Whoa! If I knew what I know now , boy would my life be different! How many times as a woman, have you said this? I am still fairly young and even I have said this numerous times in my life. If there were a giant clock to turn back the hands of time, I would change so many things and although I am happy, some aspects of my life would be different. With that being said, I want you to read the list of things I wish I had learned before 30. I then want you to spread the love and pass on some advice to others. What have you learned now, that you wish you knew 10 years ago, 5 years ago or even 2 years ago? No time like the present for growth. I could have gone on and on, but I want you to contribute. After all, I’m still learning. Aren’t you?

1. If a man wants you, really wants you, there is nothing you can do to keep him away. Contrarily, if a man is not that interested in you, there is nothing you can do to make him stay.
Years ago when I was much younger I would stress out about a man not returning my call or not doing what he said he was going to do. Sometimes I would blame myself and wonder was it something that I could have possibly done to perhaps upset him. When in actuality, it was never completely up to me. If a man is sincerely interested in you or getting to know you then he will make the effort. There will not be an array of excuses for him to pull out of his bull s**t bucket. His actions will show what he is feeling and if he is being honest, they will line up with what he is saying. On the contrary, if a man is not that interested in you, then his actions will also show that as well. It is not your job to constantly chase after him.

2. Credit Is A Pathway To Financial Security
When I turned 18 everybody and their momma was offering me a credit card. The temptation became too much for me and I could not resist the credit card monster. I made the decision then that new sneakers, and jeans were more important to me than my credit score. So, I charged, charged, charged, and ended up never acquiring the finances to pay it all back. Years later, I am still suffering the consequences of those decisions. Clothes and looking fly are important, but not as important as being able to get your first car or apartment without begging a family member to co-sign for you. It is a beautiful feeling to be able to get your own, on your own.

3. Some Women Are Petty, But There Are Good Sistas Out There
We are often taught as little girls not to trust other little girls. My mother installed in me from a young age that women can be sneaky and petty. Sure this is true. There are some women who lack the ability to be a good friend. There are also those who possess those qualities. Unfortunately, my distrust for other women, often led me to be defensive and socially awkward in female oriented social situations. It took many years for me to be able to fully trust other women and to want to develop a strong friendship with them. I am lucky enough now to have true friends and life long bonds.

4. Just Because He Looks Good, Doesn’t Mean He Is Good For Me (sex included)
We all like handsome men. Whether he is tall and chocolate or muscular and honey flavored. Who does not want a bit of eye candy on their arm? I do! However, when dealing with choosing a partner that should not be the primary reason why you want to date him. Sure you should be attracted to him but there has to be something there deeper than attraction. Attraction and looks can leave a person. There is nothing worse than dating a man who is sexy but you have absolutely nothing in common with him and the conversations are a bore. I have dated men who looked like walking butterscotch. Just yummy! However, that was all they had to offer. Do not pass up on a good brother because he is not as physically attractive as you would like. Does that mean you should find the next ug mug and hubby him up? Not necessarily. Just make sure that when you are doing your picking and choosing that you are looking at more than just his dimples. Also, don’t let a big stick be what guides you when choosing your partner. Sure the stick might be good but the person attached to it might not be so great.

5. Super Woman Died
It seems that even at a young age women are taught to be self-sacrificing and to take care of others while placing themselves dead last. While there is nothing wrong with being a caregiver, there is something wrong with not caring for yourself. It disturbs me when I see women in their 40’s still giving till it hurts them. Sometimes it is okay to say no. You are not super woman. It is okay to put yourself, your needs before other sometimes. That does not mean that you love them any less, it simply means that you love yourself as well. Too often women, especially Black women, give and give and never ask for anything in return or even take the time to tend to their own health and needs. Then we wonder why we are suffering from heart disease, diabetes and other health issues. There has to be a balance. After all, how can you be “superwoman” and care for those around you if you yourself are not in good mental, spiritual and physical health? You will have nothing to give to your loved ones.

6. A Baby Is Not The Same As A Baby Doll
Having a child is a life altering experience. It is much more serious than many young women take it. Especially since women are usually the primary caregivers. Sometimes they do not grasp the seriousness of the event until after the child is here. Then there is a eureka moment. “Oh this is what being a mom is like? I’m not ready for all this!”. By that time it is too late. Take the time to protect yourself and prevent unwanted pregnancies. Whatever decision you make will be one that you will have to live with for the rest of your life. I encourage women to live their lives first before becoming a mother. Find out who you are before moving on to the next level in life.

7. It Is My Body And I Don’t Owe HIM Anything
When we are in a relationship, we often feel that we have to do what it takes to keep our man happy. Even if that means doing things that we do not necessarily agree with. When it comes to things like sex, I always say wait until you are ready. If you are dating a guy and you like him but you are not ready to have sex and he is then that is his problem. Even if you are in a serious relationship and you are having sex with your man regularly, if you sometimes are not in the mood do not be afraid to say no thanks. Not tonight boo. I used to be like that when I was younger and involved in serious relationships. I felt obligated to have sex, even if I did not desire it at that moment. But guess what! I was not this mans wife; therefore I was not under any obligation to please him at his will. Some might say that even as a wife your body is still your body.

