Here’s What Happens When You Settle For Less

Settling for less especially in relationships is the new cool it seems. If no one has ever advised you to drop your standards and make do with the available, then one of two things are at play 1.) You don’t talk to people or 2.) You have really amazing friends who believe in ‘high heels and high standards’. Many people often testify to how they settled for less and still managed to win at this thing called love. In their words “things are not rosy or perfect; he sometimes feels I am trying to control him or she sometimes feel I am trying to change her into what she is not, so I’ve learnt to keep quiet on sensitive issues”. While I listen with rapt attention, I keep wondering how long they intend to keep quiet for. Like…

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I don’t know if this ‘settling for less’ in a relationship is for everyone. Just last week, my baby (aka my heart throb on four wheels) taught me a good lesson about settling for less.

Image result for woman crying behind the wheel gif Ever since my baby and I found each other, I have always fed her the right food (i.e octane 95) as specified by the manufacturer, just as the corner of her mouth. I often heard some people with the same specification feed their babies with octane 93 when 95 is out of supply but I never had any reason to try until last week Monday. I arrived at the filling station as per my weekly routine and asked for octane 95. “Ma’am, we are out of 95 due to delays from the coast; we only have 93. I was hesitant and started considering using the Gautrain when a tall handsome man nearby said “Just get the 93; it’s not like it’s that big a difference.” He had a point. Many people who were meant to feed their babies octane 95 fed them 93 anyway, why was I being fussy.

We are more likely to lose whatever we compromise ourselves to keep.

I filled my tank with 93 and headed off to the highway. Needless to say last week was the scariest week my baby and I experienced. It was an excruciating experience that I swore I would NEVER EVER allow to happen again. My baby first started with coughing sounds as the cylinders tried to identify this strange food that was trying to power the engine. Forget all my formula one moves on the highway, and the ease with which I scaled the highs and lows of the Johannesburg N1. Instead I was struggling to accelerate my baby to her full potential and I was praying fervently. Did someone say “prayer cannot avert the consequences of a bad decision”? They are absolutely right.

The same thing goes for settling for less or should I say for the wrong person in a relationship. Many people do it and they are unaffected; then they ask you to do it and you think ‘well what could possibly go wrong?’ – lots and lots of things, but I’ll only mention three.

#1 Chances of slowing down your life to stay in tune with this person are really high. You have to quit pulling formula one moves and move at the pace of someone who does not understand, and has no intention to understand what your journey in life is about.

#2 You will find yourself struggling to settle into this lower level of intellectual, emotional, spiritual and yes even financial exchange. You might be very adaptable with friends you see every once in a while who make you question the existence of maturity but can you pull it for a lifetime in the wrong relationship? Probably not.

#3 You will never reach your potential because the person you have settled for will keep pulling you down. This is a fact many people often choose to ignore. I tell every young man and woman I mentor this: ” the friends you keep, the man or woman you date, the colleagues you spend the most time with, are all leading you somewhere.” It is up to you to know if the direction they are headed is the same direction you as an individual would like to go. I often tell my friends “before you agree to be in a relationship with a man, you gotta ask yourself “who will I become with this man in my life? Where will he possibly take me?” The answers should be your guide; the same applies to men. My baby could not reach her actual potential because I bonded her with the wrong type of fuel. Settling for the wrong person can have the same effect on your life.

Today, my baby got filled with octane 95 and guess who’s happy? Both of us! You are more likely to be happy in a relationship with someone who you connect with on the same level, than with someone you have to lessen yourself for. Sure you can do everything necessary to make the relationship work, but guess what it won’t. We are more likely to lose whatever we compromise ourselves to keep. And prayers will not take away the scary, potential-truncating, dream-destroying consequences that will arise as a result. Standards? Keep them high. You deserve the best when you bring the best to the table. Stay 100. XOXO

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Have You Put ‘The One’ For You On Hold?

I’d like to think everyone is seeking a partner they can spend forever with. No matter how nonchalant we may feel about serious relationships, there is a part of us deep down that yearns for an uncommon connection with someone else. We all yearn for someone that knows us so well, it makes other people wonder if they know us at all. We all want to feel we are loved, cared for, and we have that special person to call on when the chips come tumbling down. Why then do we put these special people on hold when we meet them?

