Posts Tagged ‘personal development’

Boundaries; Why We Need Them

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Recently, one of my FB friends was displeased with me because I deleted a comment she made on my wall. I had written a quote and a short statement after the quote and she responded to the post. After I deleted her first comment, she wrote a second one and I once again deleted her comment. The third comment she wrote, in response, was on her own wall and I had no power to delete it and this was the point. You see, what other people do is their business and I have no attachment to it, but what other people do to me…now that’s a different story.

We all have a responsibility to ourselves and to the people around us to make some clear and well defined boundaries. Boundaries let others know what you will and will not accept. In my example with my FB friend, I had written a post and she responded in a way that I felt was not in alignment with the post, so I deleted her comment. She did not like the fact that I deleted her post and she told me that “it saddened” her. My response was to let her know that it was not my intention to “sadden” her.[I think she was half joking; she was not really sad.] My intention was to make it clear to her that her comment was not acceptable to me and by deleting it, I believe that I did that. When she wrote on her own wall, I had no attachment to what she wrote…her wall; her boundaries. :-)

Sometimes people will not like the boundaries that you set and some may even deliberately cross the boundaries but that does not in any way invalidate the boundary. Again, your responsibility is to set the boundary-whether someone likes the boundary or not is not your business.

If a person deliberately crosses the boundary, you may remind them of the boundary, but don’t take it personally because their inability to respect boundaries is their “stuff”; not yours. If a person is consistently crossing your boundaries and you have been diligently reminding them of the said boundaries, then it’s decision time. People either contaminate or contribute to our lives and boundaries make it easier to see the difference. It is your decision who you allow in your life.

I’m not saying that we should all go around setting unnecessary boundaries and trying to decide if people are crossing them or not. Some boundary crossing is harmless, like the guy [or gal] at work who always gets right in your face during conversation or the boss who loves to touch people while he is talking to them or even my FB friend who from time to time writes silly things on my wall! What I am saying is: be clear about what you will and will not accept. The people who deserve to be in your life will respect that and those who don’t won’t.

Nomalanga helps Black women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , a former College Professor and Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s Facebook page or Follow her on Twitter

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Mindful Mornings: Determination by Iyanla Vanzant

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Today I completed my first 10K (a little over 6 miles) after having fallen off of the wagon.

In just over two weeks, I will run my first 10K marathon and I was starting to think about backing out because of my lack of preparation thus far. Today, I decided NOT to quit. This short message from Iyanla Vanzant was just what I needed!

I hope it inspires you to do that “thing” that you were about to quit.

Nomalanga: What Black Women Can Learn from Meagan Good

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I have been following a lot of news about Meagan Good and her vow to remain celibate until her and her Pastor/Producer husband are married.

To some this may seem the most far-fetched idea that they can think of because celibacy is something that society has dismissed as both outdated and unrealistic. Let’s think about it though-Think about all the negative information that is currently circulating about Black women in America and the rest of the world. Let’s start with the rate of HIV infection as well as other sexually transmitted diseases. Let’s think about the rates of teenage pregnancy and the rate of single parenthood, much of which is the result of unplanned pregnancies and pre-marital intercourse.

I am not one to jump to conclusions that I cannot support with credible sources so I will not do that but I think we need to, at the very least, consider that Meaghan Good may just be somewhat of a hero. She is going against the grain and setting an example. I don’t believe she is saying that she is “pure” and angelic and that the rest of us are “sinners”. That would be off-putting. She is however, saying that it is possible for a young woman to stand her ground and do something different and still be popular, attractive and “modern”.

The lesson that I am drawing from her example is that just because you have engaged in what some would call “sin”, there is still room to take a different course of action and change your outcomes. To some, celibacy may seem like an extreme measure to take but considering the issues that we deal with, maybe we should consider it as a very viable option. Obviously, it is possible to avoid diseases and unplanned pregnancies through taking birth control and using other forms of protection. That, however, does not take the emotional and spiritual ramifications of having multiple partners (whether concurrently or consecutively) into consideration.

