Life Lessons: When it Hurts

Lately, a lot has been on my mind. I took a break because I was tired of the political post. And the fighting and all that other stuff. And I was looking at the words people were saying and thinking about things going on in my own life. And there’s pain everywhere. I keep asking myself why do we hurt? Heartbreak, loneliness, loss, and just because we’re angry. Anger if you ask me is just at times placing the hurt on someone else. Because you want to hide your feelings.

I used to do that all the time. When I was hurting I’d bottle it up. Bury it. I didn’t want anyone to see how vulnerable I was. How much I was suffering. I remember the first real heart break I had. It was painful. Did you know that emotional pain like that actually becomes physical? You can take pain killers to help. However, I don’t suggest that. You see. People sometimes look at life and think I don’t ever want to be hurt. Saying things like ” I don’t want to be with them because they’re going to hurt me.” or “I keep myself closed out because someone may hurt me.” or one the more interesting ones they act in such a fashion they push people away. Because they don’t want that pain. Continue reading

If You Like Someone, Say It. But Mean it.

I did a bad thing. I slacked off on writing this week. Then again maybe I am being a little to harsh on myself because I’m actually an Analyst. So writing is my hobby and my passion. If I could make a living off it… I totally would. However,  that’s not the point of this post at all. I actually have a topic I wanted to bring up and it is a little different.

I wanted to talk about attraction today. For some odd reason, it crossed my mind. And you know often times we do not give any thought to the things we take for granted.  Remember I like to sweat the small things? But I was reading a reddit post not too long a go and asking What Was The Most Memorable Compliment You’ve Ever Received? reading the comments and the feelings of the users it got me thinking about something.

Why don’t we talk more about complimenting people? Specifically about the importance of it. I mean let’s think about this for a minute. Why wouldn’t you want to compliment someone? In a research study in the Inquiries Journal Olga Yatsenko dives into this topic. To explore what happens to both genders when they’re complimented on their beauty. What Yatsenko finds out and to me it is no surprise, is that  “[…] compliments raise self-perceived attractiveness in all individuals, they do so uniformly across gender lines, and that there is no difference between the self-perceived attractiveness scores between males and females.” In essence we all love compliments about how we look, and it makes us feel good.

And if you think I’m cherry picking and you  want something more hardcore look at the research study titled Social Rewards Enhance Offline Improvements in Motor Skill. It is a mouthful but important to what I am getting at. On the other side of receiving praise and compliments what the researchers of the study discovered is that as the study participants received praise or compliments their performance improved. So you see compliments do wonderful things for the human brain. They help us with image and can even help us do better work. And to be honest it is something we need…but there’s more to it.

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Forgiving Yourself: The Real Challenge

Not too long ago, I wrote about how hard it is to learn to cope with the words people say. How we find ourselves challenged and hurt by things. But something I nestled in there was words about forgiving yourself. Forgiveness in general is sometimes a hard topic to think about. Because at its core it is saying that when someone wrongs you that you accept that it happened but you’re going either move past it or stop feeling angry about something. It is a willingness really. The willingness to just drop everything. Drop all that negativity and accept that it cannot be undone and move on with life.

When you think about forgiveness you think about the things people have done to you. The things that were painful and we still are left reeling from. Maybe it was the man of your dreams and all the disappointments he left you with.  A friend that betrayed you and made you feel small. When forgiveness comes to mind, it usually is what others have done to us. And it is true. People do things that make us harbour such a resentment towards them. That we do have to question it and decide if it is something we need to let go.

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Sweat the Small Things, Seriously….

There is something I don’t believe in. Let me rephrase that. There are things I do not believe apply to all situations. And I am sure you have heard it plenty of times in your life. And that is don’t sweat the small things. It is interesting to me because it is telling us to overlook the things that we should be overlooking. While yes, there is warrant in that. However, I think when it comes to love and relationships we should not. We in fact should sweat the small things.

