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What Does Your Vote Mean?

by Wendy Gladney on 10/19/20

Plato said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” We are in countdown mode with less than two weeks before the election.  Some of us have already cast our vote, either in person where we stood in long lines, or we sent our ballots in by mail. For those that may still be on the fence regarding if you are going to vote, I am telling you it is not an option.  Too many people have fought, sacrificed, or even died for us to have the right to cast our vote.  It is imperative that each one of us does our research about the candidates and the issues that are before us right now. If you are not sure, I am here to tell you your vote means everything. 

I decided to take a personal look at how I view the importance of everyone’s vote, especially during this 2020 election.

V – is for letting your VOICE be heard.  For your voice to count it is essential that you do your research and understand what is at stake and how your vote will affect how you (and others) will live for possibly generations to come.  This goes for candidates and the various measures on the federal and local levels.

O – is for expressing your OPINION.  To express your opinion, you must have one.  Now is the time to be clear and understand what you believe and what are your core values.  If you are not sure spend some time searching your core and go back to your basics.  What is important to you?  What are you willing to live or die for? This will help guide your heart and mind to make the decision you feel is best.   

T – is for the TIME is now.  We are literally running out of time.  I think some of us fell asleep and have been on auto pilot and we think that everything will work itself out.  No. We must act now and do all that we can to help make a difference.  If we do not like the way things are, it is up to us to make a difference.  We must put our money, resources, time, and expertise to work right now.  Have you done your best to make a difference for this election?  If not, then pour yourself into whatever you can during these last few days before you look back and it is too late. 

E – is for EQUALITY.  It is sad that we are still fighting for equality for all Americans.  As I look at the injustices in our society, it saddens me that a white man can walk down the street with a gun in his hand after killing someone, while an unarmed Black man (or woman) can be killed while sleeping in their own bed. It also saddens me that even still, some Americans do not see the inequality that persists today.  Equality is also on the ballot if we want to achieve a better society.

No matter what your political affiliation, the time is now. You must let your voice be heard and express your opinion by casting your vote.  America is crying out for equality and justice for all.  Do not stand on the sidelines.  George Jean Nathan shared, “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”  We need everyone to show up and be heard.  The future of our children and grandchildren depends on the choices we make today. 

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

Do You Help People Feel Heard?

by Wendy Gladney on 10/12/20

Maya Angelou is famous for saying, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Today so many people are hurting and they have a real need to feel heard.  They need more than just someone who will listen; they also need someone who will really hear what they are saying and has a heart to care. People from all walks of life are suffering in silence and they feel as if they have nowhere to go or nobody to turn to.  There is an uncertainty in the air due to the issues we all have faced this year and some of us are struggling with how to express our feelings.  We are afraid that we will be judged and misunderstood. 

I have talked to friends, clients and even family members who are struggling with some level of trepidation about their future.  Between COVID-19, financial struggles and now with the election staring us in the face, it causes some of us to have feelings of desperation about our future. People who have, in the past, done a good job of holding things together are now facing the future with uncertainty. Of course, not everyone is struggling at the same degree; but pretty much everyone I have talked to is dealing with some sort of issue and they just want to feel as if they are being heard.  People oftentimes do not feel comfortable opening up and exposing their true feelings because they are not sure about the repercussions they may face once they get on the other side of whatever they are dealing with.  Vulnerability is a difficult emotion to share whether it is with friends or strangers.

What I have learned as I continue to make myself available to others is that first we must practice active listening.  Let the person know they matter and that no matter what they are going through, it is not trivial and that you genuinely care.  What may be a mountain to one person may be a molehill to another, but either way it is a barrier in that person’s life and it is causing them some level of angst. When someone trusts us enough to share what they are facing, we should try and make them feel safe and comfortable.  A good barometer or measuring stick would be how you would want someone to make you feel if you were going through the same situation.  What are some key signs you would look for that would make you feel safe and that they hear you? 

