Self-Love

Do you love yourself? No, really do you? This is a serious question that requires a thoughtful response; because just as it requires a lot of thought before you would tell anyone that you love them, you don’t want to tell yourself “I love you” without taking the time to clearly recognize your truest feelings.

Self-loveFirst of all Self-Love is not narcissism. And, love is more than just a four-letter word. Love is an action. I could go through what I feel love is and go through everything that the Bible tells us about love (you can read it in my post LOVE IS MORE THAN WORDS), but love is something I believe is more natural than any food that you can buy at any organic food store. Love is so powerful; it even shapes our personalities. I can always see if a person felt loved growing up, just by seeing how they act or react in certain situations and the measure of grace they have for others; because “Hurt people, hurt people.”

Those who truly love themselves are authentic, they are transparent, they know their identity, they are proud of where they came from, they are confident, and most of all they are just as imperfect as everyone else in the world we live in. :) Love is felt inwardly, because it touches your heart, and it’s expressed outwardly, as you pay-it-forward and love others.

One of the things I struggle with the most is confidence. And, it was not easy to create this lack of confidence inside me, it took years of belittlement and an array of negative words that caused me to feel undervalued. So now I only spend time with people who are encouraging me, and I have to constantly invest positivism inside myself just to boost my confidence level. Experts say that we are naturally more attracted to remember negative words, and this is why many experts believe that it takes at least 5 positive encouraging remarks/comments to offset the effect that just 1 negative one has on someone. (read below)

~Studies conducted by Dr. John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago have shown what he calls, “the negativity bias” of the brain. Negatives have a much greater impact on our brain. Our brains are actually more sensitive and responsive to unpleasant news and remarks. That’s why personal insults or criticism hit us harder and stay with us longer. It’s why negative ads are more effective than positive ones—political or otherwise. Our brain contains a built-in partiality toward negative information.[click for more info]~

I feel there are so many people, men and women, who deal with self-love issues. Maybe it’s because they didn’t have a father or mother to tell them, “I love you. You’re a beautiful person inside and out.”, or maybe they had parents tell them they loved them but never showed them. How do you look at yourself when you wake up and look in the mirror? Do you say to yourself, “I love you! You are beautiful!”, or do you say, “Who would ever want to be around someone like you?” … let’s be real. If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect someone else to love you. Be authentic! Be proud of who you are and where you came from! Be confident! Regardless of how you look or what others may tell you about yourself…. God made you and He doesn’t make mistakes.

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Fathers

black childThe relationship I presently have with my father is basically non-existent. I don’t believe I have spoken to him this year… and I probably only spoke to him once or twice last year, if I spoke to him at all. Why is the relationship between fathers and sons have to be so tough?

I saw a recent study on CNN which said that 72% of all African-American children are born to single mothers (website). That basically says that 3 of 4 African-American children will be raised in a family where the father is absent, and will ultimately have problems seeking out a male role model. To me that’s just plain astounding! However, 1 out of every 3 children in America live in biological father-absent homes (website); fathers not being parents is not just a cultural problem, this is an American crisis.

The absence of a father’s involvement in his child’s life impacts them in many ways, but most of all financially; and it makes them more prone to teen pregnancy, childhood obesity, drug problems, mental problems, crime… and much more.

I feel that a son’s relationship with his father will ultimately shape their whole life. Some men live/work their whole lives longing to receive their father’s approval. While their are many women who don’t have good relationships with men, because they never received love from their father.

black fatherI was listening to a song by U2 – Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own, and this song is about Bono’s father. If you haven’t heard the song, click on the link and listen to it; it’s a beautiful song. In the paragraph below, Bono explains where the lyrics came from.

‘I sang ‘Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own’ at my father’s funeral. He was a very tough, old boot of a guy, Irish, Dub, north side of Dublin, very cynical about the world and the people in it, you know, but very charming, and funny with it.
‘His whole thing was, ‘Don’t dream – to dream is to be disappointed’. That was really what I think was his advice to me. He didn’t speak it in those words, but that’s what he meant, and of course that’s really a recipe for megalomania isn’t it? I mean I was only ever interested in big ideas, and not so much dreaming but putting dreams into action, doing the things that you have in your head has become an important thing for me.
‘The song ‘Sometimes You Cant Make it On Your Own’, was dedicated to him, and, it’s a portrait of him – he was a great singer, a tenor, a working class Dublin guy who listened to the opera and conducted the stereo with my mother’s knitting needles. He just loved opera, so in the song, I hit one of those big tenor notes that he would have loved so much. I think he would have loved it, I hope so.’
Bono

If you love someone, don’t wait until it’s too late to tell them or show them…

 

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Is She the Right One for Me

Right One for me2 Just like a moth is attracted to a flame, I am finding myself always being attracted to women who don’t want to be in a relationship.

One of the greatest mysteries of relationships to me, is the fact that there are so many attractive, interesting, beautiful people (men & women) who are longing for love and want to be in a meaningful relationship; yet why is it so hard for them to connect with each other, when they both want the same thing? It seems as if there is always something that is almost like a breach or gap that separates them from connecting with one another.

I see so many beautiful women every day who are single. In my mind I’m like, “What is going on???” So in many cases I just simply ask them, “Are you single because you want to be single? Or why aren’t you dating someone?” The usual response I receive, in most cases when asking women that question is either, “Well, no one has asked me out.”, or “I don’t want to be single, but I’m not looking to be in a relationship right now… I’m just pursuing my career.” But regardless of their response, whether they ARE or ARE NOT happy/content with living the single life, I believe if the right person were to come along… they would be up for a relationship!

Right One for me1In my life, I have had so many beautiful women, inside and out, as friends. Though I see the beauty in all women, I’m not attracted to every beautiful woman who smiles. And, as a younger man, in my 20′s and early 30′s, I just settled for their friendship because I love being around women; when in fact I really wanted something more. But, like John Mayer says, “friends, lovers, or nothing”… I could only settle for their friendship for so long, without being honest and openly express my feelings to them.

Obviously, there are multiple reasons why it is hard to find someone to share love with. For me I find that I’ve just watched too many 80′s love movies, LOL.. I’m just kidding. Nevertheless, as I cross paths with new women or build intimate relationships with existing friends, when attraction enters my heart I always take a step back and before I indulge my feelings upon her, I find that it’s always best to use wisdom and ask myself, “Is She the Right One for Me?”

 

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Alone

Maya Angelou quotesI really feel it to be true that no one should be alone.

As people get older and maturer, in most cases their values change. They begin to place less value in their material possessions and more value in their relationships; that’s why older people give more than younger people, regardless of their income. And, who wants to die alone? I remember in Tom Hanks’ movie “Cast Away”, he would have rather died attempting to go back home, than to live a life alone on a desert island.

There are many who feel that if you are not happy with being alone or single, then something’s wrong with you…well I disagree. Just because a person desires the friendship or affection of others, doesn’t mean they aren’t content with life. Everyone wants someone to trust, be around, and to share their ideas or feelings with, that’s natural and normal; and that’s regardless of their relationship status.

I absolutely love♥ reading poetry! Poems are like songs of the heart with meaningful lyrics. I saw the movie “Poetic Justice” a few days ago, and as Janet Jackson read this poem in the movie it really touched me. This poem is called “Alone”.

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

- by Maya Angelou

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Ordinary Love

Tonight was the first night of Jimmy Fallon hosting The Tonight Show. Though I know that this is a big thing and people have been talking about Jay Leno leaving The Tonight Show for months now, I didn’t know that NBC was going to broadcast Jimmy Fallon’s first show as host tonight. Plus I really don’t watch TV all that much to know what’s going on. Anyway, I happened to find out about the show by watching a commercial and I eventually watched it – and I have to say that it was a great show.

His two guests tonight were Will Smith (by the way, I did not know Will Smith was 45 years old! Time is flying by) and the rock band U2.

U2 ordinary loveAs the show was ending, U2 played a song called “Ordinary Love”. It’s a song that was written to honor Nelson Mandela, and it was on the soundtrack of Mandela’s biography film (which I have yet to see). It was my first time hearing the song. It was played acoustic, and as Bono was singing the lyrics, the song just touched my heart as I laid in my bed. I didn’t really understand all of the lyrics initially when they played the song, so I went online to listen to the song over and over… and I even found the chords of the song on my guitar so I could sing/play it myself.

The lyrics in the verse and the chorus are so powerful! There is a line in a verse that I found so meaningful – “I can’t fight you anymore, It’s you I’m fighting for”. Just think about that… as war is waged in our own households and communities, between fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives. It’s like people fight against the same people who they love the most. In the chorus it says – “We cannot reach any higher, If we can’t deal with ordinary love”. And, that is so true.

So what does Ordinary Love mean to you? I feel it is the feeling that is felt when anyone sees a mother holding her child. It is the feeling that tells you to open the door for an elderly person. It’s what tells us to give to others who are in need. It is the opposite of hate and conflict. Because even if you dislike or disagree with someone, ordinary love brings the realization that I don’t have to fight or argue with them because of our differences. It is the essence of what makes us inherently the same, as we all desire to be loved.

