Ending Dead-End Dating

When I was dating, I kept making the same fruitless decisions and wondering, “how did I end up here – again?” It was as if I hadn’t learned the last time – or if I’m honest, that I’d not taken time to process the failure of the last dating “situation” or relationship that I was in.

Eventually I realized the issue wasn’t the guy – before you stop reading hear me out – it was the underlying issues from my life that I hadn’t addressed. He – whoever “he” was at the time – was just a reflection of what I believed, or didn’t believe, about myself. Sure, my professional resume was shaping up really nice, but my emotional resume was another story.

I had to address the ugly childhood experiences to figure out what was driving my self-sabotaging dating behavior. It wasn’t easy because I didn’t want to admit the pain, the hurt, the shame but often it’s what is needed to grow.

Sometimes we try to stuff our pain away in a closet, desperately trying do to deny it’s impact on our life, trying to convince ourselves that it doesn’t really hurt. But like any mess, what we don’t deal with in our heart will only continue to manifest in our life.

Have you ever felt like your past was creeping into your present?
• You keep meeting the same type of guy – although you swore this one was different
• The thought of getting too close makes you nervous because you’re terrified of being vulnerable
• You can’t figure out why you say Yes when you should obviously say No to that next date
• You convince yourself that it’s easier to be alone because you just don’t want be hurt anymore

Our past shows up who we choose to date, what we allow in relationships, and can put us on an endless cycle of counterproductive decisions. It’s the reason why the first module of my dating course focuses on past experiences. When you haven’t truly cleaned out your heart, the residue of pain will spew into other areas of your life – you keep “tripping” over the issues you refuse to deal with.

It was when I began to ask myself the tough questions and deal that I started to see a shift in my dating behavior. If you’re single or dating, I believe there’s a number of questions you can ask yourself, but here are four to start with:

1. What hurt, pain or issues haven’t I dealt with?
2. Who am I unwilling to forgive?
3. What negative patterns do I see in my life that need to be corrected?
4. How has my past shaped my perspective? Is that perspective helping me or hurting me?

Your honest answers will provide insight into the areas that you should address. It will take time, but the results will be a heart that is ready and open to receive the best love for you.

Own your greatness. Walk with confidence in your relationships.


Velera Wilson is a speaker, author and the founder of Positive Identity, a company that creates inspirational and educational content to help women own their greatness in their career, relationships, and everyday life. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

A Black Woman in Corporate America

I remember when I got my first job offer to work in corporate America. I’d just graduated college – the first person in my family to do so.

I was happy to get the offer, but I also had a flood of other emotions – fear, nervousness, and feeling lost, as if I’d been dropped into the middle of a forest with no compass. How would I navigate the world of business? Would I fit in? Would I advance? I was the first and only person in my family to enter the corporate world – while it was an accomplishment the weight of figuring it all out was real.

Sometimes we have a tendency to minimize our skills when we perceive them as insignificant compared to others we believe are further along than us. For many women of color, our ambitions can get disillusioned on the road to success – particularly when we don’t see people that look like us in the very roles we desire.

I’ve spent over fifteen years in the corporate world and learned a few things about what it means to be a black woman leading in global companies. Let me be clear, this isn’t a dismal list of wrongs that need to be made right, this is what I’ve observed and learned to thrive as a woman that believes she holds tremendous value in her career and personal life – despite the challenges she’s experienced.

