Category Archives: Uncategorized

5 Lessons Learned from 2019

wth was that

I walked into 2019 thinking “now THIS is definitely gonna be my year!” I was super excited, optimistic, and confident that all my hard work would finally pay off, I would finally see the meaning behind all my endless years of suffering, and I would finally be rewarded with true love and success…finally!! Aaaaaaaand here we are, 2 days before 2020, and to say the least, 2019 was probably the most painful year yet. In reflecting on the hundreds of painful lessons learned, I boiled them all down to FIVE, and here they are:

LESSON 1: Social Media and Your Mental Health:

Social media can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you use it. Using it mindlessly, I found it usually left me feeling empty, even lonely. By being selective of who and what I follow, I’m able to make sure that the time I spend on social media feeds my soul and makes me feel more connected to those I care about and the world. All that power was literally in the palm of my hands and no one else’s.

LESSON #2: Investing in Myself (It Started With My Integrity)

First, I define integrity. It’s a complex concept, but it all boils down to living consistently and as honestly as possible to our values and beliefs. Our integrity is our most prized possession because our life satisfaction, happiness and internal peace all depend on our integrity.

Do NOT sacrifice your integrity for anyone.
Nothing and no one is worth losing your integrity.
Take all the time you want
to process what needs processing
but do NOT let anyone take away your integrity.

I used to be a walking doormat. I used to react to people’s attitudes and behaviors flushing my integrity down the toilet. I was equally as guilty of questionable integrity as those I blamed. So, how do we strengthen our integrity? First, you gotta know who you are and what you stand for. That requires self-honesty. You must embrace and acknowledge who you really are (the parts you don’t want to admit to, the parts you want to change, and the parts you try to hide from everyone, including yourself). You can’t go forward without that. So take some time to sit down with yourself, just BE with yourself, and get to know that person, just like you would with anyone else.

If you don’t think you’re worth
taking the time to
sit down with and REALLY getting to know,
then why would anyone else want to??

Investing in yourself is the best and most profitable investment you will ever make. There are tons of ways to do that, but the investments that make the most impact are the ones that last. Investing in makeup, botox, and bigger boobs aren’t going to change who you are to your core… Invest in your physical and mental health. Invest in your education. Invest in the things that last.

But in this process, I had to remind myself to go easy on myself. We’ll never be perfect. There will always be a gap between who are are and who we aspire to be. It’s a life process. No one has their shit together. We are all one f*ing mess just trying to pick up the pieces of our sh*t show life. Some of us are better at it than others, but none of us have our sh*t together. So in the process of being kind and understanding toward yourself, be kind and understanding to others. Pick your favorite shit show, buckle in, and ride with it.

Note: there are things you DO need to be hard on yourself about: shaving, showering, brushing your teeth, making your bed, cleaning your house, getting dressed up… all these things are for you. Don’t NOT shave or shower just because you aren’t going to be around people. Don’t live in filth because no one is coming over. Good habits remind you of your worth. They also make you feel like you got your sh*t together which can come in handy when sh*t inevitably hits the fan. At least you look and smell nice and your bed is made and your house is clean… Oh! And sleep 6-8 hours a day, and no more.

LESSON #3: How to Identify People That are Bad for You (so you can avoid them):

Some people (*cough* me) can be too understanding, too accommodating, too empathic, too forgiving, too open minded… I give people more trust than they deserve, and give people the benefit of the doubt while blinding myself to all the red flags. And in the end, those I loved and trusted most with my heart and life lied to me, used me, cheated on me, stole from me, and threatened my life. There’s lots of these people, and I used to think identifying them was difficult, until now.

Identify one thing they are significantly unhappy with, and then:
1) find out how they believe they got in that situation,
2) look at how they are actively dealing with it.
3) examine how long it takes for them to find healing from it (effort=results)

Are they healing from it? Are they growing from it? Where are they in the process of healing? How long have they been there? You must know that healing requires time, a LOT of hard work (emotional and physical), DAILY active attention (commitment to developing new habits, getting rid of old habits, etc.), and endless humility (admitting we are wrong to ourselves and others, and changing).

Examine their attitude toward their hardship. Are they bitter? Blaming? Complaining but not doing anything effective or positive to resolve the situation? Do they cover up their pain? Do they escape or avoid it? Do they drink it away or drown it in other addictive behaviors? Does this pattern repeat in other areas of their life? Watch carefully.

