• Whitley N. Green

Value in the Valley

“Valleys are purposeful. They open our eyes, strengthen our minds, teach us faith, strength, and patience. These are all essential mountain climbing skills.”

-Iyanla Vanzant

Recall the last big problem you experienced that caused you the greatest frustration, evoked fear and anxiety, or became too much to handle so you busied yourself to avoid feeling the truth of your inner reality. This is resistance.

|Re-sist-ance| noun| is the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.

When challenges show up in our lives they are like unwanted or uninvited guess that forge their way in and overstay their welcome. These problems disrupt our flow so naturally, we refuse to accept their reality because it is not in alignment with what we had planned. We attempt to subvert its presence with rebellion, refusing to acknowledge, fighting, or pushing back. We talk about the injustice and inconsideration of this problem with our friends, family, coworker and anyone else who will indulge our antics. We petition, write emails, try to prove them wrong, all in an attempt to put ourselves back on course (the one we had in mind that is). For some reason we rarely stop to see this as an opportunity to make a pivot in our lives until we hit absolute rock bottom (unfortunately, many still resist here too). We think God has forsaken us and we pray even harder for the very thing that, for now, for some reason, has been taken away.

Why do we punish ourselves in this way?

The Nature of {wo}MAN

We are creatures of habit and above all we have needs that help establish our will to exist and function optimally in this world. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, humans are motivated by needs that can be sorted in 5 tier pyramid categories with our most basic survival needs at the bottom and self actualization or transcendence at the top. It is believed that if an individuals lower level needs (survival) are not met, it will be extremely difficult if not impossible, to obtain higher levels of growth needs (dreams, goals, true happiness & freedom).

Researchers over time have debated this point, arguing that our needs do not have to be met in a linear fashion- as it will depend greatly on the values of the individual. I think both are relevant, because I don’t know many women who can focus intently on pursuing a dream if she is concerned about keeping a roof over her head and the lights on. While at the same time, this could be the very motive for another women to bring her dreams into fruition in a shorter amount of time.

The point here is that we form habits as a basic need to survive by freeing space in our minds to focus on higher level goals (imagine if we had to think hard about walking, talking, or driving a car every time we engaged these activities rather than relying on our automatic response). After the habit is formed we no longer have to expend mental energy in an area that is now mastered. This is a great thing that benefits our human experience, but is also presents a problem as it relates to the also basic need for human evolution and expansion=change.

Change is inevitable and when we are pursuing a higher purpose, change becomes what we must seek to validate if we are on the right track. When we hold onto things as we knew them to be, we run the risk of wanting to change, yet delaying or not realizing that change due to our resistance. This can be observed most as it relates to our habits and relationships.

Think about how we make friends when we are younger. Usually they live in our neighborhood, attend our school or church, they are relatives, are involved in similar activities, or are the children of our parents who are already close. We rarely question at that age if these people are right for our lives, we just go with the flow of the people who occupy our experience (this is partly due to the fact that we also don’t have many opportunities to meet people outside of who we are exposed to) but nonetheless these people become our tribe. We do what they do. We likely share similar beliefs and values and view life from the same perspective. Even in our disagreements we find a way back to this group to make it work because well... they are who we know, what we know, and it’s one of our needs to be loved, accepted, and to belong. Right now they are all we have and our survival depends on it. **These are not things we think consciously by the way.

This same principle can be applied to how we deal with money, engage other ethnicities and cultures, and our beliefs surrounding what is possible in life and how to obtain it. When we are exposed to something outside of what we’ve always known its as if our entire existence comes into question. Our survival mechanism has been attacked (or so it seems) because it disrupts the habits (thought patterns & actions) that got us where we are and that we banked on to get us to our next destination. Our basic needs began to scream for safety and protection and we don’t know how to stomach the unpredictability of straying from what has worked for so long. So what do we do? We stay in relationship with people (romantic,platonic, and professional) that no longer honor or serve who we are becoming. We accept mediocre pay, behavior, and treatment. We indulge in self sabotaging behaviors (drinking, smoking, shopping, casual sex, binge watching or eating, etc.) And we keep ourselves spinning in the very cycle we were determined to break.

