IT’S NOT FAIR!….but it’s ok.

I sometimes contemplate the concept of fairness. Is it fair that good people suffer?

In that vein, I occasionally think about my abusive ex-boyfriend with regards to the concept of fairness. After all the put-downs, the aggression and downright disrespect, he continues to go through life as though nothing happened, void of any remorse or a sense of wrong-doing (or so it seems).

It’s not fair; not in the slightest. It’s not right that the rest of his friends and family think he’s an emotionally healthy and good-natured man. He got away with it scot-free. It’s not fair that I have to reconcile with this, knowing that I will NEVER get the apology I seek.

These situations aren’t fair, but that doesn’t make them less purposeful to those that suffer the consequences. What I have gained from this is a level of strength that I wouldn’t have otherwise, had he not treated me the way he did.

Fairness and lack thereof can be a difficult pill to swallow. However, bear in mind that life is doing this FOR you and not TO you. The difficulties you face will only hone your character, strengthening your abilities to deal with life’s greater challenges.

Let them go and live your life. Fairness, much like sadness and happiness, comes in waves and is never constant. You will be fine and those ex-abusers just helped you, in the most unlikely of ways, become a stronger and better you.

~ DIVA ~
Christina xo.

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Don’t Be Afraid!

I recently started taking improvisation comedy classes which might be the gutsiest thing I’ve done in a long time. Challenging yourself by pursuing novel and difficult situations leads to growth and tons of self discovery. The key is to learn how to recognize your own fears and ignore the potential for judgement from others. Once you rid yourself of that, anything can happen!

When I asked a friend for advice on how to deal with the fear of judgement or seeming silly and nervous on stage, he said:

“When you’re on stage, “they” are no longer important. You are. They’re simply watching.”

Use this as a mantra for your life. The opinions of others are as important as you make them. People are simply observers, by default. YOU are the performer and the artist. Don’t fear, be real and be passionate. Follow your heart and perform with everything you’ve got. Trust me, others will applaud you and follow your lead:)

The DIVA Team

Christina xo.

Believe

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Do you believe in yourself? You should. Everything and anything you want lies within you. Believe, seek it and you shall receive it.

~DIVA~

Christina xo

This is your LIFE.

Sometimes, when you leave a bad relationship, you’re left with TONS of existentialist questions to deal with. I, for one, thought that my relationship, as verbally abusive as it was, was the be-all and end-all of my life. I guess that was part of the whole manipulation, right? All that was left for me was marriage, kids and years of resentment. But, I left.

I’m on my own now and my life has taken a course for the “questionable;” not at all in a negative way, but in a very overwhelming, “where will life take me????” kind of way.

I’m sure some of you may be familiar with The Holstee Manifesto. It’s a direct, short and sweet rundown of what matters in life and how to live it well. A message that has been shared over 500,000 times and viewed over 60 million times online.

As a reminder to those that feel lost, downtrodden and discouraged, life has meaning once you start perceiving things differently and doing what you love. I encourage you to follow The Holstee Manifesto and watch your life transform into your own little slice of heaven on earth;)

The Holstee Manifesto
The Holstee Manifesto

Find out more about the inspirational Holstee team via the following link: http://shop.holstee.com/pages/about

P.S. I’ll be hanging up my printed manifesto in my room imminently. It’ll be my little daily “prayer.”

~DIVA~

Christina xo

The Initial Signs

My ex-boyfriend and I had exchanged stories regarding our most recent break-ups when we first met. He told me that his ex girlfriend had broken up with him because he was “too negative” – BIG surprise there!  He seemed so charming and supportive; “negative” just didn’t make sense to me at the time.

However, there were lots of little signs that I didn’t pay attention to because I was infatuated. The key in identifying an abusive individual is being able to hone in on those RED FLAGS at the beginning that might predict escalated abuse in the future. I remember reading the following list months into my relationship, when the verbal abuse had peaked, and I had then put the pieces together. All of these signs were present even at the beginning, just to a lesser degree:

  • He seems irritated or angry with you several times a week. When you ask why he’s mad, he either denies it or tells you it’s in some way your fault.
  • When you feel hurt and try to talk with him, the issues never get resolved. He might refuse to discuss your upset feelings by saying, “You’re just trying to start an argument!” or claiming he has no idea what you’re talking about.
  • You frequently feel frustrated because you can’t get him to understand your intentions.
  • You’re upset—not so much about concrete issues like how much time to spend together, but about communication: what he thinks you said and what you heard him say.
  • You sometimes think, “What’s wrong with me? I shouldn’t feel so bad.”
  • He seems to take the opposite view from you on almost everything, and his opinion isn’t stated as, “I think …” but as if you’re wrong and he’s right.
  • You can’t recall saying, “Cut it out!” or “Stop it!”