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There is a very interesting trend I have noticed; we tend to put the people we genuinely connect with on hold because we are just not yet ready for something serious. I think this trend is more common with men; but from conversations with young men, some women are also aboard this train. There is something about a strong connection with a person that makes us believe that no matter what we will always have that person to fall back on. There is something about a strong connection that makes us believe that person will not find anyone else either, so why don’t we do all the crazy stuff we want to do now and come back to this special person when we are all good and ready? I call this putting the right person for you on hold.

Let’s think about it this way: You call a friend over the phone and the conversation is good… not just good, but really amazing and stable. Suddenly, your phone beeps and it’s an incoming call i.e. a distraction. It’s a tempting one so you decide to put your friend on hold. You pick the tempting call and you get carried away by the new dimension it brings. It is exciting, invigorating, unstable but enticing so you keep the conversation flowing while your friend is on hold. This happens more times than it should and it becomes a norm for you. Your friend gets tired of being put on hold after a few calls, and starts to do one of two things – puts the phone on speaker and goes to do other things or hangs up. Sure you can always call back if the call has been dropped but what if… just what if… when you call back, you find that your friend is on another call, and is unwilling to drop that call for you because you have a trend of putting things on hold to attend to other distractions?

Be careful when you think you are playing smart by putting the partner God has sent to you on hold while you play around with people who have no business in your future. Be careful when the devil feeds you lies such as “you are still young”, “you should play around more”, “it’s not yet time”, “you don’t deserve this person”. Be careful of the lies in your heart that tell you this person is a last resort and will always be there. Be careful because the person you’ve put on hold can receive another call, not from someone they won’t like but from someone who will be ten times who you are and actually want to talk to them. Once that new call is picked, you’ll have difficulty reconnecting, and even if your call manages to get through, the stability, nurture and support that you were meant to enjoy will end up being given to someone else, and you might find yourself saying things like “He used to DM me you know?” or “She used to get excited whenever I gave her attention.” No doubt he or she was crazy about you, but you put the call on hold and attended to the things you felt couldn’t wait. You took for granted the one person that should have received ALL your attention. Used to? That counts for nothing. Yes, you might find someone too but you can agree with me that God’s perfect will is always much much much better than God’s permissive will.

Have you put the one for you on hold? I suggest you retrace your steps and put all the effort you’ve put in your distractions into regaining their trust. Distractions are sometimes the devil’s way of keeping you from the amazing plans God has for your future. And believe me when I say those distractions are usually hard to ignore or even miss. But you must ask yourself the crucial question: would you rather enjoy these short-termed distractions which will end up leaving you high and dry? Or would you prefer to concentrate all your efforts on making it work with the right person so you can reap the amazing benefits in future? Don’t cheat yourself and don’t fool yourself. Don’t give up a diamond for a sandy rock, and don’t think others don’t see the diamond too. Retrace your steps today. Good luck. XOXO

Ladies, Just Started Dating? Here are Five Ground Rules For You

I wrote this post for the covenant relationship blog, and I just had to share it here as well with followers of motivation springs.

People say there are no rules regarding relationships, hence couples are free to decide what they want in their relationship and how they want their interactions to play out. While that is a very nice disposition to have as it helps you avoid being swept away by society’s wave of how relationships should play out, it is important to know that you can only get to that stage if you follow some well-defined ground rules.

Usually, when people start a new relationship, they tend to throw caution to the wind and allow a lot of misdeeds in order to avoid coming across as ‘too complicated’. This is very common with women who are often so excited to be in a relationship, they will do anything to make sure it works. Before you set out to do anything to make your relationship work, here are five ground rules you may want to consider.

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#1 Don’t Lay Down Your Insecurities: Many people in a bid to come across as real, and quit beating around the bush often start their relationships by listing out all the things they are insecure about. “I feel like my complexion is uneven”, “Sorry my apartment is not halfway as fancy as yours”, “I wonder if you’ll leave me for someone who’s more educated later on”…. These are the different insecurities people express at the beginning of  a relationship that immediately reduce their worth in the eyes of their new partner. Oh yes, it sounds like that partner is  a jerk, but truly, your vague expressions of what you lack show that you value yourself based on what you have, and by expressing them, you are teaching your partner to value you the same way too. Some women have believe this will make them closer to their new partner quicker and he can immediately assume his role as prince charming. Free advice from me? It does not work.

