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Okay I have something to get off my chest.

How many times have we all said we hated [blank] and never wanted to be/do [blank]. Of course, we all have. I like to think that I am an advocate, so often times my distaste for something is backed by passion, and during these times I can find myself being hypercritical. Coming from someone who's dealt with a myriad of hurt: church hurt, family hurt, bullying, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, you name it, I always tell myself that I never wanted to be the hand to deal those same blows. To be honest, I've failed.

If you've read previous blogs, specifically the SoulCare series which you can start here you know that I've been pushing mental health awareness and am currently in counseling. So far, it has been a relieving, eye-opening journey. The best thing you can do is learn yourself for yourself, but for some it takes peeling back layers of trauma to even discover who that is!

Transparency moment: I don't know who I am right now. I'm still learning her, but I love this me, okay?! Counseling has helped me discover ways that trauma has changed my perspective over time. Although I've said that I don't want to be like those who have done harm to me, throughout the years, the unresolved pain has compounded and manifested into bitterness. Take it from me, you can't run from trauma. So upon some introspection, I've noticed that instead of using my voice to advocate for the abused, sometimes I try to point the fingers at the abuser and it falls of deaf ears. Mind you, I believe 100% in accountability for others as well as self, but it has to be tactical otherwise you'll end up frustrated and it'll feel like venting and not confronting. If you truly are "calling out" for the sake of wanting someone to change, then a couple things need to be considered:

  1. Will the target person/group even see or hear this? (or are you shouting to the masses on social media like me)

  2. What is your relationship with the target person/group? What effect does their action have on you, if anything?

  3. Have you reached out for clarity first?

  4. Is this an isolated incident or a repeat offender?

I'm sure there are many questions that can be added from here. The point is, if we're honest, we've all made poor choices and if we were called out and exposed for every single one...sheesh. The horror! This sentiment is also why I've parted ways with "cancel culture." For those unaware, there's a common gesture in today's world to completely remove someone or something them from your life, usually on first offense for doing someone that is accepted "by the masses" as unfavorable. For some cases, I get it. Everyone is entitled to personal boundaries and for that reason some actions are a "hard no" when it comes to reconciliation. I would never advise anyone to rekindle every single relationship because it is unrealistic and can be very unhealthy. What I will advise is to try to take a step back before you react. Always consider if grace can be applied to the situation. Sometimes there can be a character flaw there. Sometimes it's the principle/situation. Sometimes the other person has unresolved trauma, and sometimes life is just happening for that person. You never know until you know, right? That's why clarity is so very important.

Social media has given us the illusion that we know everything about everybody at all times, and this is so far from the truth. We see a snippet of someone's story and write them off for life! As I reflect on all the times I've shouted my pain and bitterness "towards" someone instead of actually reaching out to hold a decent conversation, I cringe! At least I can rest in my growth now on the flip side. I just encourage you today to make an effort to extend grace. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes can be next to impossible at times because there is so much we just don't know, but for that you do know, take a step back, and with a clear mind make your assessments accordingly. We weren't created to walk closely with everyone, but we are responsible for how we interact with our fellow man/woman. Besides, just imagine what healing can come forth. I hope this helps someone today.

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