The Gamble of Being Unapologetically Me

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I believe writing this article is similar to writing the directions to solve a Rubik’s cube

or giving someone the cheat codes to a complex video game. If you’ve ever used a cheat

code or gotten the benefits of having a shortcut due to someone else’s work, you

understand avoiding such stress can greatly benefit one’s mental health.

 

There is often an exuberant decrease in cortisol and adrenaline levels when a person

finally overcomes an obstacle or challenge. Especially when someone’s given you

information that frees you from the anxiety of needing to fully understand everything in

order to solve a presenting dilemma. There’s some information that should simply be

mercifully passed, not gained through experience. It’s not quite the same exuberance or

knowledge earned by going through the pain of the entire process and coming to a

successful conclusion. However, having in some way experienced both processes, I can

tell you it’s close.

 

Let this commentary serve as a cheat sheet for those who need emotional healing or help

transitioning from relationships and the variety of stresses that comes with them. Like

many of you, I have been on that “Dorothy-goes- to-Oz- to-Meet- Alice-in- Wonderland”

trip where my presence and my right to be respected were denied. Let me add,

“repeatedly” to that, because there’s nothing like the heartache of trust broken more than

once.

 

Yes folks, there have been times in my life where I’ve lost my way, lost my bags, and

almost my mind but I’m back. ….and like a phoenix rising from anime ashes, I have

something important to share with those who have extensive relationship

trauma/distress or those that will encounter it. My advice is actually two simple tenets

that will change your life. The practice of this process is challenging, but make these

your mantra. Be prepared to stand by your convictions and you’re two steps from

changing your life. Grab something to write with and scribble this on a piece of paper.

 

#1: “REJECTION IS PROTECTION”

How many of us have dang near sold our souls because we would rather put up with

someone else’s negative nonsense rather than walk away from obvious signs of abuse.

Someone’s got you thinking that if they leave the relationship, there’ll never be another

person who’ll want you or love you. Their arrogance makes it sound like they’re the last

man or woman to roam the face of the earth, and if you don’t kowtow and give up your

life for them it’s you that loses. Never mind the billion other people of all shapes, sizes

and colors on this great earth that will accept you as you are.

I’m going to reveal my Regent University roots and point your attention to 1 John 2:19.

Those who are meant to be with us can’t leave. Likewise, there some people we

passionately desire that wouldn’t stay if we super-glued them to our hips. Sometimes

there’s a divine boundary we keep erasing or crossing in the name of dysfunctional love.

I don’t know whether you are deeply spiritual or a strong believer in karma, but there

are some people you cannot take with you.

 

#2: BE AUTHENTICALLY YOU!

There’s a relationship Tedx Talk by Tony Verheij who spoke of the “true” love he and

his wife had after over 10-years of marriage. His basic explanation is that he fell in love

with who his wife really was. There was not the typical relationship pattern of getting

used to having her around only to have “the representative” leave after six-months. He

states that when we show our true face to our potential partners and they reveal theirs, if

they’re mutually accepted then that’s the beginning of true love. Pay careful attention

because Mr. Verheij also states that love is blind and we begin to change when we “fall

in love”.

 

Point #2 is crucial. It is the secret to emotional freedom and unconditional acceptance in

relationships. That change Mr. Verheij notes when we “fall in love” not only causes us

overlook the warning sign of potentially abusive partners; it also contributes to the

unrealistic fear that losing this person will in some way be a detriment to our well-

being. Instead of running for the hills when our new relationship begins to sour, we

listen to the chemical lies of increased serotonin and become hypnotized by

norepinephrine. Essentially we stop being ourselves and start becoming who we believe

will keep that person around.

