Punching Above Your Belt

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It’s comical how people will bite off more than they can chew yet blame everything and everyone else for the fact that they are struggling to cope. The same applies to relationships where everyone is looking for someone who has their shit together while many of these same people remain blind to the fact that their shit is constantly falling apart. You don’t ask for a woman who is established, stable, smart and beautiful to settle for broken promises, little ambition, no effort and weak ass attempts at romance. You don’t expect to have a man who is honest, respectful, intelligent and forward-thinking to be happy with a woman who will always start but never finish stuff, never plan for the future and is more interested in her wardrobe than she is about any relationship. To expect much yet give little is genuinely punching above your belt. You either drop to a person’s level or make it that they rise to yours. We all operate on different mental and spiritual wavelenghts as we go through life. So I guess the key is in finding someone who is vibing on the same frequency when it comes to matters of the heart and mind.

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Signs That Your Relationship Is Going Nowhere

Ladies, we all see and know the tell-tale signs that our relationship will only go so far and no more. I agree that we are flawed individuals so it would be highly disingenuous for us to expect our ideal man to be perfect. However, the issue isn’t being unrealistic in love. The issue is recognising what you can actually live with and there are just some flaws, emotional baggages and character traits that you can’t (and shouldn’t) tolerate. If more women were honest about this and didn’t try to justify their glaring incompatibility with their partner through their need to have companionship, a lot of us would be spared the hurt and pain which inevitably occurs. I will use the scenario between my ex-boyfriend and myself as a guide:

  • No Drive and Ambition

No Ambition

My ex-boyfriend was around 25 yet he still lived with his grandmother, kept company with shady, disrespectful and far from constructive personalities and his level of literacy was questionable but he did well to cover this up with a lot of bravado and macho behaviour. In summary, he was an idiot but I was attracted to his bad-boy persona and it didn’t help that he reminded me a lot of Tu-Pac (which thinking back now, is an insult to the man’s memory). Now as much as I was younger than him and he was the first relationship that I ever had, I was far from naive. I knew from very early that it would be a mistake to have children for this man. Why should I? He wasn’t forward thinking, was both ignorant and arrogant at the same time, had friends that were just as good as enemies and would rather blame his poorly status in life on his childhood rather than make an effort to chart a new destiny. Now there is a difference between holding down the fort for a man that is constantly trying but has hit a rough patch and holding down the fort while your man happily wallows in mediocrity and excuses. That’s where drive and ambition becomes a deal-breaker. I respect a brother who will do what it takes to ensure that his future is not as obscure as his past and that his kids won’t experience what he had to live with. That takes guts and a considerable level of inner strength. The point is, we women need to see a situation for what it truly is. As much as I sound extremely harsh recounting my experience with my ex-boyfriend, unfortunately he did nothing to prove my suspicions wrong.

 

  • He Had A Lot To Say And Nothing To Back It

 Bullshit

Now I know that many women can definitely relate to this. The man has all the talk in the world but nothing to show for it. In my case, my ex not only did better to say the part than do it, he was also notorious for saying he abstained from a particular thing, only to turn around and indulge in it. For instance, in keeping with his bad boy persona, he would often talk (or behave) as if he was fearless and unafraid. However, put against the right person and he would think twice about running his mouth. Also, without prompting, he would say things like he didn’t eat a particular food or he wasn’t keen on a particular drink. Yet, you only had to turn your back for a few seconds and half the thing would be down his gullet. Now, I am not a fan of unnecessary talk. As a matter of fact, I loathe it. I lay more faith in someone’s actions and how this matches up with their words. As far as I’m concerned, if you can’t be reliable (or truthful) with the small things, you certainly won’t be reliable (or truthful) with the stuff that really matters. I’m allergic to idle talk and bullshit and it took being with him for me to realise that that was another character trait I would make sure to avoid in future relationships.

