Escaping the Pressure to Conform: A Journey to Self-Discovery

During our formative years, when our sense of self is still developing, we often seek validation from those we admire. This can lead to succumbing to external pressure, which can significantly influence our decisions and behavior. Today, I share a personal story that highlights the importance of asserting our individuality and resisting external forces that seek to shape our lives.

The Pressure to Conform

In my early twenties, I was deeply involved in an organization that strongly promoted early family formation and settling down. Their emphasis on the fulfillment and purpose derived from family life resonated deeply within me, shaping my own beliefs and influencing my decisions.

The weight of their expectations pressed upon me, instilling a fear that deviating from their prescribed path would somehow diminish my worth as a woman. This internalized pressure propelled me to make hasty decisions that had far-reaching consequences.

The Rushed Decisions

Under the relentless influence of the organization’s ideology, I made rushed decisions that had profound and lasting impacts on my life. By the age of 24, I had become a mother of three, entered a failed marriage, and faced the harsh realities of choices made under external duress.

The demands of motherhood, coupled with the weight of responsibilities, overwhelmed me. I struggled to balance my newfound role as a parent with my own needs and aspirations. My marriage, devoid of genuine love and fueled by external pressure, crumbled under the strain of incompatibility and immature choices.

The Enduring Impact

The decisions I made under the organization’s influence continue to shape my life. I carry the weight of missed opportunities, the scars of a failed marriage, and the burden of responsibilities assumed prematurely.

The Importance of Resisting External Pressure

I share my story with the hope of illuminating the dangers of external pressure, whether it stems from peers, organizations, or societal norms. It is crucial to remember that our worth is not contingent on conforming to the expectations of others.

We must never allow the influence of others to dictate our life-altering decisions. Instead, we must pause, reflect on our deepest desires, and make choices that align with our authentic selves, regardless of external opinions.

Strategies for Resisting External Pressure

  1. Nurture Self-Worth: Develop a deep understanding of your values and beliefs. Have the courage to defend them with conviction.
  2. Seek Supportive Surroundings: Surround yourself with individuals who encourage your authenticity and support your positive choices.
  3. Embrace the Power of ‘No’: Learn to confidently decline invitations or requests that cause you discomfort or conflict with your values.
  4. Prioritize Your Aspirations: Never let the expectations of others derail your own dreams and goals.


External pressure can be a formidable force, but we must not relinquish control of our lives to its influence. By cultivating self-worth, seeking supportive connections, asserting our autonomy, and prioritizing our aspirations, we can navigate the pressures of conformity and make choices that align with our authentic selves.

I hope that my story serves as a reminder that we are worthy of love and respect, regardless of our age or circumstances. If you find yourself struggling with external pressure or the consequences of past decisions, seek guidance from a trusted professional or individual. Together, we can navigate life’s challenges and forge our own paths toward fulfillment.

Seek Support at Shekinah Wisdom

If you are seeking guidance and support in navigating external pressure and making life-altering decisions, Shekinah Wisdom offers a range of holistic healing and developmental coaching services tailored to support your individual needs. Visit to book an appointment and embark on your journey of self-discovery and fulfillment.

What Would You Do? #6 -Navigating Betrayal: A Guide to Addressing Dishonesty in Personal and Professional Relationships

Dishonesty, whether in personal or professional settings, can be a deeply unsettling experience, eroding trust, straining relationships, and undermining the foundations of teamwork and integrity. This guide delves into three common scenarios involving betrayal and offers strategies for addressing these challenging situations effectively.

Personal Dilemma: Navigating Betrayal

Scenario: You discover that your close friend, someone you trust and confide in, has been lying to you about a significant aspect of their life. This revelation shakes the foundation of your friendship, leaving you feeling betrayed, confused, and unsure of how to proceed.


  • Option 1: Confronting Your Friend

Choosing to confront your friend about their dishonesty is a bold and direct approach. It demonstrates your courage to address the issue head-on and seek clarity about the situation. However, it also carries the potential for confrontation and emotional distress. Your friend may react defensively or become resentful, potentially straining the friendship further.

