Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why We as Women Need to Ease Up On Men. — The Good Men Project

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the plow man better watch out - feb 16, 2008 #...

Why are men the way they are?  Click on the link below and read this great post…

Why We as Women Need to Ease Up On Men. — The Good Men Project.

Yep. They have emotions and insecurities just like us.  Who’da thunk it?

Is it possible to have a relationship where a man can be vulnerable and not come across as weak or immature to his special lady?

What do you think?

I think we need to let go of gender stereotypes and accept people as they are.  In the end, I think we would have less disappointments because we avoided the you-are-supposed-to-be-act-ect-like-this game.

What would authenticity in a relationship look like in you life?

I will leave you with this quote…

“Real connection (and if it’s LOVE, then real love)–goes beyond those not-so-perfect and superficial and idiosyncratic things that simply make us individuals. The trust and longevity of a relationship between two individuals is established through time and learning each other, and discovering a harmony at the core of their connection. And it becomes powerful because of where it resides–at the center of who we are–the very essence of our being.”

-Kelli Jae Baeli

Blessings,

Louise

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Question number 11: What Happens if One Doesn’t Grieve For Their Loved One?

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The original Angel of Grief in Rome.

The original Angel of Grief in Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Louise,

What Happens if One Doesn’t Grieve For Their Loved One?

Hi,

Thank you for your question.  I believe that when a person makes a decision, generally they feel that it’s the best decision they can make for themselves at that moment. Therefore, if a person doesn’t grieve for their loved one then I dare say there must be a good reason.

Let’s look at some of the reasons one might not grieve for their loved one…

1. To do so can be scary. The person may not be ready to accept the fact that the one they love is gone.

2. There could be a fear of expressing the level of intense emotions that grieving can bring about. To succumb to these emotions may make one feel overwhelmed and out of control.

3. This person might feel as though they need to be strong for other loved ones who may be having a hard time.

4. Maybe they are grieving. Perhaps they  are doing it in a way that is unique to who they are which makes it harder for others to understand.

5. Maybe they are grieving, but they choose to release their emotions privately.

6. Lastly, and this one is hard to write, maybe they are not grieving, because the loved one may not have been loved by them for reasons only they know.

This is not an exhaustive list. I’m sure that there are many reason for this type of behavior.  However, I think I should mention that there is almost no wrong way to grieve. The only exception would be if the person were to do something that would endanger their life or the lives of others. If you know someone whom you feel is not grieving the loss of a loved one be patient with him or her.  Be available for them. Accept them and their timetable.  Let them know that whenever they want to talk or pray you are there.  Keep an eye on them, (Please be subtle) Just in case you can impart a kindness without them asking.

The fact that you ask this question says a lot about you.  You seem like a person who cares. If you want more information, do some research on the Internet.  You will find many sites that can offer more insight.

On a personal note, I would like to apologize for the late response to this question.  This question came while I was grieving the death of my brother and I just couldn’t bring myself to answer it.  It took many months before I could get to a place where I could start writing again. I hope it’s not too late.

In conclusion, I will leave you with this quote…

Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.” Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

Blessings,

Louise

Question number 10: Why are men slow when it comes to asking me out?

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Dear Louise, 

I am a beautiful single woman and I am tired of it.  I know a lot of guys but none of them are asking me out.  I know for a fact that there are one or two who are attracted to me but they are not making any moves.  What is up with guys nowadays?  I feel like they are lazy, or too intimidated to ask me out.  What is the deal?

Sincerely,

Tired

Dear Tired,

Come my child… Let me give you a hug… There, there little one.  All will be well.  I want to start by apologizing for the late reply.  I recently relocated to NYC and the move was a little bit hectic.  Yet I have missed you, my readers much!  Ok, back to your question.  Unfortunately, yours is a common problem.  I have heard countless complaints about women who feel like they are left on a shelf somewhere constantly overlooked by men and I want you to know that my heart goes out to you.  There is a group of strong, independent, beautiful women who are perplexed because they are still single and rightly so. If you are the package, (beautiful, educated, employed, intelligent, funny, kind, you name it…) why are you single???  This is mind-boggling…  Well I have been talking to my group of male confidants to find an answer and I will share with you some of the things I have found out…

1. Men are confused

Why are men confused, you ask?  because you are sending mixed signals!  I said it!  Don’t bother to deny it!  Yes you are!!!  Listen, you walk into a room you notice him immediately and you know he notices you. You become excited then you begin to play what I call ‘crazy games’.  He tries to say hi to you but you ignore him.  You let him say hi to you but you spend the bulk of your time talking to everyone but him.  You put him in the friend zone.  You say mean things to him.  Why?  Because this is your version of playing “hard to get”.  Heaven forbid he would think that you were open.  He might mistake it for being easy.  Should you be easy?  Of course not!  But I think that the definitions of easy and hard to get needs to be looked at again.  Ask yourself, what should being easy or playing hard to get look like in my life?

