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How I Discovered My Self-Worth & Finally Walked Away From My Ex

By: Dr. Aesha

 

Thank you so much for reading my personal story yesterday. So many of you replied with your own stories. I was in tears as I read them. Thank you for trusting me enough to share your pain. (If you haven't read my story yet, click here). 

Let me encourage you. It won't always be this hard! You will love again. 

I promised that through this email series, I would be sharing the exact steps it took for me to overcome my painful dating mistakes and attract, date, and marry my husband in 11 months. 

So here's part 2 to the story. We left off with my friend, Marina, telling me that I needed to pull up the roots of shame that were in my heart so that I could be free to love again. 

Based on what I learned at the little country church she took me to, I spent the summer healing. 

It included a release ritual, detoxing my heart and decluttering my home of mementos, strategic visioning, deep listening and more.  I now teach these processes in Black Love University and use it with my private clients. 

​I also had to get new friends. My old friends continued to gossip. They'd reach out to me saying they wanted to help, but then turn around and tell everyone what I confessed to them in secret. I found out later, they were secretly hoping I was pregnant. It would have made for one good rumor! 

It was an uncomfortable space, but I knew it was working. 

One day, when my roommate was out of town, I was feeling really uneasy. My heart felt like it was leaping out of my chest. I kept peeking out the window, like I could tell something wasn't right. A few moments later, there was a knock at the door. I wasn't expecting anyone, so I looked out the window. 





It was him. 





He was yelling, "I know you're in there. Why won't you talk to me? I just want to talk to you!"

I called my friend Marina and asked for her advice. She told me to tell him to go away or I'd call the police.

I told him to go away but he wouldn't. It took me opening the door, looking him eye-to-eye and saying I didn't want to talk to him anymore for him to leave. 

I did it. I was free! (for now at least, but we'll save that for another story). 

Marina suggested that I needed to leave town and get a fresh start. But how could I? I was about to write my dissertation and finish up my PhD studies. There was no way I was gonna leave. Besides, I didn't have any money and I'd lose my scholarship and stipend if I 

"Just be open to the possibilities," Marina said. "Sometimes the answers to your prayers come in the form of opportunities." 

I was still doubtful, but later that night, I thought about what life would look like if I could leave all the drama and start over. 

And suddenly, an opportunity appeared. Once I shifted from "I can't afford it," to "what if I could," the ideas started flowing. 

Long story short, I went to the head of my department and asked if it were possible for me to do a research study in Charlotte, North Carolina. And I asked if I could keep my fellowship and stipend, even though I wouldn't be on campus and I couldn't teach which was necessary to get the money. 

The answer was YES!

I couldn't believe it. I was moving! But I still had some challenges to overcome: 

  • I didn't have a place to live when I got there and I had no money to get an apartment (I was living on $1053 per month at the time). 
  • I didn't know anyone personally in Charlotte. 
  • I didn't know how to drive on the freeway by myself (I'd never done it in my 25 years of living!)  
  • I didn't even have my research study planned out and I had no contacts there to help me get started. 

But because I'd said YES to the opportunity, God was making a way out of no way.

This leads me to Roadblock to Love #2 

Not understanding your self-worth. 

What does this have to do with your ability to overcome your painful past and attract the right man who will love & commit to you? 

Everything. 

Hear me out. Self-worth is different from self-esteem. 

Self-esteem is all about how you feel about yourself. You have high self-esteem if you think positively about yourself. Low self-esteem comes when you think negatively about yourself. It's based on what you say to yourself. 

​Self-worth is about the value you bring to the table. To understand your worth, you have to look outside of yourself to see how you touch the lives of other people around you. 

Here's the problem with self-esteem. You have to look inward to determine it. So if you feel like a loser, or you're burdened with shame, guilt, fear or other toxic emotions, it's hard to always believe that you're valuable. 