  • Option 2: Distancing Yourself and Reassessing the Friendship

Taking a step back and distancing yourself from your friend can provide you with time and space to process your emotions and reassess the friendship. It allows you to reflect on the depth of the betrayal, the impact on your trust, and whether the friendship can be salvaged. However, this option may also lead to unresolved feelings and a lingering sense of hurt.

  • Option 3: Seeking Understanding and Empathy

Approaching the situation with empathy and a desire to understand the underlying reasons behind your friend’s dishonesty can open the door for meaningful communication. Try to have an open and honest conversation with your friend, expressing your feelings of betrayal while also seeking to understand their motivations. This approach may foster a deeper understanding of the situation and the possibility of reconciliation.

Business Dilemma: Addressing Dishonesty in the Workplace

Scenario: In your role as a manager, you encounter a colleague who consistently takes credit for others’ work and minimizes their contributions to group projects. This behavior creates a tense and unsupportive work environment, eroding team morale and undermining individual efforts. How can you effectively address this issue while maintaining a productive and harmonious workplace?


  • Option 1: Documenting and Reporting Misconduct

Documenting instances of your colleague’s behavior and sharing them with your team leader or manager provides concrete evidence of their actions. This formal approach ensures that the issue is addressed and that your colleague is held accountable for their behavior. However, it may also create tension and strain your working relationship with your colleague.

  • Option 2: Having an Open and Direct Conversation

Engaging in an open and direct conversation with your colleague can allow you to address their behavior directly and provide feedback on the impact of their actions. This approach promotes transparency and encourages your colleague to reflect on their behavior. However, it may require careful navigation to avoid confrontation or defensiveness.

  • Option 3: Seeking Mediation from a Neutral Third Party

Involving a neutral third party, such as a human resources representative or a mediator, can provide a structured and objective approach to resolving the issue. The mediator can facilitate a dialogue between you and your colleague, helping to clarify the situation and reach a mutually agreeable solution. This approach may be beneficial if direct communication proves challenging.

Familial Dilemma: Confronting Dishonesty Within the Family Unit

Scenario: You suspect that your spouse has been dishonest with you about their finances. This suspicion raises concerns about the financial stability of your family and the potential impact on your relationship. How can you address this issue while maintaining trust, open communication, and the integrity of your family unit?


  • Option 1: Initiating an Open and Honest Conversation

Approaching your spouse directly and expressing your concerns about their financial transparency is crucial for addressing the issue head-on. This open communication demonstrates your trust in your spouse and your desire to resolve the matter together. However, it may require careful timing and consideration of your spouse’s emotional state.


Unveiling the Roots of Dishonesty: Understanding the Motivations Behind Truth-Twisting

Beneath the surface of self-deception and dishonesty often lie psychological factors that drive these behaviors. Understanding these motivations can empower us to navigate relationships with truth-twisters more effectively.

The Masked Friend

A friend consistently painted an idyllic picture of her relationships, never sharing any struggles or challenges. This façade of perfection made it difficult for others to open up about their own difficulties, as it created an atmosphere of unattainable standards. However, upon engaging in an honest conversation, it was revealed that her constant positivity stemmed from a deep-seated fear of judgment and disapproval. This newfound understanding allowed for a more authentic and supportive friendship where both individuals could share their experiences, both positive and negative.

The Unseen Competition

In another instance, a friendship was strained by an underlying covert competition. One friend, unbeknownst to the other, felt threatened by their unintentional successes, perceiving them as personal failures. This hidden competition manifested in various aspects of their friendship, creating tension and resentment. When the underlying issue was brought to light, it ignited a journey of understanding and empathy. Instead of fostering closer bonds, the revelation intensified the feelings of inadequacy, transforming the friendship into a delicate balancing act. This anecdote highlights the toxicity of covert competition and the importance of genuine support in nurturing meaningful connections.

The Reluctant Supporter

In a professional setting, a colleague consistently takes credit for the work of others. Despite addressing the issue directly and emphasizing the importance of teamwork, the behavior persisted. It was only through seeking support from a manager that the situation began to improve. This anecdote underscores the significance of assertiveness in various aspects of our lives, whether personal or professional and the importance of advocating for oneself in the face of such challenges.