2. Men are realistic

Before a guy approaches you he studies you and pretty much knows if you are ready to be approached by him for real.  Its kind of scary what he knows about you by the time he  has a serious conversation with you. He may already know that you wouldn’t give him the time of day because he doesn’t dress right or present himself like the guy he knows you actually have a crush on… Do you know that there is a a group of men who feels like they are on the shelf as well?  this is because a lot of women are too busy chasing mr. popularity, mr. dress well/looks fine, mr. deep voice tall man with shiny shoes and he knows for a fact that he doesn’t fall within that category.  Why bother if you know you are wasting your time.  It’s not realistic. That’s what he said…

3. Men are intimidated

I know, I know… Steve Harvey has asked us to switch the word out for ashamed.  In his book, “Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man”  he mentioned that a man might feel shame because he doesn’t feel like he is at the level he needs to be to court a woman like you and I agree with him. However, I don’t know if shame encompasses everything.   When he look at someone he is interested he sees you as high and exalted.  Sometimes women can be scary.  Especially if they don’t-need-a-man-for-anything!  I was talking to a male friend of mine the other day and he shared with me that men wanted to be the ‘Hero’ in the life of the women they loved.  He wants to be able to save the day for her, but we live in a place where unfortunately a lot of women are not allowing men the chance to be there for them.  Here’s an example…  I was in room filled with people at an event that just ended.  The event coordinators were primarily women – beautiful women.  They began the clean up process which included breaking down tables and putting chairs away.  When a few of them went lift a table a few men volunteered to help.  They instantly said no that they had it under control.  I watch the men insist (you could tell they wanted to do something nice for these ladies) but the ladies insisted vehemently that they “Have got this”.  Attention Ladies: If a man wants to be chivalrous please, Please, PLEASE let them. Get used to having the opposite sex cater to you.  Not just your romantic partner, your father, uncle, brother, male friend, neighbor.  Enjoy the perks of being a woman.  We all know that you can do it for yourself.  Everyone knows that you are more than capable of handling anything that comes your way, but isn’t it nice when someone else steps in and helps out just because they want to be nice.. to you???  I have seen women become so angry over a man trying to be polite that he gave up.  it’s intimidating to try to swim through all of that force.  Be careful that your wonder woman persona doesn’t get in the way of love.  To everything there is a season.  There’s a time to give and a time to receive.  I beg of you, please, when the opportunity comes, receive gracefully.

Ok… I think I have said enough for now.

I will leave you with this quote. “You don’t have to be perfect to let somebody love you. Remember, being yourself is the best way to make somebody fall in love with you.”  -Unknown

All the best,

Louise

Have any advice?  Share it!  If you have any comments, feel free to post them below.  Any questions can be sent to lifeaccordingtolouise1@gmail.com

Question number nine: Where are the single men over thirty?

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English: Love Question

Dear Louise,

Congratulations on your blog.  I pray that God blesses you to have a lot of success!  Here is my question.  Please be patient as I try to explain myself.  When I was younger, I was always told that when I grow up, I will get married to the man God has chosen for me.  I became and adult and that man never came.  As I grew older, I went from the don’t-worry-just-wait-on-God club to the 20 questions interrogation Are-you-looking?-Did-you-make-a-list?-Did-you-pray-about-this?-Did-you-fast-and-pray? club to receiving pitying-glances-from-across-the room-because-she-never-got-married club. I’ve experienced being patronized, looked down on, disrespected and laughed at from others because of my singleness.  But the worst is when someone acts as if all of my emotions and life has dried up and died because of my age.  I actually heard a person say, that I no longer have romantic feelings because I am old.  I am in my thirties!  I heard this pastor say that some of us will never get married especially if we are older because the women outnumber the men and we need to just ‘deal with it’. On that note, where are the men???  I felt like the pastor was saying, ‘get over it already!’ Is it too late for me?  Should I just give up on love?  If so, what should I do with all these emotions and this deep desire to for companionship in the shape of a mate?   So, I wonder… Is that it for me?  Do I give up and accept my fate as a modern-day spinster?” (Yikes!  It makes me cringe just thinking about it). 