So, like me, you'll date men who make you feel like crap. Or your put yourself last in all your relationships, making sure everyone else has what they need, except you. You'll give all your money away to the church or your charity or your baby's daddy, because you're trying to feel better about yourself. You'll look at your body and focus only on your imperfections and wonder why anyone would want to be with you. You'll find it hard to walk away from toxic boyfriends, even though everyone tells you he doesn't love you. You'll give your body to anyone who shows you attention. You'll overeat or overspend to numb yourself to these feelings.  Get it? 

To understand your worth, you need the right people in your life who will fight for you and tell you what you can't see for yourself. Like my friend, Marina, who didn't judge me. She was my advocate, speaking truth to me when everyone else was gossiping about me. She reminded me of all the things I'd done up until my big failure and told me that I had to walk away from my ex so because there was a man out there who NEEDED me. 

This leads me to Step #2

Say YES more often. 

You can do a quick "self-worth" check by answering these questions: When there's an opportunity to put yourself first, to move to another city, to take a course that will improve your life, or to let someone help you do you say: 
I can't afford it…
I don't have time…
I don't deserve it…

If so, you don't truly know your worth!

Through Marina's help, she helped me stay open to possibilities so that when the opportunity came for me to make a BIG, BOLD move that will get me closer to my dreams of love and marriage, I said YES. I truly believe that when you say yes more often to dates, opportunities, meetings and more, God moves Heaven and earth to support you. 

But you have to make the first move. 

Remember the man who was laying by the pool, waiting to be healed? Jesus walked up to him and said, "Do you want to be healed?" The man gave excuses about not having anyone to help him. But Jesus simply said, "Pick up your bed and walk."  

Like the man by the pool who needed Jesus to see what he couldn't see, and like me, who needed Marina to show me there was another way, let me speak to you: 

You are amazing. You are enough. There is no one else like you on the planet. And there's a man out there, right now, who is suffering because he doesn't have you in his life. 

It's time to be open to the possibilities, know your worth, and say YES to the opportunity that is in front of you right now so that you can meet him. 

Here's an exercise I invite you to do between now and the next time we meet through email: 

1) Write down what your life would like if you said YES. Don't worry if you don't have the money right now or if you can't figure out how you'd make it work. Just explore the possibilities. 

2) Pick 5 people you know love you and ask them this: "What would your life look like if I were never in it?" Let them tell you how much they love & value you. Soak it in. This is the truth about you! (I had a coaching client do this who was so worry that her boyfriend was going to leave her. It rocked her world!

After you do the exercise, hit "REPLY" and share with me the #1 thing you learned. 

​Stay tuned for the next email. I'm going to show you how I moved to Charlotte, finally ended things with my EX and in a matter of 6 months, met my husband!  

With love,

Dr. Aesha

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Thoughtful black businesswoman in the office

My Painful Dating Mistake And How I Overcame It

By: Dr. Aesha

 

I have something very personal to share with you. I've actually never really told anyone this before, and I'm scared of what you're going to think about me, but I feel like God wants me to tell you because it's going to help you. 

You see, a lot of people look at my life and think, "It's easy for you to say that love is possible. You're already married and you have a family. You don't know how hard it is out there." 

But the truth is I wasn't always this happy. In fact, I made some soul-crushing mistakes when I was dating. Over the next few days, I'll be breaking down some of those mistakes with you, because I want YOU to know exactly how to become a confident woman who attract a man who will pursue, court and marry you. 

I told some of my story last night on the call (we had almost 500 people registered. Thank you!!!!) 

But what you don't know is…

why I allowed my cheating boyfriend to shame me like he did. 

The morning after we slept together, I was frozen with fear, embarrassment, shame and regret. You see, I'd clearly told him 'NO, I don't want to do this.' But I went ahead with it anyway. 

Why? 

The whole thing triggered in me the moment when a teenage boy, who was a friend of the family, molested me. While he did it, he asked me, "Do you love me?" and being only 5 years old, I said, "yes." 

