Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Your mental health has a great impact on your ability to form and maintain relationships, whether it be with a spouse, parent, child, or friend.
Here are five tips tips on building  and maintaining healthy relationships:

1) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Sometimes, we lose the ability to celebrate our victories by often focusing only on our faults and failures. Always make an attempt to look at the bigger picture, including the things you are doing well in!

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2)  Accept and celebrate differencesOne of the biggest challenges we experience in relationships is that we are all different. Coming from different backgrounds and being exposed to different things in life, sometimes can lead us to expectations that people will think like we do and, in this way, it is so much easier to create a rapport. Life would be so much easier if everyone totally understood where we were coming from. However, it would also be very dull if we were all the same and, while we may find it initially easier, the novelty of sameness soon would wear off. So accepting and celebrating that we are all different is a great starting point.

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3) Express Yourself. Express your feelings; I cannot stress this enough! Keeping your feelings inside (whether good or bad) is never a great idea. Talk it out, release your thoughts, worries, and concerns. Holding your emotions in will eventually cause bad feelings to accumulate and further damage your relationships. Communication occurs when someone understands you, not just when you speak. One of the biggest dangers with communication is that we can work on the assumption that the other person has understood the message we are trying to get across. Developing effective communication skills is vital in maintaining relationships that are important to us.

 

4) Develop empathy.  Empathy and understanding build a connection between people. It is a state of perceiving and relating to another person’s feelings and needs without blaming, giving advice or trying to fix the situation.

5) Sometimes, being present is all that is required. Being present in the time you give to people is also important, so that, when you are with someone, make every attempt to truly be with them and not dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. This may also require stepping away from technology and putting our phones aside.clasped-hands-comfort-hands-people-45842

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January’s Book Review

So, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to dedicate time to read at least one book a month. Here is the review for my book for January.

Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
Published by SmileyBooks; 1 edition (February 1, 2010)
Paperback: 283 pages
Source: Purchased from Amazon for $11.99

This book not only challenges the narrative of inferiority of African Americans in the US, but also provides an interesting analysis of the “brainwashing” that has infected the psyches of many African Americans. It breaks down how deep rooted insecurities  reaching back to the days of slavery still has a grasp on Black Americans today.

Burrell shows how words and images in music and the media have been used for years to manipulate how blacks are viewed in this country and subsequently how many of us have unconsciously viewed ourselves. While many will argue that racist media propaganda died with the end of the Jim Crow era, Burrel breaks down how mainstream news outlets today still focus heavily on the negative aspects of the African American life, while at the same time ignoring or downplaying our contributions. From the damning portrayal of light skinned black women as sex vixens in music videos to black comedians  and their jokes on serious issues of dysfunction such as “bitch black women, deadbeat dads, bad ass kids and battling black parents”.

If he has done nothing else, Burrel gets the audience thinking and perhaps starting to devise solutions to changing the way blacks perceive themselves and eventually how others perceive us.

I would highly recommend this book to any individual that wants to be enlightened.

Rating: Glowing Star on Apple iOS 11.2Glowing Star on Apple iOS 11.2Glowing Star on Apple iOS 11.2Glowing Star on Apple iOS 11.2

 

If anyone is interested, I will be reselling my copy (used, with normal wear and tear) for $7.99 +shipping and handling.

Does the mothering role need public endorsement?

On May 9th 1914, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, declared the second Sunday of May as a national holiday as, “a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”

So this poses the question, should we not express love and reverence for our mothers on any other day of the year?

For those who have a genuine relationship with their mothers, a day that is solely dedicated to force expression is not necessary. Unfortunately, Mother’s Day has become like almost every other holiday in the US-commercialized. Similar to Valentine’s Day when driving down the road you can find makeshift flower stands at every corner, and just like Valentine’s Day is this not just another day set aside to do something we should be doing every day. To honor those who mean the world to us, and to thank them for all their love and support.

to complicate matters further…

Although mothers are ideally depicted as loving and nurturing this unfortunately is not always the case. There are also those who do not have any connection with their mom, whether it be due abuse, abandonment or neglect but are made to feel judged for not wanting to celebrate at all.

The entire day is a celebration of women who are able to bear children, however this excludes women who have not given birth or are unable to, and may cause them to feel as though they have failed as a woman. In the 21st century, womanhood should not rely solely on childbirth. The fact that a woman may not want to or is unable to have children should not classify her as inferior.

Additionally, the pain of one who have lost a mother is unimaginable. Consider this,  a friend who lost her mother a few years back and every Mother’s Day she becomes isolative and withdrawn. She does not go to work, church and tries to avoid coming outside altogether as the pain of seeing everyone celebrating this holiday, or worst being asked what did she “do” for her mother on that day is a stab at an already deep wound.

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This post is not to bash those who celebrate Mother’s Day, but while celebrating I think we should make a conscious effort of being aware that for many, this is a difficult day. Most of us know someone who has lost a mom, a child or are battling with infertility. A small gesture, a text, a call to acknowledge the pain that they may be facing on this very special day will go a long way.

The family unit is a complex matter that reaches far deeper than the pursuit of big business for profit. Life is too short to wait for one commercial day.

Hold those you love close and celebrate every day, as tomorrow is promised to no one, and only fools rely solely on tomorrow.

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What do you guys think? Has Mother’s Day become too commercialized? Do you know someone who suffers a great deal on that day? Comment below.