Category Archives: Relationships & Friendships

10 Lessons from Werk, Pray, Slay

When 150+ inspired women are in one room, the energy is electrifying. We experienced this first hand during the Werk, Pray, Slay empowerment event on November 3 – 5 in Atlanta.

Referred to as “a weekend for winning women,” Werk, Pray, Slay was created by entrepreneur Koereyelle and her Dream Team to help attendees become their best selves before becoming a wife.

From the sessions to the social events to the amazing vendors, Werk, Pray, Slay was the spark that we needed during this season in our lives. There were so many gems about entrepreneurship, relationship readiness and personal development dropped during the weekend, but here are our top 10 takeaways:

1. Your attention has to stay on your intention

Multiple presenters stressed the importance of being intentional — also meaning being purposeful and deliberate.

During the opening of the BYOB (be your own boss) conference on Saturday, the host, LB -The Wife Coach, referenced a quote by Wayne Dyer that says: “Our intention creates our reality.” LB then gave us a few minutes to write down why we were there and what we wanted to get out of Werk, Pray, Slay.

This exercise about being intentional was a great foundation for the event. It gave us an opportunity to get crystal clear about our hopes for the weekend, and where we’re trying to go in life.

2. The first step to financial freedom is getting your mind right

We all want more zero’s in our bank account, but many of us are swimming in debt just trying to keep afloat. One of the sessions at Werk, Pray, Slay was changing your mindset about money hosted by Kristin of Debt Free Black Girl.

She challenged us to re-program how our brain thinks about our finances. Some of the ways to do that is to reflect on how money was handled in your household growing up, think about budgeting as a spending plan for your money – not a restrictive practice, and create an aggressive debt payoff plan where you attack the loans with the highest interest or highest balance first (also known as the snowball effect).

3. Peace and success comes from having balanced chakras

In the session about balancing your chakras and manifesting success, Rubi D. explained the 7 chakras. A chakra is an energy centre in our body in which energy flows through. When unbalanced, it causes different types of problems in our lives and how we live. It was interesting to learn more about our chakras, including:

  • Root – survival (financial independence, money and food) and your foundation; living confidently in your purpose
  • Sacral – associated with your emotions, feelings, creativity and sexuality
  • Solar plexus – willpower; self-confidence and the relationship you have with yourself
  • Heart – being able to love and receive love
  • Throat – communicating effectively; comprehending what you read; listening to understand, not to respond
  • Third eye – ability to follow intuition and see the bigger picture
  • Crown – tapping into your higher self; letting go of your ego

4. Developing poppin’ partnerships requires strategy, creativity and purpose

Creative marketing strategist Alechia Reese shared how she’s built relationships with major corporations like Verizon and Grey Goose, and celebrities like Zendaya by being intentional (aha there’s that word again!) She said: “life is a relationship game. In order to win at it, you have to learn to build mutually beneficial relationships.”

Some of Alechia’s recommendations to do that include understanding who you are and what you have to offer, in addition to what makes you unique. Also, creating a desired relationship tree of people you want to get to know professionally and, making an events strategy so you can add value and get the most out of the experience.

5. Getting your mind right for marriage is a matter of manifestation

Another common theme amongst the Werk, Pray, Slay speakers was the importance of getting your mind right in order to yield all you desire.  Joané King of naetorious.com and affectionately referred to as the Wifestyle Strategist gave us her V.I.P tips to successfully mold your relationship through Vulnerability, being Intentional (the magic word during this weekend for winning women!) and Present:

  • Vulnerability- being able to let your guard down and take criticism from the one you love.
  • Intentional- catering to his thoughts and being a sounding board for him to confide; vice versa.
  • Present- not doing anything wrong isn’t enough; be there and mindful of the climate of the relationship and how it may need to be nurtured at the time.

6. Elevate yourself, know your worth and you’ll attract what you match

“You are his match, not his mirror.” -Joané King, naetorious.com  Following the importance of manifesting a successful relationship, we also discussed the ability to learn to let him lead but not losing yourself in the process. This requires you to first become what you’d like to attract, in order to attract someone worthy of leading.

Tap into your higher self and claim what you know you deserve from a significant other.  You shouldn’t be in a situation where you simply conform to what he wants you to be, you complement. You all complement each other and if your partner says otherwise then you’re not in the right situation. As Naetorious said, “He’s the head…but you’re the neck.” They depend on one another. They work better together.

7. There’s always good in the bad that happens; you just have to find it

Rubi D emphasized that balancing your chakras doesn’t guarantee that you won’t ever encounter bad things however, it assists in helping you master how to react better in negative situations. Achieving a certain level of peace and happiness allows you the clarity to assess the good in seemingly bad situations, which is an evergoing lesson of growth and gratitude. 