#2 Don’t Accept Everything: Some people are really desperate to be in relationships, even more desperate than they would like to admit. These are the people who accept all kinds of disrespectful behavior just so they can tell others they are with someone. You are better off on your own than being with a person who cheats on you, compares you to other people or gets irritated by you for being yourself, and feels the need to change you. Believe me when I tell you whatever you compromise yourself to keep, you will eventually lose.

#3 Don’t Play a Role; Play yourself! A role suggests that you are taking on an identity you have read about somewhere. Many women are guilty of this. The moment they start dating a guy, they switch to wife and mother mode. This is because women have been told they have to prove they are worth the commitment of marriage. They go to his home to cook and clean. They do his laundry, rearrange his closet, and try to establish their place in his life by acting like the madam of the house. It is not your duty to crown yourself as the madam of his home when he hasn’t even mentioned his intentions to marry you. It is not your duty to push him to propose either. It is his duty to establish your place in his life, and if he can’t do that, never forget you can use the door.

Rather than aiming to play a role,

aim to have loads of fun!

#4 Don’t be in a haste to do the deed: There is a lot more satisfaction that comes from delayed gratification, and there is nothing that brings more confusion and hurt than unripe sexual gratification in a new relationship. Take your time, what’s the rush? Showing him early on that you are a hybrid of Jackie Chan and Nicki Minaj in bed does not guarantee anything. He might even end up marrying someone who’s a nun compared to you, so take your time.

#5 Don’t apologize for the way you live your life: Yes, there are certain compromises that need to be made in order to make a relationship work, but they should not be compromises that will make you feel like you are being abused, used or forced to adopt a new way of life. Many people don’t know who they are anymore because they are always adapting themselves to whoever they are dating. If you are one of those people, here’s  a harsh truth you should know: Many people who often say they want a very particular type of person are usually unhappy with you when you change to become that person. So what is the point really? Be yourself! Flaws can be gently tweaked, and excesses can be curbed but your individuality should never be at stake during the process. Love who you are, accept it and DO NOT EVER APOLOGIZE FOR IT. XOXO

Dedicate Yourself Fully

This morning I woke up to a realization that I seem to have a lot to do everyday, and somehow I manage to achieve to achieve them, but they are usually sent back by my boss to be re-done because he believes I can do much much better. Of course, that frustrates me every single time! Why can’t he just leave good enough alone? I’ve decided to stick to that level; why can’t he just go with that flow and let’s move on?

But this morning I woke up with guilt – guilt that I haven’t been putting myself fully into whatever I do. I haven’t been in every moment, because I have this thing in my head that says “Just get it over and done with so you can move on to something else”. But how can I really move on, when my half-baked work keeps chasing after me?

Over the weekend, I started reading “the purpose driven life” by Rick Warren, and something in it struck me. He said, and I’m paraphrasing here ‘Everything we do is a form of worship to God, even our work!’ He basically meant we have to do everything in our lives wholeheartedly, to the best of our ability. Just like we ought not worship God halfheartedly, we should aim to do everything else with full dedication and drive, as though we were doing them for God. Wow… #MindBlown

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Many of us deliver half-baked work so we can move on even though there isn’t anything in particular we want to move on to. We spend hours sitting in front of the TV, and we are not even fully dedicated to that because we are too  busy staring at our cellphones (I’m really beginning to think cellphones are the enemy here). Even when we are with friends, we are not fully there. We are never fully where we are, or fully dedicated to what we ought to be doing because our minds are focusing on the unimportant stuff. It’s time to quit being half-here, half-there.

Whatever you need to do, do it with drive, with passion, to the best of your ability. Do it as though you have do a presentation before God and explain it to him. Do it as though you’d feel incomplete if you don’t put your best in it. Dedicate yourself to whatever you are tasked with. Allocate the time you spend half watching TV and half looking for people on facebook, to your work. The personal satisfaction you’ll feel is not the only result. You won’t have half-baked, just good enough shoddy work attached to your reputation. And oh yes! Even God will be pleased with the dedication and it will  spread to all areas of your life! I’m starting to dedicate myself fully today! Are you with me? XOXO

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Beware of the News Bearer!

There are people who are news bearers. They come to you to inform you about the latest in someone else’s life. They come around to laugh at the negativity in the lives of others. They come around to highlight the flaws of others, and they know every single detail of other people’s lives. Beware of such people!