This is so important, because if you ever become a perceived problem, in any way, whatsoever, big or small, that’s how they will deal with you as well. That’s how they deal with life. Run from these people. It’s not worth it.

LESSON #4: LET IT GO, You CAN’T Make Sense Out of NONSENSE

Some things don’t make any sense because they aren’t supposed to make any sense. We can spend countless hours, weeks, months, and years trying to understand why someone did something to us, and it will never make any sense. We suffer because we want it to make sense. This keeps us living in the past, and one immediate result is being imprisoned with remorse, guilt, shame, resentment, and bitterness.

You have ZERO control over the past.
That means that all the thinking in the world
won’t change a thing.

Keep your focus forward facing as you commit to being the best version of yourself possible.

If it’s meant to be it will be,
Never forget that.

Whether your goal in clinging to the past is to offer compassion and understanding, or just to get emotional closure, both require you to let go. Only when you let it go will you find freedom.


And the most important lesson I learned:

Life is full of curve balls and f*ed up people who do some REALLY, and unbelievably f*ed up things. Sickness, death, loss, breakups, divorce, betrayals… so many really, truly, sh*tty things are happening, unexpectedly, and randomly. You never know when it could be you. And when this pain comes knocking at your door, you will doubt the goodness in the world. You may even doubt yourself. There will be horrific people that make you doubt the goodness of humanity. You may be tempted to decide no one can be trusted, and close your heart to the world.

There will be moments that make you question
if this life is worth living.
It is.

Don’t let the darkness dim your light. Don’t let evil people dim your soul.

Don’t let hardship dim your faith.
If you do, darkness wins.
And you’re bigger and better and brighter than all of that.
Never doubt the power of your light, no matter how dark it gets.
Keep shining.

Do whatever you need to do to keep your light shining. Love always wins. Let love prevail. The seed you plant now will grow in time AND unfortunately (because that’s how love works) you will likely NOT be there to witness it in its final blossom… but the whole world will be better because of YOU. So love truly, wholly, love bravely, love unconditionally. LOVE ALWAYS WINS. Never forget that.

#LoveAlwaysWins #LetLovePrevail

Who am I? Shortening the Gap Between Real Me & Ideal Me

profile pic 2There exists a gap between who we are and who we believe we should be. Who we are is our “real self” (how we think, act, and look), and who we think we should be is our “ideal self” (who we would like to be).

Now… take a moment to stop reading and pinch yourself really hard. Do you feel pain? THAT is your real self. The YOU that can feel and experience pain. There’s nothing wrong with that. That doesn’t make you weak, and it doesn’t make you strong if you said it doesn’t hurt. It’s simply who you are.

Now… when those we love betray us, if we are honest with ourselves… yes…we hurt… Do you feel that? That is you who feels sadness, disappointment, anger, jealousy, and insecurity.

When we accomplish great things, we feel great! This is you who feels joy and pride for achieving goals. Our “real self” is not “bad” or “good”. It’s just who we are to our CORE. The one behind the mask. It is YOUR responsibility to know fully and embrace that person behind the mask.

And for many, accepting who we really are is difficult. It is difficult because we are constantly comparing who we are *now* with who we think we *should be* and USUALLY there’s a BIG GAP.

So we keep hiding who we are from those we love and care the most about (and sometimes even harbor unspoken and subconscious resentment towards them because we feel we can’t be ourselves around them), and this is a big reason why relationships fail. We are afraid to be REAL.

What’s more complicating is the fact that both our real self and our ideal self will change throughout our lives: the real self changes when we overcome challenges that bring us closer to our ideal self (this is GOOD!); our ideal self changes through culture, family, and environment (this could be good or bad depending on several factors).

In relationships, we tend to initially show up as closely to our ideal self as possible. We want to show our loved ones how wonderful we can, and want to be. As a child this got us attention and affection. As time goes by, however, parts of our real self start to show up. If we are loved unconditionally, this feels wonderful! If we aren’t… it can end up feeling like a shit show…

Our loved ones start to see the truth: We don’t actually have our shit together as much as we let on. We aren’t as clean, organized, or patient as we led our partner to believe. Yes, our shit stinks. Yes, we have bad morning breath. Yes, we are insecure, vulnerable, impatient, and scared of getting hurt… the list goes on… We are human.