8. Increasing your income and influence as a blogger requires authenticity, consistency and tracking your analytics

Kyshira Moffett is the mastermind behind HERmovement and is a branding strategist who helps busy bombshells revamp their online presence to be authentic and profitable. Kyshira encouraged us to be as true to ourselves as possible while building our brands and get clear on what you want to be known for. Doing self-inventory is key by evaluating the following:

  1. Niche- what lane are you playing in?
  2. Value Proposition- what makes you, your product and content special?
  3. Need- What does your client need? Paying points?
  4. Content Strategy- what type of blog are you aiming to do? Coaching, Photo, Beauty, etc.

9. Your client/audience has 99 problems, your job is to solve 1

This clever tidbit from Kyshira was gold to all of us embarking on our entrepreneurial journey. It went hand in hand with the continued theme of being intentional and defining what is your why? It’s so easy to become eager to be your own boss but you have to do the research in order to find where you’re needed most and do the work to become present in that realm. You want to make impact in what excites you, the income will follow.

10. Life will be lit in 5 years… if you choose her over everything

As event creator Koereyelle celebrated her 5th Werk, Pray, Slay this year, she shared how much the weekend has evolved over the years and how we can too if we stay focused on the woman that we’re becoming. During her keynote during the BYOB conference, she stressed how every decision, thought, word and action we say is affecting who we will become… so we have to choose her.

We can’t wait for next year’s Werk, Pray, Slay weekend! What’s the best empowerment event that you’ve been to? Share more in the comments below!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Millennial Men Pt. 4: #MillennialMen on Marriage

Throughout our seasons of dating it’s important to keep things fun but of course, as the Becoming Brilliance beauties we are we can’t help but be intentional with what we want in all aspects of our lifestyle…(see what I did there ♥). After a while, we may begin to wonder where is this going? Are we dating with a purpose or just casually? Where does HE see this going? Does he see a future with me?

Bringing up the big ‘M’, shouldn’t be taken lightly by any means especially, since it can be difficult to gauge if it’s something #MillennialMen are even considering while dating. However, out of our 13 guys, 9 say they would like to get married and 3 are already married. There was only 1 no. Guess it’s on their radar more than we give them credit for…

As our #MillennialMen series comes to a conclusion, we thought it be great to reflect on the guy’s views on what many consider the ultimate goal in the realm of love and relationships:

“My ideal age [for marriage] would be about 29 or 30. I would like for us to at least have 3 years under our belt before engagement.” –Aaron Perkins, 25, In A Relationship

 

“I told my father and brother how I felt about her and I just knew she was the one over everybody I’d dated…I got married at 27.” –Kevin Crayton, 28, Married

 

“My ideal age to be married is whatever age it happens. Whether I’m 26, 30 or 40, the love that I will have for my wife will not change with age. Marriage is the goal one day and should be the goal for anyone who is casually dating. However, at the moment I am focused on school and becoming the best healthcare provider I can be for my patients.” Tunde Oshikoya, 26, Single/Dating

 

“I didn’t think I was ready. I’ve talked to a lot of married men and most of them told me that’s not something you can really be prepared for. You just do it and trust God to take care of the rest. That was my case especially being young and fresh out of college.” –Tyler Bell, 25, Married 

 

“I definitely want to get married. With the job that I have I probably won’t until I’m in my mid 30’s but of course I don’t know. Love just happens! I’d like to be where I want to be in my career before I settle down with someone and make a big commitment like marriage. I’ve seen my parents break up and I don’t want that to happen to me so I’ll take my time when it comes to marriage.” –Byron Jenkins, 25, Single/Dating

 

“I got married when I was 22. I knew I was ready when my wife matched all the traits I look for and how I was in a position financially to provide for us and also help her with her goals and aspirations.” –Donovan Lyons, 26, Married

Did you enjoy our #MillennialMen series? What topic in the love and relationship realm did you gain the most insight from the guys? Share in the comments below.

SaveSave

SaveSave

Millennial Men Pt 3: 3 Reasons to be Your Own #RelationshipGoals

The access that social media has given us to regularly view how others are living their lives far too often distracts us from simply living our own. It’s so easy to make things look better than they appear especially if the only thing being shown is what you truly want people to see.

Now, that’s no shade because we put our best face forward on our platforms as well! However, in this digital age relationship envy or what we more affectionately refer to as #RelationshipGoals sometimes deserves one, big eye roll.

We’re not saying that admiring relationships whether for how they’ve persevered through individual or joint challenges, or how they root for their significant other through life’s successes is wrong. But it’s important to be sure you’re not putting others on a pedestal for which you hope will be your next mate or comparing your current partner to the actions of someone else.

If nothing else, interviewing 13 guys of various relationship statuses truly depicts how every relationship based on the individuals involved will differ and why it’s better (and more fun!) to simply be your own #RelationshipGoals! Here’s why:

  1. All men are NOT the same

This one is specifically for those who love to ask, “do you think all men cheat?” I know as women we hate when men group us together based on unflattering, circumstantial behaviors but we’ll quickly pull the “a man is going to be a man” card without any regard to men as individuals.