  1. I represent what people in the room don’t see often: Let me be honest – in a number of rooms I’ve sat in during my career, there weren’t many or any people that looked like me. What did that translate to? Added pressure – to represent, and to represent well, so the next black woman (or man) would be invited into the room without hesitation. This might sound extreme but check the latest McKinsey statistics on women of color in the workplace – particularly in senior leadership roles – and you’ll know I’m not exaggerating. There are assumptions about people of color– it can come across in a comment, a question, but often misinformed, prejudgments that I’ve bore – and had to prove them wrong. I could be guilty by association of skin color until proven innocent. Add that to the countless stories I’ve heard from women of color about being stifled in advancement and I know there’s still work to do.
  2. Being the first and only brings a steep learning curve: When I got my first job offer, I wish I could tell you that I negotiated my salary – but I didn’t. I was just happy to be offered a job, happy to be invited to the table. And as ashamed as I am to admit, that wasn’t the last I didn’t negotiate. I didn’t have anyone I knew, or at least trusted, to ask career info – no one I knew around me had already been where I was going. I thought, “How could I, a black girl from nowhere dare ask for more from a big corporate entity? Surely they could’ve offered the job to someone else – I should just be happy with what I got.” To be clear, this is a mindset I quickly had to unlearn – I’m no longer the nervous, unsure young woman waiting to be accepted into rooms. I recognize my value now– but it took experience, mentorship, and self-realization that helped me learn what to absolutely ask for without reservation.
  3. I have opportunity – as pressure filled as it might be: My grandmother never held a “professional” job- she was born in 1918 and chopped wood on the railroad tracks as a young woman, cleaned people’s houses and worked in the kitchen at my preschool when she got older. With that perspective, I gladly lead and represent in my profession because I know the reality of what wasn’t possible at all for her. I still remember the smile on her face when I graduated, and the joy in her voice whenever I called to tell her about another success in my career. While there is still much work to be done to advance women of color in the workplace, the opportunity to grow is still present – even if it means bowing out of an organization that does not, or will not, recognize your value and joining one that celebrates, and not just tolerates, you. It’s #teamvelera 100%.
  4. There’s an (unspoken) advantage: One of the biggest, yet often unspoken challenges, is knowing that cultural differences matter at work and affect who’s promoted and who’s not. I’ve watched it happen time and time again – often managers and senior leaders promote people that look like them or have similarities. So where does that leave women of color? Often on the sidelines – working just as hard but not getting promoted as often. According to the 2019 McKinsey & Company Women in the Workplace study, for every 100 men promoted, only 58 women of color were promoted– the least of any race of women. It’s a reality, some people will not support me for whatever reason – and I’m ok with that, I’m actively building my tribe and personal board of directors that advocate for me without hesitation when I’m not in the room. I must say that I’ve been fortunate to have amazing support from women and men in my career – but that’s not the case for every woman. Real challenges and obstacles exist to career advancement for women of color.

It’s in this intersection of being truthful with myself about the challenges that I also see the resilience, the courage, and the flourishing that has occurred in my life as a woman with purpose as I advance in my career. Here are a few principles and convictions that have been pressed into my heart as a result of my experiences:

  1. Know When It’s Time to Walk Away: You hold tremendous value – the time and money spent investing in your career and skills are worth something and should be treated as such. I’ve talked to women that have been in the same roles for yeeeaaarrrs waiting for the promotion or the raise they were promised. Nahhhh. Pack your stuff and move on because believe it or not, there is a company that will value you, or at minimum pay you what your skills are worth. Life is too short to stay miserable somewhere you spend eight-plus hours a day. Move on when you know you’ve done all you can do where you are. Do it smartly of course but do it anyway.
  2. Help Another Woman Up: It’s become my passion to help other women because I remember being the woman who was just happy to get invited to the table but hadn’t figured out her worth. I know what it feels like to question whether you’re “the right fit” because of some external or internal invalidation that has occurred. I’ve written guides to help other women in their career for this very reason – to shave off time, shorten learning curves, understand the rules to advancement, and boost their confidence at work. I believe that when you realize your value, you will show up differently in your career – and that will lead to even greater opportunities for you, not ones that you’ve waited on, but ones that you’ve created.
  3. Leverage Your Unique GREATNESS: As women of color, our experiences bring tremendous perspective to the tables we sit at and it’s not to be discounted – workplace studies show how racial and gender diversity in leadership positively impacts innovation and value creation for companies. Even if you’re under recognized, underpaid, or underestimated by one person or entity – know that you make a positive contribution wherever you go. So, hold your head up, share your knowledge, and know that what you do matters. As you gain experience realize that YOU are the brand so shrinking isn’t an option – because it’s denying the greatness inside of you that’s being developed. Work hard and show up with confidence wherever you go because there is a door that will open for you (yep, I’m all about those doors – trust me, if you keep knocking one will open for you too). This is the mindset that’s allowed me to make progress in my career.
  4. Ask for What You Want: I say this in just about every panel I sit on or speech I give – if you are afraid to ask for what you want you will always be shortchanged. Being fearful to ask for what I really wanted professionally taught me that denying my desires to make others feel comfortable did me a disservice. As women, we too have a responsibility to leave a legacy – so what will it be? Will it be a list of what we should’ve, would’ve, could’ve done? Or will it be a list of things we did. Our legacy is directly correlated to our willingness to ask for what we know we want – and to go after it. And this isn’t a matter of waiting for permission – it’s a matter of knocking, pushing, and seeking until the dream is realized.

To every woman reading this – regardless of your race, whether you’re the first or only one in the room, or simply unsure of your greatness from time to time, know that there’s something amazing on the inside of you, and even when challenges persist, the fierce overcomer that you are will thrive regardless.

Velera Wilson is a speaker, author, and founder of Positive Identity, a company that creates inspirational and educational content to help women own their greatness in their career, relationships, and everyday life. Connect with her daily on Facebook and Instagram. 