Beware of friends who always have negative things to say about others. Beware of those who are constantly sharing the negative happenings in the lives of others. Beware of those who always come with news. They are simply wasting your time!

I often have to ask what we gain by sitting around and tearing others down. What do we gain by discussing every detail of someone else’s life, and speculating about the events of their lives?  Absolutely nothing! We lose precious time entertaining news bearers. We lose precious time gossiping unnecessarily. We lose precious energy draining ourselves in the lives of others. Stop being the news bearer, and stop entertaining news bearers. Except you’re discussing to appreciate the successes of others, stop indulging news bearers!

Get Rid of False Confidence

Confidence is an important attribute to have is you intend to get far ahead in life. If you want people to notice your talents and appreciate you for them, you must be confident. If you want to be respected by others, you must be confident. To fulfil your purpose on earth, you must be confident. Confidence is an attribute you cannot replace with any other. It is an important character trait that will endear you to the right people and connect you with those who are willing to aid your success.

There is such a thing as false confidence, and that is what many people thrive on. If you walk into a room, meet up with your friends or even find yourself in a public place full of other people on the same mission as you, and you only feel good when you’ve found flaws in everyone else, you are far from confident. What you have is false confidence. False confidence comes from comparing ourselves with others and only feeling good about ourselves when we realize we have something they don’t have. False confidence is easily shattered if we come in contact with someone who’s better at something than we are, and it doesn’t even have to be something important.

Get rid of false confidence. It is an illusion your mind has created based on those around you. Cultivate the habit of not seeking out flaws in others, or feeling the need to put them down in order to highlight your achievements. Stop comparing yourself with others; someone out there has more money than you do, has achieved more than you have, is well-travelled, and has everything you don’t. False confidence is a fragile piece of glass- easily shattered and trust me, the cracks show. Accept who you are, embrace who you are. You are good enough just as you are.

Get Out Now!

When I first wrote on the brink of insanity; the case of Janet Bond, I had no idea I’d be reiterating the same post in relation to a friend’s actions. Last night I was informed that a friend I met at university stabbed her husband to death. The circumstances surrounding his murder remain unclear. While some people claim she was acting in self-defence because he was abusive, others claim she was an infidel who stabbed her husband after he caught her with a lover. Some people claim she discovered he fathered a son; her family claims she’s innocent; her friends claim it must have been a moment of temporary insanity; childhood buddies find it difficult to relate the lady we know with murder. I am having the same difficulty, but the truth is that a man is dead. He was murdered by his wife. He had been stabbed by her earlier in the day, treated at the hospital, and when he returned home to sleep, for some reason, he was stabbed again. A major artery was cut open, and he lost his life within a few minutes.

Last month, in South Africa, a lady patiently waited in the dead of the night for a kettle of water to boil, and a pan of cooking oil to heat up. She mixed the two hot fluids and poured them on her boyfriend’s penis because he allegedly cheated on her. Sometime last year, while I was waiting for a friend in front of her apartment complex, a car exploded before my very eyes, and one person jumped out…on fire… to open the driver’s door so the other reluctant fellow could get out of the car. I later got to learn that they were lovers arguing, and at some point, one of them (can’t tell if it was the man or the woman) rolled up the windows, poured an accelerant all over the car interior and lit a match. The car burned to the ground with explosive sounds. The two people were on fire for no less than three minutes. I was traumatized for days.

Classic cases of crimes of passion, or should I rather say crimes of obsession.

Here’s something you need to understand as an individual: different people will awaken different demons in you. You might be cool, calm, and collected as a single person, but act like a monster when you are in a relationship…with the wrong person. The truth is the wrong person is not necessarily a bad person. The wrong person is just someone whose goals, visions and way of life do not align with yours. Someone whose ‘demons’ cannot have an amicable discussion with your ‘demons’. Now in such a situation, you have two options: to walk away, cut your losses, and move on or to ensure things work out irrespective of the deeply-ingrained character odds you both face. The latter is where obsession begins. Obsession is what leads to thoughts of violence, the actual perpetration of violence, and in many cases, the end results are fatal…. Like in the case of my friend.

It does not have to reach that point. You can stop yourself from going overboard. You can hold yourself back from crossing to the dark side. You have the power to hold back and walk away. The moment you ingrain this in your mind, you have already won over the voices in your head that constantly tell you must make it work.

