Why I’m going to start my next Relationship in the Friend Zone!!

Just FriendsSo are you saying you want to be “Just Friends” or you want to “Be Friends”?

Ok so now that I’ve lost 90% of the people who first saw that I posted something new I’ll tell you why we should all want to be in the Friend Zone! In today’s age of technology and information that’s readily available, it seems as though we can all use a lesson in Friendships, remember when you would talk to someone for hours on the phone, or you’d sit and actually have a face to face conversation? Now it’s a Text “hey what’s up?” I’ve been fighting this Smart Phone craze, while it’s easy to send a quick “hey just wanted you to know I was thinking about you” or “check out this cool thing I know you’ll love” We’ve become too complacent with our friendships. A few weeks ago I decided to open up a bit more and talk about my sexuality Coming into my Masculinity Full Circle, and as the weeks go by of this abstinence journey, some things are becoming clearer. As I focus on not letting my libido control my actions, as I learn to not react to every arousal I feel, it’s changing the way I see the world. In a conversation with a friend last week, we talked about not reacting every-time you feel an attraction to someone, sure there may be some chemistry, but what else do you know about them? As I reflected and listened to my friends words, it seems there’s two options when you feel attracted to someone. It’s either you let the opportunity go, or once you interact with them the only other option is a Romantic Relationship, or acting on the sexual chemistry you feel from them. For me I think there’s many more options, I’m sure we’ve all either heard or used “I’m not ready to be in a Relationship”, what about getting to know the other person first, why are we jumping the gun?

Sexual Chemistry isn’t the only criteria for a Relationship!

If we’re coming from the perspective where we’re controlled by our libido, we allow sex to play a bigger role than it should. As I spoke about in my last post, I’m learning how to feel sexual energy and not react to it. No one goes around having sex with every person they feel attracted to, yet if we feel attracted to someone, we neglect getting to know them if we can’t or don’t want to have sex with them. That is the main point I hope sticks with you. As we go through life, we will meet many people, and they’ll all bring out various parts of our personality. While we may be physically attracted to them, that doesn’t mean that we should be in a relationship with them, what about just being their friend, what about getting to know them first? Now you’re probably thinking, sure I already know what you’re saying, this isn’t anything new. I challenge you to examine your thoughts the next time you meet someone you’re attracted to, I bet you’re not thinking that it’s ok to get to know them, and not have to act on your attraction to them. We all know this in concept, but I feel that it’s in our thoughts that we’re missing this subtle difference. My Pastor Steve gave a great explanation of a few things that we should all have in a Romantic Relationship. He also believes that there’s an order to them too:

  1. Friendship – The kind where you know every detail about the other person, their likes, dislikes, want, desires …(As Steve put it, you’re fused together)
  2. Gardening – Then the  lord  God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” – Genesis 2:18. (NLT). Imagine if you will that men and women were created for each other, to compliment the other and be a helper. There is also a clear distinction here that they are going in the same direction, for a garden to grow everyone involved has to be doing the same thing. You can’t have one person pulling up the soil after another has just planted a seed.
  3. Sexuality – Sex was meant to be a very pleasurable experience, if not our bodies won’t react to it the way we do. Not to be graphic or anything, but imagine how different it is when you know what every little sound that your partner makes, and you know what excites and makes them more aroused. That’s why friendship is important, you foster a relationship where communication is key, you tell and share your most deepest secrets. After all it is called Intimacy (into me see).
  4. Family 

With this kind of a road-map can you begin to see why the order of these things are important, can you begin to see how sex shouldn’t come first?

Does “The One” really exist?

Men and Women are different, there have been many books and Speeches given about this subject. Yet despite our differences, together we can create a Family, together we make life. While I don’t claim to understand Women or even Men for that matter, we’re all carrying around this image of who or what we expect our spouse to be. When we’re single we have a long laundry list of qualities that we’re looking for, and they’re all non-negotiable. At some point we end up with a person sitting across from us that might not either measure up to our list, or even if they have many qualities they don’t have them all. This is quite a leap, but I’m wondering if “The One” is more of a fictional character that no one person will ever embody? If you’re in the situation where the person you’re with isn’t all that you desire, you may end up putting too much pressure on them to be something they’re not. How come we don’t embrace the qualities they do possess, and recognize that someone else may be the person for the other things you’re lacking. Now I want to be clear here though, within the chastity of Marriage, if your partner is lacking sexually, you’re not to go find it somewhere else. If we are to follow the Road-map from earlier, we should be able to foster a better relationship through genuine friendship, and by communicating I think it’s still possible to achieve what you’re looking for sexually. For clarity, lets say perhaps your spouse isn’t driving you to achieve your career goals, perhaps a mentor can fill that void. By understanding that we can have genuine relationships with people that are not sexual, but still fosters growth, and helps you accomplish your goals, I think we can ease our spouses from some of those burdens. Imagine if you will it’s not “The One- who encompasses all that you’re looking for” but rather “One person who has …” another “one person who has …” and yet another “one person who has…”

