Self-Preservation as Self-Care: How to Set Healthy Boundaries ~ Nneka M. Okona

Zora Neale Hurston, the foremother of Black women’s literature, so eloquently penned that Black women were “de mule uh de world” and even many, many years later, we can see how this statement still rings true. Black women are seen as the pillars of strength in nearly every circle we comprise. We are the backbones of our families, the shoulder always called upon to cry on. We are supposed to readily perform strength, on demand, no matter what our emotional or mental state.

We do not belong to ourselves: our bodies, our minds, our emotions, our hearts, our spiritual state. Our emotional labor is prescribed and expected.

Self-care is a phrase often uttered as of late, especially on social media. My thought is that we, Black women, now know the importance of tending to the trauma we have been dealt for hundreds of years and dedicating ourselves wholeheartedly to healing, moment by moment, day by day. And we know that self-preservation, an uncompromising notion of clinging to ourselves and maintaining the sanctity of ourselves, is a defiant, revolutionary act of self-care. Setting boundaries — along with enforcing consequences if said boundaries are willfully ignored — is a crucial part of this, too.

Quick story: for most of my childhood and well into my adulthood, I was a doormat. I was kind and had a giving heart but lacked strong discernment and sound judgment. People sensed this and took advantage, taking and taking and taking until they couldn’t anymore. Until there was no further use for my presence in their lives. Until I was depleted and drained and filled with resentment. And then they’d be gone. Learning to choose myself after this defunct pattern yielded to learning what boundaries are, evaluating where I needed to set them in my current relationships and how I could set them as the need arose in new interpersonal bonds.

Boundaries are the space between you and another person, a space where you end and the other person begins. Setting boundaries is a method of informing those around you how to treat you, how to care for you, how to interact with you in a way that is nurturing, fulfilling and makes you feel safe. It isn’t about forming a tight fence around your inner being. It is about ensuring you feel free enough to be yourself, in totality, with those you bond with, and interactions are healthy, reciprocal and beneficial. And also that your values are acknowledged, honored and respected.

Learning to set boundaries can be tricky when it’s new, especially if those around you are used to a certain dynamic. If it’s a new concept, there’s a chance guilt may set in because it’s uncomfortable but don’t let yourself succumb to guilt. Push through the discomfort. Growth is on the other side.

Truly ready to ensure all of your bonds are healthy, safe spaces? Use these guiding principles as a compass while learning how to set healthy boundaries.

Always choose yourself. Always take care of you. 

Saying no is a complete sentence and requires no further explanation. If you really don’t want to do something, say no. If you were invited to go somewhere with friends but really need to take the night to get some much needed rest, don’t be afraid to say no for fear of disappointing them. It is better to be a disappointment to friends who most likely will be forgiving and understanding than be a disappointment to yourself because you are overexerting yourself. Be selfish, not selfless. No one but you will or is truly capable of putting yourself first and having your best interests at heart.
Firmly and directly assert yourself to those in your life.

Make a list of your values. Honestly determine what is important to you in your bonds with other people and keep these close to your heart. These are things that matter to you, these are things which make you feel valued and loved in your relationships. When behavior veers outside of what you deem acceptable according to your values, communicate that, immediately.

For example, if your partner has a tendency of speaking recklessly or raising their voice when they are upset with you, inform them you would appreciate if they would not raise their voice at you when angry. Make sure to use either “I feel…” or “When you…” statements to articulate your feelings. This is so you are explaining (and owning) how you feel and not casting blame on the other person to put them on the defense. By stating this, you are telling your partner there is a proper way to productively address issues and yelling is not one of them.

Be prepared to enact consequences if your boundary is not acknowledged, honored or respected.

Consequences aren’t a punishment or an angry thing as many of us have come to know. They are also not empty threats to manipulate the other person. Instead, consequences entail taking heed of a pattern of behavior, using that to inform future interactions and stating what will happen going forward. It might mean you no longer correspond with a person as frequently or not at all, and the relationship changes because their actions communicate a lack of respect.

For instance, perhaps a friend insists on calling or texting you late at night. This bothers you and you tell them, directly, to please not call or text you late and night (setting a boundary) and if they continue to do so, you will not answer when they reach out to you so late (consequence). Remember, this is about you. This is about engaging with others on your terms, what makes you feel comfortable and safe.

Ensure the boundaries you set are firm and stand behind them fiercely.

Boundary setting is often a learning curve and is not one size fits all for every person or situation. If a person is a repeated offender of poor behavior, your boundaries may be more rigid than say, for instance, a boss who has all of a sudden become overbearing and situationally difficult to deal with.

