A few years ago, I was participating in a workshop and during the 3 days, the coach told me to stop labeling myself as a foster kid.
I told her I would but I didn’t realize how hard this was. It’s been a huge part of my identity. And I’ve been choosing my words very carefully ever since.
But there’s something that has come up that really bother’s me.
Identifying as a foster kid isn’t a bad thing and it’s time that we stop making the kids the bad
I didn’t end up in foster care because I got in trouble with the law or something else morally and unethical displeasing to society.
No, I ended up in foster care because my parents could not be the parents I needed them to be at the time.
At the time of my placement in foster care, I was about 2 years old.
And as I became an adult, studied mental health and earned my degree as a counselor and worked with families at risk, it always bothered me that the kids were made out to be the bad guys.
And I am very cautiously am not trying to blame the parents because they too just could not be the parents they needed to be for their children.
I believe that in each moment, we all are just doing the best we can with what we know. We can’t do more than that or better than that.
It’s that notion of when you are ready, you will receive the information you need to move forward.
There is a tremendous amount of work that I feel needs to be done in how we support children that end up in the system to no faults of their own. And to maintain the stigma that foster kids are bad is not only wrong but does them a disservice.
More often than not, children who are raised within the system feel
And when you place the stigma on them that indicates they’ve done something wrong, you are only fueling all the negative feelings they already believe to be true about themselves.
I no longer work as a therapist or with families at risk, but I plan is to support organizations any which way I can and as an entrepreneur that means financial support but also donating my Rebel Soul Handbooks to organizations that would use them to support their clients.
I also want to be a voice, a voice that knowing placing blame is not going to bring forth change. Compassion, love, and empathy … now that can move things into the direction of fewer kids in foster care or at least appropriate tools and resources to help them maneuver this thing called life. To ensure that when they age out of the system, they have the skills and resources to create a good life for themselves.
It saddens me to know that in some studies only 26% of children that grow up in foster care graduate high-school and that less than half of that go to college. I am not saying that college is the answer for everyone, but I know first hand that I didn’t even think I was smart enough to earn a degree.
And giving the emotions of not feeling worthy, deserving or loved, how can we expect foster kids to want to graduate high-school or even get a degree in something they always dream about doing?
And while I understand why the coach asked me to stop identifying as a foster kid, I don’t know that I can. Because if I deny this part of me, that means I was and am everything other people think about children in the foster care system.
And that just doesn’t feel good to me. I want to see a world where people understand that kids that end up in the system are not bad kids and that they are not the ones to blame for being in the system in the first place.
And I also don’t want to blame the parents and I know a lot of people will say that is exactly who we should blame. But you don’t know what you don’t know and the reality is that sometimes, the parents are doing the best they can with what they know.
None of us are born as bad people (okay there are exceptions to this, I know) but every single person is formed by the values of other people and from there we develop our own personal values. We are formed by our experiences and the knowledge we gain through it all.
I’ve said it before and it’s worth repeating: Compassion, Love, and Empathy that is how you and I are going to create change.
So yes, I grew up in Foster Care and I am more than okay with that.
I was laying in bed last night and thinking about my journey for the last 20 years and it made me think about the Law of Attraction and other facts. When I started my journey, I didn’t even know what the Law of Attraction meant and if you are ready to change your life, you may not know what it means either.
The Law of Attraction simply means that you will acquire and achieve, as well as be provided with that of which of you focus on. But when you are in the middle of chaos and ready to lose your own sanity, it can be more than challenging to believe that your life can be anything different than what it is right now.
And there can be a lot of confusion around the Law of Attraction because some may understand it as such that you want to win the lottery and you will then without a doubt win it. But that isn’t really how it works. I am no expert at the Law of Attraction, I am however an expert at overcoming adversity and difficult moments in my life. And truthfully, it still feels confusing at times.
And what I have learned over the years that yes your thoughts that you hold matter and the Law of Attraction is about positivity but what I find challenging is that there are still shit days and you need to allow shit days to exist. My journey has always been about being real during the good, bad and the chaos.
Why would I recommend this? Because during the struggle and the frustration we often receive the most clarity about what we want to achieve in our life. When we are open to being objective and have the ability to look at it we can clearly see what isn’t working and that some changes need to be made.
In addition, there’s the notion that just because you stay positive and focus on what you want that it will magically fall into your lap. Again this isn’t how any of it works. You are going to need to take action.
You can’t keep complaining about how shitty your life is when you want to improve your life. Instead, you want to get incredibly clear on what you want in your life, what that feels like when you achieve the life you want. This matters because you are going to need to set some goals, create new habits (such as stop complaining and embrace gratitude for what is) and decide what action would create the most impact right now in your life to move you forward to what you desire.
