I originally published this blog post three years ago, but thought I would edit it and share it once again since it still remains relevant. Not to mention, my writing has vastly improved from three years ago; let’s see what I come up with this time around, LOL!
My thoughts on what epitomizes a true friend have truly evolved. My standards, while more reasonable, have also elevated and refined. A true friend understands my expectations and respects my values without trying to force me to change to become the person they want me to be for their own selfish purposes.
In my mind, a true friend knows where they stand in your life without validation. A true friend does not need constant reassurances that you remain friends. If they do, then it is obvious there is something lacking in the friendship that needs to be addressed. It should show without question or inquiry that a true friendship exists.
True friends do not listen to nonsense spewed by individuals focused on negativity, strife and jealousy. If they do happen to hear these type of comments about their friend, the love they bear for that individual does not allow them to unnecessarily burden their friend with the hateful comments. In a mature friendship, you should each have nothing but the utmost respect and consideration for one another’s feelings.
I have a small group of really close friends and a multitude of superficial friendships and associations. With my closest friends, we can go months without talking or seeing each other and pick right back up as if no time has passed at all. My closest friends know all my quirks, my overall personality, know what I will and will not tolerate and love (and accept) me as I am.
Recently, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. A group of friends joined me in contributing donations towards her medical bills. I was overwhelmed and touched by the gesture because some of the friends, we barely speak or get to spend time together; a lot of them had never even met my mother before. Some of the friends were from Facebook, who I have never met in person. This goes to show that it will not always be the closest friends that are there for you, sometimes it is virtual strangers who show you the most compassion, love and support. These are the relationships I value and nurture because they are the personification of TRUE FRIENDS.
The superficial friendships are expendable to me. They come and go and they are in a take it or leave it category. I do not have any real expectations out of these individuals. These are the “good times” relationships I foster and probably never will develop into anything more than that. This group of individuals are not privy to my personal life, my family and are not really deep or meaningful. And lately, I find that I do not even have the desire to invest any energy in the so called “good times” moments. All my friendships, whether true or superficial, must remain purposeful.
Here are key indicators of whether or not the individual is your True Friend:
If there is anyone in your life that enjoys coming to you with phrases such as “I didn’t want to be the one to tell you” or the “I know I can tell you because it won’t go anywhere” and just any other type of negativity, that person is not your friend!!!
If you have someone in your life who always has time to relay ‘he say, she say‘ nonsense, that person is not your friend!!!
If they are A REAL FRIEND, they sincerely care about your frustrations, your pain and they remain sensitive to the fact that you really do not need any extra strife in your life.
A TRUE FRIEND, knows their place in your life and DOES NOT/SHOULD NOT have to compete with your other relationships. Anyone that is dead set on dominating your time and energy all while isolating you from your other friendships, is NOT your friend.
A TRUE FRIEND, respects you, cherishes the friendship, nurtures the friendship and wants to see you happy. They understand and accept all your imperfections and do not use your flaws or weaknesses against you.
A REAL FRIEND, helps to guide you to see the bigger picture and may even provide tough love at times but ultimately they have your best interests at heart ALWAYS!!
Of course, I could never talk about this subject without touching on Facebook. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love being able to reconnect with my childhood friends, I love to use it as a marketing tool and I even love the ability to make new friends. However, I hate the way people misuse it for drama, inappropriate relationships and to send subliminal messages. Thankfully, the primary purpose of my Facebook account these days is to market Mara Prose. I generally post a tidbit, scroll the news and rarely engage with anyone on the platform. My, how times have changed for Mara Prose!
It is very important to access who your true friends are, cultivate and nurture those relationships and eliminate the ones from your circle who have nothing but ill will for you.
Until next time, pray for those that need to mature and be sure to value your TRUE FRIENDS!
~ Mara Prose
I really appreciate the positive feedback pouring in from new followers to my blog. It is very motivating to be touching the lives of so many across the globe.
