Finding Love...

I have countless entries on ending a relationship, so tonight I'm considering writing an entry on what I perceive to be the best way to find a worthwhile relationship. Today, I’ve realized how excited I finally am to find a worthwhile and long term relationship…. that's all.

Regardless of culture, our level of education or economic status, at the depth of all of us are the same desires- to love, to be loved, and to be happy.

Of course I could add other desires to this list, like money and wealth and fancy things, but when you drill into these things, the reason for wanting them is so that we can appear more desirable, and will hopefully be loved and accepted.

If love is something so fundamentally important to us, then why is it that we have so many issues and misunderstandings in the area of finding it? I think the answer is simple, that most of us have never been educated in this fundamental area of our development. Chances are, you didn’t grow up with parents who were relationship experts, and we certainly didn’t study relationships in our high school curriculums. For most of us, it’s been an adventure in trial and error and learning through pain and heart-break. But is there an easier way?

Ahh! One of my favorite topics of all time: finding love.

Dre's Story

Yea yea, we've all heard this story Dre! And guess what, you're going to hear it once more because its an important one… it's the basis to my enlightenment.

I spent most of my time in my late late teens and early twenties on finding love, or so I thought at the time. In actuality I was seeking self-acceptance, approval and identity. I was deeply insecure and had a great fear of being alone. I jumped from relationship to relationship, all the while searching for myself. But the act of seeking self-worth through my external relationships took me further from that which I longed.

I’ve always been an ambitious person and in addition to my job, I’ve often worked on side projects and other interests. But whenever I found myself in a relationship, I would drop everything that was important to me and would focus exclusively on the person I was dating. You see, I didn’t respect myself, and I thought that finding someone to love me was more important than anything else. During these time-consuming romantic courtships, I was distancing myself further from my passions, my purpose and my true self.
Looking back, I had entered many (all two haha) of these relationships out of infatuation or loneliness. It was the fear of abandonment or the guilt of obligation that kept me in these relationships. I often got into and remained involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. I would convince myself that no one else out there would love me, and so I settled. Despite my surface appearance, I was deeply unhappy.

My freedom day came roughly two years ago. In a state of deep depression over unsatisfied relationships and through a growing despise of my gross dependencies on them, a miraculous understanding came to me and I experienced a moment of clarity. At that moment I made a vow to end the pain.

I started to devour as much material and wisdom as I could find on the topic of relationships, and studied (and continue to study) with various relationship experts and their published books. I have come a long way from being that insecure little girl, and have learned much about myself in the process. Most importantly I discovered that once I started to truly love myself, and to focus on my own inner peace and wellness, true love comes looking for me.

It Was All In the Patterns

I got really good at looking at the pattern in anything and everything. Ultimately, I began to see and really look at some of the most common relationship problems and the reasons why many romantic partnerships do not work out.

Ego, Fear, & Emotional Insecurities

As with material possessions or professional achievements, relationships give our ego a method by which to identify who we are to the outside world. The problem is that we attach so much of our identity to the external appearance of our relationships that we lose touch with the parts of ourselves that are wise and conscious. The attachment to this false identity leads to a feeling of desperation rather than fulfillment. After all, without the relationship, or the job, or whichever other false identity we have chosen, who would we then be?

Besides the ego identification, it’s easy to develop a dependency on companionship. That independent person that we once were starts to evaporate and dissolve. Our mind becomes fogged and distorted and as our self-identification begins to attach itself to the other person, unconsciously or consciously, we become afraid to lose that person. We become dependent on that person and fearful of loneliness.

Out of our emotional insecurities, we start to become needy and to seek out validation from our partner. So, instead of focusing on the celebration of love and partnership, it becomes a game of how to protect ourselves from ultimate loss.

Communication of Needs

Out of a desire to avoid appearing needy and out of a fear of losing our partner, we start to filter what we say. In doing so, we do not communicate our needs clearly, openly or bravely. We somehow become convinced that our partner will magically know what to do to fulfill our needs. When our needs are not met, we secretly blame the other person and begin to resent them. When we are unhappy, our partner will pick up on the cues, and in turn, secretly resent us, thus starting a vicious cycle in the silent destruction of a romantic partnership.

So much of what was needed to be said was not said, and bad feelings are bottled up and start to fester inside for both parties. Have you ever had a friend come to you and complain about all of the things they are unhappy about with their partner? Well, those are the kinds of things they should be telling their partner, if they actually want to see change.

