The Power of Constructive Conflict

Continuing from yesterday’s post entitled Cursing and Conflict

 

Mr. C is probably the best person for having healthy conflict. He believes in fair fighting. In case you didn’t know, Mr. C is a Beta male. I’m an Alpha female. We get along well. I’ll discuss the Beta Male comparison in another post, but the point is that Mr. C doesn’t believe in a whole lot of arguing, fussing, fighting or cursing. He isn’t disrespectful or cursing me out my name when we are in disagreement. He believes that two adults should be able to have a conversation and work through their issues. Sounds simple right?

In reality, it is simple with him. I spend a lot of time researching ways to effectively communicate with my love. I do this by investing in quality conversations. We discuss our feelings and we do relationship check-ins. Remember my fear of telling him that I didn’t want to marry or the fact that I didn’t want to buy a house or adopt children? It was an enormous amount of adjustments that he had to accept, but I had to make sure that we could communicate through it all without harboring negative feelings.

I’m a business woman and I think in terms of black and white. There are no shades of gray. Gray is indefinite and I need definite answers for everything. Yes, I know that I can’t always get what I want that way, but you can give me a time frame. Things need to be time bound and relevant to work with me.

That’s when I learned about constructive conflict and started using it in our relationship.

Constructive conflict refers to conflict in which the benefits exceed the costs; it generates productive, mutually beneficial, shared decisions. In constructive conflicts, the process becomes as important as the end result. Individuals come together to redefine or strengthen their relationship for the greater good of the parties involved. – Differences Between Destructive & Constructive Conflict by Colette L. Meehan

I was dealing with our communication and conflict from the only logical way that I could think of…the business sense. In constructive conflict we both see the benefits of communicating our needs effectively no matter the cost. We understand that no matter what we say that we will be able to work through it. We don’t argue, yell or curse each other out. There is no disrespect. Only a strengthening of our desire to make sure that we are tackling our issues together because together is the only outcome we want.

So, we focus on the process. It was weird at first because I never knew that you could have healthy conflict in relationships. Hell, I grew up in a loud and disrespectful environment and I was embarking on something I never had…peace. Peace of mind to know that the person you love isn’t your enemy and they can disagree with you without cursing you out or calling you out your name.

That’s it. He’s not my enemy. He’s my love. He’s my best friend. He’s the person that I trust with all the pain that I’ve endured to not belittle or discourage me. He’s my supporter. Knowing and accepting that allows me to understand how conflict can work and apply it in our relationship.

I’m not perfect. Neither of us is perfect, but we we are committed to focusing on our relationship and keeping it strong and healthy. We know that it is a process and we’ll keep working on it. Why? Because we’re worth it.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Happy Friday – 5/20/2016

Did I tell you Happy Friday? Nope? Well here goes:

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I wish you an amazing day and a more amazing weekend. Laugh a lot, dance a lot, run a lot and believe that everything will be okay. You know why? Because it will.

I Am My Sister’s Keeper

Help one another, is part of the religion of sisterhood. ~Louisa May Alcott

I am my sister’s keeper. Not just my actual sisters (I have two), but my girlfriend’s too. I care about women and love my girlfriends immensely. They are the most powerful, inspiring, straightforward and loving women I have ever known. They listen, support, encourage and push me to keep my head up in spite of adversities. They are my support network. Better yet, they are my sistergirls!

My sistergirls have picked up my son from daycare or school when I was stuck in traffic and his dad was stuck in a meeting. They have kept my son overnight when I’ve been too tired to play mommy. They have kept my son when I have traveled out of town to their city for a date night. They have kept my son when I was an emotional wreck and had no family in sight. They have drank with me, shopped with me and gave me some of the funniest and best advice ever.

The bond between two women can be an incredible experience. You love the person and they become a beat in your heart. They don’t change your relationship with your significant other, they encourage it and remind you that no matter what…nothing will ever come between you two. They understand that you’re too busy to get together because you’re playing wifey or supermom. They cook meals when you’re sick so you can focus on getting better. They are just awesome!

Sistergirls are a requirement for any woman. You need that support. God has provided me an awesome network of women that do that for me and more. When I go to them with my “issues” they just listen and give me a non-judgmental and practical approach on how to handle things. “Whatever you want to do girl, you know I got your back” is what they say.

How encouraging is that?