We asked our #MillennialMen is there anything they wish women knew about men and Deonte Bridges’ response was music to our ears: “There are some of us out here who still love, respect and appreciate y’all.”  Don’t miss out on your special one because you chose to generalize him.

2. There isn’t a manual specific to YOUR relationship

Men get their suits tailored, women get alterations…and why is that? Because the product at the beginning can be nice but it becomes just right once it’s been personalized for your needs and wants. Relationships are the same way, starting out you all may already have a good thing going but it’s when you truly take the time to tailor your relationship for you and yours is when things become even more beautiful as you all define who you are…together.

Everyone desires different things and the development of your relationship may not follow the “status quo”. “Face to face conversation. You can read a person’s intentions when looking them in their eyes. A woman making the first move is ok to me. It just shows she knows what she wants which a lot of men like,” says Jalen Anderson. And as his girlfriend, I can vouch that this worked in our favor.  🙂

3. Creating your own love story is so much more fun than living someone else’s

“Skydiving, parasailing, cliff jumping, bungee jumping…basically, anything that involves us almost peeing ourselves just so we can be closer together knowing that we survived some crazy ‘ish.” Isaiah Hill couldn’t have said any better why couples should explore and experience new things together. Honestly, true relationship goals are deciding on something you all want to conquer together and actually following through. You’ll share those moments and be excited to continue to create new ones. Make it only about each other and your love story will follow.

Our Millennial Men gave us some good stuff! Have you and bae set some #relationshipgoals? What do y’all have planned for the future? Share in the comments below.

Millennial Men Pt 2: Surviving Cuffing Season as a Single Lady

Millennial Men

Cuffing season can be difficult for women who aren’t in a relationship. With fall comes cute dates to haunted houses, corn mazes and festivals, followed by the holidays, the new year and Valentine’s Day. And when you don’t have a significant other, these months can put your singleness under a microscope.

But just as it’s cuffing season, being single is a season in your life. Some people’s season lasts longer than others, but singlehood is something that we all need to go through AND grow through especially if your goal is to be married.

Your single season doesn’t have to feel like a curse. It’s an opportunity for you to get in tune with who you are and what you want, plus live your best life without having someone to worry about. Relationships take a lot of effort, and while you’re not in one, you can invest that energy into something else until your time comes.

In part two of our Millennial Men series, we dive into the topic of singleness. The 13 fellas that we interviewed have various relationship statuses, and they helped us write this blueprint on how to survive cuffing season as a single lady:

  1. Focus on YOU

During your single season, love yourself! Work on the brilliant beauty in the mirror without worrying about when that special guy will come.

Tunde Oshikoya, 26, said it best: “The best advice I can give to a woman who is looking for a man is to focus on herself. There is no one set location to find the man of your dreams but if you focus on yourself and control what you can control, you’ll always be ready whenever you do happen to meet him. Focus on your health and fitness, academics, life goals, professional goals and I promise you will randomly meet the man you’ve been looking for in a checkout line at Publix.”

In addition to what Tunde recommended, use this time to learn more about yourself. Pick up a new hobby or take a class like dance or cooking. There’s always something new to discover about yourself, so use this uninterrupted time to do that.

  1. Ensure you’re a woman worthy to be found

Continuing on survival tip #1, take a hard look at yourself and see if you’re even really ready for your partner. Are there habits you need to develop, or traits you need to break before you find bae? This may include stepping up your cooking skills, better managing your finances, getting your spiritual life in order, practicing healthy habits, keeping your space clean, and more.

We aren’t perfect and will always fall short in some areas, but doing a self analyzation of ways to improve before you meet your significant other prepares you for when that time comes.

Millennial Men

  1. Manifest what you really want

There’s nothing wrong with thinking about what you want out of a partner, the key is to not obsess over it. Use the Law of Attraction to your advantage and manifest the ideal guy for you. What are the top five characteristics that he must have?

“Some women have a hard time dating because they don’t know what they want,” says Cedric Brown, 26.

When asked the top traits that he looks for in a lady, Kerry Abner, 31, said: “Ambition, compassion, humor, positivity and adventure.”

Before Donovan Lyons, 26, got married, he looked for the following characteristics in his wife: “Spiritually sound, career/goal orientated, engages in political or social topics, has a great sense of humor, loves to have fun, great outgoing spirit, open to try new things, has the ability and energy to help me become a better me.”

While Mr. Right may not come in the package that you expect, knowing the traits that you’d like him possess will help you identify him whenever he comes.

Another manifestation exercise is to think about your dream date. If money and resources wasn’t a factor, where would you go or what would you do with future bae?

I asked these Millennial Men about their dream date, and this is how some of them responded:

“Dinner by the beach, then go salsa dancing, and watch the skyline late at night,” says Darryl Forges, 26.

Isaiah Hill, 21, says, “Skydiving, parasailing, cliff jumping, bungee jumping. Basically anything that involves us almost peeing ourselves just so we can be closer together knowing that we survived some crazy ish.”

