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:
My Eureka Moment For Why I'm Not Into 'Nice Guys'
Why We Love Men Who Are Absolutely No Good For Us
6 Reasons Why You STILL Can't Over Your Ex
Why You're Always The One Who Prepares A Man For His Wife
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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Everything Kerry Washington Has Said About Her Husband Nnamdi Asomugha
Actress Kerry Washington and her relationship with her husband, actor Nnamdi Asomugha, is the perfect example of a winning team.
The pair became an item following a chance encounter in 2009, and many years later, on June 24, 2013, Washington and Asomugha would secretly tie the knot. Since then, the high-profile couple has expanded their blended family by welcoming two children, a daughter Isabelle Asomugha, 8, and a 6-year-old son Caleb Asomugha. Asomugha also has a daughter from a previous relationship.
Despite Washington and Asomugha choosing to live a relatively private life for the most part by not sharing images of their family on social media and occasionally attending events together. The rare glimpses they provide to the public showcase that Washington and Asomugha have much in common regarding essential topics.
For example, Washington is highly involved in politics and encourages others to participate by spreading information about various issues and how everyone would be affected.
As for Asomugha, the 41-year-old officially founded the Asomugha Foundation in 2010, years after doing other charity work in Nigeria. According to its site, the organization was created to help "disadvantaged youth and women by providing educational opportunities and mentorship."
Washington's public remarks regarding her relationship with Asomugha and their family may be rare, but when she does speak about their family, it's all positive.
Kerry On Why She Keeps Her Relationship Private
Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Bronx Children's Museum
In March 2016, the UnPrisioned actress revealed during a discussion panel at SXSW Festival that one of the reasons why she is adamant about remaining private about her union with Asomugha is because she doesn't want the public to make any narratives regarding her marriage.
At the time, it was reported that Washington and the former NFL player were experiencing marital troubles and were allegedly planning on getting a divorce. Washington would shut down those allegations by saying she hasn't and will not share any information about her private life.
"Social media has actually been great for [other celebrities'] relationships with the weeklies or the gossip sites because people say things and they say, 'That's not true!' So I'm thinking in some ways, it's been great because people are able to maintain their voice," she explained.
"It's a little different for me because I don't talk about my personal life. That means not only did I not tell you when I was getting married, it also means if somebody has rumors about what's going on in my marriage, I don't refute them, because I don't talk about my personal life."
Kerry On How She Met Nnamdi And What A Normal Day Looks Like for Their Family
Fast forward to October 2018, the Scandal star gave insight into how she met Asomugha and their family life. During an interview with Marie Claire, Washington shared that she and Asomugha met in 2009 while she was working on the Broadway play Race.
The mother of two told the publication that her life has "completely transformed" since their encounter. "The last time I did theater, it completely transformed my life. That's where I met my husband. I love being with my family. My days off look like homework, reading, and watching stuff. Just hanging out, doing things we love to do," she stated.
Kerry On Nnamdi's Accomplishment
Photo by Jeffrey Camarati/Getty Images
But as time progressed, Washington began speaking a little more openly about her man. In October 2022, Washington gushed over Asomugha and his Netflix project, The Good Nurse, which came out around the same time her film, The School for Good and Evil, was released. While talking to Entertainment Tonight, the star expressed how "proud" she was of her husband.
"I'm really proud of him, I think he's doing amazing work. I'm really excited for his film, The Good Nurse," she said. "It's really exciting to both have really important films at Netflix right now, we feel really blessed.”
Kerry On Why Nnamdi Is Her Soulmate
Washington shared how her love with Asomugha goes beyond the surface after spending over a decade together.
In a March 2023 interview with Marie Claire, Washington explained that she and Asomugha are perfectly aligned because she's allowed to be her authentic self with him.
"I'm in my immediate truth with [him]," Washington said. "Those mirrors are important because they help me get back to myself."
Kerry On The Couple's Upcoming 10-Year Wedding Anniversary
Photo by Bruce Glikas/Getty Images
That same month, Washington expressed that in addition to the many years the couple has been together, and their personal and professional accomplishments, she still finds Asomugha "incredible."
Washington shared this revelation while promoting her latest project, UnPrisioned, in an Entertainment Tonight interview.
"I do have an incredible husband," the actress told ET host Kevin Frazier as she disclosed little to no details about their upcoming plans for their tenth wedding anniversary. "Do you remember how secret my wedding was? How private and secretive it was? That's how the anniversary is gonna be too!"
Kerry On Why She Thinks Nnamdi And Their Children Are A Gift From God
Washington's love and admiration for Asomugha and their family grow increasingly each day, so much so that she uses it as inspiration to share positive messages with her fans.
The 46-year-old revealed during a panel with Al Sharpton at National Action Network Convention on April 12 that she sees her husband and their children as "proof" that God exists and loves her because of the great joy they bring to her life.
"Well, you've met my husband, my husband's amazing. I got a good one. We have three beautiful children. And I think, you know, when I look at my marriage, and I look at my kids, fundamentally, they are proof of God to me,” she said. "Because I know that God loves me to have put those people in my life. And that sense of like, knowing that God loves me. That, to me, is so much of how I make the decisions about the activism that I do and the content that I make."
Regardless of what the public may think about Washington and Asomugha's private union, they are proving with each moment that love can conquer all.
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Feature image by Arturo Holmes/MG23/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue