The Fall of Issa & Lawrence: Preventing Infidelity in Relationships

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The fall of Issa’s and Lawrence’s relationship on Insecure depicts a common and cautionary tale of what can happen when generally healthy relationships are not protected and nurtured. Most relationships go through rough patches at some point. People feel frustrated or annoyed by each other and aren’t sure how to communicate clearly  or resolve their problems. These patches often arise after the infatuation and overwhelmingly positive feelings of new love have worn away. When daily life in a relationship feels mundane and partners take each other for granted. The things that used to come easily – sincere compliments, passionate sex, general admiration – seemed to fade without warning and you’re left wondering what was lost in the relationship and if it’s possible to get it back

Cheating is a common response to feeling unhappy in a relationships. When relationships go through rough patches, many people do not know how to address the issues that arise. Instead of turning towards each other, partners often turn away from each other; avoiding engagement and the hard work of having difficult conversations. Additionally, many people have trouble asking for what they need in relationships and feeling hurt, disappointed, and angry can cause people to disregard their partner’s feelings. These issues can make partners vulnerable to developing inappropriate connections with people outside of their relationship. On this season of Insecure, we saw both Issa and Lawrence cultivate relationships with people who they were attracted to and provided them with the affirmation and encouragement that they were not receiving in their relationship with each other. Continue reading

3 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

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It is so easy to lose sight of what things we have to be thankful for. The hot water to warm our cold bodies when we shower. The clothes to choose from when we’re getting dressed. Food to eat when we’re hungry. Roofs over our heads. Friends to laugh and cry with. Music to move to. I could go on and on. It is often stated that there is so much to be thankful for, that we are “blessed beyond measure” and yet, many times, in our daily lives we miss so many wonderful opportunities to cultivate gratitude. Gratitude is something that helps to bring joy to our lives. Gratitude helps life to feel wonderful.

Unfortunately, in America we are not socialized to cultivate gratitude, to be thankful for what we have. We are constantly shown images of things that corporations and advertisers claim will make our lives better, easier, happier. Even our day of national thanks, Thanksgiving, has turned into a display of greed that keeps people from their families and sometimes results in people being seriously harmed. In America, we must work to cultivate gratitude. Without being grateful we will take the things that we have for granted.  Continue reading

We The People: Persevering Post Election

the_long_road_aheadThe physical shock began to set in for me while watching the election results come in last Tuesday night. The next morning I awoke to adrenaline coursing through my body. It was as if my body knew that the world was not okay, that it needed to be prepared to fight or flee a potentially dangerous situation. As Wednesday wore on, I began to feel physically sick: a deep queasiness and skin-crawling uneasiness set in. By Thursday, my emotions ranged from sadness and anger to denial. Friday, I experienced full-blown anger. What helped me to manage through this range of emotions was reminding myself that whatever I was feeling was okay. Accepting the emotions as they washed over me and allowing them to pass on their own. Even with this mindful approach to my emotions, I could see myself being more irritable with other people for small things. I could feel my heart hardening in ways that I’m not proud of. I could feel hate starting to seep in. Continue reading

Healing Childhood Wounds

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I saw Moonlight last weekend; it is a powerful, poignant, and nuanced movie about Black male development, masculinity, love, and sexuality. One aspect of the movie that moved me to tears was the depiction of the trauma the main character experienced in relationships with his mother and peers and how this trauma influenced him as a child and as an adult. Inspired by Moonlight, this post is dedicated to discussing childhood wounds and providing suggestions for how to heal them.

I was blessed to grow up in a stable, loving family and I still came out of childhood with some wounds. As a kid it felt like my parents were a unit and that I was on the outside of their strong marriage. Also, because my parents were so successful, I believed that they were perfect and that I needed to be perfect in order to be loved. In addition to my experiences at home, I frequently felt like an outsider as one of few black kids at school and didn’t quite fit in with my black friends at church. Loneliness was a frequent companion. As a child and teenager I adapted to this combination of experiences by working to try to get people to like me. I subconsciously felt that I was unlovable and spent a lot of energy trying to do things (giving my time, energy, support) in order to be loved. I guess it’s no surprise that now my job involves spending most of my time helping people to feel better about themselves and to not feel alone. I carried the wounds from my childhood into my young adult years and therapy was what helped me to heal and let go of these wounds. Continue reading