Recently, I had a man tell me that he worries about me being everything to everyone. He said, “If you give of yourself tirelessly who will take care of you? What will you have left in the end?” I smiled and said, “Enough”. He looked at me puzzled. I said, “God gives me enough. Enough heart to love and strength to be the support that my sistergirls are too me. Yes it may seem like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, but the load I carry is not heavy. It is enough. I am enough and I can handle it.”

I need my sistergirls more than they need me. I’m always the one calling them with the latest and greatest thought, idea or piece that I wrote and I want their advice. They give it to me. Without hesitation. When I have a break-down and cry about a situation, they love me and support me and remind me that “God never gives you more than you can bear.” They are the ones that have encouraged my writing and they are the wind beneath my wings.

But lately, my sistergirls have been going through things that I can’t fix. Do you know how that annoys me? They make things better for me and I want to do the same for them. I know I can’t carry their burdens, but I share in their heartbreaks, disappointments and pain. I willingly love and try to inspire them with subliminal tweets, posts, texts and Instagram love. I want to be their rock because they are that to me. So, you know what? I will.

I don’t want a man telling me to not concern myself with their problems because that is not what sisterhood is about. We live, we love, we laugh and we cry. Shared joys and disappointments. If you are my man and you’re going through something, don’t you want my support? Yep! Absolutely! So, understand this…there is no greater love than sisterhood. I am my sister’s keepers.

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In Search of More

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

Mother Teresa

Okay so I’m working on my first book which will be fiction (very loosely) based off my life and experiences. It’s weird because I’ve never intended to write fiction, just tell my story. My truth. My way. With no filter. The response to my two short stories have created a surge to write the story of a woman named Faith and her experiences with a man named Teddy.

I’m so excited because the respect and appreciation for my short stories have increased my Twitter followers, Facebook friends and followers to this blog. This means that people get me. You don’t know how wonderful that makes me feel. It is an amazing feeling and I thank you for your continued support.

That being said, I have no plans to quit my job and write full-time (primarily because I love and need my health benefits) but I just want to share this woman’s story. What makes it interesting is that I can see parts of me, my friends, family and women I’ve met on this journey into everything I write now. We all want more. Whether it be a poem or short story I feel like I’m weaving a tapestry that tells one story for everyone…the search for more. More. We don’t want to settle. We know we deserve it but oftentimes we find ourselves trapped in situations where we accept what we can get instead of pulling ourselves away from things that don’t give us more.

My search for more has opened my eyes to things that I never thought I would experience and anthems about taking back your power that I am in awe of how I’m subconsciously moving and gravitating towards my destiny without even knowing it. In other words, I’m not settling. I’m asking, no rather DEMANDING more. More for me.

I hope you do the same love.

Women Rock!

Last week, I took my car into my local Tires Plus for my oil change and winter maintenance. What surprised me most about this visit was that they had women who worked in their maintenance shop. I’ve rarely seen women who work in the automotive field, but the few times that I have seen women, I’m always surprised by the look of the women who work with men all day. Pretty much they seem masculine.

Now, before you get all in a huff, I am a feminist and any woman working in a male dominated field is a great thing! I am all for women being treated equally. But, my automotive technician didn’t appear masculine in her dress or attitude. She wasn’t trying to hide her curves or fit in with the guys. She was just doing her job.

And you know what? She did a great job. She was very thorough with her recommended repairs and the maintenance. I was extremely impressed and told the manager that I would be back because they had women automotive technicians which shows that they are trying to diversify their staff. He smiled. So, I got back to the house and researched how many women actually work in the automotive field and you know what I discovered? That accordingly only 1.8% women were employed as automotive service technicians or mechanics in 2013.

Are you serious? I knew it was low, but this low? We have got to change that ladies! Let’s push our girls to explore more male dominated fields like automotive technicians and/or mechanics. There is always a demand for a great mechanic and it allows women to be taken more seriously as they climb in the management roles (should they choose to) because they have the hands on experience that makes men take a step back and take them seriously. There are many schools that offer an automotive technician program and if you are interested in going further, consider enrolling in mechanical engineering programs. I want to see more women mechanics when I take my car to get serviced. Even in the Goma (which is known as the rape capital of the world) in the Democratic Republic of Congo you have women that have carved out their own by becoming mechanics in a male dominated industry. Let’s do it locally too.

Girl power is awesome!
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Guess Who Got Published on MBB?