I have come to realize that some of my recent blog posts have cast a negative impression on past events in my life. So just for clarity’s sake, let me redirect my readers to the true purpose of my writing.
Writing is second nature to me. It’s a cleansing that allows me to reflect, relate and release. I like to share my insights and experiences with others because there are so many people that desire to be understood. Our society encourages people to walk the same walk and talk the same talk.
My rebellious nature cannot tolerate people who attempt to put me in a box and define me by our society’s rigid standards. Many are drawn to me and then easily flustered. These individuals project an image of me and when I don’t live up to what they expected, they are bewildered. It troubles them because they were so sure they had me pegged. With me, be prepared to always be disappointed. For as transparent and open as I may seem, there are very, very few who really get me. Most of my shared experiences barely scratch the surface of my truth.
Just for clarity’s sake
I have left the impression there is something wrong with the paths I have chosen to follow. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m not a one dimensional person. I’m growing and learning, it’s called life. I happily embrace this in myself. I selectively share but will shut down when asked too many questions. Prying will not get you very far with me. If I do not volunteer the information, it is very likely you will never get it out of me.
I’m a walking contradiction who changes on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. I’m open but private. I’m an enabler but it’s to enable you to help yourself. I’m a people person but I love/need my solitude. I’m strong but sensitive. Get the picture?
Just for clarity’s sake
At every stage in my life, I was exactly who I was meant to be at the time. I refuse to regret my choices because I needed those experiences. From marriage, to being a mother, to taking new career paths, it’s all imperative to my journey. At each stage in my life, I did what I needed to do because it is exactly what I needed to do at the time. As time progresses, I’m constantly shedding older versions of myself for new and improved versions. Sometimes it is elegantly executed and other times, I make a big mess of things to get to where I need to be in life.
Just for clarity’s sake
Art is an expression and whatever an artist chooses to express at the time, it does not particularly indicate that is exactly what the artist experienced. Oftentimes, we pull pieces of our experiences, add some flare to it and use it to heal all while connecting with our followers.
Let’s take Beyonce’s Lemonade, for example. Beyonce is a marketing genius. She took an extremely private and hurtful period in her life and turned it into a commercial success. Do you really believe that she would be able to produce a full album about her husband’s infidelity in the midst of his cheating? Of course not. And if people paid attention, at the end of her visual album, she showed how she healed and moved on.
We all experience disappointments, sadness, grief and setbacks. If you are the type of person who feels better about yourself when bad things happen to others, then you are in need of growth, maturity and a big reality check…and some counseling; to say the least.
Just for clarity’s sake
We as a society need to stop putting people in a box. Stop reading more than there is into every situation. Nothing is black and white. We never really know how people truly behave behind closed doors. There are always two, sometimes three or four sides to a story. Even with that, we still may never, ever have a clear picture of who that person really is at heart.
Just for clarity’s sake
By this time next year, I will have evolved again. To some, I’m finally living for myself and to others, I’ve lost my mind, gone completely insane and I’m nothing less than a selfish and self absorbed woman. It’s all about perception. I celebrate the fact that your perception of me is not my reality.
The simple fact is, I just am who I am.
If ever there was time where we really needed to discard preconceived notions about people, it’s now.
~ Author Mara Prose
Blessed Monday, Prosers! I am so excited, it is officially Taurus season!! We are counting down not only to my birthday on Friday, May 17th, but that is the same day I will be re-leasing my book The Davenports: A Battle of Wills. I have made the official decision to go my separate way from Newman Springs Publishing and maintain all publishing rights exclusively under Mara Prose Publishing, LLC. I appreciate the opportunities, networking and educational support that Newman Springs has provided me over the past several months. However, The Davenports and all future endeavors that spawn from this re-release are best handled by me and me alone. I continue to correspond with Netflix and The Hallmark Channel for a potential Davenport series and the script was submitted for consideration to Warner Bros. Black List Submissions Call.
