Dear Men: Court Me like This

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Once again, surprise surprise, my thoughts have turned towards relationships. ¬†One of these days I’ll be able to shake it off like Taylor Swift and mull over some other profound thoughts, but for now, my mind is stuck on love.

Specifically, I’ve been thinking about what I as a woman have the right to expect out of a courtship and eventual relationship. ¬†So many times we get used to being treated poorly and we think that this is normal, and then something happens that makes us go Oh! ¬†So THIS is what being treated like a lady feels like!

The standards for dating, in my eyes, have been playing a game of limbo for years: how low can you go?  How low can you go?  And yet when you try to stick to a higher principle, it can seem discouraging because that immediately shrinks the eligible bachelor pool down to 1.5 men in the nearest 100 mile radius.  Yet I have decided that when I am ready for another go-around on the roller-coaster of romance, I will not settle for less than I deserve.

So what, exactly, do I feel that I (and all women) are entitled to?

Women deserve to be courted.  And yes, I mean courted in the old-fashioned sense.  Women warrant feeling like the man wants to pursue them and is willing to put in extra effort to make that known.  This means paying for things, that extra text to make sure she gets home safe, making sure to compliment her on her outfit/makeup, and overall making her feel like she is wanted.

In most social settings, you can really tell who likes you and wants to potentially date you versus someone who just wants a piece of ass.  This was made abundantly clear to me yesterday when I had one guy at one bar approach me and start a nice conversation, then offer to buy both me AND my friend a drink.  At the next place, I had a guy talk and flirt with me for hours without offering anything.

In the current hook-up culture that we have going on, being courted is rare. ¬†Yet if a guy really wants to get a quality girl, he has to put in the time and effort that it takes to make that bid for her affection. ¬†Trust me guys, it’s worth it.

Women deserve to know where they stand. ¬†I have seen endless amounts of memes where the woman is freaking out because her man hasn’t texted her back in days and she has no idea if he still likes her or not. ¬†If a man truly wants to seriously date a woman, he needs to make his intentions crystal clear.

Speaking from experience, not knowing how someone feels about you for weeks or months on end is a shitty feeling. ¬†I am all about being busy chasing your own dreams, however, busyness is something that can be communicated. ¬†If a man likes a woman but simply is strapped for time, that needs to be something that is addressed. ¬†Quality women will have things going on on their own and will more than likely be just as busy. ¬†However, days without communication can be misinterpreted if they aren’t given the proper heads up.

Women deserve to keep their bodies to themselves.  I am all about an amorous sack session, but that should not be expected right away.  As a woman, sex is a powerful bonding experience, and it should not be viewed as normal to give that privilege away cheaply.  If a man is seriously interested in a woman, he might hate the thought of waiting, but he will do it without making her feel pressured because he respects her and wants more than just the cookie.

Sex is amazing.  Yet if you were to compare sex just for sex versus actual lovemaking with someone you care about and are connected to on a deeper level, lovemaking will win every time.  You get all the heated passion PLUS a deep level of trust and intimacy that cannot be found stumbling home with some random from the bar.

I am all about women having the freedom to enjoy whatever they want whenever they want with whomever they want. ¬†However, once you’re ready to pursue something real, it’s worth it to hold out; those who want ALL of you will wait, those who don’t, won’t.

Women deserve to feel beautiful. ¬†I don’t care if you are a solid 4 or a 10+; no matter where you fall in the stereotypical beauty scale, the man you are with should make every effort to make sure that you feel like a million bucks. ¬†No woman will ever get tired of hearing “WOW” when she steps out the door or a low whistle when you bend over to grab your purse from the floor.

Feeling beautiful is so much more than feeling like your guy loves your body or your face. ¬†Feeling beautiful is feeling completely seen by someone else, and knowing that they like the view. ¬†Feeling beautiful encompasses a woman’s whole being, and a man who truly wants to pursue the whole woman will gladly make that known.

