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!
Here’s to another wonderful and happy Monday! I would like to take a moment to give a huge shoutout of thanks to all my Prosers, new followers and everyone who helped me to receive my first 1,000 views in a 24 hour period! I am truly amazed, humbled and full of gratitude that last week’s post, “How to Repair Irrevocable Relationships,” resonated so well with everyone. Please be sure to continue to like, share and post your comments to keep the dialogue flowing.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I would like to discuss one particular aspect of feminism and the reasons I feel it deserves to be redefined. More specifically, I believe as with everything else, there is a need for continuity and specificity – today’s feminist movement includes too many extremes and these extremes hurt our cause as a whole.
Feminism at a very basic level, is the idea that men and women are entitled to equal rights and equal opportunities. However, one troubling perception of the feminist movement is that it fails to align with the overall principles of equality. The problem arises when too many varying beliefs and values exist in regards to feminism that ultimately hinder solidarity. Equality is too often misconstrued as sameness; when equality is actually the freedom of choice. At it’s most radical, feminism is defined as being entirely independent of a man and working to eradicate the male dominance by replacing it with a female dominance. I have been guilty of a very skewed view of feminism and have even promoted the inaccurate representation of the feminist movement. But knowledge is power!
I believe part of the feminist movement identifies too closely with an Amazonian, Wonder Woman way of life – Girl Power, Who Run’s the World…Girls, etc. There is absolutely nothing wrong with empowering women; however it becomes wrong when it is at the expense of someone else – whether it be male or female. We as a society have yet to learn that equality cannot be mastered by envoking separation. How do we expect men to embrace equality when we as females, remain so divided on what that equality actually entails? It is my opinion that we cannot make any progress by unreasonably making demands that ultimately make little sense in the grand scheme of our society. Again, I am guilty of holding my female counterparts to the unreasonable standards of a man – I ignorantly felt that if a woman wanted to be seen as equal, then she should demonstrate the equivalence of men in every aspect of her life. How foolish are we…or I should say how foolish was ME!
Now please understand, I am not advocating that we eliminate the feminist movement. We absolutely need equality of the sexes, we simply need to better define equality and consistently apply that definition. If feminism is often equated with hating men, then the wrong messages are being relayed.
Frankly, if your agenda includes negatively stereotyping a group of people and attacking them, then your goal isn’t equality, because bigotry isn’t part of the peace process (thank you to my super intelligent son for helping to point this out to me). Hate can only beget hate. If that’s your strategy, you’re already on the wrong track and destined for failure. (The Wise Sloth)
Here is how I would love to see the feminist movement progress and evolve:
The very same way I was able to reverse my ignorance, I truly believe with the right stance, motivation and persistence, we can reverse the negative image of the feminist platform. We must all work together and understand that we do in fact need one another to progress and contnue to evolve.
Next week, I would like to share how absolutely embracing my imperfections allowed me to embrace the imperfections of others and stop holding everyone to unrealistic expectations that I myself, could not keep.
Until next time, keep moving, keep progressing, keep evolving!
Happy Monday Prosers! I am so grateful that you have returned to explore another Mara Prose Monday with me. This week, it is on my heart to discuss and share how I have been able to repair irrevocable relationships through forgiveness, healing and love.
I want to be very candid about common relationship issues, and how to overcome them. It is a beautiful place to be when you not only forgive yourself for the past, but when you can forgive others as well. I decided to take my forgiveness one step further and work to repair relationships with friends, family members and even my ex-husband; relationships that were in painful disarray and enveloped in strife. Today, I will use the strained relationship with my ex-husband as our example. I pray my testimony and newfound insights will help others in their own journey to healing and mending relations with others.
Many of you are already familiar with my divorce a few years back from my high school sweetheart. This relationship was in a state of peril, animoisty and strife for the past several years. Recently, our daugher made the comment that if only he and I did not hate each other; I knew right then and there it was time to mend this relationship. I took some time to pray about it because the wounds still ran deep, for not only me but my ex-husband as well. I could not change him, nor could I change all that has happened between us over the past several years. However, I did have the ability to change my responses, my perception and my own actions towards him. The dysfunction needed to come to an end; my daughter needed her parents to be able to work amicably together. In essence, what was at stake was bigger than me and my ex; it was no longer about us or who we once were to each other.