Often when we think of love or dating or personal relationships. Things come to mind such as these grand gestures that in a way show our devotion or love for another person. And on the other hand, there are small things we tend to think to overlook such as poor grammar when speaking or a quirk that may drive us nuts about another person. And I think that’s where we trip up and lose sight of something incredibly important about our futures or the future of these relationships. And that’s what I am aiming to tackle today. So, I’ll break this into two parts the negative things and the positive that we need to think about.

Not taking things Seriously

People in the completeness are deep and rich individuals. We all have our vices, habits, desires, and things we enjoy. Some are quite large and that’s part of who we are. They tend to shine bright when we’re dating and when we’re with other people. But what if I told you, I have a terrible habit of picking my nails while nervous. Or I tend to say “So” a lot at the beginning of a sentence because I’m extremely nervous. I also tend to leave glasses around and forget to put them in the sink. To some they may be completely annoying. But others would say these small things should be overlooked because they may mean nothing. But I don’t agree with that at all.

Take this for example, there has been a dozen are so research studies done on texting and dating. I’m using this example because texting at its core is something we all do. But what if I told you that people are completely turned off by poor grammar and spelling? When think about it …it is insignificant but people place little value at times on it. This small message of “Hey, haw r u?” is it not bother some?  Zoosk and a few other places have done research on this and found out it does bother people. But why? I argue it shows laziness and that the person doesn’t want to take the initiative to go the extra step to send a decent message. Or it could show a lack of intelligence? It can be many things. Regardless, it is a big problem. I will say to me personally, someone who goes out of their way to correct it is aware of what they’re doing.

However, this leaves me to consider more than just text messages. What about the other things? Maybe it is your spouse and they leave the dishes in the sink? How about the fact he can leaves his socks everywhere? Or maybe you just can’t stand that quirk of every-time you ask a question, the person apologises? (I personally have a problem with using the British spellings of certain words. If you haven’t noticed.) All these small things. Well they are not that small after all. They can and could lead to serious problems. Let me throw a small curve ball at you. It’s called a red flag.

Yes. I am now arming these small annoyance or things in a relationship you’re seeing. They are truly red flags. But not even in the common sense. These are red flags to you these are personal things that you are not okay with. And though people may say they’re small. You should sweat them. You should question them. You should look at them and think. Is this what I want? Is this okay with me? Am I okay with this for the rest of my life? Because if he can’t even take the time to put his laundry in the hamper. Can you count on him to take the time to comfort you when you’ve had a rough day? I mean I know I may be over exaggerating but it is something that needs serious consideration. You must get to know someone. And then you will truly know. If these things are truly small or an ugly beast waiting to rear, it’s not so subtle head.

Psychologist Jennifer Kromberg, writes about red flags. However, there is one point to me that stick out especially in relation to the small things when she says,

If something strikes you as off, then chances are something is off. I know you’ll want to interview all your friends, twisting and turning your odd feeling in every direction in hopes of finding reassurance that you’re overreacting. And maybe you are! But don’t write yourself off so quickly. If something feels not right, you don’t have to end things on the spot, and maybe the oddness is something you can learn to live with.  But, don’t underestimate your intuition. You know more than you think you know.

 

And this is the point of it all. When you think of those things that are so bothersome about someone. You know the truth of if it is a problem or not. If it seems off and it may be insignificant. Think about it. Trust your feelings. After all you’re going to have put up with this person for the rest of your life if they’re in it for that long. All I am saying is when people say don’t sweat the small things. Think about the implications of it. Think about how it makes you feel and if it indeed is a problem. And don’t forget to trust yourself.

 

You Don’t Have to Move Mountains

On the other hand, there is the idea about love is walking a million miles. And reaching the person you love. And telling them about some grand journey you took. Then you have this idea that you must plan this grand surprise dinner. Roses and fine wine set out. A perfectly selected playlist. All the sappy love songs you choose to remind the person you love them. And don’t take this for me being cynical. Or me not liking it. I do, but I am saying there’s more to love and relationships than going over the top to show someone your feelings.