Of course, the voices in your head that tell you to choose obsession over freedom are not the only ones you have to win. The external pressure from society is enough to cripple anyone’s emotions. Having a steady relationship in today’s world is an achievement. Bless you if you are a well-educated woman, with a thriving career, AND a stable relationship. People are more likely to advise you to stay and make it work, rather than tell you to cut your losses and move on. When ‘your man’ takes interest in another woman, society will tell you to stay and make it work else the other woman wins. Wins? It is not a damn contest! Those people do not understand the emotional pressure you are under in a toxic relationship. When a woman hits a man, the man is often advised to keep it hush-hush to avoid coming across as a sissy. He cannot fully express the pressure he is under, and if he leaves, he is considered a failure. The toxicity continues to grow in the silence we are all forced to adopt, and after a while people burst at the seams and act in unimaginable ways that leave everyone else stunned.

Get out now. It will be difficult after you’ve invested so much in the relationship. It will be difficult because the world is telling you to hold on; no relationship is perfect. True. But some relationships are healthy even in their imperfections. Choose health over everything else – emotional, physical and psychological health.

Quit obsessing over the relationship. The moment you start to throw tantrums, attack other men or women, or find yourself enduring emotional outbursts that end in violence, it is time to pack your bags and leave. It is time to go on a retreat and let it go. The moment you start to play James or Janet Bond, it is time to exit peacefully. Get out now. It is not worth it to make it work.

My friend destroyed two lives in her emotional outburst – hers and that of a promising young man. She was a prosecutor who will never live the life she built with so much effort. He was a property developer who will never see the light of day again. She had no right to kill a man. No one has any right to kill. She could have left; he could have left. It doesn’t matter what anyone does, walking away is always an option. Use it! Sometimes, it is not worth it to make it work. Rather save your life and preserve the life of the other person. Get out now and have peace. Choose freedom over obsession. May the soul of the departed rest in peace.

Life Lessons from Lion King I

I have watched lion king so many times, I’ve lost count. Over the weekend, it was playing for the umpteenth time, and I sort of got drawn to it yet again. This time, I wasn’t following the story; for some reason, other things stood out to me – life lessons I never thought were there. I wondered if the story would have played out differently if Mufasa did not die. What would have become of Simba if he did not run away? Could the hyenas have pulled off a coup without Scar’s help? All these questions prompted me to get a pen and write down the lessons I learned from the movie as it played (yes, I’m weird and deep like that).

#1 Don’t let ‘hyenas’ into your life: Mufasa was very protective of pride rock; he didn’t want hyenas thinking they could roam in and out as they please, and destroy what he had worked hard as king to preserve. Same way, you should be careful about who you let into your life. Hyenas are opportunistic feeders, and will often attack what they consider to be easy prey. In other words, if you present yourself as easy prey, be ready to be used, abused, and abandoned in destitution. Be very careful about who you let into your life. When a mole reported to Zazu that hyenas have invaded the pride lands, Mufasa took action ASAP!

#2 Don’t let anyone taunt you into doing what you are uncomfortable with: Scar taunted Simba by telling him only brave lions could dare go to the dark place beyond the pride lands. Simba being an impressionable child jumped at the opportunity to prove a point and ended up in danger. As an individual, know your limits and be secure in the standards you have set for yourself. Your life is not about proving a point to other people. It is about being the best version of yourself! Don’t let the taunts of other people push you beyond your limit into danger. Some of the people taunting you know danger awaits you! Once you jump in, none of them will stick around to save you, so do what’s best for you! You don’t have to prove a point to anyone.

#3 “Being brave does not mean you go looking for trouble”- Mufasa: This really goes without saying. Learn to pick your battles; don’t be boastful in your abilities. Your intelligence does not mean you must challenge everyone to a debate. Your strength does not mean you must always seek out people to embarrass. Your supremacy does not mean you must trample on others. Don’t go seeking trouble, else you might find more than you bargained for.

#4 Be careful of those close to you who move with hyenas: You might not have hyenas in your life but be careful of those friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and sometimes even family members who might. Keep a watchful eye and be on guard where such people are concerned. Remember, “if there is no enemy within, the enemies outside can do you no harm.”