My passion is the pursuit of personal development, including but not limited to my own. I instruct, mentor and advise young women, especially young women of color, more than any other population so this is an issue that I tackle very often. I’m not trying to assign judgment to anyone for their choices but I think that we are often too quick to dismiss the idea of celibacy as either “old fashioned” or unrealistic. Let’s begin to look at it as a very viable option. Yes, there are other ways to be responsible and safe, but no one can argue that no other way is as safe as celibacy so let’s not discount it.

Check out Nomalanga’s e-book:
Seven Life Changing Habits; How I Changed My Life from Mediocre to Magnificent & How You Can Too!

Nomalanga: Why he doesn’t respect you

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

A lot of times when we hear people describing the differences between men and women, we hear “men need to be respected” and “women need security”. While I can’t argue with the descriptions, I think what tends to happen is that we talk about men needing to be respected so much that we forget that women need t be respected as well and they also need to respect themselves.

In the area of respect, women fall into three basic categories:
1. She is respected and commands respect
A woman who is respected is a woman who has a healthy level of confidence and self respect. This woman earns respect and therefore commands it. She is a woman of substance and she demonstrates this through her words and deeds.

2. She is not respected but demands respect
This is a woman who secretly loathes herself and does not respect herself. This woman hopes that no one will figure out her dirty little secret and she usually complains about not being respected and constantly has to demand respect.

3. She is not respected and she does not expect to be
This woman is a woman who has such a low level of confidence and self esteem that she has no expectation that anyone will respect her. She allows people to talk to her and treat her badly and sadly, she believes that she deserves that bad treatment.

Of course there are instances when a self respecting and respectable woman will be disrespected by a person who has no regard for the appropriate way to treat another human being. Also, as women, we deal with issues such as sexism, where no matter how respectable you are, some man is going to think that his male “parts” somehow qualify him for some superior status in life. Another common issue is racism, where some non-black or non-minority person will not respect a woman of color because he or she believes that the color or tone of their skin entitles them to some “special” status that no black or minority person can ever attain.

With all the exceptions aside, any woman who complains that her man or anyone does not respect her has to do a self analysis and see which of the three types of women she is. In the two cases of the women who do not respect themselves, usually because of their low level of self esteem and lack of confidence, there is a simple answer: Invest in your personal development and become a woman of substance.

In the next post of the Personal Development Series, I will share tips on how to become a woman of substance.

Nomalanga: So what if First Lady, Michelle Obama, wanted to leave?

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

I recently read an article at the online version of the Daily Mail titled “New book claims Michelle Obama prepared divorce papers to separate from Barack – leaving him so depressed friends feared he’d kill himself”. My impression of the article is that, much like the book it is referring to, it was written to tarnish the names of President Obama and First lady, Michelle Obama.

My comment, on Facebook, in reaction to the article was as follows:

“So what? In the last 7 years, I have packed a suitcase a time or two-what of it? Although they wrote this article to “air the Obamas’ dirty laundry”, this actually makes me and others respect them more. They are normal people who, in spite of everything, have sustained their marriage AND won the Presidency!”

The reason why I responded this way is that I feel that anyone who has been married a significant amount of time or is close to married couples knows that all marriages go through different phases; some easy and some not, hence the common phrase “for better or worse and through thick or think”. This phrase is often included in many vows, on a couple’s wedding day, specifically to reiterate that couples should not view a “rocky” time in marriage as a time to leave.

My own experience, having been married for over seven years, has been that when things get “rocky”, the urge to leave can become overwhelmingly strong but that does not give me or any married person, not even the first lady, a reason to leave. I believe that those difficult parts of the journey are the very parts that will teach you more about yourself, your spouse and will ultimately elevate both of you to a higher level of spiritual enlightenment.

The Obamas have admitted that in the past they did go through a rough patch but that they patched things up and grew closer together. Although the details of the Obama marriage trials, assuming there was some truth in them, were revealed with what I perceive as malicious intent, I and a lot of other people are both encouraged and inspired by the Obamas. They are modeling, among others, one great lesson: Anything worth having is worth fighting for.

