Disappointed With How This Year Has Gone? I've Got A Few Suggestions.
Recently, while having a conversation with a friend who is currently going through the PTSD of a divorce, one of the things that they kept saying over and over is, "I'm just so disappointed in myself." If you've read my content, even a little bit, then you know that I am pretty word-specific and so I gave that statement — one that is pretty common when you really stop to think about it — quite a bit of thought. Although I think a lot of people feel that being disappointed in themselves (or someone else) means that they feel bad about something that they said or done, the word actually means "to fail to fulfill the expectations or wishes of" and "to defeat the fulfillment of (hopes, plans, etc.); thwart; frustrate."
And while, on the surface, that might seem like I'm splitting hairs, when you factor in the lead quote, I'm actually…not. Sometimes, no matter how much you tried to make something work, it doesn't and that shouldn't result in you beating up yourself; it simply means you should learn how to manage your expectations better. For instance, when it comes to a relationship that's gone sour, if you really did give your all (be honest with yourself on that, by the way) and you expected things to last long-term, you've still got to factor in things like another person's free will, changes of circumstance and you possibly not being on the same page as your partner was/is.
See what I mean? While I'm not the person who lives by the motto "expect nothing and you'll never be disappointed" (because it sounds like a jaded or bitter person made that up), I am someone who thinks that we should not get so frustrated with ourselves — again, especially to the point that we beat ourselves up — when what we hoped for didn't exactly pan out. Instead, I think there are other far more productive and beneficial ways to utilize that energy. Here are seven of them.
1. Do Some Journaling
As a writer, I'm sure it's no shock to you that I'm a pretty big fan of journaling. Aside from the fact that it's a great way to plan out goals and improve your writing skills, journaling is proven to also help you to de-stress, get your thoughts together and track your progress. That said, sometimes, when we're disappointed about something and all we do is keep going over it again and again in our minds, it can be hard to make sense of the internal chaos — it can be challenging to separate feelings from facts and what you should "own" and what you shouldn't. That's why I definitely recommend that you do some journaling when you're in this kind of headspace because it can help you to vent and then see things from a much clearer perspective after you do.
Chile, there have been many things that I've been disappointed about yet because I put the date (and even the time) on my entries, it has been freeing like a mug to look back every few months to see how all things indeed worked together for the good. So yeah, journal about what has truly disappointed you before the year concludes. It's never (ever) for naught.
2. Have the “Hard” Conversations
Anyone who knows me (and only I would know that; check out "5 Signs You Really Know A Person") knows that ghosting is totally not my style. If anything, I'm someone who is going to communicate ad nauseam, just to make sure that folks are crystal clear about where I am coming from. For me, that means that whether we decide to work things out — personally or professionally — or we choose to part ways, you know exactly where I'm coming from and how I feel about the ultimate decision that has been made. This resolves confusion and where the confusion is lacking, peace can dwell.
Whether it's from counseling, observation, or personal experience, I honestly think that 8 times outta 10, ghosting either comes out of fear or cowardice. Because it's literally running from a situation and not dealing with it. To me, having the hard conversations is actually what makes it easier to feel like something is worth fighting for or that it's worth releasing because all of the feelings, on both sides, are out on the table.
For instance, I know someone who has a pretty dysfunctional relationship with her mother. Yet she vents to everyone and their grandma but her mom. As a direct result, over the years, nothing has really changed. She keeps telling me how disappointed she is yet she's in her 30s at this point and so I'm like, "You claim your mom is not meeting your expectations while assuming she should know what they are. That's your bad." Holding someone captive because of what you trumped up in your mind without giving them a heads up is no one's fault but your own. If you're that shook up — don't run. Deal. Ghosting doesn't accomplish that. Discussing does.
