New Read: The Spirit of Intimacy

The Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient African Teachings in the Ways of Relationship by Sobonfu Somé

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Following @ALifeBalanced on IG, I came across their post for this book and immediately I had to get it. It just felt right to me. Reading through it (currently on chapter 6 cause another book caught my eye) I realize the importance of the teachings within it so far.

The “spirit” in the book speaks not only of the way we connect to nature but also of the way we ‘speak’ to our ancestors for help in our troubles, for answers, or showing the way, the way we connect to the family and friends within out community, the way we connect with our partners. It’s all about using those resources to have a great functioning relationship, which can be hard with some family members or friends that go against what you are trying to build with your partner. They are not invested in seeing your relationship thrive. This is about not just minimizing your circle but enlarging it as well. Giving yourself your inner circle of close girlfriends/guy-friends who can offer the support and guidance, that your partners male/female friends will offer him without the stint of jealousy lurking behind their words.

It also touches on getting back to communication without technology (kind of hard these days but doable on occasion), falling back to some of the teachings your grandmother, great grandmother put on you when you were younger, realizing the masculine and feminine in us all (that we have strong and weak sides to ourselves and it is NATURAL), that as much as we think we are in this relationship on our own, we’re not, we have a full circle behind us rooting for it to work our in its entirety, we just have to be open and willing to let them help, not just when needed (as in don’t go seeking advice in the aftermath, acknowledge that things could be better and SAY SOMETHING.. read glows and grows if you need an idea on how to start that).

What books do you suggest for relationship advice?

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Some Self Love Tools

♥Affirmations♥

  • “I cleanse myself of all selfishness, resentment, critical feelings, and self-condemnation. I bathe myself in generosity, appreciation, praise, gratitude, and self-acceptance” – Lidia Frederico
  • “A few steps back means that I have not fallen” JChavae
  • “Today I Affirm: I am confident in my ability to bloom, and I will not stunt my growth with negative self-talk or old bad habits” – Alex Elle
  • “You are worth more than you think, capable of more than you know, and loved more than you can imagine” – Unk.
  • “You are beautiful no matter what they say, words can’t bring you down” – Christina Aguilera

Good Reads

  • Alex Elle – #ANote2Self (self-care journal)
  • Keke Palmer – I Don’t Belong to You
  • Jen Sincero – You Are A Badass
  • Kamal Ravikant – Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on it
  • Alexis Jones – I am That Girl

Articles

  • Self Care tips from Alex Elle here
  • Self Esteem tips here
  • Self Love tips here

Mirror Exercise

Do this exercise every day however long you need to or whenever you want to (I suggest doing this before you start your day and before you go to bed… just throw yourself right into it or once a day to ease into it)

  • 1.  Stand before a mirror (any size) and just look at yourself, do not linger on one area to look. Just really look at yourself and appreciate that you are whole, you are breathing.

    2. “As you look into your eyes in the mirror, begin to say some good and encouraging things about yourself, tell yourself how strong you’ve been and will continue to be, tell yourself how happy you are about what you’ve already achieved and what you will achieve in the future.” – Dr Joe Rubino

    3. Tell yourself “you are amazing, you are good enough, you are a beautiful and an awesome person”

    4. End by saying to yourself “I love you”

I hope this helps you on your journey in loving yourself more, in loving yourself the way you want your partner to love and appreciate you.

What are some useful tips that you can share from your own self love journey in your relationship?

Ways to Love Yourself More

Yesterday, I touched on the topic of Self Care and Loving Yourself. I spoke on my own struggle to accept myself up until my senior year of high school (yes it took that long) and not really care what anyone else though of me (about my 1st or second year of college). It took like 6 months to a year of hubby saying compliments without me shying away and just accepting them. There are days when I don’t feel ‘beautiful’ or I find something wrong with myself but then hubby sends a random text with a ‘hey beautiful’ or just goes ‘i don’t care’ that makes me feel silly.