Eventually though, we stop acting and start being “real”. This is natural and expected. We shouldn’t take it as a betrayal to see the “real” self of our partner show up as we become closer. It’s a beautiful unfolding!

What we should be paying attention to though, is the gap between the real self and the ideal self. How far is that gap between who our partner led us on to believe, and who they actually are? To be fair, YOU need to also consider how far that gap is between who YOU lead your partner on to believe, and who YOU *actually* are.

Ideally, you want that gap to be as minimal as possible so that as your relationship develops, your partner knows what they are getting into, and you allow your partner to know what they are signing up for. Embracing the “realness” can be a beautiful thing when the gap is small, and a HORRIFIC NIGHTMARE if the gap is large.

A smooth transition when the gap is small is usually a sign of a healthy relationship. The worst relationship is when the person you thought you were with turns out to be VERY different from who you thought they were (or vice versa). That will either require a very bumpy transition or the end of the relationship.

BUT.. whether we are in a relationship or not, our internal struggles (what make us feel crappy, insecure, inadequate, angry, etc.) usually stems from the GAP between who we are (are real self) and who we think we should be (our ideal self). Something inside us desires congruence between the two contrasting pieces of ourselves and if it is INCONGRUENT, we suffer internally. This suffering can spill over any potential for a true, meaningful relationship.

The closer we get to our ideal self, the happier we are with ourselves and with our lives. The problem with becoming closer to our ideal self is two fold: 1) You have to embrace your REAL self, know who that is, and accept it. And 2) the environment in which we place ourselves in will have a HUGE affect on who your “ideal self” is. We must be clear about who we are and where we came from. Is our environment congruent with the ideal person we see ourselves to be? Does our environment nurture and support us to become the person we aspire to be?

Carl Rogers originally came up with this theory, arguing that we behave the way we do based on how we perceive our situations. This is why our environment means so much. Who do we surround ourselves with? You will be just like the people you spend the most time with.

If we were to compare ourselves to flowers,
what soil are we allowing our roots to embed themselves in?

Read that again.

The point is, the distance between who you want to be and who you really are is going to be the source of your suffering or joy, and YOU get to choose ALL OF IT. YOU get to pick how you’re gonna feel about anything that happens to you in your life. YOU get to pick where you spend your time. YOU get to pick the person you want to be, and YOU get to pick how you’re gonna get there. And where you are RIGHT now, and how you feel RIGHT now… it’s all on YOU.


The Salsa of Life and Relationships

Six years ago I started dancing Salsa as a way to overcome my social anxiety and various insecurities.  Salsa became more than just a hobby. It taught me about life and relationships. Here’s my top 5 takeaways in my six years dancing (with probably tons of lessons to come as I continue my journey):

  1. You will always suck:
    That sounds bad but it keeps you humble. The more I practiced, the better I got. But the better I got the more I realized how much I didn’t know, how much I had yet to learn, and where I needed to improve.

    Some people are fine living a mediocre life and dancing “just OK.” Some people are actually perfectly content being “meh”. There are others who expect more of themselves and their partners.

                            If you like “meh”, expect “meh” from your partner.
    If you like greatness, expect greatness from your partner.

    I expect greatness and my dance director knows that. My director forces me to spend hours on my basic, which can be extremely frustrating. It’s a long and awkward process having to slow down and make sure your foundation is set before you try to challenge things you aren’t ready for. When you can’t even do a good basic (which is still my main issue), your partner is forced to slow down to match your level, which makes for a less-than-enjoyable dance leaving both people feeling “meh” in the end.

  2. Leadership isn’t a position that puts you in control of people; leadership is a responsibility to be present for others and inspire:
    Just because you are playing the role as Leader (either as a Lead in dance or a director of a dance team), doesn’t make you a great leader. True leadership inspires. One of my favorite quotes on leadership by Simon Sinek:

                                 “Leading is not the same as being a leader.
    Leading means others are willing to follow, not because
    they have to, but because they want to.”

    What do you bring to the table? Why would anyone want to follow you? Why waste your time or theirs? Don’t make this all about you. Maybe you aren’t a great Leader or Follower (YET!!). That’s ok. Let your partner know where you are in the game. Give them a heads up as to what you have to offer. Who knows? With such transparency, they’ll probably still be happy to dance with you.