3. Forgive Yourself
I don't know what it is about this year, in particular, that caused so many people to either tweet or state that a definition of self-care is to forgive someone and never speak to them again. Every time that statement crosses my path, all I think is, "Gee, I hope folks can handle being forgiven in the way that they choose to forgive others." Because, if you've got even an ounce of humility in you, you know that the time is going to come, sooner than later, when you're going to need someone to forgive you — and the way you forgive has an uncanny way of boomeranging.
Besides, the more you learn about the purpose and benefits of forgiving other people (check out "Are You A 'Bad Forgiver'? Read This And See."), the more you want to do it. Trust me. You know, folks who claim that they don't believe in forgiving other people? Oftentimes, whether they realize it or not, they are putting out on front street, just how bad they are at extended mercy and grace — not to others but to themselves. And when you're so hard on you that you can't pardon yourself for when you did what humans do — mess up — that's a pretty miserable way to live; not just when it comes to you dealing with yourself but the people who try and walk out life with you as well. Self-forgiveness is necessary for this life. Be intentional as possible about doing it.
4. Come Up with a Personal Expectations-Related Mission Statement
Honey, I'm all about creating a mission statement. Again, because I'm a writer, I'm pretty sure that some of the reason is a little bit of an occupational hazard. At the same time, though, I like them because they remind me to be concise when it comes to figuring out an overall mission that I want to accomplish. And so, if you're someone who is either trying to shake a particular disappointment or protect yourself from becoming more disappointed in the future, it can never hurt to jot down a paragraph or two about what you will commit to, moving forward, when it comes to effectively managing your expectations — what you will do to make sure that they are realistic, how much you will invest into trying to manifest them and how you will evoke self-care if things don't go as planned.
Because here's the thing — while there are many factors that play a direct role in how expectations, wishes, and hopes come to be, when they don't go as you wish, with a mission statement in tow, you actually have more control over your disappointment than you might actually think. Because the more realistic you are, the more you're aware that you become of the fact that you can only control what you can control, and the more you're willing to love on yourself when you did your best and things went another way, the easier it will be to move on from said disappointment…so that you can thrive in another direction.
5. Don’t Wait until 1/1. (That’s a Joke.)
You wanna know an underrated sign of being a procrastinator? It's when you tell yourself that next year is when you'll make some real changes in your life? Lawd, let's all release the shackles of honestly thinking that something special happens between 12/31 and 1/1 because, really, when it's all said and done, it's just another day. And since you still have a few weeks before the New Year even starts, there's no time like the present to get a leg up on doing some things that will totally change the narrative, come this time next year.
It's actually with this point in mind that I penned, "Why Fall Is The Perfect Time To Prep For The New Year" for the site last year. Oh, and while you're at it, check out "12 Monthly Self-Love Themes That Will Make This Your Best Year Yet." Devoting the rest of this year to reflecting on all of the wishes unfulfilled that you had really doesn't make a lot of sense. However, shifting that time, effort, and energy into putting some short- and long-term goals together and then working on them, right here and right now? That is the kind of mentality that will put disappointment right in its place — far, far away from you.
6. Remember That You’ve Still Got Time
As a doula, it's not uncommon for a woman in her early 30s to talk to me about her ticking clock (check out "Tick Tock: How To Get Over The Fear Of Your Biological Clock"). Whenever that happens, something that I say, pretty much every time, is I've had several clients, well into their late 40s, who've had healthy and happy babies. My point? Disappointment will have you so distraught that you'll think that there is nothing past the moment that you're in when that couldn't be further from the truth.
So long as you've got breath in your body, you've got time. Time to start that business. Time to get into your dream relationship or job. Time to make that house or car purchase. Time to be a better friend to the current or even the next people who come into your life. Time to get into shape. Time to conceive a child. Time to love yourself more and better. A great remedy for disappointment is honoring your time by not wallowing in it. This is something else that I can personally attest to.
