If you’re anything like me, you’re probably never alone. Whether it’s hanging out with friends, your boo, or even family, you always have the desire to be around someone. Believe it or not, a lot of people are afraid to be alone. And when we are we’re usually indulged in social media, still finding a way to be around people. I had no idea I was this kind of person until someone jokingly said to me, “You’re never by yourself.” Of course I joked back, but my mind really started to wonder, “Why do I hate being alone?”. I was eager to understand this, so I decided to take a break from people for two weeks. I’ll admit the first few days were a STRUGGLE, but the overall outcome was amazing. Don’t get what I’m saying confused, it’s okay to want people around, but it’s also important to make time for just yourself. Here’s what my solitude journey taught me:
- EASE YOUR MIND: When you’re constantly on the go and “on” all of the time, your brain has no time to rest and restore itself. I was able to really focus and think clearer than I usually would. I also found myself making decisions the way I wanted to instead of the way my friends wanted me to.
- KNOW YOURSELF: Spending time alone allowed me to better understand who I am, what I want, and who I truly need in my life. A lot of the times we hang around people whom we know are no good for us, just to say we have friends. Remember, QUALITY OVER QUANTITY..get rid of the dead weight.
- WORK HARDER: This was actually the first thing I noticed during this journey..my productivity skyrocketed. I was waking up early to go to the gym, getting to work 15-minutes before it was time to clock in, and was REALLY able to focus more on writing and schoolwork. I was noticeably more creative as well because my mind kept going every which way. A bit of privacy can go a lonnnnnng way!
- MENTAL WARRIOR: Solitude gave me the ability to build mental strength. There was a time when I’d get really sad and depressed whenever I was alone because to me, it meant I had no friends or no one wanted to be around me. But this time I was happy, stress free, and able to tolerate being by myself.
Balance is key when it comes to solitude and everyone can benefit from it. Though I’m stressing the importance of being alone, you don’t want to spend TOO much time alone.
Are you on a solitude journey? Let us know how it benefited you!
John Gray, We Are not Raising Men
#ICYMI – Yesterday, Pastor John Gray once again broke it down as only he can. Here he talks about his relationship with his wife. #Message ??! Make sure to pick up his new book #WinFromWithin available now wherever fine books are sold. @tvonetv @realjohngray #marriagequotes #findingtherightone #faith
While looking through Twitter today, I came across an excerpt of Pastor John Gray on Sister Circle. What I saw disappointed me. A choir of sisters sat beside him advocating for women sidelining themselves to raise adult males. I was tight. Speaking about his wife, Aventer, Pastor John Gray said:
She’s a covering not a lid because if a man marries a lid she’ll stop your dream. But if you marry a covering, she’ll push you to your destiny.
To that, I say men who believe this are lids.
Not Your Mama, #NotYourMule
Women are burdened with confining gender roles that minimize the freedom women have in an oppressive patriarchal world. We are seen as lovers, maidens, mothers, queens, huntresses, sages, and mystics. Women are expected to be therapists, expert chefs, maids, and submissive to their significant others, at least in heteronormative relationships. We are expected to stay youthful, speak little, spend nothing, and be grateful for the opportunity. Not only are women subjugated to lives of servitude at their own expense, its due to the emotional immaturity of their spouses.
Men are particularly guilty of exploiting the maternal strengths many women possess. This notion that “a woman will inspire me to be my best self” is pure narcissism. Stringing women along with “I know I’m not perfect” or “I’ll make it one day” is manipulation. Judith Orloff, author of ‘The Empath’s Survival Guide’, says:
What narcissists see in empaths is a giving, loving person who is going to try and be devoted to you and love you and listen to you. But unfortunately empaths are attracted to narcissists, because at first this is about a false self. Narcissists present a false self, where they can seem charming and intelligent, and even giving, until you don’t do things their way, and then they get cold, withholding, and punishing.”
“I had to grow into her”
Empathetic people are patient to a fault and believe they can fix people with compassion. As John continued, he mentioned the pain he caused his wife because of his failure to heal himself.
