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Who Says I’m Stupid?! And Why Did I Believe It for So Long?

Stupid. Yep.

I felt like that for much of my life.  I don’t know if anyone actually ever told me that, but I do know I sure felt like I was.

My personal struggle was around math and I can still remember staring at the times tables in 3rd grade, trying to make sense of what the hell I was looking at.  I struggled with it throughout my education process and thankfully landed in a Math 96 course when I decided to go to college as an older adult.

Yep, I felt stupid walking into that class too.

BUT….Oh yes, that math instructor understood that many of us DID NOT UNDERSTAND.

She got that we had not understood math for most of our lives.  She taught with Hershey Bars to show us about fractions! Perhaps I would have had a better concept of math had it involved chocolate years before when I was struggling?

Eventually I made it through statistics, a lovely requirement to gaining that expensive ass piece of paper that declared I was a college grad.  Don’t get me wrong, I learned a ton and know that going to college has helped me in ways I haven’t yet discovered.  Focusing on education helped me get through a very necessary divorce, but that is a whole different story.

Oh yes, did I feel stupid having to get a divorce? Yep, should have seen that writing on the wall from day one too.

Here’s the thing though, because I had this broken, wrong idea about who I really was; I kept making decisions based on the faulty assumption that I was stupid.  In reality, I just didn’t know so damn many things!

Here is what I know: YOU ARE NOT STUPID. I AM NOT STUPID. NO ONE IS STUPID.

Confused. Angry. Didn’t Know. Unaware. Those are things that most likely can apply to anyone at any given time.  But that is a far cry from being stupid!

Yes, of course we may make dumb decisions and perhaps have regrets over things, but that just makes us human.

Here is what else I know: YOU ARE SMART. YOU ARE BRILLIANT. YOU ARE A SHINING LIGHT.

Don’t dim that light for anyone or anything. We need to know that others struggle just like we do and they still come out on top somehow. We need to know that we are not alone.

We need your voice, your thoughts and ideas!

Come join our brilliance at Extreme Self Worth and own your inherent value too!

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What’s Quaking in Your Wake?

What are you leaving in your wake?  What is your legacy?

This past weekend was a beautiful time to be out on the water in the Pacific Northwest!  We dropped some shrimp pots and skimmed around on the water basking in the glorious sun that had finally made its appearance after a long, cranky spring!

Although our shrimp haul was small, it was an enjoyable time with friends and their kids. The kids did a lot of critter spotting that included an orca, a seal and number of other birds. We could see over to Port Townsend and Sequim, the Olympic Mountains, the Cascade Mountains and even Mt. Baker.

We listened to some good old country tunes. One of them declared, “you ain’t worth the whiskey.” Isn’t that the truth in some cases!

It was a really peaceful time on the water and some moments for reflection and I started considering,

What are we leaving in our wake?

What kind of impact are you making?

Are we showing people the way and encouraging them? Are we too angry to enjoy the peaceful moments? In too much of a hurry to sit the hell down and listen to what the kids are trying to say? Too “busy” to put down our phones and engage with the folks around us?

What kind of impression are we leaving with the important people in our lives?      

What do you want people to remember about you?

Of course, we can’t control that outcome, but we can control what we present day to day.

I encourage you to join me in being more present, engaged and enjoying the present moment.

We will never, ever get the time back, so we should enjoy it to the fullest while we can!

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Front & Center Positive Polly

What are we telling ourselves?  Do you tell yourself how great you are?

How about, what you have done right today?

How were you successful today?

What went well for you?

Do you tell yourself you are smart, funny, amazing, and beautiful?

Or do you say, things like I am stupid, have no sense of humor, aren’t special or that you are ugly?

When I believed I was stupid, hand no sense of humor, and so on I seemed to attract people who reinforced those negative beliefs.

When I started to change what I believed about myself, I attracted people who reinforced the positive beliefs.

My humble opinion is that it all starts with how we feel about ourselves. What we tell ourselves becomes our reality.

If we want to attract something or someone different into our lives, we need to start thinking differently and positively about ourselves.

A few simple thoughts can help redirect us to be more positive and kinder to ourselves:

-I am smart.

-I am funny.

-I am beautiful.

-I am handsome.

-I am loving.

-I am kind.

-I am loveable.