  3. You don’t need a partner to enjoy the dance:
    After a few years dancing with a partner I realized that I had a lot of work to do on myself. My technique was off, my basic was shit (still is), and I couldn’t for the life of me find my core (and I still struggle with that). So I decided to stop dancing with a partner and join a ladies team in which I would be forced to own ALL my flaws by myself. I could no longer blame my mistakes and weaknesses on my partner. I could no longer ask someone else to help me keep my balance.

    And when you’re ready to go back into partner work, there’s still moments when you gotta be on your own. In salsa, we call it “shines”. It’s your moment to shine. Show what you’ve got. Show what you’ve worked for. Let your partner shine as well. When the two of you are able to shine together, but separately, it’s a fun, exciting, and beautiful dance the whole world wants to see.

  4. Trust:
    No relationship, whether it be a 3-minute dance or a long-term romantic relationship, can survive without trust. We trust that our partner chose to dance with us because they wanted to invest that time in us.

                                    NOT because it made them look or feel good.
    NOT because they were hoping to get lucky later…
    NOT because it made them feel guilty if they didn’t.
    And definitely NOT because they were bored and you were the only
    thing available at the moment…

    That said, before we can trust anyone, we MUST be able to trust ourselves. One of the biggest reasons we don’t trust others is because we don’t trust ourselves. But what is trust? Trust isn’t expecting that no one ever will ever disappoint you, that nothing will ever go wrong, or others will always make you happy.

                    Trust is knowing that you have what it takes inside of you to show up
    as the best version of yourself in whatever moment,
    and get through the dance knowing you did your best.

    Trust is having faith that the process you’ve chosen to engage in
    will work out exactly as it should
    because you’ve done the best you can in that moment.

    It may not be perfect,
    Maybe it was the worst dance of your life.
    It may even end up being the best dance of your life!!
    But you can trust that you gave it your all and that made it a success.

    Everything else is completely out of your hands. How your partner dances is on them. How they juggle their own insecurities and weaknesses is also on them.  This kinda follows the previous point, which is that you gotta do your part and work on yourself. But trust is a two way street. We want to trust that the person we choose to dance with is also doing their best. We can usually tell fairly early on when they are just not into it. Regardless, if you trust yourself, you have more patience within yourself, allowing your partner the space and time to work on themselves, express themselves, and feel the joy of dance.

  5. Life is the dancer. YOU are the DANCE:
    One of the biggest challenges we all face in life is thinking that we are in control and that we know what is best for others or how things “should be”. We believe we know what is “right” and judge everything else as wrong. We determine in our minds that “Once I make things or people change… once I convince that person they are wrong…once I get what I want… then I can finally be happy. I can finally be at peace.”

    We are at a constant war within ourselves and reality, only to be drastically disappointed when we find out that what we thought we wanted was NOT the key to our happiness.

    Through dance, I learned that “life lives within me” and I am a mere vessel. The more I got to know my fellow dancers, I realized that life was expressing itself artistically in all of us, in such a unique way, and it was ALL a beautiful collection of dances. Life dances through us all, it uses us to express itself and makes us the choreography. We can choose to be “just another dance” or we can choose to be the most beautiful, thoughtful, and inspiring choreography that life can dance through.

Feeling Guilt…A Wasted Emotion

The ending of a relationship will naturally lead to many feelings but the biggest one we hold on to  isn’t anger or sadness, but guilt. After feeling shock, sadness, and anger, at one point you will feel guilt:

“Sh*t… I really f*ed up this time….”
“What could I have done differently to make it work out?”
“If only I did xyz, then things would be different.”
“Even though it’s been over for a while, maybe if I do xyz, then maybe my ex-partner would change…or come back to me…”
“I need to prove my love for my partner and give what my partner is asking for, even though it hurts me; even though it means I have to go against who I am and what I want… BUT then my partner will see and feel my love and everything will miraculously get better!!”

Years of self-sacrifice and martyrdom go by and nothing we do makes it better. The relationship is still unhealthy, maybe even toxic.

“My partner isn’t changing to be the person I need them to be.”
“Maybe my partner is happy that I changed, but I’m miserable! My partner has everything they wanted from me, but I’ve lost all I am and all I wanted…”

Even after the relationship has run its course, we keep on brainstorming, finding creative ways to make a relationship that wasn’t meant to be, BE.

Even when it all falls apart, as it inevitably does, we feel guilty.