It is important to note your boundaries are only as strong as your commitment to following through on them. Stand behind what you say. Don’t let the (temporary) discomfort and guilt that arises prevent you from doing what you need to do to protect yourself. An example of this would be telling a friend you don’t like when they consistently cut you off in conversations because it makes you feel unheard (setting a boundary). Tell them if they can’t take the time to listen, you’ll will limit the conversations you have with them (consequence) but then a couple of days later go back to letting them cut you off mid conversation. You’ve communicated the opposite of what you intended: that what you said wasn’t that big of a deal and they can continue to conduct themselves in this way without any repercussion. It’s rewarding bad behavior and putting yourself back where you started. Prevent that; stick to your guns. Follow through.

Be patient (and gentle) with yourself. This is a process.

This is a journey, a multi-step, methodical, measured, slow journey. It won’t happen overnight and it will be difficult initially. You’ll be pushing back against an old way of interacting and shifting into more positive and healthy methods of engaging. The result, however, is well worth the effort, discomfort and plethora of other emotions that may arise — reciprocal relationships with people you respect who treat you lovingly, kind and nurture you in precisely the way you need.

Self-preservation as self-care is a fine art and boundaries are one component of that masterpiece. Invest in yourself through creating space and a lovingly flow between those you care about is yet another way to ensure you are taking care of you in the best way possible.

Nneka M. Okona is a writer based in Washington, DC. Visit her blog, http://www.afrosypaella.com, her website, about.me/nnekaokona or follow her tweets, @NisforNneka.

http://www.forharriet.com/2015/09/self-preservation-as-self-care-how-to.html#axzz3wR9j109I

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So What Is Self Care? ~ University of Kentucky

So What Is “Self Care”?

Self care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. Good self care is a challenge for many people and it can be especially challenging for survivors of interpersonal violence and abuse. It can also be an important part of the healing process. Self care is unique for everyone. Below are some ideas to get you started in developing your own self care plan. It can be overwhelming to consider taking on many new things. It may be helpful to start with a couple of ideas and build on that.

Physical self-care is an area that people often overlook

Planet

Food

  • Food is a type of self-care that people often overlook. People are often so busy that they don’t have time to eat regularly or that they substitute fast food for regular meals.
  • It’s not always reasonable to expect people to get 3 square meals a day (plus snacks!) but everyone should make sure they get adequate nutrition.
  • One example of a self care goal: Even if it’s a small amount, I will eat something for each meal. Exercise
  • avoExercise is one of the most overlooked types of self-care. The CDC recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week.
  • Exercise, even if it’s just a quick walk at lunchtime, can help combat feelings of sadness or depression and prevent chronic health problems.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will go for a walk Tuesday and Thursday after I get out of my morning class.

     

     

     

    Sleep

  • Although everyone has different needs, a reasonable guideline is that most people need between 7-10 hours of sleep per night.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will go to bed by 11:00 p.m. during the week so that I can get enough sleep.

    Medical care

    • Getting medical attention when you need it is an important form of physical self-care.
    • Some survivors put off getting medical care until problems that might have been relatively easy to take care of have become more complicated.
    • One example of a self care goal: I will set aside money in my budget (or seek financial help) so that I

      can get my prescriptions filled every month.
      Some information adapted from RAINN.org, UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Program

Watch

Emotional self-care will mean different things for different people. It might mean:

Counseling

  • This could mean seeing a psychologist, a clinical social worker, or therapist.
  • The VIP Center can help refer you to a counselor.
  • The UK Counseling Center provides free services to UK students.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will find out more about the UK Counseling Center so that I can decide whether this might be helpful for me.

    Keeping a journal

  • Some survivors find that recording their thoughts and feelings in a journal or diary helps them manage their emotions after an assault or abusive situation.
  • One example of a self care goal: I will write in my journal at least 3 times this week.

    Meditation or relaxation exercises

• Relaxation techniques or meditation help many survivors with their emotional self-care. For example:  Sit or stand comfortably, with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Place one hand

over your belly button. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose and let your stomach expand as you inhale. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth, sighing as you breathe out. Concentrate on relaxing your stomach muscles as you breathe in. When you are doing this exercise correctly, you will feel your stomach rise and fall about an inch as you breathe in and out. Try to keep the rest of your body relaxed—your shoulders should not rise and fall as you breathe! Slowly count to 4 as you inhale and to 4 again as you exhale. At the end of the exhalation, take another deep breath. After 3-4 cycles of breathing you should begin to feel the calming effects.