God loves us1 John 4:18-20 (NASB) - There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

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Gone Too Soon

I can see through the smile on your face

To the agony in your soul,

How can anyone dare to understand

The paths the sole of your feet treaded on

You fought what seemed to be a war

A battle was waged between your body and your soul

Embracing the moment, now your race is done

Alone you are, by yourself with no one to lean on

A rose among thorns you were

Filled with life, your words will live forever

You were an original, unique, one of a kind

No regrets you lived a full life, though still you were only here for a time

The life you lived was far from perfection

Nevertheless, who knew that someone so special as you

uncle sonnyWho was loved by so many, and so talented, favored, and blessed

Would ever be…

Gone Too Soon, Gone Too Soon, Gone Too Soon

…I love you

~ a poem by Jason Perry (dedicated to my Uncle Sonny)

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Relationships in 2014

love jonesOk… are you ready for a little openness, a little honesty, some candid thoughts and feelings, and a lot of REAL Talk. Because I know I’m ready for anything that’s real. I’m so tired of fake people and meaningless actions. Life is serious, so I feel we should treat it that way.

2013 for me was about coming into myself, going through matters of unexpected issues, trusting in God, and it was also a year of relationships ending, beginning, and ending again. In the middle of the year I faced a very serious situation with my best friend at the time; though our friendship meant a lot to me, in one week’s time the words which were spoken to me caused the annulment of our relationship.

At the time we did almost everything together, as we were working with each other in a mission to create something musically tangible, and find success out here in Los Angeles, California, almost two thousand miles away from the place we both knew as home. And, as I look back at that serious situation, I see that my life could have easily went in a number of different directions. But, it is true in life that as one thing exits your life, in the same moment it also creates an open door for something else to enter.

love 2013 image

In the later months of 2013 I began dating a woman who I was so in love with. Though she wasn’t perfect, I believed her to be God’s gift to me. In the beginning our relationship was so beautiful… I felt she loved me for who I was, and not for who I was or who I was going to be. I even still remember people commenting on how beautiful we were together. Yet as time passed, the infatuation came to an end and our hearts grew apart; and through much deep thought and encouraging words from friends, I realized she wasn’t my wife and our relationship was ultimately not worth fighting for. By the end of the year, what was once a relationship of shared love was now turned into one of disdain, evasion, and indifference.

It’s now in 2014, so what should I expect from my relationships this year. Last year two of the closest people to me at the time exited my life. I feel this is the year someone will enter in my life for forever. Earlier tonight I was just talking with a good friend about the meaning of intimate relationships and how hard it is to find someone in Los Angeles. She told me something that was so true. She said that marriage is like a business…looking for someone to love, is like looking for a business partner to work with and make a career with… and commitment is like signing a contractual agreement. I want to be with someone who wants the best for the both of us, and we are willing to sacrifice and work together to build our lives.

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2014 Another New Year

It’s January 2014, and I honestly have to say that this year doesn’t feel like last year nor the year before. I was speaking with a friend tonight and she echoed my sentiment that this year has a feeling of great expectations or accomplishments. It’s like this year will be blessed, as if the stars are aligning and hard work is yielding it’s rewards in this year. However, it is only a few days into the year and I’m just getting over some major issues that have been affecting me in my personal relationship with my girlfriend, I just was released from a temporary job that I had been working at for the last 3 months, and tomorrow I’m going on a job interview.

Though I have a lot on my mind, and I have many words to write down, I will let this blog be cut short. I feel as if there is something more important that I should be doing, like reading my Bible before I go to bed and getting some rest for tomorrow morning.

I will leave this blog with this thought… What do you want this year to mean to you? What are you sacrificing so that you can accomplish what you are working to achieve this year? I know what I want this year to be for me. I want this year to be the beginning of a life of financial stability with a career that I love to do, and I want to find my wife wherever she may be hiding.

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People’s Opinions: Be Yourself

be yourselfBeing this is season of spreading love, all while trying to embody a spirit of joy and happiness, I cannot help but to have a greater insight into the character of those who choose not to live in the spirit of this holiday season. The holidays really do bring out the best and the worst in people. There are some who really do give from their heart, in effort to show love and kindness, while others will get mad at the world and take it out on everyone they know because they’re not getting what they want or their life isn’t what they want it to be.

One of my friends hurt me the other day, and honestly I don’t know how to handle it. I tell myself that I forgave her. I even still speak to her; I don’t ignore her when she calls, but I don’t know if I truly forgave her in my heart.

The whole thing was over her misinterpretation of some advice or opinions I gave her, as we discussed some relationship issues in her life. I believe she felt I was demeaning her or trying to advise her to do something that was totally opposite of what I was saying. And, after the conversation she sent me some weird text messages… and they really made me question the worth of our friendship. I was like, “Do I even want to respond to this? Is our friendship worth my response to her message.” Though I ended up responding, I only responded because I loved her as a friend, and you can’t just ignore people you love… that’s so immature and disrespectful.

