I began to heal from my past traumas, I realized I had taken a backseat in my own life and just let life happen to me.  I never chose who came in and out of my life.  I let people break up with me, even if I wanted to break up first.  I held on to toxic friendships, because I just didn’t believe I had the strength to get out of them.   These relationships were unsafe for me, but I was holding on for dear life. 

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

To live well, we need to both be a safe person and surround ourselves with safe people.   Safe relationships are the ones that are healthy and help us to grow.  In their book, Safe People, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend identify a safe relationship as one that draws us closer to God, draws us closer to others, and helps us become the real person God created us to be.

The people in your life are critical to your healing, wellness, and joy.  Whether you’re aware of it or not, the people in your life are rubbing off on you. There are no neutral friendships.  Your friendships are either helping your healing or hindering it.  Who you are friends with is one of the most important decisions you will make, but the important thing is you get to choose.  You get to choose who’s in your space.  You get to choose who’s allowed into your heart.

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

Where should you start?

1. Start with you

Your journey to healthy friendships starts with you.  If you pair an unhealthy person with a healthy person, the relationship will likely still be unhealthy.  The unhealthy one may be you.  In friendships that went awry, think about exactly where things went wrong.  Are you the toxic one in your friendships?  Are you contributing to the toxicity in any way?  It may be tough to consider, but be honest with yourself, figure out the root cause, and get some healing.  If you find yourself surrounded with toxic people, ask yourself why you’re choosing these relationships.  Emotionally healthy people tend to make healthier decisions, so start with your own healing.

2.  Believe that safe people are out there.

Take some time and get a vision for what healthy friendships and relationships look like.  Think about what you want in a friendship.  Hold on to the belief that you actually can have healthy friendships and that safe and healthy people do exist. 

3. Find friends who show you grace. 

These are the friends that you can make mistakes with. You shouldn’t have to hide who you are in your friendships.  You should be allowed to be a little weird with those closest to you.  You should be allowed to be human, have separate opinions, and be whomever it is that God created you to be. If you constantly feel the need to walk on eggshells, this may be a sign that the relationship isn’t healthy. Have friends you can talk to openly and who make a practice of forgiving.

4. Find friends who tell you the truth in love

You need someone to tell you about yourself sometimes.  Someone who can show you where you’re wrong and challenge your weaknesses.  But great friends listen, ask questions, and pray.  Be wary of those who have a ready-made opinion or agenda they want to inflict upon you, especially if it’s regarding something they’ve never experienced for themselves or something that is not rooted in truthSome people have a habit of telling you their version of the truth, with no grace attached.  They come ready to attack your character and throw your mistakes in your face in the name of “keeping it real.”  They immediately see grace as sugar-coating, instead of seeing grace as speaking with humility and maturity.  Sugar-coating doesn’t help anyone, but grace tells the truth while still leaving your dignity in tact.  While you definitely need to hear the truth, when it’s done without grace, it can be severely damaging. Dr. Henry Cloud says “ And while we need to be confronted of our weaknesses, unsafe people, however, confront us not to forgive us, but to condemn and punish us.  They remove their love until we are appropriately chastened.”  This is not friendship.   That is not about telling you the truth.

Photo by GIPHY

Photo by GIPHY

While this list is certainly not exhaustive, it’s a starting point in cultivating healthy relationships.  As you move forward, you’ll find what works for you on this road to healing.

The Christmas Gifts

Morgan Daniels

Photography from GIPHY

Photography from GIPHY

I haven't written in a really long time (which will change in the new year) but I decided to share with you all this piece I wrote a while ago entitled, the christmas gifts. Enjoy. - Morgan Brittani


It’s almost Christmas Eve. That being said it is time for me to take a step back and reflect.. In light of this Christmas season, I am going to share the three Christmas Gifts in which God has given me after much prayer. These being love, joy, and peace. I guess I’ll start with love.

THE GIFT OF LOVE.

Love is something that we all grow up wanting to encounter. Disney princesses made me feel as if love was something that could only be given by a kiss or a prince. However, I have realized over the years that love is more than a physical attraction between two people. Love is a gift, a gift that God has bestowed upon the people of this world.

The gift of love is such a beautiful thing and can help someone out of their deepest pains. This year has been a complete game changer for me. Right after I truly started to entirely believe in my God without a doubt he tested my faith. This test did not come in the form I had imagined. The light that surrounding me soon became too dim to rely on. The love given by my loved ones restored not only my physical, mental, and emotional well-being but made me in fact a stronger Morgan. Agape Love. That is the first gift that God has given me. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by so many people who love and want the best for me.