• One example of a self care goal: I will practice deep breathing before I go to sleep to calm down from the day.

Emotional self-care can also involve the people around you.

It’s important to make sure that the people in your life are supportive

  • Nurture relationships with people that make you feel good about yourself!
  • Make spending time with friends and family a priority
  • If you have trouble finding people who can support your experience as a survivor, consider joining a support group for survivors or getting involved with the VIP Center

    Be wary of…

  • Friends or family who only call when they need something
  • People who always leave you feeling tired or depressed when you see them
  • Friends who never have the time to listen to you

Some information adapted from RAINN.org, UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Program

• Anyone who dismisses or belittles your experience as a survivor

Smile Yellow Face 3

You can deal with these people by setting limits.

  • You don’t have to cut them out of your life (especially with family, that may not even be an option!)

    but choose the time you will spend with them carefully.

  • Make sure that your time with these people has a clear end.
  • Cut back on the time you spend with people who don’t make you feel good, or spend time with them

    in a group rather than one-on-one.

    Screen your calls!!

• There’s no rule that says you have to answer your phone every time it rings. If you don’t feel like

talking on the phone, call people back at a time that’s more convenient for you. You can deal with these people by letting some go.

  • If there are people in your life who consistently make you feel bad about yourself, consider letting those friendships or relationships go.
  • This can be a difficult decision. Remember that you deserve to have people around you who genuinely care about you and who support you.

     

    Another challenge can be in finding time for fun leisure activities

    Many of us have full time jobs, go to school, volunteer and have families. Finding time to do activities that you enjoy is an important aspect of self-care.Smiling Buddha

  • Be aware of things you may be doing that take up a lot of your time but don’t support your self care such as too much time on the internet, watching TV, even sleeping. These can all be relaxing, enjoyable activities in moderation but can become a way of retreating and isolating yourself.

     

    Get involved in a sport or hobby that you love!! Find other people who are doing the same thing! Knowing that people are counting on you to show up can help motivate you.

    Make a date night and stick with it, either with a partner, a friend or a group of friends.
    Turn off your cell phones (within reason. If the babysitter needs to be able to find you, consider leaving him/her the number of the restaurant so that you can turn off your ringer!)
    Treat leisure appointments as seriously as business appointments. If you have plans to do something for fun, mark it on your calendar!
    Make your self-care a priority, not something that happens (or doesn’t happen!) by accident.

Some information adapted from RAINN.org, UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Program

http://www.uky.edu/StudentAffairs/VIPCenter/downloads/self%20care%20defined.pdf

This Curvy Yogi Is The Most Inspiring Human You’ll See All Day ~ Alison Caporimo

Meet Valerie Sagun, a 28-year-old yogi from San Jose, California.

Meet Valerie Sagun, a 28-year-old yogi from San Jose, California.

Valerie Sagun / Via instagram.com

Sagun has been practicing hatha yoga for the past four years. Hatha is a set of physical exercises, known as asanas, that are designed to align your skin, muscles, and bones.

Sagun started her Instagram Big Gal Yoga a year and a half ago.

Sagun started her Instagram Big Gal Yoga a year and a half ago.

Valerie Sagun / Via instagram.com

“At first, I only did Tumblr,” Sagun tells BuzzFeed Life. “But when I got to 10,000 followers and people asked me to join Instagram, I decided to go for it.”

And her photos are fly AF.

And her photos are fly AF.

Valerie Sagun / Via instagram.com

Crow pose? More like queen pose.

To start, her yoga wardrobe is TO DIE FOR.

To start, her yoga wardrobe is TO DIE FOR.

Valerie Sagun / Via instagram.com

“It can be hard for bigger women to find good leggings,” she says. But, let’s face it, she looks flawless. Sagun swears by her favorite brands Rainbeau Curves and Fractal 9 for comfy, colorful athletic wear.

And her confidence is contagious.

And her confidence is contagious.

Valerie Sagun / Via instagram.com

“I’ve never really felt self-conscious about my body during yoga classes,” Sagun says. “For me, yoga is all about the mind and positive thinking. I get anxiety and depression, and practicing has helped me through that.”

She’s always down to try new things.

She's always down to try new things.

Valerie Sagun / Via instagram.com

Like using a yoga wheel. “It helps to open your back a lot more during stretches,” Sagun says.

And pushing herself is the only way she knows how.

And pushing herself is the only way she knows how.

