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I’m over you, now what! 4 Things to consider before your next Relationship

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“There’s plenty of fish in the sea” “you deserve better” “you’ll find someone else better” “you were never right for each other” Who has not heard these quotes, while they’re well intentioned, why do they not make anything actually better? I’m not sure if this is the season for it, or why, but I keep seeing posts about people going through heart break. While I’m currently not in a relationship, and it’s been several years since my last one, there are a few things that I’ve noticed that seem to help people around me get over their loss. “Get Over” their break-up isn’t the best way to phrase it either, deal with it in a healthy way is probably a better way to look at it. The truth is a break-up will always hurt, even years after, we learn how to not let it affect us the same way. I don’t claim to be a relationship expert, or even a novice for that matter, these are just a few tools that I’d like for you to consider.

Love yourself first

A friend of my told me this a few months back and it has stuck with me since. “You want to understand yourself, not know yourself.” Meaning that knowing something is more as if you’re accomplished all that you can, while understanding is more of a evolutionary process. Loving yourself first is important because of the EGO. When I say your ego, I don’t mean the small voice that convinces you that you can lift that large obstacle, or that you can overcome anything that get’s put in your way, or that you’re more beautiful than others think you are. I’m talking about that voice that tells you “you’re not good enough” “you’re not beautiful enough” “you will NEVER accomplish that goal you set out to do.” This life as we know it is filled with both positive and negative, and when it comes to the EGO, people generally think of the positive side and forget the negative. If you’re constantly having negative self-talk, there isn’t a person in the world that will make this magically stop. Additionally if you’re looking for someone to “complete you” or “make you better” you typically aren’t confident about yourself. Loving yourself first means that you don’t let negative self-talk dictate your day. We all have those negative feelings, some people learn how not to take it seriously. Loving yourself first means that you put your well-being first, by putting yourself first you ensure that your needs are also met. What I’m not saying is to not be loving and kind to others, but imagine a scale if you will. If helping someone is going to come at a far greater negative impact to you, perhaps you should reconsider helping them. Loving yourself first means that you set realistic boundaries, that you are open and honest about your well-being, and that you don’t let others take advantage of you.

What’s your Compass

“I believe in honesty, even when no one is looking”

“I want to have 2 kids, a boy and a girl”

“I believe that my wife should have a choice whether she wants to work or not”

“I want a partner that shares my faith”

“I want a partner that will help me be a better version of MYSELF, and me HER”

My list is much longer, but those are some of the things that are important to me, and I’m looking for someone who has a similar list. Then together we can help each other accomplish our life goals, being together is mutually beneficial. I’m well aware that some couples might not have the same exact goals, but lets’ look at an example for comparison. Lets say the husband wants to be a Doctor, and he wants to help impoverished people, his wife in turn wants to be a Lawyer, who also helps impoverished people. While they don’t have the same career goals, can you see how they can still accomplish their overall goal together? He can provide medical services, while she helps with legal and equality issues for the same group of people. The two of them together can form an organization that helps people.  While this is a hypothetical couple, it illustrates the point well, they don’t have the same specific career goals, but by partnering they can help actualize their full potentials. Simply put, that person helps you accomplish YOUR goals, without diverting you from your path. By knowing where it is you want to go, you can help identify the person that will be the right co-pilot for you, given your goals.

WHY matters more than WHO

You meet someone, they’re attractive, you share a few things in common, and you also feel sexual chemistry. “Wow we have so much in common, would you like to go on a date?” While this is ok for a first date, having a long term relationship should be way more complicated than that. What are their life goals, what are their core values? Do they want to have children, how many do they want to have? How are they going to help me accomplish the things I’ve already set for my life? Have you ever broken up with someone, and then think to yourself “Wow they were totally wrong for me!” If that was the case, why were you together for months, why together for 5 years; worse yet why were you about to marry that person? Psychologist have coined the term “limerence” or “the honeymoon phase.” They both refer to the stage where you’re infatuated with someone, and it’s partly because of the chemical reactions taking place in your body. You find them highly attractive, even though you don’t share everything in common, you feel as though you do. While somethings should be red-flags, you’re willing to overlook their flaws. Scientists have said that this could last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years of a new relationship. While I’m not saying that those feelings aren’t real, what I am saying is that your body is having a chemical reaction, one in which you don’t have much control over. Forming a life together isn’t a small step, but if it’s based on only your physical attraction and sexual chemistry, you’re in for a huge surprise! At some point in your relationship, that insatiable attraction you felt in the beginning will fade, your animalistic sex drive will also fade. That is why it’s important to base you decisions on “the why” you’re with that person, that’s why your compass and life goals matter. That way your relationship won’t be based on just physical attraction and sexual chemistry.

