']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();

TRU: The Real U

One Woman With Inner Beauty Can Change the World

Date or Dump: Signs of a Healthy (or Unhealthy) Relationship

Date or Dump: Signs of a Healthy (or Unhealthy) Relationship

You just started to date the most amazing guy. Is this the relationship you dreamed of—or could it turn into a relationship nightmare? I will add a disclaimer to this post by saying that I just got engaged to the most wonderful man in the world. Feel free to gag or sigh (depending on your preference), but hear me out. I’m 26 years old—still pretty young, but not exactly a spring chicken. My fiancé is the first man I seriously dated, the first man I kissed, and the first man I told, “I love you.” Is this the way everyone should treat relationships? No, not necessarily. But I included this because I wanted to let you know that THE RIGHT GUYS ARE WORTH THE WAIT! I have seen enough messy relationships and heartbreak to know that it is NOT worth it to continue to drag out an unproductive relationship with a guy who isn’t right for you. And, if you’ve never dated anyone and you feel old, that’s no reason to date a guy who doesn’t meet your standards. It’s easier to be happy single than in a miserable relationship. Let me say that again: It’s easier to be happy single than in a miserable relationship! I’m not saying you have to find a perfect Prince Charming—everyone has faults—but you CAN find a guy who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Of course, you, your boyfriend, and God are the only ones who can ultimately determine whether you are in a healthy relationship. But to help you out, here are 3 signs the guy you’re dating may be the right one (or may not be): You feel happy and at peace when you’re with him. Being a natural worrywart, sometimes when I was away from my fiancé (before he was my fiancé), I would start questioning the relationship. But then every time I was with him, I just felt good and peaceful. It was like a sigh of relief. If you feel conflicted, anxious, or fearful when you’re with this guy . . . well . . . I can’t say you’ll NEVER feel this way, because that’s part of life. But if it’s making up the majority of your emotions when you’re with him, that’s not a good sign. He makes you feel loved and appreciated. Your significant other should make you want to be a better person, but this shouldn’t stem from criticism or “you’re not good enough” kinds of attitudes. The majority of the vibes you should get from him are that he really likes you for who you are. Some guys are more complimentary than others, but the majority of what he says about you should be uplifting and positive (and hopefully he compliments things about you besides just your looks!). If your guy is constantly criticizing, or sends you the vibe that you’re not enough, it’s time to have a chat and let him know how you feel. If he’s a good guy, he’ll listen to what you have to say and take it to heart. He puts you as a priority. I firmly believe that God should be #1 in your relationship. You should be open to talking about your beliefs and practicing aspects of your faith together (whether that means praying, going to church, doing service, or however else you practice your religion). But your significant other should be a really important priority, too (once they’re your spouse, they should be #2). My fiancé and I were worried about having enough time together because his schoolwork was so demanding. So we talked about our concerns and how we could still make each other a priority. He agreed to study at my apartment sometimes, and he always schedules activities with me and stops by to say goodnight. Even though some days he has less time than other days, at least I know he’s working to make me a priority in his life. If your guy constantly puts other things ahead of spending time with you, you need to tell him your feelings. If he doesn’t see this as a problem, you need to realize that the problem might not change. Good Luck! And a Disclaimer This advice is only for those in a serious relationship leading to marriage. If you’re a teenager, the guys you date probably aren’t mature enough yet to make these kinds of commitments, so it’s best to leave serious dating for when you’re older. Hopefully these tips are helpful to you. Even though I used to feel bad that I hadn’t dated a lot of guys, now I’m extremely grateful...

A Little Happiness Inspiration

A Little Happiness Inspiration

If you’re spending too much time with friends who bring you down, instead, pick friends who help you want to be better! Share...

The Power of Confidence

The Power of Confidence

You might have seen the recent article in The Atlantic about the confidence gap that divides men and women. According to the article, women tend to devalue their abilities and performance while men overestimate theirs. Women doubt themselves so much more that they tend to steer away from more competitive positions at work (like management) and only apply for promotions when they feel completely qualified. Men, on the other hand, frequently apply for leadership positions and seek promotions if they meet just 60% of the required qualifications. This doesn’t mean we women should try to imitate men who are overconfident and prideful. But we can take a leaf out of their book and let higher confidence inspire us to achieve more than we currently do. Here are some tips to improve your confidence: 1.                   Remember your intrinsic self-worth. You are a daughter of God, who loves you. Repeat it to yourself when you feel down. That isn’t to say that you are worth something because some faraway deity loves you, but because of who you actually are. You have the potential to do great things because you have all the qualities of God. You can learn, think, grow, create, and serve. You are created in the image of God, with an amazing body that can create new life (and that’s something unique to women). You are worth everything because of what and who you are. 2.                   Recognize your improvements. You are constantly improving. You may hit some setbacks, but it is very likely you are smarter, wiser, more beautiful, and a better person than you were before. Just like you shouldn’t internalize your failures, you should recognize your accomplishments. If you can’t think of any, just ask a friend or family member. You’ll be surprised by the length of the list they give you. 3.                   Don’t internalize failure. If you fail at a task, try not to let your failure (an action) convince you that you are a failure (an internal quality). Failure is a necessary part of growth. Failure does not mean that you can never succeed again. When Oprah started out in the television industry, she was fired from her first job as an anchor in Baltimore. Fired. She might have given up right then, but she picked herself up and raised to prominence as the queen of a media empire worth about $2.9 billion. 4.                   Don’t compare your weaknesses to others’ strengths. Some people say you shouldn’t compare yourself to others ever. This is inherently counterproductive. If you compare yourself with someone you admire, you can identify important qualities that will guide you to become better. However, it can be destructive to your self-confidence to compare your weaknesses with another’s strengths. You risk seeing a distorted picture of what you imagine others are like. If you compare yourself to a friend’s Instagram feed, you are comparing the realities of your messy life against a carefully curated (and artistically photographed) fragment of that person’s life. Instead, try to accept others, warts and all, as you accept yourself. 5.                   Don’t let others determine your worth. This one can be hard. As human beings, we crave praise and approval to prove we are doing things right. Negative criticism, unkind treatment, and being disregarded can chip away at your confidence if you let it. Don’t let it! Other people are thinking about themselves just as much as you are, so you should take their actions more as indications of how they feel about themselves than of what they think about you. Also, other people don’t know exactly why you are the way you are or what exactly is going on in your life, so they might make incorrect assumptions about you. Don’t let their mistakes affect your self-esteem. 6.                   Recognize that confidence is a mindset more than anything else. Like other personal qualities, you can choose to be confident. Start developing confidence today by recognizing your positive qualities and striving to improve your negative ones. Recognize how much you’re constantly improving and revel in your successes. While confidence may come gradually, start with these steps. Soon you will be a confident woman. Lindsay T. is a writer with a dangerous Harry Potter obsession and a novel in the works that (at this rate) will probably be published in early spring 2046. Share...

