How To Love Yourself: The Short Version

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It starts with caring enough about how you feel to make changes in your relationships, circumstances, and ways of thinking to release the fear you have of your best self.

There is no one way to show yourself love and we often think that showing ourselves love will transmit as if we lack love of others. The truth is when we are able to love ourselves we gain more empathy for the struggles of others, show more compassion and dare I say it love for other people.

I have clients who come to me day by day practically begging me to tell them how they can get out of these toxic relationships.  Therapist rule of thumb, we don’t give advice unless it’s practical like you need to get your insurance active before you return for your next session or just stop drinking so you can complete this damn drug program and finish your DWI hours.

What I often want to flat out say is, nothing is going to change until you care enough to change it. You like this toxic relationship because otherwise being the very smart, very indignant and insightful person you are, you would have left. And then they say but I love them…and then I say yes, even more than you love you. And they go…”wow.” And I’m like no wow! Get the hell out of there!

The point I’m trying to simply make is this. No real change happens until you believe you deserve what you want. Loving yourself is not just the act of putting yourself first but also not letting your flaws control you. Your boobs sag, so what? You have a small butt, so what? You have cellulite, so what? Which one of these things can actually stop you from being your best self? Your best self is not about being perfect, it’s about knowing you aren’t perfect and saying, SO WHAT?! (Unless of course it’s making you worst like a bad attitude then change that, no one likes that).  Take me for instance, I am a thick some would say “plus sized” or even “fat” young woman but what the hell does that have to do with my writing, compassion, and counseling ability?! My weight won’t stop me from being anything unless I want it to.

So let’s keep it simple, if loving yourself is about caring/addressing how you feel in a healthy way and letting go the fear you have being the boss a** version of yourself.…how will you start loving yourself today?

 

Comment! Tweet me! And Tag me on IG. How are you loving yourself today?

 

Photo Credit: Google Images via Pinterest (Not taken by Naionlife).

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When the “Thirst” Isn’t Real….

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Urban youth and “20 somethings” alike have allowed so many things to interfere with the building of intimacy with another person. We have engaged in things like screen-shotting personal conversations sending it to friends or posting it on social media. We have created all types of media pages like Instagram, Facebook, Vine, as sort of personal advertisements of the version of ourselves we want people to see to still end up misunderstood and overlooked. We have pretty much sold social media some of our most vulnerable moments but that’s America!

Don’t get me wrong I do it too, so I’m not judging.  However, we all have our limits of things to post and not to post, words to say and not to say; But the word “thirsty” is a trend, phrase rather, that has started to a subtle shift in behavioral norms as deemed by society (us). Basically, it’s killing the “dance” of dating.

The word “thirsty”, is meant to describe someone who is not grasping the social cues one uses to relay their lack of interest in them romantically and continues their pursuit. It could also in other words be seen as “eager” or “Doing too much”. Although these are all valid situations, the truth is the word is misused. If a guy likes 99 out of your 100 IG post, texts you repeatedly even when you don’t respond, or calls you everyday when you have clearly expressed no interest in him, he’s not thirsty, he’s stalking you! If a woman you don’t like or have expressed no sexual interest in randomly sends you a naked pic, she’s thirsty. If your partner whom you have shown even some romantic interest in, is asking for dates, texting/calling regularly and shows genuine interest in dating you, that’s not stalking or thirst, it’s called CONSISTENCY!

It’s not like there weren’t “thirsty” people prior to the word, but there wasn’t really any language that so accurately described the behavior. I get it, anyone who shows more interest in you than you show them, can be a little annoying but it is your place to remove any reason they may have to believe you like them back.  If you aren’t making that clear then they can’t be called “thirsty”.

The truth is we are unfortunately attracted to the mysteriousness of someone who acts like they don’t like us. We drive ourselves crazy trying to understand that person’s mystery when really there is none, they are acting that way because say it with me “THEY DON’T LIKE YOU” !

The worst thing about the word “thirsty” is that it’s stopping people from doing any kind of affectionate act when dating because looking thirsty is scarier than actually losing someone you might actually have a genuine connection with. Not to mention, a lot of people use it as a way to seem important or desired, which makes the person chasing them resent them and the dating process altogether.

I can tell you both from experience and textbook knowledge that the respect for love and commitment is decreasing. Love is in a very fragile state now and we can’t afford to let things ruin what we have left of romance in 2014. I want my niece to be the recipient of grand acts of love from her beloved, and my nephew to not be too afraid to create them for the person he loves. Hell, I want that !