Women deserve effort. ¬†This is my last point because I know that sometimes, the things that I mention above are hard for guys. ¬†Some guys don’t make a lot of money. ¬†Some guys would rather choke than say what they actually feel. ¬†Some guys are awkward and have no idea how to interact with a woman properly. ¬†No on is perfect. ¬†However, no matter how far away a guy is from a streamlined dating machine, if they want a woman bad enough, they will put in the effort.

This effort might come in the form of planning out an entire date of free things. ¬†Cost-effective, yet the time it takes to think everything through is work. ¬†Effort might come in the form of someone who hates words mustering up the courage to simply state “I like you”. ¬†Effort also always comes in the form of communication; no matter what your hangups, quality women are infinitely able to work with them if they are made clear and attempts are strongly made to work through them.

Overall, the goal of courtship is to see whether or not this is someone with whom you can build a quality, lasting bond.  If there is no effort put in to obtain this partnership, than there will more than likely be no effort to maintain the connection.  A relationship with a good person is a privilege for both men and women, and its benefits will correlate with the value placed upon it.

So men: if you aren’t ready for a real relationship, don’t try to add notches on your bedpost with women who are. ¬†And if you do want to try to win the love of a real woman, do it right. ¬†Court her like she is a lady of old and you are her knight in shining armor; when a woman feels desired, respected, and safe, there is nothing that she will not do for you. ¬†Put in the work to earn it, and the ROI will be more than you could have dreamed.

 

Quilting Happiness

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Recently I had a conversation with someone where they helplessly said “I don’t know…I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’m just not happy with anything in my life.” ¬†Hearing that broke my heart; living unhappily is such a terrible existence. ¬†And yet, so many people live the majority of their lives in a permanent state of misery.

Sometimes, this misery becomes so ingrained that it doesn’t even feel like misery. ¬†I had no idea that I was living such a wretched existence until I separated from my ex-husband and felt little inklings of happiness stretch like tentative rays of sunshine after a storm. ¬†While I certainly knew I wasn’t ecstatic, I had no idea how bad that life really was while I was in it.

In this moment, if you were to ask me if I was happy with my life, I would unequivocally answer “yes.” ¬†This may seem strange if you know my present circumstances: recently laid off, freshly single, one million minor crisis’ happening at work on a daily basis. ¬†And yet, overall, I am joyful.

This got me thinking: WHY am I so happy? ¬†What is it that I, or anyone with a constantly positive state of mind, do or don’t do that contributes to this feeling of joyful contentment? ¬†After some contemplation, I settled on several key factors:

Have a reliable, positive, and multi-leveled network.  This is such a big component because we as humans are wired to interact with others.  However, you cannot have all surface acquaintances or all deep bosom buddies; our connections need to be varied.  I have a couple of extremely close friends, several good friends, and lots and lots of positive shallower connections.  Going through my recent breakup, I lost one of the major keystone connections in my life, and had he been all that I had, I would have been completely at a loss.  However, with the help of my close and good friends as well as my continued positive interactions with everyone else, I have been able to stay afloat and keep my spirits up.

Putting in the time and effort to create and maintain these relationships may seem like a burden, but I firmly believe that if you do not have quality relationships in your life, it is impossible to be truly happy.  However, these relationships must be reciprocal; you cannot simply mooch off of someone else, and you should never allow someone to mooch off of you.  When both parties put in the same level of effort, that is when this piece of happiness falls into place.

Exercise. ¬†As much as we like to deny the hard science of how our minds work, putting in some sweat equity on a daily basis is a serious piece of the happiness puzzle. ¬†Although starting a workout is pretty much the worst thing ever, finishing it is one of the best feelings in the world. ¬†Your endorphin’s are kicking, and anything that negatively effected you throughout the day simply fades away into a haze of “ahhhhhh that was awesome”.

And lets face it, it’s hard to be happy when you don’t like what you see in the mirror. ¬†Presenting the best version of ourselves physically primes us to be the best version of ourselves mentally. ¬†It’s difficult to be miserable when you reach for something and notice a little baby bicep flexing as you bring it back. ¬†Hard work is hard freakin’ work, but it seriously boosts your mood to see results.