Setting Boundaries within Familial Dynamics

A unique challenge arose within a familial context when a mother refused to call her son by his first name, a choice she disagreed with. This persistent refusal led to a candid conversation where the son reminded his mother that, just as she expected respect for her naming choice, he sought the same respect for the name he chose for his son. Surprisingly, this straightforward approach resolved the issue, emphasizing the power of setting boundaries and standing up for what matters in maintaining healthy familial relationships.

Embracing Diverse Perspectives: Authenticity Through a Cultural Lens

Perceptions of authenticity and honesty can vary significantly across cultures, reflecting the unique values and norms that shape individual societies. Understanding these diverse perspectives is crucial for fostering genuine connections in a multicultural world.

Communication Styles: Different cultures approach communication in diverse ways, influencing how authenticity is expressed. Some cultures emphasize directness and assertiveness, while others prioritize politeness and indirectness.

Cultural Misinterpretations

In a cross-cultural collaboration, a colleague from a different cultural background appeared disengaged and unresponsive during meetings. Initially, this behavior was misinterpreted as a lack of interest or engagement. However, upon learning more about his cultural norms, it was realized that his behavior was a sign of respect and deference to authority figures. Understanding this cultural context allowed for a better interpretation of his behavior and fostered more effective communication.

Embracing Cultural Sensitivity

In another instance, an individual was invited to a dinner party hosted by a family from a different culture. Eager to participate and engage in authentic interactions, they were also mindful of avoiding any cultural faux pas. By demonstrating respect for their customs and traditions, they were able to connect with them on a deeper level and gain a greater appreciation for their unique perspective.

Self-Expression: Cultural norms may shape how individuals express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Some cultures encourage open self-expression, while others value discretion and restraint.

Navigating Cultural Nuances

In a work setting, a client from a culture that valued emotional restraint and indirect communication initially presented challenges in understanding their feedback. However, learning more about their cultural norms made it possible to recognize the subtle cues indicating their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. This understanding allowed for tailoring communication to better meet their needs and expectations.

Conflict Resolution: Cultural values influence how people approach conflict resolution. Some cultures prioritize harmony and compromise, while others favor direct confrontation and debate.

Bridging Cultural Gaps in Conflict Resolution

In a multicultural team project, a disagreement arose between two team members from different cultural backgrounds. One member preferred a direct and confrontational approach, while the other preferred a more indirect and conciliatory approach. By understanding the perspectives of both individuals and facilitating open communication, it was possible to bridge the cultural gap and reach a mutually agreeable solution.

Concrete Examples of Authentic Behavior: Putting Authenticity into Practice

Authenticity manifests in specific actions and behaviors that nurture genuine connections and foster trust. These behaviors serve as guiding principles in navigating the labyrinth of relationships.

Open Communication in Action

In a close friendship, an individual experienced a difficult situation and needed emotional support. They could openly communicate their feelings and struggles with their friend, who listened attentively and empathetically without judgment. This open communication strengthened their bond and reinforced the trust they had in each other.

Vulnerability as a Path to Deeper Connection

In a romantic relationship, an individual shares a personal vulnerability with their partner, revealing a past insecurity or fear. Their partner’s understanding and acceptance deepened their connection and made them feel valued and respected. This vulnerability opened the door for further intimacy and trust.

Respectful Dialogue

During a heated debate with a colleague, an individual maintained respectful dialogue, even when their opinions differed. They actively listened to their colleague’s perspective, acknowledged their concerns, and expressed their own views with clarity and consideration. This respectful exchange fostered mutual understanding and prevented the disagreement from escalating into conflict.

Embracing Diverse Perspectives

In a community meeting, an individual recognized the value of diverse perspectives and encouraged others to share their unique viewpoints. By actively listening to and appreciating the different perspectives, the group was able to make more informed and inclusive decisions.

Conclusion: Cultivating Authentic Connections

At the heart of human connections lies authenticity. Authenticity serves as a foundation upon which genuine connections can be built, fostering trust and resilience. By understanding the underlying motivations behind dishonesty, appreciating diverse perspectives on authenticity, and practicing authentic behaviors, we can navigate the labyrinth of relationships with truth-twisters and cultivate genuine connections that thrive on openness, empathy, and integrity. As we move forward let us embrace authenticity this serves as a beacon, guiding us toward meaningful connections that stand the test of time.