The Art of Surrender

Some women give up, given in, and relinquish responsibility thinking that life is against them and that for some reason they can never win. These women remain victims and point the finger at everyone and everything else that is “out to get them” is “hating on them” or “wants to see them fail.” They refused to abide by the signs signaling them to slow down, turn around, or stop. They were determined to turn every red flag-white. She needed so bad to be right and prove her doubters wrong. And she resisted feeling any emotion that would remind her of the unsettling reality that she is really unhappy, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled. She resisted.

|Sur-ren-der| verb| to cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority. To surrender is not to give up, give in, or to hand over the rights to your life and freedom- it is an active decision to accept the reality as it is showing up and then choosing not to wish it be any different than it is.

There are many anonymous rehabilitation programs intended to create safe spaces for addicts that want to get well. The reality is that some attend because they were made to, others out of guilt, and a fewer number who actually came on their own. The small percentage that made the choice on their own to attend are usually the people who spend less time in the program and ultimately break free from this life altering and self sabotaging behavior sooner with less relapses. Why? Because they were ready. They had already or were close to completing the first step of the 12 Step Program for addicts.

Step #1: They accepted that they were completely powerless over their addiction and that their lives had become unmanageable.

That is such a simple, yet very hard truth many of us avoid when we want so bad to hold on to narrative that we have it all figured out. Acceptance is the first step because until we call a thing a thing and admit that that thing is ruining our lives and that we have absolutely no idea how to solve it- we continue to pattern the behavior we know best, perpetuating the same results and generating more fear, anxiety, and dissatisfaction.

This is also the first step of surrender. It communicates to the Universe that we give up trying to do it our way and we invite a new way to be shown to us. At this point we have decided to stop trying to kick open the door that has been closed behind us and make peace with being in the hallway facing toward the new door before us. This door has no lock or chains to barricade our entrance, but it’s opening is timed and facilitated by the Divine as we learn the lesson of trust.

To trust is to say “I don’t know what will happen, I don’t like that I don’t know, yet I know everything is working out for me in the perfect way.” It is the faith to believe in the infinite possibilities when the situation looks bleak. It is the courage to walk away when we still love them, need them, or want them in our lives. It is the audacity to speak up, ask for what we want and need despite the risk and fear we have of being rejected or abandoned. Trust is the offspring of surrender, the sister to faith, and the carrier of the promise of an abundant & prosperous life.

“In order for a woman to wake up and get the message of a difficult experience, she must realize there is always value in the value.”

  • Iyanla Vanzant (Value in the Value 1995)

What are you resisting surrendering to in your life right now? What is keeping you from letting it go?


The theme for the month of July is “Your Diet is More Than What You Eat!” We will explore some of the things that can keep us stuck, distracted, and unfulfilled and focus on spiritual principles and practices, emotional well being, relationship building tips, and whatever else God places on my heart to share or takes me through to experience. Y’all pray for me.

Like I always say, I am doing this work along side of you and my writing serves as only a reflection and personal narrative that I hope you find useful in your own experience.

“The life you want is on the other side of the awareness you accept & the decision you make as a result.”

Follow me @The.feminine.arts.academy on Instagram or @artsfeminine on Twitter and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/artsfeminine/ to keep up with the latest Femininity and Self Love tips and news. Check out my NEW YouTube Channel where I discuss all things Self Love, Self Care, & Femininity.

Peace. Love. & Soul- Glow Grease.

#DANCEForYou #WonderingWhitley #Boundaries #SelfLove #Healing #Expectations #Standards#Creating #DivineMother #Lifestyle #SelfAwareness #Beauty #Goddess #SpeakTFUp#Accountability #SelfAwareness #SelfMastery #SelfReflection #YourDietIsMoreThanWhatYouEat

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