Valerie Sagun / Via instagram.com

“Acro yoga was one thing, especially as a bigger-bodied person, that I was scared and doubtful to try,” Sagun writes on her Instagram. “But it was so fun to practice.”

Sagun loves yoga so much that she’s currently trying to become a teacher.

Sagun loves yoga so much that she's currently trying to become a teacher.

Valerie Sagun / Via instagram.com

She started a GoFundMe to help raise money for tuition at 7 Centers Yoga Arts in Sedona, Arizona.

“By being a curvy woman of color, I get to show a lot of underrepresented people that they are capable of anything,” she says.

"By being a curvy woman of color, I get to show a lot of underrepresented people that they are capable of anything," she says.

Valerie Sagun / Via instagram.com

“We need more diversity so that, one day, diversity just becomes something normal that happens everywhere.”

"We need more diversity so that, one day, diversity just becomes something normal that happens everywhere."

Valerie Sagun / Via instagram.com

“Everyone who is interested in yoga should feel comfortable practicing it,” she says.

A Myth-Busting Portrait Of Black Women In America by Lori L. Tharps

Lori L. Tharps is an assistant professor of journalism at Temple University and the author of the memoir “Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain.” 
THE SISTERS ARE ALRIGHT
Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America
By Tamara Winfrey Harris
Berrett-Koehler. 146 pp. Paperback, $15.95 

Ironically, “The Sisters Are Alright” appears at a time when sisters seem anything but. As I write these words, the fate of Sandra Bland and four other black women who died while in police custody is galvanizing a hashtag movement seeking to bring attention to what seems an unrelenting and underreported tidal wave of abuse and ridicule of black women. In early July, Serena Williams, one of America’s greatest athletes, earned her 21st Grand Slam title with an electrifying win at Wimbledon; in response, several media outlets chose to critique her body type. Also in July, the mayor of Airway Heights, Wash., Patrick Rushing, came to national attention after posting a Facebook message referring to our first lady as “Gorilla face Michele.” He then refused to apologize for his racist language, claiming that his choice of words was just “playful” banter. All of this in just one month suggests that the sisters are not all right. 

Journalist and blogger Tamara Winfrey Harris believes otherwise and sets out to prove it in this, her first book. Using a combination of anecdotal evidence, historical research, and well-documented facts and studies, Harris has compiled an engaging and informative treatise on black womanhood in America. 

With chapters on beauty, sex, health, marriage and anger, Harris hits all the hot-button issues that typically engage black women in this country. In each chapter, she points out distortions applied to black womanhood — all black woman are angry, all black mothers are single mothers — and then cites the life experiences of women who challenge the myths. We hear from a single mother who was raised by a single mother and, predictably, she’s all right. In the chapter on marriage, we meet Kim Akins, a happily single black woman who, far from lamenting her non-coupled status, celebrates her freedom. “I would tell black women to live their lives to the fullest,” she says. “Don’t wait for a partner to take you to the Alps. Go see them yourself. When you fill yourself up, you’re more attractive, and if romance doesn’t happen, you’re still full of you.” 

Akins’s story is neither instructive nor necessarily representative, but it challenges the typical story foisted on black women in America. In literature and in film, on television and even in our history books, the narrative of the black female experience is too often one-dimensional, if it is portrayed at all. “A hyperfocus on black women’s challenges, with Mammy, the Matriarch, Sapphire, and Jezebel forever in the shadows, gives an inaccurate and narrow picture of black women’s lives,” Harris writes in her introduction. “What black women really need is for the world, including many people who claim to love them, to recognize that they cannot be summed up so easily.” 

The problem with “The Sisters Are Alright” is that, in her attempt to change the broken narrative of black women in America, Harris spends too much time reiterating what’s broken and not enough time constructing a thoughtful alternative version. Without seeking a sugarcoated truth, I would have expected to see more examples of black women beating the system or defying the limiting images that Harris laments. In the chapter on sex, for example, the author examines the black woman as hyper-sexed myth but uses Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé as case studies! 

Instead of giving considerable ink to the black women who are shattering stereotypes, Harris offers micro-sidebars scattered throughout the book under the awkward heading “Moments in Alright” to highlight moments in black women’s lives. In the chapter dedicated to beauty, for example, there’s a “Moment” that reads, “College-educated black women are the most likely group to read a book in any format.” While that is definitely a positive fact to share, why is it in a chapter about beauty, and how does it fit into the new narrative that Harris is trying to construct? Had these sidebars been expanded and organized in a more coherent way, they could have served as the inspirational nuggets the author surely intended.