Happy Friday Folks!

If you haven’t heard, I was honored to get an article published on one of my favorite blogs…MyBrownBaby (yep, one word). MyBrownBaby is an incredible blog started by Denene Millner who states that “MyBrownBaby isn’t about pointing fingers at or putting down white moms. It’s about helping black moms. It’s also about providing a service for those who need the information but can’t find it or who just want someone to commiserate with them—help them sort through the beautiful struggle that comes with being black parents in America.” You love it right?

It’s a great blog with a wealth of information, articles, tips and stories from both men and women about children. I have been following along for the last couple of years. So, in light of #domesticviolenceawareness I decided to share my story in hopes of getting it published and bringing home what I’ve been sharing all month with you.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic Violence is a topic that is close to my heart. I’ve shared more with you than I’ve shared with my own family. (I guess you guys/gals are my family). This writing has been therapeutic for me and I’ve grown through it. Which is incredibly helpful. Well, I decided to submit an article for publication earlier this month and I got notified on Wednesday that it was accepted and went live. I am overjoyed and I hope you have a chance to check out my latest piece and to subscribe to this incredible blog!

Click here for my post –  Suffer the Little Children: The Effects of Domestic Violence on Kids

Be blessed loves!

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Your Word is Your Bond

“Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions.”

— Maria Razumich-Zec

 

Simply put…If you don’t have your word, then what the heck do you have? That’s what I told a friend of mine the other day. I am a woman of my word. My word defines who I am and my character. If there is anything you would ever want to know, just ask. I’m honest. I’m grown and I’m authentic. I would rather be known for my  ability to tell the truth than to be a known liar.

In navigating my friendships and relationships with people, I realized that the only thing that I can do is be honorable. Keep my word because it matters. Not one of my friends can ever say that I’m not reliable, disingenuous or flaky. If I don’t want to do something…I just won’t do it. I don’t let people bully me into doing something I don’t want to do and I don’t feel guilty if I can’t make everything. No matter how hard I try, I learned that I will miss some things and that’s okay.

So, what does it look like to me when you keep your word? That you’re a person that I can trust. That you care about me and my feelings. That you are special enough where I can let this guard down around my heart and try to get to know you. Why? Because you can keep your word. Your word is your bond. The bond that strengthens our friendship.

It’s not hard. There’s no magical formula to keeping your word. There will always be situations where that can’t be possible. It’s okay. Let the other person know what’s going on as soon as you can. Many communication problems can be resolved when people actually take the time and communicate with one another. Honoring your word will always get you the two most important things from me: trust and respect.

Trust

I don’t trust people easily. Never have. Probably never will. But, I can learn to trust people. God has blessed me with so many phenomenal men and women in my life that I can’t imagine how I ever survived not knowing them. We take time out to call, text, eat, visit and catch up with each other. I value that quality time and I trust them to always be there for me should I ever need them and I promise to do the same. We trust each other and that trust is solidified each time we act upon something that we said that we would do. Whether it be call back, get together or write a letter of recommendation for graduate school, we trust that what we say we are going to do will be done.

Respect

I respect people who keep their word and vice versa. My friends respect that I will do everything that I said I will do. So does my family. That respect is an integral part of my character and integrity. I don’t tell you that I’m going to do something and then not do it. I will follow through. Things that irk me and help me lose respect for people: people that say that they are going to call and don’t; people that say that they are going to do something and don’t and people who say that they will be there and don’t. You see how a little “slip of your mind” can cause me to lose respect for you? Just be about your word. Technological advances allow for people to send a text and say “Got busy, can’t make it. Call you later okay?” See, now how hard is that? Remember to be respectful to people and their time. Time is something that we can’t get back if it is wasted.

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Remember, to keep your word once it is given. Honor your friendships and relationships with people. Be authentic. If you can’t do something, it’s okay to send a text or call to say that you can’t make it. If you get distracted or busy, call the person immediately and explain your oversight. If you forget and need to cancel on someone, be honest and let them know. It takes a minute to gain someone’s trust, but an eternity to earn it back after you lose it.

Trust me on this one.

 

Mondays are for Mary

A couple of weeks I gave you insight into how Beyonce’s songs helped me through a particular rough period, but now I want to give you a list of songs by Mary J Blige that will help you through your blue period where you’re hurting because a man or woman has hurt you. This is for my ladies…Mary’s Monday Music List is all about getting you to a place where you can reflect, respond and resolve to be in a better mood than yesterday and get past the hurt. Not for them, but for you. Trust, you will love this.

