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. ;)
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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I didn’t think much could get better about the blissful high that comes with oral. That was until I came across the Kivin Method.
As someone who was never a huge fan of oral sex and could largely take it or leave it, I must admit that I have started to come around in recent years. With my head thrown back, hands gripping sheets and hair, and toes curling from the intense sensations of the work my partner is putting in at my center, I now give myself over to the pleasurable act wholly and unapologetically.
When I came across a way to maximize the pleasure I receive from cunnilingus (already), I had no choice but to tap in. Who knew the key to taking oral sex to new heights was giving it a sideways twist? For those of you who might also be interested in ways to spice up the way you do oral, experience faster and stronger orgasms, or simply want to indulge in something new with your partner, the Kivin Method could definitely be the oral sex technique for you, too.
Keep reading to learn about the method that is sure to have you writhing in ecstasy in no time at all.
What Is The Kivin Method?
For the uninitiated, the Kivin Method is an oral sex technique that focuses on stimulating the clitoris from a different angle. Dubbed “sideways oral” by some, this method involves the action of giving head from a side-to-side movement as opposed to the up-and-down motion that people typically perform when giving head. (If you need a visual, this illustration is helpful.)
The difference in approach as you’re receiving head can be a game-changer in how you receive pleasure. Not only does the giving partner have access to the clitoris, but they can also access more easily the vulva and the labia, which are objectively a bigger focus in this version of cunnilingus. More access means wider coverage, and that, plus the new sensation of oral from a different angle, can heighten the way you experience oral sex that much more.
Where more pleasure flows, intense orgasms are sure to follow.
How To Do The Kivin Method
If you want to know how to do the Kivin Method, it’s actually pretty straightforward. The receiver lays on their back while the giver positions themselves perpendicular to the receiver. Their head will be facing the vulva, but instead of vertical, their face will be horizontal to the vulva.
From there, the giver can get to business, ensuring that they keep their head perpendicular to the receiver’s vulva while working on their craft. Because this technique can be more intense for some receivers, start slowly by stroking the vulva and clitoris sideways with the tongue, and allow sensations and communication from the receiver to be a guide of what you need more or less of with the Kivin Method.
Ultimately, the Kivin Method allows experimentation and unlocking what pressure, rhythm, and tricks work best for the giver and the receiver. Try implementing a finger or two, or adding a sex toy to the mix to intensify the act even further.
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Featured image by Delmaine Donson/Getty Images