 

  • He Was A Social Retard

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Too many women forget that their man is in many ways a reflection on them. When you bring someone into your life, they not only become your significant other but they also become a part of your wider connection of friends and family. Now my ex-boyfriend was so accustomed to the rough, crude and noisy lot he called friends that he was completely out of his element when around quieter, slightly more refined and decent people. Now it wasn’t that he was unable to get along, he just didn’t care to. His idea of engagement with my friends was to stay glued to his mobile phone and he couldn’t contribute to any conversation meaningfully because he wasn’t accustomed to talking about anything other than sex, fights or neighbourhood scandals. Now don’t get me wrong, you can have a partner that isn’t a people person but he is able to blend in and get along for so long as the interaction lasts. I can appreciate that. However, to be shackled to a man that isn’t even remotely adaptable is quite worrying. Needless to say, I was embarrassed. This could have easily been forgiven but not when this obvious faux pas was also accompanied by a considerable level of arrogance. As if that wasn’t bad enough, one day he also made the mistake to speak ill about a member of my family. Now judging from the tone of this article, you can only imagine the level of dysfunction he had in his family. The point is, all these things are warning signs. It shows a lack of adaptability, a lack of accountability in your own personal development and also a severe lack of humility.  So he quickly graduated from being an unreliable hothead to a complete embarrassment.

 

  • I Didn’t Respect Him

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With all these factors working against him, let’s just say that I lost respect for him rather quickly. It wasn’t the fact that he was dealt a raw deal in life and was faced with working twice as hard to really accomplish something. It was the fact that he was more comfortable with excuses rather than results. Never once did it occur to him to branch out on his own and live outside of his grandmother’s house. Never once did it occur to him that the friends he was determined to impress weren’t even half as important in the bigger scheme of things. Never once did he attempt to do something worthwhile and valuable for himself. What made it worse was that whilst he had very little to offer, he had a very good idea of what he deserved and what he was entitled to. That was both in regards to what society seemingly ‘owed’ him and what was expected of a woman in a relationship. These were fairly rigid expectations and standards which he very loosely applied (if at all) to himself. So yes, I lost respect for him. The problem is, when you lose respect for a man, it is impossible for this not to manifest itself in the way you speak and behave towards him. I found myself frowning at his feeble attempts at advice. I began to give little regard to what he claimed or said and I was also noticeably very unforgiving every time he would disappoint. In effect, I just grew tired of him. Now, as much as one can sympathise with my attitude, it’s not worth staying in a relationship when you’ve lost respect for your partner. That causes you to sink to a new level of low and vindictiveness and it also slowly replaces whatever pleasantness there may have been with bitterness and resentment. As a matter of fact, lack of respect often provides fertile ground for verbal and physical abuse to develop. I do not subscribe to that simply because I wouldn’t want that for myself. Therefore it was only a matter of time before I eventually ended the relationship altogether.

 

He Cheated

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The interesting thing about this whole situation was that I was relieved when he confessed to doing this. My ex-boyfriend was a complicated individual. I suspect that he was aware of his shortcomings and that it was only a matter of time before our relationship ran its course but he was the type that refused to let go emotionally and physically once he grew attached. Therefore, I knew that even if I was to highlight the previous points as reasons why the relationship was no longer tenable, in his mind it would not be sufficient grounds to call it quits. This would mean being constantly hounded, bothered and even possibly stalked. So my first break came when I migrated to another country. Even then, out of some sordid sense of loyalty, I kept in touch and didn’t even consider finding someone else. Yet, he slowly started to annoy the hell out of me because even our telephone conversations lacked depth and substance and constantly saw his insecurities come to the surface through his sustained probing about whether or not I found another man. So when I went back home to visit him for the first time since migrating, the minute he confessed to cheating, he was not only shocked by my complete indifference but also by the fact that I found the whole thing hilarious. Thinking back on it, I believe I laughed out of sheer relief. I wanted to break up and he gave me the perfect reason.  Needless to say, by the time the visit was over and I was clear across the border, I politely told him ‘deuces’ and gladly continued with my life. Even after several years of breaking up, he still contacts me at least once a year and a few times managed to track me down on Facebook and Whatsapp. Now, there could be a myriad of reasons why men (and women) cheat and while I can appreciate that at times one or both parties are at fault, I will never accept that this is to be expected from men. All men have a choice and the same sense of duty and loyalty that keeps me faithful are the same things he should bear in mind in order to override his baser instincts. If a man cheats but he is generally a very good man and not a chronic womaniser, then it’s worth really exploring the underlying reasons why he became unfaithful. However, if your man is happy to be the local ‘ram’ in the neighbourhood, sharing his bed with anything in a skirt, please don’t delude yourself into thinking that you can change him. Leave while your pride is still intact and before he robs you of the better part of your life.

 

So there you have it. This list has certainly not been exhausted but any one of these factors is enough to convert a relationship into an ordeal. See your partner for who he/she truly is and be honest with yourself as to whether or not you are able to live with their shortcomings. Do not compromise on your own personal values and do not waste your time trying to change anyone. However, most importantly, make sure that whoever comes into your life is a help and not a hindrance, a blessing and not a curse.