Any who, I’m just making a list of the strategies I posted yesterday and a few more:

  • Accept yourself as you are now
  • Accept your need to change if necessary 
  • Write daily affirmations and put them where you’ll see them most (bathroom mirror, by the front door, on the fridge)
  • Stand naked in front of the mirror (NAKED or in your underwear), find positive things to say about your body
  • Write in a journal all your great personality traits or characteristics or skills that you love about yourself
  • Ladies try a heels class, pole dancing class, learn something new and sexy outside of your comfort zone
  • Take a spa day, groom yourself (nails, hair, shave/wax)
  • Change your diet up (not go on a diet or a cleanse… choose healthier eating)
  • Go for more water
  • Exercise (at home) in your underwear
  • More yoga (or just stretch, stretching works too) to increase flexibility and posture
  • Meditate
  • Light some candles or incense, cleanse your soul with sage
  • Take a walk and clear your head
  • Know your limits, your strengths, your weaknesses, your boundaries
  • Do some things by yourself (a movie date, museum date, a concert, an expo, a holiday)… trust me sometimes you are your own best company.
  • Random dancing makes anyone feel good (trust me I had a session last night to The Hives & The White Stripes… too much fun)

Say it with me:

“I am worth more than I know, Capable of more than I think, and Loved more than I can imagine”

Love yourself unconditionally as you want your partner to love you.

Love Yourself

In lieu of this week of love, I want to touch on the topic of self love because you cant expect someone to love you when you cant love yourself.

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Self Care starts with loving yourself!

Working with youth as both an educator and a non-profit mentor/counselor, I come across many individuals, young and old, who are still uncomfortable with themselves, putting themselves down when others are trying to lift them up, not believing in their own beauty, talents, or smarts.. and it just reminds of the days when I was uncomfortable with myself, I did not like showing skin, wearing dresses or make-up, I felt my limbs were too long, i thought I was too skinny. I hid behind my books and quiet nature until I had my heart broken. After that I gave no fucks and then I continued on finding my voice and shaping my own view of the world.  I stopped needing the validation of others because I simply didn’t care anymore. I became of a more ‘I didn’t ask you’ kind of person.

I did spoken word, lingerie and nude shoots, random photo-shoots, I bought a long ass mirror and touched my body, caressing every curve, looking at all my stretch marks, my scrapes from being a kid, my moles, my tattoos, all my flaws and imperfections and instead of just smiling and shying away from compliments, I started accepting them because I accepted myself.  I accepted everything about myself. I accepted who I was and all I had to offer, because at the end of the day I still have to look and the mirror see me. It’s my reflection that I have to live with.  It took me years to get to this point, the whole fuck you, i’m just gonna do me’ mentality. This is me take it or leave it!

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If you have to say it to believe it, do like Gabrielle Union on being Mary Jane, write down daily affirmations, place them where you’ll see them the most (bathroom mirrors for example), read and try to stick by that quote for the day.

But having friends and family and your significant other in your corner can help speed up this process. It helps significantly when you can believe what they say is coming from the heart. Just remember family does not have to say kind words to you, they are not obligated to lift you up and make you feel good about yourself, it’s a choice, just as much as you choose to believe what they say.

The mind is a tricky thing when it comes to things about yourself, so jot down what you love about yourself. Why do you love these things? What are you doing to work on things you dont like?

Some individuals I recommend following on IG is Alex Elle, JChavae (apologies, I cannot find any male pages that promote self care on all aspects other than physical fitness, which is a topic that can be discussed another time!)

 

Loves Notes with My Hubby

I love my future husband. He is an amazing individual with compassion, drive, focus, warmth, love, intellect, vulnerability, passion. He loves me more than I love him and I acknowledge and accept it.

I tell him this almost everyday.

Here are some messages we share with one another:

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This is our everyday. Just sharing how much we love and cherish each other, how much we love our gravity and communication, how in awe we are that years later we still have a great thing going and growing.

This is a real relationship goal.

And yes work is put in to it everyday, but we make our relationship worth fighting for.