Many women look at Michelle Obama and wish they could have a wonderful husband and a wonderful marriage like hers. What I am drawing from the Obamas’ experience is that that level of success is not something that happens by accident. The problem with glorifying the Obamas and their relationship has always been that it made them seem “special” but now we see that they are just normal people, much like the rest of us. What sets them apart is their courage, discipline and an attitude of Never giving up on yourself, your spouse or your marriage.

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.

Boyce Watkins: Why Black Women Can’t Find a Man

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I watched an ABC News special the other night featuring Steve Harvey, Jacque Reed, Sherri Shepherd and my homeboys Hill Harper and Jimi Izrael. The show covered a tried and true topic that is sure to get sky high ratings from the black community: The topic was, Why successful black women can’t find a good man. I am not going to risk bringing on the wrath of black women by saying things that some of them may not want to hear, but I have to be honest about what I saw on this show. Let me just cut to the chase and lay the issues out one-by-one:

1) Why are black women taking relationship advice from Steve Harvey? Not to disrespect Steve’s ability to drop knowledge, but isn’t he a comedian? If we are taking relationship advice from a comedian and our relationship turns into a joke, who do we blame in the end? Bottom line – perhaps learning how to love another person means that after you put aside the book by the comedian, you should go out and buy a book by a relationship expert.

2) Most good women have little trouble getting married to decent men: One has to be skeptical of the beautiful, intelligent, fully capable woman who simply says that she can’t find a good man anywhere. Most women I know who are well-balanced and who also appreciate the idea of respecting men in the same way they would like to be respected, have no trouble finding suitable mates. Sorry to break this to you, but the only constant variable in your relationships is a person called YOU.

Rather than pointing the finger at the world, a bit more introspection might be called for: perhaps you have to reconsider your laundry list of expectations or wonder if you’re not doing a good job finding men who are open to commitment. It’s easy to find a man, just not easy to find a man who is willing to be with you and you only; a lot of brothers simply play the field and allow you to buy an emotional lottery ticket, hoping that you’ll be the one he selects in the end. You may be fishing in the wrong ponds in the first place or using the wrong bait to catch the fish you’re bringing home.

3) If you want something bad enough, take a class: There are classes on relationships and marriage out there that don’t cost much money. If you are determined to be the best mate you can possibly be, it might make sense to take a class that explains all the subtleties and challenges of making a relationship work (not just the counseling you get from your pastor). A relationship is not about a mate fulfilling your long and detailed list of needs and expectations. The bottom line is that if you hope to receive more, you must first fully commit yourself togiving more. Some of us are taught that we should expect the world and not offer anything in return: that’s a perfect recipe for getting dumped.

4) Big mistake – always chasing the alpha male: I know a lot of “regular guys” who are unable to find a woman that is interested in being with them. This is especially true in their mid-twenties, when everyone is single and living fancy-free, with little expectation for long-term commitment. Some of the women these ”regular guys” are interested in are not paying them much attention to them, mainly because the woman has become enchanted with the dream-like alpha male in her life: the guy who fits every single portion of the checklist (height, income, education, toe nail length, swag, etc.), but who may not be available for a monogamous, long-term relationship. What many women seem to forget is that there are some men who always have room for another woman on the roster. If you’re wasting all your time with the lying, cheating, super dog, you might miss out on the chance to be with the man who will love you forever and father all of your children. He may not come in the same package, and by comparing the two without considering the differences in what each of them offers, you may be passing up on your opportunity.

5) Relationships should not be a pissing contest: One of the by-products of many black children growing up in single parent homes is that their relationships become highly contentious. I once saw a neck swinging, energized woman say, “I need a man who can handle me!” What I wanted to tell her is that your man should not have to “handle” you as if you are a wild bull with his testicles sewn together. The act of love is a process of being open, feeling and sharing, not trying to dominate one another. So, if you need to be “handled” in your relationships, realize that you are likely going to only attract men who are mean, rough and insensitive enough to handle you effectively. In fact, you’re not searching for a mate, you may be actually looking for a pimp. Fighting and domination is not the same as love – let’s not get it twisted.