Soul Full Sunday: A Day of Gratitude and Reflection

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of tasks and responsibilities, often overlooking the simple joys and blessings that surround us. Soul Full Sunday is an invitation to pause, reflect, and express gratitude for all the things that make our lives richer and our souls fuller.

As this week draws to a close, take some time to reflect on the past few days. Whether you spent time with loved ones, indulged in personal pursuits, or simply found moments of solitude, each experience holds valuable lessons and opportunities for gratitude.

Gratitude for Shared Moments

If you were fortunate enough to spend time with family and friends this week, cherish those moments of connection and shared laughter. Express your gratitude for the love, support, and joy they bring into your life. Appreciate the conversations, the shared meals, and the memories you’ve created together.

Gratitude for Solitude and Self-Discovery

If you spent time in your own company this week, acknowledge the value of solitude and self-reflection. Appreciate the quiet moments that allowed you to connect with your inner self, explore new interests, and simply be present in the moment.

Gratitude for the Big and Small

Gratitude isn’t limited to grand gestures or life-altering events. It’s also about recognizing the everyday blessings that often go unnoticed. Express gratitude for the warm cup of coffee that started your day, the beauty of nature that surrounds you, or the kindness of a stranger.

Creating a Gratitude Journal

If you haven’t already, consider starting a gratitude journal. It’s a simple yet powerful tool for cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Dedicate a few minutes each day to jot down things you’re thankful for, no matter how small.

Regularly revisiting your gratitude journal will help you appreciate the abundance that already exists in your life. It will also open your heart to receive even more blessings and manifestations.

Gratitude as a Foundation for Abundance

Gratitude is not just a feeling; it’s a powerful force that can transform your life. When you cultivate an attitude of gratitude, you align yourself with the vibration of abundance and prosperity.

By expressing gratitude for what you already have, you signal to the universe that you are open to receiving more. Gratitude acts as a magnet, attracting more positive experiences and blessings into your life.

Make Soul Full Sunday a Regular Ritual

Incorporate Soul Full Sunday into your weekly routine. It’s a day to step away from the demands of daily life and reconnect with your inner self, your loved ones, and the world around you.

Express gratitude for all that enriches your life, from the smallest gestures to the grandest blessings. By cultivating an attitude of gratitude, you open yourself up to a life filled with abundance, joy, and fulfillment.

Dealing with Dishonesty: Navigating Relationships with Truth-Twisters and Cultivating Authentic Connections

In the intricate maze of interpersonal relationships, the elements of authenticity form a pattern that can either bolster connections or lead to their unraveling. As we navigate the complexities of personal and professional interactions, the insights gained from anecdotes act as guiding lights, steering us through the maze of truth and self-deception.

Understanding the Roots of Dishonesty

Before we delve into dealing with dishonesty, it’s crucial to understand why people might lie to themselves or others. Some common motivations include:

  • Fear of Confronting Unpleasant Truths: People may lie to themselves to avoid dealing with uncomfortable or painful realities, such as their shortcomings, fears, or the imperfections of their relationships.
  • Maintaining a Positive Self-Image: We all have a desire to feel good about ourselves, and sometimes, that means distorting our perception of reality to fit our idealized self-image. This can manifest as exaggerating accomplishments, downplaying flaws, or even creating fictional narratives to enhance their self-esteem.
  • Difficulty Accepting Personal Shortcomings: Coming to terms with our weaknesses and imperfections can be challenging, and some people resist this process by simply denying them. They may blame external factors, make excuses, or even gaslight others to maintain their self-perception.

The Role of Fear of Criticism

Often, at the root of habitual self-deception or dishonesty towards others lies a deep-seated fear of criticism. This fear can stem from various sources, including:

  • Childhood Experiences: Negative or critical experiences in childhood can leave lasting scars, leading to an ingrained fear of judgment and disapproval.
  • Low Self-Esteem: Individuals with low self-esteem may be particularly sensitive to criticism, fearing that it will further reinforce their negative self-perception.
  • Perfectionism: Perfectionists often set unrealistic standards for themselves, making them overly critical of their own shortcomings. This self-criticism can then manifest as self-deception or dishonesty.

