Peacefulness is being calm inside.
Take time for daily reflection and gratitude.
Solve conflicts so everyone wins.
Be a peacemaker.
Peace is giving up the love of power for the power of love.
Peace in the world begins with peace in your heart.
By Amir Figueroa
Silence, stigma, discrimination and shame shroud many things in the Black community; particularly, mental health awareness. I know I like to handle things myself. After all, who knows you better than yourself? However, there is nothing like having an unbiased, open ear to the story of your life. There is power in utilizing the services of individual, couples, and family counseling.
Silence can be quite harmful to any individual or group. There are countless stories that have been revealed about women, men, boys, and girls who have experienced abuse, sexual assault, extreme depression, life threatening illnesses, and many other things that can often go unnoticed. Not addressing it can lead to even greater consequences. It doesn’t always have to end in death, but can also be a lifetime of pain.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported, “African Americans tend to rely on family, religious and social communities for emotional support rather than turning to health care professionals, even though this may at times be necessary.” It’s great to have honest family and friends who can keep it real with you, but an unbiased opinion from someone who has professional experience dealing with mental health issues can be incredibly rewarding. It is reassuring to see change within your lifetime. For example, I am proud to be a member of an African American Baptist church in Harlem, NYC that has a counselor on staff, offering their services for free.
In relationships, we often bring our own baggage, heartache, scars, and secrets. Take for example, a guy who, when in a relationship, has other women on the side. Some may say he likes to have his cake and eat it too, but on a deeper level he could have issues with loneliness or abandonment. Woman after woman could label him as a dog, but it takes a concerned woman to recommend counseling. The follow through comes with the man actually committing to it, and realizing that the loneliness and abandonment issues may stem from the loss of his father at such a young age. We have to be available as family, friends, and partners to come from a place of love. Leave judgment to the court rooms. We have to listen twice as much as we speak and lead with compassion.
For more information, a great place to start is the National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov). State and local resources will vary, but they are available.
Has a therapist or counselor helped with your own relationships?
Read the full article at singleblackmale.org.
Sometimes, if we are lucky, we get to choose between two potential partners for us. This makes sense because there are millions of people in the world and we are compatible with many. There is great potential to be happy with more than one person in our lifetime, but when it comes to exclusivity in our relationship, we typically choose one person to focus our loving attention on.
Because our love energy and attention is going to be shared with this one particular person, s/he should be very special and offer us the type of relationship that we truly desire. This quick guide can help you make your decision about which one to choose:
Write a list of what you like and dislike about each potential partner. Compare the lists, but also star the qualities that are most important to you.
- Communicate with your special someone to find out if s/he has a vision for your future together. Your potential partner may not have a shared vision and this is important for you to know, too. If both potential partners have shared visions of a future together, which future is most attractive to you?
- Ask yourself: which one do you see yourself growing old with grace, dignity, and bonded closeness?
- Ask yourself: which one will take better care of you when you are sick?
- Compare the fun factor for both potential partners. Which one makes you laugh?
- Communication is important. Which partner can you talk with most easily and share your innermost thoughts and feelings?
- Ask yourself: which one is the one you would most want your son or daughter to marry?
- Think about what you have and all of your abundant blessings. Chances are, you did not get these overnight and you worked hard over a period of time.
- Maintain a positive outlook on love.
- Know that Valentine’s Day is just one day out of the calendar year.
- Treat yourself and those you love well on this day and everyday.
- Know that even those with partners often get disappointed on this day–manage your expectations!
The story is really about how a woman can become the inspiration in your life and deeply inspire, push you to be at the fullest potential. I truly believe that women have been one of the greatest motivators throughout humanity. When she is great, she will sharpen and straighten you up to be better, stronger, tougher in unimaginable ways.
Ultimately, that lady can be your mother, grandmother, muse, or lover. As men, we soulfully search for that kind of connection with that special female who is going to challenge, change our lives for the ultimate purpose and adventure.
Intimacy means more than a physical, sexual act. It is a closeness, a bond that is felt past the sensory level to the heart chakra or soul level. Ironically, you can have intimacy without having sex and sex without intimacy.
According to the University of Florida’s Counseling & Wellness Center, “Intimacy is a process – not a thing. It takes place over time and is not stagnant. In fact, any kind of stagnation in a relationship kills intimacy. Intimacy can also take many forms.”
Different forms of intimacy include:
Since different people respond to different forms and levels of intimacy, it is important for partners to take the time to get to know each other first. Knowing and understanding each other by sharing time, opinions, ideas, emotions, experiences, and physical space builds all types of intimacy.
For more information, visit the University of Florida site.