Thank you,

Still Single

Dear Still Single,

Don’t you dare give up!!!  Don’t you dare.  Not even a little bit!  There are still a lot of good single men out there who desire a deep committed relationship with a good woman. Yes even a woman who is in her thirties or above.  Honestly? I don’t believe that a woman is single because there is a lack of prospects  – I just don’t.  Is its easier to meet men when you are younger?  Yes, you definitely have more time and opportunities.  However as you get older, you become preoccupied with work and responsibilities. I know many examples of men and women whose social life took a backseat as they focused on building their careers and establishing financial security for themselves.  When you are over thirty you will have to become more creative in meeting like-minded individuals not because they do not exist.  They exist! Because they are busy with their lives. Trust me, they are wondering where you are as well.  So where are they?  I called some of my male friends to spill the beans and  here are three places where single men over thirty dwell…

1.  At work

I’ve met plenty of men who felt like they couldn’t get married until they were financially stable or until they felt they had all of their ducks in a row.   I find men to be very practical and responsible.  A good man knows that it marriage is expensive and deeply desires to be able to  provide for their family. This means a lot of time will be spent working on financial security, building status, making a name for himself… By the way, let me get on my soapbox for a moment… You wouldn’t believe the overwhelming self-esteem issues that some men have. It takes a lot of confidence to approach a woman & pursue something and to be in a relationship you do have to think that you have some thing to offer. Some guys don’t think they could maintain interest in a woman & consider themselves to be deficient. Therefore, they don’t bother until they feel like they are in a better position.

3. Online Dating Sites

As I said before, I find that men are extremely practical.  They look for the most logical and expedient way to get from point A to B. This makes online dating a very attractive solution.  From the comfort of their office or home, they could screen the opposite sex, take all the time they need to write a witty repartee, go out on dates and if it doesn’t work out rinse and repeat. The cool part is this – you can do this too!  Dating online today is widely accepted.  I now have lost count of how many couples I know who met online and are now married.  Make sure you proceed with caution (as you would in a face to face situation).  However, be open to letting go of fear and creating an authentic connection.  You just might be pleasantly surprised.

4. At home

Within the last few years I have been talking to more men about relationships which is always lots of fun.  However, on this journey, I came across a group of men that I don’t know where to place.  They are single and not dating.  They are not even trying to date…  They are not gay or a confirmed bachelor.  They want to be in a relationship, yet they are doing nothing about it!  I call them the sloth.  They go to work, they come home, they go to sleep and wake up the next morning to do it all over again.  They make no effort to meet, and connect with women. It’s like they gave up, maybe?  Very confusing…  I can’t give you more information about these gentlemen, but I intend to do more research and revisit this topic again.  I will say this, look around you.  In you circle of friends, in your neighborhood, in your church…  Is there anyone who’s just… there???  Find out why.  He may just be a diamond in the rough.  Again, many men are a lot  more shy than we might image.

I want you to be encouraged, this past year alone, I have had several of my female friends who are in their late thirties and early forties enter into relationships, got married, had children.  True story – It’s never too late!  I ask you to please, stay open and give “him” a chance.  I will leave you with this quote.

“If grass can grow through cement, love can find you at every time in your life.”
Cher

All the best,

Louise

I need YOUR Advice on this one! Please help.  If you have any comments, feel free to post them below.  Any questions can be sent to lifeaccordingtolouise1@gmail.com

Question number eight: How can I help a friend who is grieving the loss of a loved one?

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Dear Louise,

My friend is suffering due to a death in their immediate family.  I want to reach out to help but I don’t want to intrude. Do you have some tips on how I can be supportive without overstepping my boundaries?

Sincerely,

-A Friend Who Cares

Dear Friend,

There are very few things in life worst than experiencing the death of a loved one. Providing support for someone who is grieving can be challenging.  With one wrong move we can say or do something that might act as a trigger and create more pain to an already hard situation.  However, it is not good to stand back and do nothing.  I have lived long enough to have lost, unfortunately, many loved ones.  I have also had the privilege to be able to support friends and family who were in mourning.   What I have learned along the way is that what the mourner needs from others the most for us to apply the principles of L.O.V.E.  I created this acronym to stand for the following:  L- Listen, O- Observe, V-Value, E-Empathize

1. Listen:

Take time to listen.  Listening is a skill that needs to be learned.  You are effectively listening when you let the other person speak freely without interruption, without interruption, without interruption!!!  This is not the time to give advice or share your opinion, story, point of view etc…  If you truly want to listen, then you must truly be quiet and allow the other person to speak for as long as they want until THEY feel that they have been heard.  A person who is grieving may want to talk about their feelings and need someone whom they can trust to speak to.  If that person is you please remember that its about them not you.  This will require humility, and patience.

