Choose Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a process. A process of understanding, accepting, and releasing. Forgiveness does not come easy but when you do, a world of inner peace welcomes you.  Forgiveness is not a limited action to those who have hurt you, but forgiveness is understanding your experience and accepting the choices you made, even if it was not a good one. For a while, I blamed myself for being naïve thinking people will reflect the love you give them, but throughout the years, I have learned that no matter how good your intentions maybe, you cannot change people. Everyone is entitled to pursue what they want and become who they desire to be without interference. But what if that person caused you great pain? Pain that is unfair and leaves you vulnerable? Forgiveness is extremely difficult and can sometimes seem illogical but, consequently, I have learned holding onto hurt and pain from past experiences will ultimately hinder your emotional growth and your future relationships. To take care of yourself emotionally you must be willing to reflect and understand your feelings, thoughts, and actions. Learning to cultivate emotional intelligence is a healthy way to self-care. However, there are times when we are uncomfortable with digging into things that are holding us back or causes a strain in our relationships. While it is important to address these issues, it is essential to extend forgiveness as it will help repair the emotional relationship you have with yourself and sometimes others.  In addition to my personal experience, psychologists and other health care professionals has developed a seven-step process of forgiveness which are:

  • Acknowledge the Hurt
  • Consider how the hurt & pain has affected you
  • Accept that you cant reverse the past
  • Repair the relationship (or not)
  • Learn what forgiveness means to you 
  • Forgive
  • Love again

 Living through the year of 2020, many of us had the time to reflect. Reflect on the past, the present, and the future. The hurt you have overcome, the resilience that you have built, and the blessings that are ahead. We should all work to extend each other grace and move forward into the new year.  

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2020 Was Our Year!

As the year is racing to close out, we’re seeing all of the memes about the New Year. We’re joining in on jokes alluding to the fact that no one, and I mean no one, is trying to claim the year 2021. But if you sit back and analyze this year; in retrospect, 2020 honestly was our year!

Before I get started, I am in no way downplaying the pain we’ve felt as we’ve endured periods of uncertainty, been introduced to a new world, had to part ways with loved ones, and lost the jobs that were detrimental to our livelihood. I’m sending my condolences and the tightest of hugs to everyone who was affected, even in the slightest way. 

“I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.” 

2020 was the wake up call we all needed to answer. 2020 is like that high school teacher you had which you could not stand for the life of you, but by time graduation came around, you realize they really had your best interest at heart and was simply pushing you to be great because they believed in you and saw more in you than anyone else. 2020 has taught us to be independent. We put ourselves through so much to be that token employee. To do what’s best for the company. To assist in the increase of profitability. Put our families on the back burner because in due time, all the hard work that we put in will pay off… But 2020 opened our eyes. It taught us that we are simply numbers in the grand scheme of things and it will always be “us vs them”. 

2020 taught us that we need to love on our friends and family right now while we have the opportunity! Being “petty” was such a wave. People bragged on their ability to “walk past you like they’ve never even met you”. People lived for the opportunity to cut someone off. If 2020 didn’t teach you to put love in your hearts and reconcile issues because tomorrow isn’t promised and we are not invincible, I don’t know what to tell you. 

2020 taught us to take care of our health. Whether that meant for you to finally schedule a physical examination or for a change in diet and take the holistic route. A change was needed. We’ve been going through the motions and believing that if we LOOK fine, then we ARE fine. Sorry to break it to you, but you gotta put in that work! 2020 made people start working out, with and without a gym! It made people RESEARCH the foods they consume. Made people buy seamoss, sage, Palo Santos, and elderberry. It made people take walks around their neighborhoods/parks just to intake the sun’s magic. It made us tap into mental health and how serious it is. More than ever, people are starting to acknowledge the power in therapy and seeking help. People have been channeling ways to improve their self-care regime and do the things that genuinely make them happy.