Ways to Cultivate TRU Beauty

Ways to Cultivate TRU Beauty

Think about a woman or girl you know who is truly beautiful. How would you describe her? If she has true beauty (or TRU beauty, as we like to call it), chances are you didn’t focus on how long her eyelashes or how small her hips are or how long her hair is (although these can all be good things). Chances are you focused on who she is inside. The beautiful young women I know are beautiful because they know who they are, they reach out to others, and the goodness inside them just glows on the outside. You can be just as beautiful as these girls, too. And no, it doesn’t require plastic surgery or a makeover. It just requires a few changes in attitude. Here’s some ideas on how you can cultivate TRU beauty and find the real you: Smile. Even if you’re not happy, you’d be surprised how much your mood can change if you look people in the eyes and smile at them. Look for ways to serve. You don’t have to be involved in a huge service project to help other people. Just look around for people who need a ride, a hug, or someone to talk to. Each day, try to find someone you can serve. Be honest with people. Don’t try to display an image of who you’re not to others. Let them in to who you really are, and they will still like you despite your faults or quirks. Be confident. Stand straight, speak confidently, and don’t be afraid to laugh. Be involved. Don’t overbook yourself, but find ways you can be involved in your community. Join clubs and organizations, volunteer, and meet new people wherever you go. These are some of the greatest beauty secrets I know. So instead of getting a facelift, lift your spirits and find the The Real U! Erin J. loves to read, write, and blog. Her friends are some of the most beautiful women she knows. Share...

A Guy’s Perspective on How Girls Dress

A Guy’s Perspective on How Girls Dress

“Daisy dukes, bikinis on top,” sing Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg. Mini skirts. Razorback jerseys. Too short shorts that leave little too the imagination. Doesn’t it seem like everywhere we look the amount of fabric used to make clothes seems to have been cut in half, yet clothing prices have doubled? Hollywood and advertisers everywhere want girls to think that this is how they should dress, and that they need to dress with as much skin showing as possible to be attractive to guys. But what do guys think? What does the cute guy in algebra class really admire when it comes to the way you dress? Speaking from the guys’ perspective, I can tell you that most (good) guys actually want a girl who covers up their body. Here is why: The way you dress expresses who you are and who you want to be. Think about it. Just as the clothes firemen wear help to define them and a basketball player’s attire professes who they are, the clothes girls wear express how they want to be viewed. We guys want a girl who takes care of and respects herself, because it means that she takes pride in her appearance and will respect us too. While looks are important, they aren’t everything, and when we see scantily clad girls, that is all we define them as. For instance, we anticipate that girls who show more of their body in public than they should are clearly trying to lure us in only with their body, and that they probably don’t have anything else to offer. That is not enough for us. True beauty is way more than skin deep. The teen website Virtuous Reality (www.virtuousreality.com) recently worked with the B&H Publishing Group to learn what teen guys really value in a girl’s appearance. One question they asked guys was what thoughts go through their heads when they see girls inappropriately dressed. Here are some of my favorite responses (which by the way sum up the overall findings). “Bless her heart. She must feel like she has to dress that way to get attention.” — Ryan, 18 “They need to respect themselves and everyone else around them by dressing more modestly.” — Travis, 16 “Do you want my sweatshirt? I really struggle with lust, so when girls dress inappropriately, it’s really hard on me. Especially, when I’m in a classroom and can’t escape from the temptation.” — Jake, 16 I think that the girl is convinced that it’s the only way she can get attention. It makes me think she’s not self-confident. — Tom, 16 I think that if they really felt like they were pretty, they wouldn’t have to dress that way. They have no respect for themselves or their parents. — Mario, 14 I think they are desperate. — Alex, 15 Well, sometimes I want to look, but eventually I realize that they aren’t the kind of girls I want to be with. — Chris, 16 For more responses go to www.virtuousreality.com and go to Guy’s Survey: The Low-down on Modesty. I love sports, and in my opinion one of the greatest athletes of all-time is the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali. One of his daughters shares a life lesson she learned from her dad when she was dressed immodestly. She says, “When we finally arrived [at the hotel where my father was staying], the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day. My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.” He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.” (From the book, More Than a Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons Presented Through His Daughter’s Eyes by Hana Ali) Girls, you really are beautiful. In my opinion women are God’s most prized and beautiful creation—that’s...