-I am sincere.

-I am honest.

-I am ethical.

-I am authentic.

-I am unique.

The negative nellies will need to take their seats!

It’s now time for Positive Polly to run the show!

Remember, Be Kind to You Today!

If something here resonates for you, please feel free to join us at Extreme Self Worth!   We are celebrating our inherent value!

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I Am Glad I Am Not A Hooker

Last night on t.v., I was particularly drawn into a story in which three young escorts were murdered in NYC. Granted, it was a created story, but those things stem from reality.

The female detective that looked like the three victims volunteered to go under uncover to try and catch the perpetrator.  Her male detective partner DID NOT want her to go undercover, but she wasn’t going to be deterred by a mere male. Even if it was risky and perhaps to some, totally stupid, she was willing to take the risk.

Primarily the reason the female detective wanted to go undercover is because she was on her own at a very young age, although she was never an escort.  She could identify with the young girls who had lost their way and has just been trying to find their footing in an often scary world.

She knew that just one toss of the dice, she may not have become a detective. She could have been a dead girl too!

While watching this undercover operation go down, I could identify with that female detective.

She wanted to make a difference.

She wanted to catch the deviants so they would stop murdering young women.

She wanted the pain she survived as a young woman to MEAN SOMETHING.

She wanted to make it clear that she was willing to give her all to save a life.

All this got me thinking about how so many people step into the darkness so they can shine a light on the problem and bring forth healing for those mired in the dark.

And it reminded me once that I too was once a lost, running-for-my-life-girl. I didn’t know where to turn and I was fortunate to have a Grandma who let me live with her to finish high school. Thankfully I had somewhere to run to.     I also promptly pissed my Grandma off by enlisting in the military, but that decision saved my life in many ways.

My experience escaping from a hoarded home was painful and it has taken me many years to get here. To this moment; where I fully own that history. To the present, where I acknowledge the despair and frustration of having a “non-normal” upbringing.  To the joy I now find in encouraging others who need to know they are not alone!

Then on to the full awareness of how hard it is to navigate the path of having a parent that hoards and resists help in almost every aspect.

Thankfully, I, like the female detective, never had to discover the harsh path of being an escort.

Thankfully, I, like the female detective, understand that it’s righteous and life affirming to take the despair and the pain and the AWARENESS of our own struggle and use it to shine a light where others will not tread.

This light shining is never an easy road to take as it may make some uncomfortable or angry. Sometimes it may mean we are disowned or shunned in some other way.

BUT, if your mission is to shine a light, tread where others won’t; it will be deeply imbedded in your soul and at some point the light will be turned ON. All that will matter is that now the light is ON! It will never dim or burn out.  It will shine brighter and brighter because the truth will always come out.

If we are lucky, we shine bright.  Or else? Well, we will come down in flames because no matter what the LIGHT MUST SHINE.

One of my missions is to empower and encourage people to claim their own inherent value. If this resonates with you and increasing your self-value is something you know you NEED TO DO for you, then please join us at Extreme Self Worth.

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Hoarding Is Harmful

Did you know that if you are hoarding, you may be damaging your kids ability or desire to socialize with other kids?

Did you know you may be negatively impacting their grades or it may be causing them to get bullied/teased/harassed at school?

While this is something we don’t often say, a hoarding parent can harm their kid with the hoarding behavior alone.

Your kid should at least have a bed to sleep in, a place to do homework and be fed some nutritious food.

If your kid has to walk through piles of debris to get to the bathroom, bedroom or kitchen than hoarding is a problem.

If the fridge is full of rotting food from 1984, it’s a problem.

If you don’t use the shower or the tub because it’s stacked with newspapers or clothes, it’s a problem.

If you don’t let repair people in to fix the toilet, or the heat or the a/c because of the STUFF, yep, you guessed it, it’s a problem!

Even if you think you “don’t have a problem” or it “isn’t that bad,” if you can identify with something on this list, IT IS THAT BAD.

Don’t wait to address this! Please ask for help immediately to begin addressing this issue. Reach out for help now, while you still have a say and some options on fixing the situation.

 

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Emotions Are For Humans

I sat across from the therapist in a comfortable chair. Our conversation started, “What emotions are you feeling about being here?”

Emotions?

I couldn’t name one.

