Over the last few years, I’ve had a lot of challenges. Personal, financial, issues with my family…you name it, I’ve gone through it. I started to get used to the despair to the point that I had started to accept, and even invite, chaos and sadness into my life. I had gotten so used to being tense, unhappy, and unsatisfied that I didn’t even know how to function when things were normal. I’d even venture to say that I didn’t even know what “normal” was anymore.
A few months ago, life changed for me. For some people, it might seem like a fairytale—a cross-country move, an amazing new job, and a fabulous proposal from a loving and supportive man all in the span of six months? It’s real, though. This is my life. So, what happened? How did I go from feeling like I was carrying the weight of the world, to...this? I wish I could take credit, or claim some major epiphany or marketable breakthrough. The truth is, I was so exhausted that I just gave up. I stopped caring about what everyone else needed or wanted from me, and I focused on what I needed to be a good mom to Ayva, and what I needed to keep myself alive.
Slowly, slowly, I started to eliminate the people and the situations from my life that caused me unhappiness. I stopped allowing folks to use me as their receptacle for dumping their hurt feelings and self-esteem issues. I started making my expectations known, made it clear about how I was to be treated, and I didn’t waiver. I didn’t have the energy to if I wanted to, anyway. It was just, “This is what I need. I love you, but I’m not compromising.”
That was the first phase. The second phase, the one I’m in now, came after a few months of getting used to allowing myself to own my right to be acknowledged. This phase is all about elevating my expectations. It’s about not settling, or being okay with mediocrity in any area of my life. From compensation for work that I do, to the way that others treat me, even to the way that I take care of myself…I expect more.
It’s funny how I came into phase two. I was hoping for a job offer from my contract position, and I had a feeling that it was on the way. As I thought about it, I had been saying to myself that I would take the job no matter what it paid, but that I hoped it paid at least XXX. The amount that I had in my head was so low, y’all. So very, very low. But for the old Brandi, it was acceptable because I was used to settling, and compromising in ways that would benefit everyone but me. One day, though, while I was waiting for that job offer to come, it hit me. I was worth more. I wanted to make a great salary. I wanted amazing benefits. I work hard. I LOVE to work…why shouldn’t I be compensated for the effort that I was putting into the job that I would be doing.
As is typically the case when God is trying to show me something, as soon the lesson was learned, I got the job offer…with the offer of a salary that was well beyond what I had ever even considered. I elevated my expectations, and amazing things started to happen. The same thing happened in my relationship. As soon as I stopped feeling like I had to protect my fiancé’s interest over my own, and I stopped being nervous to let him know exactly what I needed to be happy…he got it. And he was okay with it. And he recognized my worth because he saw me recognizing my worth. And now we’re getting married.
Trying to please everyone, having low expectations, and putting myself and my needs behind everyone else…those things held me back for years. Years, y’all. I thank God for teaching me to stop settling, and showing me how to elevate my expectations. I’m most grateful that He’s held on to all of these good and amazing things for me while I got my crazy self together, and that He didn’t give up on me. So now, I expecting more amazing things to happen. Who’s with me?