Whether you left, or your partner left, you can’t help but feel guilty… THIS IS NORMAL.

“How did I let this happen? What can I do to fix it? There’s gotta be something I can do to make it better!”

Feeling guilty for something you thought was bad (whether it actually was bad or it wasn’t) is a wasted emotion. Do you feel like if you take on the entire blame it could have changed the outcome? If you do take on full blame will it enable you to go back and make things work out?

Alternatively, if you (gasp!) ALLOW the other person to own THEIR share of the problem (which likely won’t ever happen) will it make you feel less responsible and you’re dead set on stealing that responsibility from them because you don’t respect them enough to let them own their part? Maybe that would make you feel even more guilty?

Are you playing the HERO? Maybe even thinking you can play God, trying to save or spare the other person from feeling bad or guilty?

Imagine if your best friend or even your daughter/son was in the same situation. What would you tell them? What would you advise them?

You would probably tell them that rather than piss and moan and sulk in your one-man pity party, to take responsibility for only YOUR part of the problem, respect your ex/partner to own THEIR part, and make conscious choices moving forward that allow you to live and be your best version of yourself.

Consider what you gained from that experience. As you write your list of pros and cons, ask yourself: was it worth it? Would you prefer to go back to what it was? Because if you think there is any other option (going back to a fantasy version) you’re still in the denial phase… sorry… 😦

Feeling guilty is basically an effective way of punishing yourself. Do you like punishing yourself? Do you like making yourself suffer? Your ego convinces you that you deserve all sorts of punishment for what you’ve done. It convinces you that you have some sort of control…over the inevitable pitfalls of life and control over others. And dude…that’s just sick…

But think about it… Is it possible that the end of this relationship was a pathway to a second chance to make things right within yourself and others?

Yeah, maybe things didn’t turn out the way you wanted. THAT’S LIFE. GET OVER IT.

Look at what you have in front of you right now and tell yourself the truth. You wanted to prove your love, but are you even giving yourself the love you deserve? How can you love others when you can’t even love yourself? Why would anyone want to be loved by someone who has absolutely no respect, dignity, and love for themselves?

Look in front of you. Who is by your side? Who is supporting you? Are you allowing others to love you? Or are you DEAD SET on making this person who clearly does NOT love you, love you?

You’ve spent so much time believing that things SHOULD be different. But how does that belief serve you? If you let go, do you think you’re letting yourself off the hook? Do you feel that at some level, by not sacrificing your dignity and dreams, you would be dishonoring the love you have for this person?



Where did the breakdown in the relationship happen? Was it suddenly? Or was it a constant issue? Are you feeling guilty about the loss? Or are you actually feeling bad for the problems in the relationship you continued to have and hold on to but were not able to fix?

At one point, you’re going to have to face reality. You’re going to have to look at what is in front of you and accept the fact that sh*t happens, things don’t always go the way we planned or hoped, even when we gave it our all, and even if we “kinda gave it our all”… and THAT IS LIFE.

Almost no one walks into a relationship thinking “gee, I hope this doesn’t work out”. No, we all want to love and be loved and do our best with the time and person we are given.

But you gotta know that accepting reality isn’t the same as liking it. You don’t have to LIKE the reality that is in front of you…but you do have to accept it. You just have to stop lying to yourself that it is any different, or that it “should” be any different. THIS IS YOUR REALITY. Suck it up. Own it. Move on. Be better…

So what’s stopping you? Do you feel bad about doing what is right for you? If so, ask yourself why. Why are you incapable of doing what is best for you? Why are you incapable of loving yourself? Why do you think you don’t deserve a HEALTHY LOVING RELATIONSHIP?

Self love is feeling love and compassion for yourself.
Self love is a concept.
After self-love comes self-care.
Self-care is ACTION.

That’s where we usually get stuck. How do we actually love ourselves? Isn’t that selfish? Won’t that make me feel MORE guilty?

Not at all.

Self-care is the simple act of proving that you care enough for yourself to take care of yourself. It’s the small acts of kindness, like getting more organized, maybe seeking therapy, maybe eating better, practicing patience, and maybe even forgiving yourself

Feeling Guilt is a wasted emotion. It’s time to move on.
Don’t wanna move on? Then stop complaining. guilt


A Complicated Relationship


These days I’ve been struggling in my relationship with Reality. Reality doesn’t do the things I want it to. Reality doesn’t tell me the things I want to hear. Sometimes I think Reality is intentionally punishing me. Oftentimes, Reality will even take things away from me that I really wanted to hold on to. Sometimes I wonder if our relationship is one-sided because every time I try to argue with Reality, I always lose, 100% of the time. Reality never apologizes. It just is…unapologetically Reality.