2020 made us pay attention to our government and political parties. It opened up the door to have meaningful conversations where we can learn from one another. It taught us to not be bias by someone’s outwardly labels but to dig deeper and interpret a person based upon their character. We’ve been taught to hold those in power accountable and that WE are our own savior. 2020 taught us to stop being silent and utilize our voices. To question every single thing and not be naive or gullible. To take back our power and unify for the common good. 

2020 has been a rollercoaster! I wish there was a way to take away all the pain and lost we’ve endured while holding on to all of the lessons and growth we’ve acquired. 2020 is the year that we can all look back onto and realized it was the year the built us. That lead to us cutting out fear and jumping into our purpose. 2020 will be the reason we have CEO attached to our names, because we never want to feel the pain of being let go agin. The reason we travel more and love on our families because we now know what it feels like to go without. The reason our relationships are thriving, because we’ve had to rely on verbal communication to express ourselves during isolation. The reason we live happier and healthier lives, because we did the research to actually understand our bodies, our minds and health standards. 2020 will be the reason our children are better off, because we started the learning process and will teach them the things we took for granted. 

2020 was my year. 2020 was OUR year. 2020 was the wake up call we all needed to answer.

Blogger, Shyian Massup

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Don’t Take These Moments for Granted

Every holiday I travel to see my mom for at least a week. It’s usually a great time but we all know how our mom’s can be. I only see my mom twice a year, physically. Aside from that we video chat every day.  Usually when I arrive, she’s super energetic and excited to show me everything. She legit took her seasonings out the cabinet and showed me what she liked to use. At first, I got so annoyed because I was occupied trying to read emails on my phone. Also, it seemed like every 5 minutes she was calling my name to show me something random. I was about to walk upstairs then it hit me. There is going to come a day when my mom will no longer be here. Pin on yaooo

There will be a day when I wish I could hear her tell me about the seasonings she bought. So, I switched my entire attitude and listened to what she had to say. I hope that when my mom’s time is up, I can look back on the times she would be so excited to show me something she bought. My entire time home I’ve made a conscious effort to put my phone down and just listen. My mom and I even went to some Home Good Store and I walked up and down every aisle to see what we could find. These moments won’t last forever, and our parents won’t always be here forever. I hope that everyone can change their perspective and just enjoy the holidays with whoever you have left. I think about my friends who have lost their parents and would trade places in a heartbeat with me to hear their mom talk about seasonings. No one is promised tomorrow, and death is very random. So enjoy your parents while they are still here, in this season of Thanksgiving, I am thankful that the woman that I adore the most is still by my side.

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Staying Up

I’m honestly at the happiest I’ve been in a long while and while it’s something to celebrate, it also requires a lot of work. “Staying Up” feels like a job and sometimes like grief. You have to let go both what you can’t control and what no longer serves you.

Staying Up means that I have to set boundaries and operate on a level of self-love that the world would categorize as being Selfish. Staying up involves listening to the “cliche” motivational content, and speaking life over myself even when I can’t figure out how to reach victory. Staying up means uncomfortably saying no or speaking up with an unwanted response.

Staying Up means going boldly after my personal development, my healing, and continuous growth.

Staying Up means challenging the “sameness” in my life by challeging myself to trying something new.

Staying Up means that I may have to accept that my need for growth, my need for protecting my peace, and my determination to reach my goals..may cause me to be misunderstood.

Staying Up requires me to have the tunnel vision and strong will to never return to the depths of depression, suicide, and self-pity.

Staying Up will require me to spend time in solitude and becoming one with myself. As a lover, a giver, and even extrovert I’ve found that I often times I am so present for everyone else I forget to be present with myself. I forget to prioritize my own goals, my own needs—-, my own mental & physical health.

I focus so much on being the supportive friend, partner, daughter, co-worker, sister, but I forget to simply think about me.

Staying Up means both recognizing and addressing the spaces that drain me. We often over look the factors that lead to us falling down. But part of staying up is recognizing our triggers and finding positive ways to cope with them or again level up with our boundaries.

