May 7, 2015
I am staying true to my readers when I made the statement that this year my motto will be "It's Time To Come Clean in 2015." I wanted to finish this article for my Women's History Month e-newsletter since many women would be reading it but I did not finish it on time -- so I am publishing it now especially for all women.
I grew up watching my mother, day-in and day-out, gossiping up a storm on the telephone with her female friends. Something about it never sat right with me and this could also be another reason that my mother and I never had a close relationship.
I grew up in rural Georgia. I was the youngest daughter with 3 older sisters (9 kids total), two in particular that my mother and father idealized. As the youngest daughter, I was able to sit back and watch the dynamics of my family play out and this is how I became a good listener.
Not only was I the youngest daughter with 3 younger brothers, I was the family's black sheep. Being the family's black sheep is no longer a negative thing. Somehow I just knew early on that being the family's black sheep would propel me into greatness. You can never let anyone define your level of greatness - so define it yourself.
What it did was allow me to live life on my own terms. Eventually after high school I left home and never returned for the next 20 years. During that time, my father, who was a functional alcoholic, passed away.
I chose not to be a part of my family's life because of the negativity I experienced growing up. Making this decision was right for me in order to hold onto my own sanity and I am sure many people today would agree with me when I make the statement that "Your friends could be your family - blood has nothing to do with it!"
After my daughters turned 13 and 14, I eventually decided to move back home to the same state that I grew up in -- so they could be around my family before they graduated high school and went off to college. However, the bond and nurturing my daughters hoped for never surfaced especially from their grandmother. I saw the disappointment on their faces when they realized that it would be as good as it would get.
My mother passed away 3 years ago and I spent the last few weeks of her life by her bedside sitting with her so I was able to make peace with my decision for choosing to move away from home and not stay in touch with them.
Well that's my story and I have no remorse about how I chose to live my life. As I age, there is one thing I know for sure - that I am responsible for my own life and actions and when you reach a certain point in your life, you have to set standards for your own life. I will no longer put up with others especially women who criticizes, complains and gossip. They will never be in my circle of acquaintances.
You see people everyday who are frustrated with their lives, especially many women. Instead of taking action to change many situations in their lives, they criticize, complain or gossip about everything and everyone under the sun. They do this in their own communities and also on the internet.
When I first got on the internet, I use to forward negative articles, pictures and youtube.com clips of African Americans and others like everyone else. But now I no longer do this because there is enough forces put into place for others to do this.
I am not saying don't forward articles, pictures, and videos around the internet that can educate a new generation but what I am saying is because we do live in a digital age, technology has essentially made it easier for us to educate others, so let's try to build instead of breaking down the next generation.
Everyone need to understand that "readers become leaders," so therefore, we must educate a new generation of readers. Our ancestors fought and died for the right to read (and write) but yet we are not engaging in one of the best privileges that we will ever have that we can take into our golden years. To get lost in a good book is like going into another world. It is undescribable!
The person I am today is because of the books that I read and the books that I write. One book I read said when you gossip about someone you are actually committing "little murders" by defaming that person's character. You are gossiping about them because you can't get an audience with that person. And that sounds pretty accurate - right?
There is a book that was written by a pastor/speaker and I would like for all women (and men) to read it. For those who don't like pastors, believe me this book is different. So don't let the fact that it was written by a pastor, keep you from doing the work in the book.
The book was given to me by my youngest daughter years ago entitled "A Complaint Free World." After reading the book you should order the purple bracelets and try to go 3 weeks straight without criticizing, complaining and gossiping. Most people can't do that! Remember it takes 2 to 3 weeks to form new habits. If you can do this, it will bring more peace, joy and happiness into your life.
It works because it worked for me years ago and this book has remained on my list as one of my top 5 most favorite books of all time. I recently bought the audiobook version so every month, I take time to listen to parts of it to remind me of how I need to stay on track and not complain, criticize and gossip. We are all a work in progress so don't beat yourself up if you have to read the book several times to actually get it.
We are only on this earth a short time and everyone needs to decide today, whether they will be a part of the problem or a part of the solution. It's never too late to transform your life and create the type of life that you love. The choice is simple! Don't choose to be a part of any generation that continues to 'break the spirit' of the common day man.
Cathy Harris is an Advice Columnist at DearCathy.com, an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker and the author of over 20 non-fiction books and can be contacted through her empowerment company, Angels Press, P.O. Box 19282, Austin, TX 78760, Phone: , Website: http://www.angelspress.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. She is available for lectures, seminars and workshops at http://www.CathyHarrisSpeaks.com.