Welcome to #2015 – What are you adding, keeping and getting rid of?

As you welcome the change of a calendar year, you may also be reflecting on the changes that you want to make in your life.  Some question why you should wait until the calendar changes to make these changes. Honestly, I have no answer because I believe in constant self evaluation but it seems like January 1st is the perfect day for the big evaluation.

New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black background

Most of you who follow this blog have read about the Add, Keep, Get Rid Of list in the past.  Rather than making a bunch of promises or resolutions, take some time to consider:

What do I want to add to my life? Be intentional about some of the things that are missing.  You may not be able to make the change today but create a plan for the year that will allow you to integrate those changes into your routine so that it becomes a lifestyle change and not for the moment.  For me, I want to add sightseeing… Ok, I know that may sound a little crazy but I visit so many cities for a variety of reasons but I usually focus on the business of my trip and neglect carving out a few hours for myself to experience the city, even some familiar cities.  So I plan to become intentional about sightseeing when I travel.

What do I want to keep in my life? Not everything has to go.  Take some time to think about what is important to you, what do you want to preserve in your life.  I’m a firm believer in living your priorities.  This one requires that you think about your top three priorities and evaluate your resources – time and money.  Are you making the time commitment and using your financial resources to keep those priorities at the top of your list? It goes without saying that my ministry, being a mom, studying and building my business are at the top of my list.  Today, as I work on my budget for the upcoming year and evaluate my back to school schedule, I will be seeing ways to ensure those things are kept at the forefront so I don’t get caught up with busy work that isn’t important to me.

Finally, what do I want to get rid of?  Admit it.  We all have some habits that we need to get rid of.  Some of us have some people in our lives that we need to get rid of.  Think about those things and/or people that kept you from achieving your goals in the past, that prevented you from being the person you want to be.  As I get this seminary thing under control, I need to get rid of procrastination.  I want to be more proactive about reading, completing my assignments and writing my papers.  I got the job done last semester but I definitely see some areas for improvement.

Being the person you want to be, most importantly – the person God created you to be, is hard because it requires that you live at a higher standard than just existing and going through the motions.  However you choose to chart your course forward, be intentional about the type of life that you want to live.

Will he respect you more if you wait to have sex?

As a minister and evolved woman, the answer to this question should be a simple “yes”.  But I would be lying because that’s not what I really believe.

Most guys (not all guys) don’t really care whether you wait to have sex with them or not.  In fact, as much as they like sex, that’s not really a determining factor in their decision to wife you or make you their girlfriend.  Think about the number of guys that you know that are in sexually unfulfilling relationships.   Trust me, it’s a lot of them out there living with average sex.  While there are more than a few married to women who gave it up pretty quickly.

As shallow as we like to believe that guys are, a lot of them place more emphasis on who you are as a person than how quickly they can get you in bed.  Most guys can tell within a few minutes whether you are the type of woman that they would be interested in pursuing a relationship with, not based on whether they think they are about to score, but based on how well the two of you relate to each other.

So if your reason for not having sex with a guy is because you think that he will respect you more, I challenge you to rethink that philosophy.

You should wait to have sex because YOU respect YOU.  

So often, we worry about what other people think of us or how they see us but you should be more concerned with what’s important to you.  What do you value?  Do you value feeling a physical connection with the person you are interested in? If so, make sure that both of you are clear about your feelings and where the relationship is headed then enjoy creating the connection.  Do you value taking time to get to know a person before you become intimate?  If so, then hold out because it’s important to you and not because you are trying to manipulate his feelings.  Trust me, it doesn’t work.  You can wait one day or one hundred days.  If a guy is really feeling you then he’s going to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work, that includes waiting until marriage to sleep with you.  Set the standard based on what’s important to you and not some gimmick.

I think that sex is an important part of relationships because it is a form of communication between two people.  A lot is said with your physical communication that can’t always be said verbally.  Many times, we rush into sexual situations trying to express something that we aren’t ready to verbally communicate.  The problem isn’t the sex but the miscommunication about our feelings, beliefs and thoughts.  Having sex creates an emotional bond that is sometimes stronger for one person than the other but none the less, it exists.  Even if you have a one night stand with someone, that person may pop into your head every now and again because you created a connection with them.  However, when you are in a relationship with healthy communication outside of the bedroom, what happens when the two of you get naked should strengthen the relationship and reinforce the feelings that you have already expressed.