 

If you think about it, we stop being the person that attracted romantic interest and begin

to shift and morph into someone we were not created to be. It’s more deadly if we

fluctuate our weight; make massive changes to our hair; abandon or leave loved ones;

change/quit jobs; give up education; leave children and family, etc. Essentially, you’re

afraid to “rock the boat” because you’re afraid they’ll get angry and leave you. Patricia

Evans calls it ‘walking on eggshells’. Maybe you’re reluctant to say that their actions or

words hurt you because you’re afraid they’ll get angry and leave you. Perhaps you’re

cautious about conflict because you’re afraid they’ll get angry and leave you. For the

sake of “love” how much are you selling your soul or losing yourself to fear?

 

The gamble of being who you are divinely created to be means that False Evidence

Appearing Real, or fear, will tell you that to be authentically you means that you will

lose something or someone. Furthermore, it will language that this loss will be bad for

your life. Fear won’t tell you that people will come and go in your life. It won’t let you

know that rejection is protection. Fear won’t mention that anyone who denies your right

to be, to be respected, or to grow…. is not a friend. It won’t tell you that true love

doesn’t suffocate.

 

Here’s why this is a short cut you don’t need to understand by going through the painful

experience to gain knowledge. Even in conflict, true love promotes growth. I’m an

analogy person, so bear with me. Gardeners don’t suffocate what they grow. There is

constant care where the ground is prepared, seeds are sown, and weeds are pulled.

Likewise, the person who loves you unconditionally has been working on preparing

themselves to be a blessing to you (ground tilled). They will accept you for who you are

and encourage you to be who you are created to be (seeds sown). This is not a Pollyanna

process. They will stand by you when adversity challenges your hopes and dreams.

Expect that there will be constructive conflict that will encourage relational growth

(weeds pulled).

 

Adversity in life is necessary. Before a seed can manifest it has to be pushed down into

the darkness of the ground. It lies dormant alone or while seeds around it die. Then it

has to break through the aril and push through the ground. Seeds withstand the elements

and sometimes press both ways (up and down) to get nutrients. This means even if I

plant an orange seed in an apple grove, despite the adversity, it’s still going to serve its

purpose and be the orange tree it was destined to be.

 

I cannot language to you how important it is to be you or become who you’re divinely

destined to be. Accept divine protection and ignore the lies anxiety will tell you when

people are not meant to be with you or can easily walk away. Understand and accept

they’re not a part of the greatness you’re called to be. Be thankful that people are

ignorant enough to indicate they’re not good for you. If you don’t love yourself, why

should anyone else?

About Chevette Alston Psy.D.

Chevette Alston, Psy.D., has earned two bachelor degrees from North Carolina State University (Multidisciplinary Studies & Sociology), one masters degree in Counseling from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a Clinical Psychology doctorate from Capella University. She is currently pursuing a masters in divinity at Regent University. Dr. Alston has almost 20 years of experience in mental health counseling and treatment. She has also been an adjunct instructor for schools such as Johnson & Wales, Tidewater Community College, Regent University, and currently South University. Dr. Alston is licensed as an LPC in North Carolina and Virginia. She is also trained and Board eligible as a clinical psychologist in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Her clinical skills include EMDR, hypnotherapy, and trauma training. She is currently the director for the Center for Attention Deficits at Christian Psychotherapy in Virginia Beach. Other duties include psychological assessments for children, adolescents, and adults. Dr. Alston’s target populations are women's issues, marital counseling, AD/HD, depression, trauma, anxiety, stress, grief, and parenting skills. She sees a variety of clients in all age ranges and cultures. In addition to clinical supervision, Dr. Alston is also an occasional co-host for local radio shows and is available for public speaking. Esiri Ministries is her grassroots mental health initiative. The women’s empowerment organization was incorporated in April of 2013 and is a 501(c)(3) charity organization. ESIRI is a non-profit venture that is dedicated to the mental health and well-being of all, but the specific population targeted is women of all ages. In addition to psychological treatment, a variety of classes, networking, and conferences for self-improvement and education are offered as well. Contact esiri-va.org or esiri@outlook.com for questions or for more information.

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