Golden Rule of Relationships

I’m sure everyone is familiar with “Do unto others as you would like them do to you!” For simplicity, lets say that you like your coffee black, with no sugar or cream. Let’s say that your friend likes their’s with some honey, 2 sugars, and 5 creamers. If you’re getting your friend coffee, would you get it the way you like, or the way they like? If you bring them a straight black coffee with nothing in it, they’d probably spit it out in disgust. So why is it that when you’re doing something “nice” for someone you are more likely to bring them a black coffee, after-all that’s the way YOU like it, why can’t they be more thankful. While that’s a very basic example, it’s the way we tend to view our relationships. When you give someone something , you tend to give them something you’d like, and then you wonder why they never used your gift again. When it comes to relationships, I think the Platinum rule should apply, “Do unto others as they would like done to them.” Should you treat everyone with honesty, respect and love, of course you should. At the same time there are times where you have to consider their preference before you do something. This is why I believe that open and honest communication goes a long way, and why we should spend time actually getting to KNOW people. This is especially important if we’re going to be in a committed long-term relationship with them. A great resource I’ve found is learning about The 5 Love Languagesif you find that you don’t agree with anything I’ve said so far, I hope you’ll at least consider this resource. This is probably one of the biggest obstacles facing most everyday relationship, those that aren’t somehow dysfunctional.

While these are just a few snapshots of things to consider, realistically your list will be much longer. You have to consider aside from your physical attraction and a few things in common, why are they in your life? How is this person helping or deterring you from YOUR goals. If you’re planning to be in it for the Long-haul, there are soo many things to consider. The point is that you have to base your decisions on some intangible goals also. By loving yourself first you will have room and energy to devote to loving someone else, rather than learning to love two people at the same time. By looking at what’s below the surface, their values, beliefs, and life goals, you can make a better choice of who will be best for YOU. Why that person specifically, what do you have to gain by having them in YOUR life? Finally having open and honest communication about the things that matter most to you is essential, how will you communicate what’s important to you? It’s a scary thought, but do you have the courage to walk away if that is not the wisest relationship choice for you. Better yet, what if you can know this relatively soon in the relationship, so that you don’t have to experience more pain and heart break after a life together for years.

Just a few thing to consider, I’d love to hear some feedback. What’s on your list, what will you do differently to ensure that your next relationship lasts for the long-haul? Do you have the courage to ask the tough questions? Are you heading into your relationships with all your wits about you?

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I’m Ready to go ALL IN!!

All In

The last post I wrote really had me thinking about my past. Not to worry I’m not in a regret mode, but I feel this immense sense of clarity and I thought I’d share it. In case you didn’t ready my last post, here’s an excerpt from a article written by Mike Rowe:

 “A Fan Asks Mike Rowe For Life Advice…”

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Mike RoweGet yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you. Good luck – Mike Rowe

As I mentioned earlier, this has been on my mind for the past few days. Today even though I had a long day, and I was outside basically roasting in the sun. By the time I left work I was super excited and happy, and I had no idea why. I think I’m in the beginning stages of letting go. Letting go of the notion that I must search for the “perfect job” or “perfect relationship”. What I’m doing isn’t bad, many people would be happy with the jobs I have. I was finally starting to listen to what Mike said, to stop wasting time looking for the perfect job, and to work hard at what I already have. I’ve always known that intrinsic motivation is the best factor to job satisfaction. I should know, I conducted my own original research for my Undergraduate degree. Complete with interviews, I went the qualitative research method, I didn’t opt for surveys, it didn’t tell me enough about peoples motivation. Anyway I’ve done the research, so by now I should know how to motivate myself, but yet I struggled for years. The good news is that I’m at a stage where I’m doing things differently.

