Having a Partner Who Supports Your Goals, Even When You Don’t

As I live my life, I keep learning and growing. I continue to evolve my understanding even in those areas in which I consider myself an expert. My relationships are one such thing. Recently, I became consciously aware of a new dimension of my marriage that has always previously existed, but I never really noticed. I wanted to share it all with you and explain the value that it adds to your life.

Let’s start with how I came to this realization. Three weeks ago, I had a bit of a scare where I felt as if I was having a heart attack. And I don’t mean that I thought I might be having a heart attack. I was certain this was a cardiac event. Chest pain, numbness in my left arm, jaw pain, the whole deal. So I went to the ER, and they said I was totally fine, and my heart was completely healthy.

The other thing they told me is that severe acid reflux can cause heart attack – like symptoms. I’ve had acid reflux for a while, but I’ve never had a fake heart attack. Of course, one of the best ways to address this type of thing is to eat better and lose some weight. I’ve gained about 20 pounds in the past year, so I decided to get on a keto diet to lose some weight. I’ve lost 15 pounds so far, but I don’t know that I would have made this kind of progress without my wife. Let me explain.

Dieting, as any of you who may have tried it might know, is difficult. It requires a lot of willpower and discipline. Over the past three weeks that I’ve been doing this, I have had a number of different moments of weakness in which I’ve seriously wanted to break my diet. At those times, my wife has refused to allow me my indulgences. She does the grocery shopping for the house, so she makes sure we have a full stock of keto – friendly foods, and she constantly nags me about eating properly according to my diet. She has increased her frequency of cooking me breakfast while we’re both home as well.

Until just yesterday, I had attributed her nagging to just that…nagging. But, it’s actually so much more than that. You see, my wife knows and understands me. She knows my goals, and she understands what I want to accomplish. She decides, whether consciously or not, that she has to support these goals. The “so much more” part, though, happens when she decides to support my goals even when I don’t want to strive toward them myself. She recognizes that my goals don’t disappear just because I’m feeling lazy or indulgent. And that recognition is infinitely valuable.

It’s so much easier for us to be accountable to other people than it is to be accountable to ourselves. You can easily convince yourself to cheat or forego something you should do, but it’s far more difficult to do the same with someone else, especially a nagging wife. And while it’s really easy for her to simply say, “Well, if you’re not going to put in the effort, then I won’t support you,” she doesn’t do that. It is a comfort to know that when I run out of willpower, I have another reserve in my partner to draw upon. Although I just recently became aware of this through my dieting, I’ve realized that she does this in all aspects of our life. If I have tasks to complete for any of my side projects, she’ll nag me to finish them. If I tell her I need to be somewhere, she’ll make sure I’m up on time even if I want to sleep in.

I’ve also recognized that I do the same for her, and I’ve been doing it unconsciously. When my wife is feeling lazy, I nag her to get her stuff done. When she wants to sleep in, I get her up to do what she needs to do. In this way, we strive to become the other person. My success is her success, and vice versa. That type of partnership is a rare thing because it indicates a much deeper level of commitment than simply supporting the other person with words of encouragement. It is an unconscious recognition that we are one.

This is a light bulb moment. Find yourself a partner that you can share the same sort of connection with, and your life will become infinitely easier and richer.

5 Truths About True Love

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Too many people don’t understand what it really means to love somebody, and have them love you back. Movies and TV shows portray love as some insurmountable force that will succeed against all odds if you just give it a chance. The tale of star crossed lovers who are complete opposites meeting and staying together despite everything working against them is an all too familiar one. On the other side, there are all these “experts” who think they understand the exact steps you need to take to find a lasting relationship. The tragedy is that a lasting relationship isn’t always a loving one. I’ve seen very few people who I feel truly have this whole love thing figured out. After all those encounters, and on the cusp of my own marriage, I think I finally understand some things about it, and I want to share those few things with you.

I’ve been trying to write this post for a while now, but I always struggle to find the words to complete it. Love isn’t an easy thing to explain, but this is my shot, and I hope it helps you maybe figure some things out for yourself.

Love comes from inside yourself first. It is in fact true that you cannot love someone else unless you love yourself first. It’s even more true that you cannot accept someone else’s love unless you love yourself first. True love requires complete vulnerability, and I do mean complete. There can be no secrets, none at all. Your deepest darkest skeletons must be brought out into the light. Only then can you give yourself completely to someone else.

