Talk About Ladies

We Discuss Women And Solve Problems Together!

Talk About Ladies - We Discuss Women And Solve Problems Together!

MOTIVATION: How the World’s Ugliest Woman has Inspired Millions

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When she was growing up, Lizzie Velasquez was told that she was so ugly, and she should do the world a favour, put a gun to her head and kill herself.

I know what you’re wondering. Did she do it?

Well the answer is no. Of course not. That’s not her style.

Lizzie Velasquez stumbled across a video of herself on the internet, with 4 million views, titled “The World’s ugliest woman”. To her horror there were thousands of cruel comments saying “Kill it with fire.” And “put a gun to your head and kill yourself.”

It’s impossible to understand how this situation would make you feel as a human being and how this would make you view humanity at large. The last thing you’d think it would do is inspire you. But that’s what happened to Lizzie. She took those words and “used them as a ladder to climb up to her goals”, she used the negativity from these online bullies to ‘light her fire’ and drive her towards reaching her own goals of becoming a motivational speaker, to write a book, to have a family and to get a degree.

What an incredible human being.

Lizzie stared 4 million people in the face and told them they were wrong. She realized “My life is in my hands. I can choose to make this really good, or choose to make this really bad.” She chose the former.

A rare syndrome

You see when Lizzie was born she was diagnosed with a very rare syndrome that means she is unable to gain weight. In-fact , she has never weighed more than 29kg and has zero % body fat.

Lizzie tells her incredibly inspiring story on TED X where she cheerfully bounces on stage and proceeds to rattle off the many benefits of her disorder. That’s’ right she focuses on the benefits– not how hard her life has been, or how unhappy she is or how limited she has been by such a debilitating syndrome.

And she does it with a light-heartedness that’s contagious…cracking jokes about how cheap it is to pay for just one contact lens instead of two and how she can easily ignore people who annoy her by placing them in view of her eye that has no vision. “They literally disappear!” she claims excitedly. Remember – this is the woman who was told by 4 million people that she was the ugliest woman in the world. Unlike most of us with problems that are highly irrelevant in the grand scheme of life, she really had something to wail about. Yet she chose not to.

The realisation of being different

In her TED talk, Lizzie candidly talks about her first day at school when she first became aware that she was different to the other kids. She describes their reaction to her as if they were looking at a monster, and her initial disappointment about how she was treated so differently.

“I’ve had a really difficult life, but that’s ok. Things have been scary, things have been tough. But my parents were my inspiration. They told me: ‘This syndrome will not define who you are. Go to school pick your head up, smile, continue to be yourself and people will start to see that you’re just like them.’ So that’s what I did.“

Lizzie skillfully keeps her talk light and breezy while she confronts what must have been a very painful period in her life. She describes how as a child every day she would look in the mirror and pray that the next day she would look different. Yet each day she would be disappointed all over again.

When everything changed

Yet it was that fateful day when she saw the video of herself online with 4 million views and the title Worlds Ugliest woman that really became the turning point for her. It forced her to choose between a life where she defined herself purely based on the way she looked, or a life where she would focus on what she did have.  Something clicked inside her head. She realized:

“My life is in my hands. I can choose to make this really good, or choose to make this really bad. I can open my eyes and focus on the things I do have and make those things the things that define me. I can’t see out of one eye, but I can see out of the other. I might get sick a lot, but I have really nice hair. Am I gonna let the people who said “Kill it with fire” define me? Am I gonna let the people who called me a monster define me? No. I’m going to let my goals and my success and my accomplishments define me.”

So Lizzie, took that negativity and used it as a catalyst to motivate her. She worked her butt off to make her dreams come true. She decided that the best way she could get back at all of those people was to show them that she could use those negative things they called her as a ladder to climb up to her goals.

And as I was watching this truly beautiful woman share her story of courage and inspiration it humbled me to think:

“Wow, if Lizzie can do that, if she can overcome that situation and all the time with a huge smile on her face, then what is stopping anyone else from doing the same?”

What is stopping you from achieving whatever you want to in your life? So you might have a few hurdles or challenges to overcome?! Are they anywhere near as hard as what Lizzie Velasquez had to face? I’m guessing not.

So all that’s left is one question:

What are you waiting for?

Because if Lizzie can do it, so can you.