Worse yet is when one partner openly communicates their needs; only to find that the other party is simply not listening,or does not fully acknowledge what was said, or makes them feel guilty for having those needs.

Bad Fit and Settling by Default

Deep down, we are all really good people. But this doesn’t mean that any combination of two good people will make a good partnership. There is such thing as a bad fit, and it is okay to admit it.

The best fits are ones where the most important values for both people are met. They must have life goals that align with one another and have a mutual attraction, understanding, and level of respect for each other. Both people must be committed to making the partnership their top priority.

Sometimes, even when we realize that our relationship isn’t a good fit, we justify staying in it with what seem like logical reasons. We may feel that we won’t find another person who accepts and loves us as much as the current one. Or we may be afraid to be alone, so we simply settle by default. Each time we are reminded of the bad fit, we brush it under the rug and distract ourselves with some other thought.

We may feel that we are doing a service to the other person by staying in the relationship, but in reality, we are hurting them by not being honest with them and ourselves. And we are accumulating bad feelings and bad energy in our inner space.

Who Is Your Ideal Mate?

We all have a rough idea of what our perfect partner is like: beautiful, or smart, or rich, or educated, or tall, or petite, or pale, or dark, or handsome, or fit, with this car, or with that house or whatever else that strikes our fancy.

The problem comes when we find ourselves in a relationship and we are constantly comparing our partners with this conjured-up ‘perfect’ person. When that happens, we stop appreciating our partner for all the beautiful qualities they do possess.

The truth is this perfect person does not exist. More importantly, we may not actually need all of these qualities in a partner to be extraordinarily happy.

What we need is to identify the most important qualities that we must have in order to feel satisfied and fulfilled (more on creating a must-have list below). By not having identified the must-have qualities in our chosen life partner, we end up settling, and since the person cannot give us the things we truly need, we start to resent them. This will snowball into larger issues.
For example, if height is something that is really important to you, and your partner does not meet that height requirement, regardless of how much they try, they will never grow taller or shrink shorter, and this will bug you and affect your union.

In life, we will get random results if we have not specified what we want. Identifying and understanding what it is that we need in a relationship, allows us to set clear intentions, and in doing so, moves us closer to realizing our intended desires.

Identifying Must-Haves

Here’s a very affective exercise that I picked up along the way that will help discover and identify the must-have qualities in a partner.

Ready? Here we go:

Step 1. The Perfect Image

List out all the qualities that your ideal partner will have. What kind of characteristics and qualities do you truly desire? Be creative and open.

Be as specific as you can. Get into details like physical attributes, values, lifestyle, views on money, spiritual beliefs, personality traits, hobbies, abilities, age, habits, profession, tastes, etc.
For physical attributes, include things like height, weight, body type, hair color, ethnicity, or anything that you would want if you had your choice in creating your ideal partner.

Step 2. Minimum Requirements (MR)

Minimum requirements are qualities you need from your partner, and without them, you will feel unwell or unsatisfied.

Go through each quality from step 1 and test it with this question:

“Would I rather be alone than be with a person who wasn’t [insert quality]?”

If the answer is yes, mark MR next to the quality, otherwise, leave it blank.

Don’t worry if your list sounds superficial or ridiculous. One MR item on my list is “Great dancer with rhythm and groove”, which may seem like a trivial or petty quality for some people, but is a deal breaker for me.

Step 3. Screening MRs

Now, filter through the MR list, for each item with the MR label, ask the following question:

“If a person had all the other qualities on my MR list, am I willing to let this quality go?”

If the answer is yes, cross out that MR.

The Selection Process

I believe it is crucial to identify and clearly communicate our relationship expectations and personal timelines early on in the dating phase. So often, we get into relationships with silent expectations of a future event that is important to us, thinking that our partner will come around to it when the time is right, only to find out several years later that things will never work out the way we expected. Some common unspoken issues of this nature revolve around marriage, children, financial goals, and even which city you settle down in.

First, be clear with yourself on these types of issues. Understand what kind of commitment you are looking for in a relationship, how you feel about children and where you plan to live. There are no wrong answers, but be honest and specific about what you are looking for in the current stage of your life.