 

2. Observe:

In other words, pay attention to your surroundings to the person who is mourning. Become acclimated with their mannerism and look for opportunities to help.  Buy groceries if you notice they are missing.  If the doorbell is ringing, answer it.  Paying attention allows you to help in specific ways.  For example, you notice you’re your friend’s home is a little untidy and you know there are guest coming.  You can offer to help clean.  This is more beneficial then saying, “If you need anything let me know.” Most people who are mourning are generally so overwhelmed that they wouldn’t even know what to ask for.  So offer to give rides to out of town relatives instead.  You will find more to do by building your observation skills.  By the way, always give them the option to say no and respect it.

3. Value:

Value is about respect.  Do not judge mourner behavior or words in a negative light.  You might see a person who is grieving say or do something strange.  If it is not hurting anyone, leave him or her to it.  Their journey is their own.  They have a right to their feelings and emotions.   They have a right to do what they need to in order to find healing and peace.  Never belittle them, instead, quietly support them.

4. Empathize:

To truly understand somebody, you have to walk in their shoes.  You will see behavior that may not make any sense if you judge it from your worldview and perspective.  You must try to image what life looks like at that moment using their filter.  When in doubt always ask yourself, “If I were in their shoes, what would I have done?” This will help you be more sensitive to their needs and enable you to be able to help effectively.

There is a lot of information out there on this topic.  I encourage you to read books on this topic, look up blogs, and talk to some professional counselors and clergy for advice.  The sad truth is this.  Sooner or later we will all be in a positions where our friend will need our help because they are grieving.  May we all be ready…  I will leave you with this quote.

Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve. – Earl Grollman

Blessings,

Louise

If you have any comments, feel free to post them below.  Any questions can be sent to lifeaccordingtolouise1@gmail.com

Question number seven: How can resist emotional blackmail?

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Pug Blackmail

Dear Louise,

I am thinking about breaking up with one of my friends.  This person always has to have their way and when they don’t they use guilt as a stick to beat me down.  It’s usually very subtle and I am tired of being around them.  I don’t even like who I am when I am with them.  I have spoken to this person about this behavior and they denied it saying that it was my issue.  They also said that I am too sensitive and they are only keeping it “real”.  Whatever that means!  What should I do?

– Fed up

Dear Fed up,

If what you are telling me is true then it sounds like you are dealing with a manipulative tactic called Emotional Blackmail (EB).

1. What is Emotional Blackmail?

Psychotherapist, Susan Forward defined emotional blackmail (EB) as a powerful form of manipulation in which blackmailers who are close to the victim threatens punishment, either directly or indirectly, in order to get what they want.  This can only work of the emotional blackmailer (EB) is a close relation or friend.  These individuals know where you feel the most vulnerable and will use it against you if it will help them.  You know you have been the victim of emotional blackmail when you feel emotionally drained, insecure, guilty or vulnerable in response to something someone said after you have rejected their request.

2. Examples of Emotional Blackmail…

The emotional blackmailer will say or imply some of the following:

“After all I’ve done for you…”

“How could you be so selfish…”

“I would do it for you…”

They bank on the fact that their victim want love and acceptance and have no problem using fear, obligation and guilt to get their way.  If you feel that you are being a victim of EB, here is one tactic that might help you.

3. Flat out rejection

If you feel you are being emotionally blackmailed into doing something that you don’t want to. For instance, you are being pressured to host a game night at your home when its inconvenient.  Flat out refuse. (This will take courage, mind you…) They may say, “What’s the problem? Why can’t you? I do it all the time!” Don’t worry about the emotions of guilt or shame that will rise within you.  They are there only because they have been triggered by this individual.  When you get a chance, privately go over the event to see if what you did what in fact rational.  You may find that it was but you are still feeling guilty.  Think about what is making you feel guilty.  Does it make sense?  If not.  Let it go.   Be warned, true EB’s will try to corner you into submission before you had time to think it through.  Don’t let them.  Rinse and repeat and the offender will probably leave you alone.  Sometimes completely alone!  You may lose a friend, but the good news is this.  If they do go way they were never your friend to begin with.

I hope you find this helpful.  I will leave you with this quote.

“If we are going to be kind, let it be out of simple generosity, not because we fear guilt or retribution.”
J.M. Coetzee

All the best,

Louise

For more information, Susan Forward wrote a great book on the subject called (you guessed it!) “Emotional Blackmail”. Check it out!

Are you a victim of Emotional Blackmail? Feel free to share your story or offer any advice here.  I just ask that you remain respectful in what you say. If you have any questions for me send them to lifeaccordingtolouise1@gmail.com.  I would love to hear from you!  Just remember, I am not a licensed therapist therefore not liable for any advice that is shared here. – Blessings! 