Love and dating is already hard enough to master with the double standards and expectations of perfection. Lets not completely ruin the art of pursuit and courtship by calling everyone thirsty. If we keep going at this rate, committed relationships and acts of romance will be like dinosaurs and good lace front closures; only seen on TV.

– NaiOnLife 

What “50 Shades of Grey” did to Black People?

I regret to inform my readers yes,  all 3 of you, that I myself have clinged to the notion that, “I do not read for fun”. Its something I have always believed, and thanks to graduate school with its literary boot on my neck, reading is still on my list of least favorite things to do. I say all that to say, I did not and probably won’t read “50 Shades of Grey” but like all non readers like myself, I am keeping up with all details on the movie production. In any case, this article is just an outward expression of my gratitude for this amazing piece of art.  You guys may or may not know However despite my lack of motivation to actually read the book, I have been invited to join the many, many, conversations about the love story and of course the SEX! Like a mother seeing her child walk for the first time, my excitement over people’s intrigue by this sexual fetish known as BDSM is unmatched. I am thoroughly excited when people of different cultures are exposed to things otherwise categorized as #ShitWeDontDo, and for black people, that means #ShitWhitePeopleDo. I’m not saying black people weren’t doing it before “50 Shades of Grey”, I’m sure they were but based on my observation, BDSM was extracted in very small bits and pieces, maybe some handcuffs, Booty slapping but nothing too crazy. I noticed this when everytime I would bring it up sexual acts and the immediate, I just ate a sour lemon face would surround my excited presentation. I realize that everyone has a comfort level with all things but as a therapist in training, it’s important for me to encourage people to open their eyes to a WHOLE new world. I am thankful that “50 Shades of Grey” has opened the conversation of sexual exploration. People have no idea the experiences that await them outside their comfort zone, it’s a rush in itself to just try something new but I’d you like it ! God help you, your life has just made room for another thing that brings you pleasure. So this is just my Thank You to “50 Shades of Grey” for making my job as a future Sex Therapist easier. ! *Salutes*

“Summer Reads: Class In Session” by EMoss

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I love sex. The variety. Intensities. It can be done anywhere anyhow you like it. There is something beautiful about a lover who knows how to entice you physically. One who knows how to kiss you or what intensity takes you toward your climax. Unless the person you decide to do it with can’t or won’t do what you like. Any woman will tell you when it comes to sex, some compromises can be made. If you have a lover whose stroke is impeccable, then you may be a little lenient if the oral skills are marginal Or if the stroke game is mediocre, the oral game has to be over the top!

Somehow, someway, I managed to fall in love with a man who’s stroke game AND tongue talent in the nether region were whack! Plain and simple. Now for the sake of sparing his ego, I couldn’t just come out and say “Baby your sex game sucks!”. Even in the politest way, those words have the ability to break a man’s spirit. However, not being able to connect with him on that level left me unfulfilled. After much thought and consulting with good friends, two options presented themselves.

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I can either continue to keep quiet and remain unfulfilled or I could teach him exactly what I needed. Teach him is what I did. I went shopping at Fredericks of Hollywood and purchased a sexy teacher outfit. The kind that would instantly draw his attention. Then I went food shopping. After all, the way to any man’s heart is through his stomach. Needless to say, when he came home to find me in the teacher costume and his favorite meal ready, his attention was completely mine. His belly was full and his senses were intrigued by me prancing around in costume, it was nearing teaching time!

I let him know that class was in session and that any mistakes made were unacceptable. This would be the ultimate test of his overall sexual performance; foreplay, oral and stroke game. I don’t know what whether the outfit excited him or the authority I took in this aspect of our relationship, but he came through with an all-star performance. That man used his tongue, lips, fingers and penis to its fullest potential. Mission accomplished!

“Summer Reads: 2 Sides 2 a Story”

ImageSo my life started to get a little lack luster and by lack luster I mean boring. I was on a steady journey to finding my happy but I was emotionally numb and neutral to pretty much everything. I didn’t want anyone, no one wanted me and I was okay with that. However, I still had some of those, “I miss my ex” episodes, which I felt was deeply hindering my happy place. 