Above all boundaries are important in relationships. Relationships are supposed to be mutually beneficial, allowing both people to get what they desire out of it. I caution you here though, if you have a friendship where you’re taking, be warned that it may not last very long. Even if you can remain friends, you will leave your friend feeling drained, and who likes being with someone they feel is a leach. In most romantic relationships the problem arises when we haven’t fostered a true friendship, as I’m sure many people know sex usually becomes infrequent at some point, what do you do then! Life isn’t easy, you have to WORK at everything you do, a friendship and a Marriage both require work to make them work. Complacency is the enemy of Growth, it doesn’t matter the type of relationship, we should be continually growing together. If you find yourself using the words “Oh you know me, you know what I want” you’re probably in danger, the other person may be asking a question because they don’t know the answer. Unfortunately relationships don’t grow by osmosis, time together doesn’t constitute actually knowing each other; we have to actually communicate for that to work.

May your week be filled with joy, peace and love, and let’s all make an effort to be more intentional in our Relationships. Also I hope that you recognize that it’s ok to be physically attracted to someone but not have to act on it. Who knows how fostering a friendship with that person may positively influence our lives.

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Doing what you Love requires WORK, lots of Hard Work!!

Happy Tuesday, with a new day brings new possibilities to do life differently. My last post Coming into my Masculinity Full Circle was a bit more intimate, in that I was willing to share things about myself that were more personal. It was completely unexpected that I would get as much love and acknowledgement that I got. I generally am a private person, so giving details about my journey to virtual strangers wasn’t easy, but in doing so I believe I got one step closer to my goal. I started writing so that I could look back and see where I came from, and my transformation on the way. One of my newest followers from my latest post begintobelieve was also one of the many things that inspired me this week, with the post “How to stay Connected to your Purpose…”

This past Saturday I had a bad day at work, a series of experiences had me questioning whether it was time for something new! I however quickly got over it, because for most of the week I was being primed by various things I saw. The constant message that I got was that work, will be hard, and at times unbearable. For most of us that’s what work is, it’s something we do because it will give us the resources to do other things that are more important to us. Besides a bad day at work is by no means a rare occurrence, so why was I so easily ready to “throw in the towel?” Although I left on Saturday feeling frustrated, the following day I went in with an attitude of grace, kindness, and an overall good mood.

I had a Bad Day, so what!!

I think part of the reason I was able to bounce back is because of a few things I saw during the week. I don’t have the Job I want now, but it doesn’t mean I can’t continue to work towards what I want. One of the lessons my new job has thought me is that I get great satisfaction from working with my hands, and fixing things. While the interaction with other people might not be pleasant, I will still have overall satisfaction from what I do. It’s also interesting that the same week I decide to “Go all In” meaning that I would continue to find ways to get what I want out of my job, my boss approached me with an opportunity for more responsibility in my first job. To make it more appealing, the new responsibilities involved me working with my hands, and using my mechanical ability to find problems and implement solutions. Having a bad day was a way for me to face a fear that has been hidden for sometime now. I just became another year older with my Birthday a month ago, and I keep feeling that I’ve failed because I don’t have the career I think I should have. The reality though is that most of us don’t have the career we desire, and we learn to make do with what’s in front of us, and make the best of it. By giving my all in my current jobs, I’m putting myself in a position for recognition for other responsibilities. After-all the new responsibilities I got was my boss’s idea, although it’s something I was thinking about, he initiated the conversation.

Do what you Love, and you’ll never WORK a day in your life!!