From outliers such as Oprah to everyday heroes such as Ruth Simmons, who was the first black president of an Ivy League university (Brown), examples abound of black women who refuse to be pigeonholed. But they are not in this book. Nor are the renegades, intellectuals, writers and cultural icons throughout history whose very existence defies the notion that black women are an imperfect group. Their voices, along with a more thorough and nuanced presentation of the statistics and scholarship on black female achievement, could have bolstered Harris’s claim that the sisters are indeed all right.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-myth-busting-portrait-of-black-women-in-america/2015/08/12/998a022e-347c-11e5-adf6-7227f3b7b338_story.html

13 Quotes by Black Women on Survival and Critical Self-Preservation ~ Altheria Gaston

In her essay titled “Sin, Nature, and Black Women’s Bodies,” Delores S. Williams writes about “spirit breakers” or “Negro breakers,” those who were hired by slave owners to break the spirit of slaves who seemed to be too confident, too uppity, and too independent. The sole purpose of these “spirit breakers” was to put slaves in their place and to convince them that their status as mere property would never change.

It would seem that the repeated offenses against Black women (and other women of color) serve what is perhaps a similar yet unintended purpose—to break the spirit of advocates and activists working towards equity and social justice. Those with broken spirits may be discouraged, hopeless, and just plain tired. The writers of The Combahee River Collective Black Feminist Statement articulate this point:

The psychological toll of being a Black woman and the difficulties this presents in reaching political consciousness and doing political work can never be underestimated. There is a very low value placed upon Black women’s psyches in this society, which is both racist and sexist.

Since we can’t depend on others to uplift and encourage us, we must do so ourselves. I offer you these quotes on self-preservation and survival to do exactly that—uplift and encourage.  

 

Audre Lorde in Oberlin College Commencement Address, 1989

“To face the realities of our lives is not a reason for despair—despair is a tool of your enemies. Facing the realities of our lives gives us motivation for action. For you are not powerless… You know why the hard questions must be asked. It is not altruism, it is self-preservation—survival.”

Sherley Anne Williams in “Surviving the Blight,” 1988

“And when we (to use Alice Walker’s lovely phrase) go in search of our mothers’ gardens, it’s not really to learn who trampled on them or how or even why—we usually know that already. Rather, it’s to learn what our mothers planted there, what they thought as they sowed, and how they survived the blighting of so many fruits.”

Elizabeth Alexander in “Praise Song for the Day,” 2009

“Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself / others by first do no harm or take no more than you need. / What if the mightiest word is love?  

Love beyond marital, filial, national, / love that casts a widening pool of light, / love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun. On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp, / praise song for walking forward in that light.”

Melissa Harris-Perry in Sister Citizen, 2011

“Sisters are more than the sum of their relative disadvantages: they are active agents who craft meaning out of their circumstances and do so in complicated and diverse ways.”

Angela Y. Davis in an interview with Jennifer Byrne, 1999

“Well of course I get depressed sometimes, yes I do. But at the same time these changes never take place overnight. They always require protracted struggles and I can look back at my life and add all of the struggles I’ve been involved in, and I can see that we made a difference. We really did make a difference.”

Audre Lorde in A Burst of Light, 1988

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

Patricia Hill Collins in Black Feminist Thought, 1990

“African-American women have been victimized by race, gender, and class oppression. But portraying Black women solely as passive, unfortunate recipients of racial and sexual abuse stifles notions that Black women can actively work to change our circumstances and bring about changes in our lives. Similarly, presenting African-American women solely as heroic figures who easily engage in resisting oppression on all fronts minimizes the very real costs of oppression and can foster the perception that Black women need to help because we can ‘take it.’”

Layli Maparyan in  The Womanist Idea, 2012

“Self-care is a way of maintaining both wellness and balance in the energetic economy of social and economic intercourse. Activists and caretakers who do not attend to self-care are vulnerable to burnout, and burnout in turn can breed alienation from both issues and communities… Self-care and care of others needs to be balanced.”

Barbara Omolade in The Rising Song of African American Women, 1994

“Women of color warriors are constant warriors who dig in bare earth to feed the hungry child, who pray for health the bedside of the sick when there is no medicine, who fashion a toy to make a poor child smile, who take to the streets demanding freedom, freedom, freedom against armed police. Every act of survival by a woman of color is an act of resistance to the holocaust and the war. No soldier fights harder than a woman warrior for she fights for total change, for a new order in a world in which can finally rest and love.”

