Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stop the Make-Up and Break- Up: Getting Through The Pain

This is the guide to deal with your feelings after the breakup.
8 Steps to Conquering the Merry-Go-Round!

Regardless of what your relationship did or did not have, there is usually discomfort or even pain after a relationship is over. The key is dealing with that pain in a constructive rather than destructive manner.

Step 1: Pain Cometh!
The first step is realizing you will feel some pain even when the breakup was your idea. It is very very common. This pain, as sometimes surmised, DOES NOT USUALLY MEAN YOU REALLY WISH TO STAY WITH THE INDIVIDUAL. Pain can come from several surfaces. You can be scared of the future, uncertain about your own shortcomings, stressed by the sheer severity of the break-up, and many others; all which produce mimic pain. If you can deal with these, you can cut the pain off from the root of the problem instead of finding yourself in a constant merry go round with a person you should have broken up with a long time ago.

Step 2: Don't Be Afraid to Feel
As corny as it sounds, don't be afraid to feel. Alot of people are emotional wimps. They will not break up with people to avoid that pain post break-up. This is the equivalent of letting your arm rot off to infection because you are scared of needles. You're letting a much bigger problem fester because you won't walk through a moment of discomfort. We all know the longer you stay with someone, the more attached you become. Not just your feelings, but your lives. So if you find yourself from make-up to break-up and back again, ask yourself: is this someone I want to be permanent in my life because that is where this is headed!

Step 3: Stop the Connection
This is important! Everyone is different, but in my experience most people cannot handle talking to their exes post breakup. So if you feel it is difficult for you to even converse with them, dont be afraid to lose their number, delete a facebook friend, and unfollow a twitter account because exes are notorious for skewing your view of the universe. Don't set yourself up for failure and talking to exes is usually more of a trial than a pleasure anyway. Remember as humans, we have selective memory. We will remember all the hugs and flowers and not the arguments. If you cut off the connection, it will be much easier to remember why you are no longer together.

Step 4: Let Them Go!
Yes your exes are going to be with other males or females. They may even be the people that helped cause the demise of your break-up. Alot of times, the one left hurting is the one who is left with noone. Lonliness and territorial behavior is a killer combo. It is this combination more than anything that keeps couples together. Even songs say it: "I don't want to be with her but I can't stand to see her with someone else." So expect that they have moved on, so that if you have evidence of that, you do not take it to heart. Always remember they are your ex for a reason and trust that something better is coming for you. Patience is a virtue and virtues don't come cheap. Don't settle for Mr. Right Now simply because you don't want Mrs. Worse getting him. Trust me: Mr. Right Now and Mrs. Worse wont even cross your mind when Mr./Mrs. Right shows up at your door.

Step 5: Impulse Control
Poor impulse control is the framework for most actions people regret later. If you find yourself calling your ex or showing up at your ex's house, take a minute and think if you even have a reason. The heat of the moment will dissipate. Impulse control is the hardest to conquer so the last three step are dedicated to how you can curve the urges.

Step 6: Stay Active
Even though not the healthiest method, staying active is my personal favorite. After all there is only 24 hours in the day. Catch up on things you love to do or get really into your new business or school projects. At the end of the day, you will be not only too busy for impulses, you will also start to feel better and get more done. When those promotions and grades start rolling in, they help you realize that life goes on and can be successful without that past individual.

Step 7: Reward Yourself
You've been through a trying time. You deserve some personal TLC. Take yourself to a spa, take your friend out to lunch, go to a game or concert,take a personal day off of work and relieve some stress. The list goes on and on. Work hard then play hard is a good combination to feel revived. It is also a good morale booster.

Step 8: Stay Positive
So many people get bogged down in failure in this one relationship, they begin to doubt themselves as a whole. You, yeah you, are an amazing person. You have unique talents and character traits that make you, you. Focus on them, build those up, and move forward an even better person than before.
You will find someone else. Forget the man shortage, forget the lack of good women, you can and will find someone who is a better fit for you than your last. Go out looking and smelling good and see if people don't notice. You'll soon realize that other people in the world would love to have you on their arm.

Just remember, pain is a natural emotion after change. Be prepared and follow steps to come out on the other end a stronger, more resilient person. See failed relationships as molders and not destroyers. The rest of your life is waiting.

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” —M. Kathleen Casey


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Random Question Series

When choosing a partner: Do opposites really attract or do similarities win out?

When to Let Go and When to Fight: The RICE method

When any relationship is tested, romantic or otherwise, one question that inevitably runs through your mind is the future. You start to wonder if it is time to give up under the pressure of the situation or to fight through it. But when I am asking myself those very questions, I always seem to question if the relationship has run its course or if it is just in a "rough patch."