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Why Should You Apologise for Doing Well?

Haters

The more ambitious, driven and industrious among us know the hard work, pain and disillusionment that come with the territory of being successful. You fight to keep your vision and dreams alive in the face of setbacks, doubts, ridicule and criticism. You fight to not let your drive and ambition be at the detriment of the things and people you hold dearest. You fight to keep your integrity and moral fiber intact while painfully clawing your way to the top. You fight to prove your naysayers wrong and your gut instincts right and you fight to ultimately realise your true potential. All this fighting truly makes you your own life’s version of Rocky Balboa and, like him, you eventually get to reap the rewards. However, what you are never prepared for is the hate, envy and jealousy that accompany your ascension to the top. How do you fight against people’s negative perception of you especially when you’re the last to know that you’re being vilified? How do you convince others that your enjoyment of the fruits of your labour is being misconstrued for pomp and conceitedness? Why has your struggle to the top attracted so many enemies when all you needed was a friend? Why should you even care about any of this?

Find-Your-Fight

Well there’s one thing I know for sure, no one has the ability to completely block out the hate, vitriol and envy that they encounter. Even a strong and formidable character is not hermetically sealed off or immune from such sustained attacks. So we just have to find a way to cope. Now there are two coping mechanisms that are usually employed – humility before all or complete disassociation from some.

HUMILITY

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Humility seems prudent, doesn’t it? We have all those quotes: ‘Don’t burn your bridges’, ‘A great man is always willing to be little’, ‘Pride cometh before a fall’, ‘You must eat humble pie’ etc. which try and reinforce this concept. Furthermore, given the fact that too many of today’s rich and famous seem to exemplify avarice, selfishness and arrogance, it would be nice to see them more appreciative and humbled, especially given the fact that after reaching the top, there is only one way to go and that’s down. I actually agree more with this approach because you are prevented from harming and abusing the very people who stood as your backbone when you were at your worst. The only problem is that humility and success are an oxymoron. Humility is really having a modest or low view of your own importance. Unfortunately, this attribute is the greatest hindrance to being successful. Furthermore, malicious people will use this concept as a weapon to subdue your efforts and stifle your dreams. Success demands complete faith in oneself, an indomitable will, raw passion, fierce determination, a competitive disposition and the burning desire to do better. So how do you suppress all of that once you get to that place of accomplishment? Understandably, you should come humbly to those who have been your most fervent supporters but why should you also prostrate yourself humbly before those who only had ill-intent towards you?

COMPLETE DISASSOCIATION FROM SOME

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This brings me to the other approach which is ‘complete disassociation from some’. The idea of brutally and confidently cutting away all the naysayers, dream-blockers, idea crushers, mockers and sneering idiots from the fabric of your life is extremely appealing. After all, you already have your own doubts and demons to contend with so why add third-party negativity to it? I really love the idea of this except that this approach would evolve from ‘complete disassociation from some’ to ‘complete disassociation from all’. That’s because in your rise to success, some friends become enemies and, surprisingly, enemies can become friends (sometimes very loyal too). So if you completely disassociated yourself from your purported ‘enemies’ at the start and cut off all ties with those friends who have been relegated to the ranks of ‘unfaithful swines’, you would be left with no one. The worst thing to being a success is having no one to genuinely share it with. That makes life a very lonely place.

SO WHERE DO WE STAND?

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The fact is that both mechanisms are highly effective. In life you learn that with every habit – there’s a norm, with every norm – a rule and every rule has an exception. This is no different. You will need to be humble enough so that you are able to accept correction along the way; form and maintain sustainable relationships with people who will aid in your success and maintain a quiet and respectable dignity about the whole affair (especially when you’ve accomplished your goals) so that you don’t unnecessarily create enemies among people you have come to call friends. As for those that are wholly incorrigible, who despite your best efforts just can’t help but despise, vilify and hate you for your progress, by all means – cut them off and cut them off completely. I do not subscribe to playing the sacrificial lamb to people’s cruel nature especially if I’ve already survived my own baptism of fire. You should not have to apologise for doing well. Why should you? Realising your potential is the least you can do with the talent you were blessed with and the short life span we were all cursed with. Know when to exercise humility, be smart about who you surround yourself with but NEVER apologise for doing well.



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