Category Archives: Relationships

Broken Not Destroyed

July 31, 2014

Chelsie Birks is courageous. She is courageous because she is a survivor of domestic violence. She is courageous because she tells her story. Chelsie Birks Many have a preconceived idea of what a victim of domestic violence looks like. Unfortunately, most envision an impoverished home with the victim and abuser both addicts of some sort. However, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That means that it is probably effecting someone you know.

Why is it that we are not aware of this epidemic? Most are afraid to speak up. Some are so intrenched in the abusive relationship that they feel as if they are trapped. Many also believe that their marriage is more important than their own emotional, mental, and physical well being. An abusive relationship can happen to anyone, and it’s imperative that we are aware of those around us. Once we are educated on this topic, we can look for those who are possibly abused and notice the pattern of abusive behavior to protect ourselves.

The National Domestic Violence Coalition defines domestic violence:

“Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background.

Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.”

There are signs to take notice when entering a dating relationship. Here are 10 early warning signs from the West Island Women’s Shelter (Click link for a detailed explanation of each:

1. He speak disrespectfully about his former partners
2. He is disrespectful towards you
3. He does favors that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable
4. He is possessive and jealous
5. He is self-centered
6. Nothing is ever his fault
7. He gets too serious too quickly about the relationship
8. He abuses drugs or alcohol
9. He pressures you for sex
10. He intimidates you when he is angry

Becoming aware of important issues is empowering. Empower yourself by doing your own research, avoiding a potential abusive relationship and supporting someone who may be in need.

Chelsie is like you – full of passion, purpose and a woman of true substance. For years, her voice was silenced but now she is using her voice as a vessel of healing. Read her story here and follow along as she blogs about her experience.

If you are in abusive relationship, seek help. Contact The Domestic Violence Hotline.

Brittany Windle

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Comparison is the Thief Joy

July 1, 2014

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I must be the only one who struggles with social media. I have a love/hate relationship with it, especially Facebook. I find myself posting little but scrolling through the news feed a lot, mostly out of boredom. I seriously don’t know what I’m looking for, and I act as if ten minutes of time changes the outcome of the next time I check it.

I’m pretty transparent. So here goes… I compare. I compare my life to my “friends,” possibly to you if you’re my Facebook friend. And you know what? I have no clue what is going on in your life besides your highlight reel. Don’t lie. You only put the good on there. It’s okay. I’m the same way. Why would I tell you about the argument I had with a family member last week or the time I over drafted my bank account? And God forbid, I put a picture of myself on there unless I’m standing just right to make myself look the smallest and my skin the clearest. (Ugh, adult acne). Well, some of you write about the negative, and if you do, you’ve probably been deleted or at least removed off the feed.

But back to comparing. I’m guilty. I am the only one who knows my struggles except for some of you who are in my inner circle. The circle is small. So as I struggle with my own issues and I only see your amazing reel, I compare. And “comparison is the thief of joy,” according to Theodore Roosevelt. I agree.

I asked my younger sister if she found herself comparing, and she said she often thought, “Wow, he/she is on another vacation again. I wish I could travel more!” She actually just got back from the Bahamas.

I deleted my Facebook… again. If I were to reactivate it, you’d see only a smiling face. You’d see my recent fun and interesting activities- only the best, course!

You wouldn’t see that I dealt with anxiety and depression for several years. You wouldn’t see the ups and downs of dating after divorce. Quite honestly, I don’t think you’d want to hear it (at least not in a rant form on Facebook).

As we post only the best of the best of our lives, sometimes we get caught up in the appearance of it all. I’m not encouraging a boycott of Facebook, but as for now, I am taking a step back, a closer look at the mirror. And I’ve decided to cultivate the grass on my side of the fence, rather than wondering what it’s like on your side.

I’m imperfect. My hair is on top of my head. I need a shower, and my face… Well, I look like a 13 year old that just started puberty. At least, I can be honest with myself. And as for now, Facebook, I love you, but I hate you. I’m sure I’ll be back.

article by Brittany Windle

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Balance & Self-Discipline

March 5, 2014

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Intention-based rituals.

According to The Power of Full Engagement, up to 95% of our lives are based on habits.

95%! This is pretty crazy. Almost too high to believe. This means that most of our strengths and not-so-great aspects of our lives are likely rooted in habits that we have cultivated - consciously or not - throughout our lives.

The urge to eat the ice cream out of the carton when no one is looking and our ability to jump out of bed in the morning are both likely tied to habits we have crafted over time.

Knowing that habits have such a HUGE influence in our lives means that we can choose to shape positive rituals that reflect our deepest values and intentions for each area of our life.

Continue your reading here.

Is Your Name Pretty?

January 23, 2014

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It was one of those days. I needed retail relief. One-stop to the mall with a new shirt or cute dress would do the trick to lift my spirits.