Dealing with Dishonesty: Practical Strategies

When faced with dishonesty, it’s important to approach the situation with compassion, understanding, and a clear sense of boundaries. Here are some practical strategies to consider:

  • Focus on Your Own Boundaries: Establish and enforce healthy boundaries to protect your own well-being. If someone’s dishonesty is causing you significant emotional distress or repeatedly violating your boundaries, it may be necessary to distance yourself from that relationship.
  • Empathetic Understanding: Try to understand the underlying reasons behind their dishonesty. Empathy doesn’t mean condoning their actions, but it can help you approach the situation with more compassion and understanding.
  • Open Communication: Initiate an honest and open conversation with the person, expressing your concerns and the impact of their dishonesty on your relationship. Listen attentively to their perspective and try to find common ground.

When to Walk Away

While it’s always worth trying to address dishonesty within a relationship, there are times when walking away is the healthiest option. Consider stepping away if:

  • The dishonesty is causing you significant emotional distress or harm.
  • The person is unwilling to acknowledge their dishonesty or take responsibility for their actions.
  • Their dishonesty is a pattern that has persisted despite your efforts to address it.

Cultivating Authentic Connections

Authentic connections thrive on openness, honesty, and mutual respect. Here are some tips for fostering genuine connections:

  • Embrace Vulnerability: Share your vulnerabilities and imperfections, allowing others to connect with you deeper.
  • Practice Active Listening: Listen attentively to others’ thoughts and feelings, without judgment or interruption.
  • Express Yourself Authentically: Communicate your thoughts, feelings, and experiences openly and honestly.
  • Respect Boundaries: Respect the boundaries and limitations of others, just as you would expect them to respect yours.

Authenticity is the cornerstone of healthy and fulfilling relationships. By understanding the motivations behind dishonesty, setting healthy boundaries, and cultivating genuine connections, we can navigate the complexities of relationships with truth-twisters and foster meaningful connections that enrich our lives.

Navigating Family Dynamics with Gratitude and Grace: An iPhone vs. Antiquated Nokia Flip Phone Analogy for Strengthening Family Bonds

A Thanksgiving of Understanding: Embracing Empathy and Openness in Family Dynamics

The tantalizing aroma of roasted turkey, candied yams, and pie fills the air, beckoning us to gather around tables laden with Thanksgiving dishes, we’re reminded of the holiday’s essence – a celebration of family, togetherness, and overflowing gratitude. Yet, for some of us, particularly those with Indigenous heritage or those raised in families with diverse beliefs, Thanksgiving carries a more complex and nuanced significance. While the holiday is often associated with joy, gratitude, and cherished memories, it can also stir up complex emotions and resurface old conflicts or resentments.

In the spirit of true Thanksgiving, let us approach this holiday season with a renewed sense of empathy, understanding, and a willingness to navigate the intricate web of family dynamics gracefully. Let us recognize that beneath the surface of shared meals and cherished traditions, there may lie unspoken tensions, unresolved conflicts, and deeply ingrained patterns of behavior that can amplify existing challenges during these gatherings.

Expanding Your Display: Seeking to Understand Diverse Perspectives

Just as an iPhone offers a vast array of features, capabilities, and connectivity options, compared to an antiquated Nokia flip phone, healthy family dynamics require a willingness to embrace change, adapt to new perspectives, and explore the possibilities of open and honest communication.

To cultivate iPhone-like qualities in family interactions and foster healthier family relationships, consider incorporating these practical steps:

Active Listening: Engage fully with others, giving them your undivided attention and avoiding distractions. Active listening involves not just hearing the words being said, but also paying attention to nonverbal cues and the emotions being conveyed.

Clarifying Questions: Seek to understand others’ perspectives and experiences by asking thoughtful questions. This demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in their point of view and want to understand where they are coming from.

Validate Feelings: Acknowledge and accept their emotions, even if you disagree with their viewpoint. Validation involves recognizing and accepting someone’s feelings without necessarily agreeing with them. It helps people feel heard and understood.

Embracing Diverse Applications: Engaging in Shared Experiences

In addition to fostering open communication, healthy family dynamics also require a willingness to step outside of comfort zones and engage in shared experiences. This can help to break down barriers, build understanding, and create new memories.