I’ve heard that saying over and over again, but are we setting ourselves up for failure by thinking that way? Do what you loveIn a way it’s the “I’ll get that great job and then…” syndrome. Getting a great job is a great goal, but that job WILL come with challenges. I feel that thinking if I do something I love I’ll never work isn’t giving the real picture. While some hobbies are fun, it doesn’t mean that you will yield something that’s financially sustainable. Doing something you love does come with work, you face new challenges, uncertainty, and failure at every turn. So while you’ll be happy, does it mean you’ll be happy 100% of the time. My Pastor Steve touched on this recently also, sure he loves teaching, but there are times he would rather do a mundane task such as “pumping gas” It touches on the larger point that we expect 100% satisfaction form what we do. In my Research on “Workplace Motivation” for my Business Psychology degree, I found the same evidence. I interviewed multiple participants, and none of them were 100% happy with their jobs. What they were though was largely satisfied with what they do, and the person who rated themselves as highly satisfied, gave a self rating of 9 out of 10. Although they were highly satisfied, there was still plenty of room for growth. They were working in a once in a lifetime opportunity, and was something that they weren’t looking for. When I hear stories of people who made a profession out of something they’re passionate about, I’m cautious in my rush to emulate them. Sometimes you have to ask is that person is the exception or the rule. Put another way not everyone will find meaningful work, and and what they do may not be financially sustainable. The majority of us will have to make do with what we have.

Find ways to incorporate your passion into what you do NOW!

“Get creative!  From time to time come up with ideas on how to incorporate what you love into your work while staying in line with doing what you have to do.” – begintobelieve

While it might not be possible for all of us to find something we love, and make it a career. The opportunity still exists to find waysHard Work to incorporate our passion into our current work. I think it was interesting that when I accepted that idea, God/The Universe delivered on that promise. As I mentioned earlier I was offered an opportunity for more responsibilities at one of my current jobs, and the new responsibility was aligned with what bring me satisfaction at work. Sometimes work isn’t always going to bring us everything we’re looking for. There’s no rule that says you can’t do something you’re passionate about outside of work. A friend has been telling me for months now to volunteer at my church, she thinks I would be great in a Counseling/Teaching role, and for a long time I’ve been ignoring her. I think I was looking for a “One Stop Shop” kind of opportunity. Perhaps my journey is to devote myself to various areas, and each bringing me a different satisfaction, and together they’ll give me the kind of satisfaction I’m looking for; it may take some juggling.

What’s your Priority!

Where do you rate work? My Pastor Steve made a great point this weekend “We’re not supposed to be completely satisfied with WORK” Or put another way, there are other things in our lives that should be more important than work. His priorities looked something like this 1. God 2. Family 3. Others 4. Work 5. Church. I thought it was both interesting and refreshing that “The Church” came where it was on the list, while church is important, it’s not meant to be everything in your life, not even more than family and fostering other relationships. When I say Church, I’m talking about the physical building, not your devotion to God. While work does give you money, which gives you resources, and those resources to build a better life. I see many people putting work before their relationships, and for me that’s a deal breaker. Sometimes I know I’m guilty of putting work ahead of many things, “I can’t take this weekend off, or I can’t go to that event, I have to work” One of the things I learnt in my Research about Workplace Motivation is that it’s about a balance, those who were happiest didn’t think that work was everything. So while work is important, it can’t be my only source of happiness. What about family, friends, nature or other aspects of life? It’s also true that I’m not currently in the particular field that I think will bring me satisfaction, but I can’t let that be my only source for happiness, I have to find ways to diversify my happiness portfolio.

Thank you for reading, as I continue on my journey, I hope that we can influence each others. I find that others can be a great source of inspiration, of course looking within is also key. We spend most of our time at work, I hope we can learn to find ways to make it more satisfying. After all it’s called a Work/Life balance for a reason, we’re supposed to have a mix between work and life.

The Meaning of Living- According to Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey

One of my favorite Comedians has always been Jim Carrey, and Dumb and Dumber has been one of my all time favorite movies. I had previously heard that Jim Carrey is brilliant, and I had thought it was one of those things people say about someone. Today I had the privilege of listening to a Speech he gave at a University this year. I think it’s the most succinct compilation of thoughts I’ve ever heard that gives a glimpse of what Life is about. I took down a few of the ones that touched me, because they reflected the path that my life is on currently.  I highly recommend that you look at the video: Full Speech: Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address at the 2014 MUM Graduation

(The following is a few of the Quotes he gave in the speech, along with a few of my thoughts and why I think what he said is noteworthy)