Finding love is hard. Being in love is easy. You will get hurt, many times over. Finding a mutually loving relationship is incredibly difficult, and it requires walking on coals. You must make yourself completely vulnerable over and over again, and be rejected over and over again. It’s difficult not to become damaged and try not to make the same “mistakes” again. Being vulnerable, though, is not a mistake. Imagine if everyone was more vulnerable and open; the world would be a much more loving place if people trusted each other. Once you find it, though, being in love is easy. Whoever tells you love is hard work is wrong. You shouldn’t have to work at a loving relationship, it should just happen. Of course you’ll have your fights, but those fights will not be about fundamental incompatibilities. Being in love is easy.

Love isn’t free. Building a life with someone else, which you will probably do if you fall in love, is costly. It is an investment in your happiness, and that investment costs time and money. Vulnerability includes financial vulnerability. If you’re not ready for that, it will be even more difficult for you to find true love. Get your shit together first, and then try to find that special someone.

Love is always forever. That doesn’t mean it always works out or overcomes all odds. Once you love someone, you can’t actually un-love them; it’s just not possible. You have completely seen someone and accepted them as they are; tell me how you can go back from that? Keep in mind, though, that love and hate aren’t mutually exclusive. You can hate somebody for something they did. Or, maybe your relationship didn’t work out for any number of other reasons. That doesn’t mean the love wasn’t real, and that doesn’t mean the love won’t always be real. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out, and you need to be OK with that.

Love does not involve sacrifice. Love does not involve you giving anything up. You should not have to change yourself, sacrifice your desires, or surrender what makes up you and your life. If you do find yourself having to do anything of that, then I’m sorry, but it isn’t love, and you need to admit it to yourself.

Tinder Date Horror Story – Dating Advice I Can Respect

I don’t normally like dating advice to women from women. Usually, such advice is hateful and antagonistic, rather than actually being empowering. This is because I don’t think people, in general, are self aware enough to provide good constructive advice to others like themselves. As a result, it becomes an “us and them” spew fest.

Every now and then, though, I’ll come across a gem that I think is worth sharing. Amy Young provides advice exactly as it should be provided, she gives advice about having  first date sex if you should or shouldn’t, there’s no hard rule on when to have sex on the first date, but there are some telltale signs that can help you determine if you should try for sex or not., she is articulate, intelligent, and really gets to the heart of the issue. She doesn’t respond with antagonism, but instead, responds with an actual understanding of what’s going on. Her understanding translates into an actual plan for how to respond as well.

Call this post male privilege, or whatever you want. I do think I’m in a position to provide constructive relationship advice to men and women alike. I’ve done it for numerous people, and the advice works. I also share great advice on pluc the other people provide, and Amy Young is definitely one of those people. Her words apply to men and women alike, so watch her video, and learn a little something.

Why Date Night is Important and How it Helps Your Relationship

date nightIt sounds super cliche right? Setting up time for the two of you to go on a date, whatever that may entail, might seem a little forced and childish. Although, movies and such make it seem really important. That’s the time you have to reconnect with your partner, to have some fun together, and to get away from the distractions of the world. Sorry to say, but that’s all total bullshit. Date night does none of those things. If you want to escape from your world, then you need to reevaluate your world. If you need to reconnect, one night isn’t going to allow you to do that. Why did you lose the connection in the first place? Despite all that, though, date night is still important and still a key component in keeping your relationship healthy and successful. Let me explain.

Taco Tuesdays exist. They exist in a lot of places. Have you ever wondered why it’s such a successful promotion? Don’t people eat tacos other days of the week? Of course they do, but Taco Tuesday is special. It is a cherished time that makes you appreciate tacos more. If Taco Tuesday were ever to go away, you would be sad, because you’ve come to really look forward to Taco Tuesday. Of course, this presumes that you enjoy tacos. I’ll let you in on why Taco Tuesday works so well, and it’s not the alliteration.