Lessons from Lizzie Velasquez

  1. First take a look at how you define yourself? What things do you focus on? Your appearance, your relationships, your faults?
  2. Note if your define yourself in a positive or negative way? Are you happy with the way you currently define yourself? Does it bring out the best in you?
  3. If the answer is no, take some time to re-define yourself in a way that is positive and will enhance your life
  4. Take note of any challenges, negativity or criticism and remember Lizzie. Choose to use this negativity as the fuel to fire you up and keep going!
  5. Focus on what you do have, commit to your new definition of you and go after it right now! If Lizzie can do it, so can you.

Watch Lizzie’s story on TED here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c62Aqdlzvqk

LIFE STRATEGY: HOW TO CELEBRATE BEING A WOMAN

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I thought it would be fitting for us to take a moment and celebrate being a woman. Here are a few short steps you can take.

  1. Celebrate your achievements. There’s a perception that women can be more humble about their achievements than men – think about what you’ve achieved in your life and take a few moments to pat yourself on the back! You deserve it!
  2. Reach out to another woman in need. Consider if there is anyone you know in a work environment or your community who could do with some help? What can you do to support them?
  3. Raise the debate. Make a point of discussing the issues surrounding women of the world. If these topics stay hidden under the radar, it will be very difficult to forge changes ahead.
  4. Find a mentor or coach. Spend some time finding someone who you can ask to be your mentor or coach. Select someone who you believe aligns with your values and someone who you respect.
  5. Do it for the girls. Decide right now to dedicate your life to be a working example of a strong, successful woman. Get focused on your goals and just go for it!  You have the opportunity to inspire so many other young women just by committing to your own achievements.

By MacHenry Churchill

MUST READ: YOU CAN DO THINGS HIS WAY, GOD STILL GIVES SECOND CHANCES

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6 years ago today at this very time, I & @thisiscornelius had our first conversation after church. We knew within 15 minutes that we were going to get married one day. We attended the same church, spoke in passing… And walked by each other for 3 years without having a 1:1 conversation. God has a sense of humor because I was in a place where I didn’t want a man because I was tired of “pretend christian” men coming at me with their carnal mindsets & getting me all messed up (my fault as well). I told God I was fine with being single for another 10 years because HE was all I needed. God had another plan & that was purpose. He brought me with @thisiscornelius not so I can flash my wedding ring but to take on 10,000 with him – to eventually start ministries, a church & to push each other closer to Jesus. It wasn’t about having a pair a thighs in my bed, God had eternity in mind. So, my “Adam” woke up out of nowhere & I didn’t have to have sex with him to catch him. So, don’t feel like you have to settle for some man that wants to feel all over you & pressure you to do things that convict you! We waited to kiss until our wedding day & I walked down the aisle 1 year & 8 months later. Feeling valued. Feeling peace. Feeling like I conquered that season with the help of the Holy Spirit. Dysfunctional relationships WAS my story before my husband. Thank God for redemption. YOU can do things HIS way, He gives second chances. God still honors holiness. 6 years down, a lifetime to go.  

#‎TheLindseys ‪#‎MyLoveStory

BEAUTY TIPS: 7 NATURAL TIPS TO REDUCE LINES AND WRINKLES

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Are you annoyed by that the laugh lines you see when you look in the mirror? Then it’s time to do something about them. You can reduce them with natural home remedies for laugh lines. You really don’t need any face lifts or injections to look beautiful and have smooth skin.

  1. Facial Exercises

By exercising your facial muscles regularly they stay toned and the skin is firmer. So by all means don’t stop laughing. It is great for your facial muscles. But do other exercises as well, for example making a surprised expression and hold it for 10 to 20 seconds. Then switch to another extreme facial expression, for example with your mouth wide open.

  1. Get Rid of Chemicals

Many of the chemicals you find in today’s face creams can actually cause more signs of aging. Products containing alcohol, mineral oil, and chemical preservatives should not be used if you want to keep your skin smooth.

  1. Nutrients for Rejuvenation

Much of the rejuvenation of your skin is actually an inside job. Without the right nutrients your body can’t create healthy skin cells and keep your facial skin firm and smooth. But most of the food today contains less nutrients that it did before so it is wise to take a natural multi vitamin supplement as well as molecularly distilled omega-3 fish oil, which is vital for healthy youthful skin.