We often lose sight of the small gestures the ones that show us the person cares and may not have been able to take the time to do something grand. Instead they’re showing you it in a simple. But sweet way. And those are the exact gestures I am talking about. A simple. Small gestures just that go a long way. You should consider that these things are important to a relationship. Sometimes it may seem silly or futile but they mean so much. For example, (I’m going to put my parents on notice for this) every day I lived at home as a child and even after college. I noticed something my father tried to do every day.  And that was kiss my mother good bye for work. Now I know I know, you’re saying a lot of people do it. But that’s the exact point of it. It’s that a small gesture of just kissing someone good bye. It means a lot. It means I’m thinking about you, I care about you. And you don’t have to even say a word.

A friend, for example may have had a bad day at work. And you could take them out on the town or maybe even invite them over for dinner. But who knows if that’s what they really need. Instead, you shoot a text off saying Hey. I’m here for you.  And that is a big deal. Because you’re saying I’m care about you and I want you to know I got your back. It is not a large gesture. But it still shows how important someone is to you. And that’s what small gestures should do. They should be the simplest way of showing the importance of another person. So, we should be sweating them…. well doing them.

When’s the last time you just told someone how wonderful you thought they were? Or when was the last time you took the time to call someone and ask them how their day was? These low effort high impact things are so small. But so, important to maintaining both romantic and personal relationships. Telling someone how wonderful their work is.  It is just taking a few moments to recognise someone. A hug for a friend haven’t seen in a while. Caressing a loved one at random and saying You make me happy. Seriously, it can be as small as text or Facebook message. But it’s the gesture and weight it carries. Think about it, and why not try it right now? Make someone’s day.

 

I think we often lose sight of the small things. Be it the negative things that warn us of something bigger to come. Or the small things that tell someone how important they are. In love and in relationships we need these things. We need to sweat them. We must do what we can, and it doesn’t have to be big. And we need to look at things and question them no matter the size. So, when someone tells us. Don’t sweat the small things. Consider that bees, are so so small. But help keep the eco-system in balance. The world wouldn’t be the same without them.

 

You’re a Nice Guy But….

I am so tired of all the political posts today. This week. This year. I think I’m done. So I figured I’d write about something a little more personal to myself. And that’s about me as a person. If you’re married, engaged, or dating. Or have dated in general things tend to come. And they really make you think. Sometimes it makes sense other times it doesn’t. And when things don’t make sense it really is okay. But often time some of seek out information and answers.

For me, what bothers me most and I struggle most with is something that comes up frequently. Which is I am too nice. That I am a nice guy to the point it damages me as a person and value to women. That because I am nice. I am stable. I am the safe bet and no one wants that. And the advice I get is often to be honest disheartening to me because I know I am hard coded this way. I am legitimately just nice. Often times it is things like, “you need to be more confident” or “you can just leave it all out there” or probably my favourite. “You need to be a bit of an ass.” None of which makes any sense to me. So like any person when present with a problem I decided to try and look into it. And what I found just made things even murkier for me.

I literally read a ton of articles from varying sources to try and figure this out. One I read was by Doctor Nerdlove (aka Harris O’Malley) a blogger that caters to a variety of needs when it comes to men dating. In his article titled Being A Nice Guy isn’t Good Enough he talks about this very dilemma I thought existed. One key thing that stuck out to me was when talks about what was wrong with being nice saying:

And that’s where the problem with being nice comes in. The issue isn’t that being nice is a bad thing. The issue is that when someone’s primary description is that they’re “nice”, that’s usually all there is to them. They reach the heady heights of being as blandly inoffensive as a show on CBS. They’re pleasant enough, but they’re otherwise as arousing as unfinished dough. There’s just nothing there to stir somebody’s loins or imagination. Assholes, at least, are polarizing. They’re unpleasant to be around, but they provoke emotions that go past “huh, ok.”