Aside from my career, I’ve also been thinking about relationship, that’s actually what I wanted to study, but my Academic Advisor din’t sign off on that one. As with my job I’m starting to let go of the notion of finding the “perfect” relationship, while I’m not talking about settling for who ever comes along first. What I’m talking about is being willing to put in the work with someone who’s willing to work on a relationship. The bad part is that I’m now realizing that my ex was quite willing to do that. It’s a bit sad that I didn’t realize it at the time. I’m not going to beat myself up about that anymore, I’ve learnt so much during the past year. I’m more in touch with others around me, and I’m letting go of many of by wrong beliefs I held on to, and I’m not sure if I would have accomplished that with my previous path. While it hurts, I also feel that the growth that has come from that experience is really valuable.

What the future holds, only time will tell. What I do know is that I’m willing to go ALL IN now. I’m Jumping inwilling to put in the work to get the kind of future I want. Settling isn’t in my DNA, I’m too much of a perfectionist for that, but I am willing to make several concessions. Life is a constant ebb and flow, sure there are things out there that are perfect, but that’s not everyday life. Even the most beautiful flower dies, and is reborn again. I have to be willing to let go, and in letting go I can open myself up to all that life has to offer.

How about you, how can letting go and jumping ALL IN change your life? Are you still struggling to find that “perfect …” What’s keeping you from getting it? Perhaps it’s time to change your perspective!! Have a blessed day, and I hope my Positive Vibes can emanate throughout the universe and find you where you live. I feel that I have plenty to go around today.

As one Season ends, so another begins!

Starts and Finish

I started to do something different before bed this past month, I’ve started to let music play as I slowly drift into sleep. Aside from being relaxing it’s a good way to calm my mind, and to shift my thought to other things. As I was slowly drifting off last night the DJ was talking about something that made me sit up and listen more closely. I’m paraphrasing here,Life is a constant cycle, death doesn’t mean the end, even the seasons change, so we should learn to acknowledge that some of the struggles in our life will change to triumphs.  As I said it made me sit up, because she was right, although life is sometimes a struggle, in most cases it’s not a perpetual struggle.

Death doesn’t necessarily mean the end, sometimes in their death people can also bring us amazing stories that are the catalyst forWinter to Spring change. Take nature for example, the death of a plant sometimes means it’s a chance for re-birth. A plant may die, but then it’s seed is reborn into another plant. Or perhaps the winter is brutal, and is the coldest in history, but eventually comes the Spring, and flowers bloom again. I feel that this represents the constant struggle many of us face in our daily lives. Sometimes situations are so brutal or heartbreaking, but eventually the Spring comes, eventually there’s a new beginning. This past year has been interesting for relationships, I’ve seen many relationships around me end, and I’ve even ended one myself. As one relationship dies, we emerge as a new person on the other side. Just as the old plant died off, and a new plant emerged, it’s got some of the old characteristics, but it’s also a plant that’s different. Our past relationships are not who we are anymore, we’ve learnt great lessons from them, and the parts of us we don’t like, have now been transformed into a new creation.

As the weather gets better, I see people starting new relationship, a part of me is jealous, but then I realize something important too. Life is about living, it’s about going out and being bold, and not being afraid to fall on your face. It’s also about having the right people around you; it’s about having the right people on the bus. So while Spring is in the air, and new love and relationships are being sparked, I commend those with the courage to step back out there. Those who are bold and are willing to be vulnerable, often are the ones who get to experience true happiness. There’s a certain kind of confidence that’s attractive about someone who’s not afraid to live. When you’re not afraid to explore, to make mistakes and find new adventures. There’s something about you that makes others want to be like you.

