For about a week now, I've been been bumpin' Stephanie Mills's "Something in the Way You Make Me Feel" pretty heavily. First of all, sis can sang and definitely could still school a few folks in the industry about why sometimes "sing" gets an "a" instead of an "i". Second, I remember that video being pretty dope, in a timeless kind of way. (And her body is killin' it in that black dress and white top and pants.) Third, if you're not even remotely familiar with the tune and you're at a place where you can't click on the hyperlink right now—here's the first verse:
I've been up and I've been down/Until you helped me put my feet on solid ground/I've been rich and I've been poor/Then you showed me that there's so much more/Than the rat race and the fast pace/Could ever offer me/When I look back, baby/You've always been there for me
From there, the hook says, "Something in the way you make me feel," a few times, and she ends the chorus with a word that is poignant for today's article. She doesn't say that her man makes her feel loved. No, what she declares is that her man makes her feel good---real good, in fact. The difference between the two is what makes some relationships healthy (ie. "The Right Relationship IMPROVES Not CHANGES You" and "If He's Right For You, He Will COMPLEMENT Your Life") or not-so-healthy---even needy, to tell you the truth. You ready?
The Subtle Unhealthiness of Wanting Someone to 'Make' You Feel Loved
Just the other day, I not-so-randomly ran into a young woman with some of her family members. We had never met before but ended up striking up a convo while I was sitting at a friend's mall kiosk. Anyway, as we got deeper and deeper into our convo, the young lady mentioned that she was in her early 20s and had been married for a couple of years. She and her husband had dated for several years before marrying, but they were still going through some major adjusting as a married couple. One thing that got on her nerves was that she is much clearer about her life's purpose than her husband. She also admitted that she is a control freak (but that's another article for another time.)
As she aired out some of her frustration and asked my opinion (I mentioned that I was a marriage life coach), I said, "That's why I'm not big on people getting married until a man knows what he was put on this planet to do." A college-aged male? While there are certainly exceptions, that is typically the time when they should be figuring all of that out with as little distractions as possible. (This is why I don't think women should put pressure on themselves to "find a husband" during that season of their lives either.) For me, the foundation of a lot of how I see things in life is the Bible. Genesis 2:18 defines women as being helpers--- warriors and lifesavers if you want to get real specific. How can we fully support a man, in the intimate and lasting way that a wife does, when he has no clue what he's doing—or wants to do—with his life?
I just recently saw one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. It's calledHoney Boy. In it, actor Shia LaBeouf is playing his own real-life abusive father. (Shia is definitely an acting force to be reckoned with; his freestyle flow is pretty sick too).
A line from it that stayed with me is, "A seed must totally destroy itself in order to become a flower." A lot of us women try to "make a man a flower", rather than giving him the time and space to be a seed, totally alter himself, become a flower and then help him, as a "flower"—as the man he was designed to me—to thrive.
Believe you me, y'all, I have been the woman who has tried to nurture far too many "man seeds" that were both emotionally unavailable and immature. While those guys were "destroying themselves" in order to become better, oftentimes their own mental and even spiritual upheavals ended up harming me in the process. Yeah, I know that was a little on the poetic side of things, but I hope you still got where I was coming from. If you want to be in a healthy, stable and consistent relationship, date less "seeds" and be open to more "flowers". Not doing this is a huge mistake that I think a lot of us make in the pursuit of love.
Know what another one is? Thinking that it's a man's job to "make us" feel loved. Whew. I can't tell you how many times a woman has told me that a relationship has come to an end—usually a pretty bitter end, at that—and it's all because a man didn't make her feel loved. It's no secret that I strive to be pretty word-specific, so whenever I hear that, my immediate reaction is, "Is that a man's job? Should anyone MAKE you feel loved?" Whenever I ask someone that out loud, they tend to look at me like I'm crazy, mixed with a bit of patronization. The way they see it, of course, he should. Me? Not so much.
Personally, there are only two people who I think should make us feel loved and that's because they are our first introduction to a human form of love; that would be our parents. When they jack that up, that speaks volumes into why a lot of us spend the result of our lives looking for other people to do it. But by the time we start to entertain romantic relationships, there really should be such a self-love within us that we're not looking for them to make us feel like we're loved.
Because, when we already love ourselves, other people tend to reflect back to us what we already feel. While it's nice to be loved by them, we don't really need it; we appreciate it, we enjoy it, it feels awesome…but if they left, we know we'd be alright. Love was there before they arrived, so we know that love will still exist should they ever go.
