Black Love is Good Love
Mention the two words love and relationships, and you’re bound to start a mini war. The battle of the sexes never takes a rest in today’s ever-complicated world of love--black love that is. But renowned psychotherapist and author Jack Daniels (yes, that’s his name) simplifies things for women in their quest to secure a meaningful connection. Join Daniels and certified dating coach Domona Hoffman for the new hit TV series premier of Black Love. Airing Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at 10:15 p.m. EST, Black Love is designed to help women navigate the rocky terrains of the dating scene. See what happens when Daniels and Hoffman bring Monet Bell (Married at First Sight), Jahmil Eady, and other ladies together for some tough lessons in love and soul-searching. Experience the raw conversations and surprises as these ladies peel the layers off their emotions and get to the root of what’s keeping them from the love they desire.
Hope for Women talked exclusively with Daniels about the need for shows that depict African-American love in a healthy space. Daniels shares his own accounts of overcoming depression, how marriage changed his life, and what men and women can do right now to experience the love they dream of.
Hope: Hello Mr. Daniels how are you? Daniels: I am well. How about yourself?
Hope: I am good; thank you. Did you have a good holiday? Daniels: I did. It was fantastic.
Hope: Awesome. You’ve been helping lots of people not only find love, but understand what love is. Talk about your journey to becoming a therapist and why you thought human behavior was important for you to study.
Daniels: That’s a great question. I stumbled into this thing by default. This was not something I anticipated doing while growing up. I was cruising in Corporate America and I did everything I was supposed to do. I went to school and got good grades, came out of college and got a great corporate job. Eventually, I was married at one time in my life and for whatever reason, it did not go well and we ended up parting ways. That situation took its toll on me and I went into a spiraling cycle of depression and a deep, dark hole. And when I came out, it was one of those things where I had an epiphany. The voice of God spoke to me and said these words, “Stay out of your own way.” I took those words and I put them into many categories of my life.
One thing led to another and I started writing. I wrote an article from a dare. I sent it in and they published it. They came back and said, “This is great! Can you give us another one.” I said, “I’m not a writer. I will try.” I then gave them another one and another one. The paper called me and said they got great feedback and wanted me to do the articles on a regular basis. I said, “I’m not a writer.” They said, “We will pay you.” I agreed. “I think I can write this for you” (laughing).
One article turned into a syndicated column that they printed in two of their newspapers. Six months later, I ended up being syndicated across the country in 57 newspapers. The column was initially a column for men that was basically me venting and giving relationship advice through the eyes of men and what we experienced. From that column, someone asked me when the book was coming. I gave them my usual response of, “I’m not a writer.” I wrote a book and it became a bestseller. Then, I began speaking and I ended up speaking at an event where this lady came up to me asking for help with a relationship. She said, “I know you can help me. I know my life will be better. I can pay you.” I said, “Well I can do that” (laughing). That was my first client and she happens to be a high-paying, high-profile client. She passed me on to three of her friends and they passed me on to others, and they all paid. I found out I had a passion for it and it’s turned out that I help entertainers and celebrities. So God blessed me with a gift that helps people get unstuck really fast, whether it’s in business, love, relationships or money. Since then, I’ve helped thousands of people in the process.
Hope: This is a true story of having your pain become your purpose. Daniels: Oh, absolutely! It was an opportunity for me to accept my purpose. I was working a dead-end job and I was not fulfilled at all. I was doing what I had to do at the time because I wanted to take care of my family. It just so happened that we experienced a tragic thing. We were trying to have children. She had three miscarriages, and it took its toll on the marriage. So she came home one day and said I’d rather not be married to you than to come home and be reminded of what I can’t have. So as a man, it broke me. It broke me into pieces--but pieces and fragments that I could scrape back together. Now I understand how to help the lowest of the low become better, bigger and stronger. So it was a growth opportunity in that I really found myself in that deep, dark space of rejection, shame, embarrassment, guilt and depression. And for me to come out of that, I knew I had to help other people. I’ve been there, so I know how to help other people not be there.
Hope: Thank you for being so transparent and so gracious. It’s remarkable how you were able to overcome. I’ve never been married, but I can imagine a spouse coming home and saying I can’t do this anymore. Daniels: Yes. It was tough. But the good news is that I am with the love of my life today and I’m living extremely well. I believe in love. For some people, that would have permanently crippled them and they would have a very tainted view of what love, marriage and relationships should look like. I love love, and it’s around me in every single way--from the people I help to my own personal life. I totally adore my wife with all of my heart. So, I want that to radiate to everyone else. I want everyone to experience that.