Next, tell yourself that on all of your first dates, you will be clear with people about your relationship expectations and timeline, if any. It can be a scary and awkward experience at first, but it will become less of a nerve racking experience over time. And just think of all the time and emotional energy you are saving by being open from the get-go, instead of setting silent expectations that can lead to disappointment.

When It Comes Down to It…

Like attracts like…

You have to be the person you want to attract. If you want a loving & caring companion, you have to be that person yourself. People with a low self-esteem, 9-out-of 10 times, end up being with someone who also has a low self esteem. You end up with what you settle with from the beginning. I had been a codependent girlfriend all these years, and I had boyfriends that were just as well. I was never happy because there was never any growth on either side of the fence. It's a crazy cycle until you end it with some ME time, in which you learn about yourself and become the person you want to be and be with... and that my friends, is thee part that makes this all worth it!

Be blessed...


My Secrets to My Happiness

1. Study
Whatever it is that I am passionate about in life, I study every aspect of it. Knowledge is power.

I’m passionate about art, I study what goes into the making of a painting or a sculpture. I study the lives of the artists that I admire. I learn about the paints or beads, the different kinds of paper and material, and all the tools involved in making a masterpiece. Basically, I try to learn every single possible thing there is to know about art.

Expertise is not something you are born with…it is something that you earn and develop. Read. Listen. Observe. It doesn’t matter what your passion is… just master it.

2. The 10,000 Hour Rule

The point of this rule is that practice makes perfect. Or rather, practice helps turn luck from a concept into a reality. Any time you are doing something that relates to your passion or whatever it is that you want to master, that time is counted towards your 10,000 hours. I read somewhere that The Beatles practiced for 10,000 hours prior to becoming famous .

Two years ago, I realized and accepted the fact that my passion in life was to bead and paint, and I knew in my heart that my niche would be to “create in color”. It was then that I decided that in order to achieve my dream, I really needed to master my thoughts and ideas. So I began spending my time creating pieces for myself. I work jobs to support my desire for art and travel but every spare moment I have when I’m not at work, I’m talking to or surrounding myself with people that have like interests.

3. Visualize
Whatever it is that I want to experience in life, I visualize it. I see myself doing whatever it is that I desire or want to achieve. I want to be a successful artist, so I visualize what that would look and feel like. I imagine my work on the walls of a gallery. This doesn’t mean that I visualize while sitting back and doing nothing. I have to take some form of action too because visualization without action will not yield results.

I read a biography on the life of Madonna awhile back. Many people recounted how when Madonna was just a club act, she handled every show as if it were a concert in a huge arena. The general conclusion was that she was acting like a superstar even before she became one.

Visualization is a tool that I use frequently because I have seen it work. Many times in my life, I visualized achieving certain goals or having certain funds. And every single time without fail, each item that I visualized became a reality. Sometimes it took hours and other times it took years. But, the interesting thing about visualization is that it works with not only positive thoughts and images but with negative ones too. So I try to take care of what I visualize.

4. Surround Yourself With People Who You Wish To Be Like
The company you keep does have an impact on you. This does not mean that I rid myself of all friends and family. All this means is that I have people in my life who are not only like-minded, but who are also doing what I wish to be doing.

Call it vibes or energy or whatever you wish; the people we spend time with do affect what we do and how we think and feel. Spend time with people who complain about life, inevitably you will start doing the same thing too. Studies have proven this and I have seen it in my own life as well. When I spent time with people who lamented about their lack of success and lack of funds, I experienced those same things. However, when I started to surround myself with positive people who were doing what I wished to be doing, I began to notice how my mindset of lack was being converted into a mindset of abundance. And you know what happened? My awareness of my chosen career path began to expand and I began to notice all the possibilities that were out there.

Someone once told me that you can tell a lot about a person by the company that they keep, so I surround myself with people who are living what I wish to achieve.

5. Be Kind To Every Single Person You Meet
Every single second of every day we are surrounded by people. You never know whom you may meet at the gym or at the coffee house. Every single person you meet might be someone who has the power to change your life for the better.

The person in line behind you at the supermarket may be an agent who can give you a record deal. The person who is sitting next to you on the subway may be the best friend you always wanted but never had. The guy serving you coffee may be your soul mate :)

In our society, we have a tendency to invest more in things than in people. Therefore, many tend to be impolite or totally unaware of others. Compassion and kindness go a long way. Being rude never does any good.

Be blessed…