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I believe that many women attempt to find meaning in their lives through the men in their lives. This is a wrong-headed idea that many of us have had to debunk the hard way. I can’t tell you how often I found myself seeking validation through the men in my life when clearly I should have been seeking the Kingdom of Heaven. That is where my true validation comes from.

When I met my husband, I had a treasure chest filled with ideas about what a man should be and what he should mean to me. Some of those ideas were good and some of them were stained with the bitterness of my past. I was blessed to find a man who was willing to take time to understand mypast and work through it with me.

Though my man wasn’t as “perfect” as I expected him to be, I had to realize that my expectations of a fairy tale Prince Charming were just that: a fairy tale. Conversely, I had a set of equally fantastic negative expectations that were just as damaging and unrealistic: I suspected every man of beingan ogre. I almost missed out on the best thing that ever happened to me because every time I looked at Ernest, I saw Ricky or my dad. This was a curse I had to take responsibility for and change with the help of God.

They say you can’t look backward and move forward at the same time. Whoever “they” are, they’re right. You have to let go of the past and let God bless you with the gifts of your future. What’s done is done.

Be-You-Tiful Live, Laugh & Love Tips

 

I have learned three powerful lessons in life. It’s from these lessons that I offer this “trinity” of advice.

1. Live each day with thanksgiving because every moment is precious.

2. Laugh whether you are happy, sad or indifferent. Laughter is like medicine.

3. Love with every fiber of your being (even when you’re not loved back). That’s unconditional love…God’s love.

Why should you “believe” in this trinity? Here are my answers:

1. Why live?

We are alive because of God’s love and grace. Many people who go through life unaware of God’s grace don’t think there’s much to live for. If you’re one of those people, try being more thoughtful about and aware of what you have in your life. I can almost guarantee that will make you more thankful.

God did not give us this precious gift of life just to experience suffering. Sure, we all have to go through some tough situations in life, but only a grateful heart will experience the fullness of life. I mentioned earlier in the book about not wanting to live anymore, but it’s funny how, even when we’re little children, God strengthens us through our purpose. My purpose back then was to live and watch over my little sister.

2. Why laugh?

If you could only see the real “villain” behind most of your problems in life, you’d burst out laughing-too often, it’s you. The Bible clearly says that there is a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, a time to reap, a time to kill, a time to heal, a time to break down, a time to build up, a time to weep and a time to laugh (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). That’s right. It’s scriptural: there’s a time to kick back, let your hair down and have a crazy, loud, out-of-control laugh every now and then. Laugh at life, laugh at nothing, but most of all, laugh at yourself. Then move on.

3. Why love?

Love is the foundation for long life, real joy and laughter. You can’t really live and have an abundance of happiness and joy without participating in God’s love. The neglect and lack of love in my family when I was growing up contributed very little to my knowledge of love. It contributed only to my intimate knowledge of neglect and abuse.

How can a little child know that he or she is not being loved? The truth is we are created out of love so we’re already familiar with it. We expect it to be part of our environment because it’s supposed to be part of our environment. When it’s not there, we miss it.

When we focus our attention on abuse and other negative forces, we cut ourselves off from that love even more. We can be two steps away from love and not see it because we’re focusing on the ways in which we’ve been hurt.

Take your mind off your pain and look for the love that might be standing just over there. Start walking-find your way back to love.

Jada Collins is the commentator and spokeswoman for the largest traveling fashion show in the world, Ebony Fashion Fair. She reveals the ugly story behind her pretty face in her new book, Be-You-Tiful: The Three Fold Process to Becoming You. The book has received praise ranging from Pastor Paula White and Ebony magazine CEO Linda Johnson Rice to the New York Times Book Review. In the book, Collins argues that beauty is only skin deep and recounts her own story of childhood molestation, abandonment and fear.

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