  1. Stay Hydrated

You may know that most of your body is actually water, but it is also true that a lot of us walk around dehydrated most of the time. Dehydration causes your skin to age prematurely so be sure to always keep those water levels up. You can do it with other liquids to, for example fresh fruit juice or fruit smoothie.

  1. Say NO to Toxins

For effective rejuvenation of your skin avoid toxins as much as you can. This naturally means avoiding things like smoking cigarettes, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, eating junk foods on a regular basis, and even stressing. Yes, even being in a state of stress and worry impacts your skin.

  1. Try a Face Mask

It is good to give your skin an extra intensive treatment every now and then. You can even make your own face mask at home with nourishing ingredients like oatmeal, raw egg, and cold pressed plant oil.

  1. Moisturize with Natural Cream

Daily care of your laugh lines should include moisturizing with a natural cream. It should be made of ingredients that are proven safe and effective. For best effects on laugh lines and wrinkles, the cream needs to stimulate the growth of collagen and elastin, so that your skin becomes smoother and firmer.

 Culled from MJ Magazine

MONEY: FIVE ESSENTIAL FINANCE TIPS FOR NEWLYWEDS

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Now that you’re newly married, it’s a good idea to have a frank talk about your finances. Follow these steps to get the money conversation going—and cash in on a happier future.

You tell your new husband everything—your hopes, fears, and dreams. But there may be a conversation you’ve both been skirting: the one about money. Learning to share every detail about your finances might take some getting used to, but trust us, it’s well worth it. To help you discuss the past and plan for the future—all while maintaining engagement bliss—we called in the pros. Their simple tips are, well, right on the money.

  1. Create a Vision

Does your “happily ever after” involve jetting off for a Jamaican vacation, or landing a mortgage ASAP? Whatever the dream, it’s important to map out your future together. “Knowing what kind of lifestyle you want can help you create a plan,” says financial guru Matt Bell, author of Money & Marriage. Write down a list of your short-term goals (a car, a new couch) and long-term ones (a four-bedroom home in a nice neighborhood, etc). “You don’t have to have every single detail figured out,” says Bell, “but prioritizing will give you a better sense of how to budget and save.”

Another important aspect: kids. You’ll also want to address child-care and education costs. What is the average price tag of raising little Alice, including college costs? – it’s never too soon to start planning.

  1. Synergize

You work hard for your money, so it can be tough switching from a “mine” to “ours” mind-set. But it’s really important. “Marriage means being partners in all aspects of life, including finances,” says psychotherapist Tina Tessina, Ph.D., author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage. Problem is, many spouses have differing views about spending and saving (in fact, research shows that fiscal opposites attract). That’s why Tessina advises taking the time to share your attitude toward money with your mate—and vice versa. Maybe the cash-flow woes his family faced growing up are the reason he insists on buying generic everything—down to the puffed-rice cereal. “This piece of the puzzle can help you better understand each other’s decisions,” she says.

Another way to sidestep conflict is to create a “discretionary” budget for each spouse to spend as desired, whether that’s on buying stock or the newest Gucci bag. “You don’t have to always agree with your spouse’s purchases, but it is important to see eye-to-eye on pricey items,” says Bell. “Set guidelines about when you need to consult each other—say, anything that costs more than five thousand bucks.”

  1. Lay Debts out on the Table

If you haven’t fessed up about your former shopping habit, now’s the time to come clean. Although your spouse isn’t responsible for those shopping sprees, they can drag down your credit score as a couple. So make a plan: Decide whether you’re going to tackle that debt individually or together. If the interest rate is high—more than 10 percent—joining forces is a smart move. Not sure how to start chipping away? See a financial pro who can help you weigh options and offer smart strategies.

While you’re discussing details, resist the temptation to feel guilty or angry about having debt in the relationship. “Playing the blame game is destructive,” says Tessina. “It eats away at trust and creates a sense of resentment.” Instead, she says, concentrate on the financially free future that you’re creating together.

