September 26, 2017

Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Woman

Being yourself never gets old!

Let them pursue you - Courtsey of Getty Images

Let me say this: I’m a huge fan of Steve Harvey’s book and I think the movie was funny and done in great taste.  However, I do not believe ladies need to think like men to get a man.   We do need to consider one key concept in the book: setting standards.  Our problem is, even if we have standards, we don’t use them.  Dating without standards is like making a cake with no flour.  What you get is a complete mess!

If you haven’t read the book, you should. It’s an excellent, humorous and informative read.  Let me let you in on a little secret though…it’s nothing new!  Your grandmother, great-grandmother, church elder, and get this…your BIBLE will tell you the same things Steve did.  He just put it in a matter-of-factly sort of way.  I’m about to go biblical on you for a minute so that you get where Steve was coming from.  Some of you didn’t go to church on Sunday anyway, so here’s your Sunday school lesson:

Men haven’t changed much since the days of Adam.  Although men were created to lead, they will forsake all they know for a woman.  They work out, play sports, work, dress, lie, cry, and live to impress women.  The problem is that we women have made “the cookie” too available.   We’ve morphed into modern-day Jezebels, abandoning the virtues of Rachel and Ruth.  Rachel and Ruth were pursued by their men, and didn’t need a book or movie to attract them.  In fact, they did nothing!  They allowed men to do what they were made to do, and that was to find a wife (Proverbs 18:22).

By injecting ourselves into the process, we’ve allowed men to become lazy and non-committal.  Now our “Eve” nature is to be controlling and tell a man what to do (see Genesis chapter 3), and because of her sin, we bear her curse.  Painful childbirth isn’t the only thing we inherited, we also carry her controlling nature.  We were designed to help and accompany, not control or scheme.  God never intended for women to put men through college, find them jobs, do their homework, give them sex prior to marriage, be their side pieces, jump offs, friends with benefits or go half on ANYTHING.    We too, have conformed to lying, crying, working, dressing, working out and living to impress men.  And as we all know, it doesn’t matter how good you look, how good your sex is or how nice you are when it comes to keeping a man.  1 Peter chapter 3 states that inner beauty will make us beautiful, and that our virtues will make us attractive.  Virtuous women have standards (see Proverbs 31).

Another theme in Harvey’s book rings true “A man defines himself by what he makes, what he has and who he is.  In the movie, I love how each male character changed for the better.  Not because their women prodded them, but because they were left alone to think about what they truly wanted.  Once they became aware of self and what they needed to fix, they were husband material.  Relationships will always be difficult for a man who isn’t sure of who he is or what he wants.  Notice I said MAN.  Men who have no goals, nothing to call their own, no purpose or no work ethic aren’t men; they’re still boys.  See Project Boo post for details on these type of guys.

As good as the movie was (yes I’m still thinking about Michael licking Taraji’s knees and that good cooking), in real life, the turn around time isn’t that fast.  That “wait and see” method doesn’t work, and neither does taking on the role of his mother!  In short, if you have a man who doesn’t have his stuff together, there isn’t much you can do.  Thinking like a man won’t help.  What will help, is you setting and sticking to your standards, even if that means being by yourself.  Stop this main chick, side piece, dime piece, wifey, bed buddy madness.  Act like a lady and think like one!

Your Slow, Super Efficient Guide to Weight Loss – Part II

Spring is almost here!  Before you know it, it’ll be time to pack those sweaters away and put on those pretty skirts, dresses and shorts.  And for you guys, not too much of a change-up in wardrobe I know, but we do have one thing in common.

We ALL want to be slimmer when the weather gets warmer!  We feel better about ourselves and how we look in our clothes when we shed a few pounds.  Equipped with our new year’s resolution and gym membership, we’re on track to have a beach body by summer.  But is it really feasible to do so in 4 months?

It all depends.  It depends on what you are eating, how much weight you need to lose, if you are exercising and if you are consistent with your eating and exercise regime.  I’ve learned several things since I last blogged about weight loss, and I want to share them with you:

  1. Stop believing the infomercials and fitness ads.  There is no pill, powder, shake or liquid that is going to instantly make you look the way you want.  We have to realize there are no short cuts.  Furiouspete123 on youtube has a video that exposes advertisements on weight loss gimmicks.  Most of those commercials are shot in the same day.  The models bloat themselves after taking the “results” pictures.  Know this: if you are not going to put in the work a pill or potion won’t help, especially not for the long term.  I used to think I needed extra protein to build muscle and a fatburner to lose flab.  Since I’m what’s called an ecto-endo body type (skinny-flabby), I don’t build muscle very well.  I was eating the suggested amount of protein (1 gram per pound), so I was consuming roughly 120-180 grams of protein per day.  What I didn’t realize is that the protein wasn’t metabolizing because I wasn’t doing enough cardio. I ended up gaining weight instead of losing it, even though I was firmer from lifting weights.  Protein helps with muscle-building but not necessarily with weight loss.  So I was building muscle but not losing any weight, and my goal was to do both.  I thought about using a fatburner but they scare me.  The few times I tried them I experienced a racy heart and insomnia from the caffeine.  I’ve conceded to the fact that I need to run more, even though I hate it with a passion.  But the old ways are truly the best ways, and I’ve noticed a difference already.  I’ve increased my cardio from two days to four.  I am now aiming for five.
  2. Don’t underestimate how hard it is to lose weight and to maintain your goal weight.  I just finished “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” By Marshall GoldSmith (I’ll do a book review in another post) and he did an excellent analysis on goal setting and goal achievement.  He applied his principles to weight loss and listed the following reasons why people do not succeed in their weight loss goals: time, effort, distractions, rewards and maintenance.  According to GoldSmith (best-selling author, business professor at Dartmouth and top executive coach), these 5 reasons are commonly underestimated and are ultimately why we fail at our weight lost goals.  My achillies heel had been time, effort and distractions.  But no more!
  3. My Fitness Pal.  It’s an app you can download on your phone.  After you download and create an account, you plug in your current weight and your goal weight.  It then tells you how many calories you are allowed each day based on how many pounds you want to lose per week. I lost about 3 pounds last week!  My fitness pal is great for me because I can also see what nutrients I need to get in before the day is out.  It also made me aware of how much dining out was a hinderance to my progress.  I know I promised pictures but I accidentally erased my November pictures when I restored my computer to factory condition (I forgot to back up years worth of pictures and my favorites). I will put some up though, I promise!  I’ve put on some muscle but I  have quite a ways to go…wish me luck!

I’d like to close this post with the picture below.  I got it from my friends RawTwins on facebook.  If we would take the time to eat properly, we’d be 70% to goal.  Instead of stopping off at a fast food place after a long day’s work, I now take cucumbers, carrots and grapes to work and make sure I am drinking 80 to 100 ounces of water per day.  That’s only 5 to 7 water bottles!  You can do it!  Remember, what you put inside yourself is a reflection of who you are!

-KB

You Are What You Eat - Courtesy of RawTwins

New Year’s Resolutions For Men

Stockbyte via Goggles Images

Tradition has it that when a new year begins, we should resolve to change something about ourselves to become better people.   I thought of 3 unfiltered, unadulterated resolutions for men and 5 for women (sorry ladies).  The men are up first.   In 2012, I hope you resolve to:

  1. Tell the truth in your romantic life.  Women are tired of the “I didn’t want to hurt you” or “I didn’t have my dad” excuses. You are an adult and are accountable for what you do despite how you were raised.  You treat women the way you do not because of your upbringing, but according to your own selfish desires.  You want options.   It makes you feel good about yourself as a man to know you can go back to where you once laid your hat.  You don’t feel like being honest because you really don’t want to explain yourself, and you feel like the truth may get you voted off the island.  Women won’t break if you tell them the truth.  Most women are big enough to handle whatever you throw at them, give or take a few tears.  You might stand a better chance of reconciling if you’re honest rather than leaving them hurt from your fade-away tactic or cheating.   Heck, these days some women will accept whatever arrangement you put on the table.  At least give them the option of deciding if they want to deal with it.
  2. Grow a pair.  There are too many men out there who are unwilling to take certain jobs because they don’t respect the type of work available or just don’t want to work.  Then you wonder why women belittle you or don’t know their place.  It’s because they’ve been forced to take YOURS!  Real men don’t shy away from responsibility and don’t let their egos hinder them from taking care of business.  Be a provider in your home, at the very least a partner.  If you’re in between jobs, make home life easier by helping out domestically.  Women respect men who bust their behinds for their families.  Nothing is beneath you when it comes to maintaining your household.
  3. Learn how to lead.  Men have a special, unique function in the world.  To be an effective leader you first need to know how to follow.  Throughout history prolific leaders submitted themselves to a higher calling and led selfless lives.  Today’s men lack that type of sacrifice.  They wear eggshell armor because they stand for nothing, trying to maintain their manhood with no substance to stand on.  Men, your ability to lead will come from your ability to follow.  Your ability to follow will come from the values and morals in which you hold dear.  When you stand for something other than yourself it is easier for women to support, trust, and stand behind you.   No matter how strong and intelligent women are, they want you to be stronger and more intelligent.  At the end of the day a woman wants a man she can admire and support.  If she makes you feel otherwise, it’s probably because you have failed at one or more of these resolutions.