When we designate a special time or location for something, it becomes more meaningful to us, and it prevents us from taking that thing for granted. It doesn’t matter if we eat tacos every day, we’re still going to look forward to the tacos on Taco Tuesday. Date night functions the same way. It prevents you from taking your partner, and their presence, for granted. If you’re married, you spend a lot of time with your significant other, and that time becomes a regular part of your life. Gradually, that time falls in line with other routine activities like brushing your teeth in the morning or eating lunch. You begin to get used to it and expect it. That type of complacency is destructive in a relationship.

Date night adds an interruption to the routine simply through the act of labeling it date night. Even if you’ve done the exact same activity earlier in the week, likely making popcorn and watching a movie together, the simple act of doing it together on date night adds more meaning to it and makes it more special. It is an interruption in the routine, and that interruption is critically important in preventing you from taking your time with your partner for granted.

But doesn’t date night just become part of the routine too? No, it doesn’t, just like Taco Tuesday is always a beacon which stands out among the fog of your routine, so is date night. Unlike Taco Tuesday, however, you have the freedom to have date night whenever you want, so there’s no need to stick to a recurring schedule every week either. The point is that you and your partner should regularly make time to be with each other, even if you already do that every day. Designate special time for it, and it will maintain your ability to see your partner’s time and presence as valuable and meaningful.

 

Be Patient With Her – A Guide to Real Understanding

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I’ve learned many lessons in my life, some with much more difficulty than others. Of all the lessons I’ve learned, how to really and truly be patient is one of the most important.

I haven’t written a relationship post in a long time, and I thought this was a good time to get back into it. My life is different now from the last time I wrote. Before, I would write about approaching women and being successful with those approaches. I would write about game and how to be good at it.

Now, I’m engaged, and my priorities are different. Being in a committed relationship, especially one that you really want to last forever, comes with its own set of challenges. With every challenge you overcome, though, you discover something new about yourself and about her that makes your relationship that much more fulfilling. I’ve faced a number of those challenges in the last 2 years, and being fortunate enough to have an incredible partner, have overcome them all. I want to start sharing the lessons from overcoming those challenges.

So let’s step out of the world of game and talk about relationships. The secrets to happiness aren’t a mystery, and they should be shared.

It’s important to define what patience is. Many people think that patience involves just putting up with things, particularly things that really and truly negatively impact you. That’s not what patience is. Patience doesn’t mean you accept destructive behaviors and negative outcomes repeatedly.

Patience, in a relationship, means not letting your emotions get in the way of moving forward. Arguments need to be resolved. Issues need to be figured out. If they aren’t, they fester like infected wounds. Let a wound fester long enough, and you lose a leg. Being patient with her means having the courage to face those arguments and those issues without fear and giving her the time she needs to do the same.

That’s all well and good, but how exactly do you do that? Here are a couple rules to follow that will help make it easier.hourglass

It’s alright to be angry. It’s never alright to take your anger out on her. I’m not talking about physically. Obviously, that’s never OK. I’m talking about mentally. You will inevitably do things that upset each other; it’s bound to happen. But if you make the other person, rather than the situation or action, the target of that anger, you lose sight of what really needs to be done. She isn’t your enemy. She’s your partner, and she should always be treated as such. Even if something is her fault, it doesn’t help to take your anger out on her.

Hearing what she’s saying is easy. Listening to what she’s really saying is much harder. People aren’t usually self aware. I worked very hard to reach a level of self awareness which allows me to understand myself and communicate that understanding to others. Despite all those efforts, though, I still feel things which I cannot explain and have desires I do not understand. It’s a process. Just like it’s a process for you; it’s also a process for her. She may not immediately know why she’s feeling what she’s feeling. She may not be able to articulate it. She might just need time to figure it out. Your job is to listen beyond the words and beyond the tears. Your job is to listen to what’s really going on behind what’s being said. Here’s the kicker, though. Even if you figure it out before she does, you need to give her time to come to the same realization. Be patient, and give it time. She will never understand you unless she understands herself first.

You can’t always fix it. It isn’t your job anyway. You might get caught up in trying to fix whatever you think is wrong. Men take pride in keeping their girlfriends, wives, and significant others happy. It’s often an affront to our viability as suitors if we’re unable to fix every problem. Unfortunately, you need to get away from that mentality. Sometimes, actually most of the time, you can’t do anything to make her feel better. Movies romanticize the idea that grand gestures fix everything. Reality doesn’t work that way. Sometimes you need to leave it be and let time sort it out. Negative emotions are forces. If you give them something to push against, their energy intensifies and transfers. If you don’t, then that energy will eventually dissipate. The important thing to remember is that it’s not your job to fix her, nor is it her job to fix you. You need to work through your own issues and own the process for making yourself better, and she needs to own that process for herself as well.

