The Relationship Between Black History & Power Living

cropped-headshot-pam-reaves.jpgThe observance of Black History Month is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate the relationship between the African American community’s heritage and Power Living. We are a passionate, spirited, spiritual, and loving people. Not in spite of, but rather because of our history: (1) We have become masters at taking little to no resources and creating something great; (2) In the face of adversity we have consistently demonstrated true grit; (3) We are not unaccustomed to defying the odds stacked against us; and (4) We have developed and honed vast gifts and talents that have helped to build an America that is great. The newly released movie “Hidden Figures” is but one of many examples which prove that the possession of gifts and talents aren’t new to us. We’ve been doing extraordinary things throughout our entire history as Americans.

As passionate, spirited, spiritual, and loving people, we know how to do a whole lot of things. Thank God, however, there is one thing that we don’t. We do not know how to stay down. We keep getting up, pushing through, breaking through, coming back, and moving forward. These are the actions of people who possess power.

The African American heritage is one of Power Living. According to Professor Andrew Hack of Harvard University, no people in the history of the United States have been called upon to endure what the African American has been called upon to endure. I would respectfully add to Professor Hack’s observation that yet we still rise; we excel; we keep advancing; we still hope; we still love; and we are still American.   Despite the frequent depiction of a community replete with troubled youth, our young people are emerging from every walk of life (even out of abject poverty) to achieve greatness; become successful; and exceed all expectations.

Our elders are still on the front line after decades of fighting for equal rights and justice. With the vigor of their youth, they remain fully engaged in advocating for us because they know that the African American heritage is our point of reference. This heritage of power living is a reminder, as well as the evidence, of all that we’ve been through; all that we’re capable of, and our infinite promise when we are resolute in our commitment to allow nothing or no one stop us from fulfilling our inalienable great promise. These battle-tested warriors know that although Dr. King had the dream, it is up to us (individually and collectively) to accept the baton and remain vigilant until we transform the dream into reality.

Today’s unrest in America may give some within the African American community pause, maybe even second-guess this heritage of Power Living that I speak of. Go ahead and have your moment. Pausing isn’t a bad thing because there are times when a deep breath, quiet time, and serious contemplation are necessary. While you are pausing, default back to our heritage (i.e. point of reference) for motivation and inspiration. If disappointment is your truth, don’t you dare accept defeat. If you’re bent out of shape due to the chaos and vitriol that seems to be the order of the day, never accept that you are broken. What seems to have been designed, or is a desire to set us back is an opportunity to hit the re-set button. We are to use this opportunity to re-evaluate who we are, what we envision for ourselves, our families, communities, and to default back to our point of reference (a heritage of power living). I promise, determination will then be the inner fire that will compel you to take matters into your own hands in order to preserve the heritage. Keep what has worked for us throughout history, and commit to building upon that. Discard the rest.

It’s time to think beyond conventional wisdom. Maybe not spend so much time wondering where are the likes of Oprah, Barack, Reverend Al, or the other familiar names we’re used to calling upon. No one person or small group can satisfy every need, fill every void, or solve every problem. There’s enough work for some new names to come to the forefront (yes – even yours). The current issues before us are unprecedented, so there’s an immediate need to: (1) Form new alliances; (2) Pool our resources; (3) Create opportunities rather than wait for them to be handed to us from people who don’t know or appreciate our true value; (4) Laser-focus on the strength of unity that has been our guiding light throughout some dark and desolate periods in the past rather than being consumed with in-fighting; (5) Engage in the political process rather than sitting on the side lines as spectators; and (6) Embrace and appreciate diversity. Regardless of what the isolationists say, there is knowledge, value, and strength in diversity.