  1. Raise your standards

Think about your previous experiences and the guys that you’ve dated in the past – did you settle in some ways? Do you need to unlearn some of the myths that you’ve had about love?

“I think some girls may have a hard time in the romance department because they’re stuck on the wrong type of guy. I have so many girl friends that I believe are wasting their time with a guy who ain’t $h!t,” says Byron Khalil, 25. “I think sometimes girls think that they can change guys or mold them into how they’d like them to be but that’s a waste of time.”

Married Millennial, Tyler Bell, 25,  shares why he thinks some women have a hard time dating: “They may not have seen the right love and affection displayed. They may also have a guard up from previous relationships that may cause them to be distant and won’t allow themselves to fall for a guy just to end up heartbroken again.”

Even if your ex was a great guy, you may have settled with the dates he’s taken you on (i.e. too many “Netflix and Chills” and not enough nights on the town).

When asked why “Netflix and Chill” has become the norm, Aaron Perkins, 25, says: “Because women have allowed it to be. If ladies stopped coming over then it wouldn’t be a thing.”

Rene Polanco, 25, shares his insight: “Because it’s cheap and guys think it’ll lead to sex.”

During your single season, think about if you need to raise your standards of the caliber of men you date, or how you allow him to treat you. By doing this, you set the tone of how your next relationship will go, and get a firm understanding of what you will or won’t accept.

Millennial Men

  1. Have fun! Go on dates and shoot your shot.

Dating doesn’t have to be a drag. It can be fun if you allow yourself to open minded, and limit your expectation of how you think things should go.

“I’ve met women at school, work, and social gatherings. I don’t have any recommendations on places to go. Just know that you can’t find anyone by staying in the house,” says Deonte Bridges, 26.

As we mentioned in part one, don’t be afraid to let the brotha know how you feel!

Aaron agrees:  “In my opinion guys are stupid. You literally have to let us know that you are feeling us. I’ve had girls tell me they were flirting or trying to drop hints at one point but I’m dumb so I never noticed it. So shoot ya shot.”

Jalen Anderson, 25, explains the best method to do that: “Face to face conversation. You can read a person’s intentions when looking them in their eyes. Women making the first move is ok to me. It just shows she knows what she wants, which a lot of men like.”

You can also use your single season to date yourself! Get dolled up and treat yourself to a nice meal or activity. Show yourself how you deserve to be treated.

Millennial Men

  1. Get a better understanding of guys

Men and women are two different creatures. In addition to checking out our Millennial Men series, you can learn more about guys just by talking to them. Facilitate honest conversations with the men around you, including friends and relatives, to learn more about how guys think and operate. While all men are different, you can discover a lot of similarities just by getting them to open up.

Tyler explains: “All men really want is good food, good love, and time to do whatever their craft or hobby is. We’re very simple.”

“We aren’t all dogs trying to get a bone. A lot of us have your best interest in mind because we were brought up to treat women with the utmost respect,” says Isaiah. “Also a lot of dudes feel this way but they don’t know how to display it in a smooth, chivalric way so it comes across as awkward or maybe even “thirsty.” Just look past the exterior and hear us out.”

Millennial Men

  1. Most importantly, be patient and enjoy the journey!

As cliche as it may sound, good things comes to those who wait. Learn to embrace the highs and lows of your single season. You are at this point of your life for a reason, plus you are too beautiful to settle for just any guy – be patient until the right one comes along.

[Women have a hard time in the romance department] because you’re supposed to. If you didn’t, you would’ve married the first guy you dated. Struggling is part of the story.” says Rene.

Just as God is preparing you to be in a relationship, He’s also preparing your guy. Believe in your heart that when the time is right, the two of you will be together.

“They might be focusing on their career or figuring out who they are,” says Kevin Crayton, 28. “Patience is a virtue — when it happen your mind, body and soul will know.”

Big shout out to the Millennial Men who shared their insights! Single ladies, how are you embracing your single season? Share in the comments below.

5 Dating Gems To Learn From Our #MillennialMen

Millennial Men

In the era of Netflix and chill, untitled situationships and pickup lines that ask if you’re “DTF,” it’s hard dating as a Millennial.

If you’re anything like us, you want to be with someone of substance — someone who is striving towards their goals and wants to climb to the top with you. We both desire to be married one day, so long gone are the days where we dated someone just to have a texting buddy. Nah, sis! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

As we enter the fall (a.k.a cuffing season), we wanted to share some insights from 13 Millennial Men of various relationship statuses that we interviewed to get a better understanding of a male’s perspective about this thing called love.

This is the first installment of our four-part series where we’ll dive deeper into their responses, but here are 5 key takeaways we learned from these Millennial Men…

1. It’s not just enough to be beautiful

Unsurprisingly, physical beauty / attractiveness reigned as one of the most important traits that guys look for, but most of our Millennial Men also listed ambition as a must-have characteristic. Other top traits include intellect, supportiveness, kindness, sense of humor and spirituality.