Hope: Speaking of helping people, why does most of the relationship dialogue lead straight to women? Daniels: I would totally agree with you on that. I’ve spent lots of time speaking to men regarding relationships. I started my career helping them better understand the obstacles and pitfalls of being in our own way when it comes to finding love. My book I Need a Wife was the blueprint to helping men understand how to get closer to commitment. I don’t see it as everyone talking to women. We have to restructure the dialogue if we are to break this cycle and the pathology of the breakdown of our family. I believe there are lots of opportunities to have these conversations.
Hope: Tell us about the show Black Love and why it’s important to showcase black women attempting to find love. Daniels: I’m part of the show and my co-host Damona is a huge component from the dating side. I take care of the emotional stability and some of the mindsets that are keeping people stuck in relationships and dating. This is important in lots of ways. The best thing I can tell you is that this hasn’t been shown before. It’s been overshadowed with countless opportunities to have drama, fights, backstabbing, betrayals and all of the things that have basically demoralized and degraded black women.
This is an opportunity to showcase and highlight black women in their true respect. It’s positive. It’s going to be women that are very successful in what they do and who they are as individuals. They’re saying, “I am looking for love and I’m raising my hand to say I don’t have it all figured out, but I need some help. I want something different and new.” So it’s being able to provide those tools, strategies and techniques that will help position them to find something better. We’re going to show them in a different way. We don’t go to school for relationships, so it’s not something we innately know. There’s a framework. And the older you become, the harder it is to be with someone of your stature because the dating pool shrinks. This is a chance for all women to see themselves in these women who are taking this journey. You’ll be able to say, “I do that. I have said that. Maybe there’s some truth to that. Maybe I can change.”
Hope: How do you begin to find suitable mates for these women? Daniels: The first steps are discovery and understanding who you are so you can better align with who you’re supposed to be with. It’s about becoming extremely clear about who you are and what you want. Who you are has been defined by so many people and so many things. It has nothing to do with titles. And then, what you want is tricky. There’s one lady on the show who was very clear about what she wanted, but once she filled the paperwork out--and got just that-- she didn’t like it. Some things only look good on paper. Those are things as little girls where you say to yourself, “If I had all of these things, I’d be happy.” But that’s not always reality. So we always start with discovery. We take an individual approach with each of them. We had to help them unravel their truths before we even began to explore opportunities. And for some, reality may be that they need to be alone right now.
Hope: As a therapist, do you think our lists, our goals and expectations of others are too high? Daniels: Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s a two-way street. Overall, we have some huge faults in the way that we date. We own these unrealistic expectations where we want people to be Superman and Superwoman, but we forget that when his cape is not on, he’s simply Clark Kent. We only like the super parts of the person and we get confused. I also believe that those expectations can go to the other end of the extreme where people settle for pieces and fragments of men and women instead of the whole person. That comes from layers of frustration, boredom, horny-ness, anger and hurt. So, you end up settling. So there are two different extremes operating and you have to find that middle ground. We help them find that middle ground.
Hope: What have you learned about yourself since working in the space of relationships, and how have you applied it to your union? Daniels: I’ve learned to stay out of my own way. That means I have to have the courage to do something different and to do things differently. I have to have the conviction to believe that I can work this process. The commitment to truly finish what I started is paramount for me. I think some people give up when it comes to commitment and really doing the work. I stand by that. It’s made my relationship so fruitful, fun and fantastic. I’m just excited about living each day like I’ve never lived it before. I’m excited about the possibilities. I’ve learned not to get into my feelings. I just take every day and live it like it’s the last day that I will be here. Even when I look at my wife, I look at her like this is my last chance to kiss her. To see her. This is my last chance to say, “I love you.” To hug her. To embrace her and to put my hand on the small of her back. The last chance to smell her hair and cuddle. She’s who God has blessed me with and this is the moment that I’ve been blessed with.
Jack Daniels is a bestselling author and renowned speaker. His books, I Need a Wife and Stay Out Of Your Own Way can be purchased on Amazon. Follow the all-new season and sexy cast of Black Love on Twitter @FYI.
Connect with author and expert dating coach Damona Hoffman on Twitter @DamonaHoffman.