  • You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you Love (For me I see people living life according to what they think society and others want them to do, and many of them seem soo unhappy. So why not do something that you’re passionate about, something that makes you feel alive and vibrant at your core)
  • Live your life asking how can I have an effect on the world while I’m here?
  • Ask how can my gift change the world, not what can the world do for me.
  • What if people see me without my mask! (The lesson here is to not let fear and the EGO stop you from being your authentic self)
  • To find peace you first have to let the Armour go. (Instead of fighting against who you are, your authentic self, stop worrying about what the world thinks. The masks we wear prevent us from achieving full happiness. To find peace within ourselves, we must let go of all of these things)
  • Our need for acceptance, can also make you invisible. (We’re constantly striving to feel wanted and accepted, but as we continue to look to others to bring us satisfaction, we find that the goal is always moving. We continue to try, but can never accomplish what we set out to do. This race makes us loose our uniqueness, and we become invisible, we’re no longer our true selves)
  • To find Peace we must let our Light shine through, and take the risk to let ourselves be seen. (Remembering that we all have a gift, something unique that we bring to the world, that is our light, our beacon. Be must be willing to be seen with our flaws, our shortcoming. While recognizing that we bring a talent, a gift to share with the Universe. As Brene Brown would say, we must be willing to be vulnerable)
  • Don’t let Wealth, Fame, Prestige … distract you from your true purpose in life, which is to let your Light shine through!!
  • There should be nothing more important in this world than you. (Learn to embrace and invest time into perfecting your gift)
  • Don’t let your EGO(the voice that tells you that you’re not good enough) fool you, know that you already possess everything you want, believe it and it will come to pass.
  • Stop worrying about how your dreams will come through, just believe, and don’t get caught up on what the vessel looks like. If you miss your chance, the Universe will find a way to bring it back around again.

With each passing day, it’s ammazing what we can find that helps define our path. I’m happy that I’m at a stage in my life that I’m able to learn about these things. After all in the end I’d like to know that I’ve lived my life, and that I’ll be satisfied with what I’ve done. This is just one small stem towards that future. Thank you Kathleen for first posting this, and for guiding others to find their light.

 

 

 

Hindsight is 20/20, and so is HOPE!!!

Hindsight

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “Hindsight is 20/20” I think the same thing can be said about hope. Over the past week I’ve been hearing the same message about hope, but what is it? Why should we be hopeful? According to dictionary.com. Hope is: to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidencethe feeling that  what is  wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. It takes confidence to be hopeful, confidence in yourself and your path. For me life is about balance, between past, present, and future. Between good and evil, positive and negative. Sometimes life is also about the grey areas, it’s not just Black and White. I was reading a post and came across a bible verse that I wanted to share.

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.  “Rabbi,” his John 9disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,”  Jesus answered.  “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. John 9: 1-3

 

Before I get more into talking about being hopeful, I thought it was good to get a little context. Sometimes our understanding is clouded by wrong beliefs. As we see from the example above, Jesus’s disciples thought the blind man was suffering because he did something wrong. As Jesus pointed out, suffering can also be a great opportunity for Love, grace, and miracles. I understand that all may not agree with the example I used, because not everyone agrees with my religious views, however please bear with me for a bit longer. Religious convictions can be some of the strongest, but even with religion we can still have wrong beliefs, and I believe that this example is one that demonstrates that point. But what does this have to do with hope? Just as Jesus’s disciples saw suffering as the result of some type of wrong doing, I believe it’s the same lie many of us tell ourselves. Life is full of good and bad, ups and downs, it can be a bit of a roller coaster. Although things happen to us, it’s not always a result of bad behavior, we’re not being somehow cosmically punished for our past mistakes.

Last week I read a post from thedailylove.com that reminded me that life is also full of nuances. In her post Donna Gates asks Are you Positive or Negative? At first I was a bit taken back by her post, because she suggested that we shouldn’t use those labels. After reading further I realized that she was on to something, sometimes we limit ourselves, and holding on to labels can do that. As I mentioned above life is sometimes nuanced, bad things may happen, and it’s not always a direct result of something we’ve done. In many cases, bad things can lead to victories, triumphs, and life changing revelations. The end of a romantic relationship, could lead to us finding ourselves, and then finding someone that’s better suited for us; but first we have to release ourselves from the old way of thinking.

The other important aspect of Hope is the past. If you’ve been in a similar or worse situation, it gives you confidence. From your past experiences you gain the strength to overcome other situations in the future. As I was jogging last week, I recalled a time in my life when I wasn’t sure what would happen next. Was I going to find meaningful work, will I ever find love, will I have enough money to pay my bills? As those thoughts slowly resurfaced, I realized that although I hadn’t found that “Great Job” financially I’m much better off now, and as for love, I’m learning to love myself. There are many things I consider myself to be; a positive person, an optimist, are among those labels. I also recognize though that there are many other nuances, I’m learning not to let my EGO mislead me. To not get a false sense of confidence, to recognize that my happy moments are giving me strength for the unhappy ones. By seeing where I’ve come from, it gives me strength to endure the day ahead. While I can say that I don’t suffer from depression, I do have my moments when I feel doubt and gloom come over me. In those moments though I’m able to reflect on where I’ve been, and with the help of those who love and care for me, and my faith of course, I’m able to pick my head up again. What I’m not saying is that I live with my head in the clouds, I don’t think that Life is always about lollipops and rainbows, but that it’s nuanced; and recognizing that saves me from inner turmoil.

