HomeNew Experience DiaryMy Surprise Engagement, Negative Feedback & 7 Life Lessons Terri December 25, 2013 35 Comments On Monday my boyfriend proposed to me at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in NYC! It was a pleasant surprise and one of the most beautiful moments of my life! The photos above are from our photo shoot a few months ago; kind of prophetic huh? After I said “Yes,” my first reaction was to pick up my phone and call my grandmother! Of all the times in the world, my phone wasn’t working. I was bummed out, but I eventually got a hold of her. As soon as I got into an area with WiFi, I uploaded pics and shared the wonderful news with my Mocha Fam and my social network friends. I’m usually pretty private when it comes to my “current life,” but I was too excited, I had to share the news! A midst the congratulatory wishes, there was a little unnecessary negativity. The crazy part is, the negative comments came from a few family members. I’m talkin’ full blast obnoxiousness in the comments section. Not an email, not an inbox message, but public displays of disaffection. I debated on whether or not I should delete the gloomy comments. I decided to keep them on my wall. If you think about it, it’s a part of life. Regardless of what you do, someone will always have something to say. The challenge for us is to make decisions with our best interest in mind, while being freed from the opinions of others. This experience reminded me of a few very important life lessons. 7 Lessons I Learned from My Surprise Engagement and the Negative Feedback that Followed 1. It’s Ok to Choose You- After I graduated from grad school in May, I was torn between two life-changing decisions. I had to choose whether or not I wanted to job search in the same vicinity as my boyfriend. A part of me really wanted to spread my wings and “do me.” Meaning, I’d put my relationship on the back burner and move to NYC to focus on my career. After much thought, I had a long and very serious talk with my boyfriend and decided to move to NYC to do me. I’m so glad that I gave myself the opportunity to choose me, it truly paid off. I had the opportunity to clear my head and figure out what I wanted and what was best for me. The distance also allowed me to figure out just how important my relationship is. 2. The Ring is Overrated- While “the ring” is a beautiful symbol and a flattering gesture, this is not the most important aspect of an engagement… or shoot, life in general! Yes, it feels good to rock that diamond (thanks beau lol) but seriously, the most important thing is what happens behind closed doors. What is the foundation of the relationship? How do you treat each other? What are your goals as a couple? Are you happy? I’ve dated guys who’ve mentioned engagement and in those cases, it just didn’t feel right. I’d much rather wait for the right man, than settle for the first person who presents a ring. Because after all, a ring is simply a ring; it doesn’t guarantee fidelity, unconditional love and respect. However, the commitment and foundation can. 3. Don’t Let Everyone in Your Business- When my boyfriend and I started dating, we kept our relationship very private (and for the most part we still do.) We gave ourselves time to get to know each other without the biases of others, the “advice” from those around us, and the “you shoulds” and “you should nots” from those who meant well. We organically grew as friends and later established a strong foundation before we “went public.” Everybody and their mom doesn’t need to know about every aspect of your relationship; every time you argue, every time there’s good news, whenever you go out on a date, etc… Keep some things just for the two of you, it’ll pay off in the long run. 4. You’ll Never Have the Approval of Everyone… And That’s OK!- Nobody knows your journey or life experience better than you. Whether you’re trying to determine a career path, the dynamics of a relationship, or something as minute as the color of your new car, there will always be someone who has an opinion that differs from yours. Despite how many times we seek advice from others, I believe that God gives each of us a gift of discernment. Typically when we’re faced with a life decision, we know what we need to do. Whatever your gut tells you to do, follow suit, those who disagree, they’ll get over it. 5. Sometimes the Best Response is No Response- Nowadays people are so reckless online. People will ask you the most personal questions via internet or state their unsolicited opinions righteously and “innocently.” Remember, every question, statement or comment, does not call for a response on your end. Some thangs just need to be ignored. 6. The Lady is Not the Only Catch- I have to admit, though I would consider myself to be humble, I have paraded through life thinking that I am the catch in a relationship. While this is very well true (owww owww ;)) you have to remember that two catches make a great match! Your partner is also a catch ( or at least they should be) and should be treated as such. It’s ok for you to spoil your partner with love, affection and even gifts. The respect and admiration should be a two way street. 7. There Are Still Good Guys Out There (As cliche as it sounds) – My fiancé and I have changed so much over the past few years. We were works- in-progress when we met (we still are!) and we had to work hard to get where we are today. There were certain standards that I upheld that caused him to change certain aspects of himself and vice versa. There are still good people out there however, more times than not you have to set the bar. You have to lay on the table what you will accept and what you will not tolerate. A person will either respect what you’ve put on the table and make the necessary adjustments or get lost. Share Your Wisdom. Join the Conversation! Do you have any life lessons that you’d share with your younger self? How do you handle disapproving feedback from family members or friends? Please share!