Let me just say that, before I go moderately all-the-way-in on this particular topic, that while I'm sure most of you saw this title and thought about it from a romantic angle, it actually can apply across the board. Because something that I've personally realized is when you are the kind of person who goes hard for folks and then you ease your foot off of the brake a bit, what ends up being a true light bulb moment is noticing how oftentimes, much the relationship probably wouldn't exist if it wasn't for all of the effort that you put into it/them in the first place. And that's why I think it's quite healthy and personally progressive to apply the relational mantra of "Be careful about tightly holding on to what isn't holding on that tightly to you."
Not from an angle of jadedness or bitterness. It's just that far too often, we do one of two things — we either ignore the wise words of Warren Buffett when he said that we shouldn't invest in something that we don't understand or we're so busy trying to keep what acts like it doesn't want to be kept that we don't end up having enough time, effort and energy for who and what truly does relish being in our space.
So, since this is the time of year when a lot of us tend to pause and reflect on what the hell we've been doing in our relationships all year long, I thought it would be a good idea to remind everyone who clicked on this that…if it's easy for someone to let you go, it's a true act of self-love to let them — personally or professionally, romantically or platonically. And if you need me to go a bit deeper, I will.
What It Means to Be a Person of Great and Precious Value
A couple of weeks ago, while I was in the airport waiting to catch a flight, a man who left his wallet on the plane was being all kinds of panicky and rude as he was jumping our line to flag down a flight attendant so that he could get back on the plane to see if he could retrieve it. As I watched him damn near lose his mind, I thought about when I've been around other people who've lost their wallet, phone or car keys (or at least thought that they did). There was nothing that they weren't going to do in order to find those items. Why? Because they valued them.
People are no different and all of us are worth more than an inanimate object that, if push comes to shove, while it might be inconvenient, it can still be replaced. Us? Eh. Not so much. While the concept of being in a relationship with us is replaceable, we are each an original — there has been no other us before we arrived and there will never be another one of us again. Ever. This means that whoever has the honor and distinct privilege of being in our space or getting to intimately know us in this day and time is blessed and highly favored. That's not arrogance. That is simply the truth. Problem is, a lot of us need to remind our own selves of this fact — a lot of us need to treat our own selves as someone of great value. To recognize your own value means that you are of great worth, that you are indeed important. Some synonyms for valuable include respected, relevant, treasured, cherished, esteemed, precious, and worthwhile.
That said, do diamonds go around begging to be seen and valued? Hell nah. They know their value. And the more that you settle into personally acknowledging just how valuable you are as well, the easier it will be to embrace those who see you (who get that you can't be replaced like a pair of lost keys can) and release those who…don't (who act like you come a dime a dozen).
If You’re Seen As “Costume Jewelry”…Why Hold on to That?
Years ago, I wrote an article for another platform about how not everyone can tell a true diamond when they see it. How do I know? Because I can't tell you how many times I've had a woman show me her engagement ring, brag on how big the diamond is, while I can tell that it's a fake — a cubic zirconia. Listen, I'm not even the diamond kind of gal (read up on how diamond rings became the "engagement ring of choice"; it's all about capitalism, nothing about love) and yet I know enough about them to know when a knock-off is in my presence. I had to be taught how to see that, though.
Do you see where I am going with this?
If you were to see yourself as said-diamond and yet you kept wondering why others kept not honoring your worth, while you might be pressured to blame yourself, I'm here to tell you that a lot of folks have no clue how to properly discern character, commitment, integrity, loyalty, and all-around goodness. They suck at seeing a good person like many mistake costume jewelry for the real thing. The objective is not to lower yourself and your standards so that they will accept you. The key is to get "oh…you don't get it" and let them go on about their merry way.
Because although writer Maureen Dowd irks me, on a few levels, I'm always gonna give her props for one of her quotes — "The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for." When you know that you have a diamond in your midst, you treat it as such. When you can't tell the difference and don't really care one way or another, that's exactly how you're going to act. This brings me to my next point.
People Value…What They Value
A part of the reason why this article has the title that it does is because listen, you can't force someone to value anyone or anything. You can't make your boss respect you (check out "Ever Wonder If You've Got An Emotionally Abusive Boss?"). You can't make your boyfriend cherish you (check out "7 Signs A Great Boyfriend Could Be A Bad Husband" and "7 Not-Discussed-Enough Signs That He's Absolutely NOT 'The One'"). You can't make a particular friend treasure what you bring to the table with them (check out "Always Remember That Friendships Have "Levels" To Them", "Ever Wonder If A Friend Is Just...Not That Into You?", "10 Signs You've Got A Close (TOXIC) Friend" and "6 Signs You're About To Let A Toxic Person (Back) Into Your Life"). Folks have free will and they have every right to value who and what they want to value. Simple as that.