Not that I didn’t have some, mind you. I just couldn’t articulate a single.damn.one.
I was confused, annoyed and surprised I guess. But those were just words and it wasn’t really an emotion like sad, happy or excited.

After a couple of minutes our conversation changed direction, but I don’t recall having an answer to what emotion I was feeling at that time.
In fact, my inability to name an emotion really got my attention. How could I possibly NOT even be able to name an emotion? I was a psychology major for heaven’s sake! I was learning how to help other people figure out their emotions and situations. Helping people understand themselves was one of my major reasons for being in college at my advanced age of 38! But here I was, not even able to understand myself!

It took a couple of months for me to really come to terms with my own emotions and what I was feeling. It turns out that “angry” would pretty much sum up how I was feeling. Throw in some pretty severe anxiety and depression and yep, I was pretty much an emotional disaster.

Although this started as “marriage counseling,” the day came when I realized I was the only one truly “married.” No amount of counseling, therapy or discussion was going to change this situation.

Of course I blamed myself.

Maybe I could have done something different. Better. Loved harder. Become an uber Proverbs 31 woman. But the truth is that none of those things matter if your spouse doesn’t want to be married to you anymore.

It took some more time for me to attend a counseling session and bring a prop to signify what I was feeling. Hey, I was feeling something! I had found an emotion all right: PISSED OFF. I pulled out my prop, my pretty dish towel and dropped it to the floor in the middle of the marriage counseling session and I explained that I was “about to throw in the towel.”

Despite my best efforts at being a “good wife,” my text messages went unanswered, he stopped showing up for dinner. Then he stopped showing up altogether for several days at a time. I knew OBVIOUSLY that something was going on and it wasn’t good.

But back to having an emotion, OMG I was finally feeling something! I don’t like how I look when I cry, but there was a good amount of that going on. Not only was I pissed off, I was also angry, sad, shocked and horrified.

Something else also happened. I found my backbone again. I stopped being pulled into the bullshit behavior that someone else was choosing to engage in. I started to do my own thing and I stopped worrying about what anyone wanted for dinner other than the cat, the dog and myself.

I also started to see my own personal value. I had to discuss and ponder this idea of having inherent personal worth, NO MATTER WHAT. But slowly it began to creep in:

I am valuable.

I am worthy.

I matter.

I deserve respect.

I deserve honor.

I deserve to be treated well.

Over a period of time, writing, journaling and talking things through with the therapist I began to truly understand that in order to fully live and be fully loved and honored I would need to file for a divorce. A necessary, healthy decision in order to save my own life and sanity.

Within a few months my FREEDOM papers were in my hands. No longer did I have to tolerate abusive, narcissistic behavior. I could feel emotions again and I learned to stand again in my power.

Some days are a real struggle, balancing power with a desire to be respected or loved. Learning to speak up when shit isn’t right! Recognizing that emotions are raw, hard and necessary to move through some of the most challenging times of our lives.

My hope is that some of this story will resonate for you. 😉 And if it does, I invite you to join the group Extreme Personal Value and join us in finding ways to increase your sense of personal value!

Here is the link and please feel free to connect with me!

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The Humans in Hoarding Situations

In my work with folks I have been reminded of the level of suffering that occurs within chaotic situations such as hoarding. It hurts my heart to see people who do not believe in their inherent value as human beings. I understand this because I once thought it too!

One of my goals in talking about hoarding is focusing on the various people in the situation. This can be the person that hoards, the family members, the kids, the adult kids, property managers, attorneys, social workers, friends, neighbors and co-workers to name just a few.

This week the program “14 Days To A More Positive You” is being launched to assist folks in looking at themselves in a more favorable and positive light. This program includes:

*Daily audio topic
*Daily encouragement tip
*Daily journal/writing exercise to help you reflect and take positive action
*Closed group for discussion, interaction and inspiration

There will also be a couple of bonuses included in this program that will be sprinkled throughout the two weeks.

I am very excited to be offering this program and look forward to helping people really start to see a shift in how they view themselves and their personal value!

Please feel free to share this with anyone that you think may benefit from knowing about this resource.Here is the link regarding this program: details here.

As always if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and connect!

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Free Feet

What does freedom look like to you?