My wife has endured more pain birthing me than both of our children. She has sacrificed these past 8 years, uncovering the painful areas of my manhood and covering the areas that could have exposed me.
That’s not her job! Toxic masculinity and the rejection of feminine energy has convinced men that they can wait until they’re in a relationship to deal with their baggage. While we frequently refer to this as a woman raising a man, its actually trauma bonding. Trauma bonding is when a victim and an abuser form a connection that makes it impossible to leave the relationship, no matter how much damage it’s doing. Much like the relationship between Michelle and Chad, these bonds are formed by the tactics narcissists use.
In situations like these, you just have to be prepared to say those people aren’t healthy for you. Let them go.
“My wife has endured more pain birthing me than both of our two children.” And the hosts gassing it ????? nahhhhh pic.twitter.com/J5unFKMHYF
— Keiko (@ArtByVenus) November 14, 2018
Y’all Weren’t Going to Tell Me My Baby Was Ugly?
After 28 hours of labor and an extra week of pregnancy, I was exhausted. That extra week messed up all of my plans! Having a natural birth didn’t happen. My husband had to leave in less than 24 hours after I gave birth for work. My sisters that came to help, had to go home. Not to mention the lack of breastmilk for the first 48 hours. The only help I had was from my 60-year-old father-in-law who hasn’t dealt with babies in over 25 years. Moments like this made me wish my mother was still alive. The stress of the situation didn’t really give me a chance to embrace my baby and motherhood. I looked at my son, but I didn’t really look at my son.
When I finally got a moment to soak in motherhood and embrace my baby, I thought something was wrong. Why does he look so old? I read overdue babies sometimes look a little wrinkly, but this was looking a little extreme. I could have sworn I saw a 5 o’clock shadow. I started to wonder if the Curious Case of Benjamin Button was happening to my child… Read the full blog at SimplyLizLove.com
Yes, Check On Your “Strong Friend,” But First, Have You Checked In With Yourself?
With the passing of celebrity fashion designer, Kate Spade, the dialogue around mental health and suicide prevention has re-surfaced. Also, it’s been a popular posting among social media groups and an overall cultural push in asking, “Have you checked on your strong friend? “I too believe it is important to reach out to those who would not traditionally appear to have struggled with mental health; Yet, I have a more pressing question to ask, have you checked on yourself? Too often, we become busy and caught up in everything around us and forget to take care of our own needs until we feel stressed and overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the world we live in.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), suicide was the 16th leading cause of death for blacks of all ages and the third leading cause of death for black males ages 15–24. Additionally, although research indicates that suicidal behaviors occur at a lower rate than their high school counterparts, attempts at suicide among black high school students is increasing at an alarming rate.According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), suicide was the 16th leading cause of death for blacks of all ages and the third leading cause of death for black males ages 15–24. Click To Tweet
For many, especially within the black community, misunderstand the importance of mental health. Thus, many members of the black community are reluctant to discuss mental health out of cultural conditioning, shame, and stigma regarding the signs and symptoms as less critical than they really are.
Checking on friends and on those who are close to us is all fine and dandy, however, before you can be there for someone else you need to take care of yourself. And remember, it’s not selfish or crime to ask what you need, you just have to be aware of what your own needs are.
Now, don’t get me wrong, as humans we long for the connection and empathy from others, but before we can make sure we truly support others with their struggles, we need to make sure we are there for ourselves. So, I ask you, when is the last time you took time out for yourself? When was the last time that you honestly took care of your needs, not just physical, but emotional as well? When was the last time you intentionally engaged in self-care?
Let’s end the stigma and continue to have these courageous conversations. No one is exempt, anyone could struggle with mental health.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, there are options available to help you cope 1-800-273-8255. You can call the Lifeline at any time to speak to someone and get support. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
As always, bring your ideas and thoughts, let’s have a civil conversation. I would love to hear your thoughts. Emphasis on “civil,” because the block game is S T R O N G. Find me Instagram and Twitter @TheCarterReport, as well as [email protected] I am always interested in hearing about what you all what to hear about.