The moment you make a decision to either go back to school to improve your life financially or leave relationships behind because they drag you down is when your sanity will be questioned the most. It will ask you every single day: Do you really want this?
And it’s your job to say “Yes” every single day and keep showing up no matter how difficult it may be to delete this one friend you have been connected with for a seriously long time, to make the sacrifice to focus on your studies while perhaps missing out a little bit on your family time.
The ones that love you and support you, will get this and will not be jaded by this. They will cheer you on and encourage you to keep going no matter how bad the shit storm is going to be. Lean on them when you feel your sanity slipping, reach out for help when you don’t think you can go any longer.
The Law of Attraction can be confusing and I kinda get pissed off when people spew positivity only because I am sorry not every day is filled with rainbows, glitter, and sunshine. We need those days just as much as we need the good days.
What really matters is how we deal with them so we can keep out wits about it all. And this is where journaling can be super helpful and powerful. I journal to move forward and to let out all the crap that I may be holding on to. I never read them again because of this. It’s about releasing all the fears, doubts and frustration I am experiencing and then write about how I can course direct my path.
So how can you change your life while keeping your sanity?
- Know that this is a journey and that every experience has a purpose to learn and grow from.
- Get super clear on what you want your life to look and feel like.
- Journal (daily) to express how you feel, what’s frustrating you and ponder how you can move through this. You have the answer, you just need to trust yourself.
- Write about your vision every single day. It’s going to take your mind some time to believe that it is possible, especially if your experiences have shown you the opposite.
- Create goals that support what you want in your life and create an action plan.
- Create new habits that support you, your vision and your goals.
- Create a support network with people who support you unconditionally, and you already know who they are. Tell them what you are doing and how they can support you.
- People will think you are nuts and that your new life is possible.
- Stop complaining!
- Practice gratitude for what all the goodness in your life. You are breathing, that’s a good thing.
- Define the boundaries you need to create in your life to engage less in the negative space.
- Decide you are confident now, not later. You don’t need to achieve X in order to feel confident.
- Know that having an off day is not the same thing as living and breathing negativity.
- Read or listen to books and blogs about from people who have done what you are wanting to do.
- Invest in personal development through courses, coaches, and therapists. Again, tune into what feels good here. Not everyone wants a coach and not everyone needs a coach.
- Believe in yourself, your goals and that you can and without question will achieve the life you want.
- Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
One of the things I realized early on is that I complained a lot about everything and I blamed my past for everything that was going on my life. No wonder I was frustrated and struggled to find my path for a really long time. But the moment I took responsibility and started my healing journey is the moment when things really started come together.No I didn’t have it all figured out, nor did I know what it looked like in the end, but you have to start somewhere if you are sick and tired of where you are.
This is the second of 3 blog posts in my 100’s of something list. You can read about 100 Ways to love yourself here
You want a better life and sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what to do. I have compiled a list of 100 ways for you to live a better life!
- Decide what you want in life
- Commit to taking action
- Accept your mistakes and use them as learning lessons
- Foster your new habits with self-discipline
- Make new friends
- Keep a journal to create self-awareness
- Have a morning ritual that supports you
- Push your comfort zone and take some risks
- Declutter your home
- Accept that other people have different opinions and that’s okay
- Put you first always
- Drink more water
- Eat more of the good stuff
- Let go of perfection
- Acknowledge your self-sabotage and commit to doing less of that
- Find all the reasons you are awesome
- Find all the reasons your life is great
- Make a list of 100 things you are grateful for
- Decide to try something new
- Remove the drama from your life
- Eliminate the “shoulds” in your life
- Acknowledge the parts that healing and learn to forgive
- Reduce the voices that tell you to not
- Stop worrying about what other’s think
- Smile more just because
- Write a mission statement for your life
- Learn some new skills
- Make exercise a habit
- Read more not just for learning, but fun
- Make time for your friends
- Stop complaining
- Make peace with someone from your past
- Purchase yourself a gift you’ve been wanting for a long time
- Get some clothes that help you feel awesome
- Volunteer your time to an organization
- Play in the garden and plant some flowers and trees
- Join a group with a common interest
- Write a thank you note to someone that has supported you
- Go for a hike
- Give compliments to other people
- Define the goals you want to achieve
- Go do a childhood activity you loved like roller skating
- Do a random act of kindness
- Don’t do things you don’t want to
- Work on not taking things too personal
- Practice daily affirmations
- Trust your intuition
- Make a decision to think differently
- Decide to live by your own rules
- Give and be love
- Live with zero regrets
- Decide how you want to feel every morning
- Live every day as if it’s your only day
- Be proactive and stop waiting
- Create your own opportunities
- Be present in each moment
- Write a vision statement of your life
- Do something you’ve always wanted to do
- Define your core values and live by them
- Be real, always
- Create a strategy to achieve your goals
- Decide to quit something that doesn’t feel good
- Make new decisions when it feels right
- Stop working in a job that sucks the life out of you
- Become a positive person
- Don’t talk badly about other people
- Be empathetic to other people, you don’t really know their journey
- Develop a Mindset on Fire
- Practice forgiveness
- Let go of attachment and validation from others
- Release relationships that no longer feel good to you
- Help people without an ulterior motive
- Fall in love every day
- Stop procrastinating
- Take 30 minutes a day to work on a goal
- Be your own advisor! What would your future self like to tell you?