Work towards something specific.  Throughout my entire life, I have always had something to work towards.  First, it was my degree.  Then it was finding a job.  Then it was my Masters.  Now, I am working on getting my real estate license and have plans for an admin credential and possibly a life coach certification within the next ten years.  The point is, I am never resting on my laurels.

If you are working towards a specific goal, it is obvious if you have achieved it or not.  And working to get that accomplishment tucked under your belt gives you a sense of purpose, which contributes to happiness.  If you know you are on the road to achievement, you feel excited about getting up each day and have the gumption to persevere through the rocky patches.

Actively seek improvement.  I am constantly looking for ways to make myself a better person and teacher.  If I hear of an awesome teaching strategy, I try to implement it in my classroom.  Outside the confines of my work, I am constantly reading all different types of books and online articles as well as listening to podcasts on various topics.  I love getting into deep conversations about the world.  All in all, I am always trying to be better than I was before.

Truly desiring to make yourself better requires a humble acceptance of yourself as you are right now. ¬†However, acceptance does not mean stagnation. ¬†Just because you have accepted that you have slid into the ditch does not mean that you stay in the ditch. ¬†Seeing yourself grow and looking back to see how much you’ve changed for the better is a big piece of long-term happiness.

Love the majority of your day. ¬†There are very few parts of my day that I dislike. ¬†I love breakfast. ¬†I love jamming to my tunes as I drive to work. ¬†I love getting organized for the day. ¬†I love interacting with my students. ¬†I (usually) love the gym. ¬†I love writing blog posts. ¬† I’m ok with learning new real estate things (although I’m not going to lie, I’ll be pumped when it’s over). ¬†The only things that I truly hate about my day are when I have some students act like a-holes, or when something goes awry that I did not forsee (usually traffic-traffic puts me in a TERRIBLE mood).

If you genuinely LIKE/LOVE 80% or more of your day, it is highly unlikely that you will be unhappy. ¬†So many people tie themselves to jobs, people, or circumstances that they hate, and then wonder why they are miserable. ¬†If you find yourself unhappy with something, make moves to change it. ¬†Money, “security”, and comfort are NOT worth a constant state of misery.

Be ok with YOU. ¬†You have to be ok with who you are as a person before you can truly settle into a state of contentment with your life. ¬†I recently went through a period of time where I thought that my career goals and life aspirations were not good enough because I saw other people passionately pursuing other things that seemed ‘better’ or that might bring in more money. ¬†My happiness severely diminished during that time. ¬†When I mentally slapped myself and replanted my foot firmly on the soil of MY dreams, my joy returned.

You are a unique person.  It is impossible to accomplish the exact same thing that someone else has accomplished, so it is silly to even try.  You know what gives you joy, you know how you want to live your life, and you know what gives you a sense of purpose.  When you fully embrace what YOU want, not what the yoga masters, hardcore businessmen, or spiritual gurus tell you to want, THEN you can embrace your personal happiness.

Overall, your happiness is like an old, hand-pieced multicolored quilt that has been in your family for generations. ¬†It blankets everything. ¬†It is handmade. ¬†No one else has one just like it. ¬†Sometimes, a square or two might come loose, but if it’s a quality quilt, those squares aren’t completely lost and there are still enough squares to cover up with until the damage gets repaired.

If you find that you are unhappy with your life, take stock of all of the pieces. ¬†Magnify those squares that give you joy. ¬†Mend the squares that let in the draft. ¬†Sometimes, an entire square might have to be replaced, and that’s ok. ¬†Happiness IS something that you have complete control over, no matter how much we lie to ourselves and argue that we do not. ¬†Take charge now; in the end, our money will be spent or given away and our possessions will break or change hands. ¬†It is only the intangible-our relationships, our integrity, and our happiness-that we will get to keep for all time.

The Anatomy of a Broken Heart

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In the cartoons that we watched when we were younger, a broken heart is dramatized by a jagged line. ¬†The two halves split apart and sometimes fall to the ground, symbolizing two people going their separate ways. ¬†It’s simple. ¬†It’s clean. ¬†It’s nothing like reality.