The Breakup Exit Strategy Part III: Everybody Should Have One

Courtsey of casinodownloads.com via Google Images

A good friend of mine was in a marital dilemma.  After some thought, he’d come to the decision that he no longer wanted to be in his marriage.  He said, “Kaneicia, do you want to know what my exit strategy is? It’s over, get your stuff and get out.”

I laughed when he told me that. He used the direct dump method; no explanation, no conversation, no miscommunication. It’s a bit on the rude side but considering what he’s been through, it’s understandable.  Some breakups won’t have happy endings. The indirect method just won’t cut it.  In my friend’s case he’d been betrayed by his wife and to him, his marriage was unsalvageable.  He made up in his mind it was over and he wasn’t going to waste another minute of his time.  He didn’t argue, didn’t swear at her, he just ended things.  You ain’t got to go, but you got to get up outta here!

As discussed in The Breakup Exit Strategy Part II, being direct is the best way to exit a relationship.  There are no mixed signals, no nonverbals to interpret, no ambiguity. To clarify though, being direct is not easy.  You walk a thin line between being assertive and aggressive, blunt and belligerent.  When dating, it’s all the more worse because you are constantly walking on eggshells.  You always wonder if what you say may be misconstrued.  My rule of thumb is if you deliver the truth with sincerity then you’ve done right by whomever you’re communicating with.  Case and point:

There was this one guy I dated a few years back.  He was charming, extremely talented and spiritually grounded.  I was sure I was going to be Mrs. So & So within a year.  We both wanted to get married and have kids; we had common goals and were very active in our respective churches.  The wait was over!

But as time would tell, everything was not so perfect.  I found out he had some serious financial issues.  On top of that he didn’t feel comfortable communicating with his ex-wife about me.  He’d planned on bringing the kids up to meet my family for Thanksgiving, but reneged because he didn’t want to ask his ex if he could travel with the kids.  When he told me they weren’t coming, I asked if it he didn’t want to ask his ex and he said yes.  I politely got off the phone, analyzed the situation and the relationship’s growth potential.  I decided the financial situation and his timidity were deal breakers. When I told him I wanted to put things on hold, it turned into the fourth of July.  He was not happy.

I know I hurt his feelings because he didn’t want to break up, but I really thought it would be best for us to be friends until he got his affairs in order.  Initially he didn’t agree but after the dust settled, he admitted he couldn’t afford to be in a long distance relationship.  He told me he knew I was right, he just didn’t want things to end.  For me, there were underlying issues of passivity and financial irresponsibility that I didn’t want to deal with (for the record, I did NOT say it that way).  Presently we have an amicable relationship.  Even though he was a great guy, the timing wasn’t right.  I’m thankful I had the wisdom to recognize that.

I firmly believe that openness and honesty trumps all.  Over time reality sets in and the pain goes away.  When your ex’s head is clear, he or she will be able to see things for what they really are.  They will be able to let go and move on.  And who knows what the future holds?   Issues may resolve themselves or the time apart may create a newfound appreciation for each other.  A friendship could develop or a romance rekindled.  At the very least, you didn’t waste your time or theirs, and you’ll have your self-respect.  What could be more rewarding?

The Breakup Exit Strategy Part II: Everybody Should Have One

Leslie Baxter's Disengagement Strategies

At some point in your romantic life you’ve probably given the, “We need to talk” conversation.  As much as it may hurt to hear on the receiving end, it makes you cringe to think about it.  You’re about to breakup with someone and they might not have a clue.  You’re nervous about the reaction you may get and you don’t want to hurt their feelings.  Do I really want to say what I’m feeling, you ask yourself?  Do we really need to talk?

Fact of the matter is you do need to talk.  If you’ve done your planning and analysis as discussed in The Breakup Exit Strategy Part I, you’ve discovered the relationship is at an impasse.  There is no opportunity for growth and you’ve decided to leave.  Prolonging the inevitable wastes precious time for both parties and if you desire a healthy, long-lasting relationship, you don’t want to waste time on someone you know you have no future with.

There are two ways to communicate a break up: directly and indirectly.  If you look at the illustration above there are 6 direct and 6 indirect breakup or “disengagement” strategies.  Leslie Baxter, PhD., and communications professor at the University of Iowa researched these strategies and also discovered they are unilateral or bilateral, meaning one person or both contribute to dissolving the relationship.