One of the biggest reasons I struggle with having a meaningful relationship with Reality is that I’ve lied to myself, telling myself that if I’m friends with Reality then I can’t also be friends with, “My Ideals and Preferences”.

Notice “My Ideals and Preferences” goes by a much longer name… she’s so complicated, always changing, and sometimes she just seems to be all over the place… Reality is so much simpler, but so stubborn. These two rarely get along because they clash so much, yet both are such an important part of me. I end up having to be the middle man, trying to help them come to a peaceful resolution, and that is not an easy task.

“My Ideals and Preferences” tells me Reality is mean and ugly. Reality tells me “My Ideals and Preferences” are the cause of my suffering. Both demand that I pick one.

To be honest, I like hanging out with “My Ideals and Preferences” more than “Reality” because “My Ideals and Preferences” make me feel justified in doing and thinking what I do. In fact, I can usually get away with a lot of stuff that isn’t good for me by listening to “My Ideals and Preferences”. Unfortunately, this causes a lot of conflict with my personal relationships, my professional relationships, my career, my family, my children, and can sometimes negatively affect my physical health.

That’s when I realize that maybe “Reality” isn’t that bad after all, even if I’m not seeing or getting what “My Ideals and Preferences” gives me.

When I embrace Reality, Reality helps me come up with realistic, effective, and long-term solutions to my problems. Reality helps me see things as they are, which enables me to deal with life much more effectively. Reality is quite different from My Ideals and Preferences, but what I’ve come to realize is, Reality is actually much kinder than the story My Ideals and Preferences say it is.

However, “My Ideals and Preferences” will always have a special place in my heart. My Ideals and Preferences remind me who I am, encourage me, motivate me, and make me feel brave when pursuing the unknown. She also reminds me to take good care of myself when Reality gets to be a bit too overwhelming…

It’s on me to make this relationship a healthy one, even if it is a complicated one.



Up until recently I used to think self-respect meant not allowing people to walk all over you. That approach required quite a lot of unearned arrogance and pride, a closed mind, and very little space for humility. That didn’t get me far…

Now I realize that self-respect is a healthy balance of seeing what needs to be fixed within me and changing it to be the best version of myself. But this comes coupled with a confidence and contentment knowing I am good enough, doing the best I can, and am right where I should be.

Ultimately, I recognized that self-respect meant me being genuinely honest with myself, and not allowing anyone’s attitude or behavior toward me affect how I feel about me. It meant not letting someone or something lead me to act with questionable dignity and integrity.

Self-respect isn’t easy!! 😂

Joy & Suffering

bee this time

The extent of the damage we cause to ourselves and others, in trying to relieve ourselves from our perceived suffering, can be minimized when we finally accept and realize that we cannot control others.
If we were to be brutally honest with ourselves we would understand that our suffering is the result of either (a) the natural consequences of our shitty choices, thoughts, attitude, or behavior or (b) because of something completely out of our control.
In either case, when we hold someone else responsible for making our suffering go away, we are in essence running from our responsibilities. We are trying to make someone else change so that we don’t have to feel the way we feel. We make ourselves a powerless victim. We strip ourselves of our power, and we give all the power to the person that we believe is causing suffering.
JOY comes in and out of our life. It’s a wonderful feeling. And just like JOY, suffering also comes in and out of our life. Without one you can’t have the other. Just like we can’t feel warmth if we’ve never felt cold. But the good news is we can significantly decrease our suffering.


As we mature, we learn that trying to make others change only leads to more suffering. We may think our mini battles with this person is making a difference, but it is just a distraction from the real problem. We delude ourselves into thinking we’re taking action on a problem, when in reality we are running into a glass wall over and over and over again. We can’t see the wall in front of us. We have to stop, clear our vision, and open our minds (the door).
We’re constantly on the search for an escape from suffering and discomfort. We are at a constant war with the world, with ourselves, with others, and with reality, and that is the ultimate source of suffering.
Eventually, we come to realize that the only thing we will ever have control over is our attitude and how we face suffering and discomfort. Interestingly, this (our attitude) is our primary source of JOY and this JOY can be made and experienced as much as you want.
Joy begins pouring into our lives, and suffering is minimized when you stop trying to change others. You become allies with Life. You come to understand yourself and your fellow humans a little better. Life gets easier, because you get better at dealing with it.