THE GIFT OF JOY.

I used to get so down. Down for reasons I could not even begin to explain. I wouldn'tbe able to eat, sleep, sometimes, and I didn't understand why. I did not know exactly why my heart was filled with this hole. I would cry out to God to please fix it, fix me. I wanted to have my heart filled with nothing but love once again. I prayed… On January 31, 2013, I was in the car with my best friend going to the Watch Night Service. We were listening to Christian music on the way there preparing our hearts for what was to come. Then, “I want it back,” by Tye Tribbett began to play. I had never heard this song but it was truly speaking to me. The words to that song unexplainably captured my soul. Then, my friend said “Say you want your joy back,” my spirit shook.

It was so ironic because I did not know what it was necessarily that was missing from my life. God had revealed it to me through her, it was such a beautiful experience. Later that night, it was prayer time. I went up to receive prayer and that night I was told, “God is going to restore you of your joy…” I can now report to you that I have never been more joyful in my entire life. I know that there will be more test and I will have some bad days.

JOY last longer than happiness. Happiness is a feeling, a feeling that can go away as fast or faster than it came. JOY is everlasting. The fact that God has blessed me with such an amazing gift is overwhelming. For this I have prayed. I want to share my joy with all of those that I ever encounter. I pray that I can touch as many as possible to spread the joy that God has given me.

THE GIFT OF PEACE.

After all of my trials, God has given me peace. I am able to trust him no matter the circumstance. This peace has allowed me to carry myself in a different way than ever before. Peace may be the last of the three gifts in which God has given me. However, this sense of peace has changed my life and has allowed me to further live without the fears that tomorrow may bring.

Photograph from GIPHY

Photograph from GIPHY

Merry Christmas y'all. I hope your Christmas is filled with lots of love, joy and peace. Enjoy this time!

with joy,

Morgan Brittani

 

House Cleaning

Morgan Daniels

Photo by Morgan Daniels

Photo by Morgan Daniels

Written by Keara Douglas

Sometimes removing things from our lives can be a tough experience. This could be a person, object or thing you have grown an attachment with, a location you repeatedly visit, or just a habit you are used to doing for so long it becomes a daily routine for you. I know I have gone through my share of “removals” throughout my life, most were tough to go through but they all taught me a valuable lesson. You cannot find joy in harmful people or things no matter how much good you may see in those things or people. Most of the time when we as people and human beings begin to lose that joy or happiness, we look for it in other things and people. For example, if you are having a bad day, you may go shopping because it brings you pleasure or to the gym to workout. But sometimes those things we go to in order to find that missing joy and fill that void, may not be good for us in the long run. I took the month of November to remove dead weight or remove things and people that meant me no good or became a burden to my joy. Sort of like a sense of “house cleaning”. Some were tough for me but I know now that I must be around positivity in order for me to continuously be happy. Listed below are some ways to remove toxic relationships and patterns from your life and begin to find that joy that was once missing:

 

  1. Begin a Morning Routine
    Start your day off an hour earlier than scheduled. This is time for you to get yourself ready for the day. Unwind a bit before your hectic schedule begins to take over. This is a time to forget about any problems from the previous day especially if you have no control over those problems, as it may hinder you from moving forward. Start off with a nice breakfast, or at least try to grab a bite to eat on the go to school or work. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and it can help determine whether you are going to have a good or bad day. You can also exercise, read a book or the paper before beginning normal daily routines.

  2. Stop Smoking and Drinking
    Replace daily toxic habits with more healthier choices like eating fruit, exercising, or chewing gum during times you may feel the urge to light one up or take a sip. Even though we may think these things are solving the problem and helping towards relaxing things, they are really just making us more irritable and uneasy throughout the day.

  3. End Bad Relationships
    A typical bad relationship with someone will vary from person to person. What one may see as bad, another may not. But if you are around someone who constantly makes you feel bad about yourself, or constantly downs you as a person, it is time to cut that relationship off. A real friend or relationship with someone whether it be your wife/husband, girlfriend/boyfriend, or significant other/life partner should never make you feel bad or negative.

  4. Check Yourself
    If you are constantly downing everyone around you, it is time for you to do a reality check of yourself. Sometimes we get so caught up in focusing on what others are doing bad to us that we forget how to treat others. Sometimes our toxic experience end up becoming our own toxic habits towards others. Break that cycle by always respecting others no matter how they treat you. Always be kind, you never know what a person may be going through.

