Tag Archives: self

Prioritizing Love

Priority – somebody or something that is ranked highly in terms of importance or urgency; the state of having preceded something else.

Prioritize – to order things according to their importance or urgency; to regard something as most important or urgent.

Temptation – a desire for something considered wrong; the incitement of desire or craving in somebody.

Necessity – something that is essential; a basic requirement; water, food, shelter, clothing, love and acceptance; the condition of being needed or required.  

Blessing – something to be glad or relieved about; a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.

Someone recently told me that a relationship is not a priority for them.  I’ve heard this a million times.  I believe that anything that someone wants badly enough becomes a priority to that person.  A person’s lack of desire for something doesn’t make it less important in life, just less important to that particular person.  According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, our human needs are, in order of importance from most to least, (1) physiological, (2) safety, (3) social, (4) esteem, and (5) self-actualization.  Physiological includes what we know as basic human needs; food, shelter, sex, and breathing.  Safety includes security of body, employment, resources, morality, family, health and property.  Social includes love, friendship, family and sexual intimacy.  Esteem includes confidence, achievement/success, and respect of and by others.  Self-actualization includes morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts. 

If you understand the Maslow Hierarchy principle, then you know that social includes relationships with others both related to us by blood and by emotion.  Our esteem is connected to our achievements and status in society.  If this is true, then why do so many of us look at love as less of a priority than career?  Why do we put our goals and desires to succeed and make money above having someone to share those achievements with?  Why do we prioritize love as the least important element in our day to day life?  Why do we view love as a temptation instead of a necessity? 

The happiest people I’ve ever met are not the wealthiest financially.  However, they are considered very wealthy because they have mates.  They have taken the time to cultivate strong and resilient relationships that include emotional bonds with their mates.  They have families, friendships and great sex.  They have prioritized love into their lives.  Then there are the single people who strive to make more money, gain more position, and obtain more respect from people whom they don’t share any emotional connection with.  They already possess the physiological and safety needs, so they feel that they can overlook the social needs and continue on to the esteem and self-actualization needs.  Do they ever go back and try to capture the social aspects?  Yes.  And sometimes they fail to do so because since it was not a priority to them, they passed on every opportunity for love that came their way.  In their minds when the opportunity arose, it was not the “right” time.  They had other priorities to concern themselves with that took precedence over love. 

Then there are the single people like myself who want everything.  We want to fulfill all five of the human needs in Maslow’s Hierarchy.  We believe that we can have balance, just like many of our married predecessors.  We may have even failed at love previously but we still believe it to be a necessity.  Unfortunately, we often find ourselves in encounters with the single, success-seeking individuals who do not view love as a priority.  They desire the money, status and respect of others, but do not desire to come home to the love and respect of a mate.  One of my biggest fears is being extremely successful, but not having anyone to share my experiences and success with.  Not having anyone to encourage my steps when I’m moving in the right direction.  Not having anyone to catch me when I fall or wipe my tears when I fail.  How lonely life could be with a huge bank account and no one to share life with.  No matter how much money I make, I can’t take it with me when I die [no one’s tombstone says “He made a lot of money”].  But I believe that I can share a love that lasts an eternity.     

People often throw themselves into their careers as a defense mechanism against love.  They fear love and the requirements of it.  Love requires commitment, focus, decisiveness, self awareness, honesty, and selflessness, among other things.  These requirements are often more difficult for a man, because in society men aren’t always celebrated for the wife they have, but instead for their professional achievements.  Love isn’t leisure, it is work.  You can’t take a vacation from love.  When love hurts, it can be debilitating.  There is no cure for love when it hurts.  When love is presented with problems, you can’t walk away from it, tear it down and start all over.  As a result some people opt to take the easy way out and decide not to include love.  Some people literally choose not to prioritize love into their lives.  They’re afraid of the work more than potential failure or pain.  In spite of our fears about love, under Maslow’s Hierarchy, without love, a human being is not “whole” in life.  A life without love isn’t living; it is just existing.     