6) There’s nothing wrong with a few gender roles: Sherri Shepherd, during an especially volatile segment of the ABC News show, swung her hands around in the air saying, “I don’t have time to validate you every day!” – referring to the fact that she doesn’t feel that it’s her job to make her man feel good about himself on a regular basis. What’s interesting is that most women want their man to make them feel beautiful and to feel like a woman. So, why is it not acceptable for a man to expect his wife to make him feel like a man? A man doesn’t want to marry another guy – or rather, a woman who feels that any and all gender roles are an insult to her feminine independence and also expects the man to be willing to be regularly emasculated. It’s O.K. to make your man feel like he’s THE man, a king and a leader. A good man will surely return the favor and make you feel like a beautiful woman.

7) Let’s be real- many men aren’t as excited about marriage as women: As much as we want to believe that men grow up fantasizing about their wedding day the same way that many women do, the truth is that this is not the case. Many men see marriage as a frightening commitment that will cause them to be vilified for actions they can engage in without consequence when they are single (notice the millions of dollars that Shaquille O’neal and the rapper Nas have paid to get out of their marriages – every man gets petrified when he reads these stories).

A woman who gets her husband is the one who makes the man WANT to be married: she let’s him feel free, strong, needed, loved and supported. While this may seem to be a primitive concept, the reality is that the reverse is true for sex: Men and women both want it, but men know they have to work just a little bit harder to “get some.” They’ve got to buy flowers, take the woman to dinner, and make her feel comfortable. It would be silly for a man to think that a woman should buy him flowers and beg him to have sex with her. The converse is true for marriage – where getting a man to overcome his anxiety is a great way to get him to give you what you want.

I love black women: My mother, daughter and grandmother are black women and there is not a more precious group of women on the planet. But the truth is that this “woe is me, black men ain’t sh*t” attitude has to be replaced with something more constructive. If not, we’ll be having these same forums 20 years from today.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the author of the book,“Black American Money.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

Do the right thing!

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

A student just came rushing to my office and handed me an assignment (part of a final project) which he thought was due today. I gave the assignment and set the deadline as today but I did not take the assignment in. The purpose of doing this is so that the students do their work in increments rather than leave it all until the last minute and hand in sloppy work.

As the student handed me the assignment, I informed him that he was not required to hand it in. I could see the frustration in his face as he asked me why I had told them it was due today. I replied, “So that you would have it done by today.” I then asked him an obvious question; “Did you do it?” “Yes”,  he replied. To which I responded; “Then we have met our objective.”
Even as the student walked away, I could tell he was still disgruntled that he had spent time doing his school work under the impression that it was due to be handed in and then found out that it was not going to be handed in. Just as I thought he had left, he reappeared and asked me to give him feed-back and I told him that I was happy to but not at the present moment. I encouraged him to come to my office during “office hours” and I let him know I would be happy to assist him. He was still clearly disgruntled as he walked away from my office.

The reason why I am sharing this experience is that I have noticed that a lot of students don’t really come to college to learn. They seem to come to college as a means to an end and in my observation, while most of them are here, they do almost everything that they can to avoid learning!

The student that I just described did the assignment as part of his learning process but did not assign any value to the learning. Instead, he was frustrated that he had done the assignment “for nothing”. This is what I take issue with. It seems that college has become a means to an end and learning has become an “inconvenience” along the way. I genuinely believe that this line of thinking is not much different from people who serve others only because they expect something in return or so as to “be seen” serving which will improve their public image.

I’m glad this student came by my office because he made me think about a very important lesson that I leaned a long time ago: Do the right things for the right reasons.

It’s quite possible to do the “right thing” (like philanthropy) and still be wrong because we are doing the right thing for the wrong reason (like boosting public image). It is also possible to do the “wrong thing” (like say “no” to someone you care about) but have good intention (like preserving your time and energy for more important tasks).

The best students that I have come across are the ones who come to college to learn, gather information and improve their skills so that they can reach their career goals and make a positive impact in their communities. These students are the ones who are doing the right thing (getting an education) for the right reasons (improving their lives and those of other people).

The next time you have a task in from of you; ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing and if you’re doing it for the right reason. Failing which, if you’re going to do something that may be perceived as the “wrong” thing; do it for the right reason!

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!