Along with the arrival of the new year, comes the arrival of resolutions both new and old. It’s a time when high hopes and determined minds get to work. Attempting to create a happy that was lost long before their beach body. One you know will only last until approximately January 11th. Why do we do this to ourselves? Similar to getting “beach body ready” (which if you have a body to begin with then you are beach body ready), many times we go cold turkey. Cut out the bad replace it with what we “should do” and gag down a bowl of kale and collard greens. But what always happens? You go to your favorite restaurant with your family and eat your favorite pasta dish and dessert, your long lost friend invites you over for a girls night filled with wine and sugar covered treats, or you just couldn’t do it any more and finally ate that doughnut staring at you in the office break room. Whatever your reason is, the point I am trying to get at is, cold turkey normally doesn’t work out well. We create an expectation for ourselves and then, more times than not, end up failing. Why do we do this? Instead of this toxic karmic cycle I am proposing something a little different. An evolution. Yes, like apes evolved into humans, that is how I want you to look at the new year. It took a lot of time to get from an ape to us, it didn’t happen in a month. Just like loosing weight or eating more healthfully or traveling more or whatever your resolution is will most likely not happen simply in the time span of 30 days. If you are determined to make it happen then do you boo boo! But for everyone else I am proposing and evolution. Let go of the strict time limit you set on yourself of when _________ happens I will be happy. Be happy along the way to__________ and then you can say you are fully enjoying your life. This torture circle of expectations and let downs, mostly done to and by ourselves, is really harmful. What I am saying is not to let go of the dream of losing weight or traveling more, keep that excitement! Just don’t flip your life upside down expecting to accomplish it within a matter of weeks. Rather enjoy the process. Research all sorts of places to travel and create a list, maybe pick up an extra shift at work to make a little more money. Or maybe figure out how to travel in the thriftiest manner while still enjoying yourself, that could end up being a fun adventure within itself. Maybe look up the reason behind why certain foods are healthy, research the nutrients and vitamins. Create a more organizational way of eating or adopt the 80/20 rule. Whatever you do to attain your goal just try to make it fun and exciting for yourself in the process. So rather than making a resolution this year I challenge you to make an evolution. Accept where you are at the moment. Then look forward to the amazing future you have ahead of you, making healthy and sure strides, not quick and hasty ones. This is going to be your best year yet! Just allow yourself to truly be happy starting it off.
When it comes to initial connections is it bad when you need some time? Maybe you have had some less than pleasant past experiences and need some time to warm up and get to know the person. That is totally okay! We have termed the word "dating" to be where you go out and essentially meet a stranger to see if you are indeed attracted to them. But when attraction only comes after a decent amount of time is spent with that person don't fret. Everyone "dates" differently and to be honest, it is probably a positive to not get so involved so quickly! When you have a clear head and can get to know the person more on a friend level initially, it makes it a lot easier to form a quality relationship that will last longer than two weeks. You get to know them for who they really are and are then able to know if they are safe to fall in love with or not. It is perfectly fine (and actually very smart) to take things slow in the beginning and protect your heart a bit. If anyone has an issue with you wanting to be friends first before dating then they aren't the right one anyway! Relationships that come out of friendships are honestly the healthiest ones. To have someone that not only understands you and all of your quirks yet wants to get down and dirty with you but also makes you pee your pants laughing and then doesn't judge you for peeing your pants, is someone to keep around. We need to loosen the limits on dating and the expectations that come with it. It is okay if you have no clue if you like the person upon the initial interaction, not everyone has to have that "love at first sight" mumbo jumbo. If anything, it plays into your character of being more interested in a deeper connection than if they wear a certain outfit or what car they drive. Don't worry about the pressures and judgements in life, just focus on and follow your happy.
When it comes to relationships why do some view it synonymous to jail? Ever heard of the "ol' ball and chain"? How about men kidding around when their buddy is about to get married, saying he is “done for it” or “losing his manhood”? Essentially marriage is the end all be all and he might as well die. Everyone seems to want and yearn for this illusory word yet trash and compare it to the end of all freedom and in some cases your life. Why is there such a paradoxical view on this love. It's seemingly ever-changing based off your relationship status or lack of.