A lot of dysfuntion stems from lack of communication, lack of positive role models and unresolved hurts that we choose to hold onto indefinitely. It is hard letting go – believe me, I know! Yet, it is imperative to learn how to allow self healing to take you to new places. My anger was a mask for grief, and that grief needed to be acknowledged.
So I decided to take the time to seek out all the good that remained between me and my ex-husband. The Past had to become just that – the Past! This was not an overnight process, a week long process nor even a month long process. It was a long, hard process that took a lot of prayer, self reflection, discipline and focus on a singular purpose. Notice I say singular. It was not a process that I expected my ex-husband to participate in, nor did I even approach him with it. I simply made the decision to change myself because I cannot control others, but I CAN control who I am, how I act and how I come across. I decided to teach myself how to better communicate with him, how to diffuse the tension that exists between us and how to understand who the man he is so we can work together for the mutual benefit of both our children. We both needed to come off of the defensive with each other and learn to coexist in a world that we will forever have a connection – our kids. We needed a fresh start; a new understanding, now that we both have moved on and created new lives for ourselves. But if I am completely honest, my renewed spirit no longer wanted to cling to that toxicity. I needed to release all that is, was and has been between us so I could move forward and grow in my purpose and not unnecessarily carry all that into the next relationship.
It is my personal belief that there really is no irrevocable relationship. There are relationships that will never be the same, and some will always have a certain amount of distance incorporated into them, but we can all work to overcome anything. You must decide the approach you want to take going forward and “change your thoughts in order to change your ways” ~ Joyce Meyers. If Joyce Meyers, one of the top evangelist in the world, could forgive her father for the many years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse he made her endure in her youth – I know that we all are capable of improving our relations with one another.
Here is how I have choosen to renew my damaged relationships.
I will include a disclaimer – none of this is a sure fix and it may not work for everyone. I have chosen to pursue the path of that is working for me, and this has started a healing process between me and several others. I still have a long way to go in this journey and the road is not easy. There are many times where I want to put someone in their place, treat them with the same disregard they treat me or even hurt them the way they have hurt me. But where will this lead me? What will I accomplish from living in such a way? Not much, outside of continued pain, hopelessness, bitterness and unhappiness. No, 2019 is about balance and release. This is right for me because it feels too good to my soul for it to be any other way. I have a new level of happiness I have never experienced before and I am truly grateful to God for that!
As always, thank you for allowing me to share my experiences with you. Next week, we will discuss how I would like to see feminism redefined in 2019. Until then, be kind, be encouraged and be bold!
I’m back and sending a warm welcome home to all my Prosers! My hiatus is at an end and it is time to return to the roots of Mara Prose Mondays. I have spent the past couple of years experimenting with different formats, topics, and styles of prose. Today, I find myself returning to the initial inspiration, candor, testimonial filled blog posts that initially called me to create www.maraprose.blog.
I have spent the past several months learning, growing, studying and establishing a healthy balance in my life. I needed the silence that only comes from what I have so fondly termed my’hibernation’ period. This time of peace and reflection allows me to make decisions about my path forward. I began to pray more and develop a stronger relationship with God. In my solitude and meditations, my vision and purpose became clearer to me and I was able to map out a new plan for my life, my family and Mara Prose.
One gift that I was granted from this period of self-reflection, was the gift of discernment. It was not an easy gift to accept or master, but the life lessons it is helping me to overcome are invaluable. I feel as if the younger Mara walked around in a self-induced fog; my reality was skewed, to say the least. I had a lot of trouble discerning who deserved a place in my life and who did not. For example, in the past, I would allow myself to be manipulated into sustaining relationships with family members, friends, and co-workers who were actually toxic. I am now able to discern immediately the toxicity of others, and disassociation myself without guilt. I have even outgrown the act of simply cutting off toxic people without an explanation. The level of discernment that I now possess has taught me to communicate with others in a more adult and Godly manner…a ‘What Would Jesus Do’ manner. I recently addressed this very topic with someone I felt would prove to be a distraction and possibly cause strife in the balanced life I am working so hard to maintain. My intent was never to hurt the individual, it was to help them understand who I am as a person, who I am becoming and respect all that is me. At the same time, by embracing discernment, it allows me to also empathize with the needs of others and not expect anyone to adjust their beliefs or ideas to fit mine; while also accepting that I am not equipped to meet their needs either. I just knew this person needed to understand that our ideas of sisterhood and friendship were too different to continue to try and force a friendship.
