Lessons and more lessons: 2020

Hello Overcomers! I have a few more Hall of Famers, but I wanted to throw this in the ring.

The more I walk this mental health journey, I become more and more aware of the importance of relationships. Relationships are work. In relationships there is give and take and depending on the season, one may be giving more than taking. It takes true friends to tough out those seasons with you.

I find myself wanting to withdraw when I feel like I’ve shared too much or spend a lot of time worrying if I am “too much” or, if this was the day when my friends decide, “okay, I’m done.” I find myself thinking I need to give them a break from me. They constantly prove me wrong.

Being in a healthy relationship feels foreign when you’ve become accustomed to dysfunction – even if the dysfunction is in your head. I’m learning to take off the track shoes and will myself to stay put. I have to remind myself to stay put and allow my friendships to flourish, to accept the help when needed as well as reciprocate when the opportunity arises.

I make an intentional effort to say thank you to those who “stay in the struggle” with me. My friends listen to my rants, reel me in when I’m overthinking, making negative statements about myself, filled with anxiety, and making decisions that are not conducive to my purpose. They point me back to God when I’m out in left field and remind me that I can “cast my cares on Him” (I Peter 5:7).

I had such big plans for the start of 2020. However, I found myself going down the slippery slope of depression and anxiety in slow motion. It was happening so smoothly, I didn’t realize it was happening. Many changes were happening at one time. I started grad school, for starters, as well as a couple other adjustments I hadn’t prepared for. I had a couple of conversations in which I allowed to shake my faith in myself and my purpose. I had subconsciously decided I was done. I didn’t have the energy for anything. Getting out of bed became what felt like impossible – thank God for the right friends.

Dr. Thema, in her “Homecoming Podcast,” says: Internal oppression is believing the lies I’ve been told about myself and, the ways I have been treated is not a reflection of my worth.

The lesson this time? Change the way I speak to me. Adjust how I see myself. It was a clutching my pearls moment because I’ve done so much work! #sigh You ever thought you were looking pretty good until someone who really loves you shows you a mirror and points out you have lipstick on your teeth? 😱 I hear you. There are some things that will not change until I do. In order to make a change, I must change what I believe.  I get to decide what’s true of me and what’s not. Every piece of constructive criticism is not an affront to me as a person. I don’t have to accept every negative word spoken to me. Again, I’m learning.

Welcome to 2020, family. Lesson one, two and three is in the books for 2020. One documented failure on deck. However, this documented failure caused me to make some necessary adjustments to the overall plan which I call a win. Isn’t this the ebb and flow of life, though?

I am thankful for friends who love me. I am thankful for friends who will tell me the truth. I am thankful for friends who deal with my imagination, questions, and quirkiness. I am still learning. Learning to embrace who I am. Learning to love the girl who shows up in the mirror, flaws and all. I am learning to embrace that, although improvements will always be needed, I am fabulous and valuable because I’m me. You are fabulous and valuable because you’re YOU!

Dear God, as long as you’re with me. I can overcome anything. Thank you for sending friends to help me along this journey. Amen.

 

 

 

The Overcomer’s Hall of Fame: Tenishia B. Lester

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Ms. Tenishia Lester!

img_0746Tenishia B. Lester is a Certified Destiny Life Coach/Mentor for individuals who need assistance in finding their purpose in life. Her goal is to become licensed in Marriage and Family Counseling. She is a retired United States Postal Worker, where she served for twenty-three years. She was born and raised in New Jersey but currently resides in Georgia. Tenishia is her mother’s only child and the oldest of her father’s children. She is the proud mother of one son (another preceded her in death) and a grandson.

I felt a connection with Tenishia because our stories are similar. Speaking with Tenishia was a breath of fresh air. Starting off a little shaky which lasted four seconds, Tenishia took a deep breath and dived in like a champion!

Let’s get into the conversation:

Me: Tell me about Tenishia.

Tenishia: I don’t like being lied to or underestimated. I have a big heart. I will give to others, sometimes to my detriment without thinking of the consequences up front. I will help anyone. I’ve always been an introvert, but I’m learning to come out of my shell which began to happen when I joined a tribe at my church. (shout out to ANWA-ATL!)