One sentimental thought and a weak moment later. I had decided after several months of absolutely no contact (not even the stalking of social media pages, on my part,) I was going to make contact with enemy . I don’t really know why but I felt like there was just some unfinished business and I wanted it dealt with. I felt the need to clear the air, to release the negative energy, to finally let it all go with no bad blood..I guess. 

So I did it, I sent email stating nothing more that a “I hope you’re doing well, and apologize for my part in our last big blow up”.  The next morning, I woke up to an email that said, ” Text Me Please”. The please did it, so I tried to remember the number that I thought I would never forget and the next thing you know I had sent a reluctant yet anxiously excited “Hey” .

That conversation, which we had decided would be our last turned into several text conversations and a few phone calls. It moved so quickly. Despite the flirtatious messages, I held my ground. However, my ex, ( still in a relationship mind you) would be obviously annoyed at my strength. So I slowly found myself just giving in. Saying what I knew my ex wanted to hear and what would lead to more opportunities for me to receive  a copious amount of accidental compliments.

My ex, please remember, still has a girl but I didn’t want to know anything about her. I didn’t want to know her name, age, anything about their relationship. I was completely uninterested because frankly, I didn’t care. This was about me, getting my fix of excitement from a situation that has never promised any emotional gain. I didn’t even want to know about their relationship issues but found myself often giving relationship advice. It was an interesting position to play, one I don’t recommend, but it was a test of maturity for me. Needless to say I passed. The more we talked, the less and less attracted I became. It started all going away, which is what I always wanted but boredom kept me playing this sick and twisted game. 

I was not at all even trying to sustain a relationship with my ex, but we were “friends (I say this so sarcastically)”. We were having morning conversations, and texting all day and flirting but we were just FRIENDS, we were talking about the past and how the future had the possibility to be so much better but we were just FRIENDS, we even planned a trip to Philly to hang out  which I cancelled due to the events explained below) since we were JUST FRIENDS. Now smart Nai, educated Nai, Wise Nai, NaiOnLife knew my ex was doing all these things to sabotage the relationship with the new girl, and trying to use me as a way out. My gut was telling me to keep a safe distance but pay attention, that all of this was going to someone get me out of that emotional rut I was in. 

As life would have it, like a Tyler Perry film, someone else close to me was going through the other side of my situation. My beloved friend, in a relationship where she felt second to her girlfriend’s ex girlfriend. Hearing her frustration over how my ex was dealing with me was hurtful because in her relationship, she was the girlfriend.  And if that wasn’t enough for my nonexistent conscience, My other friend had suspected her girlfriend was on cheating her, due to several inexplicable behaviors. It was clear that even if I didn’t care and kept this situation for my own personal enjoyment, God was saying Nai, ” It’s Done”. It wasn’t about the girlfriend, It wasn’t like I was trying to take my ex away from her, I just needed some easy to attain attention. I would never deal with someone with a girlfriend outside of this situation, so why is it with my ex those morals were so easily left abandoned? It was a wake up call.  After my friends made my ex’s girlfriend real to me, I realized it was time to just cut my loses.

I attempted the first time but my ex was not having it at all. Saying things like, “If you lived here, we would be” and “I want to keep you in my life”, so I set boundaries. Two days later, my ex told me we had to talk, and I knew what it was about.

Ex: “I don’t think we can talk anymore” Me: (Insert stale face here) “I said that two days ago”. A few statements later the conversation ended with me saying, “I hope everything works out for you guys and remember what I told you (during our counseling situations)”.

And just like that, with a few messy conversations after that, we were done. What I learned from this is that, an idle mind really is the devil’s playground, however there is good in everything. I wasn’t allowing myself to be fully happy because I thought I was missing out on being with my ex. It wasn’t until I had my ex that I realized, “nope this isn’t it either”. I still felt numb and neutral, no compassion, no joy, it was just something to appease my boredom. 

My advice, when you have those moments of “staleness”, like life is just boring. Don’t look to others for that kind of fulfillment because at some point you will realize they won’t make you happy either. Happiness comes from progression not regression. However, if ever you find yourself on the verge of being a home wrecking loser like me, I hope you catch yourself before you do something Karma is going to hold you accountable for. 

Life is too short to waste time on serving accidental acquaintances ( Like Ex’s) when you could be making memorable mistakes with your soul-mates.

BTW, my ex is still with the girlfriend and I am FINALLY, genuinely back to my happy place. 

Thanks for Reading ! 

– NaiOnLife 

NaiOnLife Presents…” Summer Reads” !