Since November 8, 2016, I can’t count the number of conversations that I’ve participated in or have overheard someone mention that what happened is a wake-up call. My response to this is that we’ve had plenty of wake-up calls. Our ancestors were awake when they cried freedom. They were men and women who refused to accept the inhumane assessment of others because they knew they were supremely valuable. They were willing to risk the lash and even death because they would not accept that they were powerless to do something about legal bondage and a morally corrupt system. Our antecedents were awake and ready to assume positions of power in the areas of politics, entrepreneurship, and education during the Reconstruction Period. They didn’t just wake up suddenly two years after the abolishment of slavery and decide to jump in. They were already alert and planning their courses of action to pursue what they wanted.

During the 1920’s, the world was awakened to our creative, cultural, and artistic genius during the Harlem Renaissance. We were awake when we exercised our power to peacefully protest and marched along with our leaders during the Civil Rights Movement. We influenced public policy and law – that is power. Along with other communities, we were awake and ready to receive a Change Agent who came along and reminded us of the power to effect real change. We went to the polls in record numbers – thwarting every agenda that was devised to keep President Barack Hussain Obama from the Office of the Presidency.

We’ve have enough wake up calls. We’re not asleep. We’ve always been aware of what we wanted, needed, and deserved to have. Once you experience the awakening, you have to: (i) do something more than acknowledge an awareness of the need for change; (ii) demand favorable responses to your voice; (iii) demand justice, and; (iv) make guaranteed access to all of the privileges and opportunities afforded to those who do live the American Dream according to their respective definitions non-negotiable.

So this time I challenge each of you to answer the Clarion Hall. What is the Clarion Call? It is the trumpet sounding; the loud and clear call to Purpose-Driven Action so that no matter who is in the White House, State House, or City Hall, we will not only survive, but we will also thrive in any market, social, or political condition. That is our truth because we are the beneficiaries of an inheritance of Power Living.

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Don’t Count On Tomorrow

pamela18_4802greyIf there’s one thing that is certain — life is uncertain. For years we’ve heard the colloquialism, “You can’t count on seeing tomorrow.”  Well, we’ve come to a place in time when that particular colloquialism seems outdated.  You can’t even count on getting past today.  I think about it a lot because I see so much going on around me.  I’m constantly reading tons of news stories about world events that appear to have us in global turmoil.  I’m always hear about things changing minute by minute.  The unforeseeable always seem to be popping up without warning.

Some years ago one of my brothers shared an incident that happened at his workplace. While at lunch, a colleague shared the details of an ugly fight he had with his wife earlier that morning.  The encounter started out with her chastising him for not taking his prescribed medication.  He perceived her wifely concern as “nagging”.  After listening to his colleague’s account of what happened at home earlier in the day, my brother reminded him that she was just trying to look out for him.  Upon hearing his wife’s side of the disagreement from another person’s perspective who wasn’t involved, he saw the light and promised to apologize as soon as he got home that evening.

Just after they finished lunch and stood up to leave, my brother’s colleague collapsed, and unfortunately, the emergency responders couldn’t revive him.  One of them commented to my brother that his colleague had suffered a massive heart attack and was dead as soon as he hit the ground.  Of course my brother was shaken by the tragedy that occurred right in front him.  Who is expecting someone to drop dead at lunch?  Sometimes women (including me) think men aren’t aware of certain things when it comes to emotions, but the conversation that I was having with me brother was one of those times when I was reminded to stop “gender judging”.  What touched my heart was the fact that he couldn’t forget about the conversation he had with his colleague, and was even more concerned that his colleague dropped dead leaving unfinished business at home.  This was unsettling for my brother, who felt he had to do something to at least help his deceased friend to finish his business at home. He couldn’t rest imaging how this man’s wife must have felt having her husband storm out of the house after a heated argument.  It must have been devastating that the next time she heard something, it wasn’t from him, but was about him – his demise.

He made a decision to help relieve her of any feelings of guilt or responsibility.  When he thought she could handle the conversation, he was going to let her know that her husband had every intention of apologizing to her later that evening.   She needed to know that reconciliation was already in the process even though her husband never returned home.