I am good at leadership. I am trustworthy, compassionate, diligent and detail-oriented. I am serious, but I am also silly. I am tenacious!

img_0749Me: When you hear overcomer, what does that mean to you?

Tenishia: Survivor. No matter what I’ve gone through, I am not what happened to me. No longer seeing my history as shameful, but the ability to see purpose to help someone else. I see strength. Overcoming, for me, means purpose.

Me: Tell me about something you’ve overcome.

Tenishia: Unforgiveness and fear. Although I still have moments of fear, I am not as fearful as I used to be.

Me: How did you work through unforgiveness?

Tenishia: I had to understand that forgiveness is not for the person who committed the acts towards me. I thought it mean you gave them permission to do something else. I would forgive to a degree, but not forget. And that is not what the bible says. I also had to realize that holding on to grudges, and unforgiveness was doing more damage to me than any of the acts they committed against me.

There’s a local ministry in Atlanta that offers courses img_0751focused on healing. Going to these classes gave me a deeper understanding of forgiveness and a deeper understanding of my hurt. Along with that, I learned compassion and to extend the grace I’ve received – the same grace God gives me when I do something wrong.

I also wrote letters to the people I had offense with. I made phone calls, had the hard discussions, offered forgiveness and repented for my part in the situation. This is important, because we mostly remember what was done to us, not taking responsibility for our role in the situation whether great or small.

Me: I can see how walking through this process destroyed a level of fear.

Tenishia: Yes, fear and anxiety rise up because you’re apologizing for something you may or may not have done. I had to apologize or offer forgiveness even when it’s not reciprocated. You’re facing an apology you may never get. You’re calling to say, “I’m sorry for the role I played in this situation.” The chances of the other person apologizing is a 50/50. So, you have to go in not expecting to get an apology and be okay with it.

However, it’s a bonus when you get it!

Me: You recently release a book. Tell me about it.img_0747

Tenishia: My book is called Arrested Development: A Journey to Purpose and Identity. It chronicles my life of having been abused. How I discovered my purpose and identity through the abuse and as God sees me, not as I identified myself.

For anyone who reads this book I want them to know:

  • Just because things happen to you, it doesn’t define your identity.
  • It is possible to go through such egregious things hurts, pains, abuses, and still come out on the upside, knowing who you are or finding who you are. Your identity can be solidified in Christ and you can operate from a healthy place versus a broken place, which is what many of us do for the majority of our lives.

I want to be to others what I didn’t have. I wish when I was growing up there was something like this I could have picked up and referenced. Something that would have let me know it was possible to come out healthier on the other side.

This time next year I see myself coaching, flourishing, more speaking engagements, more products, more healing – as I help others, I receive a deeper level of healing.

img_0752I am a Certified Life Coach & Mentor and speaker. I specialize in walking with those who have endured childhood trauma realize that what happened to them does not define them; Nor does it have to continue to prevent them from moving forward boldly in life. I am the Author of Arrested Development: A Journey to Purpose and Identity. Beyond the Book Media Author of the Year.

Tenishia is launching a Mentoring Program soon.
For more information, you may find Tenishia on:
FB: @Tenishiablesterceo
IG: @tenishiablesterceo
Website: http://www.tenishiablester.com

From your head to your heart

I’m thinking about what I know versus what I “know.” It’s said there is only eighteen inches between my head and my heart. Eighteen inches? That’s less than two feet! This is baffling to me.

db487841-3ce0-4a3b-81a8-67f12e2856bc-3909-00000384239f5c10-1This is how this looks to me: Knowledge in my head refers to things I’ve learned. I read it, I took a class, I heard about it. Maybe its information I have committed to memory. I may not have personal proof, but I believe what I’ve been told. However, when I receive new information, the information I have is challenged causing me to be unsure of what I knew before.

Knowledge in my heart is information I know based on evidence or rather history. For example, you can’t make me believe that my red shoes aren’t going to be comfortable. Every time I wear them, they are comfortable. I can take long walks without my feet hurting. Or, you would have a hard time convincing me that “Ann” is an evil woman. It would easier to believe that maybe Ann had a bad day or possibly an evil twin. I’ve known Ann for thirty years and she’s honest, sincere, kind, patient and loyal. Based on my history with Ann, I know it would take an extreme circumstance to rile her up.