  1. Decide How You’ll Share Finances

A few decades ago, couples combined their net worth as soon as they traded I do’s. Today, it’s not as simple: Research shows that roughly half of married people have individual accounts. “Having a personal account is useful for day-to-day spending,” says Jon Stein, the founder and CEO of Betterment, an investment site. “But you need a joint checking account for household expenses, such as your mortgage or rent, utilities, and groceries.” Some couples choose to contribute an equal percentage of their income to it (each person gives, say, 60 percent of her paycheck), while others prefer to deposit a flat sum each month. “My wife and I decided to have our salaries go directly into our joint account,” says Stein, a newlywed himself. “And we put a fixed amount into our personal ones.”

For big-ticket items, like a down payment, vacation, or new car, set up a joint savings or investment account. “Use direct deposit to distribute a portion of your paycheck,” advises Bell. “If you don’t see it, you won’t be tempted to spend it.”

  1. Work out the Details

Now that you’ve figured out how much you want to put toward your debts and goals, you can hammer out a budget together. Online sites like Mint and LearnVest have useful tools. “They also track every penny, so you can keep tabs on whether you’re on target,” says Bell. Next, decide who’s responsible for what duties: It’s generally easier to have the more detail-oriented spouse take over paying bills and monitoring the cash flow.

To keep each other in the loop, schedule a check-in every week. “Consider it a bona fide business meeting, where you can catch up on bills and discuss long-term plans,” says Tessina. That means allotting time to chat, setting an agenda to stay on topic, and turning off that episode of Revenge in the background. “You can make it something to look forward to,” adds Tessina. “Discuss finances over breakfast on a Saturday morning, or meet for lunch in a restaurant.” Who says you can’t have a little fun while plotting your financial future together?

Culled from Brides.com

ARE YOU IN A CODEPENDENT RELATIONSHIP?

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Do you find yourself making lots of sacrifices for your partner’s happiness, but not getting much in return? If that kind of one-sided pattern sounds like yours, you don’t have to feel trapped. There are lots of ways to change a codependent relationship and get your life back on an even keel.

What Is a Codependent Relationship?

The first step in getting things back on track is to understand the meaning of a codependent relationship. Experts say it’s a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else for your self-worth and identity.

One key sign is when your sense of purpose in life wraps around making extreme sacrifices to satisfy your partner’s needs.

“Codependent relationships signify a degree of unhealthy clinginess, where one person doesn’t have self-sufficiency or autonomy,” says Scott Wetzler, PhD,  psychology division chief at  Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “One or both parties depend on their loved ones for fulfillment.”

Anyone can become codependent. Some research suggests that people who have parents who emotionally abused or neglected them in their teens are more likely to enter codependent relationships.

“These kids are often taught to subvert their own needs to please a difficult parent, and it sets them up for a long-standing pattern of trying to get love and care from a difficult person,” says Shawn Burn, PhD, a psychology professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

“They’re often replaying a childhood pattern filled with development gaps,” Wetzler says.

How to Know You’re in a Codependent Relationship

Watch out for these signs that you might be in a codependent relationship:

  • Are you unable to find satisfaction in your life outside of a specific person?
  • Do you recognize unhealthy behaviors in your partner but stay with him or her in spite of them?
  • Are you giving support to your partner at the cost of your own mental, emotional, and physical health?

“Individuals can also assume they are in a codependent relationship if people around them have given them feedback that they are too dependent on their partner or if they have a desire, at times, for more independence but feel an even stronger conflict when they attempt to separate in any way,” says psychologist Seth Meyers.

“They’ll feel anxiety more consistently than any other emotion in the relationship,” Meyers says, “and they’ll spend a great deal of time and energy either trying to change their partner or … trying to conform to their partner’s wishes.”

Impact of a Codependent Relationship

Giving up your own needs and identity to meet the needs of a partner has unhealthy short-term and long-term consequences.

“You can become burned out, exhausted, and begin to neglect other important relationships,” Burn says. “And if you’re the enabler in a codependent relationship — meaning you promote the other person’s dysfunctions — you can prevent them from learning common and needed life lessons.”

How to Change a Codependent Relationship

Breaking up isn’t necessarily the best or only solution. To repair a codependent relationship, it’s important to set boundaries and find happiness as an individual, says psychologist Misty Hook, PhD.

She recommends that partners talk about and set relationship goals that satisfy them both.