In reality, a broken heart is made up of muffled sobs and hot tears pouring down your face. ¬†It’s made up of deep shuddering breaths and wiping the back of your hand across your nose, uncaringly smearing snot across your cheek. ¬†It’s made up of red, swollen eyes and deep breaths that end when another wave of hurt crashes over you like the slap of the ocean on a windy day.

In reality, a broken heart is made up of memories of the good times. ¬†It’s remembering that one time on that one Saturday that he made a stupid comment and you both laughed and laughed until your sides hurt and the best kind of tears streamed down your face. ¬†It’s feeling the sensation of his hand still intertwined with yours, feeling safe and cared for and warm as you strolled along the beach. ¬†It’s hearing his car pulling into your driveway, looking into the mirror one final time to make sure that you look perfect, and flinging open the door before he can knock.

In reality, a broken heart is made up of words. ¬†The “hi” that he spoke when he first walked up to you. ¬†The “miss you” that followed an extended period of time without seeing each other. ¬†The reluctant “goodnight” that came at the end of every phone conversation. ¬†The “like a glove” phrase that become an instant addition to every successful parallel parking job. ¬†The exaggerated “oh yeah” he drawled as you changed outfits, showing him a glimpse of skin.

In reality, a broken heart is made up of fights.  The serious discussions that ended with resolutions that made things better and relieved embraces on the couch.  The play fights that ended with you getting your ass kicked but refusing to accept defeat.  The battle of wits that took place every time he tried to prove that he was smarter and you told yourself you just let him win.

In reality, a broken heart is made of touch.  The slap on your ass when he was feeling frisky.  The tender kiss on your forehead when your head was on his chest.  The long, tightly gripping hugs that happened when you walked in the door.  The passionate kisses that fanned the flames of physical love.  The playful squeeze on his biceps to let him know that yes, you notice his workouts, and yes, you like the results.  The secret thrill when he reached for your hand and your fingers intertwine perfectly.

In reality, a broken heart is made up of what could have been. ¬†The joyful anticipation meeting of his mom where she, of course, would love you and tell him in private that “that’s the one”. ¬†¬†The vacation to Hawaii that would have been your first real adventure together. ¬†The nervous awareness of him meeting your parents in the future. ¬†The proposal and wedding that was crazy to have been thinking of already but you allowed yourself glimpses of because you knew in your heart that this was the guy you wanted.

In reality, a broken heart is made up of silence. ¬†The blank cell phone screen that won’t show his name, no matter how many times you look at it. ¬†The endless occasions you tuck a moment of the day away to share with him later, only to quietly push those moments to the side when reality strikes again. ¬†The stark absence of your best friend when a crisis happens or when you nail your goals.

In reality, a broken heart is made up of hurt. ¬†The desire to hate him for leaving, yet not being able to because you still love him too much to want to hurt him. ¬†The crumbling realization that you were not enough. ¬†The ache that comes with knowing that it’s truly the end, and no amount of convincing or begging will change his mind. ¬†The screaming pains that initially hit you, even when you know it’s coming.

In reality, a broken heart is made up of change. ¬†The weekend routine that suddenly ends. ¬†The awkward response when some asks “hey, you still dating that guy?” ¬†The unwelcome reality that no longer can use your status as a way to curve unwanted attention. ¬†The moment when you find a perfect book for him but slowly place it back on the self, your fingers lingering a bit longer than normal.

In reality, a broken heart is made up of the knowledge of healing.  The understanding that someday, your heart will not hurt for him anymore and panicking at the thought of not caring.  The awareness that someday, someone else will take his place and feeling physically sick at the thought of loving another.

In the end, a broken heart gets shattered because it is fully given.  No jagged line can encompass the pure pain of completely surrendering your most precious possession to another, only to have it tossed around for a few months and then given back.  The heart wants what the heart wants, but it cannot do anything but yearn when the other heart stays closed.

