You know what you won’t do?  Get me to read one of those Internet articles entitled as such:

12 Things That You Aren’t Doing
15 Reasons Why You Don’t Have A Man
5 Mistakes Black Women Make
13,000 Reasons Why Everybody But You Gets Ahead
This (insert my zodiac) sign is the worst in relationships
7 Ways to Make Your Personality More Appealing

Who gave license to the entire world to pelt me with messages about how flawed I am? And in all the same varied ways? Please and goodbye!  I’m totally serious. Just notice all of these messages and what they are saying to the reader. They are full of two themes: 1) You are messed up and 2) I (the author) can tell you how to get your Iyanla Vanzant on.  These people are totally out of control!

I decided to stop reading those messages, and I’m better for it. It could be argued that I was being a tad sensitive when I decided to stop reading those kinds of articles (Internet and magazines); however, I was fed up with all of the messages. As a woman, particularly a black woman, I felt like I was being overwhelmed by messages that had one central objective which was to make me feel damaged, flawed, or inferior. Sidebar: as it relates to dating and marriage, there is an abundance of stuff out there about what’s wrong with sistas. I don’t know how women who aren’t black feel, but if they get half the messages I get…

Aside from hating such messages because they are so insulting and basic (can you re-hash??), I generally don’t want unsolicited advice from somebody who doesn’t know me.  No matter what the topic is, a person has to be willing to hear you and hear from you in order for your perspective to be anything but you talking.  I don’t let just anybody get into my ear, head, and spirit.  I want perspective and advice from people I value.

I’ve noted two other benefits of cutting off these sources of malignment.  First, I feel better about who I am.  Damn a stranger’s opinion whose real goal is shares!  The second thing is that it has strengthened my own confidence in my decisions.  Every time I see such articles, I realize that they aren’t talking to me.  They are talking to people who don’t take time to reflect, who don’t have a circle of real and honest friends, who don’t have a value system/faith system that helps them prioritize, and who don’t realize that risk is inherent in everything (translation: crap happens).

But more seriously, this external seeking of validation (and being torn down) can’t be ignored:  some people really do take these articles to heart!  How do I know? Because of the engagement I see (Yes, the comments). By the same token, I watch social media threads and participate in groups whereby people share intensely personal information and actively seek guidance from people who don’t know them at all.  Brave?  Not as much as it is risky!

Here’s what I also believe: many of us who are into these articles and begging for so much advice could actually figure out a lot of what’s going on with us if we would take the time to do some personal self-evaluation. Despite my disdain for unsolicited advice, my advice to you is to look within and work on yourself without the aid of people who don’t know you and don’t care about what happens to you.