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So despite my apparent hiatus, I have not at all forgotten about my baby blog NaiOnLife.com! This summer NaiOnLife.com is launching a fun and exciting weekly post on the relationship and sex woes of the women and men I know.   A compilation of stories that will help you discern Mr. and Ms. Summer fling from Mr. and Ms. the real thing.  Stories like mine that will help you decide whether your ex is best, or if you should just move to the next.   Let’s face it in the summer time we tend to make more poor decisions! From wearing shorts that cut off the circulation to our pelvis, dating guys/girls with no goals, aspirations or deodorant, even spending  more money than we actually have in our accounts. When summer arrives, it delivers this feeling and notion of freedom we just cannot resist, along with maddening humidity.                                                                                                                                                “Summer Reads” is a conversation, an ongoing conversation with several different people about their dating experience.  Think of it as a life coach in blog form to help you make your own conclusions about your love and sex situations. Learn from us, and our stories so that this summer of love can be exciting, not excruciating! We’re launching our first story on July 4th! “2 sides 2 a story”! Happy Reading & Happy Summer!   

-NaiOnLife 

What Do You Bring Into A Room?

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So one of my day jobs include making sure “at-risk” high school freshmen keep their academics up to par. While that is the main purpose of my position, I,  just like the rest of my co-workers do EVERYTHING for these kids. One of the “EVERYTHINGS” include helping the students with character development in support groups, that we simply call, but no longer titled, “Girl’s Group” and “Boy’s Group”. 

One of the activities I facilitated during ” Girl’s Group”, I asked the girls to write a poem describing themselves but write it as if they were describing a Temple. For example, in my poem I described my big curly mess of hair as a lush roof covered in spiraling vines. They didn’t get it.  They struggled with things to write about themselves. So I gave them questions to answer, “Well you are the temple,  So What do people come to your temple for?  Why do people want to be around you? What is unique about you?” They continued with, ” I don’t know Ms. Nai, this is hard”. So I said, ” What do you bring into a room with you?  Are you the happy one? the angry one? the sassy one? Are you kind? or Are you the mom? What do you bring into a room with you?”

And, Wallah magic baby! I got great responses but my favorite one was, “I’m just real”. My response was, “Good, that means people come to your temple for the truth”. That question stuck with me because I know it wasn’t suppose to just stay in that classroom but that I myself was supposed to answer it. I find sometimes the things I say  out loud to others is God’s message for me and this was one of those times.

So I asked myself, “What do I bring into a room? , What does my presence add to a group of people?”
Some of my kids already knew the answer for them but I didn’t really know the answer for me even though I told them I did.  I was’nt able to answer that question with a response I was happy with for myself.

I mean being able to answer that question is the window to knowing really what is ultimately unique about you, but I didn’t know what was unique about me.  I mean we all possess certain qualities that we put on display at different times and with different people but how do we know what is truly a virtue that only we possess. Answer, we all possess similar virtues, but according to Aristotle, a virtue isn’t something we can claim until it pleases us to carry it out.

If I only bring kindness into a room on Tuesdays , when the sun is shining, between the hours of 4-6, and when I’m wearing green stripes, I can’t say that I am kind because a virtue like kindness can only be fully possessed by you when it pleases you to do it, AT ALL TIMES.  If ever it pains you to be kind, then you are not kind. You may do kind things but you are not kind.

So I took that into consideration when I was trying to answer this question. Before we can find the truth to this question, you have to understand that what we possess is going to just be different not better than what other people bring into a room. It also has to be authentic to you. What comes naturally to you and really encompasses who you are. You can fake it but why not just figure out what is special about you because it is in fact the reason people love you the way they do.

I actually answered this question on the train on my way to work, the answer came to me suddenly and thus I wrote this post two seconds later.

So What do I bring into a room? I bring into a room whatever is not already there. It took me so long to understand why I so easily switch in certain social settings, I simply fill the void. If everyone is extroverted,  I tend to be more introverted,  if everyone is dreary,  I am the sunshine.

This used to frustrate me because I would be like Nai!  Who are you really?  I had to make peace  with the fact that I am…whatever is not already present. I represent what is not represented. Knowing this allows me now to be me without remorse, guilt or shame. This is just who I am. Naturally, effortlessly, this is what is unique about me. 

So I pose this to you all…What is unique about you? What do you bring into a room?

Post your answers below !

NaiOnLife