June Jordan in “Where is the love?” 1978

“I am a feminist, and what that means to me is much the same as the meaning of the fact that I am Black: it means that I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect. It means that I must everlastingly seek to cleanse myself of the hatred and the contempt that surrounds and permeates my identity, as a woman, and as a Black human being, in this particular world of ours.”

bell hooks in Sisters of the Yam, 2005

“Black women have not focused sufficiently on our need for contemplative spaces. We are often ‘too busy’ to find time for solitude. And yet it is in the stillness that we also learn how to be with ourselves in a spirit of acceptance and peace. Then when we re-enter community, we are able to extend this acceptance to others. Without knowing how to be alone, we cannot know how to be with others and sustain the necessary autonomy.”

Shanesha Brooks-Tatum in “Subversive Self-Care: Centering Black Women’s Wellness,” 2012

“Black women’s self-care is also subversive because to take care of ourselves means that we disrupt societal and political paradigms that say that Black women are disposable, unvalued. Indeed, people and things that aren’t cared for are considered expendable. So when we don’t take care of ourselves, we are affirming the social order that says black women are disposable.”

Florynce Kennedy, Unknown Source and Year

“You can’t dump one cup of sugar into the ocean and expect to get syrup. If everybody sweetened her own cup of water, then things would begin to change.” 

We all need refreshing from time to time. It is my hope that these quotes—some lesser known than others—from our foremothers and sisters in the struggle will invigorate your spirits in the days, weeks, and months to come. 
http://www.forharriet.com/2015/05/13-quotes-by-black-women-on-survival.html#axzz3ZLT2L8Zj

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties ~ Shannon Rosenberg

Dating and relationships can be a special type of shit show in your twenties.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

Between trying to be a real adult and figuring out what you want to do with your life, how does anyone have time to find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with?

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

The struggle is too real. So we asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what they wish they knew about dating and relationships when they were in their twenties. Here’s what they said:

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

1. “Assume that you can get anyone to fall for you if you want them to.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“It might not be true, but you should go into every date with that assumption, instead of worrying about whether or not the guy is into you.” –kristencarol

2. “Making the first move is terrifying but it will be the most awesome terrifying thing ever.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

ckfreak

3. “The best pick up line in the world is ‘Hi, I’m (insert your name here).’”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
Columbia Pictures / Via gifsgallery.com

–Joey Hamilton, Facebook

4. Follow the “Three Month Rule.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Follow the Three Month Rule: If after three months there’s something you can’t live with then move on. People don’t change.” –Tracy Evette Paul, Facebook

5. “Don’t commit to someone who hasn’t asked you to.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

kgrandstrand

6. And feel free to actually say no when you want to.

 

Paramount Pictures / Via pshawscorner.com

 
 

“It’s okay to turn someone down. And it’s okay if the person you turn down gets upset, that is beyond your control. I went on so many unwanted dates because I felt bad saying no.” –MrsH810

7. Don’t feel pressured to achieve any specific milestone by any specific time.

“There is no specific timeline that you have to achieve any specific milestone. Some of your friends are going to get married and start having babies early. Others will wait a bit longer. If you’re not one of the first to achieve either or both of those milestones (if that’s what you want), it’s okay. It will happen when the time is right. It’s better to be single than stuck with the wrong person.” –Jen Stone, Facebook

8. Believe people’s actions, not their words.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
20th Century Fox / Via imgur.com

“If he/she’s not contacting you, or playing games, or being flaky, etc., it’s pretty clear what they actually think, despite what they may have said.” –Mcfly7719

9. “Don’t drink excessively on first dates.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
AMC / Via wordpress.com

lacyl3

10. Make sure you date on your own terms.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Write a contract with yourself to date on your own terms. Be clear about what those terms are and advocate for yourself if it’s not working.” –Sean Fitch, Facebook

11. Have no regrets.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Regret NOTHING!! You will learn from it all in the end.” –Justin Hilton, Facebook

12. Know that your “ideal” partner can change over time. So just do you right now.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
Screen Gems / Via yvonneashlee.wordpress.com

“Focus on yourself, your goals, and with time, the right one will come around. After all, your 20s are the perfect time for you to explore and really find yourself. Besides, what you saw as an ‘ideal’ partner back in college may be totally different now!” –Valeria Marquez, Facebook

13. And just completely forget about dating if you’re sick of it.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Ugh. Just get a cat.” –Shannon Hooper, Facebook

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

14. First, learn to be okay by yourself.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Be okay with being by yourself. You’ll enjoy it so much more when you add someone meaningful to your life and even when things don’t work out, you’ll still have that joy of being with yourself.” – Danit Ehrlich, Facebook