“It’s also important to spend time with relatives, friends, and family to broaden the circle of support,” she says. “Find hobbies of your own. Try separating for certain periods of time to create a healthy dependence on one another.”

But do keep in mind that your actions may unintentionally worsen a codependent relationship, Wetzler says.

“Sometimes people delude themselves into thinking they are helping a codependent partner by continuing to cater to his or her anxiety,” he says. “But ask if you are truly helping or simply fostering that negativity.”

Culled from WebMD

10 STAGGERING LIES THAT RUINED RELATIONSHIPS

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If there’s one thing most people refuse to tolerate in a relationship, it’s catching a partner in a major lie.

Various women have shared some of the most crushing lies their exes have told them in past relationships. Below, 10 of the most surprising lies.

  1. He had a secret family. 
    “He told me he was single. Turns out he was actually married with three children. Found that out after doing a little bit of internet sleuthing.”
  1. He was jobless. 
    “My ex got fired from his job for stealing.He pretended to go to work every day as usual.I found out when our roommate pulled some jammed paper out of her printer and found half a page of his resume stuck in there. When we asked him about it, he admitted he’d been fired and hadn’t been to work in weeks.”
  1. He had a not-so-secret affair.
    “My last boyfriend was cheating on me while he was studying abroad. He didn’t do a very good job covering it up and I called him out on it. He kept lying about it. Then there was a picture of them together on Facebook. I broke up with him and he screamed at me a lot. We tried to work on things extremely briefly … He didn’t understand why I didn’t want him being friends with the girl he cheated on me with while we were trying to work on things. Stupid bullet dodged.”
  1. He lied about still living at home. 
    “My ex and I were long-distance. He lied for the entire nine months that I knew him that he lived alone when he was really living with his sister and mother. I wouldn’t have cared that he was living with his mom, but when I finally made plans to see him at his house and bought the plane tickets he finally admitted to it. In retrospect it was a huge red flag and revealed him as a hugely insecure chump that pretended to be a confident person. Sickening.”
  1. He lied about who he was at his core. 
    “It wasn’t one lie, it was more about presenting himself to be someone he wasn’t: a laid-back, fairly liberal guy who believed in equality, recycling and being non-judgmental. He proved himself to be uptight, extremely jealous, a bit controlling and unusually conservative, and it all came out so gradually that I was up to my neck in love before I realized it. Outcome: I spent a year and a half grappling to come to terms with the fact that even though I loved him, we were ridiculously incompatible. Broke up.”
  1. He told her he was younger than he was.
    “My ex lied about his age for the close to three years I dated him.We started dating when I had just turned 17, and he had supposedly just turned 25 (which is a huge age gap to begin with). I’m not 100 percent sure how I found out that he was actually over 30 when we started dating. At that point I knew I had to leave him, but it took a long time before I could do that because he had emotionally manipulated me so much.”
  1. He kept the details of their personal finances hidden.
    “My ex-husband lied about paying the mortgage every month. I found out when they foreclosed on the house. He lied about getting discharged from the military for two weeks after his actual discharge. He got up early every morning, put on his uniform and let me think he was at work all day. He lied about why we were always so broke. Turns out, he had a gambling problem. He lied about debts he owed. I found out when the utilities were routinely being shut off and collection agencies started showing up at the house.”
  1. He pretended he didn’t know the other woman.
    “He told me, ‘I don’t know who that girl is, and you’re crazy’ after a random woman came up to us at the grocery store.Later I found out she had sex with him in the front seat of MY car from pictures he had on his phone. This coupled with all of the emails, text messages, and instant messages culminated the end of our 3.5-year relationship. He was screwing around on me the ENTIRE time. Our whole relationship was a lie, he lied about everything.”
  1. He lied about being Norwegian. (Yes, you read that right.) 
    “An ex claimed to be Norwegian — to have been raised there until he was about 14. He backed this up by learning Norwegian so well that he had Norwegian friends who not only believed he was from there, but knew the area he came from by his accent/turns of phrase. Also claimed: to be pagan; to have been in the Norwegian army based in Svalbard for a year; to be incredibly wealthy; to be a year older than he really was.”
  2. He lied about everything.
    “I dated a guy that lied about ALL THE THINGS. Everything you could lie about. He couldnt’ even keep his lies straight and told me three different stories about how his mom died and his aunt raised him, but later his aunt was his mom… just bizarre. Lots and lots of lies about his family, who had nothing to do with him because he was a pathological liar. He lied about having stomach cancer, to the point of me bringing him to the hospital, being there for hours, then he left against medical advice (he told me) but actually there was nothing at all wrong with him … I am a much better judge of character today but I came by it the hard way.”

