Maybe It’s You

I am sure we are all acquainted with the Golden Rule: “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” Our good friend Jesus spoke often on doing unto others as you want them to do unto you. Whether you are spiritual, religious, or neither, no one wants to be treated badly. You could be the guy who cuts people off on the highway, fails to use turn signals and drives recklessly, but as soon as someone rides your bumper, you’re furious. Humans have a tendency to be hypocritical when it comes to how we expect to be treated vs. how we treat others. For years now, I have been watching Kirk do Rasheeda wrong on Love and Hip Hop Atlanta (one of my guilty pleasures, don’t judge me), yet now he wants to fix his lips to be butthurt at the thought of her even considering entertaining another man. Why is it that we can never stomach the taste of our own medicine? So many of us subject others to pain that we would go to great lengths to avoid experiencing. To put it lightly, people suck. We use, abuse and manipulate those we claim to love and care for. This world would be all rainbows and butterflies if we could just abide by the simple logic of not being an a**hole. I remember in elementary we did a lengthy lesson on the Golden Rule, but if I could go back in time, I would have my teacher revise the lesson: “People are not going to treat you the way you would treat them.” It is unrealistic to expect everyone to have the same heart and moral compass as you. After all, we can’t control others; we are only in control of ourselves. When you allow yourself to be continually stepped on by trash people, you become at fault. Eventually, you have to stop complaining about people being mean to you and doing you wrong if you are going to keep giving them a free pass to do so. You’re not killing them with kindness, you’re just killing yourself.

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How About Some Accountability?

One of the easiest things to do is point the finger at other people when we need to be holding a mirror up to ourselves. We have already established that people are trash, but once you figure out that a new person in your life did not enter with good intentions, why do you keep them around? Are you waiting to see what lengths they will go to to make you miserable? Most people aren’t sadistic. They don’t purposely seek out weaklings to enact their evil plan upon. After all, most of the hurtful things people do to you do not have anything to do with you. People are selfish, and they do things that will bring them pleasure; you being hurt in the mix of it all is just emotional collateral damage. That doesn’t make the wound they’ve inflicted upon you hurt any less, that’s just the way it is. When people show you who they are, you have to believe tumblr_mqi3bjhmeb1qezwmho1_500them the first time. Sayings like that become cliche because they prove themselves to be true time and time again. If you choose to be Helen Keller to the b.s., you can’t get mad when your “best friend” keeps throwing shade at you behind your back or the new guy you’ve been dating pokes fun at your insecurities under the guise of a joke. Character flaws like that aren’t isolated incidents. They will only get worse, but your “good heart” always wants to see the best in people. When I was in college, I dated a guy who had two children. Much to my dislike, he brought them over to my apartment with him one evening and left them there while he went on a “food run.” I was 19; spending my night with two young kids was not my idea of a good time. He stayed gone a good 3-4 hours. What did I say upon his return? Nothing! I’m sure you can guess what followed: this happened again and again until I put my foot down. We eventually broke up due to other reasons, but this is just an example of how if you let somebody slide once, they’ll start figure skating. I was getting mad at him when I should have been mentally slapping myself. Nothing will continue unless YOU allow it to. He took advantage of me because I would often just ignore things that would bother me or make empty threats. He knew I was all bark and no bite. Was it right for him to use me as a babysitter while he was running through the 206 with his woes? Absolutely not, but it was my responsibility to advocate for myself. You can’t hope for the best with people, then just shrug your shoulders when they don’t act how you had envisaged. If you remove yourself from the situations that cause you strife, guess what will happen? Life will improve! It isn’t magic, it’s common sense.

Check Your Energy

There is no harder pill to swallow than admitting you are the problem when it comes to the negative experiences that plague your life. It does not mean there is something wrong with you or that you need to change who you are. Everyone has flaws and we are all damaged in some way. Childhood traumas, adult traumas and unhealthy coping skills have an insidious way of clouding our positive energy. If you are not aware of your thinking, these traumatic experiences manifest into negative self-talk and negative views of ourselves. It is incredibly easy to put yourself down without even realizing you are doing it. A couple of years ago, I downloaded a book called “The Untethered Soul” (I highly recommend this piece of work). Until I picked up this godsend of a book, I did not realize how often I put myself down. I would call myself names, judge myself and dwell on negative thoughts. If I would go against my instincts and suffer the consequences because of it, I would think to myself “duh dummy” or “well that’s what you get for being stupid.” We truly are our own toughest critics. I finally realized I kept attracting and entertaining toxic people because I was marinating in my own toxic thoughts. giphy3
Science teaches us that like attracts like. If you are vibrating at a low frequency, you are going to attract others who are on a similar level. Everything is energy. It is not a coincidence that when you are happy, everyone else seems happier as well. It’s simple, really. Why would a man who is happy, secure and confident be attracted to someone who emits bad vibes? I didn’t understand why I couldn’t find anyone of quality. I was independent, college educated, attractive and doing quite well for my age. I looked good on paper, but inside I was a mess. Too much time was spent going into my outward appearance but I was neglecting my insides. Awareness is the only way out of a miserable mindset. The interesting thing was at the time, I did not feel totally miserable, but looking back, I was full of self-doubt. It is now in hindsight that I realize I was not all that happy. Like most people, I have had an array of bad experiences steal my joy. I am naturally a private person, so I just kept all my feelings to myself and went on with life. Avoidance is definitely not a healthy coping technique Pretending a problem does not exist will not make it go away, and not dealing with your issues jut causes them to fester, not diminish. Happiness is out there for you, but you can’t claim to want a joyous life yet spend all day ruminating in your self-inflicted sunken place. You’re confusing the universe. If you want to grow as a person, it is so important to take the time to become aware of how you view yourself.