You can have a ninety day waiting rule, like Steve Harvey suggested in “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” but if during those ninety days you haven’t spent time bonding and getting to know each other, you might as well had slept with him on the first date.  If you all were not getting along or were arguing during that time, having sex isn’t going to change anything.

There are so many social media therapists ready to tell you to do this or that to get a man or to keep a man but here’s my unprofessional advice…

Do what is going to make you feel like the best person that you can be!

Quit worrying about being sexy and having sex.  Focus more on getting to know people and when it’s time for the right man to come along then he will come.  Holding out, having sex or becoming celibate should be a decision that you make because it  promotes your values and beliefs. Being a person with strong character, willing to stand for whatever you believe, will speak more to him than any relationship rules.

Image courtesy of doveeyes.com

Image courtesy of doveeyes.com

 

**Don’t forget there are other ways to express intimacy than just having sex…

The power of your words…

Recently, I was conducting a workshop for a group of youth and the conversation turned to bullying and talking about people.  We began discussing how they felt when they were picked on and reasons they picked on other people.  Most of them said that it didn’t bother them but as we dug deeper, they began to acknowledge their true feelings about the things that their peers said about them.  They even began to understand how their words might affect those around them.

I reached a realization, as well… Not many of us understand the power of our words.  We use words so carelessly sometimes without realizing that those words are often replayed in the mind of the person they were spoken to, regardless of how many times you may apologize, you cannot take those words back.

You’re ugly.

You’re stupid.

You’re never going to be anything.

You’re clothes are ragged.

The kids admitted to saying some of these things in jest to their friends without realizing the power of their words.  It is even more heart breaking to hear a parent say negative things to their children.  Can you imagine your parent telling you that you won’t ever amount to anything?  That is a reality that many children are living with.

Many people who have this negative playlist in their head are able to overcome… Overcome… overcoming anything is hard.  When I think of overcoming, I think of a struggle, almost a battle within myself like the ultimate fight between good and evil.  Who will prevail… the good thoughts that I want to have about myself or all of the negative things that people say about me?

Let us for a second imagine that our words have the power to heal…

Do you believe that your words having healing power?

No, I’m not talking about the ability to heal a physical ailment or to speak cancer out of someone’s body but you have the power to heal someone spiritually or emotionally.  Imagine each day that you see a child, you tell that kid how great they are.  Imagine every time you talk to your friend, you tell him/her that you know they are going to do something great in their life.  Your positive words have the power to drown out some of the negative self-talk that many people hear as well as to take out of rotation some of the negative things that others have said.

You look beautiful.

You are amazing.

You are destined for greatness.

Thank you.

I see so many people posting affirmations on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest… a part of me wonders if they are posting to affirm others or if it’s an attempt to drown out some of the negative thoughts that are prevailing within their minds because sometimes you have to speak encouragement to yourself.  You cannot always rely on someone else to do it for you.  Sometimes you have to give your own words more power in your life than the words of others.

Wordle: The power of words...

I left the kids with this challenge…

If your friends decided to clean house today and remove all of the people from their lives that were not lifting them up, being a blessing to them, encouraging them… Would you make the  list?

Some of us need to ask the same thing.  Are we being a blessing to those around us or are we bringing them down with our constant complaining, gossiping about others and negative comments about the world around us?

Want to read more about “Living Young & Fabulous”?

Is your relationship built on chemistry or chaos?

Have you ever been (or are you now) in one of those relationships where the chemistry is more like chaos?

I remember dating a guy who was the total opposite of me… he wasn’t a planner, didn’t have any long-term goals, had a really casual attitude about life. Yes, I am the opposite of that… I plan for almost every scenario, I have goals (immediate, short-term, intermediate, long-term) and I enjoy life but I take it pretty seriously because I want to maximize my time on earth.

Anyway, while we were dating it seemed like our differences fueled many passionate discussions, which could later be looked upon as arguments. I tried to look past our differences and rationalized them to be the chemistry that kept us together, after all opposites attract, right?

