The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have

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The Longest Relationship You Will Ever Have
By Bernadette A. Moyer

take-care-of-yourself

The longest relationship you will ever have is with yourself, and for me, it also includes God. The way we treat people and our honesty and dishonesty is something that only we can reconcile. So many of us are hugely invested in our parents, our children, our friends and our neighbors and where this is quite noble, the truth is that the sustainable relationship is the one we have with ourselves. Friends come and go, family comes together and drifts apart, parents age and die and children grow up and go on their way.

The biggest investment made should be where it will have staying power and last, and that is within our own self. When we look to others for our value, whether it is an employer, a parent, a child, a friend or any other we have given way to letting everyone else determine our value.

As a child who was born as raised Catholic, I learned many wonderful life lessons. I learned to live by the golden rule and to treat other people the way that I wanted to be treated. I learned the value in living for the greater good and about service above self. I watched both Catholic Priests and Catholic Nuns put everyone else above themselves.

I learned to believe I was going to hell if I didn’t honor the Catholic code for living. It is only recently that I have discovered that if and when you put everyone else above yourself you have basically taught people how to treat you. You have taught them that you deserve to be last.

Life is a journey and not a destination, each one of us is evolving as we age, and as we learn and grow. Just like a flower that comes back year after year, where it may be the same type of flower it never returns looking exactly like it did in its previous bloom.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Steve Jobs     

When we are young we have no way to fully comprehend how our decisions will impact us later in life. Like the teenager who decides to become a teen mom, they can never fully understand that life altering choice until they age.

Parents fret over their teenagers and young adult decisions, because unlike the teenager and the young adult a mature adult has a better understand of poor choices. The choice to walk away and not take advantage opportunities in education and employment among other opportunities means much more to that same adult, now grown, who does not have the advantage of a college degree or work experience.

Decisions made in anger and in haste seldom stand up in the test of time. Whether our parents were great parents, mediocre parents or even terrible parents, they are the parents that God gave to us. Every single adult knows the impact of their childhood both good and bad and the importance of their roots and their home. Even in the most highly dysfunctional families, social workers and mental health care providers work to restore the health of the first family or neonatal family. They get it that the parental relationships will impact a child’s life for the rest of their life. And that is whether they remain in their lives or not. Parents are forever and so are their children.

Life is long

Most people state “life is short” or “life is so short” but it was my husband who first shared the statement, “life is long’ with me. Life is long and it feels even longer when as a young person you make life altering decisions that impact your life in a negative way, for the rest of your life.

One of the fastest growing populations of people is estranged parents and adult children. This week alone I received 6 e-mails from across the country and from both men and women, fathers and mothers who are estranged from their adult children and grandchildren. The pain and heartache is insurmountable and almost every single case has set the same cycle up for the next generation.

Statistically it has been proven that once this pattern of family estrangement begins, it plays itself, over and over again in future generations.

The Support Group for Parents of Estranged Adult Children, if needed you can find it on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-Group-for-Parents-of-Estranged-Adult-Children

I have heard from parents, who had social services involve themselves and when it was deemed it was a troubled teenager, the rift between parent and child was broken beyond repair. I heard from a father who was arrested after his teen daughter claimed abuse. It didn’t take long for the investigation to uncover that the teen was angry. She was angry with dad, because he took the car away from her. So she got him back by slamming herself up against the car, getting a bruise, calling police, saying dad did this and when they saw her redness and bruise, he was immediately arrested.

Now dad sees how dangerous and without boundaries, his daughter is and in his anger and hurt he doesn’t want the teen back in the home. The teen daughter is limited in her ability to function without her parents support. The stage is now set for years of estrangement. The social workers once there and involved are long gone as they have moved on helping truly abused children. This family is left with the destruction and the aftermath.

Try Not to Make Mistakes that You Can’t Recover From

It wasn’t until one of my later career jobs that I was applauded for making any mistakes. My supervisor always saw the value in lessoned learned and in the ability to try. According to him, if you made a mistake, at least you were trying. For the effort you were applauded then came the dialogue about what went wrong and how to make it better. Everything was viewed as a learning opportunity and a chance for growth and development.

Some mistakes can’t ever be repaired, nor can you ever come back from them. Murder and rape are not actions that once crossed can be repaired. Where we want to live in a world of second chances and of reform, there are actions that can be taken that you can never take back.

