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You Are Worthy

In light of recent scandal with baseball player Danry Vasquez,  who was caught on video abusing his girlfriend, a thought I often struggled with immediately came to mind: What causes women to stay in tumultuous relationships?

When I was younger, I could not understand it for the life of me. I use to judge women who stayed in these kinds of relationships and viewed them as weak. There ain’t that much love in the world to keep me in that kind of relationship, so I thought. My mind fuck moment came at a random time, but I had to sit and be real with myself. Tezhula, what made you any different from these women? 

In my past relationships, I was used, manipulated, lied to, and cheated on. You see, people like to associate abuse with physical harm, but emotional and mental abuse is just as harmful. It was then that I understood the psyche of a domestic violence victim because the cycle isn’t much different than what I had once experienced. We stay with men who mistreat us because we love them and want them to either change or return to who they were in the beginning. The reality is, 90% of the time, the chances of that happening are not likely, but rather than loving ourselves enough to walk away and knowing we deserve better, we stick around and take the mistreatment due to our lack of self-worth.

Do you really know your worth or do you think you do?  When I was in my early 20’s, no one could not tell me that I did not have my shit together. I was self- assured and confident about what I brought to the table. I was a recent college graduate, had a job, and believed that I was attractive, but beneath all of that, I had some insecurities. I use to question my place in this person’s life. What did the other women who he use to play me for have that I did not? Did I have whatever it was to keep him satisfied with only me? When I realized I was not enough for him, my insecurities increased. I started to feel unattractive and compared myself to some women thinking that it was the standard he judged me by. If I had truly known my worth, however, he would not have been able to make me feel insecure. I would have recognized that the way he treated me (his inability to commit and feeling the need to have multiple women) was a result of his shortcomings. I would have understood that his behavior was a reflection of him and had nothing to do with me.

While many of us like to think that we love ourselves, true love and understanding of worth entails finding the strength to walk away from someone who mistreats us or is simply not good for us. It’s understandable to think you’re incapable of leaving because it takes a lot of pain, tears, and struggles to get to this point, but it’s like you wake up one day and everything clicks. You finally won’t take all the bullshit you once did. You know your worth and won’t accept any less than you deserve.

Have you forgiven yourself for the mistakes you made prior to truly knowing your worth? Often times, we are our own worst enemy. We are not kind to ourselves. We do not forgive ourselves for the poor decisions we made and despite letting go of bad relationships, we hold on to the experiences that played into our low self-esteem. These thoughts can manifest, resulting in actions and behaviors that are out of character. If I had forgiven and thought enough of myself, I would not have allowed my past experience to influence my poor decision-making. I would not have sought out the love and attention I should have given myself from other people. But as the famous saying goes “everything happens for a reason.” The journey to self-love is one paved with mistakes, heartaches, trials and tribulations. With every experience, there is a lesson learned. There are some lessons I regret and wish I did not have to learn the way I did, but it was necessary for my growth. Only at your lowest point can you find the strength to heal and move forward. I had to break myself down and rebuild myself back stronger and wiser. I had to learn to forgive myself and knew as long as I learned from it everything would be OK.

The love you want begins with you. If you want someone to respect you, respect yourself. If they do not respect you, respect yourself enough to walk away. Remember that you teach people how to treat you. Never settle for less than you deserve and if by any chance you do, forgive yourself for what you did not know. Once you know better, make sure you do better. Do not allow anyone to judge you for your situation. People (some who have accepted or will accept something similar) judge what they do not understand and their opinions could have a way of making you feel worse. Sometimes, you have to take the road less traveled to end up where you need to be. At the end of the day, everyone at some point in their lives has struggled with knowing their worth. You are not alone. If you are in a situation where you are being mistreated in any capacity and you feel like you are stuck and cannot move forward, take a leap of faith and make sure you put yourself, your feelings and your interests first. Do not rely on anyone to love you or to make you happy. You are the one who is in control and responsible for your life.

Editor: Sweenie Nicole; Instagram: Sweenie.Nicole; Twitter: @simplysweenie; Blog: Relish N’ Rise

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LOVING YOU ON VALENTINE’S DAY!

So, today is Valentine’s Day! A highly anticipated holiday for some and an overrated holiday for others. Nonetheless, it is the time of the year when people show their love for one another by doing things that they do not normally do. The romance is stepped up for the couples who are in a relationship, but then there are people, women in particular, who are left feeling bitter on this day. As I scroll through my timeline, I see some women who are acting like the Grinch for Valentine’s Day. Lol. If you are one of the ladies who are feeling down about this holiday, do not feel sad, bitter or resentful because you feel you cannot celebrate this day when you are not in a relationship or do not have a partner to share this day with. Today is about love, plain and simple. Most people put emphasis on the romantic aspect of this holiday, but that is not the only love we experience or the only meaningful relationships we have in day to day life. We have parents, children, friends all who we can share and experience this holiday with. More importantly, we have ourselves.