Cut Ties

Don’t waste your pretty in a dead-end relationship. Cut ties. You know he’s not into you that much but you’re hoping he “realizes how good you are” and you nearly break your neck trying to provide that you’re girlfriend or wife material. Don’t waste your time trying to prove your worth – God already did that. If the guy you’re interested in doesn’t see that, move along quickly so you meet the man that sees that without your extra efforts. #nuffsaid

Sometimes we are waiting on the audience before making the leap. But in reality the audience is waiting for us to just show up and take the stage. Own your platform.

Don’t Wallow in Failure

Failure can be deceitful – it’s designed to make us rethink our approach and strategy, but sometimes we start to rethink our worth and capabilities. Don’t wallow in failure – if the idea wasn’t sound it’s ok, be honest and move on. If it’s sound reconsider the plan and tactics so you can improve the idea. The point of failure is to enlighten us not cripple us from ever moving forward to try again.

Release Your Internal Energy

As I’ve thought about this over time, I don’t know that I/we are really afraid of failing as much as we are of bursting outside our shell and rattling the timid person we have been or pretended to be to fit in.  There is so much inside of us – and sometimes we feel the internal energy and motivation rising but we don’t know where to put it all. It’s like we’re overheating inside – and that’s scary because our external environmental doesn’t match the greatness inside that we might feel. Don’t be discouraged – often times our environments are not able to contain the change we are undergoing. Why? Because we are the change agent – we are the one supposed to change our environment. So no they don’t understand why you’re acting different, they don’t understand why you want something else or something more – you’re evolving. Let that process continue and be ok with it being awkward for a little while – you’ll soon see your external environment match what you feel inside. That internal drive will motivate you to change some things – friends, dating relationships, how you spend your time, your money. Before you know the uncomfortable, awkward internal force will feel like home to you – you will be changed and so will everything around you. Keep going sis.

Don’t Be Afraid to Celebrate Yourself.

Don’t apologize for our happiness and success. Sometimes we cower down to minimize things we’re truly proud of accomplishing to make others feel better – I used to think that somehow that made me more godly. It doesn’t. No you should think you’re better than anymore or compare yourself to others, but to be genuinely happy for something that’s happened or a new season of your life is ok. See I remember when things were like they are today – not that things are perfect- but I recall when I didn’t have much, was withdrawn, didn’t want to live, going through an emotional hell. So if I could endure those hard seasons, and if you could endure your tough season(s), how dare we not celebrate and enjoy the season when things are going well? Should we only have miserable times? Everyone has their season – both good and bad- acknowledging God in them both is the wise thing to do.

Invest In Your Dreams

How invested are you in your dreams? I ask myself that – it’s easy at times to slack off, put it on the back burner but I have to remind myself to stay committed. I think about athletes – they train all year, sometimes for multiple years, just for the POSSIBILITY of winning. There are no guarantees, yet they go through strenuous regiments, deny themselves of pleasures, because they have a goal in view.  How can we apply the same discipline and focus to pursue our dreams? Are you willing to deny yourself to get to where you want to be? It will be required at a certain point if you really want to realize your dreams.

Be True to You

It’s soooo easy to post fake or pretentious stuff on social media  –I mean who would know you were lying but you? For real though! I think about that each time I post – I want to post what I believe is true and most importantly, that I’m striving to live that post once it’s up. Nope, I AIN’T, (yes AIN’T) perfect (I know it’s broken English but give me a pass on this one) but I am trying. I ask myself – is this really true for me, am I living what I post, have I overcome in that area? I don’t ever want to share something as if I’ve overcome it all – I’d rather be honest and let you know that it is or has been a struggle. I put myself under the microscope – I don’t want to be fake, no one is helped by that and all I want to do is share the good news that God loves you and me, He heals and He brings victory in every area of our lives so we can life this life to the fullest. Much love!

Surrender to Love

Tribute to #reallove I used to say I didn’t want to fall in love – I wanted to walk in love. I thought falling in love meant losing all sense of reason – and I’d seen enough people do that to their own detriment. Perhaps I wanted a clinical approach to love…aka less vulnerable and more in control. Boy has marriage shown me that walking in love is FOR REAL…there were days when I’m sure we could have choked each other out (figuratively of course) and we could’ve thrown in the towel – and then…you grow up and realize that this thing called love is a maturation process, not for the emotionally weak, immature, or selfish. And you remember why you got married, all the wonderful things your spouse does and you give in and just let love rule.

From the wonderful experiences around the world together,  to the moments I don’t have my make-up on fleek, we’re just being – nothing pretentious, just enjoying each other. So nope I didn’t fall in love, I didn’t bump my head and lose all sense of reason – I walked right into love, a big pool of it, and it’s so real and so grown and so warm I could pinch myself. #surrendertolove