Excerpt from: The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Patricia Evans. Adams Media Corp 1992, 1996, 2010

Get to know the person you’re dating VERY well. Be curious, ask questions, see how they respond, make note of their inclination to address any topic – are they genuinely forthcoming or do they simply blame their ex’s for failed relationships in the past? Are they coming on too strong?  This could be a sign that they’re trying to control and take ownership of you. Are they constantly speaking highly of you and very lowly of others? They might be idealizing you and this will lead to constant criticism down the line. Full-fledged verbal abuse takes time, but the signs are there right off the bat.

Always respect yourself, speak up when you’re being mistreated and trust your gut. DON’T settle! Once I’m ready to date and start a new relationship, I’ll be taking my time, making sure that respect and healthy communication are priorities for both.

~DIVA~

Chris xo.

Get Lost

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau

My relationship ended and I found myself considerably lost, confused and inundated with way too many important life decisions for one broken-hearted person to handle. I’ve had to re-evaluate absolutely everything from my career path, my likes and dislikes and, my future goals, just to name a few.  Which road do I take? How do I get there? Will I regret my choices? Will that decision make me happy in the long run?  As overwhelming as this place can be, I realize I needed to get here in order to understand and appreciate myself thoroughly as a unique individual with a unique destiny.

Today happened to be one of those dreaded “lost” days.  However, something changed today; I learned to finally embrace the overwhelmingly blank canvas. Truly, I am wholly blessed with the freedom to follow my life’s destiny and allow my dreams to materialize. Nothing and nobody is holding me back. My life is no longer in someone else’s control; I create the life I want.

Through the clouds, the decisions, the void and pain, I begin to see who I REALLY am and it’s kind of amazing. It’s almost as though a pure self-love has been brewing in the shadows.

Thoreau was right:)

~DIVA~

Chris xo.

You ARE Beautiful

My ex boyfriend and I broke up late last year.

The last few months have amounted to one of the most emotionally arduous times of my life, as I was left to cope with the aftermath of ending something I thought was set in stone. However, I hadn’t initially realized that the pain, the sadness and the sudden blast of insecurity that I was presented with stemmed from the actual relationship itself.

My ex boyfriend was verbally abusive and emotionally unstable, the extent to which is difficult to measure in a few short words. The psychological scars have made the healing process that much more convoluted, with numerous highs and lows along the way. The relationship and its inevitable end had atrophied my spirit. I was left lost, confused, resentful and, deeply hurt. I was broken.

The most debilitating outcome of a verbally abusive relationship is its fatal impact on one’s self esteem. I lost complete confidence in myself; from my decision making skills, to the ability to communicate properly, to my mannerisms, my accent, my vocabulary, my lifestyle, my cultural background and upbringing, to my friendships, my family and, the value of my life. Taking that back on one’s own terms is difficult due to the insidious nature of the abuse and the manipulation on the part of the abuser. In reality, my mind had already fully consumed the toxicity of the words.

How does one detoxify? Initially, I sought solace in the comfort of friends and family, I abided by healthy living guidelines, I read, I wrote, I listened to music, and I opened my heart to the healing properties of creativity and mindfulness.

But that wasn’t enough. I struggled. He popped sporadically and constantly into my stream of thoughts; he was everywhere. Every moment I thought I had achieved an inkling of happiness, I thought of him, and just like that, I’d remember the insults and viral words he spat to hinder my self-worth.  My memory worked against me. Without fault, I’d delve deep into that feeling of worthlessness that I had grown accustomed to during our year-long relationship. I wasn’t healing. Something deeper, within me, had to change – the perception and belief in myself.

During this time, a colleague (mentor) of mine had been helping me daily in keeping me on track with staying positive, optimistic and confident. After one of many nightly conversations with him regarding my struggle, I arrived at work the next morning to find the following painted on the ceiling above my desk:

Image

This was my colleague’s gift to me.

When I find feelings of sadness, anger and worthlessness creep up due to a memory of my ex boyfriend, I look up and repeat those words to myself. That is, I take myself back to that place which my colleague calls, “the truth.”

To those that currently struggle in abusive relationships and those that have struggled and are healing, remember that you are beautiful. As words will bring you down, words can also provide you with the means to rise above. Beauty does not lie in another’s control to affirm this for you. You just are. Believe it, and you are.  Once you believe and forget that someone may have been convincing you of otherwise, you will find yourself moving forward and, fundamentally, healing. This is where I find myself right now and it’s a nice place to be. The right people, the right frame of mind and the personal self-worth that I control, are allowing me to heal.

Here is my mentor-ish affirmation for you, fellow survivors, to reference during those times you’re feeling down: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

~DIVA~

Chris xo.