Well, on this particular day, I hardly made it past the mall entrance. Normally when I walk past the kiosks with the aggressive sales people, I pretend to be on my phone, walk as fast as I can, and turn my head. Don’t act like you’re not the same way. Attractive foreign men will lure you into getting a hand massage with lotion from the Dead Sea or persuade you in trying a face mask that somehow releases heat when touching your skin. I’ve heard them say in an exotic accent, “Oh, please let me spoil you. You deserve this _____ (fill in the blank).” What they don’t tell you is that it probably costs more than your first car.

Well, this time it wasn’t a guy, but a girl pleading with me to buy a hair straightener. My stealthy mechanisms to ward her off were weak. Remember, I wasn’t having the best day (give me a break). But she asked this one question, “Is your name ‘Pretty’?” I caved. After that, I spent what should have been a trip in my favorite department stores in the middle of the mall with someone straightening my hair then curling it (this device does everything). She whispered, “I’ll give this to you $50 less than to the other customers.” That did it! I walked away feeling great, but penny-less after buying a $100 straightener.

Words have power. They have the power to bring life to someone, and they have the power to kill someone (not literally, of course). Unfortunately, we carry hurtful words with us like a suitcase packed tight for a summer vacation. When something triggers a memory, we are able to roll the suitcase right beside us and pull out the word or phrases someone once thrust at us like a dagger. It’s funny how we rarely remember the positive.

suitcases

These words shape us as we are growing up. You may have been the dorky kid in elementary school, the one who couldn’t put weight on. As kids bombarded you with hurtful words, you began to wear baggy clothes to cover up the knobby knees. Your self-esteem was lowered and to this day, you still have a hard time accepting yourself or compliments.

Maybe you were the “curvy” girl, the one who developed early. You couldn’t help it. People called you names, accusing you of things simply based upon your appearance. You began to not care at all and started doing the very things they were accusing you of. Why not? They never believed you, anyways?

Or maybe you were a good kid, but never really heard positive or negative things from your parents. You would strive to do great, but the lack of words became like negative words to a heavy soul. To this day, you long for words- sometimes any type of word as long as they’re directed towards you.

Whoever you are, whatever you stand for, you remember and painfully want to forget. You carry the baggage.

Unfortunately, we don’t realize the large suitcase behind us until we are older. Usually someone else or some event in our lives makes us have an epiphany. We start to remember so vividly, so colorful the words that shaped our lives like “fat, ugly, worthless, dumb.”

Oh, how I wish I could turn back the time in my own life and make those people realize that what they said or didn’t say still affects me even when I don’t realize it. But I can’t… And you can’t either.

But what you can do is use words in a way that is powerful!

Today, I dropped by the mall. As I was walking by the same kiosk with the same girl, I heard the same phrase, “Is your name ‘Pretty’?” but to someone else. I laughed silently hearing her say that to yet another customer. Ignorantly, I didn’t realize it that day and ended up with a $100 straightener. Even though those words were empty to her, it made a difference to me.

Imagine saying something positive to someone you know and care about. Imagine what kind of lasting impression that you will make.

Brittany Windle

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Simplify

January 8, 2014

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Too often, you blame your busy work schedule for the chaos that follows your life. However, there are many elements in your life that tend to go unnoticed that may be the culprit in creating more stress than needed. If you feel like you can’t catch a break and first things aren’t first anymore, you may need to reassess and simplify. But how?

1. Your Home: Get Organized- Nothing will make your life feel more hectic than a disorganized space. Organize and clean the places you are in the most – your house (i.e. bedroom and closet), work space and car. When you’re able to see all your lovely things and find what you’re looking for, you’ll see that making small changes like organizing creates harmony for the mind. Figure out your organizational style: concealed or open. This will help in creating a tidy and stress-free environment.

organize

 Visit our Pinterest for more organizational ideas.

2. Your Health: Make Time to Exercise – Nothing is worse than a day when you’re scattered, your workout was missed, meals were skipped, and now you’re feeling guilty. I used to workout in the afternoons. A new job 45 min. away changed much of my life. While it took me a long time to figure out a routine, I finally found that exercising in the morning before work is best. This allows me to make plans in the afternoon or evening without feeling guilty over skipping my workout. More energy, a clearer mind, and a good night’s sleep is worth rising an hour earlier. Making time to exercise will help in creating better structure in a busy day. What time is best for you? Find that time and make it non-negotiable.

3. Your Free Time: Scale Back – We are social beings. When 5:00 rolls around, you pat yourself on the back and celebrate the end of the week with girlfriends and a cocktail or two. However, this can too often lead to overindulgence and become a major set-back in the success of your life. If you find yourself doing this frequently, it may be time to scale back. Think of the time and money wasted, and not to mention, the intellectual conversation lost. While everyone needs moments to unwind, cocktail hour can turn into hours. Overindulgence and inhibition can influence others to make poor choices and neglect priorities; thus, scaling back will help you put your life into perspective.

4. Your Relationships: De-clutter-  Your relationships should be uplifting and not draining. Unhealthy relationships can clutter your life and cause unneeded stress. According to Lifehack.org, one of the major signs of an unhealthy relationship is the inability to grow personally and another is constant conflict. If your current relationships, especially if you’re dating, are causing havoc, reassess and consider moving on.