When you put your life in someone else’s hands and when you no longer have the power over your own destiny in life you have all but ended your relationship with yourself. No one is going to know what you like, need or want in life better than you do. Advice is great and often it is free and perhaps in being free that is what it is worth, nothing. People often have their own agenda and their own idea.

Coming from a place of strength and of self-love and acceptance and contributing to our own success and investing in our own self allows us to be fully developed mature adults. We can’t get our value or devalue ourselves by what other people do or don’t do.

As parents, maybe we need to do better and teach our children that the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship you have with yourself. If you are not full-filled and you are angry, only you can do what is necessary to fix that inside of yourself.

Investing in our own self is not selfish but rather contributes to wellness and to the greater good. We all know that “hurt people, hurt people.” And most often when teens and young adults are lashing out at others, at their parents and at their friends, family and community, it is because they are hurt and troubled.

I can’t say it enough, the longest relationship you will ever have is the relationship that you have with yourself. Invest in you, take care of you and do what is right. A pretty good measure for me has always been that if you wouldn’t want something done to you, you most probably shouldn’t be doing that same thing to someone else.

Peace, love and all good things …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Rise Above It

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Rise Above It
By Bernadette A. Moyer

rise

As a kid growing up this was one of many mantra’s that my mother tried to teach us, “rise above it” and she meant whatever “it “was.

Every single one of us has “stuff” things that aren’t perfect about us or perfect in our lives. No one is perfect and no one has a perfect life. Part of the challenge in life is how we handle ourselves and our situations at any given time.

We are always afforded the choice to “rise above it” and with every choice in doing so we gain confidence in ourselves and are able to love, nurture, grow and gain in the process.

We can go low or we can rise up … each and every response creates a different set of consequences. We are only ever responsible for our own actions. What other people do is always all about themselves.

Rise above it! Rise above it! Rise above it! When we do this our life, our world, our self-esteem and our self-worth all rise too.

Remember not one of us is perfect and yet when we make the choice to rise about it we become perfectly attuned and at peace.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

My Name is Brandon

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My Name is Brandon
This is me ….

by Bernadette Moyer and Brandon Sahm

The words below are from our son Brandon not a single word was edited. As a point of reference, just before the holidays this year, I told his father, my husband that I wish I could write about this but out of respect for Brandon it wasn’t my story to share. Oddly, two days later, he called me from yet another hospital crisis admission stay and asked me if I would help him write his story. There is so much more I could say here but I am choosing to keep it in my heart, at least for now.

He was always different but I chose to see the best of him and often chalked it up to him being an artist and an actor. Looking back with hindsight and 20/20 vision he was extremely well supported and loved or he most probably would not have had the successes that he did achieve. His birth mother died when he was born, I got him when he was 87 days old along with his twin sister. His natural father and I raised them together.

After what we lived through these past two years I no longer have that luxury of seeing him how I viewed him before this all began two years ago. I have loved him dearly and deeply. Today I know that I must let go… as difficult as that is for me. I am no longer the answer …it is so much more than what I am built to manage. I just want him happy and to be his best, however he decides to define it.

(You might want to grab a tissue…)

His words, his story, from his own handwritten journal and by his request …

Brandonpic

My Name is Brandon Sahm. I’m an Eagle Scout, a high school graduate, and a young adult who has recently been diagnosed with Autism and mental illness. But before you say anything I want you to know it wasn’t always like this. It’s just the last two years was like going through hell which it was. At 24 I lost my job at Yo Lavie, a frozen yogurt store one that I worked at for 3 ½ years. It was hard because it was a job I worked hard at and one I got on my own. Three-hundred job applications later I started working again at Texas Roadhouse. It was also around that time that I got my driver’s license. However, the job would be very short lived, after seeing the struggle of keeping up in a fast-paced environment my boss decided to let me go. I was devastated, and instead of going straight home to tell my parents I decided (and this was out of anger) to get drunk.

By the summer of 2016 my jump from hospital to hospital began. It started at Franklin Square in Essex. I wasn’t really fond with the care looking back because the groups didn’t talk much about their problems and did nothing but arts and crafts. Also it felt more like a place for people on drugs.