Level Up

When people think of self-care, they think of massages, solo vacations and treating themselves to new clothes or other things to decorate the outer self. The harder part of self-care that people don’t often mention is having the discipline to do what’s best for yourself, even when it’s hard. You are specially made, and only those who appreciate your value deserve a place in your life. Once you tap into your reserve of inner power, it will become second nature to toss people to the curb who don’t live up to your expectations. What is most important is believing you are worthy. Whenever you catch yourself putting yourself down, pretend you have a little Viola Davis from The Help on your shoulder reminding you that you are kind, smart and important. Tell yourself this everyday. Look in the mirror and repeat that you love yourself 15x a day if that’s what you need to do. You will eventually start to believe it and you will begin to wonder why you allowed people to A-Town Stomp all over you for so long. Don’t be afraid to say no. giphy4Don’t be afraid to tell people to Beat It. Why are you scared to be without people you have only known for a small fraction of your life? In the wise words of Drake, you gotta be nice for what? I promise you the sun will rise tomorrow and you will continue to breathe. There have been men I really liked and I hated to show them the door, but I knew it was for the best. Those yellow flags would have quickly turned red, and it is much harder to cut ties from people once you’ve allowed dick and time to have you more invested than you should have ever been. People are going to be mean. They are going to be inconsiderate and a multitude of other undesirable things, but it is your responsibility to keep yourself safe from their nastiness. You can’t protect yourself if you are not solid in who you are. If you keep getting mixed up in bad friendships and relationships, take some time alone to figure out who is the common denominator in all of the chaos. You can’t grow if you are never taking time to be with you and only you. Growth comes from self-reflection and taking accountability for your decisions, good and bad. Treating other people well is great, but don’t let it come at such a price that you fail to treat yourself how you deserve to be treated, and a large part of self-care is being selective with who you grant a seat at your table.

I Have a Confession. . .

“Keep your lust locked up in chambers, only those who pass your gates of love should be allowed to enter such levels.”

Celibacy. Self-imposed, maybe by default. After the months continue to go by, does it really matter the origin of the circumstance? I would know. I’ve done it. I’m currently doing it. Is it easy? No. Is there pressure? Duh.

I didn’t wake up one morning and have an epiphany that made me want to lock up the goods and hide the key. No one broke my heart, I didn’t have a rebellious phase that made me want to calm down. Before I knew it, it had just been awhile. And then an even longer while. Eventually I noticed that I  didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything so I figured why not keep going? Choosing to be celibate doesn’t mean you can’t date or enjoy the company of the opposite sex. We’re grown ups, it isn’t offensive to know that a man wants to have sex with you. However, knowing you aren’t giving out what’s so highly desired actually makes you feel powerful.


What’s The Point?

You’re not a virgin. He’s not a virgin. What are you waiting for? Everyone lately has had an opinion of Ciara and Russell Wilson’s vow of celibacy. Whether you believe it or not, this is what they are portraying. Why would two people who are attracted to each other and clearly have already established a bond put sex on hold? Apparently it was Russell’s idea, and after his previous marriage didn’t last duecc to infidelity, perhaps this was his method of ensuring his next relationship was the real deal. We’ve all had our hearts stepped on at least once and it sucks, to put it lightly. When you’re involved with someone and take sex out of the equation, you’re forced to view them as the person they are. Your judgement isn’t jaded by lust. Most people view celibacy as an undertaking of a single person so it is hard to understand why you wouldn’t want to connect with someone you’re in love with on such an intense level. I’ll admit, I don’t know how they’re doing it. It’s natural to want to get physical with someone you’re attracted to only on a physical level. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be totally in love with someone and remain hands off until marriage. What if you never make it to that point? What if you get there and realize you aren’t sexually compatible? Would you feel as if you wasted your time? If it doesn’t work out, do you leave the relationship feeling a sense of pride because while you invested your full 100%, he still didn’t have the privilege of sampling your most sacred possession? As a man, is this going to make someone’s true colors show faster? Most men would laugh at the idea of being celibate. If it isn’t for religious reasons, why would you voluntarily subject yourself to an indefinite period of horniness and sexual frustration? Furthermore, why would you continue it once you actually find the person who makes you want to settle down? Maybe we put too much emphasis on sexual gratification. A person has so much more to offer than what’s hidden in their jeans. Perhaps we should take more time to uncover what is in someone’s mind instead of trying to uncover what’s underneath their clothes.