Reality Check

Morgan Daniels

Photo by Morgan Daniels

Photo by Morgan Daniels

Written by Keara Douglas

Have you ever heard the saying that, “if you are falling out with everyone around you, you must be the problem?" This is true to an extent.

Sometimes we may know something is wrong but we are automatically programmed to believe that the problem must be with the people around us, that it couldn’t possibly be me causing so much harm and mishaps constantly. Have you ever felt like everything you are doing is wrong because nothing is going right for you or the way that you would like for things to go? Well I am here to tell you that yes, you can be the root of your very own problems.

Reality checks are needed occasionally to remind us that we too must be nice at all times and respectable towards others as well as ourselves. For example, ask yourself these questions when it comes to your relationships with others: Am I listening to understand when having conversations with this person, or am I listening to have response back? Am I compromising when it comes to situations and subjects we cannot agree on, or is it my way or no way? Are my extracurricular activities actually helping me in the long run, or are they bringing me more harm and placing me in tougher situations that I am already in? Finding a balance and figuring out what is good for you and what is not good for you, along with those around you, can really help make things easier for you on your search for joy.


Hey everyone! My name is Keara Douglas from Delux Designs (DE), LLC out of Fort Lawn, SC. First and foremost, I would like to thank JOYday Movement’s founder Morgan Brittani for giving me the opportunity to become a writer for this amazing movement. I have been following the official twitter page for it for some time now and have been a fan ever since. I look forward to contributing more posts for the website along with future twitter chats, thanks everyone, happy blogging!

Let It Go

Morgan Daniels

Photo by Morgan Daniels

Photo by Morgan Daniels

Written by Quinci

What is holding you captive? Emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even physically?

For a lot of us, we hold onto habits and people that aren't healthy for us. We hold on out of fear, comfort, and that taunting "what if?

 

How amazing would it be to just say no?

Freeing yourself of the attachment of that person you know isn't good for you. Letting go of past mental trauma and pain that can your growth, releasing all negative and toxic energy that stops your spirit from healing, then blooming into your full potential.

 

I, personally, have experienced not being able to let go of an unhealthy situation. A lot of times I feel as if people really just hold onto people who do not serve a greater good because of memories, comfort, attachment, or the what could be.

 

“What if they realize my potential?”

"What if they came back around?"

 

Honestly, within the last three to four weeks I've realized that if you constantly have to make excuses for why something isn't working, solely relying on the "what if's", or potential it's time to...

LET IT GO. Again, let it go!

Do it when you're genuinely ready and completely ready to grow. Forcing yourself will only make the task more daunting and harder to really let go, trust me.

STEP 1:

Get closure for yourself.

If needed, talk that person. If it's not possible to actually contact them, write them a letter and then burn it.

STEP 2:

Delete any pictures, messages, or any memories. Even though that's the hard part.

If it's something you're battling on a spiritual level, purge.

Release your negative energy, face your demons, cry it out, and release whatever is holding you captive. Find time to meditate or a place to clear your mind and hear your own thoughts. There are also a lot of spiritual rituals you can do to help balance out your soul and boost your positive energy.

STEP 3:

If it's physical, find something that makes you feel refreshed but mostly importantly, healthy.

Ex: Work out, go on a walk, or listen to music that just makes you feel free and happy! Just do anything that helps you, there's no set formula.

With the end of the year near, it would be awesome for everyone to be able to go into the new year baggage free, healthy, happy and ready to grow.

 

If you have any suggestions on how to let go and serve your highest self let us know!

Tears

Kadedra A. Duffus

Illustration by Morgan Daniels

Illustration by Morgan Daniels

Written by Kadedra A. Duffus

I used to hate crying. I thought it made me look weak and childish. So, I bottled. I carried within me fountains of tears I wouldn’t release because I was so afraid of being vulnerable. I was afraid that my tears would show others the state of my soul. I was afraid that my tears would tell me the truth. The truth I was too afraid of facing. But, a little over a year ago, I gave up on the idea of bottling my emotions. I gave up on the lie that hiding my tears meant covering up my flaws. I gave up on the notion that vulnerability was weakness. I am the woman who cries when I see strangers crying. I weep at movies, music, poetry, random words thrown together, affirmations, confirmations… you name it (yes, you can say that with your Shirley Caesar voice). I pour my soul over coffee in Starbucks and I cry. I don’t care. Crying is healthy.