From my experiences, I am found that there a few ways to aid in making that decision. I like to call them RICE or realism, intentions, character, and effort. Study these things in your relationship and they will help you make an informed decision or make your feel more confident in a decision you have already made.

Realism is simply is it realistic for us to be together? Do I see a relationship between us down the line? For example, I have friends in Alabama. Since I am in DC, it is not feasible for me to make them my lunch partner. Its just an unrealistic expectation because of distance. In relationships, it is unrealistic to try for a relationship when it is clear that your paths are diverging.

The second is intentions. We've all hurt people but I simply do not believe the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It does matter what your initial intention was. If your partner did a deed with a good intention that just perhaps backfired,then it may be very possible that with effort he or she can learn to correct that wrong. A heart in the right place makes a big difference. How can you tell good intention but bad behavior versus bad behavior with bad intentions? A person with good intention usually doe snot perform the action again once it has been discussed as negative. They also are genuinely apologetic, taking full responsibility and not shifting blame. Lastly, they are willing to put in the man hours to get back in your good graces without having to be coaxed.

The third and very important component is character. Character is unfortunately something you either have or do not possess. But even with character you can make mistakes. You can tell you are in a relationship with someone with character because they never go against their principles, whatever they may be. If you are with someone who says they hate cheating but then they go cheat, not only are you dealing with a cheater but you are ALSO dealing with a person of low character. The second is never changed. Sorry ladies. As Malcolm X and Alexander Hamilton stated "A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything." If someone can tell you anything and you believe your partner would do it, the battle is already lost.

Last is effort. Many things have been solved by a little elbow grease and many things have been lost due to laziness. It is very important that in any relationship both people are putting forth the same effort. If you constantly feel you are the only person moving forward and sweating hard, it may be a sign it is time to go. However if you have had a few kinks but both of you are putting in maximum effort to gain understanding of each other and respect each other, then one day you will see the fruits of your labor.

RICE really helps me when I am trying to make those tough decisions concerning friends and partners. And I hope it helps You.


Setting Expectations and taking L's

There are a lot of steps involved in conditioning yourself to not tolerate certain things. The first one and one of the hardest, especially in relationships, is setting expectations. Sounds simple enough but most of us don't do it. If you go to the grocery store with no list and no clue what items you need and don't need, you tend to be very disappointed with your selection when you get home. A version of a list needs to be made about your expectations before you even begin to look for someone new or move further in your relationship. Just like you wouldn't make a list entitled "things you don't want from WalMart", try not to focus on attributes you don't like. Instead make a list of things that are absolutely necessary for you to be happy. Focus on the positive. The reason to do it this way is simple. If you write down, "Not eggs, not bacon, not cheese" on a list at the grocery store does that help you find the items you need? No. You can still end up with things you don't need and nothing you do need. Try to make a list of things you need and see if you're ready to take them home. You deserve to come prepared to the table with a list of REASONABLE expectations for your partner and they in turn have the right to ask said things of you. If you can't talk to your partner, then you may want to ask yourself the basis of your relationship. Strong relationships are built on mutual companionship and understanding.

People tell you to never go to the grocery store hungry or completely full because you will leave with either a stockpile of things you'll never use or nothing much to choose from. This is also true in relationships. After a relationship you need time to get back in between hungry and full before you start something new. Make sure you're not bringing one meal into your next meal. No relationship can stand having your past pulling it apart. Before you make your expectations, ask yourself if your mind is in the future and not in your past. After all you cant make pot roast from last night's chicken alfredo ingredients. We've all had people treat us in ways that we don't deserve. But we cannot punish ourselves and future partners for their missteps. After every relationship we must analyze what we needed and what we did not get and assign them new importance. Sometimes attributes can shift after someone shows us just how important to us some things are. Otherwise that past can repeat itself because you never updated your list.

So now that we know what not to list, what do we make necessary. First on your list should be character and spiritual traits you can't live without. Things like honesty, thoughtfulness, spirituality, or intelligence. The second is cultural things you desire. Things like social life, goals, or family aspirations. The third is physical qualifications. Fourth is actions or your expectations for things like cheating, abuse, or romantic acts. Remember be considerate. Don't hold people to standards you yourself would fail. List things that you really require not things you think you should require. Everyone's list is different. No matter how silly, if you really need it to be happy, write it down. Lastly, rank everything. You can live without some of the lesser things but do not compromise on your majors.