Before we dive into this week’s topic, did you catch this past Saturday Prosey’s Corner episode with our special guest, Dr. Andre Blaylock? Nicky and I enjoyed learning about and discussing Scientific Skepticism, The Importance of Applying Critical Thinking to Our Relationships. If you missed it, catch the rebroadcast at www.blogtalkradio.com/maraprosenetwork.
Remember, we go live every Saturday 9am to 9:30ish am CST; you can listen to our discussions by calling our guest line that opens 10 minutes before the start of the show at 657-383-0885 but if you want to be a part of the discussion, you will need to text your name, number and question(s) to (346) 917-0634.
Today, I would like to discuss how to surround yourself with a group of individuals who will have your best interest at heart, will help to elevate you to new heights and willingly keep you uplifted in prayer. When you make this a regular practice in your life, you will successfully build healthy soul ties that will not need to be broken later on down the line.
Just this past week, I joined a phenomenal group of praying women in a bible study group formed by a long time friend of mine. We were each assigned accountability partners – where we are to hold one another accountable for our praying goals and in discarding destructive habits that keep us from the purpose God has predestined for us. Most of the ladies at this meeting had never met before; therefore, if a virtual stranger is willing to take on this accountability for someone they barely know, it is not unreasonable to expect the same from our family members and close friends.
We should all practice accountability for those we hold near and dear to our hearts. I will be the first to testify that had I not surrounded myself with people who truly loved, cared for and had my best interest at heart, I would not have been able to overcome a lot of my trials over these past several years. Once again, it is all about Applying the Right Discernment in Relationships; a blog post of mine I highly recommend you go back and read. Building a circle of trust is not difficult. These people are, most likely, already in your life and already helping you.
Remember that like minded individuals attract other like minded individuals. You must give off positive vibes and be confident in your life decisions. You also have to be very true to yourself. This will lead you to the people that belong in your circle. If you are mindful and purposeful, you can avoid creating unhealthy soul ties to toxic individuals. Here are a few things to remember when creating the tribe that vibes the best with you.
This is honestly the most important thing in a circle of trust. There are times you will need guidance and these people are an email, phone call or text message away. They always respond swiftly with what is in your best interest and you can count on their advice to be not only helpful, but honest as well.
Sometimes those closest to you are too biased to help decide the best course of action. This is because they love you too death and may be overly supportive of any idea that pops into your head. You need people who will be lovingly honest with you; people who do not want to see you self sabotage. They are even brutally honest at times because your growth is important to them.
It is not enough to simply receive quick and honest feedback. No one benefits from the proverbial pat on the back, you need someone who will help you massage out the details and make the best possible decisions. This requires people who earnestly listen to understand and not just listen to respond. They have the bandwidth to take on your troubles and willingly engage in all aspects of your life because they value you as a person.
The people in my trust circle are best selling authors, entrepreneurs, artists, marketing coordinators, fashion designers, bloggers, and more. I love that they’re all different because they all offer a unique perspective. It’s also a plus when they all think an idea is awesome (that usually means the idea has wide-spread potential!).
Next week, we will explore how to untangle ourselves from toxic soul ties. Until then, if you do not have a circle of trust, you need to get to work on building one. We are not meant to walk this journey we call Life, alone.
There’s strength in numbers
When we come together
There’s much to achieve
Be the change you want to see
Be the one to set other’s free
Be the one refusing to tuck tail and flee
The power within us goes often untapped
We take things for granted and simply adapt
One person can make a dent
But as a whole, we can represent
To represent, is to do more than circumvent
We need to reinvent, relent, and permit
We need to grow, know and show
We need to unite, fight and make things right
Because there’s strength in numbers, best believe…
Happy Glorious Monday, Prosers! I pray you had a wonderful weekend, and hopefully you were able to catch our first show of the new season of Prosey’s Corner this past Saturday. If not, you are in a for a real treat! Nicky and I had the distinct pleasure of promotion-ally conversing with Jeffery L. Miller and Kiland Lee. You can listen to the rebroadcast by clicking on the following link Prosey’s Corner Season 2 Episode 1.