Culled from The Huffington Post

RESEARCH: Study Reveals Surprising Link Between A Bad Marriage And Heart Health

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Previous research has proved the link between a difficult marriage and negative health effects in lab-based studies. Now, the finding has been confirmed in one of the first population-representative studies, showing a link between living unhappily ever after and having heart health issues.

A study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior looked at data from around 1,200 married people, between ages 57 and 85, over a period of five years. The participants had self-reported their cardiovascular health and also their overall marriage quality — things like how demanding or critical a spouse is.

The striking results showed that while older couples may have weathered more years together, the negative effects of a low-quality marriage became stronger with age. Women in particular, were more likely than men, to endure heart problems. Researchers say this could be because women tend to internalize their negative feelings. “It may be that women are more likely to internalize their emotions and feelings about marital strain and thus are more likely to feel depressed than are men,” the authors write. They also said that stress resulting from marital problems or dissatisfaction could have a stronger effect as our immune system weakens with age.

“Marriage counseling is focused largely on younger couples. But these results show that marital quality is just as important at older ages, even when the couple has been married 40 or 50 years,” lead researcher Hui Liu said in a statement. Researchers also say the findings are evidence that public policies and programs need to be introduced to improve marital quality, to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among older adults.

While it’s no surprise that a troubled marriage can take its toll on your health, some research suggests that marriage in and of itself has a positive effect on one’s health when compared with staying unmarried. The Framingham Offspring study followed over 3,500 adults over a decade and found that even when considering existing health factors, married men are 46 percent less likely to die than unmarried men. This study in particular did not find a correlation between marital dissatisfaction and a lowering in the so-called “protective” effect marriage seems to have. Researchers suggested that this could be because spouses encouraged men to take better care of their health, with regular checkups and the like.

So what does this mean for people in a bad marriage? “It’s not like you have contact with your spouse and the next day you have heart disease,” Liu told The Washington Post. The study has some limitations due to the relatively small sample size, data is self-reported and researchers say future studies should have a longer follow-up period. “It really takes time. That may explain why it’s stronger for older people. Your body will remember the effect.”

Culled from hsb.com and ScienceDaily

THE LADY, HER LOVER, AND HER LORD 3

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First things first. God is a God of order. He created Adam alone and then gave him a relationship. Adam had time with God and with himself before he had time with his lovely bride. If God has chosen to allow you a time of intimacy with Him, enjoy that Sabbath and receive it as an opportunity to savor your consecration and develop your qualities as an individual.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Matt. 22:36-39

Jesus says that the greatest commandments that are listed in the Word are thus: the greatest commandment is the one that demands that we love our Lord with all our hearts, minds, and souls; the second-greatest commandment is that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. But how can we love our neighbors who are apart from us if we do not learn to love ourselves? It is here that we must begin the process of preparing our gift to be given. For how can we give to someone a gift that we do not value or believe to be significant ourselves? Is it possible that this is the basis for so many dysfunctional relationships? Is it possible that many people have a tendency to see themselves as insignificant and therefore open themselves up to a life of abuse?

More important is the fact that when we do not value ourselves, we tend to attract people who support that devalued image. Remember now, we train people how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. If you honor yourself, there are some men who will not find that an attractive feature. You will heat statements such as, “She thinks she is so much,” or, “That girl is a trip.” The truth of the matter is he has seen the product and doesn’t have the price that the ticket says must be paid. You must know that sometimes rejection is a blessing and not a curse. There are some people, jobs, friends, and so on that you do not want to attract. You want to draw to yourself people who are comfortable with your values and perceptions. People with low self-esteem tend to draw to themselves others who dominate and control or belittle them. They attract the types of men who are apt to reinforce their own negativity. That is why you need to be healed inside before you enter into relationships.

