5 Signs Something Simply Isn't Meant To Be

Love & Relationships

As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was being redirected to something better. That quote? There are honestly so many people who are credited for saying it (Maya Angelou, Steve Maraboli, Imam Al Ghazali) that I don't know who to give it to. I'm using it because I honestly couldn't find a more appropriate way to start this piece off.

A couple of nights ago, while perusing the internet, I read two pieces that had the same theme albeit two different approaches. One was a Q&A about a woman who dated a guy who claimed to not believe in marriage. After six years of being together, they broke up, only for him to get engaged "10 seconds later". The other piece featured a letter that a woman wrote to her ex who chose to marry someone else.

In some ways, both articles were heart-wrenching. I think we all know what it's like to really want something (or someone), only to have things not turn out the way we wanted it (or even expected it) to. But as I thought about how the advice the first woman received was her needing to accept that it wasn't that the guy was opposed to marriage, it was that he didn't want to marry her (ouch), and how the second woman came to resolve of "If you would have stayed, I might have always believed that you were the best thing about me and never searched for more and found that it was always within myself all along," one overall conclusion came to my mind.


Life not going as planned can hurt. No doubt it. But you know what's so much worse? Putting all of your blood, sweat, tears and time into trying to make something work that simply isn't meant to be. Refusing to accept that no matter how much you love or desire something, you really should let it go.

How can you know if this is something you are in complete denial about?

5 Signs Something Isn't Meant To Be

1. You’re Changing the Very Core of Who You Are to Make It Work


Whenever a woman writes me to talk about how, in the midst of trying to make a relationship work or last, she feels like she's literally breaking her neck to make it happen, most times my response is "You only find yourself bending over backwards when your bar is low."

I've been engaged before. Once. For a day. My fiancé passed back in 1995. We were both just 21. When I think back to what made him such a truly exceptional kind of man to love, it's that he celebrated every part of my being. He didn't want me to dress differently, lose (or gain) weight, like things I didn't like or change my personality in order to be a better "fit" for him. He dug me. Head to toe. Inside and out. End of story.

I can't say that about some of the guys who followed him. One man, in particular, he was always dropping hints about liking longer hair, wishing that I was less outgoing and not quite so—he said militant but I'm gonna go with—Black (and yes, he is a Black man—SMH).

I loved him, so I looked at trying to accommodate his preferences as a form of compromise. Looking back, I was actually co-signing on him trying to change the very core of my being. Coming to that revelation was tough, but it taught me a very valuable lesson—however God made you, there is a purpose in it. Whatever and whomever are meant for you will not try and change you, they will complement and improve you.

Anything or one else? LET. IT. GO.

2. It Doesn’t Benefit Your Purpose in Any Real or Lasting Way

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OK, let's expound on that purpose point for just a second. How much time do you spend 1) focusing on why you exist and 2) making sure that you live that reason out to the fullest? Bookmark that for just a sec.

The first word that's used to define a woman in the Bible is "helper" (Genesis 2:18). If you look up the Hebrew word the helper, it's Ezer Kenegdo, which means "lifesaver" (dope, right?). As someone who does apply the Bible to her life, I think being designed to be a helper/lifesaver is a part of the reason why we, as women, go ALL IN for the men—shoot, the people in general—that we love. But I'm not ONLY here to help others. God gave me my own specific and individual purpose outside of supporting other people.

When it comes to romantic relationships, I've learned to accept that if a man doesn't wake up the queen in me, he's not my king. Meaning, if he's not someone who is using his gifts, resources, and time to help me to thrive as a woman, as I do the same for him, while he might be meant to be in my life in some sort of capacity, it's certainly not as a husband.

And you know what? This applies to all other sorts of dynamics as well—friendships, career paths, opportunities. If you keep putting yourself into people, places, things, and ideas that distract you from your purpose, you definitely need to do some personal reassessing. Life is way too short to be out here doing any and everything but what you were put/sent here to do in the first place.

3. Nothing You Do Is Ever Really Enough


The last official corporate job I had was processing contracts for a timeshare company almost 20 years ago. It didn't matter how early I arrived, how many contracts I processed, or how many times I skipped lunch to help someone out, one of my managers was always dissatisfied with my performance. The harder I tried, the more frustrated they got and the more stressed out I would become. This cycle continued until one day, I got fired.

To this day, that is the only time that has ever happened. When I walked out and sat in my car with a "What the heck was that?!" look on my face knowing that money was tight and rent was due, I thought it was one of the worst things to ever happen to me.

In hindsight, it was the direct opposite. It's one thing to be devoted or even to make sacrifices. It's another matter entirely when you find yourself giving your all and, whether it's a job or relationship, to others, it really doesn't matter.

Something that is meant to be will appreciate you and show it.

Something that isn't, won't.

4. Fear Rather Than (Self) Love Is the True Motivator

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A Vietnamese monk by the name of Thich Nhat Hanh once said, "Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future." I can't tell you how many relationships (friendships included) that I kept hanging onto, well past their shelf life, because I thought I was being loving when really what I was being was fearful. Either I was hanging on to the past parts when things were good or I was freaking out about what was in store for me if I moved on.

If you're staying with something or someone because you're scared of what will happen if you release it/them, that's usually a sign that you have an unhealthy attachment to it. True love is about growth, freedom, joy, flexibility, and even wisdom, mercy and grace. Fear doesn't exist well in any of those attributes.

A lot of people are currently in some pretty toxic situations, all because they are afraid of what life would look like if they removed themselves from them. But all fear does is make you worse, not better.

If fear is your motivation for anything, there's a good chance that while you may be trying to hang onto something (or one), it probably isn't meant to be.

5. You Lack Inner Peace


What comes to your mind when you think of peace? Stillness? Tranquility? No drama? All of those are great definitions but the Hebrew word "shalom" takes peace to an entirely different level! Shalom isn't just about quiet. It's about being whole, complete, and even content.

Looking back, there were so many things in my life that I was trying to force to be "meant to be" that had one blaring red flag that they weren't—I had no peace. They were fragmenting me, they were harming me and they certainly didn't bring a state of harmony and contentment to my health and well-being.

I know a lot of us want something to work out simply because we want it. But be thankful that God and the Universe love you far too much to allow that to happen.

When things seem like they're not working out, if it's based on the things that I just shared, give thanks. When something isn't meant to be, it's because something else is. Release so that you can ultimately receive.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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