You should ask for what you want and not settle for anything less. At the same time, you need to give her time and space to decide if she’s able and willing to give you what you want. Asking for something like more sexual adventure in your relationship is not always easily received. Requests of your partner are always taken personally and aren’t processed in a reasonable way. That doesn’t mean these requests shouldn’t be made. If something isn’t working for you, or you want something to be different, you need to have the courage to ask for it. At the same time, you need to let her decide what her response will be, and you need to respect that response. If she can’t be happy giving you what you ask for, then you need to either reevaluate your request, or end it. It’s a tough reality to accept, but “compromise” in a relationship is not a key to success. It is a myth that perpetuates unhealthy sacrifices and unhappy lives.

perfectionPerfection is attainable. Perfection needs to be defined differently. People mistakenly think that having a perfect relationship means that both of you have everything you want. That will never happen, nor is it what perfection actually is. Having a perfect relationship means that the processes which you use to resolve conflict are perfect. Desires change, wants change, feelings change. It happens. What you need to make your relationship successful is a process that reacts efficiently and effectively. You need a process that allows your relationship to evolve, grow, and adapt with those changes without falling apart. That is true perfection. A perfect being is not one which is the strongest; a perfect being is that which has an infinite capacity to adapt to anything.

There you have it. It’s really quite a simple formula, but it does take some effort to put into place. Understand each other. Understand each other’s reactions and needs. Believe in the power of time. In so doing, you will attain perfection in your relationship. I know because I have it.

 

Body Image – A Practical Look

If I read another article about how the media objectifies women or watch another video of an attractive woman preaching about how girls should have a healthy body image, I may just lose it. This has become a very prominent topic in modern discourse, particularly intellectual discourse. I’ve seen three separate TED talks, numbers of YouTube videos, and an inordinate number of articles (most of which I’ve read) on the subject. In the age of social media, stuff like this spreads very quickly, especially if it resonates with people. I hate most of it, not because I disagree that young girls are having increasingly unhealthy body images, but because I have yet to see any of these advocates or scholars provide something tangible that these girls and women can actually use to help build their body images  and develop healthy perceptions of themselves. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Simply put, it isn’t the media’s fault. The media sells what people buy, and because people keep buying damaging material, the media keeps producing. Standards of beauty come before their portrayal in media, not the other way around. It’s like blaming Pepsi and McDonald’s for selling unhealthy food. People buy it, so they sell it. It’s much more productive to create a culture in which women have healthy body images and cease to be consumers of the objectification that everyone is in an uproar about. Here’s some real practical advice that I think people can actually use.

5 Steps on the Path to a Healthy Positive Self Image

1. Eat Healthy and Exercise – Don’t do this to lose weight or try to make yourself look skinnier. Do this with the goal of being healthy. Keep your blood pressure low, maintain low cholesterol, take in enough calcium to maintain bone and breast health, etc… Healthiness is attractive by default because we are evolutionarily conditioned to look for healthy mates, but more than that, you’ll feel better if you’re healthy. You’ll be more positive about yourself, and it’s much more difficult to have a confident body image if you’re unhealthy.

2. Be Hygenic – Keep yourself clean; it’s simple. Shower, brush your teeth regularly, maintain your feminine health, get regular checkups at the physician, and so on. Cleanliness is another big part of a positive body image. It is a commentary on your own feeling of self worth. If you care about yourself, you care to present yourself cleanly and keep yourself hygenic. Being gross is an easy way to detract from being positive about yourself.

3. Stop Buying Cosmo, Vogue, and all that other crap – These magazines are full of nonsense. Not only is the advice contained within them wrong, it’s damaging to your psychology. It reduces human appearances to geometry, sex to procedures, and relationships to quizzes and games. Quite frankly, it’s disgusting. It’s unrealistic, but the reason these companies turn over multi million dollar profits is because people buy their products. Whether you “like” reading it or not, just stop buying it. It may be difficult if you’re a regular subscriber and avid fan, but if you remove this content and influence from your life, you’ll be much better off.