This year has caused me to reflect on the things that are really important.  On the top of my list is the importance of investing in others.  Yes, there are other things that are important like building our careers, philanthropy, and a host of other things, but when all is said and done, what will really be remembered are the lives we have touched and how we have made them feel.  When we leave this earth, we cannot take any of our earthly possessions with us, but we can leave behind a rich legacy of helping others to believe in themselves that will have an effect on future generations long after we are gone.  I have learned that patience is a virtue that can help us achieve this goal.  So, the next time someone approaches you and they need a little help, slow down, take a pause and just listen with all your heart.  Sometimes they do not even need any advice, just someone who will listen and let them know they care. I guarantee you they will feel heard.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

Can Forgiveness Bring Healing During Civil Unrest?

by Wendy Gladney on 10/05/20

Forgiveness must be part of the process if we hope to achieve any level of healing in rebuilding and reconstructing our country.  The process of forgiveness has played a positive role in history when it comes to conflict resolution and we are currently in a world of conflict more than ever. Living with COVID-19, the downfall of our economy, civil unrest, and race relations at an all time low, tempers and temperatures are running high.  When the President of the United States can stand on the global stage and tell white extremists to, “stand back and stand by,” instead of outright condemning their actions, this pushes America further back. Generations of sacrifice, hard work, and progress continues to unravel.   

American Novelist, James Baldwin said, “When any white man in the world picks up a gun and says; give me liberty or give me death, the entire white world applauds. But when a Black man says exactly the same thing, word for word, he is judged as a criminal, (by whites) and treated as one. And everything possible is done to make an example of him to ensure there would not be any more like him." He went on to also say, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” We are a conscious people so you can imagine the rage that lays right under the surface constantly. We must figure out how we can achieve justice, peace, and healing.  Forgiveness will have to be part of the answer.

So, what are we going to do about it?  How do we extend forgiveness when it is something that we either do not understand or do not want to extend to someone who has offended or hurt us? Where do we begin when we feel that justice has not been served? For instance, the pain we still feel behind the lack of justice for Breonna Taylor. Forgiveness has power and when we learn to forgive others, and sometimes even ourselves, the healing process can help start to heal open wounds and create a new beginning. If we want hope for future generations, we must figure out how to rebuild and start anew. Sometimes we may have to learn to release and let some things go. We may never receive complete restitution on some matters, so it is important for us to learn how to keep going and growing through the process. Sometimes the justice we seek will only be realized by future generations because of our sacrifice and the power of the vote.

There are those that have shown us the healing power of forgiveness towards individuals, as well as in the rebuilding of a nation. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a leading expert on forgiveness, shares in his book, “No Future Without Forgiveness,” about South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  The Commission exposed the atrocities that were committed and the process they had to go through to get to the other side.  Forgiveness is hard work, but very necessary for the healing process for civil unrest.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu, together wrote, “The Book of Forgiving:  The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World.”  They share four steps that are critical; (1) telling the story; (2) naming the hurt; (3) granting forgiveness; and (4) renewing or releasing the relationship. We tend to stay in a state of unrest when we do not see a path for hope or resolve.  Forgiveness can bring healing during our times of civil unrest. Maybe we need to think about establishing a “Commission?” Hate cannot survive where love and forgiveness abide, but we have to begin the process.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

She Was Notorious and Glorious: Supreme Court Justice RBG!

by Wendy Gladney on 09/28/20

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood at 5’1 and weighed less than most of us; yet what she accomplished during her lifetime stands tall against giants across the board.  She was given the nickname, “Notorious RBG,” and she lived up to that name until the end.  People who went up against her eventually came to realize that her quiet nature did not mean she was a pushover.  She was modest, humble, and glorious. How many people can you name that hold these qualities?  Her mother told her to always be a lady, which meant to be your own person and independent. No one could ever question if she were a lady in her demeanor or style. Sometimes being a lady has been underrated.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg believed that we should fight for the things we care about, but we need to do it in such a way that encourages others to join in what you are fighting for. During her lifetime she sacrificed a lot personally to help make the world a better place. She has been compared to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall who was a civil rights giant.  They both demanded equality for all and for America to live up to the promises laid out in the Constitution and Bill of Rights for all its citizens.  We are currently living in a time, once again, where America is forced to look in the mirror to see how they are treating all their citizens.  If we are going to come out of this on the right side of justice, we must be willing to sacrifice and do our part.  Freedom is not necessarily free.