In August of 2016 after fighting with my parents out of impulse and anger, I attempted to end my life and commit suicide. It was raining when it happened. What stopped me was contemplation, I was halfway over the bridge on 695 when I stopped and got down. Soon after that the police came and took me to Saint Joseph Medical Center. There the groups were more active and the staff did care about the patients. After my lengthy stay and release I was an outpatient for 30 days. It was my mother who took me to all those daily appointments. I had many hospitals stays all kinds of diagnosis and according to my mom “more pills than any human body should ever consume” time and time again I called a crisis team and was picked up and readmitted. It wouldn’t take long before I would return for the holidays. On January 13, 2017 I was discharged again with a diagnosis of mental illness and Autism.

I was surprised to hear the word Autism but at the same time I had a sense of clarity and everything I did socially made sense. Because growing up I didn’t have many friends yet I excelled academically. As I said I became an Eagle Scout, made National Honor Society, graduated from high school all before the diagnosis. But of all the people that would tease me, my sister was the biggest bully yet. I remember every year she would make me lie about our report cards, and make me buy food for her at the mall. So at 18 when she left and changed schools I felt free for the first time. It was also our fights that made me think about suicide for the first time. And at that time when I told my mom, she said, “I had no idea.”

Sometimes when I think of suicide I think of how easy it must be to end the pain because to me I’ve always felt like a burden to my family. But now I see I have much to live for and now every time I pass by that bridge I think to myself, “wow I could have end it all but I didn’t.”

Back to the hospitals the next stay would be in Sheppard Pratt. I was there because I had a fight with my dad physically and realized I needed more help especially with my anger. I was there for almost two months and then sent to Harbor House.

I would be coming back to the house a few times including the holiday season. When I left back in December of 2017 I ran away because of the Christmas season, missing my parents, struggling mentally to accept what I can’t change. I hated myself even more for letting it happen, so much my desire for death was intensified. So I ended up spending Christmas in the hospital again and a Christmas day visit from my parents.

I still count myself lucky and grateful to have parents like them. I’m not much for writing but it is helping me express how I feel and it’s therapeutic, just like my art or any form of art for that matter. There are so many things that can influence us and make us into who we are, we just have to embrace it. My mom is like my best friend, we’re thick as thieves and she’s also my cheerleader. She’s known for her writing many of which I enjoy reading. What makes my mom special is that she has always been there for me, even when my sister and I were babies. The same goes for my dad, he could have easily left me and my sister up for adoption but he didn’t. My dad is a hard worker, a quality I picked up from him. He also introduced me to classic rock which I still enjoy today. My dad and I may argue sometimes but he is still my dad and I love him for raising us.

One of my fondest memories is being in boy scouts. One of those memories includes summer camps and getting to spend time with my dad.

(PLEASE keep Brandon and our entire family in your prayers as we continue to stumble through all of this)

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Understanding

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Understanding
By Bernadette A. Moyer

understanding

Understanding as a noun is defined as the ability to understand something: comprehension and are synonymous with comprehension, grasp, and mastery.

When used as an adjective sympathetically aware of other people feelings: tolerant and forgiving. Synonyms are compassionate, sympathetic, sensitive, considerate, tender, kind, thoughtful, tolerant, patient, forbearing, lenient, merciful, forgiving, humane, approachable, supportive and perceptive. Understanding is also defined as having insight and good judgement.

So after reading all that, who would not want to have more understanding?

There is no question we are living in a time of fear, anger and judgements and I have to question if that serves any of us well?

I never had any hatred toward my parents, not ever, and that didn’t mean they didn’t do things that I didn’t like. I might have had an occasion to be disappointed in them but I always tried to understand them. This served me well in never having to carry the burdens of anger and judgements and hatred.

Some of my father’s behaviors were questionable to me, so I tried harder to understand him. I could never have at age18 entered into the service during the Korean War like he did. I could and would never know what it feels like to have an enemy shoot at me and want to kill me all the while living in a foreign country. And yet as a teenager, this was my father’s reality. As a child, just a little boy he experienced the death of his seven year old brother. Again he lived through an experience that I never had but always tried to understand how that formed him and his life and contributed to making him the man that he was and that I knew and loved.

