How To Know If Something Is Really Right For You
I can't recall when I first heard what I'm about to share, but it is something that I hold close to me; especially when I'm in the process of trying to make a rather significant decision—"Don't focus on what makes you feel good; focus instead on what you know is right." The reason why I so wholeheartedly agree with that way of thinking is because, personally, I think people are way too addicted—yes, addicted—to their emotions. And feelings? They can change at the drop of a dime. This means that if you're solely dependent on them, you could end up on an emotional roller coaster ride that can have you constantly feeling confused, unsettled and unsure. And because of that, your life decisions will, as they say, keep that same energy.
On the other hand, when the focus is on doing what is truly right for you, that's a bit different. I'll give you an example. Recently, one of my writing gigs gave me a raise. Putting that extra money into a savings account so that I can travel more is good. But right now, Uncle Sam and I have some things to work through, so hiring a reputable accountant is what's right. I recently had a conversation with a relative that was disconcerting to say the least. There was so much toxicity in it that establishing immediate boundaries would've been good. But because I know what it's like to not feel heard or validated, I listened and supported; at the time, that is what was right.
When doing what is right is what truly matters to you, it means that you are factoring in things like truth, facts, principles and timing; you're putting in the effort to make sure that all of these things will work together for your ultimate good. You're not only interested in how to appease your emotions or what will make you feel good in the moment. Doing what is right is about maturity and taking your future into account; even if it's not always easy, comfortable or what your heart—the center of your emotions—wants to do.
While keeping all of this in mind, how can you know if something—or one—really is right for you? That's kind of a loaded question, but here is a bit of a "cheat sheet" to hopefully help you out.
Your “Human Trinity” Is in Agreement
So, what is the "human trinity"? I define it as being the mind, body and spirit (for the church folks who may find it disrespectful, the actual word "trinity" isn't in the Bible. I refer to the "three in one" as the Godhead [I John 5:8], just for the record). These things are designed to work in harmony with one another. So, if there is something that you are considering doing or there's someone who you're thinking about getting involved with, take out a moment to listen to what your mind, body and spirit are saying. Is there a thought in the back of your mind that is telling you that it's not a good idea? Do you literally experience an uncomfortable physical reaction? As far as how your spirit/soul operates, check out "I've Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul" for a bit of a breakdown.
When I look back over my life, most of the things that I regret, I did without making sure that all three parts of me were, for the most part, on the same page. Meanwhile, the things that I feel really good about, even to this day, my human trinity was at total peace at the time that I decided to do it. I'm pretty sure that's not a coincidence.
It Doesn’t Compromise Your Principles or Values
We're living in a time when people are attacking principles and values on every hand. While it's one thing to allow someone the space and freedom to live out their truth, it's another thing for those same individuals to berate someone else for the beliefs that they personally have. If you want respect, you must give respect. But that's another article for another time. What I will say, for now, is that no matter how much bullying—both online or off—that may be going on these days, it speaks volumes about your level of integrity if you don't allow it to compromise (or silence) your own core principles and values because they are a huge part of your foundation and character. They are a large part of what makes you…you.
A great quote that fits in really well with this particular point is by the French novelist and poet Victor Hugo—"Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots." Amen. That said, if what you're about to do involves invalidating your core principles and values? Well, the phrase "selling your soul" covers a lot of ground; this is just one of the examples of doing it. And, at the end of the day, it really isn't worth it.
You Can Already See How It Will Contribute to Your Growth and Development
You may be familiar with a really popular Alice Walker quote that says, "No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow." This is a powerful quote all on its own (check out "10 Signs You've Got A Close (TOXIC) Friend" and "10 Things You Should Absolutely Expect From Your Friendships" for a co-sign), but if I were to tweak it a bit to fit this article, I'd say, "Nothing is right for you if it hinders your growth and development." I don't care if it's a man, a job, a church or anything else—if we're not moving forward, we're either remaining stagnant or going backwards; those last two options aren't even remotely healthy.
So yeah, as you're in the process of trying to figure out if something is truly right for you or not, ask yourself if it will put you in a more progressive state a year from now? If you can't definitely say that, well, that's something to really think about. Isn't it?
It Invigorates and Inspires You
To be invigorated is to be filled with life and energized. To be inspired is to be compelled or influenced to produce something; something that is typically new. When something is truly right for you, these two things should definitely come into play.
I consider myself to be a creative. Something that I know about creative types is we're constantly driven by inspiration. When I recently checked out the article "10 Creative People Share What Inspires Them", some of the things that other creatives shared they are inspired by includes taking risks, challenges, relationships, self-reflection and nature. That's their list. What's yours?
For this point, let's look at it through a romantic lens. I know a married couple who talk all of the time about them knowing that they were right for each other because they both inspired one another to attempt things that they would've never considered prior to meeting. Not only that but, even after all of these years later, they wake up with a sense of excitement because, since they are both so spontaneous and driven, they never really know what to expect.
Doesn't reading that just make you feel invigorated? Yeah, if something is really right for you, it will cause you to feel a sense of exhilaration. It will motivate you in ways that nothing else quite has before too. If something doesn't move you like this, while I won't go all in and say that it's exactly "wrong", what I will say is do a little more investigating; something is definitely kinda sorta…off.
It Will Get You “Unstuck”
I've got a friend who keeps, as the old folks say, going around Charlie's barn. She does it on the professional tip. She gets a job at a company she doesn't like, stays for a couple of years, then looks for another job in the same field for about the same salary, only to find herself restless about six months in. I've watched her do this for about 15 years now. Finally, I flat-out asked her why she keeps doing that to herself. What she told me was although she has a passion for teaching, the irony is all of the jobs that make her unhappy are giving her more experience in a particular field. So, she thinks that it makes more sense to keep doing what she doesn't like than to step out and start all over.