15. And don’t feel like you need to change for anyone.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
NBC / Via theberry.com

“Don’t change who you are for ANYONE! You can adapt and try to take an interest in things that they love, but never change the essence of you. Never lose yourself. The right person would never want you to.” –NurseTina3938

16. Just because they’re perfect, doesn’t mean they’re perfect for you.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“They may be the perfect person, but they may not be the perfect person for you. You’ll know when it’s the right person to stick with.” –Sharon Walles, Facebook

17. “Find someone who you can laugh with and have fun with, any time and anywhere.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
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18. Don’t stay in a dead relationship just because you’re comfortable.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“Just because it’s comfortable, doesn’t always mean it’s right for either of you. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want, and do not be afraid to be on your own. You are far stronger than you think you are!” –Cait G.

19. Don’t try to find yourself through a relationship.

“Find yourself, then the right relationship will find YOU. A relationship will never work out when one or both people are only half done downloading.” –John Shinners, Facebook.

20. And don’t give SO much of yourself without getting anything in return.

“You need to both be in a position where you can sacrifice and compromise.” –Alice Louisa Davies, Facebook

21. Really take into consideration what your friends and family have to say.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
Buena Vista Pictures / Via buzzfeed.com

“If all your friends and family tell you that he/she is a creep, hear them out. Especially if they tell you this repeatedly. They love you and want you to be happy.” –janetm43885b0d5

22. But don’t let them make the decisions for you.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
New Line Cinema / Via weheartit.com

“Don’t let your parents pick out who to date. You’re not in high school anymore, you can tell your parents no.” –Sharon Walles, Facebook

23. “Know when to throw in the towel.”

“You can’t strong arm someone into their potential.” –Kate Morrone, Facebook

24. And don’t feel like you ALWAYS need to be in a relationship.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
Warner Bros. Television / Via teen.com

“Going from one relationship to another is not healthy; have a single break!” –Claire Reading

25. Absolutely don’t let anyone mistreat you.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
Disney / Via manrepeller.com

“Do not stand for bad behavior of any kind — cheating, shouting, lashing out at you and making you feel like shit — if any of this happens, LEAVE!” –Gabi Garb

26. Remember that there is such a thing as giving too much.

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties

“When you do that, whoever you date will grow a sense of self-entitlement rather than gratitude.” –Laurann Rilmen, Facebook

27. “Know that you’re good enough. Anyone would be lucky to have you.”

28. Don’t stay with someone because you think you can change them.

“You CANNOT change that very interesting ‘bad guy.’ Don’t be afraid to set limits. Don’t be afraid to communicate your needs. If he isn’t able to fulfill them or at least compromise, it won’t work out.” –kaa

29. Be with someone who genuinely makes you reallysuper happy.

“No one should make you cry more than they make you laugh.” –hanny12080

30. “No scrubs.”

30 Dating Tips People Wish They Knew In Their Twenties
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damnitness

Truth.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/shannonrosenberg/just-get-a-cat#.fvbm86eZR1

The 11 Realest Solange Knowles Quotes ~ Zeba Blay

What’s not to love about Solange Knowles? She’s a talented tastemaker, has phenomenal style, and makes amazing music. Once compared to her equally fly sister Beyonce, Knowles has carved out a niche for herself as a quirky carefree black girl who is more than comfortable to take chances and say what’s on her mind.

It’s Solange’s outspoken nature that’s perhaps the most compelling thing about her. Beyonce sings in her song “Flawless,” “My sister taught me how to speak my mind,”and it’s pretty easy to believe that — from speaking out against police brutality to clapping back when critics slam her style, Solange has never shied away from saying what she wants to say and always keeping it realer than real.

In celebration of her 28th birthday, below are some of Solange’s realest quotes from the last several years. 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/24/the-11-realest-solange-quotes_n_7647874.html?utm_hp_ref=community-pioneer

Serena Williams: ‘I Had To Come To Terms With Loving Myself’ ~ Sasha Bronner

SERENA WILLIAMS
Serena Williams is the best tennis player in the game. She won the French Open earlier this month, which brings her to 20 Grand Slam titles — a truly incredible accomplishment. The only number she is chasing now is 22 Grand Slams, a record held by retired great, Steffi Graf in the Open era.

But having superhero-like athleticism from a young age didn’t shield her from experiencing her fair share of body issues. She grew up comparing her body to her older sister Venus.

“It wasn’t very easy — growing up,” Williams told The Huffington Post in an interview. “Venus was like a model. I was thicker.”

The sisters are just over a year apart and Serena said she always felt different on the court because of her body. 