A good example of someone who I think has this concept down pretty well is YouTuber StarPuppy. She's wacky. She's quirky. She's hilarious. She also seems to have grown up with a family who taught her about love. (She actually says so in this video). Her ability to be unapologetically wacky, quirky, and hilarious is seamless, but just think what she would be like if she didn't love herself---if she looked for guys to make her feel loved. If the guy had enough influence over her, he could probably convince her that her personality wasn't appealing, that her humor was corny. and, quite possibly, that she should stop doing all of her fabulous natural hair and random-musing posts.
That's why I said in the article "What Loving Yourself Actually Looks Like" that people who love themselves move differently. When you, on your own, are all about things like self-care, enjoying alone time, embracing your strengths, not needing a relationship to fill any voids and celebrating yourself—you don't need any outside sources or forces to make you feel loved. Make means "to bring into existence". People who love themselves don't need anyone to bring into existence what already, well, exists. So yeah, if a relationship comes to an end, it should be because someone didn't "bring love into existence" for you. That is giving them way too much power. It should be because they didn't reflect what already exists and they didn't do enough of what Ms. Stephanie sang about.
A Man Making You Feel Good Is Much Different than a Man Making You Feel Loved
God is love (I John 4:8&16). If you believe in a higher power and that God created you, then you automatically come from love. Prayerfully, your parents echoed that sentiment and raised you in an environment of love but, even if they didn't, you still have the ability to learn how to love yourself—to self-nurture in such a way where you're not out here looking for someone to teach you about how to love yourself. Real talk, I think that's why a lot of us are single much longer than we'd like to be. It's because God, the source of love, knows that we need some time to learn how to love ourselves so that the "wrong teachers" won't come along and totally alter the way He wants us to see ourselves. He knows that if we allow Him to teach us about self-love, we'll recognize, rather quickly, when someone is coming into our lives to manipulate our own definition of love or when they're coming along to intensify the feelings of love that we already have for ourselves.
That's why I dig Stephanie Mills's song so much. If all of us were back in high school English class, we'd probably be taught that an interjection definition of the word "good" is "an exclamation of approval, agreement, pleasure, etc."
Stephanie wasn't exclaiming that her man makes her feel like she is loved—which usually actually translates into being worthy of love. Nope. She said her man exclaims that he approves of how she loves herself, that he's in agreement with how she loves herself, that he brings pleasure to the love that she has for herself. He makes her feel good not loved. See how powerful that is?
Back in the day, Bonnie Raitt's song "I Can't Make You Love Me" used to almost crush me. Don't get me wrong. It's still one of my favorite songs ever, but on this side of self-love and self-awareness, I hear it very differently. When she—or Tank because he did a cool cover of it, too—earnestly sings, "I can't make you love me if you don't. You can't make the heart feel something it won't," I used to hear that a man was choosing to deem me unlovable even though I so desperately wanted his love. I now hear, "I can't make you see in me what I see. And ninja, that's OK." And I mean that. There is so much love already here that I don't need him to hold me one more night. Actually, I'd rather have him out of the way so that the man who is excited about my self-love can come along.
Y'all, please get how profound that is—to want a man who is drawn to how you love yourself and then desires to celebrate that right along with you? That beats looking for a man to make you feel like you are worthy of love by a long shot. Use this very precious time to get to that point and place so that you can see a true "love cheerleader" rather than "love manipulator" a mile away.
So no, I don't think that a man should make a woman feel loved. That is God's and that woman's responsibility. If a man wants to come into said woman's life to embrace, esteem, and encourage the self-love along the way—by all means, brotha…do that.
I'm gonna hop off of here, play Stephanie's song once more and go on about my day. It feels good to know that I don't need a man to make me feel loved. Now that you see why I say that…how about you, sis?
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:
Featured image by Giphy
Did you know that xoNecole has a podcast? Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to join us for weekly convos over cocktails (without the early morning hangover.)
- Love Is Patient. But Is Your Relationship Just Wasting Your Time ... ›
- 5 Signs That You're In Love (All By Yourself) - xoNecole: Women's ... ›
- How To Feel Emotionally Safe In Relationships - xoNecole ... ›
- If Your Partner Doesn't Make You Feel These 11 Ways, It Isn't True ... ›
- My Relationship Makes Me Feel Excruciatingly Lonely. But I Love Her! ›
- How to Feel More Loved: 9 Tips for Deep Connection ›
- The Secret You Need To Know About Feeling Loved In A Relationship ›
- 50 Small Acts That Make Your Partner Feel Loved In A Relationship ›
- Unconditional Relationships: Maybe You Don't Know What Love Is ›
- What To Do If You Don't Feel Loved Enough In Your Relationship ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by FOTOGRAFIA, INC./Getty Images