Sometimes God delays relationships to give you a chance to heal as an individual. Then and only then can you make choices that are healthy–choices that are not predicated on obsessive need or fear of being alone. There are many people who endure unthinkable abuse because they are terribly afraid of being alone! To avoid themselves, they choose life with an abuser rather than a night at home alone. But there are some things that are worse than being alone.

While you are single, if you do not spend time finding wholeness and learning the art of being happy alone, you will marry out of fear and then years later awaken out of the comatose state of low self-esteem, only to recognize that you are a valuable entity whether there is a man around or not. Then you may find yourself lying beside someone who no longer fits where you are; he fit where you were and how you saw yourself before. You may find that you are tied to someone who fits your dysfunction but not your function. Tragically, you have grown apart rather than together. Many times, in response to the woman’s new sense of value, the man will panic and try to insult the woman into a false feeling of incompetence. Women, do not embrace this degradation! Maintain the courage to disagree with debasement. There is a difference between constructive criticism and the killing of a human soul. Know that there is nothing damaged within you. It is the man who is insecure, devaluing you to compensate for his own weaknesses. A strong man’s hands can clap for his woman and still feel good about himself.

Many brides walk down the aisle of the church secretly saying, “Save me, save me.” It is the silent scream of a desperate heart that is in love with the idea of love, in love with the hope that someone will love her so well that she will finally feel good about herself. But before you make a tragic mistake, you must learn the art of being warm alone! Additionally, you must realize that this is the time during which you should develop a respect for your own opinions. This is not to say that the goal is inflexibility as it relates to others’ opinions. No, we always want to be open to the wisdom others can offer. But it does mean you should have conviction in your own thoughts in the absence of all others and their advice. What do you think? Before you get a second opinion, be sure you have a first one. It is time alone that enables you to get a grip on your own feelings and develop your own reasoning. Take it from me, it is far better to fall in love with a whole woman who has her own opinions and creativity than it is to be married to someone who thinks only what you think and wants only what you want. On the surface, having a woman defer to you may sound noble to some men. But after a while, you want a woman who has an idea that you didn’t give her!

In short, the melody must be established before the harmony can be written. You must first establish your own identity. Try to establish some solidarity financially, mentally, and spiritually. Then, when and if you add the harmonious thrust of a male counterpart, he is enriched by your contribution and you by his, without being a weight that he carries until he is exhausted. The goal is ultimately a state of wholeness. That wholeness cannot be reached if you are not divorced from your past and prepared for your future. So let’s take it step by step, one day at a time, and watch God give you the grace to make changes and institute goals for your future.

Your assignment at this point is quite simple. You have three P’s that you are to start with. They are prayer, praise, and pampering. Pray for strength because you know that He gives might to those who have none. Praise God for your survival because you know that it is by His mercy that you are still here. Pamper for solace. It is through pampering yourself that you find renewal and comfort against the tragedies of life. You could do all of these practices at the same time. Light a candle in the bathroom, play some soft notes, and slip into a hot tub with scented bath beads. Lie in the water and raise your hands in the air and praise the God that blessed you to be alive. Pray about the things that would normally worry you. Refuse to spend the evening worrying about things over which you have no control. Instead, lather up and relax–this is your time of pampering!

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Eccles. 3:1 (NKJ)

(C) Bishop T. D. Jakes

THE LADY, HER LOVER, AND HER LORD 2

lady-reading-bible

Many women find it difficult to appreciate themselves because society puts pressure on them to be completely selfless; any attempt at self-nurturing and self-love is condemned, eliciting accusations of being selfish and narcissistic, of not being an adequate wife, mother, or even an adequate woman. No woman wants these labels and so many comply–giving, giving, giving–never appreciating themselves. Never realizing that in order to truly give you must appreciate the gifts you possess. Sadly, some women’s lives become as futile as a child’s attempt to capture the entire ocean in his sand bucket. No matter how committed he is to his task, no effort is ever enough.

It’s not easy to overcome this pressure. Even the most liberated people are adversely affected by the pressure of public opinion. Withstanding the opinions of others is at best stressful and at worst debilitating. Many of us are crippled by the masses of people who do not allow us the freedom of our own opinions and the exploration of our own personhood. We all have a tendency to reflect the opinions of others. If someone says you look terrible in a dress, don’t you wear it with reluctance the next time? Even though we say we do not care what people think, to some degree we are still vulnerable to their words and ideas. But if we are going to be effective individuals, we must develop the ability to embrace ourselves. A positive self-image is not arrogant. It is necessary in order to procure a healthy relationship with others. People who have low self-esteem are too obsessive to enjoy others. They cling to others like a vine to a wall. They need others to stand, and that need is compulsive and draining.

