Deya “Direct!” Smith is a veteran producer for Hall of Famer Tom Joyner and a former Miss Black USA. She was married in her 20s when she made a suicidal attempt. To try to make her husband “feel her pain,” Deya took sleeping pills and had to have her stomach pumped. The next morning, her husband left her. His mother had told him, “If she tries to kill herself she may try to kill you next.”
After two failed marriages she is happily engaged and now known as “The Man Whisperer.” Her latest book is Soft is the New Power: Embracing Your Feminine Edge to Win in Love & Life. The book encourages women to tap into their femininity, intuition and personal divinity to experience the success in love and life.
Abiola: Congrats on your evolution and your success, Deya. Tell us what makes you “The Man Whisperer,” sis!
Deya: I got tired of having the same conversation with my girlfriends about the same topics about men and relationships, and walking away with more questions instead of answers. I realized it was time for me to go to the source, men. This meant that I had to create a safe space for them to tell me the truth, and that is what I did with celebrities, national leaders and everyday men. This is what evolved into the Man Whisperer Series
I have finally figured out some key elements about understanding men, but I have also learned how to strategically speak with and not just to them in order to reach them, influence them, inspire them, all while getting my heart desires met.
As the old adage goes, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” That is, you’re going to get what you want with sweetness rather than bitterness. The key is to decide what you really want most in the big picture: to be right, as in right now, which is short term, or to ultimately be happy, which is long term.
Abiola: How can our readers use “soft power” in their relationships?
Deya: Soft power is the strategy we use to understand, attract and then influence others to ultimately get what we want in love and in life. Soft power is attraction power. If a person can see the benefits of your style and approach, not only will they be more likely to follow your lead, but they are also more likely to mimic it. If I am persuaded to go along with your ideas without any conflict, if my behavior is influenced by your actions —soft power is at work.
Being soft does not diminish your ability or right to be strong, smart, or discerning.
Abiola: You are a former Miss Black USA. Many people would assume that beautiful people don’t have relationship issues. You are very open, however, that your work comes from a very personal place.
Deya: I came from a dysfunctional household where violence, low self-esteem that's low self-esteem and more was transferred on to me. And although I had a false sense of entitlement based upon my accomplishments and talent, real life has a way of showing you that being cute, quick and smart isn't enough nor does it make you smart about how to have a successful relationships. Unfortunately, I'm one of those people who have to learn the hard way with experience and I fell on my face a lot and it almost cost me my life.
Abiola: Understood. You have suffered tremendous heartbreaks, like all of us. A big issue that I encounter with the women who contact me is that they close down completely after heartbreak. What enabled you to love again?
Deya: It starts with the softening of the heart and being open to the possibilities of life and yourself. You cannot be hopeful and open with a hard heart; they work against each other. When energies work against each other, it creates friction and stress. If it’s peace that you want, then we must stop creating friction and holding our breath in order to wear the overrated badge of being strong. We’re already resilient, and where we are weak God is strong. There is nothing to prove.
Abiola: Can you share some soft power tips that a single woman who no longer wants to be single can use in her dating life?
Deya: First, go for Happy Hour - It’s called happy hour for a reason, so be happy and approachable when you go out. Smile and give good eye contact. That means get off of your phone. Go and have fun.
Second, enjoy the moment. News flash, every date does not need to be husband material at first sight, and that doesn’t mean you’re wasting your time. You will be surprised about how much you may be cheating yourself from an authentic experience or maybe meeting a really good friend. Take the pressure off of yourself and him too. Being too intense, too soon is not sexy, but it can be scary and stressful. Lighten up.
Abiola: What do you think of the ongoing press and media stories over the past few years that say basically, “black women won't get married and will die alone?”
Deya: When it comes to the marital status of women, not just black women, the truth is not everyone will get married. That is not necessarily a bad thing because not everyone wants to get married. I was talking to a 20-something mentee recently and she informed me that she has no interest in getting married, let alone having children. She doesn’t have the desire, never has and views marriage in particular as a hard job. So the premise that marriage is the end-all, be-all is not the reality for many.
Further, as we mature, grow, and change, we must constantly assess and reassess our preferences and priorities, when it comes to relationships our preferences (which can be optional) and what is a priority (must haves). We must give ourselves permission to change our minds about what matters most. A person’s must-have’s at 30 most likely will not be the same at 45. These questions and answers will have a direct impact on how we approach relationships, including marriage. Focusing on how you want to live and not just die is in our hands, not the media.
I think we can and are doing a better job of rebranding ourselves and what love and relationships look like with a black woman. But more importantly, relationships do require work. So we need to spend more time on getting the tools that it takes to be in a healthy relationship. Then, when it comes we will recognize it’s potential, we’ll be less like not to self-sabotage based on frivolous preferences, and we will work on and with the right relationship.
Abiola: So many women think that it’s about being “hard” and having a “I don’t need a man” attitude. What do you say to those women who insist, “but I don’t need a man”?
Deya: Words are powerful. Whatever you say enough and believe will manifest and transfer. Men tend to be literal and there egos are fragile. But more than that, they need a sense of purpose and accomplishment, so if you lead with hard and masculine energy, that doesn’t attract them, it repels them. Masculinity is attracted to femininity -- soft, open and flexible. If a man feels like he can’t add to your life, it does not attract him to being in your life.
By the way, since when is wanting or needing others a bad thing? I’m not talking about being needy and thirsty, I’m talking about being human and being in a relationship.
Abiola: Well said! What you want women to take away from your work?
Deya: Two big concepts: “The Soft Strategy” and “The Secret Power of a Man Whisperer.” The Soft Strategy will explain the concept of soft power and reveal why it’s a game changer on how to win. And, The Secret Power of a Man Whisperer will actively engage help the reader make power moves that apply the principles of soft power in your love life. I want readers to walk away understanding the power that they possess to communicate effectively and regain tools to utilize the lost art of connecting to a man’s heart.
Heal, trust yourself and God; Experience deeper intimacy and connections; Learn the Art of Becoming a ‘Man Whisperer’; Attract more love, happiness & success!
Find Deya’s latest book, Soft is the New Power: Embracing Your Feminine Edge to Win in Love & Life, on Amazon and her empowerment videos at Deyadirect.net.
Abiola Abrams is the author of the award-winning Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love, Manifest Your Miracles meditation album and Womanifesting Goddess Affirmation Cards. The popular lifestyle guru is also the founder of the Spiritpreneur School podcast, blog, web TV show, and online academy at SacredBombshell.com. Follow her on Twitter to continue the discussion about this week's hot topic, and then email her your burning questions now. Anything you send will be posted anonymously, promise.