Guest Post by: Nikki Williams-Rucker
After reading the book “The Four Agreements”, the one message that stood out to me was the notion that we must be careful about what we put out into the universe because what we put out is what we agree with. The Author also spoke about the power of words and to be careful how we allow others to speak to and about us, because the words they attach to us can also become things we agree with. I finished the book and went on with my life. Slowly but surely some of the key messages in the book began to remind me of some of the things I have agreed with over the course of my life and it definitely explains why my life does not look like it does in my wildest dreams.
When I was 24, the father of my eldest child, who was also my fiancé at the time, called me and told to abort my child or do whatever I wanted to do because he wanted nothing to do with me. I was at work when he called. My world was rocked to its core and I even attempted suicide to make the pain stop. At that point I began to feel like my life would never be what I believed it could be. I used to ask why God was punishing me and would often declare that my daughter would be better off without me. I agreed that I was a statistic and was going to struggle. I agreed with this asinine idea that somewhere along the way I had done something so heinous that I deserved to be abandoned and to have my heart broken. And here it is 15 years later and I am stilling living out this idea that somehow I am destined for something less than the best. Where in the world did I get that idea from and how the heck do I reverse it? Every day I pray for God to reveal my purpose and yet it seemed He had somehow fallen deaf to my requests. The more I talked to friends and heard their stories… I realized they too had agreed with a very contradictory view of themselves. I started looking to people in my life that I knew had been through their own set of issues and hard times yet they were happy and living life fully embracing their purpose. When I spoke to them and read their stories in blogs or articles the difference was...they refused to agree with the chatter in their heads or by the naysayers that did not match up with who they KNEW they were.
KNOW WHO YOU ARE
My mother told me a long time ago “if you don’t know who you are, you will spend your entire life being defined by others.” I never realized how important that bit of advice would be until I go older. Find out what your beliefs are. What do you stand for? What are your non-negotiables and places you compromise? What exactly do you want to be when you grow up, that is not driven by money or status? Often times we go through life and we pick up titles: CEO, Evangelist, Deacon, mother, father, sister etc. but aside from those titles who are you when you are standing naked before the world? Define yourself for your own sake and ground yourself in that understanding and don’t waiver.
BE OK WHERE YOU ARE
Life truly is a process. It has ups and downs. It is constantly changing. We often spend a lot of time looking and preparing for the next thing or the next time or the next idea that we forget to just be ok right where we are. Whether right here is successful or climbing back up a ladder, learn to find peace in the moment and the lesson you need to learn in this place and time. Comparing your moment to another person’s moment is always going to lead to a feeling in adequacy but what if we just resigned that where we are right now with what we have accomplished is ok and should be celebrated? You might not be where you want to be or have the things you dreamed of having but you are far from where you could be had you not gotten up this morning.
This was one of the most important yet hardest things for me. I knew something needed to be done to reverse the damage of my misguided agreement but I didn’t know what to do so I kept trying different things. I went out and brought books to help me discover my purpose. Started a fast and even joined a gym to clear my mind. After speaking to my mother, she said “just stop. What you are looking for can’t meet you if you are constantly moving.” It sounded like such a simple concept but it felt like being idle to me. It wasn’t until one day I just sat in the silence of who I was that is all came rushing to the forefront of my mind. I stopped and sat and listened to the beating of my own heart, listened to my hurt feelings and the emotions I thought were healed, the unresolved anger of losing my dad, the embarrassment of not being where I wanted to be financially and to think I was turning 40. There were tons of things I would have missed if I had never stopped and listened. I stopped blaming myself, stopped shaming myself and above all else, I stopped doubting myself. Stopping even for just a few moments a day to recognize your own humanity can do wonders.
It wasn’t until I realized that self-doubt had been controlling my life for the last 15 years that I was able to disconnect the rope that had been holding me back from moving forward. I had somehow tricked myself into believing that walking in a circle meant I was doing something. I resigned at that moment to simply disagree with what I had agreed with. When doubt began to whisper in my ear, I not only ignored it but I verbally disagreed and spoke out loud the exact opposite. For every “you know this isn’t going to work” I uttered a “this is going to be great.” For each “you are not qualified for that” I yelled “You have what it takes.” If someone called you by a name that was not listed on your driver's license you would keep walking and would not stop because that is not how you identify yourself- the same is true with negative thoughts and words that creep in to keep us stagnant.
Life is going to throw you some curveballs and some lemons might even fall to the ground in front of you but you have a choice to make. You can either curl up in a ball and accept the label that does not have your name on it or you can grab those lemons get a good blender, make yourself a mean lemon drop and simply disagree!
*You can read more from Nikki’s work in her book “Spoken Word” Available on Amazon.com