Not always… I have seen some relationships held together by the chaos of each person’s differences but they also rationalized the arguments to be a part of their chemistry. But I wonder, does it take all of that to coexist? If you are so different until it creates arguments or constant disagreement then how stable is your relationship?

For some of us, it is important to take a step back and ask ourselves if the chaos is making us stronger or driving a wedge between us. Although you may not like the answer, it’s a question worth asking. When I was in this situation, I had to realize that the main reason I was hanging on was because I was ready to get married and thought no matter how different we were, I could find a way to deal.

Whoa!!

If you are in a relationship and telling yourself that you will find a way to look past this and that or that this thing doesn’t really matter then you are as delusional as I was. I think a solid relationship is built on general chemistry. Does that mean that you will agree about everything? No! But it means that those differences draw you closer and you learn from one another. His/her weakness could be your strength and you trust each other enough to reveal those weaknesses while relying on the other’s strengths.

Doing that requires…

  • Communication – not just you talking and the other person listening but both of you talking and both of you listening
  • Trust – that’s a tough one because a lot of us (including me) have trust issues, we have been let down so many times in the past until we are afraid to let go and trust but if you are working on something solid, you have to be able to trust
  • Honesty – it is essential that you are able to believe the words coming out of the other person’s mouth, you also have to stop frontin’ and be honest about who you really are…
  • Compromise – when the relationship is good, no one thinks about winning and losing because if one is losing then you both are and the same is true for winning, you should be with a person who doesn’t view the relationship as a competition rather a partnership

I hope these tips helped you think about whether your relationship is built on chemistry or chaos (Bonus: if it is built on chaos, you don’t have to break up, start communicating in an honest way to build trust and learn to compromise but remember it takes two…)

Want more relationship advice from me?

Relationship Q & A – Who should manage our finances?

Her Question:

After dating for two and a half years, he finally popped the question and we are engaged!

But I have a question… Who should manage our finances?

Before we started dating I bought a house and he lives in an apartment.  We are planning to move into my house and split the bills but he says that he should be in charge of managing our money because he is the man of the house.  I think I agree but since we have been dating, I have noticed that he spends a lot of his money and doesn’t always pay his bills on time.  I’m a saver because my parents always told me to be prepared for a rainy day but he thinks that we should travel more and enjoy our money while we have it.  That makes me a little uncomfortable but I don’t want to create a problem in the relationship about money.  I’m  scared that he won’t pay the bills on time and I don’t want to mess up my credit.

I really don’t know what to do.  I have tried to talk to him about this but he tells me not to worry because he will take care of me.  He has a good job and we make about the same amount of money but he spends his money on stuff for his car, tvs, video games and going out.  I don’t see the point in all of that and try to save or spend on upgrades to my house.  My family is so excited about us finally getting married and I’m ready to get married but I don’t want this issue to come between us.  What should I do?

My Answer:

First of all, congratulations on your engagement!

I understand your concern and can sense your mixed emotions about the situation.  I think you should start by taking out the emotions associated with how bad you want to be married, how excited your family is about the pending matrimony and your fear of losing him.  Take some time to clearly think about your feelings about this money situation.  From what I am hearing you say, he is a spender and you are a saver.  You are concerned that if he manages the family finances, they will not be managed in a way that makes you comfortable.  That is a valid concern.

If you read my blog consistently, you know that I believe that communication is the key to any successful relationship.  You need to be able to sit down and clearly communicate this to him.  Don’t beat around the bush about it.  You can start by talking about your financial goals.

How much do you want to have in cash reserves?

What types of trips do you take?  How much will they cost us?

What major purchases do you see in our future?  How will we pay for them?

How much do we need to save for the wedding?

What are our plans for retirement?  What will we do? How much do we need to save?  

There are some people who spend a lot because they don’t have any goals for their money so it is disposable to them.  It is possible that once you identify some goals for your money that he may see the need to start being more conservative and commit to saving.

There are also some people who don’t see the need to plan for their financial future and believe that it will be magically taken care of one day.  Let’s hope that your fiance doesn’t fall into this category because it may be more difficult to get him to compromise on a savings plan.