What. Wait a minute. So if you’re nice the problem is that’s all we have? I mean is it just me or is that a bit harsh? Well not quite because he goes on further to say nice guys also lack the oomph some sort of swagger type thing. Because “You start by questioning yourself. One of the reasons nice guys are just nice guys is because they rarely reach beyond who they are right now.”….I am completely lost now. So the problem is that when you become nice you end at that. You can’t be anything more. For what it is worth, it is an interesting read. But to me it is off putting. As it plays into two big things that I often hear. And I feel like it is perpetuating some hidden belief or ideology that really has no place in modern society or in the heads of men and women.

So then I did some more reading and found this article by Gigi Engle with Elite Daily (not something I normally read, and often times. I find myself cringing when it comes up) about nice guys. And the title really says it all it was called 5 Scientific Reasons Why Women Just Won’t Go For The Nice Guys. I mean I hand it to her doing her research. But I still don’t like the feel, the ideology or even what is being said. This sticks out to me the most.

No woman wants to be with a man who doesn’t know how to assert himself. Whether we want to admit it or not, we want excitement in our relationships. We want a powerful, aggressive man.

This can be a difficult thing to admit as a strong, independent female, but it is, nonetheless, true.

And there it is again the gross generalisation of being nice. More importantly being a nice guy. I mean I see it and I get it. There is this idea that being a nice guy is bad. That we’re boring we lack oomph or don’t have swagger. The more reading I did the more I found things like this. But I don’t think that is the point and that’s not what I you to think. I want to flat out say they are wrong.

So yes some people are truly boring, lack confidence, lack excitement. That is normal whether they are unpleasant or if they are nice. As a nice guy we are all different and have different qualities. For me the idea that we are all the same is like saying all cars slow because they have only driven a Prius. When we all know Lamborghini makes some fast cars. And I think that’s the root of the problem. The generalisation of nice guys. Assume that all these guys who put their heart on their sleeves or a genuinely interested in listening to you are nothing more than devoid of anything else but their niceness.

I once went out on a date with a young woman. We went out on a few after that. And randomly, I get this text. And what it read was “You’re really a nice guy but….” And the rest just was comments on her realisation she’s scared of commitment. But being a nice guy, I told her that’s okay. She needs to focus on her needs and what she wants. If she wants to continue she could reach out to me but I don’t want to pressure her into something she did not want or wasn’t ready for. Well, when it was discussed with others the very first word out of their mouth was “you’re too nice.” My thinking is. So what? So what I think we need to put others first. When you’re dating you are selling yourself. You telling another person this is what you’re getting with me. This is who I am. And when I look at it I see, it as I cannot change the fact that I am sweet. I go out of my way. I just want the other person to know. That when we’re together I want to make them feel good. Because they make me feel good.

And the best part is we have this “swagger” that people say we lack. We have deep and rich personalities. We have confidence too. I believe that if someone doesn’t want to be with you that’s okay. But I know I am a great guy. And what you’re getting with me is a lot of good things. But at the end of the day that’s not my choice if she stays. So I am okay with that. This idea that nice guys being labelled and it becoming a death sentence for dating is wrong. And that’s what I am trying to say. That right there is the problem. My point is to the women out there it is okay to date a nice guy and realise he’s not okay for you. We still have personalities and if it doesn’t match that’s normal. For my fellow nice guys it is okay to be you. You are unique and no label will tell you otherwise. You have to embrace it and find someone who values you… for you. That is what this all boils down to. If someone values you as a person nice guy and all you’re okay. It is all about wants and finding the person that matches that for you.