Why We Love Who We Love

Layout 1
If we are so smart, why do we make such foolish choices on who we choose to love? Does love make us foolish? Is it truly out of our control? French physicist Blaise Pascal once wrote, ”the heart has reasons that reason cannot comprehend.” Fortunately, that may not be true.
Now there’s a scientific explanation on why we choose who we love and how that changes who we are at the core. The answer: blame it on our limbic system.
The limbic system is the part of our brain that drives our motivation, emotion, and learning, and if left unchecked most often runs on the default of old memories and the familiar. While at one point this was a necessary function for our survival (i.e., we’ve learned to remember that all hungry tigers will eat you, so run), as we evolve, we haven’t quite figured out how to be the master of our limbic system, which can get us into trouble when it comes to meaningful relationships.
Why are some women attracted to “the bad boy”? Why are some men attracted to the “bitchy control freak”?
As humans, the primordial area of our brain is responsible for creating both the capacity and the need for emotional intimacy. The limbic system is only ONE part of three other very important systems (the other two being our reptilian brain that tells our body to breathe, and our neocortex that allows us to read, write, and speak) in our brain that help us succeed in all areas of our life. As you can imagine, without a careful balance, we end up making some pretty bad choices in life.
As children, we often first experience what we eventually define as “love” from our parents. This comes in the form of both how they treat us, how they treat others, and how they treat themselves. They, in essence, mold into our brains and hearts what it looks like and feels like to be “loved” and we carry this message of love with us in our brains and hearts for the rest of our lives. If the message we carry is good, we may end up having positive experiences. If it isn’t, we end up having less than positive experiences.
Naturally, as we live our lives, those we “love” and are loved by tend to slowly edit in our brains how we define “love”. Perhaps someone comes along and shows us a much better version of love and we take that and run with it. There are cases when someone comes along and shows us a very painful version of love and we take that.  Naturally, who we choose to love becomes a very big decision. Who shall we open our hearts to? It is this person who will forever mold us and change us for the better or worse…
In their book, A General Theory of Love, Lewis, Amini, and Lannon state,

“In a relationship, one mind revises the other; one heart changes its partner. This astounding legacy of our combined status as mammals and neural beings is limbic revision: the power to remodel the emotional parts of the people we love, as our Attractors [coteries of ingrained information patterns] activate certain limbic pathways, and the brain’s inexorable memory mechanism reinforces them.
Who we are and who we become depends, in part, on whom we love.”
Without balance, we will either overthink, not think at all, or overly rely on an emotionally unstable box of scattered and conflicting dramas to lead us to “the right person.” We can’t use just our intelligence in choosing a partner, yet we can’t just go with our feelings. It requires careful balance and a serious level of self-honesty, investigating our deepest selves: Who am I? What do I believe? Why do I believe that? What do I want, and WHY do I want that?

Sadly, most people will choose misery with a partner their limbic brain recognizes as familiar, over the less dramatic pleasure of a ‘nice’ relationship because the latter is unfamiliar.

I personally believe that neither is wrong nor right. In the end, it rteally depends on what is going to get you where you want to go. Where do you want to go in this one precious life?

For me, I’d rather pursue the latter. The healthy relationship, the loving, supportive relationship. What does this look like? I haven’t got a clue, but I do know what unhealthy feels like.

And if our limbic system is simply a collection of the familiar, then perhaps the real goal here is to simply disallow the unhealthy by walking away from it entirely, and surrounding myself with healthy relationships. Through this, slowly, the unhealthy images are replaced via prolonged contact with a caring, wise, responsive people.  Over time, we develop new neural connections in our brain, not just changing the limbic system, but our neocortex as well.

So what does a “healthy” relationship look like? It looks like love. It feels like love. But what is “real” love when we haven’t experienced it before?
When we are truly loved we feel good about ourselves.  When the presence of someone awakens the feeling of being happy with WHO YOU ARE, leading you to be happy with who you are becoming, is probably the direction you’d want to go.

How do you feel in the presence of your loved one? This will determine the degree to which you flourish.