 

Be Choosy

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You may have heard about how sexual energy can be transferred between two people. If you haven’t, click here. The more you interact with someone, the more you take in their energy. Think about that. If you’re dealing with someone that seems to be of low morality, questionable character, etc., you are allowing that energy into your body. I am a firm believer that negative energy impacts your life in negative ways. Is sex important enough that you will cloud your aura with negativity? There are people who have sex on the first night or in the early stages of meeting someone and have gone on to have successful relationships. The article in the link above explains that you must find a way to release the sexual energy of those you’ve engaged with that may not be very desirable. Until the person you are sexually involved with finds a way to cleanse their sexual energy as well, you will carry around all of their prior partners. Give it a read. It’s quite interesting.


I Have Needs!

Hormones are tricky. One day you’re feeling strong and like you have everything under control. Next thing you know, Mr. Potential texts you and asks about dinner and drinks. You start to feel a little weak. What do you do? Remind yourself of how far you’ve come. Do you wlustant to sabotage all of your progress for one night? It really isn’t worth it. The majority of people that you come across will never make it past the stage of casual dating, so hold out. What’s even harder? Falling into a moment with someone and having to refocus yourself. I think that at times we overestimate our willpower. I also think that we are professionals at lying to ourselves. If you end up alone with someone you are attracted to, the temptation levels skyrocket. Add in alcohol and they shoot through the roof. In a perfect world, we would never put ourselves in a situation that would deter us from our goals.Don’t even allow yourself to be put into a situation that you know you’re not strong enough to resist. But do you ruin the moment by backing out once things get heated? Yes, that’s exactly what you do if you know this isn’t the right time. On the flip side, this could be a person that is passing all of your tests and meeting all of your criteria. In your mind, you could easily justify this the next morning. What’s the big deal? The big deal is that you allowed your horniness to cloud your judgement. You haven’t taken the time to reevaluate this person on your own time to decide whether or not the time is right. Furthermore, if this person begins to pressure you, then you already know it’s a dead end. A person who cares for you will never pressure you for sex. Period.


It’s Been Fun But…

When is the right time to end a period of celibacy? Do you wait until you find someone worth it or do you end it when the drought has become too much to bear? It really is a personal decision that should only be influenced by you. Personally, it will continue until I know I have found someone worth my while. No amount of horniness is worth several months of self-discovery, reflection and empowerment. While the opinions of others have never been a deciding factor on how I choose to conduct myself, people tend to respect any type of decision that is helping you better yourself. If your hormones have kicked you in the A and the vibrator just isn’t doing for you anymore, that’s fine too. Everyone is different. In no way am I putting down those who choose tkisso fully indulge in their sexual freedom. The beautiful thing about the time and place we live in is that there are no holds barred on whom you can be intimate with. The thing with women is that we often lie about what we want. Sure, a no strings attached arrangement may sound good, but deep down many of us know that we would always desire something more. Men catch feelings too, but unless you’re showing signs that you may be different, when they say they don’t want any of the extras, they usually mean it . Since that is normally the case, how about we take the time to expose someone’s true intentions by thoroughly getting to know them. Not having sex with someone won’t keep you from getting your heart broken. You can’t use celibacy as a shield from the scary world of dating. If you’re choosing this route, use it to empower yourself. Learn about what you want from someone without letting your hormones kick things into overdrive too quickly. Lust is controllable.

  “The years between 18 and 28 are the hardest, psychologically. It’s then you realize this is make or break, you no longer have the excuse of youth, and it is time to become an adult – but you are not ready.”
-Helen Mirren

It’s finally here. Your 18th birthday. “I’m finally an adult now!” is what you think to yourself. You are “grown” and you will make your own decisions. No one can tell you what to do anymore. You may not smoke, but you feel a small surge of power because you can buy tobacco products. You can buy lottery tickets. You can get into a few clubs. For some of us, moving away to college is now on the horizon. You are finally free.

Oh, how naive you were.

Adulthood is not something you transition into overnight like Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30. Sure, there are perks. The independence of adulthood is always novel, but with independence comes responsibility. With responsibility comes stress. Stress over choosing a career, where to settle down; fear of failing and disappointing those close to us.

Our 20’s are spent trying to figure out what we want to do and where we belong. Turning 18 is just another birthday. We are sort of shoved into adulthood without even realizing it. If you are in your mid to early 20s and feel lost, stuck or just plain confused about life, you may be experiencing your quarter-life crisis.

