I had the opportunity to write for one of my favorite blogs MyBlackMatters ,which is such a positive platform for Black Women, and I am honored && over the moon that my post was published on their site. Being that this is one of the posts I am most proud of, I wanted to share it with my readers as well. Hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it. xoxo
“ It sounds incredibly platitudinal, but no one will ever be able to love you if you don’t love yourself. What’s beautiful about it is that if you love yourself enough, you don’t need the validation from anyone else.” -Leandra Medine 
Making sure you get what you deserve and refusing to settle is critical when it comes to taking charge and maintaining your own happiness. You have to genuinely believe in your worth, in order to ensure that you get what you deserve. Once you get in touch with how valuable you are… its amazing what you won’t put up with.
As a young woman I feel often times, we can get caught up in not standing up for ourselves or settling for less than we deserve. People often confuse having a backbone for being a “bitch.” That’s a disgusting and weak notion to have. We should embrace and enforce respect in all aspects of our lives. Whether it is family, careers or relationships. You should never get in the habit of sacrificing your own needs/wants to appease others. Respect is what makes the world go ’round. You think Oprah got where she is by being a pushover? I think not. You think Michelle Obama captured the heart of the President of the United States by keeping her thoughts and feelings to herself? ABSOLUTELY not. Bottom line, being a doormat and taking stuff from people isn’t taking the high road, it’s being weak. Name me one powerful person who is making headlines or in an inspirational relationship by being a willing participant in becoming a doormat… Exactly. That person doesn’t exist. No one respects a doormat. The end.
Knowing what you deserve and actually believing what you deserve are two different things. Knowing the difference truly does make all the difference. Knowing what you deserve really starts from within. How people treat you is ultimately a reflection of how you view yourself. I’m sure several of you have heard the saying…
” People will only treat you, how you let them.”
Let me tell you that is the truest statement ever told. If you don’t respect yourself and live by your own standards, how can you expect other people to respect you?
I think one of the hardest lessons I had to learn, as a young woman was to demand respect from each and every person I encounter. Everybody in my life must see and respect me for exactly who I am. A queen. You don’t have to like me, but you WILL respect me. I try to live my life that way, and if you give me the respect I deserve, best believe I’m going to give it right back in return.
I hate nothing more than when I see a beautiful intelligent young woman looking stupid over a situation. Sometimes you have to start being honest with yourself, take a seat and really assess your situation. If you know you deserve better than strive for that. Don’t ask why someone keeps hurting you… ask why you keep letting them. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll always be chasing after people who don’t love you either. You set the bar.
The worst habit you can fall into is making excuses for unacceptable behavior. Not knowing your own worth, and not speaking up for yourself will have you in some of the craziest/hurtful scenarios ever.
I’ve had my fair share of shitty relationships. For the majority of my dating life I would say I was a magnet for assholes. I’ve had relationships where I knew I wasn’t getting all I wanted in a person. I wasn’t getting what I needed; YET I continued to try and make that ‘something’ work. There is nothing more exhausting than trying to make it work with someone you have no business even being with. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t want anyone to treat my future daughter this way, or my cousin, sister, best friend etc. So why the hell am I putting up with it? I knew this behavior was unacceptable and not a healthy normal functioning relationship.
If someone continues to disrespect you or disregard your feelings, PLEASE take note of that. Think about it, normally and naturally when we care for people we treat them with the upmost respect, we put them on a pedestal and that’s how it should be. That’s natural; we often do it without even knowing. At no point should you stay in a situation where you are constantly being let down and disappointed. You can’t ‘prove’ to someone that they should treat you better. You know how you get the respect and treatment you desire? You demand it, and instead of settling for bullshit you enforce what you want.
Natural and normal human beings are caring and loving to the ones that are caring and loving to them. The moment you start trying to ‘prove’ your own worth to someone is the moment you forgot your own worth yourself. Someone who makes you feel as if you are hard to love is not the person you need to be with.
You shouldn’t have to change you, or alter whom you are to make someone treat you the way you deserve to be treated. If you are in a relationship and feel like you have to switch up everything about yourself to make that person care about you more, than you are setting yourself up for a long ride of disappointment. Been there done that…
I remember spending endless days mentally exhausted and tired, because of all this effort I was trying to put in. I remember thinking, “Is it me?”
You know, maybe I nag too much; maybe I’m just being difficult. When you are with the wrong person, everything seems to feel off. I started feeling like my hair wasn’t on point, or maybe my body needed a little more work. I really was in the headspace where I thought I was the problem. What was it about me?
The wrong person will have you all fucked up in the head. The wrong person will have you feeling like you are the reason the relationship sucks, like you are the reason it is failing. In actuality, it’s not you, you are simply just wasting your time with an individual that can’t and won’t meet your expectations. There isn’t anything wrong with that. There is somebody out there for everyone, its alright if the person you are with isn’t The One. Just because you have invested your time in the wrong situation, doesn’t mean you continue to do so. That’s stupid. You can get material things back. Time can’t be reimbursed.