Crazy thing is. As I was writing this, I was going to be shouting out to others in my situation. But this is what I would want to hear. I think there’s nothing wrong with how we are wired. There is nothing wrong with what I do or what I present in a relationship. It all comes back to finding that fit for you. Being rejected because what you are does suck but that’s okay. Because at some point you’ll find what you want and what works. And if you don’t think what I’m saying is true. Read what Amanda Martinez had to say yeah sure she plays into stereo types. But she highlights what good you can find in guys like us. And honestly there’s nothing wrong. It is finding out what works out.

Because when there is nothing left. Just two people together then only thing matters is what they want out of that relationship.

(Repost) A Hard Topic for Men: Vulnerability

I remember the last time I had a good cry for a beautiful reason. It was my brother’s wedding, after doing my toast…. The sight of him on his special day. I had written a speech and did away with it. I spoke from my heart. The whole time I kept thinking. I’m going to cry. I’m going to sob my freaking eyes out. And I did. The tears couldn’t stop coming and even now I can feel them sitting behind my eyes. I cried because it overwhelmed me with good emotions. Things that felt good. I had opened up my heart in front of a room of friends, family, and loved ones.

Since then I am sure I’ve cried other times from the emotions I was feeling. And as a male, especially a young male. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I was on Reddit the other day and I saw this question from one the users posed to women of the site asking “How do women feel about vulnerable men?” The responses were many responses to me were eye opening to read. However, it really got me thinking. Are men like me in fear of appearing vulnerable in front of women? In front of the ones we love? Or in front of anyone? Are we hard-wired to shy away? If you do reading on it there is a plethora of information. One of my favourite sites to read Psychology Today, they posted it about it and had some interesting revelations. Dr. Emma Seppala wrote ,

Although we may try to run from vulnerability, it is an inevitable part of social relationships. Even outside of romance, vulnerability is something we encounter frequently: calling someone who has just lost a child, asking a friend for help, taking responsibility for something that went wrong at work, confronting a family member about their behavior, or sitting by the bedside of a friend with a terminal illness. Opportunities for vulnerability present themselves to us every day, the question is whether we will take them.

She goes further to cite examples about how we as men try to find pragmatic solutions or try to fix problems in our relationships. That we do avoid vulnerability. And I kept thinking about the “why?” And the depth of what this really is. Being vulnerable in front of someone who you really care about is daunting. I am sure men and women go through it. However, part of me leans towards the fact that as men we learn to face it and try to skate around. But why? Why avoid something that enables us to feel. That enables us to relay emotions and share a social connection at a deeper level.

I am not ashamed to admit I cry, have these feelings I want to share with that special someone. My family, my closest friends, my girlfriend. I am also not ashamed to say I am scared as hell to open up for the fear of getting hurt. However, life is about the risks. It is about the chance that it will hurt us. If you look at it from the position of a romantic relationship, it is important that we look at our vulnerability. That the very moment you’re feeling scared to say what you’re feeling. Or cry in front of this person or anyone in fact. Admit when we’ve done wrong. Raise our hand and say that we’re drowning and need help. Say when something doesn’t make us feel good. Or even grieve in the presence of another soul.

Intimacy is only successful when we are open and honest. Being open and honest allows us to be vulnerable, and that seems scary. Frightening is the idea that I will show my heart and have no assurances of what happens next. And no one likes the hurt or the unknown, sure we can act tough pretend that we don’t care. Yet, the key point is we’re only human. We have feelings; we have hopes; we have dreams; we have these things that everyone experiences. We feel things. And here I am questioning why avoid vulnerability?

The people closest to you, those who love you…. they love you for you. Vulnerability isn’t this evil lurking to destroy you. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “[d]o one thing every day that scares you.” I am not too afraid to even admit sometimes I’m scared myself. Allowing myself to be vulnerable. How do we know we’ll get hurt if we don’t take the chance? How do we know that vulnerability is bad if we’re never vulnerable?  I think it is something we as men (and women too) need to remember isn’t out to kill us. That moment where we are at the edge... that we’re vulnerable.  Why not take the chance and see what happens? Life is too short to hide.