4. Dress Well – It doesn’t matter what anybody tells, having an attractive wardrobe, and having people compliment that wardrobe, significantly contributes to your own perceptions about your appearance. Hire an image consultant if you need to, or read some good literature about how to dress well for yourself and your body type. There are clothes out there for everyone, and for the most part, it’s about defining your avatar or look, and adhering to that in your clothing choices. It’s not difficult, and there’s plenty of quality advice out there and people out there to help with it.

5. Have Passions in Life – What do you want to do with your life? What sort of things do you enjoy? What do you want to accomplish? These questions should be priorities for you. Passionate people are sexy. They draw others to them, and they put energy and life into their surroundings. You shouldn’t drift through life without desires and passions. Figure out what gets you going, and dedicate time and effort to it.

If you follow these steps, not only will your life begin to change for the positive, your perceptions of yourself will grow to be less dependent on what others think. You will separate yourself from the need to be beautiful and realize that you are beautiful. Just try it; it’s better than sitting in the dark watching YouTube videos of lectures from attractive women who chastise the media for being evil.

Why I Hate Your Pink Equals Signs

I do my best not to write emotionally charged posts that make sweeping generalizations. Every now and then, however, I find myself traveling a path of agitation that only a cathartic chastising of the greater social media community can cure. This is one of those every now and thens.

Let me start by saying that this post does not apply to all people who displayed the surprisingly ugly logo on their respective social media profiles. In fact, the pink equals signs that were accompanied by photos of the person standing in front of the Supreme Court, talking to their respective legislators, or even attending a rally were more than tolerable; they were invited. What isn’t invited is the picture being posted by everyone else.

Most of the people posting the logo are just engaging in a peculiar sort of moral masturbation to make themselves feel good. I’m not saying they don’t believe in ‘marriage equality,’ but they don’t work toward it. If you have never attended a rally, donated to a campaign, written an article, written a letter to your congressman, or done anything else to actually contribute to the movement, then your display of a logo is nothing more than annoying. It is something that you’re doing to serve your own emotional needs rather than to serve the actual cause.

The increasingly troubling aspect of this phenomena is that it perpetuates a blind adherence to a concept that people don’t really understand. Many of these logo fiends have an infantile emotional understanding of the what ‘gay marriage’ even is or the arguments for/against it. They don’t understand the research which has been done regarding sexuality, nor can they provide defensible reasons for what they believe. This state of mind makes these people no better than those on the opposite side. If “love is love is love” is an acceptable argument in favor of gay marriage, then “killing is killing is killing” is an acceptable argument against abortion.

In short, if you’re one of these people who hopped on the bandwagon and couldn’t argue your way out of a paper bag, shut the fuck up; I’m tired of hearing you jack off your moral superiority load over everyone’s collective faces. If you’re one of those people who actually have been discriminated against, have contributed to the cause in tangible ways, have personal tales to tell, or even know what you’re talking about, then I invite you to speak more loudly. I like hearing what you have to say because it’s meaningful, and it doesn’t wreak of self-gratification.

Limiting Beliefs – What They Are and Why You Shouldn’t Have Them

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You have limiting beliefs. So here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to understand what limiting beliefs are. You’re going to learn about all the problems they cause. Then, you’re going take a deep look inside yourself and find out what your limiting beliefs are, and you’re going to work on ridding yourself of those limiting beliefs. This may seem scary, or confusing if you don’t know what limiting beliefs are, but fear not, for I shall help guide you through this process.

What are Limiting Beliefs?

As the heading to this section suggests, let’s start by talking about what limiting beliefs are. A limiting belief is any belief you have which prevents you from doing something or hinders your ability to do it. These beliefs can manifest as a result of many different things such as your relationship with you parents, a traumatic life events, social conditioning, etc…

There are a couple questions which need to be addressed immediately. Limiting beliefs are always wrong. When I say ‘wrong’ I mean that they do not correspond to reality. The reason a limiting belief will always be incorrect is because a proper assessment of reality can never hold you back, even if the assessment identifies a roadblock to success. An accurate belief will allow you to navigate the world more effectively and actually accomplish what you would like to accomplish.