Over the years, I’ve often thought about this story.  At times like this, I’m reminded of how we take so much for granted – especially when it involves loved ones.  We get so comfortable with having them in our lives, we rarely think about life without them until it happens.  As we go about our daily busy lives, we can lose focus and become engrossed in a lot of things that really don’t matter.  We can have arguments, with some of them being real scorchers, without much thought that those moments of disagreement could be the last we have together. It’s not so much about not counting on tomorrow, as it is paramount that we make every effort to stay mindful of the precious moments we share with those whom we profess to love.

We all have our hot buttons, and sometimes we need to blow off steam, just to get it out in the opening and over it.  I am guilty of not getting over it sooner rather than later.  During my youth and as a young adult, if I had a disagreement, I wanted no parts of the other party for days – sometimes weeks.  Actually I could go for months without contact (Ya’ll, my momma was praying for me).  I had little to no consideration about whether the incident would be the last time I saw the other party.  But as I grow older, wiser, mellow, and more conscious of the uncertainty of life, I work like hell to get over things quickly.  In retrospect, I’ve found they’re not worth it.

Our loving relationships are like treasures, and we are to guard them as such. Have your moment; go to your corner; decompress at the mall; hang out with the fellas, but make sure to find your way back to your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, or boo and straighten things out.  Don’t count on working it out tomorrow when you have today.  Extend the olive branch if the other person is too proud to.  I’m a realist and aware that all of us don’t bounce back immediately, but here’s an alternative.  State the facts.  “I’m mad at you right now, but I love you.  I need a minute to re-group.”   Just don’t leave them hanging with “I’m mad at you.”  They already know that part, but may be uncertain if “mad” takes the place of “love”.  Most of us can take “mad” as long as we know “love” still abounds. Ladies, sometimes when he’s sitting there steaming mad, just walk up and kiss him without warning.  Men, if you just show up with a single rose (carnation if you’re on a tight budget), I guarantee you she will appreciate it.

If you know you’re the culprit — the party guilty of the offense, be courageous and admit it. Yes, it takes courage to apologize.  It’s the coward who knows he or she is wrong, but blames the other party, or worse, tries to make the other party buy into the lie.  The other person deserves the apology, so don’t let your foolish pride win over fixing a hurt.  Besides, once you apologize, the weight of guilt will be lifted.  Both parties win.

Hope for tomorrow.  Plan for the future, but don’t take either one for granted.  Make sure they know that you love them, even in times of disagreement.  Tell and show them they’re loved.  Celebrate each other – just because.  Don’t wait for holidays, birthdays, or anniversaries.  When it comes to good loving, there’s no time like the present.  You never know what tomorrow will bring or if there will even be a tomorrow.  You have today.  Make it the best day ever for you and your loved ones.

The Enemy Within

pamela19_4377

Who is responsible for the unhappy state of your most cherished relationship? Why aren’t you receiving the same tender loving care that you keep giving to the other individual? Why doesn’t he/she appreciate you? Why are you the only one giving pleasure, but never receiving the same? Why do dysfunctional people always seem to be attracted to you? These are the types of questions that torment some individuals to no end. They read every relationship book, article, and advice column they can get their hands on, hoping to discover a way out of their torment and into the state of euphoria they dream of when it comes to an intimate relationship.

If they can’t find anything in writing to bring clarity to relational problems, they’re willing to attend conferences, workshops, retreats, and any other event in hopes that motivational speakers, relationship experts, or conference facilitators will finally provide the answers they’ve been looking for and in some cases, paid good money for.

Books, articles, and how-to manuals in hand, they anxiously return to the relationship excited and ready to apply new knowledge only to discover, things are still the same. The anguish continues, the distress is weighty, and the suffering is attaching itself to every part of their lives. If a partner doesn’t respond in the way the manuals, articles, conferences, retreats, or workshops promised, irritability starts to creep in. Confusion and hurt magnifies. Now the first laundry list of questions has even more questions added to it. Why is my partner non-responsive; why is he/she so stubborn; why won’t he/she change if I’m going through all this stuff to improve this relationship? What is wrong with people, and finally, what is wrong with me or, what did I do to deserve this?