With the holidays coming around and even moving into the New Year, I challenge you friend to STAY UP!

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You Are Chosen

1 Peter 2:9 NKJV
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Have you ever sat with a bible verse so good, it made you just think about your whole life?
Listen, this was me! I sat on my bed during my devotional and really said, “Dang foreeeaalll
God, you choose me?” Now you may be wondering where this is coming from. Things not being perfect is a fear of mine. When I’m presented with an opportunity and it aligns with my purpose, I automatically assume the worse. Instead of thanking God for what’s being presented in front me, I start thinking about all the ways I may mess this up if it’s not perfect. And then it goes down this spiral of “Am I good enough to do this?” But this verse here brought me to a realization that I am chosen. I am chosen to walk in my purpose with such grace and light. As a woman of faith, I believe that my path is unique. I was chosen to walk it because God saw it fit for me to be great in my purpose.

His own special people. I am people. I am special. God called me special meaning whatever I am faced with I can get through it because I am special. He called me to do it. He chose me. So, what has God called you to that you need to bring to light?

Let’s start replacing fear with faith!

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I Choose Peace…


This blog post is a little difficult to write, because lately I’ve been in a difficult season…

If you read the title of this post and it led you here, I want to start off saying that the key word there is choose,” and it’s a lesson that you have to commit to learning for the sake of your well-being and mental health.

Walking in a spirit of peace is not an easy thing to do, because sometimes it challenges some key areas that you need to work on within yourself. Choosing peace might mean sending an “okay” instead of a long paragraph (yes, I’ve seen memes about this, but it’s still accurate lol). Choosing peace might mean to bridle your tongue when you want to pop off (even rightfully so), and choosing peace for you might mean to quiet your mind and to stop replaying past moments where you feel you failed, got hurt, or felt embarrassed (the last one is a huge challenge for me).

Now, this isn’t to say that choosing peace means that you NEVER respond to situations that might call for you to be more assertive, because it is definitely a case by case kind of basis and it calls for you to determine what is the most appropriate response. However, with that being said, the spirit of peace is what I like to call a guiding point as to how you can make your decisions on how to respond to certain events in life.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is pexels-matheus-henrin-5120981-683x1024.jpg
MH Photos

Sometimes, well a lot of the time, we just need to sit and think about what the situations that life presents to us will mean a week, a month, a year, or a few years down the road. Do you, after 5 years, want to be replaying the same situations in your head that causes you not to truly live your life with the freedom that you know that you can? Listen sis, that’s not fair to you. God called you here for a purpose, and while life WILL be difficult, we also know that all things work together for good, because our Father in Heaven who loves us said so!

Like I said, in my last post, Give Yourself Grace, I’m not preaching at anyone as if I’ve learned to master and overcome everything in my life. Choosing peace is an action that you have to make a conscious decision to do every day. It’s definitely a learning process!

Look at it this way though. You owe this to YOURSELF! If God knew that you would face challenging circumstances and had the ability to allow you to choose His Peace in the situation, wouldn’t that mean that he wants you to lead a life that’s not constantly imbued with mental stress? You will be stressed at times, but not ALL the time!

Make a conscious decision today. Put yourself first, by choosing God’s peace TODAY!

Is the Sky Really the Limit?

When I was growing up a phrase that I remember hearing often is “they sky is the limit”.

I was never very fond of that phrase still, it stuck with me.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I consciously questioned why that phrase didn’t sit well with me.

I remember some of the questions that I asked myself were

-Why was there even a limit?

-Why is the limit the sky? Everyone can see the sky. If you are familiar with basic astronomy, then you know that there is so much more beyond the sky, so much more that scientists have discovered and even more that they have not. From stars whose lights extinguish well before lighting up our night sky, to planets humans may never set foot on. I have a hard time knowing all that and aiming only for the sky. And even though I was very young at the time that is what my young mind struggled to grasp. I had no idea what I could accomplish when I set my mind to do things, so I couldn’t understand why the adults around me encouraged me to set a limit. Why would I put a cap on my potential to achieve? Why did whoever come up with that phrase…why did they stop at the sky?

