Tag Archives: clarity

Change and Choices – Part 1

Personal change begins within.  Often we seek to change the minds and hearts of others without realizing that the heart and mindset of another person is based upon their personal experiences and what they have learned from their families and friends.  Those experiences, whether good or bad, have shaped their perspective.  Their personal perspective dictates their actions and reactions to situations and relationships.  Any change that takes place in a person’s heart or mind therefore is the result of a personal choice made by that individual.

We all choose whether or not we want to have a successful relationship, or not.  We choose whether or not we want to follow in the footsteps of those who had toxic relationships also.  You are a product of your environment but you also have the power as an individual to overcome any circumstance that you may have encountered.  If you come from a broken home, you do not have to create a broken home situation for your own children.  If you had an absentee parent, you do not have to be absent from your children’s lives.  If your parents divorced, you do not have to fear marriage, commitment or experience divorce in your own relationship.  If your household was abusive, you do not have to be a victim or victimizer of abuse.  You are not a slave to your past or that of your family.  You are free.  Free to make choices for yourself.  You are free to be better than what you’ve seen, been taught or witnessed.  You are free to make changes to improve your situation and provide a safer life for your children so that they will see a positive example that they can refer back to.        

Statistically more than 70% of Black women in America are single, and approximately 40% of those women have never been married.  However, more than 40% of Black men in America are also single and have never been married either.  This means that just as many Black men as Black women have never been married.  Why is that? Logically you could say that if the 40% of Black women and the 40% of Black men meet, they could get married.  Maybe they just reside in different areas of the country so it’s a factor of distance more than anything else.  Realistically it means that a large percentage Black men do not have the desire or goal to become married.  This means that the 40% of single and never married Black women have to explore other options, such as crossing racial divides, in order to find a mate.  And with there being an overabundance of single and desperate women willing to share a man for the sake of not feeling lonely, many men do not feel it necessary to commit to one woman when they can have a different woman everyday.   

In my own dating experience I meet a lot of single Black men who “do not want a relationship”, don’t consider it a “priority” and do not want to be committed to just one woman.  They are fearful of the possibilities of failure in their relationships because of their past experiences (marriages and divorces) and the situations in which they were raised (single parent homes without their fathers present), or they have so many women pursuing them that they feel they’d be “giving up” something (ego) in order to commit to just one woman.  These men make a choice, regardless of it being conscious or subconscious.  It’s sad, but true.  It’s the reality of dating in the world we live in.      

People are very cynical and negative about personal relationships.  However, that negativity can be overcome through positive experiences and examples.  In spite of some of the bad relationships I’ve had, I recall the ones that were healthy and positive.  Those set an example and developed a standard for me as I move forward in life.  The good relationships taught me that there is hope and the possibility of love.  Those relationships reiterated to me that all men are not dogs, or trifling, or useless.  Those relationships allowed me to value and respect my authentic self and understand what positive attributes I bring to a relationship.  Those relationships also allowed me to improve myself as an individual and as a woman.  I have made a choice that I will have a healthy and successful relationship.  I have made a choice that I want to be married.  I have made a choice that when the day comes, I will work to have the type of marriage I want and deserve.  The only thing I’m missing is a like-minded and like-hearted man who also has the same desire, goals and resolve that I have. 

To be continued…

Non-Negotiables

Non-negotiables are the standards each individual has when involved in a relationship, whether it is professional or personal.  If a person’s non-negotiables can not be met or exceeded by the other person, they are willing to walk away from both the person and the relationship without looking back or having regrets.  Professionally, non-negotiables may include examining a person’s integrity, knowledge, work ethic and character.  Business people often choose their business associates in a similar manner that they would choose a mate; by asking questions based on their non-negotiables.  Is this person honest?  Is this person knowledgeable?  Is this person reliable?  In a pinch, would this person step up or lose focus?  Is this person punctual and respectful of my time?  Is this person organized? What does this person bring to this relationship that will benefit me?  Can I learn from this person?  Consider the last mate or the last business associate you had.  If they didn’t meet or exceed your non-negotiables, how long did you continue the relationship? 