It is virtually impossible to find someone to appreciate you as a person if you do not allow them to see you as a settled, stabilized force in the earth. They need to hear you sing your own song. They need to listen to your solo. Sing the melody of success and everybody will want to hum that tune with you. But make sure that you allow to join in only those who harmonize with your own self-image. You actually train others how to treat you by how you treat yourself. Do not think for one moment that others do not observe your level of style, class, and preferences. All of us, when we shop, have had to deal with the fact that this person we are shopping for would or would not buy this item for him- or herself. You want to buy what would at least be comparable to what that person would select. You wouldn’t give a cheap bag to someone who wears expensive clothes, would you? Who would feel comfortable giving a gift that would stand out among the person’s possessions as an item beneath his or her normal standard? By being good to the self, this person has in essence set a standard that we all must aspire to reach if we are to be a blessing to that individual.

Look, Ma, No Hands

We are not born in relationships. Who among us was born holding someone else’s hand firmly clasped within her own? We enter life with both hands up in the air and fists clenched tightly. We are born empty-handed. There are no hands to hold but our own. We learn to reach out, but only after we have had a chance to reach inward and upward. It is the upward reach of the spirit and the inward reach of the soul that enables the outward reach of the body.

Most of us are single-birth babies who spent time alone from the womb to the crib. We played in the crib alone. We learned the fundamental skills of entertaining ourselves. Alone is where we start and essentially it is where we end. For even if we die in a crowded room, ultimately we die alone. Job says he came here naked and returned naked. It is true. We find ourselves going full circle. We take no more with us than what we brought. We brought no one with us into this world, and even though we may hold hands as we die, still we face death alone. We are at best empty-handed travelers. We start with clutched hands, and we end with clutched hands. Between those two points, our hands will hold many things. But, at the end, as was in the beginning, they will pry our hands open and find no one’s hand within but our own.

Nothing is more essential to spiritual and emotional well-being than that which we are considering now. For you see, there are some prerequisites to a healthy love relationship with others. We can love others with no more wholeness than that with which we love ourselves, We tend to seek from others the kind of love and affirmation that must come from within. As we journey forward, we will discuss the relationship the lady has with herself, then with her husband and lover, and finally with her Lord.

If her relationship is not fortified with her Lord and with herself, she will enter into a relationship with a man for the wrong reason. She will want from him those properties that can only be extracted from a positive self-image and a clear perception of her God. I will discuss in more detail later the significance of having a God-centered life. But for the moment, let’s consider what can be achieved by a woman who knows and loves herself. So tonight, dear friend, set the table for one and sit in the presence of your own personhood. Drink the robust wine of your own thoughts and laugh hysterically at some humorous memory that you can share with no one but yourself. Could it be possible that before the night is over you might find yourself warmed by the fire of your own dreams, and perhaps ever so gently whisper the confession that by God’s grace you have finally learned to enjoy your own company?

Could it be possible that being alone does not have to mean that you are lonely? Have you ever entertained yourself? Or are you saving all of your social skills for someone who is not there? If you are, it is indeed a statement that suggests you are not important enough to demand your own respect. That is a dangerous place from which to start life. Because if you cannot value your own existence and presence, you will eventually have trouble relating well to others.

Most people spend no time entertaining themselves. They only entertain others. They never plan an evening for themselves. They endure their time alone as if they had been exited to solitary confinement. But it is the single woman who has the time to develop true spirituality. She is not encumbered with the concerns of children or mate. She has the time to strengthen herself on several different levels. She has the time to strengthen her economy, her spirituality, and her personality. Each area needs to be strengthened so that she can clearly discern, when offers come, whether she is in love or in need.

An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world–how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord, I Cor. 7:34-35 (NIV)

I am therefore suggesting that you have a relationship first with your God, secondly with yourself, and finally, out of the manifold fruits of your own habitation, you are ready to share with someone else what you have determined to be worth bringing to the table of love.

(To Be Continued)

By Bishop T. D Jakes