Monday, September 11, 2017

I want to be happy man.

It’s been a while since I laughed till my tummy hurts.
I measure my happiness by how often, loud and freely I am able to laugh on a daily basis. And for each of us how we measure happiness differs.
Recently I have been feeling that my happiness is decreasing. Like something is missing and I’m not gonna say that I don’t know why, because I do, but we’ll get to that a bit later on.

I hate this feeling of being out of touch with myself, not being able to connect with myself. I used to be able to identify my daily blessings when I thought back on the day that has passed. I used to find the small joys in life in everything I did. Let me give you an example …

I was unemployed and living by my mom when I picked up playing golf as a hobby. I took to golf like a duck to water. No professional aspirations, but walking around on a golf course hitting a small ball around for hours was what I called happiness.
I haven’t played golf in more than six months and I can not say definitively that if I started playing golf again my life would be better, but I can’t dismiss the fact that I smile when I think of playing golf again.

Yet this nervousness that I am not happy to my hearts content has been eating at me for the past couple of weeks.
I’ve narrowed it down to the following:

I am not doing what I love to do in my free time. (E.g. playing golf.)
I am not making time for myself to reflect on my blessings.
I am blind to the small joys in life. (E.g. a friendly conversation with a friend or colleague.)

And I hate myself for not paying more attention to these things.
I want to be the positive person I know I can be so that those around me can feed off of my energy. I don’t want to keep ALL of my happiness for myself, I want to share it with those that I love, but I need to be happy with myself before I can even attempt at that.

Me not being as happy as I used to be is costing me so much. Fruitful relationships with loved ones and friends are not where they are supposed to be. And I blame myself for that. I used to wake up in such a good mood, but I don’t anymore. I want to be that irritating person that everyone can’t stand because I am happy and smiling for no reason. Dammit man, I got to open my eyes again to another day, shouldn’t that be a good enough reason?

Every since I started working again, I am thinking twice before committing to anything enjoyable. I am putting a price on it. I called the golf village around the corner from my office “just” to inquire and when I heard the monthly installment I pulled out. I don’t want to be that person anymore. I don’t want to put a price on my happiness anymore.

I don’t want to wait for the right time for me to be able to do something when it is “financially” possible when I can actually do it now. It might sound irresponsible now but I’d rather be happy now than when the budget has come into perfect alignment.
So I obviously need to make adjustments and sacrifices for the greater good, which is my happiness. Because if I keep on putting a price on my happiness it’s gonna cost me more going forward.

I want to be happy man.
I want to be joyous and celebrate this ONE life I have to live.
It’s not gonna happen overnight, but I’m determined to make every day an opportunity to be a little bit happier for myself.
Yours truly,

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Finding The Perfect Partner

First, you know there is no such thing as perfect, right? Of course we all have tastes and preferences and what we gravitate toward, what we find sexy and attractive, from the external to the internal, from body types to personality to confidence and emotional intelligence and so on and so on.

Yes, we all have preferences and that’s a good thing but if you’re chasing perfect, you’ll be disappointed and ultimately lonely. Because perfect doesn’t exist. It’s a mirage created by advertising and a fantasy we’ve been holding onto since we were taping posters of our teen crushes on our bedroom wall.

There is only perfect for you.
And that depends on where you’re at in your life. What’s “perfect” for you will change as you change. What was perfect for you in your twenties probably isn’t what’s perfect for you today. Unless of course, you haven’t changed, grown, or evolved. But I know you have so let’s talk about what’s perfect for you today.

Wait, so how do you know what’s perfect for you today? Okay let’s put away the word “perfect” for now because it’s stupid, overused, and dangerous. And let’s start with the word important. What’s important to you? What matters? Think about all the relationships you’ve been through and all the things you’ve learned from them, about what works, what doesn’t work, what you want, what you need, about love and lost, and all your unhealthy patterns. With all that information, ask yourself what’s important to you today?

Does your person have the things that are truly important to you? Not every single little thing because again, no one’s perfect. But the big things that matter. The deal breakers. The things that you are not willing to negotiate because you learned your lesson last time. The things that drive the engine of the relationship. If they do, then they have perfect in them. Read that again. And it’s your job to find it.

If the big things that are important to you don’t exist in your partner / relationship, then this article isn’t for you. You need to read a different article, one about when to leave or stop investing in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere or making you happy.
This article is about having an engine that runs but not performing at its best. It’s about fine tuning the engine instead of trying to find a new one. Because most of us do have “perfect” partners. We just haven’t done the work to discover it. Yes, perfect has to be discovered.