When I was single, I used to be one of those women who was bitter when this time of year came around. But, when I sit and reflect, I wish that, as a single woman, I would have taken more advantage of this day. How often do people usually set aside a day to treat, pamper, spend time with, and love themselves? We get caught up with the normal activities of life that we may do one or two of these things often, but we usually don’t reserve a whole day for it. Instead of moping about not having a valentine, today could be the day you give back and cater to yourself instead of having to cater to someone or have someone cater to you.

Forget about social media. Forget about all the couples who are posting their cute, lovey dovey pictures and the things they bought/received for Valentine’s Day. Forget about the engagements that will happen today. Forget about not having a romantic relationship. The love you want begins with you. When you are looking and feeling good, you radiate confidence. This confidence can attract someone special. We do not only have to make this a Valentine’s Day thing. It can be an everyday thing. But as they say, everyday is Valentine’s Day when you are in the right relationship and the most important relationship we all have is the one with ourselves. After you read this, I hope you no longer associate negative feelings with today and instead use this day for positivity and while I focused on the single women, women who are in relationships can do this, too. Self-love is the greatest love and once you perfect this, no one can break it up. Besides, if you really don’t want to be by yourself today, get dressed up and hit up one of your single friends for a Galentine’s Day.

Editor: Sweenie Nicole; Instagram: sweenie.nicole; Twitter: @simplysweenie; Blog: Relish N’ Rise

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Do you find it beneficial to go to your friends for relationship advice?

So, to start, let me just say that this is a topic I have mixed feelings on.  There is really no right or wrong answer. It is truly a matter of preference. There are many factors to consider when going to your friends about your relationship: are they in a relationship? If so, is the relationship healthy? Does this friend genuinely want what is best for me? Will they be honest with me?

  1. It does not actually matter whether a friend is in a relationship or not. Some of the best advice comes from single people who have made their fair share of mistakes in relationships and aim to prevent others from going down a similar road. But if they are in a relationship, we should probably find out if they are in a healthy one. A healthy relationship is not one void of problems and hardships; the couple was just able to overcome the difficulties using positive coping mechanisms like communication. If a person who is in an unhealthy relationship gives us advice, we could be less likely to take it because it could be ungenuine. We may even find ourselves paying attention to how it is they handle their problems, and if they aren’t following their own advice, we probably wouldn’t follow it either.

Disclaimer: Anyone is capable of giving great advice; it’s just harder to take advice from people when their water is not clean.

  1. We all have friends who genuinely want the best for us and some who would try to sabotage our relationship because they are not happy in their current situation. The hardest part about knowing this is determining if our friend is the former or the latter so we know who we should and should not take advice from (we obviously would not want to take advice from someone who has bad intentions)! Then, we have to consider that among those friends who genuinely want the best for us, are some who find it hard to be honest for one reason or another. For instance, one of my closest friends recently revealed to me that she could not stand the person I was dealing with a few years ago. Her exact words were “I never told you this, but I could not stand him.” When I asked her why she did not tell me then, her response was “You were not ready, but I knew you would have gotten it right someday.” A few years removed from the situation and no longer defensive, I was able to meet that statement with understanding instead of holding her decision against her. I know she is a friend who wants what is best for me, but sometimes those kind of friends get caught up in the line of fire if they tell us the truth about the person we are dealing with WHILE we’re still with them. At that point, our minds are clouded by our emotions, and a friend giving us sound advice before we are ready to hear it or come to terms with what the situation actually is could be detrimental to a friendship. I had other friends who I pushed away for that exact reason. They refused to enable me when it came to my dealings and rather than looking at the guy as the enemy, I pushed them away to save face.

I polled this question a week ago and 58% of voters said they DO find going to their friends for advice beneficial versus 42% who selected no. One voter messaged me and explained why she was against seeking advice. She said that she never listens to her friends even if they’re offering logical guidance because at the end of the day, the heart and mind will not accept what it is not ready to. She believes people ask for advice hoping we will get cosigns for what we say or think; we need validation and I agree. We usually go to people to vent until we finally come to terms with what we need or want to do. We only take advice when we want to.

This topic is not black and white for me. I have arguments for going to your friends and arguments to keep your business private. However, if I had to choose a side, I would say it is not beneficial to go to your friends for their input. While some advantages are that they may be able to see in your partner what you cannot and can help point out if and when you are sabotaging your own relationship, the majority of the time, we are not taking our friends’ advice until we are good and ready. By that time, we realize that we don’t even need their help anymore because we came to an ultimate decision on our own.

Editor: Sweenie Nicole; Instagram: sweenie.nicole; Twitter: @simplysweenie; Blog: Relishn’Rise