“I know there are a lot of levels and beliefs when it comes to God, but our beliefs must complement each other,” says Aaron Perkins, 25. When he first started dating his current girlfriend, being motherly was another trait that he looked for. “If you’re going to replace my mom, the first love of my life and take care of our kids, you gotta have some motherly instincts.”

Millennial Men

2. Yes you can meet someone anywhere – but look for guys at places that you’re interested in

You could meet bae at church or at the club, at the grocery store checkout line or at a kickback. While you may not have control on where you’ll meet him, a few of the Millennial Men agreed that you should seek guys in places that you enjoy.

“I use dating apps because the anxiety of talking to strangers is real. They suck, though. I’d say you should meet people doing activities you like,” says Rene Polanco, 25. “That way, you don’t have that dating app question of, “Are they just here for sex?” Plus, you’d know for sure that you have at least one thing in common.”

Isaiah Hill, 21, agrees: “I’ve met women through going to events that have something to do with what I love the most… Music. I suggest going somewhere where the two interests are shared so conversation is organic.”

Although Donovan Lyons, 26, is married, he says, “You can find your true love anywhere, but I prefer women go to social and business networking events, art museums or bookstores. I also recommend trying something that is new to you and you could possibly find the love of your life, such as white water rafting or music festivals.”

3. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there

We received mixed responses on if a woman should wait until she is found or actively pursue finding a man. But most agreed that a woman should tell a guy how she feels! We learned from our Millennial Men that guys aren’t mind-readers and sometimes women have to be more direct. Another option is to subtly show interest and put themselves in the position to be found if that’s what they’d prefer.

“I think a woman should wait and be pursued, but she also has to be sure that she’s making herself approachable or available if she’s actually interested in having someone pursue her,” says Jalen Anderson, 25.

“So many people miss out on their blessing by not “shooting their shot”. I believe anyone should pursue someone they are interested in and if there is a mutual interest, then maybe a relationship can grow from that,” says Tunde Oshikoya, 25.

He continues, “There are certain things that we pride ourselves on such as being a provider for our significant other so I will admit there are times a man would rather lead in the actual relationship itself, but in the beginning stages of getting to know someone, either person should never hesitate to lead. Leading shows interest and effort.”

Quite a few of the guys encouraged women to be blunt and say how she feels, but if that’s not your style, Deonte Bridges, 25, gave us a few pointers to do it more discreetly: “She can let him know she’s interested by doing subtle things, like maybe texting him first sometimes or inquiring about things he’s interested in.”Millennial Men

 

4. …. But don’t be thirsty

Let’s clear this up – showing interest is NOT thirsty.

But continuing to chase a man who has made it clear that he’s not interested is. 

Kevin Crayton, 28 defines it as “Somebody who wants to sleep with just anybody it doesn’tmatter who it is.”

“It’s being too aggressive or wanting all of your attention,” says Cedric Brown, 26.

Byron Khalil, 25, breaks it down further: “So, “thirsty” to me is when a person is doing way too much to get the attention of another. The person receiving the attention has to make it clear though that the attention is unwanted. Once they’ve made it clear and the person is still trying to woo them, that’s when I would call them “thirsty.” Now, I think this term can be confused when someone is trying to “talk” to somebody, that’s different. If a person is trying to “talk” to someone they’re not being thirsty, it becomes thirsty when the other person has made it clear that there’s no chance.”

Don’t be desperate, sis. If he doesn’t show that he’s interested despite your advances then it’s time to move on.

 

Millennial Men

5. Guys are simple – we just make them complicated

We admit that as women, we can be a bit complex. Many of us overthink things and play situations in our heads. But most guys are straight to the point and will go after who they want.

“Know that with men it’s never that deep,” says Aaron. “A lot of times women will put all these reasons together as to why we did something but it’s literally whatever it looks like on the surface.”

“I wish women knew that everything a man does is by choice and he’s going to take the lead in all things important to him,” says Kerry Abner, 31.

 

In conclusion

After interviewing these gentleman, we learned that there is no blueprint to finding love! While some of them had similar responses, there were various viewpoints on all of the topics.

Stay tuned for the next three Millennial Men posts where we dive into their responses in more detail.

Thank you fellas for sharing! We learned a lot and couldn’t have done this without you!

Ladies — we want to hear your thoughts on our Millennial Men feature! Share in the comments below.

 

Demanding Queen Treatment

 

demanding queen treatment (5)

Dating in our generation sucks.

At least for me, because Melissa is in a beautiful relationship with a guy that really cares about her. I’m happy that she’s found someone that treats her the way she deserves to be treated, but I haven’t had much luck in the romance department.

Despite being baeless, I try to appreciate the lessons that the guys I date can teach me. The most recent guy that I was seeing really taught me a lot in the short time that I’ve known him.