The seeds of shame were planted in my heart that day and they took root. I learned that my body was not valuable. I grew up feeling like damaged goods. And I tried my hardest to be a perfect "good girl." That meant pleasing people, not saying no, and silencing my voice, even when there were unwanted sexual advances. 

Fast forward to my boyfriend. I knew in my heart of hearts that he didn't value me and that he would leave after becoming intimate. Yet, inside, I responded to him like the little girl who was violated so many years before that. 

My secret shame was why I was attracted this man in the first place! 

Ken Page, pyschotherapist who specializes in our search for intimacy says this: 

"All of us have unresolved childhood hurts due to betrayal, anger, manipulation, or abuse. Unconsciously, we seek healing through our partner. And we try to achieve this healing by bonding with someone we sense might hurt us in similar ways to how we were hurt as children, in the hope that we can then convince him or her to finally love and accept us." 

The shame, feelings of unworthiness and belief that I was unlovable I experienced as a child were rooted so deep in my heart that they just felt natural. I did a lot to avoid thinking about them to. It took a WAKE UP CALL to get me to heal and change.  

Roadblock to love #1

Shame makes you feel like you are somehow fatally flawed and therefore unlovable. You believe that there is something in you that makes you unworthy of love by a good man. 

All of us deal with shame. Our parents used it to get us to obey. Bullies used it on the playground to get our friends to turn on us. Our pastors used it to get us to come to church so that God won't be mad at us and withhold His blessings. 

And as Melissa Hart Perry showed us, every time we see a stereotypical image of an angry Black woman, sexual object (thots, Jezebels, or a woman doing too much) or a maid (have you seen The Help?), we feel intense shame about how we are viewed by others in this world. 

This is why we use the Strong Black Woman Syndrome. To protect us from these feelings. To overcome the historical and personal hurts we've kept secret. To show the world that we are worthy if we work hard enough, pray hard enough, and achieve enough. But it's not enough! 

Whether your shame has come from sexual trauma, abuse or from the criticism of your mama, daddy or pastor, it's keeping you from being able to open up, trust, and be vulnerable in your relationships. 

It's also keeping you from developing attraction for a good man in the first place! That's why you keep choosing the wrong man. 
 

Step 1: 

The first step is to heal the little Black girl within, break the Strong Black Woman Syndrome, and begin making choices from an entirely new way of feeling, seeing and thinking.

It's possible, because I lived it. But it took having the right support in my life to get there. 

You see, after I told my accountability partners that I'd slept with my boyfriend, all hell broke loose. 

They encouraged me to tell the pastor. I did. And then, without my permssion, the pastor told the entire Elder's board. 

My friends gossiped about me. 

My rommate befriended the older woman my boyfriend was cheating on me with and starting going to brunch with her to discuss all the dirty details of our love triangle (it was more like an octagon with all the women he was talking to!) 

My pastor wouldn't let me sing on the praise and worship team anymore (but my ex-boyfriend could!) 

More shame. 

There was only one friend who told me, "Aesha, you need to be healed." She took me to a white church deep in the country to a workshop on emotional healing. I admit, I didn't want to go. I was the only sister there and I had never experienced anything like it. (I also thought the KKK was going to jump out and get me!)

It was uncomfortable and I felt embarrassed that I couldn't just read a book and "work on myself" to fix my issues. All my friends were getting married, and they didn't need to do this kind of work to get a husband! 

But I soon realized that everyone needs help. In fact, if you want to attract a husband, you need to know how to 1) receive & ask for help (Yes, you my strong, successful sister) and 2) allow yourself to be supported. 

It's time to tell yourself the truth, sis. If you've read all the books, attended all the seminars, listened to all the free trainings and read all the blogs and you're STILL SINGLE when you don't want to be, there are some deeply rooted issues that need to be healed. 

This is your WAKE UP CALL. 

In the next email, I'm going to share exactly what I learned that helped me accelerate my emotional healing so that when I met my husband less than 1 year later, I didn't push him away.  

You don't want to miss it! 

I'm here to help you… if you let me.  

With love,

Dr. Aesha

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