There is one place where people hate to look for the answers because, either consciously or subconsciously, there is the fear of the inability to handle the truth. There is the fear that the answers will be reveal something about them they’ve been avoiding. Yes, there is a very real adversary — one who knows a million ways in which to destroy a relationship. This adversary is far more skilled than any external force when it comes to figuring out exactly what it takes to dismantle a relationship. It can cause destruction the likes of which no other man or woman has the power to do. This particular adversary is so proficient at undermining or sabotaging the best efforts made to attract, cultivate, and maintain a healthy loving relationship because this adversary is the “Enemy Within.” That’s right, in many cases the person who prohibits, restricts, undermines, sabotages or destroys the relationship is “self”. How is this possible?

The Enemy Within is a powerful weapon that all of us hate to acknowledge. An individual can spend years fighting against perceived adversaries he or she may blame for the problems or destruction of a relationship. But given the right set of circumstances and environment, any one of us is capable of giving birth to the Enemy Within and it will do far more damage than the perceived adversaries are capable of because no one else knows us like the Enemy Within. It knows the secrets we’ve never shared with another living soul; it knows about the insecurities we wouldn’t dare speak of out loud; it knows those little things we dislike about ourselves that we’ve never shared with anyone; it knows when we’re in our most vulnerable state.

So how does the Enemy Within look? It manifest itself as insecurity, doubt, fear, confusion, guilt, self-deprivation, addiction, and any other negatives attitude or behavior that we allow to enter and control our lives. If the other person in the relationship is treating you badly, could it be that he or she recognized your Enemy Within and has decided to use it at will? If so, consider the following: When this person recognized your insecurity, they decided it could be used against you to keep you feeling subordinate (beneath, lesser, inferior, lower) in the relationship; when they recognized fear in you, they decided it was the perfect way to keep you in your place; when they recognized guilt in you, they made a decision to beat you over the head with what they know you’re already beating yourself up with; if they recognize addiction, they use the addiction as the carrot to entice you to participate in destructive behavior.

But remember, abusive people only feel comfortable in treating you this way if they recognize these things in you and see that you embrace them. The good news is that you have the power to drive the Enemy Within out of your life. Don’t worry about changing those predatory individuals who attempt to use you against you. Once you get rid of the Enemy Within, the predator has been rendered powerless to hurt you in any way.

People know who they can mess with, and once they realize that you love you; know your value; are happy with who you are; are confident in your abilities; will accept nothing less than your expectations and yes — they can be high (just keep them reasonable); know that you deserve the best when it comes to love; and there are certain things you will reject because you are better than that, they will have to comply or leave you alone. If they choose to comply that is because they share your value system; respect your wishes and everything about you; and want both of you to get the best out of the relationship (the only kind worth having). If they choose not to comply, you still win because they’ve only made room for the person who will value and deserve to be with you.

The Enemy Within is not prejudice and we’re all subject to do battle with it. However, it’s your life and although insecurities, doubt, confusion, or fear comes to visit each of us, we have the power to decide whether or not someone gets to use them against us. I say – NOT.

From ezine.com Pamela Reaves © February 7, 2012

When Nice Is Not Enough

Relax

One of the most attractive words used to describe the person of interest with whom we want to enjoy an intimate relationship is the word “nice”. When we decide that our love interest is pleasant, good, kind, polite, or fine (yes – I’m talking about good-looking), there is little that can deter us from pursuing the relationship we desire. We believe that “nice” is the affirmation needed in order to proceed to the next level. Once we define him or her as nice, the sense of entitlement enters the picture even when we’re desperately trying to exercise restraint. He or she is “nice”, so we must have this person in our lives. If they are attractive and nice, then we must definitely have them close to us. When they tell us they think we’re nice — Jackpot, it’s a mutual attraction and visions of happily-ever-after burst onto the scene. If for some reason there is the threat of competitors, some of us become panicked and believe nice is good enough to seal the deal before someone else steals Mr. or Ms. Nice. We may make the hasty decision that anything else needed in order to sustain the relationship will come later (big mistake). If someone asks us what this person is like, we’re anxious to lead off with the response, “Oh, he/she is so nice.” The word nice, for some of us, sums it all up. Well, what happens when nice is not enough? This may be a difficult pill to swallow, but nice is not always enough.