Before I jump into today’s topic, I want to give a brief update on the new release date of my book, my baby, the thorn in my side, just kidding on that last one (well, not really) LOL, The Davenports: A Battle of Wills. As the perfect birthday present to myself and as a way of sharing that very same gift with all of my Prosers and followers, I have committed to an official re-release date of May 17th, 2019. All 2018 Pre-Orders will receive a special edition, signed copy of the book that is long overdue to you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your patience, understanding and continued support. More details to come as May 17th inches closer. Happy Birthday to Me!
For today’s topic of discussion, I would like to talk about the misuse of the term, narcissist. Most people use this word far too loosely. Pop culture often attaches this label to a wide variety of people who exhibit difficult and offensive personalities. It is important to understand that vanity and selfishness do not necessarily equate to Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is a distinct set of traits that are a far cry from being simply self-absorbed. True pathological narcissism is a clinical diagnosis, and the residual effects of dealing with a true narcissist can require years of therapy to overcome.
There are many experts who believe in a spectrum for narcissism; apparently it is a trait that a lot of us exhibit to a certain degree. On the healthier side of the spectrum, a person views themselves as unique and asserts themselves with confidence and authority. It becomes problematic when arrogance, grandiosity and entitlement interfere with daily functioning and the ability to maintain relationships.
So what is the true description of a narcissist? A narcissist preys off of the emotions of others and they manipulate other people in order to maintain their framework of self. Individuals with this disorder suffer from a debilitating set of conflicting symptoms that range from extreme dependency to superiority and disdain for others. For anyone who has been in a relationship with a narcissist, they report feeling invisible, unwanted, disregarded and their needs consistently come last; if their needs are considered at all.
It is important to remember that these are not people who have the ability to switch back and forth between a sense of normality and their disorder; it is called a personality disorder for a reason. This is who they are and this who they will always be. I feel it is important to truly distinguish between self-centeredness and narcissism. The recovery from a narcissist is an intense emotional recovery and I would like to provide a few steps to follow on that road to recovery.
I hope this helps everyone to better understand what being a narcissist entails and I encourage everyone to apply the term correctly. I am still on the fence about next week’s topic, so let’s just say it is To Be Determined.
Until next time, keep refining, keep shining, keep rising!
Happy Monday, and to the 1st of April!! What a glorious time of year; Springtime is here! This week’s blog post is dedicated to my loving daughter Niyah, for uplifting me when I was starting to question my reality. Once again, thank you for the loving comments about last week’s blog post, “Embracing Your Flaws So You Can Embrace Others.”
I have been very guilty of having a very large and unhealthy ego. It has mostly been a hindrance, because it bruises easily. I am very accustomed to things coming fairly easy and without a lot of effort on my part. This too has proved to be a detriment to my existence, because it has prevented me from developing the necessary skills to nurture my strengths, weaknesses and relationships. When you do not have to put forth much effort in order to excel, it is way too easy to take all your blessings for granted. I believe this has played a large part in repetitive mistakes in my life. Let’s just be frank, I have always been a spoiled brat, LOL. However, life is molding me into a better person and I am growing daily and practicing “How to Apply the Right Discernment in Relationships.” But God is also teaching me the value of effort, accountability and embracing vulnerability.
My ego feed off of compliments, validation and the opinions of others. Instead of looking inward, I was always looking outward and this left me in a state of Paralysis.
The negative side of my ego is very entitled. It is jealous, possessive, boasting, selfish and unreasonable. It isolates and binds me from the truth. It lacks compassion and foresight. This side of my ego is an attention seeker from those who really care nothing about me and fails to value the ones that regularly, openly and willing show their love and devotion to me. My ego is competitive and a sore loser; it does not allow me to see past my own faults to get out of my own way.
Needless to say, it is a full time job (often requiring an overtime of effort) keeping this ego in check. I believe this is the very reason I have never addressed this character flaw until now. I was too lazy and lacked the proper motivations to make changes for the better. No one wants to go through extreme pain, loss, disappointments and setbacks – but without all of these I would not be the person I am today. I hate what I went through but I love how it refined me.