Tools and practices to be more hopeful:

  • Life is not just black and white, sometimes it’s about the grey areas also. Recognizing where your beliefs are centered is the first step.
  • Your past experiences give you confidence for the future. Experience builds confidence, when facing a difficult situation, ask yourself what other similar situations have you faced before? Chances are you’re here now because you’ve survived past experiences.
  • Having a positive outlook doesn’t mean that you think things are always going to work out. Sometimes some challenges aren’t meant to be overcome, they are there to show us our limits.
  • Going through a bad experience doesn’t mean you’re being punished for something. Although there are consequences to our actions, that rule doesn’t apply to EVERYTHING. Sometimes some experiences are an opportunity for Love, Grace, Mercy, and Life Lessons. Learning to recognize the difference is an important aspect of having hope.

Hope

What does it mean to be a Strong Man!!

When you think about that phrase, it’s a bit of an oxymoron, because a strong man doesn’t necessarily mean a guy with muscleA Strong Mans who has great physical strength. I read several articles last week that started me thinking about masculinity, and as I grow older, what does it mean to be a strong man. You can find the full article by Bryan Reeves on “Women are not defective Men” to get more insight about what my general theme is. As I go deeper into my 30’s with each passing day, I find that many of the things which peeked my interest when I was younger are no longer enough. Having an intellectual connection is more fascinating, and far more intriguing. I’ve talked regularly in-dept about a book I read earlier in the year “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. I read an article on The Daily Love yesterday that got me thinking again, for an agreement to be effective, everyone involved has to follow it. As I get older I’m beginning to see that there are many wrong beliefs about what a Man should be, and they lead to statements like:

  • Good men are strong and powerful.
  • Real men don’t cry or show emotions.
  • The Man is supposed to be the provider.
  • The Man is supposed to be a hero, to come in on his white horse to save the damsel in distress.

To many Men money, power, prestige, family (wife and children) are a measure of your man hood. While those things are important, they don’t give the full picture, and what about communication, love, honesty, vulnerability. Why are those things not on the list?

As I was thinking about those things, and as I read Bryan’s article, it was clear that there is so much that men are not taught. To be a functioning and healthy adult (I use the word healthy, because there are many other ways) you need to learn certain things. Going back to what I said about agreements, if we’re not taught these things, and we believe the wrong beliefs that we are taught, then we’re doomed to repeat the same bad choices. As a man there are so many pressures that plague us, and yet in many cases, there are more incentives to perpetuate the wrong beliefs.

So how do you get on the right track. It starts with acknowledging some truths:

  • We’re all human, and that means that we’re capable of emotions, yes even us hard exterior men. Suppressing our emotions in effect is invalidating the gifts we were created with.
  • We must learn that people are different, and that thinking differently or having different values are not right nor wrong. We see the world differently, and that’s ok, it makes us unique not broken.
  • On a level we’re all broken, we all have flaws, it was built into our DNA. While having flaws isn’t an excuse, it’s good to remember that when dealing with others. Sometimes against our best efforts we make mistakes, give others opportunities to correct their mistakes. After-all we’d like the same treatment if the roles were reversed.
  • Learn to embrace our emotions, we were born with 6 senses, if they’re telling us something, we should probably listen. It’s like seeing a wild animal coming towards us with teeth gnashing, and saying “hey you must want to lick me!” By allowing ourselves to feel, we deal with the issue in the moment. Suppressing doesn’t make the emotion go away, it only bottles it up, and it WILL come back, and perhaps at a most inopportune time.
  • Learn to embrace our male and female selves. Men are confident and have a rugged bravado, women are gentler, kind, and caring. Each was made differently, but they were made to combine to produce pure LOVE. By embracing each other’s best qualities, we are able to achieve a more perfect harmony.

To be a well functioning adult male, I must do away with the old mole. I’m not Ryan Gosling, but he’s not be either. So I’ll stop tryingAverage Man to be what I’m not. It’s ok to be me, as I get older I become wiser, well that’s my hope anyway. I must learn to embrace my Male energy, and learn to be in harmony with the mesmerizing and fascinating yet mysterious female energy. I don’t understand it, but perhaps that’s the point. Men are conquerors, and when we do we move on. Perhaps our women are supposed to be a mystery, it keeps us longing and coming back for more as we learn and explore her mysterious deity.