Let me point out something very interesting. When you consider the word “nice” in terms of its most basic definition, it can be quite ordinary. If it is pleasant, good, polite, or fine, there is nothing that speaks to passion, extraordinary, awesome, or great. There is nothing that speaks to substance or longevity. “Nice” does not describe the ultimate pleasure. Yet, whenever we’re trying to convince ourselves or others why “nice” is good enough, our reference to the word is used as if it’s interchangeable with passionate, awesome, great, out-of-this-world, or anything else that goes far beyond ordinary. We take the leap from defining someone or something as “nice” to catapulting it into a sphere far beyond the scope of its definition. For some of us, “nice” is the assurance that the relationship will be everything we fantasized about. This notion is contradictory because “nice” is basic and our fantasies are never basic. No one gets excited over a basic fantasy.

So when is “nice” not enough? I can think of a few scenarios: When two people desire a commitment that goes far beyond casual; When you want your love-interest to have no regrets, reservations, or questions about spending the rest of his/her life with you- especially if you’re planning on living a very long life; When you need the comfort, care, and support of the individual to whom you have entrusted your well-being and you are not well; When you need unwavering support during a period of test, trial, or tribulation; When you want the slightest touch from your partner to convey far more than the touch itself – the kind of touch that reaches the soul; or when you want to see a smile on his/her face that matches the wonderful feeling you have inside just thinking about the time the two of you spend together. This level of commitment, depth of love, degree of stamina, soul-stirring touch, and mutual passion calls for far more than “nice”. Be honest with yourself. When you started out by describing him or her as “nice”; when you envisioned where the relationship was going, when you decided to forsake all others and commit solely to this person, you expected much more than “nice”. So don’t hold back. “Nice” is a wonderful attribute to have. It tells you that you at least have something to work with. But when you want much more, “nice” doesn’t hold a candle to an awesome, soul-stirring, passionate, and love-of-my-life kind of experience.

One of the most attractive words used to describe the person of interest with whom we want to enjoy an intimate relationship is the word “nice”. When we decide that our love interest is pleasant, good, kind, polite, or fine (yes – I’m talking about good-looking), there is little that can deter us from pursuing the relationship we desire. We believe that “nice” is the affirmation needed in order to proceed to the next level. Once we define him or her as nice, the sense of entitlement enters the picture even when we’re desperately trying to exercise restraint. He or she is “nice”, so we must have this person in our lives. If they are attractive and nice, then we must definitely have them close to us. When they tell us they think we’re nice — Jackpot, it’s a mutual attraction and visions of happily-ever-after burst onto the scene. If for some reason, there is the threat of competitors, some of us become panicked and believe nice is good enough to seal the deal before someone else steals Mr. or Ms. Nice. We may make the hasty decision that anything else needed in order to sustain the relationship will come later (big mistake). If someone asks us what this person is like, we are anxious to lead off with the response, “Oh, he/she is so nice.” The word nice, for a lot of us, sums it all up. Well, what happens when nice is not enough? This may be a difficult pill to swallow, but nice is not always enough.

Let me point out something very interesting. When you consider the word “nice” in terms of its most basic definition, it can be quite ordinary. If it is pleasant, good, polite, or fine, there is nothing that speaks to passion, extraordinary, awesome, or great. There is nothing that speaks to substance or longevity. “Nice” does not describe the ultimate pleasure. Yet, whenever we’re trying to convince ourselves or others why “nice” is good enough, our reference to the word is used as if it’s interchangeable with passionate, awesome, great, out-of-this-world, or anything else that goes far beyond ordinary. We take the leap from defining someone or something as “nice” to catapulting it into a sphere far beyond the scope of its definition. For some of us, “nice” is the assurance that the relationship will be everything we fantasized about. This notion is contradictory because “nice” is basic and our fantasies are never basic. No one gets excited over a basic fantasy.