This leads me to my case.

I know I’m great – in my head.

I know I’m smart – in my head.

I know I’m capable of reaching my goals – in my head.

I know I can succeed in business – in my head.

I know what the Bible says about me. I am God’s treasure. I am beloved. I know these things – in my head.

7697b5e3-83d3-43df-947d-b8073518431c-3909-00000384d3582293Then why don’t I live like I know? Why don’t I hold my head up like I know? Why is fear, self-sabotage, and retreat my default response? Time after time, I have this conversation with myself. I have this conversation with others. I journal about it. I write a goal list. I tell myself I can do it. I’m ready to go. Until it’s time to actually go or what we say now: level up.

Also, why do I have more confidence in Ann than I have in myself? Wasn’t I smart to pick a friend like her? Doesn’t that show good judgement on my part? Why can’t I give myself credit for my accomplishments?

Now, it’s a week later, and I haven’t started on the goal I set and I am fussing at myself. The self-condemnation and verbal abuse. The problem with this conversation is it’s counterproductive. Berating myself doesn’t motivate me to do anything different. Even when my peers encourage me, I can’t receive it because the negative things I say to myself is speaking louder in my head than the encouragement and vote of confidence they are offering.

You may say: Wait! Aren’t you the same girl who tells us about declarations and affirmations? Doesn’t that make you a hypocrite?

Well, yeah. Yes, it does make me a hypocrite. I’m a hypocrite in process of change. I recently learned my declarations must be statements that I believe. If it’s something I want to believe then I should repeat it as such. So, I will admit, this revelation has changed the way I do declarations. For example, instead of making the declaration “I am confident.” The new declaration or affirmation is, “I am learning to have confidence in myself. I am learning to acquire wisdom from my losses. I am also learning to celebrate my wins.”

The latter statement is different because it makes me personally responsible for steps to build my confidence level.

As I implement this new knowledge, my goal is to be more consistent in what I know I’m supposed to do; things I enjoy doing.

There’s much unrest this time of the year. Lots of conversation and bemoaning regarding what has or has not been accomplished for the calendar year. For me, it produces anxiety because, without a solid plan, the “discussion” is counterproductive. And didn’t we moan about this last year? Cycles…

So, I take time out to evaluate. And I deal with the why. Why didn’t I do what I set out to do? What about my thinking and sabotaged me into not pursuing my dreams?

What’s the point, you say? I’m reminding us that any successes we have achieved in life means we have the tools to be successful again. If we had the tools to win before, we can win again. Let that sink into your heart. Let’s learn to cheer for ourselves with the same energy we cheer for others.

I have a 7-Day Journey available on this page. Just click the link and download. Please follow and share. Let me know what you think. I think I’ll go back and read it again.

“Default Settings”

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If you’ve ever worked on a computer or a cell phone and went to settings, it will ask you if you would like to “restore to default settings.” What is your life default settings? How do you respond to life? Conflict? People? Certain situations? Let’s talk about it.

I learned something recently. Pain & trauma in your memory has no time line. So until it’s processed and healed, it will feel like it just happened and you go back to that place often. Many even feel through symptoms in the body (stomach pain, for example).

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I’m learning, as I heal, to remind myself that it’s over. The past, pain, nor trauma has no bearing on who I am or who I will be. Trauma doesn’t diminish my worth.

Fight for your healing. It won’t come for you. You must fight for it.

You’re worth it.

Having said that, I am in pursuit of changing my “default setting.” I was talking to someone the other day and I was telling them how I usually respond to conflict-that it was my default setting.

Later, I began to think about that. I didn’t like it.

Don’t I have the power to change? Don’t I have the right to adjust my thinking, my perspective, and my actions? Of course I do.

I’ve added another component to my mental health. It’s call DBT (Dialectical behavior therapy). In my limited understanding (I’ve only been to one class), DBT teaches you coping and management skills. The major thing I’m working on right now is learning how to properly process anxiety. I am determined that anxiety will not run or ruin my life.