Life Elbert HubbardI like that quote because it gets at the larger point of my message, no matter what you’re facing, something else will come after that. It’s up to you what happens next. As life throws you hurdles, will you let them crush you, or will you step over them and continue to move. One of the valuable lessons I’ve learnt this past year is to continue to move forward. Of-course life is sometimes hard, but those who are truly happy have figured out that it’s not about what life throws you, it’s what you do with it after it slaps you upside the face. Here are some tips I’ve learnt form “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz:

  1. I will be Impeccable with my word– I’ll use my words to speak truth and to build people up. I will not use my word to speak lies or bad things to myself or others.
  2. Don’t take things personally- I will not let the things others do effect my behavior, especially negative things. Recognize that sometimes others are hurting, and they project that hurt onto me. So that’s why it’s especially important to not take every single action from others as a hit against me personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions- There’s an old saying “when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me. Misunderstanding are a central part of life, we all see life through various lenses, it’s inevitable that we will sometimes not see things the same way. That’s why it’s very important to ask questions, if you’re not sure of someone’s intentions, ask them what they meant. If someone says or does something that’s hurtful, tell them, it’s very likely that they didn’t even know they hurt you.
  4. Always do my BEST– Life is hard, and some days you’re not at your best. Learning to accept my limits and recognize that I have them free’s me from blame. When I say doing my best, I mean doing the best that I’m capable of. So if today I feel like laying in bed all day because I’m tired, that’s ok take the rest. When I’m rejuvenated tomorrow, then I’ll have the energy to do more, rather than doing 10% today and maybe 30% tomorrow; instead I’ll have the energy to give 100% tomorrow.

Tomorrow starts a new day, how will you define tomorrow? Are you still thinking about yesterday, is it stopping you from going out and living? Yesterday may have been a brutal winter, but eventually the spring will come. Don’t let your past define you, learn from your mistakes, and let them transform you into a new creation. As we celebrate Easter this weekend, I know that not everyone is religious, but Easter isn’t about Easter Eggs! It’s a celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Even if you’re not religious or believe in God, there can be a valuable lesson to learn there. Death doesn’t have to be that, it’s also an opportunity for re-birth, for the resurrection of a new creation. So how will you be re-born, how will you change from one season to the next? Life is about living, let’s all go out and live tomorrow.

Good vs Evil, is it that Simple!!

Good vs Evil

Good vs. Evil, positive vs. negative. What if it’s not that simple, what if it’s more nuanced? In my latest quest to understand myself better and where I am, I found myself looking for the perfect time to make a change. I started to really evaluate the story I was telling myself. For some time now I’ve been writing about my struggle to get a grip on what my career path should be. I felt that I was making really great progress in my personal life, in figuring out who I am, and what my purpose is in life. I think part of why I’m struggling is because I don’t feel like I’m on the right career path. However there is something meaningful about being aware. I do recognize that there is an ideal place I’d like to be, now all I have to do is work on getting there. As intriguing as that is, it’s not the reason I’m writing this. I was reading a post about someone else who was struggling with making sense of their life, and they got me thinking. There is something out there called “The Law of Attraction” I’m not going to get into why that shouldn’t be your only philosophy, but it made me think of playing opposites against each other. We hear about good and evil, positive and negative, but is it always that simple? Do bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people? Of course we have many occurrences of that in the world, so then it’s probably a bit more nuanced than just black and white, there may be a grey area if you will. Things are also cyclical.

I wont say that I’m in the Triumph stage of my life, nor am I in the Trials stage; it feels more like something in the middle. I’m discovering myself, and building a strong foundation for what comes next, good or bad. So if life is cyclical the good prepares you for the bad; gives you something to look forward to when things are bad. The bad also helps build you up; you’re more humbled when things are good. I read of a story today of someone who found out she had cancer, but that was only the beginning of the story. What her illness thought her is that there is a lot of love in the world, if you embrace love, it will embrace you. That made me think of my own mortality, I’m building myself up right now, but can I actually stand on that when it counts? That was scary to think about, but that story thought me a valuable lesson. Things happen in cycles, and where you are in the cycle depends on your state of mind. When things are not ideal, I can either choose to let it keep me down, or I can use that as an opportunity to triumph. Finding out you have Cancer sounds like it would be the trial stage for me, but what the writer thought me is that it could also be the beginning of the triumph stage. This story also goes back to life being cyclical. She was really embracing love and speaking of it’s merits just a few days before that devastating news, but that prepared her for the next stage. There is one big error people fool themselves into believing though, if I stay positive, things will always stay that way. As you see from the earlier example, practicing being Loving doesn’t stop you from getting cancer, but it does change the way you think of your illness though. Life is a journey, there’s good times, bad times, and sometimes it’s somewhere in the middle.

