You 1st, Mate 2nd

Angelism: “Me first today!”

I know it’s hard sometimes to put yourself first but you have to. Placing more importance on your mate than on yourself is the biggest mistake a woman can make. You may think, “I am single I don’t have to worry about this,” but you do. Because depending on how long you are single, a common mistake single women make is when you finally meet someone you are truly interested in you put all your eggs in one basket. You forget what you want because you are so focused on what they want. The point here is to stay on track with your personal goals in life.
Recently my boyfriend and I were on a road trip to Vegas. A road trip is a perfect time to ask questions and talk openly about your relationship. We agreed when we started the conversation that we would be open for positive and negative feedback and that the intention of the discussion was to learn more about where we are now versus 15 years ago. It was fun and I walked away discovering a new side of my boyfriend and loving him even more. The moment I remember most was when I asked him what three things he found attractive about me. He responded, “Your confidence, your fun energy, and the fact that you’re so passionate.” I was instantly overjoyed.
I can honestly say that I agree with my boyfriend and I’m happy he can see the good things in me. I put effort into living a positive life every day and I can only do this by putting me 1st! The reward and recognition you get when you take time for your soul is amazing. You can’t give to others unless you give to yourself, and putting you first doesn’t make you a bad woman – it makes you a smart one. You will have nothing to give if you burn yourself out meeting others’ needs before meeting your own.
End of day, my confidence glows. I appreciate the skin I’m in and I love me despite my imperfections. I have energy because I take time for myself. I exercise often which is a natural drug, I make time to connect with my mate and my friends, and I am committed to a job that I love. Life is exciting and the endorphins simply take over. I’m very committed to this I love, and it’s because I put myself first that I can enjoy life.
I have only had very few relationships with men that I would say are valid. I consider all the other boyfriends practice. Sorry guys. My first marriage was when I was 20. I was young, confused and I put the man first because I thought that’s how it worked. He was in the military and had many career needs. Before I knew it I had no idea who I was, or what I was doing. All I knew was that I had to make sure he was happy, that his needs were met, and that he had his way. Let’s just say when his happiness ran out, mine did too. There I was, stuck in his world, and in that moment it felt like life was over. 
Now 20 years later, and in a long-lasting healthy and vibrant relationship, I am so grateful to know who I am and how I got here. I was single for over two years after my marriage ended. During that time I stayed away from men, I focused on me, discovered what my needs were, made time to explore my womanhood and had fun. It was this turning point that led to one of the healthiest relationships I’ve ever known. And even though I love my boyfriend dearly, I still, 16 years later, put me 1st. The fact is that anything can happen and if he is not around someday I have to continue to be confident, strong and comfortable standing in my own skin. So the lesson here is,”You 1st, Mate 2nd,” no matter what. 

Two Sides of My Soul

Angelism: “I choose happy because happy is a choice.”