 

Question number six: How do I keep my family out of my relationship?

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Dear Louise,

I always wanted to marry a handsome, intelligent, dark skin African man and I did.  But coming from a different background (Caribbean) there were some prejudices that my family had against him.  They (parent & siblings) felt he was beholden to them because he should have felt privilege to be in a relationship with me.  This meant in their minds that he was supposed to make himself available to meet their needs (financial, errands, etc…) in addition to my own.  I want to tell my family that he is my husband not theirs, but I don’t want to be disrespectful.  I know that if I say the wrong thing I risk causing a level of drama where I would lose my husband and family.  What do I do?

-Nubian Queen

Dear Nubian Queen,

This is a sticky situation indeed!  When a member of a family get’s married it creates a change in the social dynamics which can be an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved.  Though a new spouse is an addition to the family, they are also taking away a beloved member.  Which needs to be done.  The bible says that a “man shall leave his mother and cleave to his wife” Gen 2:24.  In the process of acclimation, many assumptions will be made by all who are involved based on their personal world view.  If these worldview differ then there is a risk of encountering major problem.  As a sibling of someone who is married, I experienced mixed emotions. I loved the fact that my brother found his love and was getting married. I also had to mourn the loss of what once was.   I had to accept that there were certain things we couldn’t do anymore.  He had to shift priorities to make his wife come first and as a sister who loved him, I decided to give him my support.  Thankfully, he married a wonderful woman.  We were clear about our roles in each other lives, which made for a smoother transition. But what if there is not a clear understanding within a family about roles and boundaries when a member enters into a marriage? What should you do?  In a perfect world, you would have seen the signs and addressed them before you got married.  This is not the world we live in.  More often than not we have to backtrack and tweak and fix.  It looks like you might need to have some challenging discussions.  Here are some suggestions to help you along the way.

1. Find the gatekeeper:

Generally speaking, In every person plays a role in every social group.  It’s an unspoken agreement made between social units. This is clearly displayed in T.V. shows like friends.  Though in reality the differences in roles are a lot more subtle and in every group there is a gatekeeper. The one who has the most influence over the group.  This person is not always the loudest or the bossiest.  They are not necessarily the one starting trouble but when they speak, everyone listens and are converted.  Their power of influence in the group is bar none.  This person is critical because they normally would be able to understand where you are coming from and do something about it.  Provided, of course, if you communicate with them effectively.  Which is my next point.

2.  Communicate effectively:

You need to understand the language of the person you are speaking to.   This means you have to be able to put yourself in their shoes and see where they are coming from.  You might learn something!  Knowing their language is so important because it lets you know how to say what you need to say.  For example, there is a book called the five love languages, by Gary Chapman.  In it he explains that when it comes to communication, most people can be generally categorized into five categories.  The categories are words of affirmations, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.  Though this theory was developed initially for married couples he has since found that it could be applied to all relationships which brings me back to my point. If you understand them then you have a better chance of reaching them rather than saying  something that can turn them off.  When you do speak, articulate clearly what you want then re-enforce your words with behavior.  The next thing you can do is the following.

3. Give it time:

Once you have had the conversation, changed your behavior, you need to give everyone time to get used to the changes. You re-enforce your boundaries accordingly and continue as planned.  They may not like, you might get opposition, but eventually they will get used to the change.  Mind you, there are extreme cases where a relative refuses to budge on an issue.  It’s their way or the highway.  If you come across that type of behavior.  You have to make a decision about how much power they will be able to have over your life.  Then act accordingly.

I am not saying this will be easy.  This will probably be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do because everyone involved is important.  But you have to cut the cord (cut the figurative umbilical cord that keeps you as a child, not your actual family) if they are not willing.   Your marriage has to be given a chance to succeed.  In all honesty, there is no way I can give you a proper answer to your question because so many details are missing and I am not a marriage counselor. (now she tells me…) I would suggest in addition to what you have just read that you speak to your clergy or a person who has been married successfully for a long time.  Read books on the subject.  There is a lot of information out there.  But remember, you are no longer a child.  you have to deal with this as an adult and that means not ignoring the situation.  I will leave you with this quote.

“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family” Anthony Brandt 

All the best,

Louise

I know that more can be said on this subject.  So come on!  What do you think? Do you have any comments, or advice?  Feel free to post them!  I just ask that you remain respectful in what you say.   If you have any questions for me send them to lifeaccordingtolouise1@gmail.com.  I would love to hear from you!  Just remember, I am not a licensed therapist therefore not liable for any advice that is shared here. – Blessings!