- Write letters to yourself regularly
- Don’t settle, strive for better
- Embrace your ideas
- Make your home your haven
- Be who you want to be now
- Get yourself a mentor/coach
- Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback
- Improve the world by doing your part
- Give more than you receive
- Prioritize what is important to you
- Relish each moment
- Let loose and have some fun
- Know that you have a choice
- Embrace disappointment
- Challenge your fears
- Love who you are
- Move where you want to live
- Change your attitude
- Don’t go to bed angry or upset
- Take a nap when your body tells you it’s a good idea
- Do things that bring you pleasure
- Make healthy changes
- Keep your mind active
- Get enough sleep every night
I have always expressed gratitude when I was down and out with nothing. I have this belief and philosophy if you will that “where there is a will, there is a way”.
It’s so easy to get lost in the struggle, in the frustration of feeling like life will never be what it is you want it to be. And day in and day out, you keep going and you hear it all the time, just be grateful for what you have right now.
There is something about it though that will keep you stuck because it’s asking you to be grateful when you don’t know how to pay your bills and you are working so incredibly hard just to survive.
But here is what I know, true and genuine gratitude matters that the half-arsed thanks you may be given in whatever situation you are in.
Practicing gratitude only when shit hit’s the fan isn’t fruitful or beneficial to your stress or your well-being in general.
Gratitude matters every single day and it needs to be a conscious part that you are engaging in, be it in a morning or evening routine through writing it down or reciting it in your head.
It’s about really noticing all the small and big things in your life right here and right now, but also calling in all that you really want.
And it matters that you do it every single day, like commit to it and engage with it.
Gratitude is one of those things that helps you truly transform your life and the more you show gratitude, the more your life will improve.
And let me tell you that at some point I only expressed gratitude for what is in the now, never what hasn’t happened yet. But the moment I also wrote out the things I am grateful for that I want to happen in the present moment, consistently every single morning, there was a shift within me but also in my life and business.
I learned some hard lessons in life to not take anything for granted, which I will write about later this week. With gratitude comes from within, from the immaterial things we already have before what it is that you want can materialize.
Fear of the unknown is the fear of change because we just don’t know what is ahead when we make a decision that is pushing us out of our comfort zone.
We are always deciding about the unknown. The moment you get in your car, you are heading into the unknown but you go with intention and a willingness to put yourself out there to reap some reward, be it connection or heading to a job.
When I committed to going into business for myself, I had a small idea of how it would push me and get really clear on what I really wanted.
When I committed to my son receiving his liver transplant, I had no idea of the outcome. I needed to give trust into the unknown and believe that the change we were embracing was for the best interest for his life.
Heading into the unknown and embracing the change is scary and maybe even the scariest thing you’ll ever do but ask yourself, what are you missing out on if you don’t embrace the change?
What if you are being called to something bigger than where you are right now?
How scary that feels but I am willing to bet that there is also a level of excitement for you.
Stepping into the unknown and embracing change is the willingness to go a step farther than you have ever before. It is embracing the vision you hold for your life and that no matter how scary it feels, you are willing to be present in each moment.
Change can only happen when you are ready to step into the person you already are deep down.
If you are willing to use your voice to make an impact.
And yes, it feels vulnerable and scary and OMG what will people think?
Every time I share my story I have this moment of “Holy crap people will judge me” and “who the heck do I think I am” but I also know I am here to make an impact, to bring forth the change and lead by example.
Sometimes my son’s transplant journey was a cake walk in comparison to speaking my truth. It requires digging deep into who you are and decide to either keep playing it safe or finally stepping into who you are meant to be and create the life you want.
What will you do today to step into the unknown?