Now that you have a choice of strategies, which one should you choose?  You could put yourself on the receiving end for an answer.  Would you want your mate to avoid or withdraw from you?  Would you want them to have a third-party tell you they are unhappy?  Better yet would you like them to say, “let’s spend some time apart”, or be mean and obnoxious so you will break up with them?  Probably not.  Unfortunately though, these strategies are the most common.  According to Baxter, 76% of people choose to breakup indirectly.

When you look at the indirect methods, all six have one common theme: avoidance.  People fear using direct communication break up strategies for three main reasons.   They either don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings, they don’t want confrontation, or they don’t want to explain themselves.   They’ve decided to avoid the whole situation by resorting to the aforementioned methods.

To implement a breakup exit strategy effectively, the first hurdle isn’t choosing a communication style or breakup method, but getting over yourself.  That’s right; you are in your own way!  The tendency to avoid breakups and other types of conflicts stem from…drum roll please…passivity and submissiveness.  Communications Coach Joshua Uerbergang says we become passive communicators because we want to please people, avoid being uncomfortable, dodge responsibility, and be accepted.  He also says passive people receive the benefit of praise for being submissive.  Early in life we learn being selfless earns compliments.  We receive kudos for sacrificing for the good of someone else or “taking one for the team.” We learn to stifle what we say to people because we don’t want to say potentially hurtful things.  We in turn hope they remember our sacrifice and don’t say hurtful things to us.  In reality this behavior is not about them.   It’s about us and how we want to be viewed.  We secretly do this because we are preserving our own self-image.  We are actually sparing our own feelings, not theirs.

You don’t want to be the bad guy or girl, and I empathize.  You want things to end amicably and you want to feel good about yourself.  If you really want to feel good about yourself, be direct.  Indirect communication sends mixed signals.  You’ll leave the other party with more questions than answers.  True praise will come from honest, sincere, direct communication.  At the very least, you may earn their respect.  If you’re interested in seeing a direct breakup strategy executed, subscribe so you can be notified about The Breakup Exit Strategy Part III: Everybody Should Have One.

The Breakup Exit Strategy Part I: Everybody Should Have One

Normally we enter relationships based off attraction and chemistry.  Rarely do we plan.  Everything goes great for the first few weeks, months, heck even the first few years…then the fantasy fades.  The rose-colored glasses come off and we’re like um, what did I see in this person?  Since we never plan our approach into relationships, we’re terribly unprepared to get out of them.  Our brains go into panic mode for reasons to break things off.  Hence the patronizing break up lines, “It’s not you, it’s me”, and “I need some time to figure things out.”  Better yet, how about picking arguments, being extra busy or just pulling a disappearing act?  Not too classy I know, but it’s better than hurting someone’s feelings, right?

Let’s face it, sometimes it really IS them and we just don’t want to say it.  Sometimes we love them, but are not in love with them, or we learn that they have a few screws loose.  In any event, we want to end things on a good note without being the villan or awakening the sleeping pit bull inside of them.  We need a plan!

It dawned on me one day that relationships are similar to starting your own business.  And like startups, relationships could benefit from business planning.  One interesting component of a business plan is the exit strategy.  After a few years of operation, if the business owner wants to leave, they’ll use their exit strategy to do so in a professional manner.  Breakups could be conducted the same way.

You’re probably asking yourself, how can a business exit strategy be used for a breakup?  The answer is simple: you would take the same principles from the exit strategy and use them to end your relationship in an amicable matter.  A breakup exit strategy is a plan that, like in the business world, you derive before you invest your time and resources so that you are prepared for whatever decisions you may need to make down the road.  In business you assess the product market.  You then do a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).  Upon completing your analysis, you estimate your sales growth for roughly 5 years out and plan how to grow your business during that time frame.  If after year 5 you decide to continue on or leave, you either plan your way out or plan for long-term growth.

A relationship can be planned the same way.  First you should assess your dating market.  Then conduct a SWOT analysis by measuring your prospective mate’s strengths and weaknesses.  Next, analyze the upside and downside of being with that person.   After you’ve counted the costs, estimate the growth opportunity of the relationship and how long you believe it should take to achieve that growth.  Once the estimated time period has expired, reevaluate the relationship and decide if you want to stay or go.  The time period is critical because you have to allow time for some of the nuances and awkwardness in the beginning stages to play themselves out.  Five years is a bit long for relationship planning, so use your own judgement here.

Are you interested in what a breakup exit strategy looks like?  If so, stay tuned to read The Breakup Exit Strategy Part II: Everybody Should Have One!