OK, y'all. Guess how many of us absolutely hate what we do for a living. A whopping 85 percent! When you stop and think about the fact that you spend most of your waking hours at your place of employment, what sense does it make to be someplace where you are unhappy? The entire time that your eyes are open? Uh-uh. Better to start over than to die a slow death in a familiar space.
Another way to know if something is right for you is it will encourage you to get out of doing the same ole', same ole'; from living as if you are stuck in a rut.
That said, if you've been stuck in a rut for so long, you don't even know what that looks like, here are some telling signs—you are bored a lot; you hold onto toxic habits and people simply because they are familiar to you; every day feels like you are doing nothing more than going through the motions; there's nothing that you really have to look forward to and the only thing you really look forward to is ending the day and going to sleep. C'mon sis, what could possibly be right about any of that?
You Have Total Peace
At this stage in my life, "peace" is one of my favorite words. And yes, a final indication that something (or one) is truly right for you is it will bring tranquility, order ("order" is a BIG one) and calm into your world. There will be less confusion. Less tension and stress. And definitely less drama (when things are right, drama significantly decreases).
Based on what peace means, I seriously doubt someone else's husband is right for you. I seriously doubt taking a job that doesn't recognize your gifts and talents is right for you. I also seriously doubt remaining in a toxic relationship, whether it's a family member, friend or significant other, is right for you.
So, take a deep breath and think about all that you just read. What in your life, at this very moment, is truly right for you? Whatever isn't, it's time to do a little internal house cleaning. So that you can make room for what's better than average or even good. It's time to embrace all that is truly RIGHT. Right?
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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. ;)
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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If you haven’t scrolled upon Olivia McDowell's TikTok famous dinner parties, you may need to reconfigure your "For You Page."
What began as a passion for hosting aesthetically themed meals for her closest friends has quickly become a viral sensation. With an astonishing 12 million viewers, women describe Olivia’s picturesque dinner parties as the “dream girls' night,” complete with classy cocktails, beautiful table settings, elegant outfits, and, most importantly, food plated to perfection.
Seemingly reigniting the feminine urge to host fancy dinner parties, Olivia has perfected the finer details. Overlooking the skyline in her beautiful NYC apartment, she never fails to make her signature handmade pasta dishes while simultaneously looking effortlessly chic in the wardrobe of dreams while doing so.
Replying to @nara0630 what should the theme of my next dinner party be? #minivlog #nycliving #dinnerpartyideas #caviarinnewyork
What I love most about hosting intimate dinners for close friends are the connections and relationships that form over food. They don't require a caviar budget with a high-rise apartment, it just takes determination and a little creativity. Watching Olivia’s journey inspires viewers to be a part of a community of positive and uplifting women who share common interests and tastes in food, fashion, and decor. Simply stated, she’s raising the bar of friendship goals.
If you’re aspiring to host a holiday-themed dinner party this season, check out the four tips that will guide you along the way.
Choose Your Theme
Replying to @emz.life.tsv what was your fav part? 🤍 hope this gives you some inspiration to host a fancy friendsgiving too! #hostingtip #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Set the ambiance with a thoughtful theme, which will indeed be your guiding light for less stress during the planning process. Establishing a theme sets the tone for everything else to fall in place, such as menus, table design, and presentation. For example, a holiday-inspired dinner party is a perfect occasion for elegant all-white decor paired with draped table cloths, pillar candles lit atop luxe holders, floating floral arrangements, and, for a personal touch, handwritten place settings.
Utilizing free resources such as Canva for menu templates and creating a “Dinner Party” moodboard via Pinterest is perfect for gathering dinner inspiration for themes, decor, and recipes for the special occasion.
Simplify the Menu
How to host your own pasta making dinner party — part 1: pasta making from scratch 🤍 Hosting dinner parties has become my favorite thing to do this year. More goes into it than you expect, the prep, planning, guestlist, tablescape, etc. but it’s always worth it in the end. What do you guys want to see next? #hostingtips #dinnerparty #pastamaking
Don’t overcomplicate the menu. A simple dinner party formula to use as your guide to making sure your guests leave full of food and joy is appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts, and beverages. As a starter, assemble an aesthetic spread that your guest can nibble on while awaiting the main course with starters such as bread, cheese, jam, nuts, and fruit. A simple salad will do, complete with a light dressing right before your entree. For a main dish, pasta recipes always go a long way and also allows your guests to interact with one another, which leads to McDowell's third dinner party hosting tip.
Include an Interactive Element
Replying to @itstai.tv 🖤 #girlhood
To break the ice and encourage guests to get to know one another, introduce interactive elements to the evening. Moments of interaction allow everyone to connect, like capturing content for social media or memorializing the essence of the night through fun Polaroids. Olivia also encourages her guests to participate in the pasta-making dinner process as a group, or if hosting a brunch, her friends indulge in building their own coffee bar as an opportunity for forming connections and conversation starters. Group board or card games are also great for laughs and healthy competition to help get the vibes flowing.
Don’t Forget the Dress code
Replying to @samantha_mendiz when all of your friends are the main character 🖤🥂 #dinnerparty #nycfashion
Tis’ the season for glamour and sparkles, so why not go all out with a super chic dress code? You can’t have a picture-perfect holiday dinner party without the coordinating attire to match. When planning, make sure to make the required attire specific yet broad enough for a range of personalities and preferences to comfortably partake while looking stunning doing so.
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