Retroactively looking at our situationship, I see how I approached it all wrong. At the beginning I told him that I was just looking for a friend. Which was half true. I do want my future guy to be a friend first, but I was lying to him and myself by saying that was all I was looking for. Sometimes we say things because we think that’s what the other person wants to hear, but that’s not being true to ourselves.

Fast-forward to a few months later, and I found myself arguing with this guy constantly about our views of dating and relationships. He said he loved the options of dating multiple people at once, which put a damper on my spirit since I’m more of a one-guy type of gal. That was a sign that this wasn’t meant to be, but I was stubborn and kept trying to make it work.

Until I realized that I didn’t want to casually date, I wanted to be courted. Courting is dating with a purpose. It’s when two hopeful lovebirds try to develop a relationship that’s pleasing and acceptable to God. It’s a decision to walk by faith and keep God at the center of your relationship so He can direct your path. I was familiar with the concept of courting before I met this young fellow, but I wasn’t true to what I wanted because I accepted his idea of dating just to keep him around. I thought that bringing up the concept of marriage would scare him away – which it did, but he clearly wasn’t right for me. While navigating my love life, I’ve learned it’s crucial to be honest with yourself and what you want out of the situation from the beginning.

I was venting to my mom recently about my dating frustrations, and she told me to teach men how I deserve to be treated. But before I can do that, I have to know what I want and how I want to be treated.

It’s so easy to get swept up by a cute, charismatic guy that always knows what to say to make you smile. But if that guy doesn’t have the same romantic goals as you, then it’s no point trying to make it work. Every guy that you date isn’t bae, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends. It’s just that you have to know your boundaries and what you will and will not accept.

We are Queens, and should be treated nothing less than that.

Your goal may not be to be courted, but be confident in whatever it is and have faith that God will give you what you want when the time is right. But until then, stay true to yourself and never settle because you deserve only Queen treatment.

“Grow Through, What You Go Through…”

%22Grow through, What you go through...%22

The spring season is upon us, which means warmer weather…sun dresses…pedicured toes…and most noticeably the beauty of nature reemerging from the weary winter. Now, besides allergy season being in full effect as well, sneezes and watery eyes can’t take away the beauty spring brings to our surroundings. The winter season takes a toll on the condition and aesthetic of nature; but what’s most beautiful is the ability of our natural environment to exhibit growth after the dull stage of their evolution.

At the inception of Becoming Brilliance, we were inspired to share our journey of being in a “constant state of evolvement”. When life is not going ideal or feels uncomfortable for us, it’s hard to grasp the lesson within it. August 14th, 2014 was the day my journey to growing through, what I was going through truly began. I graduated from college 3 months prior, I’d spent my summer studying for the GRE and a few days earlier I was accepted into graduate school at my alma mater and offered a graduate assistantship that waived my tuition. I was in a period of transition as a recent college grad but things began to improve as the summer continued.

However, I was also in a relationship, that looking back now I had plenty of red flags but chose to ignore them (…hindsight is 20/20). And I don’t want to expound on the relationship too much because it’s not important now; but basically it wasn’t lengthy, healthy and didn’t grow me as an individual but I was blinded by what I thought was “love”. Ultimately, on August 14th a young woman informed me that my boyfriend at that time had been cheating on me with her through a Facebook message including screenshots of their conversations. My heart fell to my stomach as you can imagine and that was the beginning of a downward spiral for me. I was blindsided and although our relationship wasn’t going well, I wasn’t expecting to be hurt like that. So, I spent the next 7 months in a struggle between forgiveness and continuing the relationship OR frankly, kicking his ass to the curb. After being torn for far too long, I eventually picked the latter. 🙂

I’ve revisited this moment in my life because that situation broke me down. Although, those around me weren’t aware of the battle I was fighting, it was extremely real for me internally.   However, I’ve grown to be GRATEFUL for August 14th, 2014 and the journey that followed because it was painful and during that time I couldn’t imagine ever being rid of the hurt. But as I type this blog post I am…and have been for a while.

If I hadn’t been broken down that way, I wouldn’t have known that I could build myself back up…and even better. That was my lesson. And furthermore, I may not have been so appreciative of my current relationship and how well I’m treated, if I hadn’t been so overwhelming mistreated. Now, I know as I continue my journey, the good and especially the bad…there is nothing God is going to bring me to, if he weren’t going to bring me through. In spite of the weary stages we may endure, the saving grace is spring comes around every year…so we’re always going to blossom. 😉

 

For the Love of Love: Nurturing a New Relationship

Nurturing a New Relationship-2

Everyone enjoys the “honeymoon” stage of dating someone new. The butterflies when you’re around them. And the instant smile that comes to your face just seeing their name appear on your phone. It’s undeniable that embarking into a new relationship is exciting especially if you’re with someone you can be your true self with. But what’s even more exciting is that this feeling doesn’t ever have to go away! I believe if both individuals make a conscious effort to grow through the inevitable obstacles they’ll face, maybe they won’t yearn to have a rewind button back to the honeymoon stage as time progresses.