Let’s go…

My Life

Mary sings about letting go and letting God. You are not alone in your struggle. If you don’t believe in her, that’s cool, believe in HIM. Love it.

“Take your time
Baby don’t you rush a thing
Don’t you know, I know
We all are struggling
I know it is hard
But we will get by
And if you don’t believe in me
Just believe in “He”

 

I Can Love You

Haven’t we all been there and thought…I can love you better than she/he can? I know I have. But, sometimes we just need to understand it’s not about us but the person we’re trying to convince. If it’s meant to be…trust, you won’t need to convince someone.

 

Not Gon’ Cry 

But after you get to the point of realizing that the person is not going to love you the way you love them, you have to tell yourself that I’m not gon’ cry. Because that person is not worth the tears.

 

No More Drama

Okay, who hasn’t had drama in their lives? Whether you invite it in personally or it slipped in with someone you know. You have to get to the point of saying No More Drama. Drama doesn’t allow you to find and seek the good things in your life because you’re dealing with hurt. Hurt emotions. Hurt people. Breathe and release yourself. Mary sings…

Uh, it feel so good
When you let go
Of all the drama in your life
Now you’re free from all the pain
Free from all the game
Free from all the stress
So find your happiness

 

Just Move

Now, that you’re at the end girlfriend…Work it! No time for moping around. Get your happy back and keep it moving because you deserve it. Get it together and just love you.

 

So, if you’re going through a particularly rough time or break up know that it does get easier. Sometimes the hardest thing we can do is walk away and say no to foolishness. Surround yourself with friends who will love and listen and you can get through this. Trust.

No Fat Chicks!

Sometimes the hardest thing we can do is put ourselves out there. You know go “all in” to show someone we are ready and willing to be available to let happiness and love come into our lives. Dating has changed dramatically since I was last single. I’ve expressed how I’ve tried the on-line dating thing and my experiences from some of the men. That being said, I wonder what would have happened if no one tried to contact me after I posted my profile? That was the case of one woman who wrote an article about her experience on XO Jane last month.

The article titled “IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Tried Online Dating And No One Even Messaged Me Back” was depressing to me. I mean her profile and picture looked nice, what was wrong with men? Why didn’t they find her attractive? The author, Patrice Bendig, was crushed that not one person messaged her back. She put herself out there and was emotionally crushed by people who never got to find out how incredible she was.

She said that her self-esteem took a hit and as a curvy girl, my heart ached for her. I think one of the hardest things women (especially curvy women) deal with is finding someone who will admit to liking a thick um and wanting to be seen in public with them. All things curvy women fear. The fear of rejection is real and I think we need to stop acting like loving and dating a curvy girl is the end of the world.

Why would it be? Just because I have a little more cushion doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in exercise or am one step away from being featured on an episode of “Obsessed: I Weigh 650 Pounds and Can’t Get Out of Bed”. Nope. Not me. I am not ashamed of my size and I don’t want a man who is ashamed to be with me. I love the shape of my hips and the curve of my thighs. The stretch marks from carrying a king. All badges of honor that I wear well while working out on the treadmill.

Curvy girls come with a certain level of confidence, but that confidence is fragile when you find yourself dating and trying to meet new people who think you need to just work out and they will help you because they are a certified personal trainer. I’m always cautious about men who approach me and say they like thick women. They find curvy girls sexy. Really? So, everyone else is below par if they are smaller? Why are you saying you are a closet chubby chaser? (May not be rational, but I’m guarded).

Even one of my favorite plus size bloggers, CeCe Olisa blogged about her experiences in an article on Refinery 29 titled “Is Online Dating Different for Plus Size Women”. CeCe said “It can feel like everyone has an amazing dating life but you, and it can feel like you only attract people who have issues or fetishes. But, someone reminded me that those things happen to girls of any size.” But, do skinny women get humiliated like a faux curvy woman did in this Tinder experiment? (In case you don’t know, Tinder is an app that matches people based on appearances).