As always, I want to share the steps I have taken to develop the discernment that I am now blessed with.
Evolution is the key to a happy life; at least for me. Discernment is just one of the many stepping stones I am taking in order to evolve into the best version of me. Next week, I will share how my forgiveness and letting go of the past has allowed me to repair relationships that were once irrevocably broken. I cannot change others, but I can change how I respond to others.
Until next time, be encouraging, be inspirational, and be motivational!
Author Mara Prose
Happy Mara Prose Monday!! Yes, they have FINALLY returned. I apologize to my loyal Prosers, I have neglected you on Mondays for too long. Sometimes as a writer, you can get so caught up in achieving your writing goals, you forget to cater to your audience.
If you missed this past Saturday’s Prosey’s Corner episode, you missed out on another stellar show. Blossom Rogers professed a jaw-dropping testimony and Jeffery L. Miller and Jay Thomas provided excellent dating and relationship advice.
The conversation we held made me think of my standard response when someone asks me when am I going to settle down again. I simply say “When I find someone who Matches My Stride.” I felt today would be a perfect day to clarify that response.
Of course, one of the most important areas where you want someone to Match Your Stride is in your love life. If you have ever listened to the podcast or read my good friend Andre Blaylock’s blog, you will be familiar with his saying “We Date to Mate.” Jeffery L. Miller believes there are three main reasons men and women alike, remain in the perpetual state of being single ( you will have to listen to Saturday’s Prosey’s Corner episode to find out what those three items are Prosey’s Corner July 28th). Lastly, Jay Thomas said we should “Talk More, Date Less” which is also explained further during this past weekend’s show. I just have to say again, Nicky and I were provided with phenomenal dating advice during our show.
But I digress; back to “Matching My Stride.” Everyone is striding through this thing we call ‘life’ at one pace or another. Close your eyes and imagine Arabian horses running together in the wild; is that not a beautiful sight when they match each other’s stride?
Picture Courtesy of Swift Aviation
At this stage in my life, it is more important than dating with a purpose; for you can date with intention and still never find the one that matches your stride. This concept is more than ideals, it is about realistically finding the one equivalent to yourself.
For example, the man for me will have his own goals, dreams, and ambitions. He will not piggyback off of mine or diminish my shine. He will be setting his own blaze right alongside me. We will build together for “our” greater good because there is no “I” in “We.”
Another example, my ideal man must match my stride intellectually. If you cannot understand my mind or my way of communicating, you will never understand me. And I am not talking surface level, I am talking about that hidden information you have to purposely seek out. It is more than a “See Mara, she is a nice lady.” It is more about What is Mara about? In my opinion, it is always better when someone attempts to connect on a less superficial level and not force you to dumb yourself down so to speak, to maintain a relationship.
Matching my stride not only applies to dating, but to all relationships in your circle. Remember the vision of the running Arabian horses; do you picture the ones who lose their way, become distracted or cannot keep the pace? First, let me state there is nothing wrong with going in a new direction, it will happen. For our purposes, the Arabians horses that fail to keep the pace, become easily distracted or simply dart off into a new direction would be the individuals that you leave in your dust in real life. Your focus is to stride towards your purpose with the least amount of detours you can manage. You cannot afford to go wandering off after someone who is lost from their own path. Time is of the essence; meaning the time is now for you to remain true to your path with those who match or compliment your stride.
There are several other instances where one should be cognizant of who and what matches their stride but we will save that for another Mara Prose Monday.
Today, I leave you to ponder what is your path, where should you blaze that path and who all should be allowed to light that fire with you? Always remember, it must “Match Your Stride.”
Until next time,
If you missed Saturday’s show, here is your chance to redeem yourself by listening to the rebroadcast!