"He called you back. He opened the door for you. He kissed your forehead. Now you want a relationship. It's time for us to re-evaluate, sis."
- Me to me in the mirror.
"Bare minimum Twitter" has become a thing, and it's triggering. Out in the Twittersphere, there are women tweeting about simple things that they claim to be relationship goals and many commenters are calling them out about their choice of standards.
"Bare Minimum Twitter" is a reflection of the reality about the standards we have for romantic partners.
It exists as a result of the prevalence of guys out there who put in less effort than what is being tweeted about, and the fact that what is being praised are things that are standard and mandatory (read: bare minimum). Have we gone so far down the abyss that a man opening the door for us, calling us by our name, and texting us back is subject to praise? When did basic behavior start becoming the bar for bae-material? Are we convincing ourselves that we are not settling?
A lot of these tweets have been dirty mirrors for me to look into. Throughout my history of dating, there have been many times where I've called my best friend to gloat about how charming a man was on a date - opening the door for me, paying for the food, driving me home, telling me how pretty I was. The annoyance in my friend's voice was anything but sugarcoated, "Uh, yeah, girl. That's what he's supposed to do."
It made me take a long look into the patterns of partners that I've allowed into my sacred space. The realization hit me hard: a lot of the men I had been dating were admitted a pass because of the minimal requirements of respect I had for myself.
And suddenly, my membership card to the Bare Minimum Club began to sparkle under the enlightenment.
Call me a hopeless romantic, but I want a type of love that feels like poetry to my soul and wine to my bloodstream.
I no longer want to be involved in situationships that require me to silence half my voice, dilute my being to be fit to their preferences, or feel guilty about my whole self only being half-loved. There are things that I tell myself that are standard to receiving my love - character, ambition, respect, generosity, etc. - but fall short.
Why am I allowing myself to get excited over men doing things that should be considered necessary before I even consider dating? Have I really forgotten the principles of courtship to the instant gratification of the era that we live in? Why should I feel ashamed to say I want a emotionally stable, honest, attractive man with good credit, great relationships with his family, and an even better career?
In 2018, I want to attract high-vibrational and wholesome relationships into my life.
With the new year about to be in full effect, I think it's important that I begin to ask myself questions to reflect on why I have allowed my love life to be half-assed and half-full. Here are a few things I am learning in order to cultivate what I want and rid myself of the bare minimum syndrome for good:
Know What You Bring To The Table
When you know what you bring to the table, you have a platfrom to expect reciprocity. Because, honestly, no one likes an entitled sista. What are you willing to give and what do you bring to the table? Are we doing the bare minimum for ourselves so it's okay for others to do that as well? Raise the standard for yourself and therefore you'll attract that kind of partner into your life.
Know What Your Standards Are & Abide By Them
Once you know and understand what you have to bring to the table, you have the footnotes to provide when people snootily ask, "Well, you're asking for so much out of a partner. What do you even have to offer?"
Bring out the receipts, sis. What do you want from a partner? What do you expect? Are we compromising our standards to just say that someone is in our life or that we aren't alone? Are we so afraid of being alone and doing for ourselves that we're willing to accept anything? No, because we know our worth and we are abiding by the standards we've set. Don't settle for less when you know exactly who you are.
Make Sure The People In Your Life Who Reflect & Hold You Accountable
If the people around you don't hold themselves to a high standard, then they don't have the muscle mass to hold you up. Their uplifting will only be temporary. They will grow tired in their praise of you if you don't believe it or if they are not secure about themselves. Keeping positive, self-secure people around you will only elevate you, because they will not have the time to be around Debbie Downers or self-pity lobbyists. Queens recognize queens.
Find you a queen that sees your magic just as you see hers - she'll remind you if you're stepping out of your own boundaries for a partner real quick.
Observe How Much Energy & Effort A Man Puts Into Other Things
Do your homework. When an interest in a partner begins, you want to observe. How is he treating you compared to everyone else and the other aspects of his life? Once you get a clear vision of where he puts his efforts and his energy, you'll be able to see where you stand. Are you accepting the bare minimum from him? Is he going out of his way to provide for you or make time to get to know you? If not, you need to return to step number 1 and 2, and act accordingly.
There is no question that I am coming for everything that I deserve; therefore, accepting the bare minimum is no longer an option. I may have new years resolutions of minimalism but a minimalist love affair is not one of them.
I am learning the difference between low maintenance and low standards.
For a woman to be low maintenance, there has to be a high standard to exist regarding how a man treats you. When he's consistent in operating from a higher standard, it is low maintenance because it's the norm. When he's consistently operating from a low standard, you'll always be considered high maintenance because you're asking for more than what he is used to providing.
We need to stop confusing standards with preferences and confusing our assertiveness of these standards as being "too much" because a man's criticism is rooted in his inability to perform and deliver.
It's okay to set the bar high when consistently operating from your deepest, truest self. That's called knowing your worth.