Identifying Limiting Beliefs

We are biologically constructed to have limiting beliefs, but we are also biologically constructed to have adverse physical reactions when we process or think about these beliefs. Concurrently, and I’ll elaborate more on this in the next section, we are biologically constructed to physically resonate with actual reality. Through our perceptions, we have an actual print of reality somewhere in our minds. When we cognitively process that image and put it into words our brains can consciously work with, we recognize that, and it triggers a physiological response. So how can you identify limiting beliefs?

Throughout your day, you will find yourself thinking about particular assessments of the world and of other people. When you think about these things, take a moment to look at how your body is responding. Do you have a dull weight-like pain in your solar plexus? Have you started sweating a little bit more? Are the muscles in your back and neck suddenly carrying more tension? Are you losing track of where you are and what you’re doing because you’re lost in your thoughts? Are you losing motivation to act? Is your mood becoming increasingly sad or worried? If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you are processing a limiting belief.

Let’s take a common example that many students deal with. The belief looks something like this, “My major gives me way more work than anyone else.” When students, particularly in the hard sciences, think about the work they are faced with, they often have the adverse physiological responses mentioned above. This belief is perpetuated throughout our college education system by students and faculty alike. The trouble is that this belief limits a student’s ability to act to resolve the tasks they have to complete. The student accepts his/her reality as one of constantly being stressed and overloaded with work. In reality, the national average of difference in hours of weekly work between the most demanding and least demanding majors is approximately 5 hours. That’s it, 5 hours over a 7 day week, less than one hour per day. However, stress assessments of students across the country consistently show that students studying in the “more demanding” majors have much higher stress levels completely disproportionate to the amount of work they have to do. The reason for this is that the limiting belief prevents students from actually searching for ways to improve their workflow and task management. It also prevents them from completing their work as efficiently as they would otherwise.

There are some key types of limiting beliefs you need to be aware of. One type is the example used above. It’s a perpetuated inaccuracy about a quantitative aspect of reality. Another good example is, “There aren’t enough hours in the day for everything I need to do.” Another type of limiting belief is a perpetuated inaccuracy about a qualitative aspect of reality. So, for example, “Engineering is harder than Anthropology.” There is quantifiable way to measure “harder,” and the difficulty of any discipline is relative to the person studying it. A final type of limiting belief you should be aware of is the affirmation. Sometimes, limiting beliefs will disguise themselves as false appreciations or happiness. For example, “I am happy with my relationship,” or, “My career is right on track.”

Learning to identify your limiting beliefs is the first step to getting rid of them and opening up your world to an entirely new set of possibilities.

Getting Rid of Your Limiting Beliefs

As I mentioned earlier, we are biologically constructed to resonate with reality. Think about any time in your life when you have had an epiphany. Relive the physical responses that your body underwent. You probably sat up straighter, your eyes widened, you facial muscles lost tension, etc… The reason is because your brain recognized that you had processed an image of reality which you already had but were not consciously aware of.

Let’s think about this logically. For every statement you make like this ones I used as examples above, there are a total of five logical permutations. One of these permutations must be true. Let me use an example to explain what I mean. Take the statement, “All apples are red.” It has the following 4 permutations:

All apples are red
All apples are not red
Not all apples are red
Not all apples are not red

At least one of these statements has to be true. And, you may have noticed that when reading them, you realized that #3 and #4 were both true, and you probably responded to that realization physically in some way. In order to rid yourself of your limiting beliefs, you need to phrase them in the statement form like this one and write down each of their permutations. Then, read the statements aloud to yourself. When you get to the one (or two) which are true, you will know it immediately. Some of these realizations may scare you initially, and you may be reluctant to accept them. The key to ridding yourself of these beliefs is to approach the process with a completely open mind.

Once you arrive at reality, you will no longer cling to your limiting belief. The next step is to actually act on your newly discovered knowledge. If your realization is about another person, go talk to them about it. If it’s about your work management, talk to people who can teach you ways to better manage your time. Acting on your realizations reinforces them and prevents your limiting beliefs from taking hold again.

I realize this may seem like a tall task, but it is definitely manageable. Follow this simple outline, and you will become a completely new person.

Good luck!