I believe that the undercurrent that produces anxiety can be processed and healed. When I say undercurrent, I’m speaking of the pain that is stored in your body. You don’t realize it’s still there, but it doesn’t mean we can’t heal from it. I often wonder where anxiety comes from because, in my mind, I’m not thinking about anything. In many recent instances, I’m having a good time before it shows up. In my mind, this is the undercurrent; a warning of something I need to be aware (but not afraid) of.

I’m not a professional, but I do a lot of reading and researching. I’m a thinker/over thinker. The purpose of this post is to give us another perspective that will hoped lead to answers and healing. And to hopefully have a better understanding regarding what I’m experiencing. It helps me to change my default settings.

No, I don’t want to be restored to my default settings. The default setting have not served me well. I am creating new settings. How about you? Let’s do it!

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Love, Hope & Joy

Hello all! I decided today would be a great day to share an excerpt from my book, Texts from an Angel. Enjoy…

Amy was so depressed. She didn’t want to bother her friends. She knew they were busy. However, after being in bed three days, her guardian angel, Hope, was flustered.

“I hate to bust your angelic wings, but what she needs is a little Joy. No pun intended.” Joy quipped.

“Oh dear heaven!” Hope slapped her wings together in frustration. “Here you are again, in my personal business.”

“You don’t have any personal business. This is all God’s business or did you forget? I keep telling you the Joy of the Lord is where strength comes from.”

“And we also know that ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick.’ That’s why I’m here. So go…” While Hope and Joy are arguing, Amy is holding a bottle of pills. She’s sick of it all.

“Ladies! Ladies!” Love steps in. “Stop it. You’re off focus again. Look.” Amy was pouring a glass of water and had several bottles of pills lined up on the counter. Hope and Joy looked at each other. They knew what to do. Before Amy could reach for the first bottle, a strong wind blew through her kitchen and pills and bottles were flying everywhere!

Conveniently, most of the pills flew down the drain. Amy was so stunned with what was going on around her she didn’t hear her doorbell ringing. Her best friend, Keya, was at the door. After ringing the doorbell for several minutes, Keya decided to use her spare key to get in.

Hearing all the commotion, Kenya rushed to the kitchen. “Amy! What’s the matter? I got your text. Why didn’t you tell me you were so depressed? I’m so sorry I haven’t been here.” Amy was still stunned as she looked at her friend.

“You got a text? I turned my phone off three days ago.” Keya showed her a text message that came from her phone. It read, “I love you, sister, but I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.”

After a long talk, Keya decided to take Amy home with her until her mother flew into town. Spending time in the nurturing warmth of a mother’s love would help tremendously. She would also seek counseling and formulate a safety plan.

A safety plan is a specific plan you set in place for yourself to ensure your safety whether physical or emotional. The plan usually includes coping mechanism, phone numbers, and maybe personal reminders for you or ways you can distract yourself.  

If you are ever feeling like Amy, please contact either of these numbers:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255
Or text: Crisis Text Line: Text RISE to 741741  

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This is an excerpt from my book, Texts from an Angel. You can purchase it at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QC2GD93/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_BKGPCbDK92FJ3

For a paper copy, email me at nicolesharonwrites@gmail.com

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Hey! Where You Been?

Hey guys!

I’m getting back in the swing of things. I’ve been out of commission for a while, but I’m back and I’m focusing. Instead of trying to write everything out, I thought I’d do a video. I hope that something is said to help you on your journey to healing and wholeness.

We’re in this together!

Blessings to you!

Nothing Wasted

Happy Monday, Overcomers!

Today is a good day, so let’s make the most of it.

I want to share about a book I’m reading called “Hinds Feet on High Places,” by Hannah Hurnard. I read this book years ago, but I felt a strong urge to pick it up again last week. Truth is, I don’t remember most of what happened, so it’s like reading it for the first time.

I won’t tell the story, but in the beginning of the story, the “Good Shepherd” tells Much-Afraid (yes that’s her name) that nothing he and his father makes is wasted.

This is what I want you to know today:

Nothing the Father creates is a waste; neither is it worthless. You are supposed to be here. You are loved. You are worth it. You are enough. God loves you.

Come on now, get up.

You can do it. Keep pushing. Your future is cheering for you!