More importantly why do we as human beings place limits on ourselves? In my experience so far on this planet, I have observed that the people who are quick to tell me or someone else what they cannot or should not do are the ones who limit themselves the most.

I am not exempt from doing this to myself, it seems the older I get the less ‘fearless’ I feel moving through life. And I am learning that this is not uncommon, and I am not the only one. I’ve also learned that it takes a conscious effort to first become aware of the limits that one has set on themselves and even more effort to course correct once one is aware.

I say all this to bring forth the question, “what limits have you placed on yourself?” whether through external forces such as society and the individuals you surround yourself with or internal fears that may whisper in your ear, telling you all the reasons you shouldn’t. That you can’t.

If you’re like me at all at first, you may deny that you are limiting yourself with your own beliefs. And that’s fine, you may not be ready for the commitment of honesty to oneself required when addressing the limits you place on yourself. That was me at first, but you can only survive in that space of denial for so long, before life and growth requires you to expand. And the first step is developing the awareness and honesty with oneself.

Some of the limits I placed on myself include:

Limit 1- not taking full advantage of my day and claiming that I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to.

Limit 2 – Delaying traveling by myself because it’s more fun with others (Who’s more fun to me than me?? Tuh!)

Limit 3 – Not asking for help because I feel like I should be able to handle this (whatever ‘this’ is) on my own and feeling less capable because I did ask for help.

After identifying the above, I had to ask myself why I was trying to do things in this way? Why was I trying to live my life this way? And was there possibly another way, maybe the way that I may have been influenced to believe was not the “right” way?

Limit 1-Why do I feel I need to do a million things in one day? Why do I feel so bad when I’m not able to cross them off my list? Perhaps that list needs to be adjusted? Is that so terrible?

Limit 2 – Do I mind being by myself? Yes? Why? No ok let’s go – buying the plane ticket that I can afford.

Limit 3 – I started saying ‘this is too much’, ‘I feel overwhelmed’, ‘I need help’. Oddly enough my world did not blow up after I asked for help, and the only person looking at me with shame for asking for help was…me. Interesting.

Did all of this happen overnight? No, it did not. Identifying and addressing the limits I place on myself is currently ongoing and I don’t see an end anytime soon. I identify and smash limitations I’ve outgrown every day, because I made the commitment to myself to do so. And through my growing pains that’s one of the things I’ve re-discovered, in life, you must keep pushing forward in one direction or another in order to move in any direction.

It’s important to note, that having limits is not a ‘bad’ thing. Identifying and knowing your limits allows you to identify whether they are beneficial and serving a function in your life. Is that function helping or hindering you from moving in the direction you want to go in? That’s up to you to decide, because you are the one who get’s to choose which limits stay and which you need to get rid of. And you can choose whatever you want to be your limit, it doesn’t have to be the sky because that’s what everyone else seems to be aiming for. I want to know what’s beyond the sky.

Blogger, Tawana Waugh

Cutting Ties With the Past and Moving Forward In Your Future

Everyday should feel like a new year. You know, that feeling you get when you wake up
screaming new year, new me? Yes, keep that same energy throughout your everyday life.
Wake up every morning with a refreshed mind, new attitude, and a fun way to live out your long and short terms goals.

But, in order to live a life of progression and optimism you have to cut ties with your past.

No, I’m not talking about ex’s & old friends (apply if applicable) but specifically the old energy that you kept around for comfort. The things you once did to cope with stress or uncertainty. This can extend out to toxic behaviors practiced in relationships, stress eating, playing victim, or “ghosting”. Reverting back to those toxic behaviors where you was not acting in your best interest just hinders your personal growth and the respect you already built for yourself.

No judgement though, but it stops here!