Can I just say, I’m having a great love affair with this Mara – we’ve been dating exclusively for several months and I really think it could be LOVE, haha! Seriously though, it is the first time I really, really like who I am. I enjoy being more considerate, giving, compassionate, understanding, vulnerable and transparent. Actually, there is a better term regularly used by Pastor Mike Todd of Transformation Church – HOT: HUMBLE, OPEN AND TRANSPARENT. Humility, Openness and transparency have become my redeemers.
Ego is often equated with a negative state of mind. It can be, but the truth is, the ego is a combination of your personality, identity and beliefs. Our egos develop from childhood, and it is usually a survival strategy spawned out of necessity in order to navigate the challenges of life. The folly comes into play when we are solely led by the ego – this does not and will not ever produce lasting happiness. Leading with the ego is allowing your insecurity and fears to guide your actions. This will birth self delusion, self absorption and create a major disconnect with others.
Here is How to Shed Your Ego for Redemption:
SURRENDER THE NEED FOR CONTROL – you do not want to obliterate your ego, you just want to refine it. We are not our egos, our jobs, our material possessions, and most importantly, we are not our achievements. Once you allow your ego to control your life, you will never be happy. As soon as you lose everything you have incorrectly identified with, it all will collapse and result in the loss of the illusion of happiness you created. Divorce your fears and trust in God! Accept the fact that there are simply some things that are out of your control and there is nothing you can do about it.
BE MINDFUL – the wrong side of the ego maintains a very self-centered, tunnel view of the world. I used to tell people, I keep my circle small because it takes a lot of effort for me to be considerate of others, and I found too much social interaction draining. I still keep my circle small but today, it is in a very different context. My small circle includes those I care about but I no longer have to limit my social interactions out of self-centeredness. If you can relate, then be mindful of that fact that your purpose here on earth is to emote God’s heart, spirit and do His good works. You cannot accomplish this if you are avoiding meaningful interactions with others.
FORM HEALTHY ATTACHMENTS – attachments are categorized by the following: attractions and aversions. Attractions fit in with the ego’s desires for recognition and comfort. Aversions are what our egos cannot accept. It is the aversions we want to manage in a healthy way. Like me, are you guilty of gravitating towards aversions where you feel the strong desire for something simply based off of the fact that you cannot have it or you have been told no? That is unhealthy, toxic and a recipe for disaster time and time again. You should attach yourself to reciprocated love, reciprocated trust and reciprocated respect. The key word here is RECIPROCATED. If the attachment is not reciprocated, why bother with it?
CHOOSE SELF DEVELOPMENT OVER SELF GRATIFICATION – listen more and speak less. Try not to make it all about you; avoid narcissism. Although, in all honestly, narcissistic individuals stem from a wounded self-esteem; so narcissism is often misunderstood. However, we will explore that more next Monday. Self development allows room for long term growth, whereas self gratification is temporary and fleeting. With self development, you can purposely seek out the negative aspects of your personality, understand why they exist and then work to overcome their existence. Self gratification will keep you on the defensive, will stunt your growth and will often lead you down a path of self destruction.
Shedding our Egos for Redemption is extremely important. Without this act, we will never experience self realization or the accomplishment of our full potential. “When ego is lost, limit is lost. You become infinite, kind and beautiful.” — Yogi Bhajan By being controlling, we block ourselves from new and important experiences. By being mindful, we can work diligently to become better people. The most powerful tool to learn to let go of our egos is to practice the formation of healthy attachments. We have to gravitate towards the tribe that matches our stride and vibe (In Love, Strive to Match My Stride by Mara Prose). Everyday work on self development, and enjoy the journey. Be sure to spend 5 minutes every day in solitude, because most of the time silence provides you with much needed answers and clarity.
Next week we will explore How to Overcome Narcissistic Tendencies. Until then, remember to add a little more WE to your ME!