#5 Good friends and laughter can make you forget your problems: Sometimes, when times are dark and it seems the universe is conspiring against us, friends are very few. Some friends find good reasons to disappear; some friends highlight they have their own problems too, but there are those friends who make an effort to check if you are still breathing, and take their time to leave an encouraging word devoid of judgment, and filled with laughter. Everyone needs at least two good friends who make every problem seem smaller than it actually is. Keep those friends close, they are the real MVPs.

#6 Guilt is a heavy burden. Anything seems suggestive when you are guilty: Even Scar as ruthless as he was could not handle his guilt. Zazu’s song “It’s a small world afterall” drove him up the wall, and any mention of Mufasa’s name had him screaming bloody murder. It is easier to do the right thing from the beginning. Guilt can take away the joy of victory, so why bother engaging in activities that will invite it?

#7 You can always go back and start over: This is difficult for everyone, and even for Simba a lion it was hard. How do you start over when you don’t know what to expect? How do you start rebuilding a relationship or friendship when it seems you are the reason everything broke down in the first place? By sincerely accepting that you were at fault and are willing to take responsibility. Take responsibility for the bad choices that have affected how your life has turned out. Acknowledge your mistakes, and be ready to move on! You cannot start over if you do not acknowledge where you failed.

#8 “The past will hurt, but you can either run from it or learn from it”- Rafiki. The monkey was dead on with this. Your past might be hurtful, and it can haunt you only for as long as you want it to. If you decide to run away from it, you’re not doing yourself any good. You’ll soon discover you’ve come full circle to find it awaiting you. Rather learn from it. Learn your lessons from your past mistakes; write them down if you have to. Internalize the lessons, and once you are done, move on. Yes, people will make reference to your past mistakes; they will try to imprison you with their obsolete perceptions of who you are. Don’t fall victim to their wiles. No one is infallible, so learn your lessons from your past and keep walking.

#9 Some friends are overcome by the urgency of the moment. Don’t judge their disposition during such times: When grown up Simba had some sense knocked into him by Rafiki, he set off for pride rock immediately. Yeah, I just noticed for the first time that he did not stop to say goodbye to Pumbaa and Timon; heck not even Nala got a goodbye, and he was already in love with her. In spite of this, his friends set off to help him out. Now, I know the chances of that happening in real life are slim to none. Many of us would rather hope something goes terribly wrong just to justify our self-importance in a situation that has little or nothing to do with us. Be a supportive friend. Offer your help even when you are not asked. Drop a message to say hello even if you did not get a goodbye. Some people are dealing with things you cannot feel no matter how close you are to them. So instead of thinking about what they failed to do for you, be that friend who reaches out in sincerity.

#10 Don’t ever forget who you are: Never ever forget who you are. Never forget where you’re from. You might detest it, but don’t forget it. Channel your past negative experiences into positive energy to drive your ambitions. Be well-grounded in your vision for your life. Be strong; be of good character. You are not your mistakes; you are not your past. You are not your many shortcomings. Simba forgot he was a king. He became content with mediocrity. He hoped to escape his real identity but it eventually found him. You might not be so lucky to find a Nala who knows who you are. But if you do have a Nala as a friend, don’t break that bond. Who you believe you are translates into what you actually become. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

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Five Things You Should Do Before You Say “I Do”

Marriage can be a whole lot of fun, but for some people, it can be full of surprises. They get married and wonder if they even know the person they are married to. They complain about the sudden change in their spouses, and the overwhelming sadness that clouds their marriage.

Truly, it is impossible to know a person completely, and people do change as they grow older, but there are traits about your partner you should know as they would affect the everyday dynamics of your relationship. I was having an interesting discussion with a few friends, and somehow came up with a list of things to do before you decide to tie the knot.

#1 Go on a road trip: If you think you know your partner well enough, try going on a road trip. I am not referring to a road trip to the next city, or the next state or province. Try something that involves rest stops, long hours of driving, and exchanging responsibilities. Road trips are fun, but they can also test your patience. How does your partner shape up when things get sticky, cramped up and uncomfortable? A road trip could be an eye opener.

#2 Play devil’s advocate: I mean deliberately disagree with your partner on something that is vividly clear. Assess how he or she handles the debate? Does it lead to anger? Do you feel forced to accept his/her opinion? Does he or she catch on that you’re playing devil’s advocate, laugh about it, and move on? Or does it end in sulking? This is an insight into how your spouse will handle your arguments.