I’m an advocate of self-care and self-love. Over the past year I’ve learned the importance of loving myself and taking care of the body, mind and soul I call home. Crying, for me, is a part of my self-care regime and a way that I remind myself to love who I am, where I am and where I’ve been. I wish I could say that my life has been painted with gold and drenched in honey. But, it hasn’t. Life happens. It happens to all of us, but even then, your mind needs your honesty. Your soul needs your truth. It is okay to cry. It is okay to feel. Release yourself, you don’t have to fight yourself anymore. Your vulnerability is not weakness- it is strength. Your tears water your soul, don’t fight your own growth.

If I hadn’t cried myself weary that day in June 2015, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Just releasing all the weight I was carrying for all the years I was at war with who I was, what I had been through and who did what to me, changed everything. Life didn’t suddenly change but, I sure felt better and I had a clearer perspective. My vision was clearing up, I opened myself to myself. That’s it. Crying reminded me that I am human too. That I feel like everyone else- maybe more than others. It reminded me that I couldn’t keep on faking it ‘till I made it. I had to be honest. I had to make a decision to take care of myself. To love me. All of me. So, I cried. I wept for days, weeks, months even. Honestly, it is okay to cry. Don’t be your own prisoner. Release yourself.

Cry. You are not weak, you are being watered.

Sweet November

Morgan Daniels

Photo by Morgan Daniels

Photo by Morgan Daniels

Written by Key

November is a bittersweet month for me. No longer is it summer, it’s fall. It’s not even early fall where there are some leaves left and the weather is mild, nope...the leaves are almost gone and it’s brisk. The wind hits my face quick and hard. It gets dark faster. It’s not my month.

Everyone is happy with holiday cheer and I fall quickly into a slump, I think.

It’s been this way for three years. Three years ago I began my November with illness and frequent hospital visits and ended it with heartbreak. In the middle somewhere was what I had planned to be one of the best days for me, a day of celebration. That perfect cool mild November day soon turned into a night that I’ll never forget...don’t matter how many times I try not to “think about that time.” He was the highlight of my day. It was the day that we could finally be together, but quickly…that white picket dream was crushed before it even had the chance to be birthed into a reality.

November is the month of my parents anniversary. Something I never had. No one ever to bring home for thanksgiving, or even mention. November last year was my last month of hope. November brings on anxiety, one that looms over my heart and makes it tremble, flutter, palpate...in the same way that my heart did as I lay in my bed gasping for air three years ago….in the same way my heart did as I cried “how.”

November is the month that I lost my friendship of six years due to a situation that also caused me to lose the guy that I thought would be next to me this year at the thanksgiving table...Christmas...and next January... February …. and May…. and August.

November isn’t just a loss for the trees, it’s a loss for me..

This year I didn’t weep. I cried but I didn’t weep. I know that leaves fall for a reason and times of turmoil are just for a season. This year, I was renewed and finally let go of the leaves I was holding onto so deeply. The resentment, the pain, the comparisions.

November is a bittersweet month for me. It’s never been the kindest yet it always comes bringing unexpected beautiful gifts of growth.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve forgotten how to play in the leaves that fall. I think it’s time to learn.

Screensavers

Morgan Daniels

Photo by Jakira Shaw

Photo by Jakira Shaw

Written by Gabrielle Hickmon

The journey back to myself started with the changing of my screensaver. Because for 6 months, it was you. Well, not exactly you, it was us, we, you and me - together. Although, that too isn’t completely accurate. It was a representation of where I thought I wanted, no, needed to be. A representation of where I thought I belonged. The problem being that there’s no way I could be there when I was here and being reminded of the loss of it all every time I opened my phone was problematic to say the least.

I never knew how much words, no, images mattered until I changed my screensaver away from you. How that simple act would begin the process of my journey home - the journey into the depths of my soul. How the stuff we keep, hoard, refuse to let go of is actually amazing when you stop to think about it. Ponder it. Dissect why.

I wonder if I left my screensaver what it was for those six months because I needed to still feel connected or because I was addicted to the pain. Pretty sure it was the latter, not, never the former. But what do I know? Soul ties are such a bitch.

Now, I keep my screensaver more neutral. You know, more about me, and less about you, us, we, you and me, together. More here’s and less there’s. Unless of course there has nothing to do with you, then and only then is it acceptable - when there is devoid of you.

The journey back to myself started with the changing of my screensaver. And I thought that meant I was over it. But, then, I went and made it my Twitter header. Shows how much I know about falling out of love with a person, place, and time, right?

The journey back to myself started with the changing of my screensaver. But, I don’t think I’ve fully made it home yet. More like sitting in my car, in the driveway, trying to grow the strength to walk up to the door and go in the house. A home I’ve always known, that I also know is very different now - no matter what my screensaver looks like.