8. Do Not Look To Others For Constant Confirmation
This one took me a while to figure out as I have always been very close to my Mother and Grandparents. When I made a decision, I generally liked for them to agree with the path I was going in. If any of them were the slightest bit hesitant about my decision then that in turn made me doubt my decision-making skills and myself. Now, sometimes, they were right in their thinking and their mature wisdom did have its advantages. However, sometimes, I should have done what was right for me and not what made them feel comfortable. This is my life and in the end, I will be the one who has to live with my decisions. I love my Grandparents dearly but they never completely supported my writing because they could not wrap their minds around how a journalist or an artist of any kind could make a living from their craft. In their era, everyone was a doctor, lawyer or a teacher. Which is why to this day my Grandfather wants me to have a career in education. I love him for his concern but that is not my path. This is why I say believe in yourself, even if no one else does.

9. Find A Spiritual Outlet
We are all made of flesh and in that state we can easily get caught up in worldly things and decisions. Now, I am not going to get too religious on you as I do not consider myself a religious person but rather spiritual (big difference in my opinion). However, nothing, not a person or a lifestyle or a material thing should come before your spirituality. Whatever, you believe in. There should be a line you draw where you take this amount of time to replenish yourself spiritually. You have to find a spiritual outlet that works for you. Whether it be Buddha, Scientology, Mormon, Jehovah, whatever the case, there needs to be an outlet that allows you to nurture your peace of mind. Not doing this may cause you to loose your mind in this world.

10. You Should Always Have A Nest Egg
As a woman, you should always be able to protect your own neck if need be, even if you are in a solid relationship. Which means that you should always put a little something up into your OWN savings account for emergencies. This will prevent you from feeling assed out once you are in a predicament where you are in need of quick finances. There might not always be that significant other or family member to rescue you. Learn to be your own security blanket sometimes. This is a skill that I am developing in my life now. I admit, it does take practice, time and discipline. However, the feeling of not having to beg for help or borrow money if you are in a financial jam is priceless.

11. Some Men Like Women Who Ain’t S**t
You have to excuse my Ebonics on the title but I wanted its directness to catch your attention. Basically, some men prefer women who will not love them properly. In other words, they might have their own issues and are unable to properly receive the love of a good woman. It could be because secretly they do not feel that they deserve it. Who knows! I have tried to wrap my head around this a** backwards concept for years. The concept seems simple enough. I love you and I treat you with love and you should do the same for me right? It is not always that simple. There are some men who have low self esteem issues just as some women do and are unable to grasp or appreciate the love from a good woman so what do they do? They f**k it up. They sabotage the relationship. They mistreat you. They never fully offer that same devotion back. Please, do not waste years and years of your precious time trying to make a man love you. It will not happen. Please do not take years off your life chasing after someone who does not want to be loyal to you. Please do not stress yourself into a heart murmur from attempting to make some man appreciate you. I have been there. Thinking that, if I am EXTRA good to him then he will see how much I love him and he HAS to love me back. Right? No he doesn’t. The truth of the matter is that sometimes you make a choice as to whether or not you are going to love someone and if you are going to treat them the way they deserve to be treated. Then there are times when people are so screwed up in the head that they have no understanding of treating someone good who treats them good because deep down they do not feel they deserve it. In turn they have no idea what to do with your love. That is their issue not yours. You cannot make anyone love you or appreciate all that you do for them and bring into their life. They do have a choice in the matter. I know grown ass women in their middle 40’s who have been married to their husband for 20 years and he is still cheating on them and they are still running up behind them and running after the mistresses. The truth is that he is not going to stop cheating on her and he knows that she will never leave him. So what does he do? Whatever the hell he wants to. Sure she is good to him. He sees that. He just made a decision not to care about that and to continue to be selfish.

12. Decide How you Want To Be Treated And Never Alter From That
When I was younger, I would take any kind of treatment from a man because on some levels, I was simply happy that he was showing me the attention. I did not fully feel that I DESERVED to be treated well. It was not until I decided for myself what I desired and deserved that my dealings with men became better. It is simple. Either he can give you what you feel you deserve, whether it be respect, love, affection, etc or he has to go. There is not gray area. Notice, that I am not speaking of material possessions because although those things are nice, a new car is not going to hold you at night. A new pair of Louboutins from your man will not wipe your tears for you when you are feeling like the world is against you. I love gifts as much as the next woman, but I have come to realize that there has to be something more there than just a bank account. I require some amount of depth from the man and people I deal with. If you are unable to divulge that then you are probably not someone who needs to be in my immediate circle. I decided a long time ago what it is I require based on the type of person I am and that is how I live my life.

13. Take The Time To Better Yourself
Take time to invest in yourself. Find out what it is you want to do with your life. What career path you want to take? What will make you happy? In connection with this if you do decide that going back to school for example is the investment you want to make in yourself, don’t allow someone else to limit you. Don’t allow your man’s insecurity or whoever else is in your inner circle to make you limit yourself and your desire to grow. Do not let the fear of someone leaving you because they feel you are surpassing them in life be the reason why you become stagnant.

14. Your Turn….

For more of La’Juanda “LJ” Knight check her out @ yeahshesaidit.com.

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