#3 Build something together: It doesn’t matter what it is; a bicycle, a tractor, a bookshelf, anything you fancy. In healthy relationships, couples relish working well together to achieve their set goals. Building something together can help you see what your partner is really like when there’s a goal at hand. Does or he take absolute control of the process without paying any attention to your input? Or is the task approached with constant grumbling? Or does your partner simply fold his or her arms while you take on the bulk of the work? This is a preview of how you will both achieve your goals.

#4 Play Thirty Seconds or Pictionary: The first time I played thirty seconds, I laughed so hard, I cried. Literally! There are no other games that test the communication skills of individuals as well as these two. Couples need to be able to communicate without spelling everything completely. Sometimes, as much as one partner wants to spell things out, it’s just difficult to do so. These games teach the art of communication where every single detail is not spelled out. You might be surprised to find how bad you both are at communicating abstract stuff.

#5 Go to a couples’ retreat: Couples counseling sessions are fun and all, but sometimes, it involves a pastor who gives advice and two people who nod along because they cannot dare to argue with the pastor. An unconventional way to discover and address loopholes in your relationship is a couples retreat with other couples you hardly know. Why? You will not feel the need to impress anyone, or simply nod along. You can speak up, talk about what bothers you, and awaken your intimacy if it’s sizzling out. To do this successfully, you need to open-minded, so it is honestly not for everyone.

 

XOXO

 

Nothing is Wrong With You!

You have probably been there a few times; looked into the mirror and asked yourself what it is about you that repulses the opposite sex? Why is it that in spite of all your gracious efforts to make your relationships work, something just sets the whole ball into a downward spiral? You’ve probably sat on your own many times and tried to dissect what you did wrong, and how you could have fixed it, but for some reason, you just can’t find anything substantial that you did wrong. Why then do all your relationships fail? Is there an invisible sign on your forehead that says “available for mistreatment”? What exactly is wrong with you that makes the guys and girls want to take advantage of you? My response? Nothing.
As humans, our self-esteem is tied to a whole lot of things; whether we like to admit it or not, a better-paying job is a boost for our self-esteem; a stable relationship where you are cherished and adored is more than a self-esteem boost, it’s a contribution to personal growth and happiness. It’s a place of comfort where you go when you’ve had a hard day at work, or just feel blue because the sky is grey. It is understandable then that if that place of comfort turns out to be a sham, your self-esteem will take a knock, and you’ll feel low. If you find yourself in such situations successively, then you might start to think you are the problem. This is very common amongst women who have been mistreated, cheated on, abused, taken for granted or even played for fools.
Read and understand this…You are not the problem! There are people who are ill-mannered, care-free about their spouses, and have no respect for their relationship who have the stability that you crave. It is not because of who they are, it is because of who they got. The fact that you haven’t gotten the right person does not mean there’s anything wrong with you. It just means you are going through a learning process to equip you with knowledge and maturity that will make you appreciate the right person.
Instead of dwelling on the endless list of what could be wrong with you, look at it this way: someone saw you, checked you out, saw how happy you were, and how you had everything together, and that person decided to interrupt the flow of your life, turn it upside down, use you for your kindheartedness, take advantage of you, and play you for a fool. Something is wrong with them! Something is wrong with someone who looks at you and decides you need to be broken or lied to. Something is wrong with someone who feels you are too happy on your own, and draws you into a web of lies, deceit and abuse. Something is wrong with the person who decides to hurt you because someone else hurt him or her. Something is wrong with the person who kept reiterating your flaws in a bid to tear you down. Something is wrong with that married man who decides to keep you in emotional bondage by making promises he can’t keep. Something is wrong with that lady who is simply leading you on for sport. Yes, you may have fallen victim, but that is not because you are stupid. It is because your intentions towards others are so pure, you can’t conceive in your mind that anyone would want to treat another human being the way you have been treated.
Stop dwelling on the mistreatment; I know the more it happens, the more frequently it chips away at your self-esteem, and you start to walk around with your head bowed and shoulders drooped, but you have to deliberately fight it! You have to deliberate affirm your identity. Speak positive words to yourself every single day! The fact that someone else could not see your worth does not in any way reduce it. Nothing is wrong with you, so stop believing it. XOXO
This post is also published on covenantrelationships.org by me. To read all my other posts, please like my facebook page by clicking here