Being the ripe old age of 33, I have come to realize that people will always have their opinions about everything you do… you might as well do your best to follow your heart, because if you are constantly making the extra effort trying to please everyone else, you will end up working too hard at something that you ultimately cannot solve… and eventually you will end up tiring yourself out and you will be the only one unhappy. And I wish that everyone could be confident in themselves to just be who they are.

If you are looking for advice or the opinions of others…take this into consideration — If someone doesn’t value their own true feelings enough to be honest with themselves, they will never be able to fully place their faith or trust in someone else’s opinions about them. And, if a person is ever in a relationship that is stressing them out too much, taking their energy away from their life, or causing them to feel depressed about life…regardless of who is at fault in the relationship, no one’s perfect nor do things always turn out right, but after your emotions subside know that if you are true with your feelings and honest with yourself then ultimately things will be just fine. Trust your own opinions and just be yourself…. it’s hard, but it’s doable.

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Maya Angelou’s Poetic Tribute to Nelson Mandela

In our generation, there are very few people who have received the same worldwide recognition and respect as Nelson Mandela. His recent death in the past week caused me to be inquisitive of his life; and I had to sit and ask myself, “How much do I really know about him at all?”. I believe that the average person doesn’t know his true life story, nor the real story of how he became all that he was: respected politician, philanthropist, President of South Africa, South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Well, at least I know that I don’t know that much about him; except for the fact that he was imprisoned “unjustly” (maybe) for years and then was released, and afterward became the President of South Africa. And, that is very little; because if you can sum up a person’s life in one sentence then that means you don’t really know their life at all.

The recent death of Nelson Mandela stuck a cord in hearts all around the world. It was like the whole world had to stop for a moment and respect his absence. And that says a lot.

Anyway… as I was researching the life of Nelson Mandela I came across this beautiful poem written by Maya Angelou called, “His Day Is Done”, written as a tribute to his life. You have to realize that her words about him should be held in greater respect, because she knew him personally; I read that Maya Angelou first met Nelson Mandela before he was imprisoned in 1962. Nevertheless, I read her poem and I loved it, so I have to share it. I hope you take the time to read it, and in reading receive a new perspective on the life of Nelson Mandela and what he meant to our generation.

His day is done.
Is done.
The news came on the wings of a wind, reluctant to carry its burden.
Nelson Mandela’s day is done.
The news, expected and still unwelcome, reached us in the United States, and suddenly our world became somber.
Our skies were leadened.

His day is done.
We see you, South African people standing speechless at the slamming of that final door through which no traveler returns.
Our spirits reach out to you Bantu, Zulu, Xhosa, Boer.
We think of you and your son of Africa, your father, your one more wonder of the world.

We send our souls to you as you reflect upon your David armed with a mere stone, facing down the mighty Goliath.

Your man of strength, Gideon, emerging triumphant.

Although born into the brutal embrace of Apartheid, scarred by the savage atmosphere of racism, unjustly imprisoned in the bloody maws of South African dungeons.

Would the man survive? Could the man survive?

His answer strengthened men and women around the world.

In the Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas, on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, in Chicago’s Loop, in New Orleans Mardi Gras, in New York City’s Times Square, we watched as the hope of Africa sprang through the prison’s doors.

His stupendous heart intact, his gargantuan will hale and hearty.

He had not been crippled by brutes, nor was his passion for the rights of human beings diminished by twenty-seven years of imprisonment.

Even here in America, we felt the cool, refreshing breeze of freedom.

When Nelson Mandela took the seat of Presidency in his country where formerly he was not even allowed to vote we were enlarged by tears of pride, as we saw Nelson Mandela’s former prison guards invited, courteously, by him to watch from the front rows his inauguration.

We saw him accept the world’s award in Norway with the grace and gratitude of the Solon in Ancient Roman Courts, and the confidence of African Chiefs from ancient royal stools.

No sun outlasts its sunset, but it will rise again and bring the dawn.

Yes, Mandela’s day is done, yet we, his inheritors, will open the gates wider for reconciliation, and we will respond generously to the cries of Blacks and Whites, Asians, Hispanics, the poor who live piteously on the floor of our planet.

He has offered us understanding.
We will not withhold forgiveness even from those who do not ask.
Nelson Mandela’s day is done, we confess it in tearful voices, yet we lift our own to say thank you.

Thank you our Gideon, thank you our David, our great courageous man.

We will not forget you, we will not dishonor you, we will remember and be glad that you lived among us, that you taught us, and that you loved us all.

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