7. Focus on the Good
Author Mike Hawkins once said, "You don't get results by focusing on results. You get results by focusing on the actions that produce results." Author Napoleon Hill once said, "Focus on the possibilities for success, not the potential for failure." Another wise person once said, "When you're focused on the good, the good gets better." Focus on your actions. Focus on your possibilities. Focus on the good. Disappointment doesn't want you to do any of this yet when you push through its barriers and choose to do these things instead, you'll be absolutely amazed by how bigger your world is than your disappointment, how much you've got to be thankful for beyond your disappointment and how much you can still accomplish outside of your disappointment.
Disappointments? They come and go to us all. Yet the more intentional you are about giving it less time and energy (than usual), the easier it will be to get through and past them. You and your time are so precious so, sis, please make sure that you do.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
Wanna feel old real quick…or at least ponder how fast time flies? In two years, the trilogy known asFifty Shades of Grey will be a whopping 10 years old. What in the world? I’ll admit, had it not been for an organization that I was working with at the time asking me to watch it (or was it suffer through? It’s a coin toss most days) so that I could talk about it on their podcast, I’d probably remain clueless about a lot of its content to this day.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t catch how much of a phenomenon it was for so many women at the time, though; especially white ones. Kinda wild how many ladies said that they hated the entire concept of submission, and yet they were all down to take it up about 10 notches with a certain Christian Grey…oh, but I digress.
Anyway, because you couldn’t go to really any website for a while without the topic of the book series or films coming up, I do remember that many sex experts decided to use all of the hype as an opportunity to get women to feel more comfortable with tapping into their sexual fantasies in order to intensify their sexual experiences. And that’s just what we’re gonna touch on today.
If orgasms are (currently) difficult for you or they aren’t as consistent as you would like (check out “Why Do Orgasms So Often Seem Like A ‘Hit-Or-Miss’ Experience For Women?”) one thing could help you to hit your goal — yep, fantasizing more. I’ll explain.
Never Underestimate Your Biggest Sex OrganGiphy
Isn’t it wild that, when it comes to looking for sex hacks that will help to improve our sex lives, the first thing that we usually think about is ways to stimulate our genitalia when the reality is that we should be prioritizing a part of the body that is much farther north than that? Even though I’m pretty sure that most of you have at least heard somewhere before that your biggest sex organ is your brain, how much do you focus on that fact in order to ultimately improve your sex life?
Maybe it’s because, although that point makes sense on the surface, you need a bit more intel on why that is actually the case. The reality is, there are several reasons. For one thing, when you have sex, it impacts your brain on a myriad of levels. It triggers a wealth of feel-good hormones. It lowers your stress and anxiety levels. It “turns on” different parts of your brain (females especially). It helps to treat depression. It even improves your cognitive function as you get older.
That alone is the reason why so many sex experts don’t find sex to be as “easily casual” as our culture would like to portray. For instance, I once read an article that featured an interview with a chief scientific adviser for Match.com (at least she was at the time the article was published). Her name is Helen Fisher, and she said that the way dopamine affects your brain during sex…let’s just say that it’s so powerful that she says (and I quote), “It’s not casual because when you have sex with somebody, and it’s pleasurable, it drives up the dopamine system in the brain. That can push you over the threshold into falling in love.”
Now, it’s another message for another time, what Albert Einstein once said about “falling in love” (“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”) because loving someone follows a series of steps and choices. However, I think you get her overall point.
Just like oxytocin is considered to be a “love hormone” (a hormone that bonds you to another person during intimacy), dopamine ain’t nothin’ to play with either. And since science is pretty much unavoidable when it comes to sex, what all of this confirms (I could’ve given you more examples, but for the sake of time and space…) is your brain is all up in your sex life, like it or not.
And since your brain plays such a pivotal, powerful, and intricate role in intimacy, it makes all of the sense in the world why your fantasies would, too.
