Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Hear You Steve

Steve Harvey. He's everywhere. On the radio, at the top of the NYT Bestsellers list and earlier this week on Oprah (for the second time in a month!) all thanks to his new book Act Like a Lady - Think Like a Man. Normally, I try to stay away from books like this. 90% of the time they're filled with the same common sense information that we've been told before and just choose to ignore. I can't say that this book is any different in that regard, but there's something about it that really caught and held my attention. For one, I do believe that Steve Harvey wrote this book not only to get paid (he's admitted that most of what he does is for a check - listen to his radio show and you'll hear the dollars flapping with every live read and sponsorship mention) but to also help women. For years he's been dishing out this kind of advice to his listeners and from what I can tell he's always been sincere in his desire to help women (and men) understand how to be their best. Second, the way he presents the material is clear and at times funny. Finally, I believe the true test of a book like this is to share it with the men in your life. Some (the good ones) will appreciate the information because deep down inside they just want some peace and understanding. Others (the players) will react something like this, "Damn that Steve, he's breaking the man code, he's telling the secrets. Just wait until the next Kings of Comedy tour, I'm going walk right up to him and punch him in the face!!" Someone actually said really! To which I responded, " don't be mad because the man just made millions of dollars trying to help women and you just made "nadda" trying to manipulate them. Don't hate the player - you know the rest". This book passes that test.

There's an old Ashanti proverb that says, "the ruin of a nation begins in the homes of it's people". I interpret that to mean without strong families, there's no way we can build strong communities. It's high time that we stop trying to get over on each other and begin loving (or at the very least respecting) each other.

There were a few things that really stood out for me in this book. The first is from the chapter "Our Love Isn't Like Your Love" where Steve breaks down the three things men will do for the woman he loves. Profess, Provide and Protect. On the issue of providing, he writes:

"For sure all too many men shirk this responsibility, whether out of selfishness, stupidity or sheer inability or a combination of all three. But some men simply do not have the education resources, and wherewithal to make an adequate amount of hard cash. And if a man can't provide, then he doesn't feel like a man, so he flees to escape the horrible feelings of inadequacy, or he's going to bury those feelings in drugs and alcohol. Indeed you can probably trace a whole host of the pathologies exhibited by the most trifling men back to their inability to provide"

So in short, for all the ladies who've fallen into the "be the woman of his dreams and he'll always take care of you" trap, let it go. Understand that this is not about you, it's about him. So stop beating yourself because things didn't work. Have a good cry, go do something special for yourself and get on with living your life.

Then there's the chapter,

"Men Respect Standards, Get Some."

Basically, know what you're worth and not just in monetary terms. If you're a woman who carries herself with dignity, you deserve a man with dignity. If you're an honest woman you deserve and honest man. If you demand respect, you'll get nothing less. If a drink and a Big Mac is all that it takes to get you in bed, guess what, that's all you'll get. To be fair, Harvey did make an excellent point about this during his recent appearance on Oprah, which was to be mindful that you don't require certain characteristics of a man that you don't possess.

I also love the chapter "The Five Questions Every Woman Should Ask Before She Gets In To Deep". I think this is especially important for older (read: over 30) women who are looking for a relationship. Time is short, why waste it on someone who has no intention on giving you what you want. Again, just because he doesn 't want to get married doesn't make him a bad guy, it just means he's not the one for you. So after a few months ask:

What are your short term goals?
What are your long term goals?
What are your views on relationships?
What do you think about me?
How do you feel about me?

If you don't believe Steve, trust me, a REAL man will answer those questions (so long as you have enough decorum and finesses to not make him feel like he's being interrogated by the CIA). Here's the key, even if he's willing to answer you've got to listen with an open mind and a "third ear". If he's not speaking your language, move on. Know that "the one" for you is out there, but you make it hard for him to find you when you're spending all your time laid up underneath the guy who just wants to "kick it".

Anyhow, I think it's best I stop here, if I go any further I'm going to have to demand a check from Amistad books, but I will leave you with this:

"Don't rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can't love and respect yourself - no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are - completely; the good and the bad - and make the changes as YOU see fit-not because you think someone else wants you to be different." Stacey Charter

Ladies (and gentleman) love and respect for ourselves and each other has to become a priority..not an option. We owe it to our families, communities, country and the world.

As Obama ans the scriptures said,
"the time has come to set aside childish things."


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