In every person / relationship, you will notice imperfections. There will be cracks. It’s just a matter of time before you wish your partner did something differently, acted a certain way, was more patient, driven, understanding, thoughtful, and so on and so on. And if you only focus on what’s lacking, that lack will grow and it will become the sun and you will start looking in another direction. You will start getting curious about what else is out there.

Many stray and ruin something that could have been beautiful because they don’t accept people for who they are. And if they don’t change that mindset, it becomes a pattern and they will never experience lasting love. They will only experience short lived honeymoons. Get addicted to the fleeting potent shot (which isn’t love) instead of the life changing stretch. This is why we must find “perfect” in our partners, instead of seeking perfect.

So how do you find perfect in your partner? Well, let’s examine the things that are not perfect. Because you have no problem with the things that are obviously.

She’s always late. He leaves the seat up constantly. She forgets his keys. He’s not as affectionate as you would like him to be. His crooked nose. Her posture. The way he chews. His nagging. Her parents. And the list goes on and on on what you wished would be different about someone.

Fine tuning your relationship engine means to accept someone’s imperfections. It doesn’t mean you can’t express what bothers you, assuming you’re not referring to their physical appearance or things they can not control. It means you accept them as they are. Not what they could be. It means you understand their story. It means you see them as a whole complete person. Not someone you can mold into your idea of how they should be.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Men Want In A Relationship

Open any fashion magazine and you’ll see article upon article about what women want in relationships and how to get it. But there’s rarely a space for men to express their relationship needs. And women need to know. So let’s create that space. Here. Now. Maybe it can be the first domino to start a conversation. You may or may not agree with these. What’s more important is that we talk about it. The following are based on my sessions coaching thousands of men on and offline as well as my own wants.

We don’t want to be your Clark Kent. We want to be your Superman. We want you to see us as leaping tall buildings in a single bound and catching bullets. Not pushing a mail cart and asking you if we can buy sugar cereal <— true story when I was a boy and married. We want to carry you in our arms and show you the world. Or at least feel that way. And I know it’s our job to get there, not yours. But nothing gives us more strength than a woman who creates a space that makes us feel invincible. If you make us feel invincible, we’ll make you feel beautiful. And of course, you want to feel invincible too and we want to feel beautiful as well. But for men, our invincible is your beautiful.

There’s a new T-shirt trending Los Angeles titled “Love Me Anyways.” They should make them for men. Because we NEED to feel that when we stack the dishes in the dishwasher like a five year-old, say the wrong thing in front of your friends, leave the toilet seat up, get too logical, forget something you’ve said a thousand times, that you love us anyways. Because inside every man is a boy who forgets he’s a man sometimes. And every boy gets into things, not because he’s bad but because he’s got a curious mind and a short attention span.
Unconditional support from our woman is what will snap us out of our boyish behavior and inject us with a desire to be a stronger man. Only when you accept us as we are, who we are, will we want to become someone better.

So many women don’t tell their men how they feel because they don’t want to rock the boat. Or they’re afraid. The truth is when you don’t express yourself, you leave us in the dark. You’re not doing life with us. You’re doing life around us. We don’t really know the truth of you. You are prepackaging and presenting parts of your life instead of doing your whole life with us. This creates a crowbar, not glue.
Couples grow and get stronger overcoming adversity, not by doing life separately. Know that every time you hold things in, you are building walls inside the sacred space of the relationship. No, we don’t want you to verbally vomit on us. But believe it or not, we really do want to know how you feel.

Communication. Without it, relationships are built on sand. We want you to communicate directly. We don’t get clues. We need things spelled out. We are logical creatures. And we understand that if you have to spell it out, it’s not the same. You don’t want us to do the dishes. You want us to want to do the dishes. We get it. OK, then tell us. Explain. Model how you would like us to communicate back.
For many of us, communication is not our specialty. We need some guidance. Generally speaking, men tend to pull from a logical place. Women pull from an emotional place. If you can meet us at logic, we will match your emotions.

There’s nothing sexier than working out with your intimate partner. Watching you sweat and work on your body only encourages us to work on ours as well. We get to see the raw and real you, a different type of naked. Now, if we do this together, we’re in the act of building something, a lifestyle. We’re not just talking. We’re doing. And that’s hot. We need to sweat and we would like it if you joined us.