Here are some practical ideas for embracing diverse applications in family interactions:

New Activities: Step out of your comfort zone and try new things as a family. This could involve taking up a new sport, trying a new cuisine, or visiting a cultural institution together.

Cultural Elements: Honor diverse backgrounds by incorporating traditions and customs from different cultures. This could involve cooking traditional dishes, celebrating holidays from different cultures, or learning about different cultures together.

Individual Expression: Create space for each family member to share their unique interests, talents, and perspectives. This could involve hosting talent shows, sharing hobbies, or simply taking the time to listen to each other’s stories.

Connecting Seamlessly: Utilizing Technology for Meaningful Interactions

Technology can play a valuable role in connecting family members, especially when physical distance separates them. By utilizing technology effectively, families can stay connected, share experiences, and foster meaningful interactions.

Here are some practical ideas for connecting seamlessly through technology:

Virtual Gatherings: Connect with family members who live far away through video calls and social media. Video calls allow for face-to-face interaction, while social media platforms provide a way to share photos, updates, and memories.

Shared Digital Spaces: Use online platforms to share family photos, stories, and plans. This could involve creating a shared online album, starting a family blog, or using a shared calendar to keep everyone organized.

Bridging the Gap: Utilize technology to stay connected and foster meaningful interactions, even when physical distance separates family members. This could involve sending regular emails or text messages, using video calls to have virtual family dinners, or even playing online games together.

Breaking Free from Limiting Patterns: Strategies for Overcoming Challenges

Breaking free from limiting family patterns requires a conscious effort to identify their root causes, cultivate empathy, and embrace a willingness to challenge deeply ingrained beliefs and behaviors.

Here are some concrete strategies for overcoming challenges in family dynamics:

Identifying Limiting Patterns: Recognize recurring conflicts or unspoken resentments. These patterns may manifest as repeated arguments, uncomfortable silences, or a sense of distance between family members.

Exploring Root Causes: Reflect on the underlying beliefs or assumptions that contribute to these patterns. These may be related to past experiences, cultural differences, or personal values.

Acknowledging Impact: Recognize the impact of these patterns on family dynamics. Limiting patterns can create tension, hinder communication, and make it difficult for family members to feel heard, understood, and supported. Acknowledging the negative impact of these patterns can serve as a motivator for change.

Initiating Conversations

Initiate respectful and open conversations about these patterns, acknowledging their impact and expressing a desire to find solutions. Choose a time and place where everyone can have a calm and uninterrupted discussion.

Practicing Active Listening

During these conversations, practice active listening to understand the perspectives of others. This involves giving your undivided attention, avoiding distractions, and asking clarifying questions to ensure you fully grasp their viewpoints.

Validating Feelings

Acknowledge and validate the feelings of others, even if you disagree with their perspectives. Validation involves recognizing and accepting someone’s emotions without necessarily agreeing with them. It helps people feel heard and understood.

Exploring Alternative Perspectives

Encourage open-mindedness and a willingness to explore alternative perspectives. This involves considering different viewpoints and challenging assumptions that may be contributing to limiting patterns.

Seeking Professional Help

Sure, here is a revised version of the article that includes a plug for Shekinah Wisdom:

If family members struggle to navigate these challenges on their own, consider seeking professional guidance from a therapist or counselor. They can provide a neutral and supportive space for exploration, communication, and skill development. For more information on how to find a therapist or counselor, or to explore resources that can help you navigate family dynamics, please visit

Shekinah Wisdom offers a variety of services to help individuals, couples, and families improve their communication, resolve conflicts, and build stronger relationships. Their team of experienced and compassionate therapists and counselors can provide you with the support and guidance you need to overcome challenges and create healthier family dynamics.

Here are some additional resources that may be helpful:


Thanksgiving, like a modern smartphone, offers a wealth of opportunities for connection, understanding, and growth. By embracing open communication, empathy, and a willingness to step outside of comfort zones, families can navigate the complexities of the holiday and foster stronger, more resilient relationships. Let us approach Thanksgiving with a renewed sense of empathy and understanding, creating a space for meaningful dialogue and shared experiences that honor the diverse perspectives and traditions that make each family unique.