Posts Tagged ‘how to be happy’

Nomalanga: How To Win a Fight With Your Spouse

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

One day last week, my husband made me so upset that I swear I could see red! I was steaming; so much so that my heart was racing and my nostrils were flared and I think I may have even broke a sweat.  I think my tongue still has bite marks from the series of things I felt like saying but did not say.

If you’re wondering why I was so upset, I have only one word for you: Business-as in mind your own! But on a serious note, below are three things that I did, that you can do as well, in order to win the fight.

1. Bite your tongue

Anytime you are upset, being upset colors everything. There is a reason why we use the word “mad” to describe being angry or upset. It really is true that in the heat of the moment, when a person is upset or angry, it could be said that they are “mad”. The wise thing to do is “bite your tongue” and not say anything until you have cooled off. If you choose to speak while you’re “mad”, you are more likely to escalate the fight-not win it. Running your mouth carelessly in the heat of the moment may feel somewhat good while you’re doing it, but it really only does damage in the long run and that is not winning.

2. Act the opposite of what you feel

When you married your spouse, you more than likely looked into each other’s eyes and made some declarations about what you would do as a husband or a wife. So if your spouse offends you in any way, you should be able to take it back-right? Wrong! Just because your spouse has made you “mad”, it does not mean that you can use that as an excuse to behave in an unacceptable way.

That day, after I wiped off the sweat and cooled off a bit, I proceeded to make my husband a delicious meal. No, there was no spitting in it or any ill will, somehow stirred into the food. What I was doing was acting in a way that was the opposite of what I was temporarily feeling. It doesn’t always have to be a delicious meal, it could be searching yourself and thinking about how you may have also offended your spouse and then approaching them and just offering an apology. Note: Offering an apology means just that-just an apology and no reason or explanations or expectations because that could just start something else. If you do this, you may not realize it, but you have won the fight with “the beast inside” and many, many marriages suffer from people not being able to tame that beast.

3. Say What you want

Saying what you want does not mean that you carelessly run your mouth and destroy  the valuable relationship that you have built. What it means is that you make sure that you have calmed down and then ask your spouse if they are willing to  hear what you want. If they agree, then it is okay to let them know what you do or do not want. This is not an opportunity to blame and name call-that is not winning; it is destructive and may just escalate the fight. If your partner says no to your request to let them know what you want or expect, repeat steps 1 and 2 and try step 3 again at a later time.

Most people typically get upset because they did not get what the wanted or expected. Saying what you want is an opportunity to open the doors of communication and allow room for negotiation and compromise. The only way to “win” a fight with your spouse is to dissolve it. Marriage is a partnership and no one wins when the two people in the marriage start to try to one up each other.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I will add that any fly on the wall in our home can tell you that this process does not go smoothly every single time. If you fail at step 1, it becomes even more important to move on to step 2 and 3. Finally, remember that nobody’s perfect. We are all each a work in progress and a little forgiveness and humility can go a long way.

Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s blog at successfulblackwoman.com

Originally posted at Black Blue Dog

Nomalanga: Three Questions to ask yourself before Divorce

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Less than a year into marriage, I experienced what I now call the “reality” phase. Anyone who has been married for a while knows exactly what I’m talking about. The “Reality” phase of marriage is when you start to come down off of the honeymoon phase of the relationship and start to really see your partner for who they are rather than the fantasy that you were projecting onto them.

Just as I was processing this rather confusing phase, I had a conversation with one of my “sisters” who, at the time, had been married for about eight years. What she shared were three major things that tend to affect marriages either negatively or positively. In other words, if you pay attention to these three “things”, you can sustain a happy marriage but if you neglect these things, trouble is inevitably around the corner.

I am generally an advocate of marriage; partially because I was born and raised within the confines of one. (Side note: My parents have been married for almost 40 years).

That being said, if you have neglected any of the three “things” I feel that it is possible to give each one attention and restore your marriage, rather than head to Divorce court.
Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:
1. Are we Communicating well?
Many times what couples think are major problems, are actually small problems buried in a series of miscommunications or no communication at all. Unless you have developed the skill of effective communication and are able to resolve conflicts and problems through effective communication, you have not earned your way out of the marriage. Rather than head to divorce court, explore ways to build your communication skills.