There is something we get from our boys (male friends) that we just can’t get from you. And there’s nothing you can do to give us that because it’s a relationship dynamic, a comradery that men have with men. You have the same when you go dancing with your girlfriends. And it doesn’t mean we want to be with them more. It’s apples and oranges. It fulfills a different part of us. And it refuels us and want to be with you more. It’s life balance. It’s also going to sharpen us and make us better men, assuming our boys are not boys but real men.

We may not say it, because how do you tell the person you love to get a life? But we really want you to have your own life. Really. We want you to have your own set of friends, activities, and passions. Of course we want to be supportive of everything you care about and be a part of anything you would like us to be a part of, but we want you to have your own identity.
Because if you have nothing that is yours, our relationship is standing on one leg. Also, if you have your own life, it forces us to get our own life as well or risk losing you. Forget legs. Let’s put our relationship on wheels. One is yours. One is mine. And together, we’ll ride.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

How to Help Those Who Don’t Want Help

When you see someone suffering, it is only natural to have the desire to help end their suffering. Although we may feel qualified to help others, we still may be met with resistance. It can even feel painful when we are faced with this same resistance from our families, friends, colleagues, etc. For many people, it feels easier to help someone you don’t know than those you live with.

It may feel difficult to help our loved ones because there may be a lack of trust somewhere in the relationship or the other party may not believe they are ready to receive your assistance. Sometimes we are asked for only one slice of help and yet we want to give them the whole cake. This can be overwhelming for the other, and it may diminish trust as you may have given them more than they asked for. It may be apparent that they need all the help that you can offer, but sometimes it is best to give them the slice they asked for. One slice is better than the crumbs at the bottom of the dish.

When a foundation of trust is established, others are more likely to accept a second slice of your love and help.They can trust you are giving it to them with no hidden agenda because you are giving it with a pure hand and intention. Having no expectation of receiving anything in return means that it is unconditional.The moment you decide to help others for something in return, it becomes polluted with a condition. Thus it becomes conditional. Remember there is a difference between asking someone for help and helping someone to receive help in return.
At this point in humanity, we have become quite skilled at “reading” each others soul and intentions. There is now a level of transparency in the world that cannot be paralleled by any other point in history.Although you may think your intentions are not obvious, others may see right through you, and sense the “hidden agenda”. So when you have a desire to help someone, review your intentions again before you offer it.

While on pilgrimage in Spain last year, I was feeling physically tired and I decided to sit on a bench in the middle of the village. Soon after, there was a woman that sat on a bench next to me and began talking with me. In the midst of our soulful conversation, a local man from the village walked over to us and offered the grapes he had in his hands. My new friend immediately accepted his gift. I questioned why he was so kind to offer them to us. At first, I did not give him a response but that did not stop him from meeting me halfway.
The profound moment was when he simply put the grapes next to me on the bench and walked away. While looking at my friend enjoying them, my heart opened up and I began to pick at the stem of grapes he gave me. They were some of the best grapes I have ever had in my life.
In retrospect, I realized it was not just the taste that made them great, but it was actually the pure love that they were given with. He simply wanted to give with no expectations. This was evident when he just left them there on the bench. What I learned from this profound experience is that sometimes we have to be willing to make our offer of help known and to just leave it in the other person’s presence.

At the moment, the other person’s door may be closed to your presence but there may come a point in the future where your help will be welcomed with open arms. It can feel difficult to help those we love when we exhaust our offer to them. It may feel like trying to move a building with no patience or progress. But if you take a moment to try to step in their shoes to understand why they would be resisting your help, it may help you see them in a different light. It can also help you better understand them as a person. With compassionate awareness and understanding, you will know how to better approach others when you wish to help them.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How do you know when you love someone?

I used to believe that love was a light switch. Something flicks on. You get an overwhelming sensation. It hits you like a bag of bricks. Or a strong arrow. When you know, you know. Right? Not so much. After 38 years and an expired marriage, I don’t see love that way anymore. I’ve placed Cupid right next to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Love is a series of choices. The first choice is based on many many factors, including chemistry, principles, logic, humor, intelligence, body type, where we are in our lives, what we want/need… the list goes on and on, and the weight of each factor varies depending on the individual. Based on these factors, we either choose to begin the process to love or not. If we decide to enter this process, the action of loving can bring “light switch” moments. The way he looks at you. How hard she makes you laugh. The notes he hides in your purse. The way she makes you feel when you don’t feel anything.