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What am I Going to do With My Life?

If you are cool with mediocrity, you may never experience a quarter-life crisis. If you do have ambitions and having personal success is a goal, you will be able to relate to this post so keep reading!

Choosing a career or educational path may be the hardest component of conquering your quarter life crisis. Even if you went to college and earned a degree, you may graduate still with thoughts of “what am I going to do with my life” haunting you. Many of us aren’t lucky enough to know our passions from Day 1, so to find where our interests lie can take a bit of work through soul searching and exploring new hobbies and interests.

Figuring this out can prove to be quite challenging when the majority of us are stuck at a 9 to 5 job that is utterly dissatisfying. Yes, it pays the bills and the money may be decent or even great, but if sitting outside watching grass grow sounds more appealing than your job, it may be time to venture into greener pastures.

Take a class that sounds interesting, read a few books, travel a little more; anything that exposes you to new viewpoints and allows you explore mentally and socially.

The amazing thing about traveling is that it has a way of undoing that “stuck” feeling. If you are content with your job and not really interested in finding something new, or if where you live doesn’t offer the things you would like in a location, being able to travel gives you the opportunity to absorb the culture of other areas without having to commit to a move. If money is an issue, save! It is much more fulfilling to spend money on experiences rather than material things.
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Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

 

Social media can be a self-esteem depressant. If you let it. Each day we hop on our phones and scroll through Twitter, Facebook &/or Instagram and have the accomplishments and accolades of others shoved in our faces. Aside from the typical online Debbie Downers, no one shares their lows. If you are not where you would like to be in life, personally or professionally, this can easily make you feel left out or as if you are failing at life. STOP. THIS. NOW. You may not even realize you are doing it, but if you scroll by Ballin’ Betty’s Instagram post of her new home purchase while you’re still living with 3 roommates, you may feel some type of way. Process those emotions and let them go. You are running your own race and are exactly where you are supposed to be in life because you are learning whatever lesson you are meant to conquer. Measuring yourself using someone else’s yardstick will never elevate you to where you hope to be. However, do not become complacent. Yes, you are where you are supposed to be but never stop striving to better yourself.  Just make sure you are doing it for your own personal growth and not to compete with everyone else. The grass is greener where you water it.

Life is not a race. Life is not a competition. People love to say “I’m not worried about what the next person is doing,” yet say to themselves, “I’m already 25, shouldn’t I be married or have a kid by now?” Thoughts such as those are indicative of a need to fit in with what society tells us are appropriate milestones for our age group. How boring would life be if we all did the same exact things as everyone else? Variety is the spice of life. We are able to learn from others who are experiencing different things from ourselves. Instead of comparing where you are to what a friend, acquaintance or random person is doing, channel that frustration into inspiration. We are all equipped with our own unique talents and abilities that can never be discovered unless we take the time to explore our own minds. You are your only competition and the only person you should compare yourself to is the person you used to be.

 

Fear

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Fear is an emotion that has allowed human beings to remain a species over the course of time. Without fear or a sense of danger, we would have been extinct long ago. In our personal lives, however, fear can paralyze us from taking risks because the fear of failure seems too great a burden to bear. During a quarter-life crisis, you have vivid visions of how you would like your life to be, you just have no idea of how to get there. Success takes work and risk, but what if you fail? You want to enroll back into school to study fashion design, but your research has told you this is a tough field to make a living in and you don’t want to rack up a bunch of student loan debt to end up unemployed. This is fear. You want to start over in a new city. You’ve done your research, taken a visit and can imagine yourself there, but in the back of your mind, you’re skeptical. What if you can’t find a job? What if you have to move back home and end up embarrassed? Fear strikes again.

The bright side of the confusion that comes with being in your 20s is that this is the best time to take risks and make mistakes because time is on your side. Mistakes are blessings if you learn from them. You can’t grow if you never screw up. Life is nothing but trial and error. There is only failure if you allow the disappointment you feel from a few bad experiences stop you from getting up and starting again. A large component of growing is the ability to listen and learn from the mistakes of others.

Many people lack the ability to listen. Thinking you know it all will keep you boxed in and you will continue to fail. The more you fail the more you will be held back by fear. It is a vicious cycle that will not stop until you can put your pride aside and take the wisdom from those who have been in your shoes before. If you do not have a positive role model in your life whose wisdom and advice you trust, pick up a book. Go online and search for the answers you’ve been looking for.

You are in a transitionary period in your life, but it does not have to a mental prison. The anxiety of not having any idea what to do with your life can take its toll, but it all depends how you choose to look at it. You can choose to feel lost, confused and scared. You can choose to see the adventure of what the unknown has to offer. You are an artist and the world is your canvas. Create your own masterpiece.