Today I bring up an interesting topic, a way of looking inside your soul that you may have not thought of before. I have always felt that I have two lives. You might be thinking that I’m living in the dark under two different names not sure of who I am. Not the case. However I have discovered that I have a bad life and a good life. I’m well aware of my existence and the twists and turns it’s taken, but what I’m most fascinated with is my ability to choose one life over the other. It’s as if my soul knows the feeling of two personalities but chooses one.
I was raised by a variety of people. My parents, grandparents, teachers, neighbors, extended family, acquaintances in the workplace, and friends, all played a part in the person that I have become. Books and prayer have also influenced me at certain times in my life. Even TV has helped my personality grow. Thanks to kind-hearted individuals like Oprah, I believe that the world can be a better place. It’s these relationships and experiences that have helped mold me to think the way I do and for that I am ever so grateful.
I’ve learned that the world is filled with two kinds of people: the positive (uppers) and the negative (downers). No matter how hard I try to be good, I’ll always be surrounded by someone or something that wants to bring me down. I know that it’s my choice to live one of these two ways. Unfortunately, good and bad things happen regardless of my efforts. It can be challenging to get through the day when you know it’s all up to chance and that what’s here one minute, could be gone the next.
Because of my consistent happy and outgoing personality, I don’t get much sympathy from others. This is mainly my doing because I don’t seek it. If there is a problem, I find a solution. I don’t dwell for long nor do I bring others down with me. Since I have the ability to manage life without much comfort from others, what many people don’t realize is that I have been broken. Not just a few hits here and there, but truly emotionally and physically damaged. I can think of handfuls of events that got me so low I’m surprised I’m still standing. Life has brought me loss, pain, misfortune, anxiety, conflict, stress and disappointment. I have been let down, forgotten, lied to, mistreated, disowned and crapped on by people I cared for and trusted. In past moments of pure disappointment, I have acted evil and said and done things I am not proud of. I can easily wake up every day and dwell in my misery if I wanted to.
On the flip side I know I’m an amazing person. I have been blessed in numerous ways and any negative experience I have had, has taught me an important lesson. Many of the people who have let me down, have also lifted me up. That’s what I hold onto. I have experienced love, praise, support, commitment, fun, intimacy and adventure. I have people who truly believe in me and stand by all that I do. My family and friends, who I hold so dear, have proven that no matter what gets in the way nothing will break our bond. When I think of these positive moments in my life, times of pure laughter and joy, I am carried. I think, “How dare I ever put energy elsewhere.” Happy is my home and my heart. I have the gift of joy because I decided long ago to use my energy to love people and life and set boundaries with those who let me down and are a negative force. My faith, trust, love and vulnerability confirm for me that no matter what happens – life is good.
So how does one get through the confusion of good versus evil, love versus hate, rich versus poor, friend versus enemy and luck versus jinxed? The way I see it is you can be a victim or a hero. When you are a victim, a downer, or a negative person, everything you think and do comes out through you with a negative, mistrusting force. A victim believes life isn’t fair. They can’t maintain relationships or nurture healing. Their walls are so high that no matter how hard you try, you keep ending up in the same dysfunctional situations. Their dramatic, disrespectful and rude behavior gets the best of them. I understand this dark, ugly place. I have been there and know people who live there full-time. Many times I have asked, “Why must it be so hard? Why must you kick me when I’m down? Why don’t people understand and respect me?” I can go on for days with desperate questions that have no answers or I can embrace the positive side of my soul that heals all wounds. One of my favorite Angelisms quotes says, “I choose happy because happy is a choice.” Since happy is a choice, I want to appreciate my life and celebrate its ups and downs. I know in my heart and in my mind that this is the way life should be.
It’s easy to get lost in life, feel confused about emotions and wonder why you always get the short end of the stick. It’s easier to go with the crowd or side with those that are dramatic and negative than to take a stand for a positive thought. Gossip always comes quicker than praise. What’s even easier is to beat people to the punch. You might figure if you can point out your flaws and life struggles before they do, then it will hurt less. Most of us have a problem looking at ourselves in the mirror and being wholeheartedly proud of what we see. The result of that is living in anger and disappointment which doesn’t lead to a happy soul.
Some people would love to walk a day in my shoes and others would not try on a pair if I paid them. The important thing for me is knowing which pair of shoes to wear in this life. I can wallow in the 5-inch heels that cripple me, cause pains in my legs, feet and knees, and show something to others that I’m not proud of, or I can choose to wear my sneakers. I know for sure that it’s in my sneakers I am comfortable, free spirited and ready to soak in all that the world has to offer.
I understand the struggles of having the Devil on one shoulder and an Angel on the other. I, like many of you, have to pick which life to make my story. I won’t pretend that I wake up on the right side of the bed every morning. Those of you who follow my BLOGS know I like to complain and vent a time or two. No matter how tough a day in my life can get, at the end of the day I know I’m at peace. What I choose is what’s right for me. I make every effort to live my life with respect, honesty, love and heartfelt consideration. Many of my decisions are driven by my desire to have fun and be a free spirit. My life, if I analyze it, can go either way; victim or hero, good or bad, positive or negative. As you have learned, my soul chooses happy so I am my own hero. Which life do you choose?

Why Argue?

Angelism: “Tighten your tongue or you will pay the price.”

 

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where verbal and physical fighting was non-existent. My mom and dad created an environment for me that was safe, respectful and peaceful – the best gifts parents can give to a child. They were not perfect by any means but the “No fighting” expectation was enforced. My Dad never raised his voice and whenever my mom and I disagreed, we would walk away until dad came home to play the mediator. I’m grateful for this sense of calm and structure in my life. I rarely meet people who know how to communicate when upset. People have a need to yell, be right, justify and judge in a loud, argumentative way in order to feel better about themselves.