Probably not. I mean the guys who conducted the social experiment even said that women’s biggest fears about meeting a man on line is that he is a serial killer whereas a man’s biggest fear…meeting a fat chick. Wow! Let’s sound the alarm and have a revolution against ignorance. What happened to men who appreciated beautiful women inside and out? Where did they go? Can the non-jerks who love God, their family, curvy women and are employed please stand up?

In an “Instagram I got to show you how I can twerk like Nikki Minaj and close the partition like Beyoncé age” it makes me wonder how many times curvy girls will keep getting the short end of the stick in dating? Are we resigned to believe that we have to take what we can get because they’re not a lot of options out there? What happened to getting to know me first before trying to guess my pant size?

A lot of stuff huh? Well I’m going to deal with it like my momma said, “Put your big girl panties on and formulate a plan.” My plan is simple. Keep my expectations low, my self-esteem high and have a lot of confidence to carry me through this foolishness. Rejection is a part of the process. Rejection builds character. It is in our painful experiences that we can grow and realize that we were built to last.

¡Viva la revolución mis hermanas

(Long live the revolution my sisters!)

Here’s the social experiment video:

He’ll Do in Case of Emergencies

That was one of the most poignant lessons learned from my mommy. It was a statement simple and powerful as I was growing up and entering the dating world. The first time I heard that statement, I had met a wonderful young man who was smart, considerate, gorgeous and talented and I asked, “Mommy, isn’t he perfect?” Her response was “He’ll do in case of emergencies”. What? Hold up. Rewind. What does that mean?

It meant men are disposable, interchangeable and you should always have a back-up. Not quite sure what I was expecting at 16, maybe a little more, “Yep, baby. I can see why you like him.” But, that was not my mother’s nature. Her desire was to give it to you straight with no chaser. Did it make me pause and think maybe “the one” was a myth because every man would do in case of emergencies? Yes, Absolutely!

I read this article on the Washington Post and it kinda confirmed that not just women are doing it, but men too. It stated that “Men have back-burners at roughly twice the rate of women”. Wow! So, in this digital age, women aren’t alone. Men have been using technology to keep in touch or hook up with exes or women that they’ve flirted with in the past. Social media has made it easier for folks to hook up and have romantic affairs with people outside of their current mate.

Researchers are calling it “digital cheating or cyber infidelity”. Umm, can anyone say that they are surprised by it? Probably not, but what surprised me was the fact that it is now easier to get it on with someone from your past or a co-worker without ever raising suspicion. Facebook has broken up many a “happy home” because people can’t seem to let go of the past. How many times have you caught your significant other texting or emailing someone from their past with questionable responses? Hmm, not wanting to admit it huh? What about your girlfriend’s sister’s cousin’s brother who was cheating on his wife of 10 years with his old college girlfriend? Why did he do it? Convenience perhaps? Opportunity to water the grass on the other side? Perhaps.

But, the one thing for sure is that technology has made it easier to get your “freak on” with folks without ever having to leave your zip code. You don’t have to do much. Think about it…Two people fed up with their current partners arguing or fussing that they comfort each other. That comfort leads to something more, but they’re not going to leave their “boo thing” for you. It was just time and opportunity. You console each other and confide how unfair your partners demands are. However, you never want to leave your number one for your number two on the back burner. Why? Because you trust number one. I bet you know some men like that right now.

However, it’s not just men though, because last week The Huffington Post reported that “Uh-Oh, Survey Says Half of Married Women Have a Back-up Husband in Mind”. Really? I didn’t know it was that many. I mean I thought 20%, but more than half? Who are these Plan B men? Men from their past: old boyfriends, men who they’ve flirted with or colleagues. Okay, I get the past boyfriends, but casual acquaintances a relationship don’t make. However, it does support my mom’s theory that women should have a back-up. Maybe their mothers told them the same thing.

But, I have to wonder…in the dating world where people are making more connections on line and through various social media platforms, does that mean you are going to have less of an opportunity for survival in a healthy functioning relationship because you have alternatives in your friend list, circle or network? Will more people just hook up instead of commit because we’re too lazy to work at something? How many of us have pressed rewind on a relationship from the past and found out that it was true love? Sometimes it’s the thought of knowing someone so well that you don’t have to spend time learning someone new.

Where is the fun in that? Maybe people should spend more time protecting something special instead of settling for the he/she person that will do in case of emergencies. Limit your choices. Eliminate your alternatives and build with the possibility of “the one” something incredible. It would probably be fewer divorces. IMJS.

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