So when is “nice” not enough? I can think of a few scenarios: When two people desire a commitment that goes far beyond casual; When you want your love-interest to have no regrets, reservations, or questions about spending the rest of his/her life with you- especially if you’re planning on living a very long life; When you need the comfort, care, and support of the individual to whom you have entrusted your well-being and you are not well; When you need unwavering support during a period of test, trial, or tribulation; When you want the slightest touch from your partner to convey far more than the touch itself – the kind of touch that reaches the soul; or when you want to see a smile on his/her face that matches the wonderful feeling you have inside just thinking about the time the two of you spend together. This level of commitment, depth of love, degree of stamina, soul-stirring touch, and mutual passion calls for far more than “nice”. Be honest with yourself. When you started out by describing him or her as “nice”; when you envisioned where the relationship was going, when you decided to forsake all others and commit solely to this person, you expected much more than “nice”. So don’t hold back. “Nice” is a wonderful attribute to have. It tells you that you at least have something to work with. But when you want much more, “nice” doesn’t hold a candle to an awesome, soul-stirring, passionate, and love-of-my-life kind of experience.

 

 

Who’s Fooling Who

Pam Reaves

From Author Pam Reaves’ column in Copa Style Magazine

A few days ago, Rodney Wayne Branch, Owner and Publisher of Copa Style Magazine, and I had our weekly chat. It is not unusual for us to discuss every subject under the sun. Both of us love to talk, and during a single telephone conversation, we can subject-hop like you wouldn’t believe. Without fail, we always wind up in my area of expertise (i.e. relationships), and that is why I’m a firm believer that relationships affect everything we do. No matter what the subject matter is, we wind up discussing it from a relationship perspective. Such is life – no matter what happens to us, there is a relationship perspective involved.

Ever since the Sterling/Stiviano scandal broke, we’ve had much to discuss, and what comes out of the Sterling/Stiviano discussions is amazing. This week, we talked about the conversations Ms. Stiviano recorded. What struck me initially about this week’s chat was how differently men and women digest and process information. One of the questions Rodney posed to me was, “Why would V. Stiviano tape their conversations over a period of time?” He says he’s still trying to figure that one out. Men are usually fixed in their thinking. So Rodney dealt strictly with the present facts. His male-influenced line of thinking didn’t include the small or seemingly insignificant incidents that led up to the tapings; emotions that caused one of the parties to tape their conversations; or what gave rise to the train of thought regarding the value of the tapes when all hell broke loose. For Rodney the facts are that: (1) Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano had some type of intimate relationship; (2) V. Stiviano decided to tape their conversations; and (3) the tapes have had major impact on Donald Sterling’s personal, as well as professional life.

Now women tend to be more analytical when it comes to relationships. We will dissect them to death to understand the dynamics of what is going on or what happened. We will delve into the emotions because we understand that emotions are what spark most controversies, arguments, chaos, or destruction. So for most women, it isn’t hard to figure out why V. Stiviano taped the conversations. In this regard, I shared my analysis with Rodney and gave him insight into the female psyche.

Given what characteristically happens in a May/December romance, and the dynamics thereof, I offer the following analysis. Mr. Sterling, who is at least 50 years older than Ms. Stiviano, imagined (and I place emphasis on the word “imagined”) that he was lucky, rich, and powerful enough to entice a young woman into an intimate relationship and do with her as he pleased. Given the age difference, it isn’t unreasonable to conclude that he was of the opinion that she was naïve about a lot of things. Being the worldly, wealthy, and powerful man that he is, there was no reason why he would have to consider whether or not he could handle a relationship with her. Mr. Sterling may have been of the opinion that given her age, life experience, and ethnic/cultural background, there was nothing she could ever do to harm him. What resources could she possibly have at her disposal to harm him in any way? Then given her socio-economic status when they met, she could be lured into an intimate relationship because she would be gifted with material possessions that only a uber-wealthy man could bestow upon her.