It could be eating ice cream for breakfast. It could also be setting your own schedule or releasing oneself from a toxic work environment.  Maybe it’s learning to walk barefoot in your own home.

Recently I realized that I really didn’t need to have something on my feet at all times in my own home.  It was with some degree of shock when I realized that this was an internal block that I carried for years.

While living in a one room cabin we had rough floors.  Living in a bigger house we also had unfinished subfloors.  I wore slippers, shoes or boots to keep from getting slivers in my feet.  In essence my shoes were protection.

Once I started to reflect on this constant shoe issue I realized that my beautiful, finished oak hardwood floors were perfect to walk on barefoot! And the tile kitchen floor so cooling on hot summer feet!

With this new awareness I found myself with yet another layer of freedom.  Yet another way to celebrate how far I have come from the experience of being raised in a hoarded home!

What does freedom look like to you?  Where can you learn to relax on your journey?

Celebrate freedom this weekend and stay safe!

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Keeping What You Love

People with hoarding tendencies often have a fear that the must “get rid of everything.” The reason this bothers a person that hoards is because of the attachment they have to the “everything” that is present in their residence.  Unfortunately there is the same level of attachment to a stack of newspapers as there is to a photo album of family pictures.

We need to change the tenor of this conversation and thought process to help a person focus on keeping what they love! This is also easily adaptable to purchasing items or bringing things home for yourself: only buy it or bring it home if you love it!

How do we begin this process of keeping only on what we love?

Maybe it is a favorite memory or the collection of the shells or blue glass bottles.  Maybe it is the table from your Grandma’s house or your Dad’s favorite instrument. Think about how you feel when you look at these items and does it bring positive thoughts and memories up for you? Focus on why you love these items or perhaps, why you do not love that item.

How do we dispose of what we don’t love?

Will this item continue to evoke positive or negative emotions for you? Do you still love it?  If so, keep it!  If not, it can be donated, sold or moved out of your home. Sentimental items and things such as tools may need to stay, but broken or extra items can be disposed of. Freeing up your area is a very valuable exercise in taking back your space in the home and in your life.

This method can be used on anything in your home, garage, barn, vehicle, work shop, shed, basement, closet, etc.

Tammi L. Moses
Homes Are For Living, LLC

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Inside Job

So I am going to look at hoarding from the perspective that handling this issue is largely an inside job. Another words, cleaning up the environment, the home, the shed, the house or the property is basically only dealing with the tip of the ice berg.   That is why if the cleanup is conducted in a sneaky fashion, the person who hoards will revert to that behavior, no matter what location they may be in. If the cleanup isn’t conducted at all and the person moves to a new home, apartment, friends home it is also likely that the hoarding behavior will continue.

If true authentic, change is to occur then we need to start approaching this in a different way, as people, as friends, neighbors and family members of people who hoard. We need to change up how we approach the children of hoarders, the spouses and family members of hoarders.

There are a number of “victims” in these scenarios, including the person who hoards and the people in their life that are impacted by it. Telling the hoarder to “clean things up” will not work. The attempt to shame the children into cleaning things up isn’t a viable method either. In many cases the person who hoards had severe loss, grief and trauma in their lives. This is carried on to their future because the trauma hasn’t been dealt with. So this then traumatizes the next generation as well.

As a child of hoarders myself, I was told often to “clean up the mess” by well meaning (??) people who didn’t understand the issue at hand. Hell, I didn’t understand the issue at hand as a kid! But what I did understand was this, moving stuff = confrontation, yelling, crying and in general an increase in chaos. So I purposely avoided doing anything that would yield a loud, messy confrontation.

While this was a survival mechanism then, it did not serve me well in my young adult life nor in the abusive marriage I endured and ultimately, thankfully ended after 15 years. I didn’t believe that I had enough value to be treated well. This is sadly a theme for many children who grew up in hoarded homes.

My mission is to raise awareness about hoarding and how it impacts people, families and communities. It is my belief that not one more person should die buried in their homes because we do not know how to help them. It is my belief that not one more kid should be held responsible for their parents hoarding behavior.

What I know is if you see something, say something! But please temper it with kindness and a real heart to help and suspend judgement of the kids-they didn’t cause it and more than likely they can’t fix it. And that includes the Adult Children of Hoarders as well.

Tammi L. Moses
Homes Are For Living, LLC