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Many of us who are active on social media are familiar with this often-shared piece of humorous, biblically inspired (uncredited, as far as we’ve been able to find) relationship advice:
Are you in a hurry to get married? Do you know the [Old Testament] story of Ruth and Boaz? Well, Ruth patiently waited for her mate, Boaz. So wait for your Boaz and don’t settle for any of his relatives: Broke-az, Po-az, Lyin’-az, Cheatin’-az, Dumb-az, Drunk-az, Cheap-az, Lockedup-az, Goodfornothin’-az, Lazy-az, and especially his third cousin, Beatin’yo-az! Wait on your Boaz and make sure he respects Yo-az!
(Allow us to add MyMommaLikesHis-Az, ShesAChurchGirl-Az and AtLeastThey’llHaveMe-Az.)
While this advice is usually aimed at women eager to find someone to “put a ring on it” (often admonishing them against promiscuity, while seemingly giving tacit approval for men to be hoes), we believe that this is a message that applies regardless of gender: Have standards for what kind of treatment is healthy for you in any relationship, and never settle for less. Because, to paraphrase a quote credited to newspaper columnist Maureen Dowd, also widely circulated on the Internet, the minute you settle for less, you will get even less than you settled for.
We all say we want a “good” man or woman. Unfortunately, too many of us settle for less than “good” in our rush to be married, or to just be boo’d up, so that we can say that we have and/or are wanted by someone, succumbing to the unhealthy societal notion that we are more valued as human beings when we are in a relationship than when we are not. When the need to settle becomes desperate, it is a sure sign that we are looking for another to do the impossible: fill a void created by a deficit of self-love. As a result, too many of us fail to do the work we should be doing while we’re waiting for our Boaz: establishing a self-loving, relationship of honor, esteem and respect with ourselves, so that we can set, demonstrate and require that standard of treatment from others. We prematurely settle for “good” when we should never settle for less than “good (as in healthy) for me.”
Without that standard, nearly anyone can meet the definition of a “good” man or woman. Since we each live life from our own unique perspectives and experiences, what will be considered “good” is anything equal to or better than what you’ve known. Your job is to determine and stay focused on what is best for you, always using healthy self-love as your North Star to navigate your way to healthy relationships and ultimately attract only those, including your Boaz, who are ready, willing and able to treat you accordingly.
If you are not clear on what is good for you, you will go by superficially appealing characteristics, and anyone will look like your Boaz, and they will bamboozle you every time. They will look “good” on the surface—seemingly employed, ambitions, kind, cultured, fun, well-dressed, sexy, God-fearing. For all intents and purposes, they’ll look like good catches. Unfortunately, too many of us—especially women intent on getting and/or marrying a man—allow this surface glitter to blind us to serious, even dangerous flaws in the foundation of a person, including lying, chronic infidelity, laziness, a propensity for violence and others of Boaz’s “relatives” that should have been deal breakers before you ever even thought of giving them access to your body, heart, money or home.
You sell yourself short when you condition yourself to be increasingly comfortable with settling for less than you need and deserve. The act of settling will keep you from attracting what you know you want, and will ultimately convince you that it does not exist. (If you are among those who always joins the chorus of “all men are dogs” or “all women are bitches,” you’ve created your own reality; allowed this to happen to you.) As a result, you will fall into the habit of settling, or accepting “placeholders.” Should a Boaz cross your path, assuming you even recognize him or her, you have all but disqualified yourself from being their Boaz. How can you be if you are unavailable? (Or worse, too available?)
To be Grown is to stay ever focused on what is good, loving and healthy for you, and to screen for only those qualified to provide and share these with you. To settle for anything less, no matter how attractive, make no sense. Remember, in the Grown Zone, we don’t get what we deserve; we get what we accept. The key to recognizing your Boaz, and having the faith and courage to wait until he or she comes, is your love of self and knowledge of what is healthy for you. Waiting for Boaz does not mean waiting for perfection. It means not allowing Mr./Ms. Right Now to take the space that should be reserved for Mr./Ms. Right for YOU. Never settle for less.
Live in the Grown Zone.
For a FREE copy of 9 Keys To Living In The Grown Zone, click here.
Zara Green and Alfred Edmond Jr., named to Black Love Forum’s “14 Most Inspiring Black Couples” list for 2014, are co-principals of A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises, producer of The Grown Zone. Zara is a speaker/trainer & author. Alfred is an award-winning journalist and expert on business and personal finance. The couple, both “Do-Better Fanatics”, lead sessions on personal growth, self-love and resiliency, healthy relationships and “grown” decision-making at live events across the country.
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