Eventually it will heal, and it may even forget the pain, allowing itself to be fully given again, in good faith and with the same wide-eyed innocence and trust as the first time around.

But that’s in the future. ¬†And in the now, it still lies there; bloody, raw, bruised. ¬†It still wants to be healed by the person who broke it in the first place. ¬†It craves the warmth it has gotten used to. ¬†It misses its companion heart, still beating, yet so far away.

And so, allow yourself to fully feel.  Sob at the memories.  Shudder in the waves of pain.  Scream in defiance.  Punch something in frustration.  Something broken must be acknowledged to ever be fully healed, and as much as it feels like you will never rise from your crumpled, pathetic spot in the dust, your heart is stronger then you think, braver than you feel, and even at its most broken, capable of so. much. love.

Mature Communication

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Today my thoughts have been centered around communication and the vital role that it plays in every aspect of life. ¬†However, despite its crucial nature, I feel that so many people either undervalue it or simply don’t put in the effort required to make it effective.

If you want anything in life, you need to communicate that desire. ¬†When we are babies, we don’t shy away from screaming at the top of our lungs when we want food, comfort, or a diaper change. ¬†While tantrums are not the most sophisticated form of communication, they do get the point across rather effectively. ¬†As parents, we know that it can only be one of several things, and it’s a short process of trial and error before the ‘off’ button is magically found.

However, there are many people who dish out the equivalent of an child’s meltdown-screaming, silent treatments, insults-and a) they expect the individuals they are communicating with to go through the trial and error process in order to figure out what they want and b) they believe that this is an okay way to get their needs and desires across.

As adults, we need to be mature enough to admit to ourselves what we want and need, and kind enough to those around us to tell them those things in an effective manner.  It is not fair to anyone, be it a spouse/partner, friend, family member, or business associate, to expect them to figure out what the heck you are wanting.  No one should have to take on the role of Sherlock Holmes when it comes to their relationships.

So how exactly DO you communicate your feelings in an effective manner?

You need to decide first and foremost if they are feelings that actually need to be communicated. ¬†There have been several times where I get annoyed at something that someone has done and I feel like I should ‘clear the air’ or let that person know that such and such bothered me. ¬†However, if I sit on it for a bit, I am able to work through those feelings myself and avoid an unnecessary confrontation. ¬†If I had flown off the handle at the first feeling of irritation, the problem would have escalated rather than slipped silently into the abyss of “stuff that actually isn’t that important”.

If the feeling needs to be communicated, communicate it in the way that is most effective for you. ¬†For me, writing has always been how I express myself the best. ¬†In all of my relationships, the most productive conversations that I have had have started with me writing a note or an e-mail to that person. ¬†I’m not good at thinking on my feet, so taking the time to organize my thoughts in written form is extremely helpful in making sure I include everything I want to mention. ¬†In my most recent discussion, the other person responded with a voice recording because that is how HE communicates the best.

Don’t be afraid to be unconventional with how you communicate. ¬†The status quo of sitting down and hashing things out might work great for you and whoever you’re talking with—it also might cause things to escalate and completely backfire. ¬†Exchanging e-mails and voice recordings might seem weird, but for me, it works. ¬†Always go with what works for YOU.

If you are able to communicate what you need/want in a way that works for you, don’t forget to listen. ¬†Oftentimes we are so relieved to finally be able to express what has been bottled up that we completely forget that conversations are a give and take. ¬†You should want to know how the other person is feeling about what you say; perhaps there is something that you didn’t take into account, or something that they have neglected to transmit on their end.

At the end of the discussion, both parties should feel heard and feel good about the result. ¬†And if that consistently doesn’t happen, then either your communication skills need to be revamped or that relationship is simply not worth keeping. ¬†Many times people think that if there is an issue, it’s an automatic deal-breaker. ¬†For me, having issues does not discount the relationship; it’s the communication piece that reveals if it is a solid investment or not.

Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship. ¬†This includes communicating the good AND the bad. ¬†If you only communicate the positive and sweep the negative under the rug, this is like living on a diet of sugar; it’s delicious, but not life-sustaining. ¬†However, if you only focus on the bad and leave out the good, that’s akin to being on starvation rations; eventually, that relationship will look as bad as a wanna-be Instagram model.

You need to be able to communicate productively with each and every person who is in your life. ¬†If you aren’t used to conveying things in a mature manner, it can take some getting used to, but once you gather the courage to approach it head-on, the results will speak for themselves.

Don’t go through your life stuck in teenage drama mode. ¬†Figure out how you really feel, own that truth, and be able to show that to others in a way that invites quid pro quo. ¬†Resist being sucked into immature exchanges. ¬†And most of all, embrace how you feel without discounting the perception that others hold. ¬†Be bold, be aware, and be open.

Enjoy the Ride

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I love reading successful people’s stories.  You can learn so much by observation, and books are a delightful peek into the mysterious realm of how other people live.  Case in point, yesterday I was finishing up the book #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso, and one quote in particular jumped out at me:

“If you start out with the finish line in mind, you miss all the fun stuff along the way.”

I love this.  Mostly because I am so very bad at it.  If you know me in person, you know that once I want to accomplish something, I a) don’t stop until it’s done and b) want it done RIGHTNOW.

The funny thing is, I didn’t even fully recognize this ‘head down, full speed ahead’ tendency in myself until I was talking to my mom about something that I wanted to happen and it just wasn’t happening in the timeframe that I wanted it to.  She made the comment “yep, you always did want things to happen exactly how you want it to happen.”

Eye-opening.  Thought-provoking.  Slightly troublesome.  But overall a necessary realization for my self-improvement.

Being goal oriented and bull-headed is not necessarily an all negative thing.  If something needs to get done, and it’s not all smooth sailing, you want a little bit of stubborn ‘oh HELL no’ in you.  Knowing that you will do whatever it takes to accomplish a task is a valuable asset, and those are the type of people you want by your side when the going gets tough.

However, this trait has a tendency to seep into other areas of life where it is not so helpful.  For me, this is relationships.  When I know what I want out of a relationship, be it romantic, a friendship, or a work partnership, I fully expect these possibilities to be realized with little to no delay.

And this, friends, is where the negative side of this FULLSTEAMAHEAD personality rears its ugly head.  It’s all well and good to know what you want out of YOUR life and YOUR goals, but when there are other people involved, they need to be taken into consideration too.

People are tricky.  Push them too much, and they withdraw.  Give them too much space, and they leave you behind.  Finding the correct balance between the two extremes is always hard, and what makes it harder is that you might find the right ratio for one person, and then another person comes along who is completely different.

Knowing your personal expectations and why you have those expectations is a good way to start off any sort of relationship or journey towards a goal.  If you are putting in the honest, sincere effort to make sure you are making headway towards what you want, and that effort is being reciprocated or shown to be getting results, relax on the timeline.  It will get there if it’s meant to get there.

Many times we succumb to society’s ideals of what a journey should look like or when we should reach a certain destination.  Females especially are susceptible to this pitfall.  If you are making progress towards a goal, a life desire, or even simply just having fun, you are doing it right.

The concept of the journey along the way being the ‘fun stuff’ is such a valuable mindset to have.  Life IS experience.  If you are experiencing things, you are living!  There are so many different paths to chose, and choosing the path should be equally as exciting as reaching the end of the path.

However, you should not be experiencing the same things over and over.  One of my friends on Facebook posted a live video today talking about how we need to add drama (the good kind) to our lives so that we can have a bomb story at the end of our life adventure.  This is such an awesome point–who likes to hear about people who are boring?  Not me.

The journey towards your destination IS the drama, IS the fun stuff, IS your life.  How many times have you heard someone’s story and thought wow, that is really awesome.  I want to do something like that.

Guess what?

You can.  Absolutely, totally, 100%.

Everyone needs aspirations.  Everyone needs something to strive for.  Everyone needs to take the necessary steps to improve themselves.  And in the end, all people should be able to point to something concrete and say “I did that.”