Don’t get caught up in “… and then” thinking. Meaning don’t get in the habit of thinking things like “I’ll wait until work slows down, and then I’ll take a day off” or “I’ll wait until I get that promotion, and then I’ll be happy.” The problem is that the majority of times you get to the goal, and a new one arises, so you never can quite accomplish your goal. I heard a great saying a few days ago, “don’t get caught up focusing on the goal, it’s in the journey that you discover yourself.” Now I’m not saying don’t plan or make goals, but what I am saying is take time to enjoy the journey. Remember life is cyclical, so although you may never quite reach the goal because the cycle starts over, you would have at least learnt somethings along the way. I guess the old “stop and smell the roses” quote really does make sense. I say this because I find myself in a similar situation. I know that my current career path isn’t fulfilling, and many options have been presented to me. Although there’s times when you need to wait and be patient, sometimes you just need to take a step. Just as life is cyclical, opportunities will always present themselves to you. You just have to take the ones that feels right in your heart; as long as your heart and mind are aligned you’ll make the best decision. I was getting caught up in waiting until things are perfect, and part of it was also fear, what if I’ve made the wrong decision? For most people fear alone is enough not to ever move, to never take that leap of faith. There is one thing I know, when you follow your heart, you will always move in the direction you’re destined to go. There might not be a perfect path, there will be one that is more ideal or less ideal. Which ever path you choose, it still takes you in the right direction.

Lastly what does Destiny mean, is it some predestined path that you’re bound to be on regardless of what you do? I choose to replace destiny with purpose, I feel that there is one thing that I’ll do best in life. My goal is to live with intention, to move in a direction that takes me towards that purpose, one step at a time. Life is full of choices, everyday we make choices, what clothes to wear, what route to take, what mood we’re going to be in (or what mood we’re going to be in after interacting with someone). I choose to believe that life has many choices. By choosing to believe that I have a choice, I’m choosing how I what my life to be like today. There is an exercise a Professor made us do in one of my Psychology classes that’s really helpful. He made us imagine that we were at our own funeral, then ask the question, what would you like people to say about you? Now we’re not talking about the “nice” things people say. If they could say how they really felt, what would they say about you? As daunting as that thought was, it helped with the point about living with intention. The decisions you make today, should be a reflection of how you wanted people to see you in that vulnerable time. When it comes to destiny, whether you’re religious or not, what is destiny? Is it a list of demands you have and you say, universe/god here’s what I want for my life, make it happen. Or is it, here’s what I want my life to be, if it’s in my best interest/if it’s your will god. I think this is where many of us get caught up. There is a best purpose for your life, a place where you will be the best to society and those around you, then there is the place where you think you should be. Since many of us make a lot of bad choices instead of living with intention. If it was just up to us, we would be selfish and just do what we want. But life and living is more than just what we want for ourselves, its about what we ALL can do to make each other’s lives better.

So what’s the take away, life isn’t as simple as good and evil, or positive and negative. There are many areas that dwell in the grey spaces. Life is about making choices that put us on a path of living for our purpose. Live each day and enjoy the challenges that come your way, we can either triumph, or our trials can be an opportunity to triumph. Whether you’re in the triumph stage, the trial stage, or some place in between, neither lasts forever.

Here’s a simple prayer I’ve learnt about, and I think it helps whether you’re religious or not, it helps to live with intention.

Speak to me, I’m listening

Show me, I’m looking

Lead me, I’m willing to follow