When it comes to relationships, where do we get to this conclusion that once you fall in love you have to lose yourself? The other day someone told me “men do what is best for them in the situation and women always seem to be the one bending and pleasing”. This got me thinking, when does the bending stop, if it stops at all? Before I continue, I want to preface that I love men. I think the majority of them are amazing and respectful and are never trying to cause any harm. Yet at the same time, some of these men are offering the most harmful love without realizing. Being in a relationship shouldn’t be something where you lose yourself, it should be the opposite. I am a very firm believer in this. Prior to meeting my boyfriend I was in the height of being connected with my mind and body. I felt amazing, I felt powerful, I felt beautiful, I felt free, I was happy to be me. So much so, that when my incredible boyfriend came along I almost didn’t want to date him, due to my first thought being, I don’t want to lose me. Which I think is the saddest conclusion society has taught many women today. You either are in a relationship with yourself and have no one, or you are in a relationship with someone and lose yourself. Due to rebelling against this ideal, I take a step back every now and again if I feel I need to nurture my relationship with me. This is not something to be frowned upon and women shouldn’t feel ashamed in doing so. That is the difference between selfless and selfish love. Unlike what some may think, your significant other should encourage you to keep that part of you. After all that is the reason they fell in love in the first place, right?
When it comes to the holidays why is there so much pressure? When you are single around this time, it appears there is a never ending train of questions, concerns and expectations forced upon you. Who are you dating? Why aren't they here? Are you two serious? Anyone catching your attention lately? Why don't you give so and so a chance? You sure you don't like them? and the dreaded "My boyfriends-brothers-friends-sister has a guy friend that's been single for a while, I will set you two up!" Instead of pressuring people into unwanted relationships, why can't there just be love and support shown? In certain situations setting two people up can be a match made in heaven. However if they aren't asking to be set up in the first place maybe they just simply don't want to be. Being single can be hard for some but liberating for others. Some love this time, surrounded by family with no strings attached. They can re-invent themselves in the new year and start new traditions on their own. Unlike what most of the world thinks, there is nothing wrong with being in one's own company and enjoying it. You are not some psycho freak because you love to enjoy the little things in life solo and be spontaneous on your own accord. Being single is not something to be pitied. This is your time to go out and enjoy the world how you want, without worrying about another. Find a friend within yourself and don't listen to the opinions of everyone else, you are doing great!
When it comes to relationships, when does questioning go from enlightening to annoying? Friends and family love and only want what is best, but what if what's best, isn't being given? When you listen to your gut it will tell you everything you won't admit to yourself. So at times, can these relationship talks be too much? Being happy yet hearing "are you okay with that?" or the always fun "that doesn't bug you?" begins to be the things that you aren't okay with, or that bug you, not your partner. Outside opinions being forced upon your relationship based off that persons own life and struggles. Questioning through their own insecurities. So when this happens stay true to yourself and your partner. Know that your relationship is yours, nobody else's. There is something sacred in the relationship unknown. What others don't know or see is for a reason, it is private. Something kept between just you two, and that is okay! Now I am not talking about toxic relationships here, I am talking about beautifully healthy ones, that still, somehow, get asked these questions. Ones where there is an unequivocal love. One that won't be broken over a silly comment or forgetful mind. All I am saying is, when you know you know, there is no way to explain it. Don't allow outsiders to rip you from your tracks due to their own insecurities. When it comes to relationships, are the judgmental really just jealous?
My mind likes to play tricks on me at times. Making me feel as tiny as a pin prick, as non-existent as a white glove in snow, as useless a light bulb in broad daylight, the base of all hurtful jokes, it goes to town. Conquering this lashing out has been a task. One that hasn't been easy, but I know, that in those weak moments, I have you. Your gruff, yet soft hands cradle my face as you bring it in-line with yours. Baby blues circle around kissing each feature they glance upon. "You are gorgeous, don't do this to yourself, I love you". Then releasing my cheeks you pull me in for a hug. Enveloping me in warmth, now safe from my own thoughts. Nuzzling my cheek gently with your own, every part of you feels like home. When I lose my way, you always lead me back. You are a love I will never forget.
Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go