In my motivational speaking, empowerment seminars, and coaching sessions, I always discuss the danger of complacency. For purposes of this article, I will say that Mr. Sterling became complacent in his relationship with Ms. Stiviano, so much so that he was comfortable with having any type of conversation with her. Hence, he didn’t see any danger in expressing race-related matters with her even though she is of African American/Mexican descent. He became complacent in thinking he owned and ruled her. Based on an assumption she expressed in a television interview that she was his everything and loved him, he may have thought he had convinced her that they had a loving relationship. So this is where the Who’s Fooling Who reality comes into play.

Ms. Stiviano has always known with whom she was dealing. She knew he was an extremely wealthy and powerful racist. It was a certainty that one day something would happen in the relationship where she would need indisputable proof of whatever the something turned out to be. But for the tapes, it is likely she would have been dismissed as a nut case, disgruntled employee, liar, or extortionist. She was well aware that he was willing to pay for her attention and whatever else she had to offer notwithstanding his racist views. Although we have good reason to question her moral code, she knew he was without one as well. In this regard, if and when things went wrong, there would be no boundaries when it was time to silence and/or destroy her.

When we listen to the tapes, the tone of Ms. Stiviano voice is never argumentative, hostile, or combative. She merely asks probing questions, and he delivers the answers, proving what she has always known about him. We have now seen a number of television interviews involving the key players in this scandal. I cast my vote for Ms. Stiviano for being the interviewee who has remained calm under pressure; prepared for the hard questions; and unfazed by how she’s been portrayed. That is because she was always ready for this day.

It is Donald Sterling who was unprepared for the blow-up. With all his power, wealth, education, and resources, none of it worked because the Player got played. As the details of their relationship have emerged, as well as the comments made in the interviews with Donald Sterling, Shellie Sterling, and V. Stiviano, we see the devastation of toxic relationships. Donald Sterling thought he was playing V. Stiviano and in the end, he was the one reduced to tears in an Anderson Cooper interview because he thought she loved him. Shellie Sterling has been married to a man for almost sixty years (a life time), and she states in an interview with Barbara Walters that she doesn’t love him. So we can assume that for some time she has been in a loveless marriage. V. Stiviano’s interviews come off like she’s ruthless, heartless, stupid (remember the comment “I’m his Silly Rabbit”), and without morals. The interviews have been hard-hitting, but she remains cool. In this case, cool isn’t a good thing. It’s tragic that a young woman’s life is so morally corrupt that healthy emotions and relationships elude her, but she seems to be okay with that.

Lies (an untruth) and deceit (to omit the truth) are elements of the toxic relationship, and those who are involved in these types of relationships rely on lies and deceit to get what they want, control their partner (another element of the toxic relationship), and as hard as it is to fathom, maintain the relationship. Toxic relationships are destructive, so it is ludicrous to think that lies, deceit, and control will preserve any healthy relationship. As lies, deceit, and control compound, the individuals who are involved become lost in a maze where all parties become players, if for no other reason than to survive. Relationships, good or bad, become a part of us. The risk of being the Player is that he or she will get played. If you tamper, play with, or entertain toxicity, it will become a part of you. If you seek, embrace, and preserve healthy relationships, the elements thereof become a part of you.

Pamela Reaves is the Founder and CEO of NELLA LLC. She is a Certified Professional Coach, Author, Empowerment Seminar Facilitator, Magazine Columnist, and Lifestyle Event Visionary. Pam holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Management and has over 30 years of professional experience working and thriving in diverse corporate cultures. Pam has appeared on several radio talk shows, radio blog talk shows, and participated in a host of other cultural events, conferences and workshops. She has been a participating author in several book expos and festivals.

To read more of Pam’s articles, please visit http://www.copastyle.com.