Here's the thing, though. When people do value something or someone, their words and actions are going to show it. Example. There is someone I know who is big on words. They are constantly talking about how much they appreciate my being in their life and that they do indeed cherish me. Thing is, they live in one state, I live in another and whenever we set up times to talk, literally 9.5 times outta 10, they "forget" and reschedule. Over and over again. Hmph. When someone values you, do you know what else they will do to show it? They will value your freakin' time. That said, earlier this year, I told them that they would need to call me moving forward because I've got a lot on my plate and them constantly dropping the ball was actually messing with my own agenda. They had the nerve to be offended. Chile, please. And you know what? I haven't heard from them since. Know what else? I am totally OK with that.
When folks value you, they are going to put in the time, effort, and energy. They are going to hear the needs and boundaries that you have and take heed. They are going to be intentional about making sure that you know that they want to keep you around and they will do what is necessary in order to make that happen…as you do the same thing for them. If that's not happening, they are showing you, live and in living color, what they really think about you and the relationship, regardless of what might be coming out of their mouth. And it really is healthy to accept what is real rather than trying to force the facts to be something else. Because while you're trying to get someone who doesn't truly value you to do so, you are taking precious time away from those who do. More on that in a bit. Next point.
Letting Someone Go, Peacefully and Fully Means That You Value Yourself
I wanna say that I've stated in an article on this platform before that now, more than ever, I live by the motto — "Chase nothing. You were born with your purpose and your dreams actually come to you first, so chase nothing." Shoot, while we're on the topic of chasing, that's why I actually find it semi-revolting when folks accept the mindset that men are hunters and should chase us. Because I am a word person, I'm always like, "Do y'all get what 'chase' literally means?" To chase is "to pursue in order to seize, overtake, etc." and "to pursue with intent to capture or kill, as game; hunt." That doesn't sound very loving; it actually sounds pretty violent to me. Besides, in the first love story in the Bible (Genesis 2), Adam didn't CHASE his bride; she was BROUGHT to him.
And when a man recognizes that a woman has been brought, by God, he tends to treat her with humility as a gift more than with arrogance as an acquisition. OK, but let me stay on full topic. Once you get that you are valuable, you also get that there is no need to chase anyone or anything. Maintain? Yes. Appreciate? Most definitely. Preserve and protect? When you see value in it, most definitely. But chase? For what?
Just recently, I ran into someone who said to me, "Why haven't you called me?" To which I replied, "Because the last time I saw you, you said that you would call me." To which they replied, "Girl, that was like, what, two years ago now?" They said it as if to imply that since they hadn't reached out, I should've done so. Entitlement is a trip, ain't it? The more time I spend on this earth, the more I realize that in order to be a good writer, a great friend, a consistent god mom and so many other things that I've got going on, I have to focus on what actually requires my attention, not simply who or what I wish wanted me to (some of y'all will catch that later).
In order to do that, I have to value myself and what I bring to the table. And the more I do that, the more I am able to be on the tip of, "People who don't want to put in the time, effort, and energy to keep me in their life, I need to let them go so that they can focus on what they want to put those things into as I do the same." And chile, when you're in that kind of head and heart space, it is oh so easy to release them…peacefully (check out "Why I Don't 'Cut People Off' Anymore, I Release Them Instead") because you really do get to a point and place where you only want people in your world who want to be there — and who act like they do. Everyone else, you want to move them out of your way, so that they can get to what they value. Because that is everyone's right.
Letting Go Is Giving Space for What You’re Worthy Of. And That’s a Really Good Thing.
Author Eckhart Tolle once said, "Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than hanging on." Indeed. That's why it gets on my last nerve, whenever I hear folks say, "If God closes a door, he will open a window." What kind of God do y'all serve out here? If God closes a door, a BIGGER door is on its way! And when you value yourself, the same thing applies to letting people go who act like they want to leave whether they realize that is what they are doing or not— you are clearing up space for who truly wants to be a part of your life…folks who want to be there so much that their acts and words are going to line up with that sentiment.
Sometimes it can hurt when people act like it's easy to let you go because it can tempt you to wonder if you are as valuable as you think. YES. YOU. ARE. The only time your actions dictate that you don't believe this is when you try to hold on, for dear life, to people who don't care if you remain in their life or not. It really can't be said enough — there is a world, FULL, of people who are just waiting to be what you need them to be because that's how much they see you.
So, the ones who treat you like Claire's instead of Tiffany's? Release them in light and love, chile. They are doing you a favor by showing you that they don't get it. LET THEM.
Featured image by Giphy
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 masterdating? 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 masterdating 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 Masterdating All About?
Masterdating. 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 masterdating 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 masterdating 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 masterdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masterdating
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 masterdating 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” Masterdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masterdating 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 masterdating 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!
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