2. Are our finances in order?
My husband and I love to joke that we need to make sure that we get our finances in order because “broke people fight”. Now, I’m not sure where the saying “broke people fight” comes from but like most jokes, it has an element of truth in it. When finances are in order, there is a level of security that can quickly disappear if they are mismanaged. If you get to a point where your finances are a mess, rather than head to divorce court, put your heads together and explore strategies to restore the financial well-being of your family.

3. When was the last time we were “intimate”?
“Intimacy” is a topic that many of us shy away from because it is uncomfortable for some people to discuss. That being said, if you are not being “intimate” with your spouse, you’re trying to glue two pieces of paper together and omitting the glue. Before you head off to Divorce court, get creative about “rocking his world” (or hers). One thing that I would add to this is that many women ask, “what if I just don’t feel like it?” Well, I’ll tell you like I heard it jokingly said, “Sometimes you just have to take one for the team”.

As I approach our 8th anniversary in marriage and reflect back on my own marriage and those of the people around me, I can honestly say that what my ‘sister” told me all those years ago was marriage saving advice. That being said, none of the three “things” apply if you’re dealing with a partner who is abusive, is dealing with an addiction or is chronically unfaithful. Even these serious issues are not cause to end your marriage but they are certainly issues that need addressing though professional or spiritual intervention.

At the end of the day, a problem in marriage is no longer just your problem; it is the possibility of your children growing up without Both their parents or the shattering of a community that was partially bound by your marriage or another case of giving up on your own personal development journey which your marriage was facilitating. Make a decision, today, whether you are already married or not yet married, to ask yourself these questions so that you can stay married. Don’t let yourself down. Don’t let your spouse down. Don’t let your children down. Don’t let your family and your community down. Stay married.

Mindful Mornings: What kind of person are you?

Monday, May 14th, 2012

People move towards people who energize them and make them feel good about themselves and about life. It therefore follows that people move away from people who drain them of energy and make them feel bad about themselves and life, in general.

I once heard television personality and Psychologist, Dr. Phil, ask a very simple question: “Are you any fun to be around?” Ask yourself this question constantly and consistently and you will know what kind of person you are; the one people move away from or the one people move towards.

Find Your Purpose

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

By Bishop T.D. Jakes
Living on purpose, as I define it, is to become aware that we were all created to serve some specific function in life. Some of these purposes might be lofty, attracting the accolades of the world. Some of these purposes may be down-to-earth, such as raising a child, teaching or engaging in some other activity that may not be as acknowledged by society but is still significant.

The pursuit of your life is to come into that purpose. And the waste of your life is to miss that purpose. The problem, though, for most of us is discovering what our purpose is. Here are a few mistakes we make while looking for it, ones that can distract or misdirect us.

1. The “But I Love It” Mistake
For a few years, I was involved in music. I was a choir director, and I played the piano. I noticed that when our choir got ready to sing, people got more blessed out of me introducing the song and talking about the song than they did from the song itself. Gradually I began to realize that the tail was wagging the dog. I love music to this day, and I have a fairly good understanding of music and theory and how they operate. But that’s not why I’m here on earth.

Just because you admire something doesn’t mean it’s your purpose. Don’t let yourself be distracted by something that should be a hobby. If you, like me, enjoy music, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be the one directing the song. Buy some CDs or enjoy music on your headset, just don’t let it take your focus.

2. The “But That Drives Me Crazy” Mistake
Usually, when things drive us crazy, we’re taught to walk away or ignore them. But sometimes it can help to take a closer look. For example, if somebody does something incorrectly, and their error drives us crazy, we shouldn’t criticize the person—we should look at what our inability to tolerate their error can show us. What you cannot stand to see done badly is exactly where you ought to work. If you can’t stand it when the church programs are done incorrectly or when the invitations are not sent out in time—if you want things in order—maybe you should consider working in an area of administration.

Other people might not even be bothered by these things, but your inability to put up with anything less than excellence means that you have an interest there. You need to recognize, “This is an area I have passion about.”

Read the rest here.

Mindful Mornings: Choose what you want

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

I’m so excited about life! Not for any specific reason. I woke up about three hours ago and have been intentional about thinking good [God] things (sowing) and as the day goes(time), I am aware of how Good I feel (reaping). Imagine how good your life can be and feel if you were intentional about every thought that you allowed and every word that you spoke. Imagine if you could choose only what you want to think and what you want to say and could discard the rest! Well…you can. I’m choosing Good things-what about you?

You don’t deserve it…YET!