RBG died on September 18th which happens to be my mother’s birthday.  Of course, I knew who RBG was and many of the accomplishments she achieved over the years, but upon her death it made me a little more inquisitive to learn more about this small lady of great stature.  We can all read about her professional achievements, so I would like to share two things about her personal life that really touched me. I recently celebrated my 59th birthday and with everything that is going on right now, I sometimes have questioned what is next for me?  What can I still accomplish during my lifetime?  When I read that she was 60 years old when she was appointed to the Supreme Court, it made me feel the possibility that there is still so much more ahead for me. Often what we do along our journey opens the doors for where we are meant to end up.

The second thing that really spoke to me was her relationship with her husband Marty.  He was so supportive of her work and calling in life.  He was never intimidated by her accomplishments. Not only did he encourage her, but he was her biggest fan and advocate.  They were a true partnership and example of how positive a relationship can really be.  I have been challenged in this area, but I am thankful that I now understand what that type of relationship looks and feels like.  Having a husband that stands with you can help you accomplish anything life throws your way.  One of the things RBG shared is that it helps to be a little deaf sometimes. Funny, my husband recently said the same thing.  Do not major in the minors.  

Whether male or female, Black or white, Democrat or Republican, we all have so much we can learn from the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We cannot let her life be in vain.  We must all pick up our torch and continue the race.  We must be notorious to bring about justice and the changes necessary for our country to survive our current crisis. We may be “Ruthless,” but her legacy will live on.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.

Chaos Everywhere!

by Wendy Gladney on 09/14/20

Now we have fires to deal with! Who would have ever thought we would experience so much chaos in one year? In January we learned about the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the rest of the passengers on the small private plane. Our hearts were full of sorrow in such disbelief. In February, we publicly experienced another Black man killed in cold blood by the name of Ahmaud Arbery. March was terrifying as we were officially introduced to COVID-19, the pandemic we all have been living with for months now, and an innocent woman by the name of Breonna Taylor was murdered in her own bed by police officers. 

Some of us thought that the month of April would bring hope, but people continued to die across the globe from the coronavirus. Financially many did not know how they were going to survive, and hope was failing.  On May 25th George Floyd was murdered in cold blood and people said enough is enough. We were beyond tired. The #BlackLivesMatter Movement with peaceful protests began jumping off, but there were some that showed up for other reasons causing chaos.  As we continue to struggle through the hot summer, our hearts were broken when Congressman John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian died, and our superhero, Chadwick Boseman, aka “T’Challa,” lost his heroic battle to cancer. To make things worse the political strife in our country is uglier than ever. Those of us in the West, are now fighting fires that are raging out of control and we pray for the safety of the firefighters as they push forward to extinguish and put them out. 

Chaos means complete disorder and confusion.  When chaos is present, oftentimes the behavior of people becomes unpredictable and sometimes random. We are all searching to find ways to return things back to the way they were or to what we call “normal.”  Newsflash: things will never be as they once were and in some cases that is not a bad thing. We need to relax, stay calm and help create what will be our new normal that is just and fair for everyone. Even when we cannot see it, good can come out of bad or chaos because it causes things to get stirred up and revealed.  The question is will we be part of the solution or exacerbate the problem? The choice is ours.  Let us figure out how we can live together, or we will perish.

We all have a moral compass.  We inheritably know right from wrong.  There are some basic life principles that are guiding factors on how we should live and treat others.  There are also situations that need to be challenged because they are based on privilege, history, and uneven playing fields. I recently read, when in doubt listen to your gut.  It is believed that our gut is our second brain.  I remember my grandmother sometimes asking, “What is your gut saying to you?” If we listen and pay attention to our bodies, they will talk to us.  The question is whether we are tuned in and paying attention to what it is saying to us.

There will be some things in this life that will be totally out of our control such as natural (and some man made) disasters, but there are some things that we just need to stand up and take control of such as racism, division, and the lack of respect towards one another.  Even when we disagree, we can do so respectfully.  When history is written about how things were handled during these unsettled times, what will be said about how we handled them? Tough times do not last, but tough people do. We can bring peace where there is chaos if we are willing to make tough choices and do what is right, equitable and just. #vote

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is an international coach, consultant, trainer, author and speaker. She can also be found live on Instagram @Wendygladney on Wednesdays at 12 noon PST.