But like an airplane flight, there is turbulence. The fights. The disagreements. The little things that bother you. His socks. Her shopping. You start wondering if you’ve made the right choice. Once you are in doubt, you have to make another choice: to continue to fly with this person or jump out of the plane. This choice is based on a thousand other factors, again depending on the individual and where they are in their journey. If you decide to jump, the scary free fall will either make you stronger (grow) or miserable (depressed). But sooner or later, you’ll find yourself back at the airport waiting to board another plane. Then you hit turbulence. Or maybe there is no turbulence. Maybe you’ve changed your mind about the destination. Either way, another choice. Fly or jump?

Love is making a choice every single day, to either love or not love. That’s it. It’s that simple. Either to continue the process or not. We fall in and out of love. Even in relationships, especially in relationships. This doesn’t mean we don’t love the person. It means we are left with a choice. There is a difference between feeling love for someone (caring about a person) and loving someone (choosing to love that person). You may have love for someone forever. But that doesn’t mean you choose to love that person forever. The choice to love is not a feeling; it is an action. That is why it is so difficult. It requires you to do something, and I’m not just talking about buying flowers. It might mean putting your wants aside. Also, like chemistry, the ability to love is not a constant. It is a variable. It fluctuates, depending on where you’re at in your life and what you’re struggling with. Sometimes it is easy to love. Sometimes it is extremely difficult. But at the end of the day, it’s always a choice.

Although love varies, it also deepens. This means the longer you stay on that flight and embark on the journey together, the more fruit the process with bare. Your investment pays off. Your choices become easier. You not only become stronger as a couple, but also as individuals, assuming the love process is healthy — which means you guys are both doing work. The choice to love creates opportunity to hit notes in life that you could never hit alone, and THIS is what makes your choice worth it.
So, how do you know if it’s love? That is not the question to ask. The question is: Do you choose to love this person or not? Right now. Not tomorrow. Today. Make a choice. Yes or no. If the answer is yes, love as hard as you can. Love with everything you’ve got (your capacity right now at this point in your life). If the answer is no, promise me one thing.

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

The letters I used to write to those who broke my heart.

I used to write letters.
To my family, to my friends. Mostly to my boyfriends and ‘not-boyfriends’ — to those who broke my heart.

I wrote them as a way to find some security and confidence amongst all the vulnerability in my relationships. They were basically a journal addressed to the relevant person that I updated whenever I needed to get something off my chest. I’ve never been good at confrontation and I’ve always been scared of falling in love with someone who didn’t love me back.

The first letter I wrote was to a boy who crushed me. A boy I let humiliate me time and time again.

It detailed all the anxiety I felt throughout the ‘not-relationship.’ I idealised anything remotely romantic or thoughtful he did. I analysed every message he sent me.
And in the end I unleashed all the anger, hurt and bitterness I felt.

When I first started dating Steve I started writing a letter to him, too. Our relationship began under tumultuous circumstances and I needed a safe space to make sense of how I felt.

It only took me three months to realise I didn’t need it. Our relationship is by no means perfect, but I’ve never had to agonise over messages left on read and I don’t feel the urge to analyse every minuscule detail.

Don’t get me wrong — he does stupid shit now and then that annoys the fuck out of me. Like not charge his phone and not let anyone know where he is. Those are probably my biggest pet peeves. But the difference now is I don’t treat it as having an ulterior motive. I don’t worry about what it means.

And that’s the most important thing in a relationship.
It’s not romance or sex. It’s not cute messages and photos uploaded to Instagram together. All the boys who broke my heart did those things.
It’s not dates. It’s not gifts. It’s not even the labels.

It’s simply acknowledging the other person. It’s learning what they need and wanting to give it to them and receiving what you need in return. It’s a partnership, an equal give and take. It’s communication, it’s respect, it’s trust.

I used to write letters to try and convince myself that that’s what I had. Look at all the cute things they did for me. They sent me a good morning message — but then they ignored me for the next two days. Or they let me upload a photo of us together, but then they untagged themselves.

I would read every message in detail, write about every date, every touch, every word.

It wasn’t until I stopped feeling that urge to analyse everything that I finally realised I had what I’d been looking for.
Of course, I still write about my relationships.
As is evidenced by this post right now. The difference is I don’t need to hide it anymore. I’m comfortable with Steve — and I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’m confident enough to share my experiences.

That’s the real difference between a relationship and a ‘not-relationship’ — one is hidden beneath layers of anxiety and the other is proudly displayed.

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Love and Relationship requires thoughtfulness and dedication from the associated partners. In our busy schedule maintaining a relationship ...