So you're probably like yeah Ashley I do that. But here is the snare that we are rarely prepared for. What happens when this person, we already are starting to love and create hopes for, does not meet this list? What happens when we just desperately want someone to be "the one" but they are simply not adding up? The hardest part of the concept is making the list concrete. Are you really strong enough to let someone go that you want but who doesn't have your essentials i.e. take an "L"? And that dear friends is another set of questions I cannot answer for you. Losses are not always failures. At the end of the day, you get what you expect.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Classically Designed

For my voyage post, I must begin my blog journey with the definition of classic that is most near and dear to my heart. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines classic as " serving as a standard of excellence : of recognized value, Traditional, enduring." In the haze of technological advances and cultural breakthroughs, tradition has become lost in translation. If someone marks themselves as traditional, negative connotations turn them into a laggard and an intolerant and sometimes ignorant individual. But I, always in the spirit of compromise, ask why can't we move forward while still keeping the things of our past that are designed to keep us grounded? As my blog states my goal is to bind you to your roots while pushing you toward your future. After all there is a reason that some standards of excellence should endure. Much Love.


Classically Designed: "The Right Fit"

"The Right Fit"

So my overall 2009 topic and the tradition that I see less and less of is intolerance for bullshit. Yeah, I said bullshit. There used to be some things that just were not tolerated, period. Not to say nobody tolerated them but the general consensus was that some things were wrong. The main thing that comes to mind is bad relationships. People call me and tell me everyday about relationships that just wont get right. And my resounding response is always "Well why are you still in it?"

Now this topic is going to take me a while to complete but today this idea came to me while I was in my room. I have lost some poundage and was trying on some jeans. I twirled and looked and they fit fine but I found myself still knowing that those were not the right jeans for me. Why? because I know myself.

Our generation seems to know how to shop for clothes and not how to shop for a partner. Dating is imperative to your finding a great mate. For example, the search for a pair of jeans that do all the right things is elusive and sometimes frustrating. They may hug your butt right but they're too short or they may be the right color but a little baggy. But although the search is tiring, finding a pair of jeans that "will do" is never very fulfilling. Being in a bad relationship and feeling the need to stay there does two very detrimental things : 1) it conditions you to believe that this is the best fit out there for you, therefore diminishing your self worth and 2) damages your view of your dating pool. Wearing around jeans that are just okay certainly does not do wonders for your figure.

Now don't get me wrong, it is almost inevitable you will run across the "almost" person. They're like my baby phat jeans, they fit well enough to go out in public but that's about it. The person who has just enough good points to make you love them and enough bad points to make you crazy to stay. These people are frustrating but when you feel yourself torn, take a minute. Let yourself out of the situation to breathe, even date some other people. Reorient yourself to what you are dealing with. If after you have been with yourself, you still want to be with them, then by all means.
What it all comes down to, good people, is knowing yourself. There should be no one on Earth that knows you better than you know yourself. If you have fallen out of touch with yourself, take a class on the subject, its pretty enlightening. In today's society, there are so many ways to disguise yourself from yourself. You can join certain groups that transform you or wear certain clothes that transform you. Never have I met so many people that just weren't anything like who they really were. In the haze of creating that perfect video vixen, CEO, 5 star chick, swagaholic, or H.N.I.C. we have inadvertently lost ourselves and with it, what we truly want for ourselves. Dating becomes the same haze of finding people that fit what would fit our image and not what would fit our hearts. For example, I have always loves skinny jeans. They're so cute to me, but I have way too much leg for skinny jeans. So I have two choices, I can just buy skinny jeans squeeze them on because I like them and keep my life pushing. Or I can accentuate my figure by shopping and finding what looks good on me. It takes longer, but in the end when I'm happy and strutting my stuff in my bootlegs, I will feel better.

But we all still want some form of acceptance right? Will I really still feel good about my jeans when everyone else has on skinny jeans? Same goes for your relationships, are you ever just happy and confident in your relationship? If you did not have the thumbs up from your friends and the general applause from society, would you still be happy?

Or maybe its just fear or laziness that drives me towards trends. Wouldn't be easier for me to slap on some skinny jeans? Or am I scared that I will try every jean and nothing will fit me right? How will I feel about myself then? Maybe I should just stick with these skinny jeans. Are you just staying with that person for fear of the dating unknown? Are you scared that if you leave that person, you will never find anyone that is your right fit? Do you just not want to start all over again? Im purposely not providing answers :).

Remember, relationships are inevitably about the right fit. Don't be afraid to really self reflect on what creates the right fit for you. If it is not your partner, don't be afraid to go out and search for your perfect pair.