In the words of Dr. Seuss, “You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”

You are SO VERY worthy of love

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Recently someone told me, “how could anyone love you now?” He was referencing the fact that I have two kids and have divorced twice. 

Those words sat with me for a few weeks. Maybe he’s right. Who could possibly love someone like me? 

For weeks I deeply and genuinely considered accepting that fact. For weeks I was ready to accept that I was not put on this earth to be truly loved by a man. I figured maybe my life purpose was to do great things alone, and that was completely fine. After all, I love myself! I really love who I am, where I am in life, and what I’ve accomplished. So what if no man could ever love me. Yeah, the thought made me feel a little lonely, but nevertheless I’d be fine. After all I’ve gone through, maybe I was being selfish or stupid to think life would be a little bit better, and definitely a lot more fun with a life partner…  Maybe that’s the price I have to pay for all of my mistakes. I can accept that. Life is still pretty awesome.

And then it finally hit me: What he told me is not true. Maybe what he told me was actually something he was feeling about himself.

The Truth

The truth is there is a little (and sometimes BIG) part of EVERYONE that feels unlovable or unworthy. 

You giving your body and heart to someone who is incapable of love doesn’t make you unlovable. You mistakenly trusting people who have bad (or ZERO) good intentions toward you does NOT make you unlovable. 

Does it make you naive? Perhaps.

Does it mean you suck at picking potential partners? Possibly, but that can be fixed.

Does it mean you made a few mistakes? Yeah, it does.

But it does NOT make you unlovable, and it definitely does NOT make you unworthy. And THAT’S where the difference lies. 

Truly loving another person is hard, and the reason is because love takes tremendous courage. Love requires an open heart and mind, faith, patience, and a commitment to go back again and again to acting in a loving way, BEING LOVING, even when we don’t want to or feel like it. Even when shit gets a little scare and we aren’t sure. It means forgiving when we feel we’ve been wronged. It means fully owning and being accountable for our part of the problem. REAL LOVE is so, so very hard to actually do. 

And the truth is that sometimes it takes quite a bit of having your heart broken, crushed into tiny pieces even, to fully grasp the awesomeness of this REAL LOVE, to genuinely appreciate what it means to LOVE and BE LOVED. The truth is that not a lot of people are ready or willing to experience REAL LOVE, at least not yet. 

But you do. You get it. 

And that’s why you continue to love. 

So if you are reading this and have ever felt the way I did, please don’t believe it any longer. Don’t let those thoughts seep any further under your skin. Don’t let them anywhere near your heart, because it isn’t true. You are lovable. You are worthy. You are SO VERY worthy of love, because THAT IS WHO YOU ARE

What is Love?

The decision to love.

What is love? I get asked that a lot. Even now I don’t have an answer. But what I do know is that the decision to actually choose love over that which is not love, is not an easy one.

Day in and day out we are faced with endless opportunities to choose Love.

We see it in the moment our children come running for a hug but we are rushing out the door, late for a meeting. We see it in the moment our partner passive aggressively complains about something we’ve said or done, again, about that petty thing we are so sick and tired of hearing about. We see it in the moment we check out at the grocery line and could have spoken to the cashier, but just wanted to pay and go home. We see it on our long commutes home when someone else is trying to merge and we’d rather speed up so as not to “lose our place in line”. We see it in the meals we cook for our loved ones and the potential conversations at the dinner table. We even see it in the moments we look at ourselves in the mirror and judge what we see as not good enough. What are we choosing in those moments? Are we choosing Love?

There are other unexpected places we find opportunities to love. Sometimes we see it when our loved ones decide to leave us. Sometimes we even see it when we find ourselves in a situation in which we must decide to stay or go. We can find love in the most painful moments, when we know we must let them go.

Yes… love can feel amazing at times… but sometimes love hurts as well…

Opportunities to chose Real Love are around us, every second, and every moment of our lives.

While I can’t for sure say what Real Love is, I can say for sure when I’m choosing to love and when I’m choosing “something else”.

So… if I’m not choosing love, what am I choosing?

Maybe that will bring us closer to understanding what LOVE is.

My answer to the question “what is love?”, is simply: “the decision to choose that which is loving, over, and over, and over again. Never give up on choosing Love. Never give up on Love.

The more we choose Love, the more we know it; the more we really start to feel it; the more it becomes who we are; and yes, finally, we look around and realize we are surrounded in Love.