My mother was more of a mystery to me. She had what appeared to be a large loving family with six siblings and parents that loved each other and worked hard for their family. She was intelligent and highly educated. The mystery for me was why a woman who appeared to have so much going for her also had a history with men that were abusive to her. I still don’t understand it yet I know that it is true. What happened to her? I truly can’t answer that but I always tried to understand her. For me it was harder to love her because as much as I tried, I didn’t really understand her.

Reveal-Listen-Understanding

Today there are so many adult children that have decided to judge their parents so harshly; I witness it every single day in my support group. For me the take away is so clear, these kids have absolutely no desire to understand their parents and what formed them. And it is so sad, because they too will one day require understanding. We all do.

Prayer of Saint Francis Lyrics

Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury pardon
Where there is doubt faith
Where there is despair hope
Where there is darkness light
And where there is sadness joy
Oh divine grant that I may
Not seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life
Amen

Today I pray for a world and for a life that includes more and more understanding and less and less criticism and judgement.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Along The Way and Another Way books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

“Didn’t you notice me?” He asked.

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“Didn’t you notice me?” He asked.
By Bernadette A. Moyer

boy

It was 1976 and I was just seventeen years old as I was running up the stairs in our Allentown house. I was in a hurry and anxious to talk to my mother, I swiftly ran past a three year old little boy named Brenden, who caught my attention when he said so confidently and so clearly ”didn’t you notice me?”

He was calling me out. Brenden was a child that I often babysat along with his older sister Ariane and three other siblings. I liked the name Ariane so much that I named my own daughter after her. They were the children of a Baptist minister and his wife; they were friends of my mother and our family. The kids were all adorable and each child was confident and proud.

It is more than 40 years later and I will never forget that day and that a three year old said what needed to be said, he stopped me in my tracks when he asked me “didn’t you notice me?” I felt awful and I made sure he knew that I not only noticed him but appreciated seeing him again. I apologized for attempting to run past him. All he wanted was acknowledgement. I never intended to “not notice him” but clearly my actions said otherwise.

I read much more than I could ever write and I see posts that I read but never comment on although they often strike a chord with me. Every single day sometimes multiple times in a day I hear from or read about families that are broken and relationships that have ended. More and more families have estranged family members. There are family members that have decided not to acknowledge other family members.

Often during the holiday season the wounds, hurts and heartaches resurface with greater intensity. Everyone wants that Norman Rockwell like Christmas and yet few families really experience it. Someone is hurting, someone is missing, and many things in the family are different. Mom and dad have adult children that not only don’t “notice” them but literally want nothing to do with them. Overall the parents are bewildered and the adult children feel justified.

In just about every single case, the narrative is pretty much the same the adult children say they were “abused” it was mental abuse, or verbal abuse or physical abuse or all three. They all had “terrible childhoods” and now mom and dad must pay. They must pay by “no contact” or by not being accepted and noticed. It is an intolerant response.

Most all of the parents I have spoken with declare that they loved their kids and did the best they knew how, they did their best with what they had and what they knew at that time. Many parents never saw it coming and most of the adult kids seem to think little or nothing of it. Bad parents must be erased, period.

What you learn though in life is that it is never ever that simple. Relationships are complex and complicated. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. The longer you are in any relationship the wider the range of experiences you will share.

Like Brenden, a small child, I used to take it all in and onto myself; I used to be willing to accept the feelings and the responsibilities that went along when someone, anyone decided to cut me out of their life.

Then one day I woke up and accepted that I am human, sometimes I do great and other times not so much, but at the end of the day I am only responsible for my actions. I take 100% responsibilty for the things I do and the things I say, how other people treat me is about them, it was and is never about me.

The way we treat other people says so much about us, it is never about the other person, our actions, our decisions are all ours. We own them. Just like our feelings and our emotions, they belong to us. Simply put, your anger is your problem.

When I woke up to it I realized that absolutely nothing other people do is because of me, it is always because of them. People do what they do and people create their narrative often so they may justify their own behaviors and all their own decisions and actions.

What kind of son or daughter looks good when they have cut mom and dad out of their lives? Zero and none at all and so it is determined that mom and dad must be the “bad” ones because it surely isn’t going to be their adult children.

The same thinking can be applied to marriages that break apart or most any other relationships that end, someone is declared “right” and someone else is declared the “wrong” one. That’s just what we do, a couple decides to divorce and we want to know who is at fault? Yet again it isn’t that simple.