So, the “timing” isn’t right when you meet someone.  When did humans become powerful enough to control “time”?  Everything happens for a reason, and it happens when it should, not necessarily when we want it to.  If an opportunity presented itself unexpectedly for your career, you would view it as a “blessing”, not an obstacle or a temptation.  You would do whatever was necessary to take advantage of that opportunity.  You would fear losing the opportunity and never getting another.  You would conquer your fears, travel long distances, empty your bank account, sale your car, change your routine or schedule, you would change your plans, and you would even disappoint others in order to accept the “blessing”.  You would pray about it, increase your tithe offering, burn sage and anything else necessary for that blessing.  Sometimes people are also a blessing in our lives.  They are brought to us for many reasons.  Some people come into our lives for a season, some for a reason and some for a lifetime.  Someone who comes into your life that you feel a connection to may also be the one you are meant to love.  But if you are unwilling to take advantage of the opportunity, it will pass you by.  That person will then become a blessing to someone else who was unafraid of love.  I heard Steve Harvey say that more love songs have been written by men about lost love because men fail to see what they have until it is gone.  They don’t view love as a priority.    

Time waits for no one and some opportunities only come around once in a lifetime.  If you are willing to make sacrifices for achievements and material possessions, why would you not also make sacrifices for love?

Preparedness

Everyday is preparation for something yet to come.  I come from a family that has several members who had illustrious military careers, including my grandfather, who was a decorated World War II Veteran and my uncle who is a decorated Tuskegee Airman.  I’ve been taught a great deal about being prepared.  When I was in high school ROTC, I learned that “pissed-poor preparedness, results in pissed-poor results”.  Preparedness in the military teaches you to be ready, specifically, for battle.  But that’s not the only thing it can prepare a person for.  Many people who have had military careers and experience also become valuable leaders.  Leaders are prepared.

I decided to amp up my workout routine recently, in preparation for the Opera Ball that I’m attending on October 2nd and for a cruise I’m going on early next year.  My workout is HARD; however, I’ve already seen results. Mark England is designing my dress for the Opera Ball and has to alter its size by about four inches.  That’s a reduction in my dress size in only about four weeks.  In addition to my weight loss, I have to prepare for that upcoming black tie event in other ways.  I had to select my make up palette, shoes, handbag and jewelry to compliment the dress, even though I had yet to see the finished product.  This meant that shopping had to be done, appointments had to be made, and orders had to be placed.  I don’t have an assistant (yet) so those preparations had to be done by me.  For the cruise early next year, I’m already considering what other preparations I need to make so that I will have an enjoyable trip, outside of what clothes to pack and how many swimsuits I will need.  I need to purchase my airfare, reserve my hotel in South Beach, arrange for my car service to and from the airport both here and in Miami, decide how best to get to the Port-au-Miami from South Beach for the cruise itself, which night clubs I want to be guest-listed on, etc.  Those preparations are not ones I want to leave for the last minute because other situations could arise that would distract me.  When traveling I like to be able to relax once the date of departure arrives.  In order to maintain that Zen-like feeling I get when I travel, I will need to be prepared in advance.  I also need to consider the possibilities (such as airplane delays) and have mental plans of action at my disposal for those possibilities. 

That’s how life is.  Those who are prepared for the inevitable possibilities can relax and better handle what comes their way, whereas, people who procrastinate or fail to evaluate situations are often left unprepared, confused and miss out on opportunities.  We prepare our children for their future by providing them with educational opportunities when they are young.  We hope they pay attention to what they learn in school, so that they are prepared for what they may encounter during their college years.  We all prepare for work each day, either by checking our schedules and emails, meditating, exercising, reading business articles or whatever your daily routine is.  It’s how you prepare.  It determines the initial response you will have to whatever interactions you are involved in.  We plan and pray for the best, but prepare for the worst.  Murphy’s Law states, “That anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”.  However, if you prepare yourself, even the situations that are “wrong” can turn into something “right”. 

Having faced a layoff earlier this year, what I thought was terribly wrong in my life would have been a lot worse if I had not had a level of preparedness.  I keep my resume updated, I have marketable skills, I had rainy day money in my 401k and my faith is stronger than I am.  I had even decided what I’d do while I was laid off.  That wrong turned a promotion and a raise to replace the position I was being laid off from.  That wrong became a right, even though I wasn’t expecting it, I had preparations in place.  The end result was completely unforeseen. 

Being prepared doesn’t require that you know in advance what the end result will be.  It only requires that you do your best to develop a contingency plane for the events that may be out of your control, but controlled by you after they occur.  How you react to and evaluate a situation, and how much energy you exert, are all within your personal control, regardless of the situation.  It helps to have an awareness of a situation in advance, but that’s not possible the majority of the time.  The only thing you can do is be ready for the possibilities, the changes, and the choices.  This can not be accomplished by sitting in the background to see what others will do.  This can not be accomplished by crossing your fingers and hoping the issue will go away.  This can not be accomplished by “just praying about it”.  After all, faith without works is dead and we’re given free will to make decisions for a reason.  Therefore, you have to be prepared.  