“Most women athletes are pretty thin. I didn’t really know how to deal with it. I had to come to terms — as every teen and young adult does — with loving myself. I had to find different role models. But my body type is in style now, so I’m loving it!”

Her relationship with her body has been tested in other ways, too. Any professional athlete will say that injuries are part of the game, but the Williams sisters are known for keeping a tight lip about their ailments.

In 2010, after Serena was seen walking around with a boot on her foot, Venus said: “Traditionally we don’t say much about injuries — we don’t need anybody to feel sorry for us about it.” Serena didn’t talk about the cause of the injury for months, and later said she stepped on glass.

But now, five years later, Serena revealed that it was by far her worst and scariest injury. “I sliced my foot. I don’t know how. Something fell on top of it and sliced my tendon in half. I had to get two surgeries on it. In the process, I got a blood clot in my lungs and almost died. It was really a tough time for me,” she said.

Coming back from an injury like that is not easy. Williams compared it to a broken heart. 

“You worry about it. You worry every second about it. It’s like a heartbreak — the first couple of months, it’s really painful and then eventually it goes away,” she said. “But every day I got a little bit stronger, every day I worked harder and eventually I didn’t even remember it anymore.” 

Her recovery ushered in a deeper connection and appreciation of her body. “It gave me a new perspective on my life. I realized there are so many things that are so important. I don’t know if I needed that — but I feel like maybe I did. And because of it, I’m able to have a better career and appreciate my wins more.”

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Perspective is something that comes with age. But it also comes with experience. 

In 2001, the Williams sisters played in the prestigious Indian Wells tournament. It was an awful experience. Racial slurs were heard coming from the stands; boos boomeranged around the court. Serena was 19 years old. 

After boycotting the tournament for the last 14 years, Williams returned this past March. She first announced her plans to compete in the tournament in an eloquent TIME magazine essay.

“It has been difficult for me to forget spending hours crying in the Indian Wells locker room after winning in 2001,” she wrote. “Driving back to Los Angeles feeling as if I had lost the biggest game ever — not a mere tennis game but a bigger fight for equality.” 

Through the years, Williams has thought of Indian Wells as unfinished business. It holds a special place in her heart because she won her first pro match there in 1997, but the 2001 debacle was one of the lowest points of her career.

“It was the right time,” Williams told HuffPost of her decision to go back this year. “I was doing really well in my career and I felt like I had accomplished a lot. I started winning more and reaching certain numbers. I asked myself, ‘what do I want to do? What’s missing?’”

serena williams

She says Indian Wells was a chapter that she wanted to close — regardless of if the outcome was positive or negative. “There was something there that I wanted to face; that I wanted to overcome,” she said. “There are a lot of things that we as Americans are going through, especially right now. I just feel like it’s time to stand up. It wasn’t just for me, it was for everyone.”

Despite Williams injuring her knee and having to withdraw from the semifinal roundat the Indian Wells tournament, she said that the experience felt entirely different from the nightmare of 2001. “The sport has changed. I feel like people have changed,” she said.

“I was at a gas station at Indian Wells and a parent came up to me and said, ‘my kid loves you.’ His kid was 11-years-old. I thought it was great. This is a little person who has a life and goes to school and has friends and he’s a fan. I have missed 14 years of coming out here. That’s when I knew I had made the right decision.”

Williams says she was raised learning love and forgiveness from her mother. In her TIME essay, she included a quote from the Bible. “When you stand praying, forgive whatever you have against anyone, so that your Father who is in the heavens may also forgive you” (Mark 11:25). 

She prays and reads the Bible at times. “Not often enough,” she said. “I definitely pray and then try to build a relationship with God and go from there.”

Her relationship to God is a part of her game as much as it is a part of her life. 

“Physically you need to be great, emotionally you need to be stable and I need to have a good connection with my spirituality. When I have those three things together, I feel good and do well,” she said.

Williams is taking these lessons global with MasterClass — an online platform for students of all levels to learn from the greats. Williams teaches a tennis lesson, Usher teaches performance, Dustin Hoffman teaches acting and Annie Leibovitz teaches the art of photography.

“What I like about my lessons is they aren’t only about tennis. They are about life,” Williams said. “You can be down in life, but you can overcome things based on the way you think and how you set your frame of mind.”

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this post stated that Steffi Graf holds the most Grand Slam titles of any women’s tennis player. She holds the most titles in the post-1968 Open Era. Margaret Court holds the most overall.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/18/serena-williams-body-image_n_7599214.html