Unhealthy-Relationships-11-Warning-Signs-You-Need-to-Know-

 Brittany Windle

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Midnight Dress Rehearsal

January 2, 2014

the coulisses

I heard some of the best advice given to me the other day: “Don’t let someone’s decisions change your character.” When I heard that one sentence I was shocked that someone would have such wisdom. You see, this past year, my parents after thirty years decided to separate and divorce.

If you have ever experienced parents divorcing, you know that there is a lot of pain, confusion, and heartache. I don’t think it matters your age; it always hurts. A picture perfect family that you envisioned will soon be two families (even when you always knew it wasn’t perfect). Fun-filled holidays won’t be the same, but rather a tug of war to go to not just one parent’s house but now two.

Eventually you learn (or I hear that you learn) to move on, heal, and do what’s best for you. During the healing process, I have become calloused but then vulnerable, sad and then sometimes furious. There is a roller coaster of emotions that encompasses a divided family. I have gotten mad at individuals and have stood firm and unwavering on my decision to never speak with them, but then realized that was not realistic and not a healthy way to live. Unforgiveness smothers your happiness and will deteriorate your joy.

It is a process. At times, I’m able to live without it crossing my mind. Then sometimes I’m hurt all over again and mad at certain individuals. I have spent countless nights lying in bed rehearsing a speech that I would love to give to those who have hurt me. The words are choice, the phrases are timely, and sharp as a two-edged sword.

Recently, I had decided that the speech would become a reality. I would march up to that person’s door, knock furiously, and invite myself in, completely unannounced, of course.

But I was stopped in my tracks when a mentor of mine said that one tiny but powerful sentence: “Don’t let someone’s decisions change your character.”  I realized that no matter the decisions of a person, I couldn’t let it alter who I was.  Even if someone has been unquestionably wrong, that person’s actions do not give me the right to do something that for 1. is out of character and 2. possibly damaging as well.

So I’ve decided to keep my character intact. No more “dress rehearsals” at midnight with me killing someone with my words. I won’t change on account of someone else’s decisions.

When will I heal completely? Who knows? But as I continue to forgive…sometimes daily, the pain is slowly melting away, and my joy is being revived.

Brittany Windle

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Should Dating Take a Backseat?

November 19, 2013

old-car-desert1One Thursday evening while driving to meet a friend for coffee, I pondered over my upcoming weekend plans. The specific thought: ”Why did I commit to going out with him?” I asked myself knowing he was not looking for a relationship.

As if knowing that was not de-fueling enough, my best advice giver, confirmed that spending time with the adorable ginger in question, would be wasteful.

I texted and cancelled.

Although he thought it was strange, my abrupt cancelation, it was a powerful moment for me as I intentionally decided to make better use of my free time.

It is something I’ve always wanted to do- philosophically relationships are an investment. Lets recount the dating equation: guy meets girl + guy asks girl out + guy pays for ten dollar salad + guy expects reward = girl runs out the back the door.

If one invests in the wrong people, the return will probably not be a great relationship. Common sense, right?

But throwing the fever of attraction and female hormones into the mix: cat and mouse anticipation, the smoldering eye tension, the disorienting effect of a tight six pack on the mental disposition of a twenty-eight year old peak in libido- following through with being intentional can be tricky.

I’ve been a single lady (pardon the Beyonce song reference) for over a year now, but have experienced dating as time-consuming and often times exhausting and disappointing.

I allowed a year to pass by without realizing where it had gone.

So-so set ups, mediocre dinner dates, and three weeks of Match.com (thanks to my friends) have caused me to reevaluate my ideology concerning the how’s And who’s of my free time. How should I spend my time? and who should I spend it with?

How would I ever own my own business if I spent a vast majority of my time not focusing on my business? And how would I ever marry an incredible man if men who I spent time with were not worth the investment?

Obviously, I was getting nowhere. So I now opt for a change. Instead of accepting invitations I might usually accept, I became more consciously selective. I re-adjusted my week day evenings to working on my business as well as Saturday’s mornings.

Although I am aware one cannot plan life (ie: timing of marriage and other things are unpredictable, sometimes the best things are unplanned), there are ways in which I can spend my time that will elevate me toward success.

For example, I began to form healthier relationships with female friends. The way females address their female counterparts is an aspect of lifestyle that is often overlooked. I have an older sister, and so I am fortunate to have developed a sense of deep appreciation for the emotional support of sisterhood. As I try to be more intentional in choosing relationships that foster my intellectual growth, I find myself surrounded by women who are striving to act selflessly, think introspectively. I try to take advantage of the company of such women and I leave inspired, refreshed and motivated to be a better woman when I’m around them.

Dating has taken a backseat and those who receive my time are worth my time.

I have seen a change in my perspective and great progress toward my projects with this change.

Karen Lamb once stated, “A year from now, you will have wished you had started today.” I can’t change this past year nor should I wallow in regret. But I can continue the intentionality of the who’s and the how’s of my time.

Brittany Windle

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