Arguing leads to nothing but hurt and pain for both sides. Show me someone who likes to fight and I will show you an unhappy person. People who argue often have huge egos they can’t manage. Someone who likes to fight will hang up on you, yell and scream at you regardless of who’s around, and walk away from you with a hand in the air shouting “Eff off!” In turn these fight or flight people blame you for the disagreement, immediately send you nasty emails and texts to continue the argument, and display a variety of emotions when verbally vomiting on you. This kind of person will quickly rally a “my side” troop of people to agree and justify their behavior so they don’t look crazy and so they feel better about themselves. If you have done this before, possibly numerous times, then you need to analyze why you behave so inappropriately in an argument. If you have friends or a mate like this, I wish you luck!
There are times where people get heated and passionate about something and there is no other way to express their point of view than to get loud. When you believe strongly on an issue and go the extra mile to stick up for it, then that’s respectable and appropriate. These disagreements are acceptable, however they should be few and far between. These fights should be shocking and outside your character, not common for you. If you have calm in your life and rarely argue then KUDOS to you.
Now for all my fighters out there; all of you who argue for the sake of arguing, intentionally draw attention in a disrespectful manner, or seek that need inside to be right – “Stop it!” If you are often in defense mode, I ask, “Are you truly happy?” Probably not. Get over yourself! Nobody wants to hear it so stop the aggression. Make a goal today to quit being ridiculous while wasting your precious moments constantly trying to prove your point. No need to take out your unhappiness on others.
I often hear women discussing how they got in another fight with their man. Do you ever find yourself fighting over the same topic again and again? Ladies, either you stand firm on an issue and expect a change or you surrender the need to argue about it and simply accept him for who he is. For example, do you get mad every day because each night after dinner he “forgets” to take out the trash? When he does this do you go full speed yelling at him about how you do everything and he can’t even take out the trash? What a loser! You either need to, (A) embrace the fact that your man is careless and make a change that effects him in the hopes that he will change, or (B), if you are always sacrificing for him, then take one or two things away that you know he loves. Say for example that he loves your cooking. Tell him, “I have decided I will only cook dinner on the days you take out the trash. I’m feeling resentful about your lack of participation and this will make me feel better about doing things for you.” If he gets mad, keep your cool, state your point one last time and move on. Your job is to stick to your statement. If he doesn’t take out the trash then you eat your thing and he can eat his homemade PB&J’s and Top Ramen for as long as he chooses to be unhelpful. Eventually he will miss you doing things for him. If it seems like he couldn’t care less about taking out the trash, even with his no favorite foods punishment, then know it will never change so stop arguing about it. Everything is always a give and take. You can’t expect him to change but you can change and set the expectation.
There is also plenty of fighting between friends and family. Most people have high expectations from friends and family that they are unaware of. When your emotions and feelings about situations and issues get heated all you should do is express it. Don’t fight. Express your thoughts in a loving, non-confrontational way. It is of no benefit to you, or the other person, to start a screaming match. So much more can be accomplished through calm communication. The biggest lesson is to AGREE TO DISAGREE. If we were all alike our relationships would be boring. The best way to learn, grow and change, is to recognize your differences and accept them. A good friend will stick with you regardless of your disagreements. A fake friend will not. A true friend will be honest about how they are feeling. A disconnected friend will walk away from you and never look back. As for family, just because you are related does not mean you will get along. You must talk things out and have a large window of forgiveness and understanding. Relationships are successful when you embrace and nurture them instead of slamming the door and running away.
The lesson all people should learn from this topic of fighting is: If you are surrounded by people that make you angry, disappoint you, don’t show up for you, or have negative opinions about you, then maybe the arguing is a sign of your need to disconnect yourself from them. It’s hard for a non-fighter to get along with a fighter. Some people feel more alive picking fights and creating drama, which is great for them. If that’s not you, then a friendship or relationship with that kind of person will not last. Let fighters hang with fighters so they can act ridiculous together. If you have a higher expectation for yourself, then make a goal today to fight less. When you do fight, journal it. Anytime you catch yourself getting annoyed and engaging in a discussion that is not addressing or solving an issue you must be in the moment and have full mental awareness. Ask yourself the following questions:
1) Why am I mad?
2) Why am I having the thoughts I am having?
3) When did my anger start?
4) Who started the fight?
5) Why could I not stay calm and walk away?
6) What did the other person do to get me to this point? How did I feel?
7) What did I say that I regret?
8) Is this the first time I am mad about this topic or one of the many times?
9) What are my thoughts now that I am calm about the situation?
10) Should I apologize?
11) Can I accept their apology?
12) How can I prevent this kind of fight from happening again?
13) Have things changed?
14) On a level of 1-10 (1 = no biggie, 10 = divorce) how bad was this fight?
15) Was I responsible with this fight or did I gossip with others making this person look bad?
16) Can I make a change that will make this situation better for the relationship?
These are questions you can answer and log in a journal so you can become more aware of your fighting behavior. For some of you, this topic may not be an issue. But for many, fighting is a way of life. The only way to change this is to make the change within yourself. Take ownership for your part in fights. Become aware and establish peace, quality and love in all your relationships.