The beginning of every new endeavor is important because it’s the foundation of the journey. Establishing a strong foundation is imperative in nurturing a new relationship. If the foundation is weak such as being caught up in the superficial and materialistic aspects of a person; rather than whom they are as an individual and what they want out of life, the relationship will surely crumble.   But if the proper time is taken to genuinely learn about your beau and form a connection beyond the physical then a successful relationship may definitely be in your future… if it’s right for the both of you.

Now, my boyfriend and I aren’t perfect (but we’re pretty close to it…lol). However, I wanted to share a few things that I feel we got “right” while dating, that has made our transition into a committed, healthy and fun relationship all the more easier.

  1. Take your time. I am impatient in nature and this was a hard pill for me to swallow while we were dating. I was very patient when we first began dating because I wasn’t looking to rush into anything. However, once we really got to know each other and I realized I really liked him, I was ready to be a girlfriend. But he wasn’t ready for that for reasons that we discussed and I understood. Since I liked him I was willing to continue dating at his pace. But the time we took dating (9 whole months!) was the best thing for us. By the time we entered our relationship I felt I knew him extremely well and I was confident in our ability to be compatible.
  1. Social Media is a no, no! It’s far too common that in this day in age people look for validation from social media. Nurturing your new relationship is a delicate act that everyone shouldn’t be privy to.   The reality is everyone isn’t going to be happy for you. And before you subject your relationship to outside opinion, be sure your foundation is immovable.
  1. Ask LOTS and LOTS of questions! There is so much to learn about people, their journey and their dreams…it’s intriguing. So, I found a list of questions that I could ask while getting to know my beau. And it helps to dig deeper with the person other than “How many siblings do you have?” “When is your birthday?”…BORING! I asked things like “What is one thing you would be disappointed if you never experienced it?” We answered the same. Marriage. Hmm, it puts in perspective what is important to them and can reveal if you all share similar values. I also asked, “What is your most bizarre pet peeve?” “What’s been your favorite age so far?” and even silly things like “If you were a performing artist, what would you name your first album?” It’s just a fun way to get to know a potential beau.

This is my favorite list to pull questions from 🙂

50 Questions To Ask Your Crush To See If They’re Right For You

Once you’ve found someone you believe you can grow and build with, it won’t be hard to build a strong foundation for you both to stand on. And the honeymoon stage won’t end unless you all stop trying. It definitely requires time, commitment and selflessness to nurture a growing relationship. But when you’re ready, it’ll be worth it!

What is important to you when getting to know someone? What qualities do admire most in a potential suitor? I’d love to hear from you!

10 Brilliant Love Lessons For The Single Lady

 

 

 

1

Happy Valentines Day!

Oh the quest to find love.. In my experience, dating has been difficult and I’m still waiting to meet someone I really vibe with. But I’ve learned alot of lessons during my single season. Here are the top 10:

  1. Fall in love with yourself first

I fell in love with myself in college. I didn’t have emotional ties to any guy, so I felt free to do whatever my heart wanted – study abroad, travel the world, dive into my career. And in the process I learned so much about myself and fell in love with the woman in the mirror.

Get to know yourself. Understand and appreciate the good, bad and awkward habits and quirks that only you possess. In loving yourself, you’ll be equipped to let a man love you when the time is right. 

  1. Understand the levels and meanings

The “where are we” conservation is so awkward, but so necessary. You have to know where you stand with someone, because that will help you manage your expectations (more in lesson #9).

  • Talking to: Unfortunately this is so common in our generation. Texting someone and occasionally talking to them on the phone. But that’s it. You’re literally just talking to someone. For me, this doesn’t work because when I’m “talking to” someone, I’m just filling boredom but there are tons of things to do. I wouldn’t call it a waste of time because there are a lot of lessons I’ve learned through guys that I was talking to, but it wasn’t the most productive use of time.
  • Friends with Benefits (FWB): Your title may be just friends, but you occasionally indulge in “relationship” type activities, most commonly sex. This works for some people who aren’t interested in a relationship, but I don’t recommend getting caught here. If you’re giving him special pieces of yourself, he has nothing to work for.
  • Dating: Getting to know each other by actually going on dates. If a guy isn’t trying to see you outside of his bedroom, then you’re just a FWB. When dating, expect that the guy is still seeing multiple people, as you are free to do as well.
  • Courting: Purposeful dating. The two of you are looking to get married, so you’re taking the appropriate steps to get to know each other without physical intimacy.
  • Exclusive: To be exclusive, there must have been a conversation that you will be “boyfriend – girlfriend” or you’re married. If not, your relationship falls into one of the other categories.
  1. Be yourself and don’t force it

This goes without saying, but don’t change who you are to appease someone else. If he doesn’t like you for you, forget him because someone else will. That’s forcing something that isn’t meant to be. And if communication is one-sided and you’re the only one putting in effort, that’s another reason to leave it alone. A guy that’s interested will show that he is.