Once you have had this conversation with him, the ideal outcome will be that he agrees to start saving a specific amount of money each month with enough discretionary for him to buy some of the stuff that he wants and enough for you to continue making upgrades to the house.  However, if he doesn’t you should consider…

  • seeing a financial adviser and allowing a neutral third-party to evaluate your financial positions and provide recommendations that will help each of you achieve your financial goals
  • consider opening a household account that he can manage where each of you contribute an amount that covers the household bills while you each also maintain separate personal accounts

Money matters are very tricky.  This is something that the two of you should discuss and resolve BEFORE you get married.  Don’t fool yourself into believing that he will change and do things differently after you get married.  If you all can not talk about this issue and reach a compromise, you should ask yourself how that will manifest when other uncomfortable conversations arise.

Do you have a relationship question that you want LaKesha to answer?  Ask below… your name will be kept confidential.

Get more relationship advice from LaKesha in “Is She The ONE? Click the image to order your autographed copy today…

How badly do you want it?

The answer to this question will often determine whether you will get that thing you are wanting…

How badly do you want it?  How much work are you willing to put into getting it?  What are you willing to sacrifice to have it? Once you get it, are you willing to do what is necessary to keep it?

I know a lot of people who say they want a business but when confronted with the reality of making that dream come through, they spend more time on their excuses that execution.

I even hear people talk about wanting to be a relationship but they haven’t learned to compromise and communicate yet can’t understand why their lives are filled with chaos.

Let’s not even talk about having a relationship with God.  I see so many tweets and Facebook posts with clever sayings and scriptures but I often wonder how bad do these people really want a relationship with God?  Are they spending as much time reading and studying his word as they are posting it online?

Whatever you desire in life, it’s not enough to merely want it… you have to put some action, some work behind that desire.  The work that you are willing to invest into your dreams and goals will ultimately determine your success.  Most things in life worth having are worth working for and won’t come easy.

Road Work

How bad do you want to achieve your goals? How badly do you want to have a relationship with Mr./Ms. Right?  How crucial is it for you to have a relationship with God?

Do you want it enough to give up  something else in your life? Do you want it enough to stand firm when tested?  Do you want it bad enough to invest your most valuable resource – your time?

If you find that you are constantly falling short in achieving your goals… ask yourself, “how badly do I really want this?”

Book Review: Rewrite Your Story by @LadyShiv

There are some people who from the moment you meet you them, you feel like you have known them for their entire life.  When you walk away from the conversation, you have a clear sense of where they’ve been, where they are now and where they are headed in life.  You know about those major events in their life that shaped them and made them the person that they are today.  You may be a little uncertain about how appropriate these revelations are in the context of how long you have known the person but the information has been shared and a bond made.

This is not the case with Ms. Shivawn Mitchell. She isn’t the kind of the person that easily opens up to people nor does she feel the need to overshare.  She is very humble, has a sincere desire to help others and will have you dying laughing over the silliest little thing.  But to get to that point with her takes time.

We first met when she hired me as a consultant to help her with a project.  I could tell that it was a little difficult for her because she is a do-it-yourselfer.  During the course of us working together, we got to know each other but even after several months of regular conversation, I still didn’t consider her a friend.  We were cool.

After some time had passed and we were no longer working together but bbm friends, we started to get to know each other better and found that we have quiet a bit in common.  I still don’t know everything about her which is why I so intrigued when I received my section of “Rewrite Your Story” to preview.  I was finally going to get some insight into this young lady that I once nicknamed, Media Mogul.

The first chapter titled, Loving Him More Than Me, starts with

We’ve all, at some point, loved someone or something. So, if you can’t relate to loving someone, replace it with whatever you put before yourself. Whether it’s smoking, drinking, negative talk about your life or overeating, there has been something that has made you lose who you are for a moment. You may not have realized it at that moment or even now. The love of anything more than self is a road to destruction.

The chapter continues by describing a very personal and painful experience from her past.  I was surprised at the level of insight that she provided about the incident and the way she was able to interweave advice that could help someone else avoid making a similar mistake.  Based on the section that I have read, I can’t wait for my autographed copy to arrive in the mail.

You can get yours by visiting http://ShivawnAMitchell.com and preorder a copy today.