Relationships succeed or fail because of what both sides do; both parties contribute to the success or to the failure. The success is because of both people as is the failure. It is never ever just one sided. I always try my best to live by the golden rule, treat other people in the way that you, yourself would want to be treated. If you wouldn’t want something done to you, you probably shouldn’t do that same thing to anyone else.

We beat ourselves up when relationships don’t turn out like we think they should, we might be better served if we just accept that we have done our best, acknowledge our own portion and learn the lessons that each and every relationship can teach us.

At the end of the day and at the end of this life, we ask ourselves about what do we need and what do we want. For most all of us that answer will be peace and to be acknowledged that we were here and that we mattered.

As we age, we learn that we can come to peace after we did everything we can to right our wrongs and to trust that with God comes the entire acknowledgement that we will ever need.

You can’t fix someone else, you can only be the best person that you can be, it has been said that if you can’t fix it, it probably wasn’t your problem in the first place.

“Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past, let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” John F. Kennedy

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Along The Way and Another Way on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

The Nurture in Nature

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The Nurture in Nature
By Bernadette A. Moyer

falls

Just returned from a long weekend in Niagara Falls, New York and words nor photographs will ever do justice to the splendor and natural beauty of The Falls. It was my first trip there and hopefully not my last. It was nature at its best. The sounds and the look of waterfalls doing what they do naturally just a beautiful scene to take in, it almost took my breath away.

Minutes before you reach the falls to view, you hear them with that soft and calming sound of rushing waters. Then when you arrive you aren’t sure where to look first and what area to walk down first. There are people there just like you admiring it, taking it in and shooting photos and videos.

There is so much here to love, first it is a FREE National Park and on the day that we first arrived we received FREE holiday parking in their lot. The Falls are mesmerizing and they exude energy. There is incredible life, a life force that comes with the raging waterfalls. Each different time of day brings a different back drop with daylight one look and then in being backlit with colored lights at night. During our weekend stay we visited three times and I could have easily returned for many more visits. It doesn’t get old.

I was overcome with peace and also with pride. These waterfalls made me aware of just how small I am in a world with natural wonders and with the life force of this energy found in nature. I was also proud to live in a country that showcases its natural beauty so beautifully.

The trip to the waterfalls at Niagara Falls once again drove home for me just how much nurturing can be found in nature. So much life was happening right there and right then. The good news is that it didn’t include; television, radio, news, games or any other distraction that we face in life it was just simple Mother Nature at her best most beautiful self.

I am reminded again that all we really need to maintain our peace is a trip outdoors whether it is Niagara Falls, the ocean, the mountains, a lake or park, a garden or backyard trees and landscaping, Mother Nature is always there with arms wide open and willing to share all her many splendors. She nurtures us so completely in being honest and true and completely natural.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Along The Way and Another Way by Bernadette A. Moyer available on Amazon and Barnes& Noble

Know Your Value

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Know Your Value
By Bernadette A. Moyer

value

“Self-worth is so vital to your happiness. If you don’t feel good about YOU, it’s hard to feel good about anything else.” Sandy Hall

Know your value and know your worth, if you don’t see your value how could or would someone else? Sometimes in life, you have to take a stand that others may not like or appreciate but the truth is that at the end of the day, you could compromise your value away if you don’t stand strong.

Every single person alive has value and worth but like most things it starts with self-worth. If we don’t value ourselves most likely others won’t value us either. Never allow someone else to de-value you for their own gain and narrative. Stand strong and always, always know your value.

You weren’t put here on this earth to be anything less than your best or to live life without being true to yourself. If someone else can’t or won’t see your worth, move on, that door isn’t your door anyway. You will never be your best or come to your full potential surrounded by people that disrespect you, don’t appreciate you and are unable or unwilling to see your worth.

In every situation and in every relationship, it is up to us to know our value. Don’t compromise your set of values to fit into places where you don’t belong. If you do you will regret diminishing your own self-worth and in the end have handed over any possibility of other people seeing your true value.

Self-worth: “The ability to comprehend and accept my true value –To understand I am more than my mind, body, emotions and behaviors. To see myself as God sees me, to accept His love for me and to learn to love myself in a like manner.” Dr. Christina Hibbert

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facbook.com/bernadetteamoyer

Along The Way and Another Way available on Amazon and Barnes Noble