But…the fun part is HOW you did it.

The fact that you are here, in 2017, in the exact body and location that you were given is mind-boggling if you really think about it.  Take advantage of it–make your life just as crazy, if not more so, than the chances of you being you.  Because when it comes down to brass tacks, there’s really no other option.

And so, without further ado…

LET’S RIDE.

 

Awesome Begats Awesome

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At this moment, I am sitting on my couch, basking in the memory of an incredible birthday weekend spent with people that mean the world to me, gallivanting around the southern half of California, and dancing the night away.  *sigh of contentment*

My birthday was amazing.  And if you know me, you know that I planned it out approximately 5 months in advance, invited everyone I cared about, and sent out hourly reminders until the day of.  There was no room for error, and I loved every single second.

On Sunday, I was discussing how awesome my birthday Friday was with someone, and I made the comment that it turned out great because I made sure that it turned out great, leaving no detail left to chance.

He offhandedly remarked “well yeah, but it probably had a lot more to do with being an awesome person.” *cue blush*

After my initial flattered response (sadly, it wasn’t just a compliment for me), we discussed how the people who are generally wonderful have positive and amazing things happen to them, while the people who are generally terrible have shitty and negative things happen to them.

In a phrase, you attract what you radiate.

This concept is nothing new. ¬†I have read multiple articles on the topic, sayings like “your vibe attracts your tribe” are everywhere, and people are always quick to point out how someone caused their own downfall in one way or another due to their mindset.

And yet, it is rare that people actually take this truth into consideration in their daily lives.  There are so many times that individuals see something that they want and are flabbergasted when they cannot seem to obtain it or when it does not fit into their life.  If you want something out of life, first you must become attractive to that thing.

The biggest example I can think of to illustrate this concept is our relationships with other people, both romantic and platonic.  If you as a female are attracted to strong, intellectual men yet you are a party girl who just wants to get some dranks every weekend, you will not appeal to that type of man.  If you are a male attracted to feisty, independent women, you cannot be living with your parents and crumbling to their every desire.

If you want friends who are ride or die and will be there for you no matter what happens, you have to give that to them first. ¬†If you want friends who can travel the world with you, don’t limit yourself to your high school bestie who has never left the hometown except for the occasional Christmas at Grandma’s the next state over.

People who are awesome want nothing but the highest quality out of their relationships, careers, and daily life.  They also tend to have universal traits: Kindness, passion, drive, consideration, and zest for life rarely are possessed by subpar individuals.

There are also things that could make someone extra amazing to one person, and be a total turnoff to another.  One random example of this is geekiness.  In my view, going crazy for ComicCon or the latest Star Trek movie is not my idea of impressive, and if I met a man who was obsessed with these things, I would not give him a second glance.  Yet for other women, this same trait would be their kryptonite.

Our life is created not by what we desire, but by what we offer.  There is a reason that I am not attracted to comic book nerds: I am the furthest thing from that myself.  However, if I want to attract the strong, confident, successful, fit man that I want to end up with, I have to make sure that I am embodying those things.

Now, people constantly change, and there is nothing wrong with desiring more than what we can give at the time, but if you are not making strides towards closing the gap, that opportunity or relationship will drift away.

If an opportunity or a person shows potential, it’s worth it to explore it to the fullest. ¬†However, nothing will come to you with its potential fully realized, gracefully draping its fully bloomed self across your lap. ¬†Anything that seems like it could lead to the Realm of Awesome will take effort.

 

This is why potential without action is useless.  There is everything right with seeing true potential inside or outside of yourself.  There is everything wrong with simply sitting back and expecting great things to happen with no effort.

If I had not taken the time to plan out my birthday to the tiniest minute details, who knows what could have gone wrong or what expectations might have been crushed.  However, because I acknowledged my own desires and took action to make it happen, I got to enjoy a magnificent day.

Every single person has the potential to be someone AWESOME.  But just as a medieval fire would not start without the action of striking flint to stone, your potential for awesome will not alight without you taking strides to make it happen.

