Have you ever been in a dark place in your life and wondered, “How did I even end up here?”
For real though, like messed up, messed up!
It’s me 👋🏾 I’ve been in that exact. same. place! You are not alone, that’s for sure.
I often get asked, how do I come out of this place in my life and on to making decisions that reflect the person I really want to be. Stay tuned. Hopefully, we’ll touch on what I believe is the foundation to any relationship.
My dark, deep place happened when I was a Freshman in college and if I can be completely honest, It started during high school when I got pregnant with my first son. To cope with the feelings of unworthiness, depression and low self-esteem, I partied, A LOT and had several unhealthy relationships.
After almost being kicked out of college for my grades, I quit school when I found out that I was pregnant with my 2nd son. I knew my life was over. I remembered reading in Health, class when I was pregnant during my 9th grade year of high school, that teen moms are more likely to become pregnant again and here I was a statistic. AGAIN!
I’d always been hard on myself and this was no exception. I felt like a complete failure. After having my 2nd son, I got the overwhelming desire to move to the city that my dream college was in and return to school. I yielded to the nudge and began preparing to enroll in college. Quite frankly, my focus was so narrowed in that I worked to do what I needed to do in order to move away to return to college. I did just that! In the Fall of 2003, I packed up my little belongings and moved to a small one bedroom apartment for a new beginning with my infant and toddler boys.
During that time. I had to learn how to be a mother. I had to learn how to set boundaries with the opposite sex and I had to learn how to value myself, which brings me to this post.
You see, I learned that the only way to begin making changes in my life, where to prioritize my relationship with myself. On my journey, I began to make three changes that were vital to me becoming the woman I am today.
1. Get to know who you are by dating yourself
Dating yourself requires that you learn how to be alone with all of the parts of yourself. The good, the bad and the ugly! When I would go on these dates, I would pay attention to the things that I was saying and thinking about myself. I came to realize, that I really did not like myself very much and my life was showing the evidence of self-hate vs. self-love.
I also began to realize things that I liked and wanted to experience that I’d simply discarded or dismissed because other people around me didn’t approve. For instance, I enjoy reading and research but I’d stopped reading to fit in with my environment. If I can encourage you to commit to one thing out of this list, this step would be at the top, for sure!
2. Set Healthy Boundaries
The next thing I challenged myself to do was to set boundaries. I’d come from a household where there were no boundaries. I was allowed to do what I wanted to do at any point of time. There were no expectations and people where there ALL THE TIME. It was a toxic environment. Drugs and alcohol were on display constantly and I’d experienced more things than I care to admit. What makes this worse is that, it was a norm.
At that point of time in my life, I’d separated from the woman who raised me and had made the choice to live life on my own terms. Boy, was I wrong🤦🏾♀️. Frankly put, I had very little knowledge on how to set healthy boundaries and expectations with others. How did I learn? I read the Bible. My aunt had given me a reference bible that was an A-Z reference on any topic you could think of. I spent time re-dedicating my life to Christ and learning about His love for me as a sinner.
I also found a community of other young women, some where single mothers life I was, who were my support, accountability, and community, It is true that iron sharpens iron! That’s exactly what we did for one another. We held each other up during those times. Some of the women I remained friends with.
3. Let Negative People Go. Periodt!
The last step, though not the final step in my life, I’d have to say was the hardest. When I began to change, the people that were use to the old me did not want to hang out any longer. I was called names because I no longer had the old mindset. I was called “white girl”, although I’m Black, because of how I spoke. I had to make a choice. You know, the one they call “the crossroads”. I had to decide to pull back from people that were negative and not supportive of where I was headed. My heart was broken serval times over relationships that I had to say goodbye to.
do I regret any of this? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
I was beginning to morph into the person I envisioned myself becoming. Of course, I had some failures and setbacks.
How did I handle those moments?
I relied on the other women in my community to help support me and hold me accountable as I grew stronger and stronger.
Sis, I just wanted to encourage you about setting the right foundations for your relationships. It begins with you. Without that important piece, no relationship will work. They will all fail miserably or you will be miserable in them. I hope this has helped you.
Feel free to leave me a comment letting me know if you’re enjoying the material.
-Dr. Tiffany Ross