Non-negotiables should be realistic.  They should also reflect who you are as a person and what you can offer to others.  You should not expect more from others than you expect from yourself.  If you have high expectations of yourself, it is only natural for you to feel the same towards those that you do business with or have personal relationships with as well.  Successful people do not surround themselves with people who constantly fail.  Ambitious people do not surround themselves with people who lack ambition.  It’s not the natural order.  Strength attracts strength and success attracts success. 

Non-negotiables considered when selecting a mate, may include having children, how to educate and discipline the children, financial goals and security, where to live, how to celebrate family events and holidays (which is especially crucial for blended families), along with other identified topics that you are steadfast about or that could result in arguments if the other person disagrees with your outlook.  When entering into a relationship, a person’s non-negotiables are never to be assumed.  Communication is vital.  You should always ask the other person what their non-negotiables are, and be honest about yours in return.  This conversation can take place anytime after the second or third date with the same person.  During the conversation, if you want to be married, you should express your desires to find a life spouse early so you can discover if you are potentially wasting your time or not.  Likewise, if you are interested in a more casual, noncommittal relationship, you should express this as well.  Don’t be afraid of discovering that the other person is not on the same page as you.  Everyone you meet isn’t going to have the same desires and goals you have simply because you share a physical attraction for each other.  Having this conversation too late can easily result in hurt feelings and resentment. 

As a single woman, I know that some men may be seeking a wife, but not right now.  Those are the men that I tell to call me when they are ready.  If a woman holds on to the dream that he’ll change his mind if she just hangs around long enough, a lot of time could pass.  She could potentially miss the opportunity to meet the man for her because she wasted her own time or operated out of desperation or fear.  It is true that when two people meet and find themselves attracted to each other, they decide within themselves what their intentions are.  However, they don’t always share their intentions with the other person. 

Remember when we were kids and the boy would pass a note to the girl?  The note usually said something similar to ‘Do you want to be my girlfriend? Circle yes or no’.  That’s The Question.  Traditionally a man would ask a woman the question when he felt that he wanted to spend time with or exclusively date a woman.  Then one day, men stopped asking the question and women started assuming that after a certain ‘reasonable’ amount time had passed, that there was a relationship in place.  As a result, there are people who think they don’t have to verbally communicate their desires in order to have a relationship.  These are the same people who never discuss their non-negotiables with each other, but expect the other person to “know” as if by osmosis.  This creates the potential for dramatic situations to arise, along with misunderstandings, arguments and hurt feelings. 

We wouldn’t conduct business in this manner and expect to be successful.  We wouldn’t tell our business associates that they should know what we expect when we’ve never concisely communicated our business expectations or goals to them.  We wouldn’t expect positive results from others who didn’t understand the way we do business.  Your personal relationships are another form of business.  How well you handle your business, determines the results you get out of it.  Communicate your non-negotiables effectively with others.  It will save you time, energy and improve your overall success, both professionally and personally.

On a Clear Day

It is said that on a clear day you can see forever.  This morning, as I drove Super Son to school, from the Westside of the city, I could see the Renaissance Center with the sunrise gleaming off of it.  It appeared to be so close that if I hadn’t known better, I might have tried to reach out to touch it.  As I marveled, I said aloud, “on a clear day you can see forever”. That caused me to reflect on clarity in our minds and hearts as well. 

When your mind is clear, you can see possibilities as endless and limitless.  You are more open to change and therefore, more likely to adapt to situations and environments.  If your mind is clear of negativity and fear, you can make the impossible, possible.  If your mind is clear your faith and perseverance are stronger and challenges become opportunities instead of struggles. 

When your heart is clear, you feel love deeply and without fear of rejection or pain.  You can give of yourself to others fully and with trust, knowing that you may or may not receive the same in return, but it doesn’t prevent you from loving regardless.  If your heart is clear of pain felt resulting from your past, your ability to move forward into the realms of love in your present and future are not impeded.  You are then able to be loved in return, fully and deeply.

Sometimes we hinder our own success because our minds aren’t clear and we refuse to view things differently.  We stick ourselves in a box labeled “comfort zone”.  Sometimes our relationships fail because we hinder ourselves with fear and apprehension.  We stick ourselves in a box labeled “past experiences”.  This is neither a prosperous or productive way to live.  

I encourage you to clear your minds and hearts, not for anyone else, but for the limitless possibilities it will create for you; professionally, personally and financially.   Because on a clear day you can truly see forever.