Jada Pinkett-Smith is on some-ole…Public Enemy – Fight the Power…type-a stuff. In response to what some are now saying is the Academy’s continual snub of Oscar nominations of black actors, directors, and movies starring black actors in leading roles, Jada took to social media and published a 2 ½ minute soft-spoken, yet Sista-Soulja-esque, canon-over-the-bow shot at the Academy.
She raised the question…have people of color amassed enough power and influence that we no longer have to beg for love, acknowledgment, or respect from other people? But, by “…begging for acknowledgement…or even asking, diminishes dignity. And diminishes power.”
When I heard her statement, I couldn’t help but think of all the people in unhappy marriages and relationships to whom this applies. Over the last 16 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of dating, engaged, married, and separated couples. And what pains me is seeing one partner beg and plead for love, acknowledgment, and the respect they feel they deserve but are not getting from their mate.
Can I ask you…have you ever felt…or do you currently feel like your partner doesn’t see you? They don’t know who you are. They don’t recognize your value or worth. They don’t understand how hurtful and adversely impacting their attitude and decisions are to you, the kids, and the relationship. In an effort to validate yourself, is it going too far…to get all Jennifer Holiday on em’ – and be like, “And you, and you, and you, you’re gonna love me!”
I know that song brings audiences to a standing ovation, but do you really want to be in a relationship where you have to beg for love? If you don’t feel like you’re getting the love you deserve, stop begging for it and try these 5 steps instead.
1. Sacrifice Love
Love is willingly sacrificing something you want for the betterment of someone else. The sacrifice can be small (letting him pick the restaurant) or big (letting her pick which house to buy). But you must be willing to sacrifice something for your mate.
2. Sow Love
You cannot reap what you do not sow. Therefore, you must sow the love your mate feels they deserve…even if you don’t think they deserve it. Why? Because you want your mate to give you the love you feel you deserve…even if they don’t think you deserve it.
3. Express Love
Answer these questions, “I feel loved when…? I feel respected when….? I feel appreciated when…?” Expressing love to your mate this way lets them know exactly what they can do to show you love. A fun way to ease the intensity of this conversation is to make it a game where the two of you go back and forth answering these questions.
4. Live Love
You have to live it…not just do it (no shade to Nike). Take what your mate just expressed and commit to do one of them once a day. Sowing and expressing love once, in the beginning of your relationship, won’t cut it. Consistently sowing and expressing it over and over again will build a loving environment in your relationship.
5. Tough Love
After having consistently sowed and expressed love, if you feel you are still not getting the love you feel you deserve, then start pulling back on some of the acts of love you were previously willing to sacrifice. Make it clear that this about-face is a direct consequence to the lack-of-love you feel you’re receiving. The less emotional you are when doing this, the more effective this will be in persuading them to change.
As you can see, getting the love you feel you deserve requires actions from both of you. It’s not just one sided. There are probably some changes you’re going to have to make…as well as your mate.
But make no mistake…you can’t make anybody do something they don’t want to do; and you can’t stop anybody from doing something they want to do. In this love-game, there’re no guarantees. But love should be freely given. If it’s not, then follow the five steps outlined above. But whatever you do, don’t go all Jennifer Holiday on em’ and start begging for it. As Jada said in her commentary, that only diminishes your dignity and power.
BMWK — Do you agree? How do you make sure you get the love you feel you deserve?