  1. Don’t give too much of yourself too soon

This has been my biggest problem with dating. It’s a struggle to meet someone that I vibe with – so when I do, I’m all in… ready to share life stories lol. Being open and honest is important, but take your time in getting to know someone. There is no rush to dating, so allow a man to peel back the layers instead of diving in head first every time.

  1. Let a man lead

There is a reason why men where created before women. They are supposed to lead us, and provide for us. I love when women feels empowered to be independent, but let a man step up to the plate and pursue you.

  1. Every man you meet does not have the potential to be your husband

Such a tough pill for me to swallow, because God keeps reminding me of this. At 23, I’m praying for a respectable, Christian man that will court me in pursuit of marriage. Although I’m tired of dating randoms, I’ve learned that those guys were put in place to show me how to love a man and myself. If you’re a wife-to-be like me, I encourage you to appreciate the lessons that each man has taught you, as it will help you be the woman that your husband wants and needs.

  1. Anything worth having is going to take time

And maybe a few tears too. But that’s ok. Even though I’m still single, I know that all of these heartbreaks and let downs will be worth it when I finally fall in love.

  1. Manage your expectations

This goes back to knowing where you stand with someone. If there hasn’t been a conversation about the two of you being exclusive, don’t expect to be treated like you are. In the dating game, there is always a possibility that there are other women in his life so check your expectations.

  1. Don’t make another man mend a heart that he didn’t break

It’s not fair to make someone else clean up the damage that your ex caused. Leave that baggage at the door! Bringing that into a new beginning will break your trust in someone who is deserving of your time.

  1. Enjoy your single season

Marriage and kids will come eventually when the time is right. Take advantage of where you are at this very moment. Get to know people. Take a risk on love. Even if it ends in heartbreak, those lessons will stay with you until you meet a man that’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more. Be patient and trust the process.

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, I hope you’re spending this Valentine’s Day with people who love you to the moon and back! What are some dating lessons that you’ve learned? Share in the comments below.

It Goes Down in the DM: 5 Online Dating Tips to Find Bae (Or Just Meet a Cool Guy)

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 9.53.53 PM

We were born in the digital age and technology has played such a large role in other aspects of our life. So it’s natural that many people naturally gravitated towards meeting someone online.

I openly admit that I am one of those people. I’ve meet a fair share of guys online, and have quite a few stories to tell. Online dating has been a blessing in disguise for me. First, I could meet guys without leaving my bed and I could filter out those that I wasn’t compatible with. Meeting them online helped me test them out in a “try before you buy” type of way. I’ve also met a few characters that have taught me a lot about men and myself. From the smooth talker whose conversation never got boring, to the creepy guy that randomly showed up at my job. There were lessons in all of my dating encounters.

I’ve also made a few really good friends and I got to experience dating without the heartbreak (for the most part). Online dating gave me confidence to not be afraid to be myself. Getting rejected over the Internet didn’t hurt as bad as getting rejected in real life, so I had nothing to lose.

I’m not on as often as I’ve been in the past, because I’m trying to stop controlling my love life by swiping left or right. I just want it to come naturally. But I still get on Tinder from time to time, so here are a few tips for anyone that is open to give online dating a shot!

  1. Your Bio (and Grammar) Matters

Aside from the pictures, the bio is your first introduction. You can tell so much about a guy just by reading how he describes himself. If “just ask” or “hmu” is the only thing he writes, quickly exit out of his profile. Anyone that is too lazy to write about who they are isn’t worth talking to. If there isn’t substance in a bio, then the outreach is solely based on looks, and everyone knows that looks don’t mean anything if his head isn’t on straight.

  1. Good conversation is hard to come by, so don’t be lazy

I HATE dry conversations! It’s hard to get to know someone without talking to them in person or on the phone, so don’t make it worse by being a lazy conversationalist. Ask them a bunch of questions – random ones if you run out of things to write about. Like what superpower would they want, or what’s their favorite holiday. Please don’t be boring!

  1. Facebook stalking is apart of your research

Blame it on working in PR, but I look a guy up on every site possible before giving out my phone number. Avoid being Catfished by know who you’re talking to! Just don’t get caught liking a picture on Instagram if you don’t follow him.

  1. Remember your personal brand

Make sure your profile is something that you wouldn’t be ashamed of if your mom saw it. Put up pics that represents you well and shows the brilliant woman that you are.

  1. Forget the stigma

Some people look down on online dating. Granted, it’s not for everyone but what way of meeting people is? Everyone isn’t going to meet bae at the grocery store or at church. Different strokes for different folks, so there’s nothing wrong with setting up a profile on Tinder, POF or any other dating site out there! You may find love, or you may find a good friend that has a cute cousin that would be perfect for you. You never know, but either is a win if you ask me. Just make sure you’re precautious and aware of the red flags, but do your thing girl! J

Have you tried online dating? I’d love to hear your stories or tips to be someone’s Tinderella! Share in comments below!