Write your loved one a note and share how you feel, sometimes the best expression is a simple, hand written “I love you”

Enjoy.

 

Celebrate Everyday

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With Valentine’s Day coming up tomorrow, I just want to remind you of one thing – Don’t let Valentine’s Day be the sole definer of the year for your grand gesture of love, let everyday be a day to remind your partner how much you love them exponentially.

Here’s some advice (pending on what your partner wants):

  • Even if YOU don’t particularly like celebrating Valentine’s Day (or any other holiday for that matter) listen to what your partner wants. It is not just you in the relationship. Never let your partner feel like you’re not paying attention to what they want
  • Jewelry, chocolate, and flowers are not for everyone! Don’t fall in to that stereotype. Again talk to your partner to find out what they want. You never know if a quiet evening alone with just the two of you is all they need.
  • Extravagance and expensive is not always the best bet. I can honestly say that hubby has gotten home made cards from me these past 3 years and he loves everyone of them (besides our every day love notes). A gift can be just some of your time, an acknowledgment of certain achievements or milestones, a book, a new lingerie that YOU picked out to make her feel sexy, a favorite something, etc
  • Valentine’s day can also be a time to try something new – new date night ideas, new things in the bedroom, go on an adventure… just something you haven’t done before but its made its way onto your list as things to try.

These are just some things I thought of. Not necessarily any one thing special. But… it all comes down to communication, discuss plans, suck it up and celebrate to make them happy even if its something small (stay at home cuddle session or sensual massage or read some of the strips in your happiness jar ::hint hint::).

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day.

But remember, show your love everyday!

Love.Support.Communicacte.Celebrate

 

Balancing Money Matters

 

Being in a relationship with a mindset that you have to do everything on your own and not depend on others to do it for you can take a while to break. Trust me I know. It took a while for me to get used to hubby paying for our nights out most of the time since I was in the mindset that I could pay for myself or he doesn’t have to pay for everything. It took me some time to understand that it was what he saw himself doing for me, for us. He wanted to show that he can provide for us. That he was able to do it. That he was the ‘man’. He KNEW that I could do it but wanted me to not have to.

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Photo Credit: Your Money Matters

 

With society wanting us to be ‘independent women’ relying on no one for anything its hard to take that step back and let someone take care of us. For men with society telling them they need to be the ‘providers’ in the relationship in all aspects, again its hard for them to take that step back from time-to-time and let the women take the lead without feeling like they’re losing their masculinity.

Being in a relationship means that there need to be a balance communicated between the two of you whether it’s with money or anything else that you feel needs to be taken care of. Talking to each other helps. Don’t let frustrations build up to the last minute and then there is a huge rift formed between you too by keeping things at bay for a long time.

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While I may get frustrated with my lack of money to put towards the goals we have together (buying a home), I have to understand my limitations as well. Always recognize your limitations as well as you can, it gives you room to accept and grow beyond them within your means.

My coworker and her Beau had a similar occurrence where MONEY MATTERS disturbed their peace. Again the mindset that he had to provide and pay for everything was overwhelming for HIM, but its not what she was ASKING for. As complicated as people like to think women are, its only because they are not paying attention or really listening. Like most established women she CAN TAKE CARE OF HERSELF, all she wanted was a bit of his time, his company. She DID NOT ASK for his money, she did not say they needed to go out and do anything, all she wanted was his TIME.
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For someone whose love language is QUALITY TIME, I understand that feeling. I don’t need to go out and spend time with you, I can stay in and spend time with you.

Every moment does not need to be spent in the company of others but there need to be more moments in the company of each other.

Again COMMUNICATE to each other about MONEY MATTERS when they arise, there is nothing shameful about it. It shows a growth and a degree of trust for both of you. You’re making yourselves vulnerable to each other and willing to put it aside to upfront with each other to discuss something important to you. While he conversation may not always turn out the way you want it to, at least it’s out in the open now.

Communicate.Support.Share.Balance.Create.Love