We’ve all done things we weren’t proud of at one point in time, but that was the past and we should leave it there. Who are you now? Better yet, who do you want to be? In this life, our one life that we live, we have the sovereignty to choose our path and be whoever we want to be.

Regardless of the odds stacked against us, continue to work and take those strides to become what you dream of. Build your network to reflect who you are and where you desire to be. I understand life isn’t a fairy tale, but don’t we have the power of internal monologue? And control over our internal environments?

Cutting ties with the past and moving forward in your future is the best way to stay productive and live above the bulls**.

People will criticize you everyday and anyway.

Move for you.

Move towards your future.

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Losing a Loved One to Suicide

My views of suicide are probably different than most people’s. Surely, we have all experienced suicidal thoughts. ( Many of us are afraid to admit it.) On August 18th, 2014, I got a call that one of my best friend’s took their own life. Months before it happened, he had been on my mind. I meant to call him or send him a text but never got around to it. It slipped my mind every single time. I often find myself thinking, what if I would have remembered to call him. Would he still be here? I like to think yes, because we both had that special effect on each other where we could pull each other out of those dark places. 

I can never bring myself to talk about his death, I guess saying it out loud makes it seem too real. Sometimes I still find myself waking up in the middle of night just crying, and it’s been six years. Therefore, I’ll say this, after his death I cannot fathom to think about any suicidal thoughts. The pain that this has caused me makes me never want to put my friends and family through.  It truly never goes away; you just learn to go numb thinking about it. I’ve lost friends from accidents, diseases and overdoes, but this hits completely different. My closest friends don’t even know this, it’s something I cannot bring myself to talk about. To be honest I don’t remember what life was like before I even met him. 

Above all, this whole experience made me realize no matter how much you think you know someone, we are all fighting our own demons. Now, whenever someone crosses my mind I don’t hesitate to reach out and I don’t ever expect a response. You never know how a text or call can save someone’s life. Although time has passed, it’s still a constant struggle that I battle every single day. I learned that suicidal thoughts are temporary and just an easier solution to no longer be present. There’s video of a man that jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and he states that as soon he let go, he instantly regretted it.

I guess what I am trying to say is that you matter, I matter, we all matter. Life comes with its trials and tribulations, but it doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. Losing someone to suicide is truly something you never get over. I can say though on my darkest days, I tend to go on long car rides and just think. On these car rides, my Passenger Airbag always disables which can only happens if someone is sitting in my front seat without a seatbelt. Maybe it’s a glitch in my car, but I think I have an idea of who’s there.

Don’t hesitate to reach out and it’s okay not to get a response. You never know how a text or call can save someone’s life.

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No. Is a Complete Sentence.

As a Black professional in my predominantly white workspace I find myself needing to stand out or making sure that I am doing my job thoroughly. Growing up, my mother always told me that I had to work twice as hard because I am Black and a woman. The pattern of being the “yes” person can easily turn into me being the bad person when I say “No.” I get the shocked gaze, a follow up asking if everything is okay, or a “think about it later and get back to me.” This results in me questioning myself.

Am I doing enough?

Should I explain why?

Will this make me look bad?

Then guilt settles in.

After talking with my therapist, we discussed how saying no has a period at the end. It is a complete sentence.

We explored that my reasoning for saying no is to protect me, so I won’t overwhelm myself with the responsibilities that I already have. Colossians 3:23 (NLT) says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you are working for the Lord, rather than for people.”

I have this verse on my desk as a constant reminder that I’m not here to please people but do the work that God has given me the gifts and ability to do. It is easy for me to feel like taking on more responsibility will result in me being seen or receiving recognition. When you have those moments where it’s difficult to say no, I challenge you to think about these reminders below and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Knowing my why.
    a. Is this responsibility within my means?
    b. Does it help me further my purpose?
  2. No. Is self-care.
    a. Will I get overwhelmed?
    b. Does it take time away from my me time?
  3. No. Sets boundaries.
    a. Is this something I can take on and do it well?
    b. Is this in my job description?

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