When you know your worth, you know what serves you and doesn't. If you feel triggered by the truth coming full circle and making you look into the mirror, self-evaluate where you are, work on yourself, invest in yourself and raise your own stock so that you can raise your standards and turn in your Bare Minimum membership card.
Should excellence be expected or rewarded? Only you can answer that for yourself.
Featured image by Giphy
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Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Have you ever been in a relationship with someone and felt so deeply connected to them? Everything about the relationship was intense – good or bad? Then you might be in a part of a soul tie.
The concept of a soul tie binds individuals on a level beyond a relationship's physical and emotional aspects; it’s more than a mere connection. You can form a soul tie with anyone – lover, friend, colleague, etc.- but we are discussing romantic partners for this article. Think of you and your partner as an intensely burning flame. The flame can burn passionately to light the relationship’s way or chaotically burn everything in its path. Either way, it leaves an indelible mark on the souls involved.
A soul tie should not be confused with the term “soulmate.” The main difference is that a soul tie can be positive or negative, while a soulmate is a mutual, harmonious connection. Unlike a soul tie, a soulmate relationship is generally characterized by mutual understanding, support, and shared values.
However, the more we learn about soul ties, the more it becomes evident that they are not monolithic; they vary in nature and intensity. As someone who has experienced a negative soul tie, it is crucial to discern whether they contribute positively to personal growth or hinder you from flourishing.
If Your Soul Tie Is Positive
A positive soul tie creates a deep and affirming connection between individuals. One key indicator of a positive soul tie is effective communication. If you’re experiencing a positive soul tie, a shared understanding fosters open and honest dialogue, contributing to a sense of connection and support.
Mutual growth is another hallmark of a positive soul tie. When individuals in a relationship encourage each other's personal development and evolution, it signifies a positive and uplifting connection. This mutual support leads to an environment where both parties can thrive individually and together, contributing to the overall health of the soul tie.
Emotional security is a crucial element in identifying a positive soul tie. In such connections, individuals feel a deep sense of trust and comfort with each other. This emotional security forms a stable foundation for the relationship, allowing both parties to express vulnerability and foster a strong, positive bond. These three indicators—effective communication, mutual growth, and emotional security—underscore the positivity inherent in a healthy and affirming soul tie.
If Your Soul Tie Is Negative
A negative soul tie manifests as a detrimental and draining connection between individuals. One clear sign of a negative soul tie is the presence of emotional turmoilwithin the relationship. When the connection becomes a source of constant distress, causing emotional upheaval and hindering personal development, it indicates a negative soul tie.
Codependency is another red flag for a negative soul tie. In such connections, individuals may become overly reliant on each other, impeding their ability to thrive independently. Codependency often leads to unhealthy dependencies and can result in a toxic dynamic that hinders both individuals' growth and well-being.
A lack of effective communication is a third indicator of a negative soul tie. When there is a breakdown in communication, misunderstandings and unresolved issues can fester, contributing to a strained and unhealthy connection. In negative soul ties, the absence of open and honest dialogue can perpetuate a cycle of negativity and prevent the resolution of underlying issues. These three indicators—emotional turmoil, codependency, and poor communication—point to the negativity associated with an unhealthy soul tie.
Putting Out The Fires And Breaking Your Soul Tie
Unfortunately, my deep, intense connection only caused destruction. And despite the obvious red flags, it took a minute before I broke the connection. Why? Because I was addicted to the relationship, we both were. But it is possible to break a soul tie if and when you are ready because if you are not, pretending you are when you are not is a waste of your time.
Breaking a soul tie requires intentional and purposeful actions. Establishing clear and firm boundaries is a fundamental step in severing the connection. By limiting contact and emotional engagement with the person involved, individuals can gradually weaken the tie and create space for personal growth.
Seeking professional support is another effective strategy to break a soul tie. Guidance from therapists or counselors provides valuable insights and coping strategies. Professional assistance can help individuals navigate the emotional challenges associated with breaking a soul tie, offering a structured and supportive environment for healing.
Redirecting energy toward personal growth is important in breaking free from a soul tie. Engaging in activities that promote individual well-being and create a sense of independence allows individuals to refocus their attention on their own growth and development. This redirection of energy is essential for breaking the emotional bonds of a soul tie and moving towards a healthier, more fulfilling life.
The last step I advise everyone to go through is the mourning period. My partner and I did our song and dance for years before I walked away. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that I mourned our relationship while I healed.
Recognizing the presence and nature of a soul tie in your relationship is crucial to understanding its impact on your well-being. Whether positive or negative, the intensity of a soul tie can shape the course of your personal growth and happiness. Breaking free from a negative soul tie demands intentional efforts, from setting clear boundaries to seeking professional support. Redirecting energy toward personal growth and allowing oneself a necessary mourning period are vital steps toward healing and liberation from the intricate ties that bind.
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Feature image by JD Mason/ Unsplash