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Have you ever worked really hard at accomplishing something or prayed really hard and had your mother, aunties and the whole church praying for you and still, NOTHING happened that you were working towards or hoping and praying for?
I was just reflecting this morning and I realized that some of the things that I “have” today, require a great amount of maturity, strength and faith to either have or to endure. If I had, for example, gotten married any sooner than I had, the marriage probably would have failed. It was not until I had learned some important lessons about me and about life and [God], that I got married and I’m so grateful that my prayers were not answered any sooner! Some of the lessons, I have had to learn along the way but I’m so grateful that I had the right foundation.

Marriage is just one example, but even in the last year or so, I have faced some very challenging circumstances and I realize that if I had faced them any sooner in my life, I probably would have crumbled. I’m saying all this to say this: If you’re not getting what you think you deserve or what you want, don’t look at it as something being withheld from you. Look at it as an opportunity to continue to prepare because if it is for you, it is for you! The only “thing” between you and what you want and or deserve is time. Consider that maybe you’re just not ready or you’re not adequately prepared.
I have such a wonderful life that if it were not mine, I would probably envy it! I’m not just bragging, but instead, I’m saying that to make this point: Getting what you want is the easy part; (even if it seems difficult), it’s maintaining what you have, whether its joy, a great job, a great marriage etc., which require the strength, wisdom, fortitude and faith that you may still be in the process of building and acquiring.

Imagine if you got your dream job and then a few days into it, you realized you were completely incompetent! Or, you married your dream man (or woman) and then realized that you were so broken that you were destroying the relationship, along with your spouse and yourself! The alternative is this, you may not get what you want when you want it but in the meantime, you cultivate, in yourself, the skills, wisdom and strength and whatever else it takes to handle “it” when you finally get “it”.
What I’m ultimately saying, my friends, can be summed up in three points:

1. If you feel that you have done everything you need to do to get what you want and have still not gotten it, you probably haven’t done EVERYTHING that needs to be done. Maybe you still have some growing to do…
2. Take time to appreciate where you are and what you have NOW. Total and complete acceptance of who you are, where you are and what your circumstances are is often the bridge that will take you from where you are to where you want to be.
3. If you want something, don’t ever give up. My life is a testimony to that! Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you should or should not want or have. You deserve every good thing that comes into your life and if you don’t get it, it may just not be the right time…YET. Again, don’t EVER give up!

Be well my friends and remember, sharing is sexy! Tweet or share this post on Facebook if you agree that sharing is sexy!

Viola Davis Won!

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Viola Davis was nominated for an Oscar and she did not win, this year. Last week, before the Oscars, I watched the interview below and realized that even before she knew whether or not she won the Oscar, she had already won. I had the same experience at Mrs World.

There is a point in every woman’s life when she realizes the truth about who she is and from that moment, she is a winner.


Black women heavier and happier with their bodies than white women

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

According to the Post-Kaiser poll, which offers the most extensive and nuanced look at the lives of black women in decades, 28 percent of black women say that being physically attractive is “very important,” compared with 11 percent of white women. White women were more likely than black women to say being attractive was “somewhat important.”

For African American women, that desire often gets defined in ways the mainstream culture doesn’t recognize.

Princeton professor Imani Perry teaches interdisciplinary classes in African American studies and notes black women have conceptions of beauty that are “not just tied to the accident of how you look as a consequence of your genes.” They include style, grooming, how you present and carry yourself, and “how you put yourself together, which I think generally speaks to the fact that we have a much broader and deeper conception of beauty.”

Gibson’s mission is to get women to embrace their size but to work toward being fit. She preaches acceptance but says white fitness professionals often seem almost resentful of her confidence.

“If I were this plump, meek person doing the same thing I do, I think they would embrace me.”

Her rule: “Do you,” Gibson says, “and be okay with me being me. I can never be mad at this thin person. I say, ‘You’re sexy, you’ve got it going on. But don’t think for one minute that I don’t feel the same about myself.’ ”

Read the story here from Washington Post.

Mindful Mornings: Self Esteem

Monday, February 27th, 2012

If the price of being “liked” or, so called, loved is compromising your values and sense of self-respect, then it is better NOT to be liked.

Your opinion of yourself is way more important than the opinion(s) that other people have of you. If you understand this, you’re SOLID.

Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker: How to Have a Happy Marriage

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Check out this interview that Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker did with essence.com. I love seeing marriage work and I love it even more when the happy couples share their “secret to success”. Enjoy!

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