No, Your Fantasies Shouldn’t Bother YouGiphy
A professor by the name of Mason Cooley once said, “Fantasy mirrors desire. Imagination reshapes it.” Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro once said, “There is art and beauty and power in the primal images of fantasy.” Author Nancy Friday once said, “Fantasy isn’t something that you run out of.” And just what is a fantasy? Probably the most basic way to define it is it’s your imagination when there are very little, if any, restraints put on it.
And when it comes to sexual fantasies, in general, what are some of the most popular ones?
- Voyeurism (watching people)
- Exhibitionism (being watched)
- Sex in public
- Super over-the-top romantic sex
For the record, these are some of the most common ones, although publications like Women’s Health share many more (they have 30 of ‘em) that are pretty common too (you can check their list out here).
That said, if you can relate to any of these and a part of you is embarrassed, uncomfortable, or flat-out worried about when your mind has gone, most sex experts say that you shouldn’t be — especially when it comes to the five that I specifically mentioned. Just because you think up something, that doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to act it out; again, fantasies are simply something that helps to fuel your imagination.
Fantasizing can also help to prevent boredom in the bedroom and even “trigger” your body to become more aroused and ready for coitus. And we all know that the more aroused we are before sex even transpires, the more likely it will be that sex will end with a “bang!” (pun intended and not intended…LOL). And that’s exactly why fantasizing can totally help you out in the orgasm department.
What You Should Do About Your Sexual FantasiesGiphy
So, now that you hopefully feel more at ease about the sexual fantasies that you’ve been having, how can you incorporate them into your sex life so that you can have more pleasurable and satisfying sex with your partner?
Share some of your fantasies with your partner and encourage them to do the same. Again, the greatest sex organ is your brain, so if you want to build trust and a stronger connection with the person who you’re having sex with, let them deeper inside of your thoughts. It will make you feel less vulnerable as you boost your own sexual self-confidence. Plus, it will help them to learn more about you. Don’t forget to let them do the same thing…for the same reasons.
Remember that fantasies are just that. I remember an episode of King of Queens where Doug shared with Carrie some of the women he fantasized about — random folks like her nail tech or one of his mom’s friends, and she damn near lost it. For the record, fantasizing about someone and lusting for them to the point of desiring them and then wanting to act on it can sometimes be a fine line (based on how strong your relationship is), yet more times than not, folks don’t even want to go through the steps make their fantasies come true. Why?
Well, for one thing, they don’t want to ruin what they have with their partner, and two — getting to know the person on that type of level would literally ruin the fantasy. Besides, don’t be out here acting like you haven’t thought about what it would be like to have sex with someone else. Besides, again, actually, hearing about each other’s thoughts in this way can also build trust because, if you both know and don’t spazz out, that makes it easier to share other innermost thoughts, needs, and ideas.
Create a “safe word.” As we end this, back to the movie that I referenced in the intro. If you did happen to stomach one or all three parts of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, you probably remember that Christian and Anastasia came up with safe words — these were words to let each other know when things were going from sexy to uncomfortable. That said, say that you want to actually try having sex in a movie theater or participating in some form of BDSM (which is also another popular fantasy), and you end up wanting to stop at some point. A safe word lets your partner know to immediately halt things so that you can process if you want to catch your breath and keep going or stop altogether.
If you’ve read my content on here long and consistently enough, you know that it’s pretty normal for me to throw in a song for good measure. Today, “push play” on the throwback from Intro, “Come Inside.” Why? Well, there’s a part in there where the lead singer says, “I'm thinking about you/The last time we made love/And I fantasize/So many things that I dream of.” Let the song get you in the mood (‘cause if it won’t, I don’t know what will), pull out your phone, text your man a fantasy, ask him to share one in return, and I’d bet my next paycheck that it will already get you well on your way to some, let’s call them “heightened experiences”. #wink
Use your brain to tap into your sexual imagination.
Let it fuel the ride to some mind-blowing orgasms.
At the end of the day, that’s what sexual fantasies are designed to (ultimately) do, sis.
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