Believe me, it really gets tiresome trying to force something that isn’t meant to be. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean it’s suppose to be a forever type thing. We have ALL had to endure heartbreak at one point or another. Some people are sincerely in our lives to just be learning lessons and prepare us for the real thing. Stop making things so hard on yourself, acknowledge the lesson that is in front of you, take your newfound wisdom, and move the hell on.
Life is too short to be treated anything less that what you deserve. If you start making excuses for people, it will be just a matter of time before you start to let everyone walk over you. If you can’t stand up for yourself to the people who are nearest and dearest to you, you won’t stand a chance against the people who don’t even know you. Once you make it a habit of biting your tongue, you’ll start doing it without even knowing. Before you know it, taking crap from people will become like second nature and we all know habits; whether it be smoking, drinking, being crazy lol etc. are hard to break.
I try to live my life by this Buddhist proverb.
“ Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
Let that resonate. Pain is inevitable. Pain happens, things are going to hurt you… we can’t avoid pain. HOWEVER, you can avoid a situation that continues to cause you pain. If you suffer that is solely because of your own doing. Have a douche boyfriend/girlfriend that keeps cheating or disappointing you? That hurts, and yes when you find out that is painful. If you continue to go back to the douche boyfriend/girlfriend, and continue to endure the hurt, and humiliation… you now are choosing to suffer. I used this example from my own personal experience. Continuing to stay in a situation that makes you unhappy is you choosing to suffer. You control your environment. You can’t control the learning lesson of pain, but you can control what foolishness you decide to entertain.
Not all of our lessons in life need to be hard. When people show you who they really are, believe them. If someone has been consistent with their behavior for years, you shouldn’t count on them getting an epiphany one day and changing their ways. I spent years in the wrong relationships, because I didn’t enforce my feelings, and I wish I would have known what I do now.
Crazy thing is, the people I dated that acted like that years ago, are still acting like that to this day. It’s a terrible mindset to think if you just stick in there they will “get it.” I’m not saying people can’t change; I mean there is hope for everybody. All I’m saying is that if you continue to encounter the same sorry behavior day in and day out, you probably aren’t the one that’s going to break the cycle. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but the reality of the situation is that people treat you based off of how they feel about you. If I want to talk to somebody, I contact him or her. If I miss someone throughout the day, I will send him or her a text. If you are proud of someone, you’ll show him or her off. If you aren’t receiving the minimum, its because they don’t think you require that much to maintain. Point blank period. You sold yourself short, and now they are constantly treating you like you’re cheap, and putting absolutely no effort in your maintenance.
Don’t be out here calling someone your “better half” but they don’t treat you better than anyone else.
What good is a significant other if they don’t treat you as if you are significant?
Don’t get so caught up in being “compromising.” You keep backing down; you will soon find yourself confined. Be defined by your courage, independence, strength, and aspiration to seek the life and atmosphere you want.
It’s easy to get along with someone who is submissive, or what people like to confuse with a “go with the flow” attitude … Do you really want to be known as someone who doesn’t open their mouth when they are mistreated? What sense does that make?
A woman that deserves and demands respect will risk tension because she will not put her needs aside to keep “the peace.” Just because someone isn’t easy to manipulate or run over doesn’t make him/her a bitch, or the bad guy, or a “difficult” personality. There’s nothing wrong with having a set of balls, boundaries, and self-respect.
Someone who really loves, respects, and cares for you will find all those qualities admirable. You shouldn’t have to put out your fire, because someone can’t handle your heat. Don’t allow someone to make you feel self-conscious because you have a voice. Your partner should reflect your energy. Only a coward will feel intimated and try to break down a woman/man of substance because he/she can’t handle it. Just because they are weak, doesn’t mean you have to be. That is absurd and ridiculous. Only the strong can keep up with other strong forces. If someone can’t handle you, you are better off without him or her. Kings want Queens, not girls. You deserve to be on a throne; don’t ever step down because you are dealing with someone who doesn’t think you deserve to be treated like such.
The goal is to find someone who thinks you deserve to be put on a pedestal, and up on that throne. Find someone who wants to sit right beside you, and emphasis on the word “beside” because we are all equals here. You can’t build an empire if you aren’t getting the respect of a boss, there’s no way. A relationship cant flourish, if it isn’t happy, healthy, and built on a foundation of respect and loyalty. You want better, make it happen. No one in this world is going to give you anything; you have to work for it. Respect isn’t any different.
The first step starts with you, and will only happen when you know and sincerely believe and embrace your values, morals, and desires.
Get some rules, get some regulations and stand by them. If you demand respect, other people will have no choice but to follow suit.
Let me know how it goes 😉
May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.
 Stated by Leandra Medine, Manrepeller.com and author of Seeking Love, Finding Overalls…