Of course, no one can ever be prepared for every instance in life, but it serves each of us best to make an attempt to be prepared, more than it does not to.

Be You

We’re surrounded by it everywhere we look.  Billboards, mainstream media, including television telling us what the standards of beauty are and how we should be, instead of embracing our ever varying diversity and what we are able to contribute as individuals.  Regardless of what others insist that you mold yourself into, it is very important that you remain true to yourself in life.  Be yourself; only better.  This can be the most difficult task of your life because others will want expect you to be who they think you should be to satisfy their own agendas.  Whatever obstacles you face, you should always have your own agenda that dictates who and how you contribute to this world.  Stay true to your feelings, your vision, your morals, values and standards.  Develop your personal sense of style, love your skin, and hair, size and shape.  Acknowledge your gifts and talents.  If you do these things, you will always be blessed. 

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t embrace positive change.  Change is good; it promotes growth and enhances character.  Be open and receptive to any of the challenges you face in your life.  Challenges that are conquered feed the soul and will bring about a sense of accomplishment for you if you simply try your best.  Whatever you set out to achieve is well within your grasp when you exhibit determination and have focus.  What you bring to this world as an individual is priceless and irreplaceable.  There will never be another you.  You are unique in your design.  Your style is your own, your beauty is unique, your intellect is a treasure.    

Self assess yourself and your personal relationships.  Strive to be the type of person you would want to have a relationship with; a person who is strong, confident and honest.  A person who compliments your best qualities and enhances your existing happiness.  Someone enjoyable to be around who loves and appreicates life and the diversity that it includes.  These are essential elements for the foundation of a healthy relationship.  Embrace your flaws, pet peeves & annoying habits.  They give you personality.  Change only what you want to change about yourself, along with what you should change to improve your health & finances.  You are aware of what those things are, even if you’ve never acknowledged them aloud.    

Be a good friend to others.  You can only receive what you are willing to give to others.   You can’t expect others to live up to standards that you do not yourself live up to.  If you are consistently being disappointed by someone, one of the two of you isn’t a good friend to the other.  Be encouraging and uplifting of others.  Particularly towards other women, both younger and older.  We are each other’s responsibility and we must care for one another.  Putting others down will never lift you up.  Being a hater is an excuse for not fulfilling your own potential.  It may give you temporary satisfaction, but won’t feed your soul or fill your bank account. 

Work to fulfill your dreams and goals.  You may have had to sacrifice your dreams at some point in your life, but it’s never too late to pursue them again.  It takes balance, prayer and perseverance. If you’re interested in pursuing your dreams, network with like-minded people who will encourage and support your endeavors and success.  Working hard and smart have monumental payoffs for those who don’t give up.  Don’t allow people to deter you and draw your focus onto their dreams, when you can spend your energy pursuing your own.  You have a purpose here in this world and you can be a blessing to yourself and to others; you don’t have to choose one over the other. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  You add more stress to yourself when you don’t ask for help.  Asking for help includes asking for guidance from whichever spiritual entity you worship.  God uses us to bless others.  Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.  It’s a sign of strength and wisdom.  Where you may be lacking in an area of your life, knowledge or ability, others may contribute.  Even a super hero needs a sidekick for assistance sometimes.

Don’t be afraid of trying something different or being adventurous.  The human body needs an adrenaline rush on occasion to preserve our natural survival instincts.  Plan a vacation somewhere that you’ve never been before, go to an amusement park and ride a roller coaster.  Open yourself up and do something you’ve always wanted to do, even if you don’t have anyone to accompany you. 

Nurture your individuality.  Whether you like to wear your hair long or short, like to read or listen to music; whatever makes you different is beautiful.  Embrace it fully.  We don’t all look or think alike and that keeps life more interesting.  What a boring world this would be if we were all mindless clones of some other person.  Learn to appreciate the differences that others have.  All of your friends don’t have to be exactly like you.  If you have friends that always agree with you no matter what you do, you need new friends.  You make mistakes, as anyone does, and a true friend will call you out on your mess.   

Don’t work hard at getting revenge on those who have hurt and disappointed you.  Instead, work hard at getting better.  The better you are, the better you look, and the better you feel about yourself, the more the person who has wronged you will regret not having you in their life.  The best revenge is to be fabulous.  

Live your life to the fullest; you only get one chance.  Be beautiful.  Be bright.  Be powerful.  Be you.

Smooches.