Take time to cultivate the impressive parts of yourself. ¬†Devote energy into investing in you. ¬†And when you decide to fully hit the road to Awesome, you’ll find it’s quite easy to link up with others on that same journey on your way. ¬†And once that happens, who knows what other amazing, breathtaking, wondrous things are waiting to transpire?

 

 

My Eye of the Storm

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Right now, it feels like my life is one giant chaotic hurricane. ¬†I am in the process of looking for another ‘just-in-case’ job. ¬†I am trying to find a temporary place to live. ¬†I have massive amounts of grading to do. ¬†I myself have to write several letters of recommendation for teachers in my department that are possible laid off as well. ¬†I am in charge of a million different things at my school, all of which seemed to have events this month. ¬†GAH!

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to write my usual two posts a week. ¬†Sitting down now, I was just about to start in on my work when I took a pause, and reminded myself:

It will get done.

It doesn’t matter if I take an hour or two to write this post. ¬†I know myself, and I will handle my responsibilities like I always do. ¬†However, if I don’t take time to do things for myself during periods of high demand, that’s when the possibility of failure becomes real.

Humans are tricky beings.  Sometimes, the very thing that seems to create the most productivity (grind grind grind!) is the very act that leads to our downfall.

We are not meant to push ourselves to the absolute limit each and every day.  We can do it for a period of time, but eventually, progress crashes to a halt.

I’ve had to learn this the hard way with working out. ¬†I thought that if I worked out three times a day and ate next to nothing, I would drop weight like a player drops an old fling. ¬†Lies. ¬†The scale would not budge, and it actuall shot up whenever I didn’t stick to my iron regimen. ¬†Now that I’m eating a normal amount of food and working out once a day, I am actually seeing results.

That’s not to say that there can’t be periods of time where you need to hit the gas over a longer span of time. ¬†However, if we make that our go to MO, it will catch up to us eventually.

When our life becomes highly chaotic, that is when we most need to take the time to center ourselves and take the steps necessary to clear the cobwebs from our head.

But, these also have to be purposeful moments.  A lot of the time we push ourselves so hard that our recovery is sitting on the couch watching TV or going out and binge-drinking.  This is not actual recovery time, because it does nothing to re-energize you.  Every time I waste an entire night watching TV, I feel annoyed with myself for not getting SOMETHING done.

The goal of taking time off should be to advance something that you and only you will benefit from (which will lead into peripheral benefits for others). ¬†This is proven time and time again by mothers who ‘selfishly’ take an hour for themselves to work out, and instantly see the positive impact this purposeful time makes in their day to day lives.

Many people might say that taking time off to be productive defeats the purpose of taking time off.  However, the end goal of time off should be an increase in enjoyment and re-solidification of your purpose.

Think back to the times when you were the most happy.  For me, those times include being with the people I love and care about, reading a great book, or working out.  All of those things, besides giving me contentment, move me towards a personal goal.

There is also a flip side to this coin. ¬†If you are a person who doesn’t push themselves at all, in any capacity, or for any purpose, you are failing yourself. ¬†If your whole life is simply floating in a giant inner-tube being pulled every which way by the current, this is a waste.

Every person is given the chance to make their life purposeful.  The awesome and intimidating reality of this is that you get to choose your purpose.  And the scarier part is, it might not be the same as the people next to you.

Humans are not solitary creatures by nature, and it is very easy to look to someone stronger than you and emulate their life and projected purpose.  It gives us a feeling of safety when we see other people doing the same thing.

However, the beautiful thing about life is that there are no two people who are on the same journey.  If you have truly solidified where you want to go, and actively work towards that goal on a day to day basis, there is an inner sense of contentment that no one can take away from you.

Passionately be at the helm of your own ship. ¬†The entire world is lounging before us, and no matter where you intend to end up, it’s always more rewarding if you earnestly battled the storms and Kraken’s to get there. ¬†You are not a message in a bottle waiting to be drifted to a foreign land. ¬†An epic journey awaits you if you simply pull out your sword and bravely unfurl the sails.