Love in Love

Everybody wants to be loved. But what does that really mean? The terms, “I love you”, and “I’m in love with you”, are overused, underused and often misunderstood. 

Some people tend to link love with romantic relationships. This is a big shortcoming for love. Love is so much bigger and greater than just romance. When used in a relational context people say I love you. In the initial stages of romantic relationships people will say “I’m so in love with you”. Let’s break down these terms.

By definition

*Love*

 (Merriam-Webster) 

-A strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. Attraction based on sexual desire. Affection and tenderness felt by lovers. Devotion. A beloved person. Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another. 

(Bible 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

– Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Then the scripture goes further to say,

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

Self-sacrifice is the ultimate form of love. Loving somebody else more than you love yourself. 
The dictionary definition, focuses on mainly physical aspects. Anything physical will eventually perish. The biblical definition focuses on actions, emotions, feelings, and focuses on the betterment of another without the intent of personal gain. Weber, when done correctly the personal gain is so great and so fulfilling because you have learned how to love and you will have fulfillment. The biblical definition of love is a difficult type of love, but I believe it’s the only solid type of love. It is unconditional. That is the love that people truly desire. To be loved unconditionally. Persevere through hard times and not to fade away. 
People tend to say, “you said I love you too soon”. I don’t think there is ever a “too soon”. I believe that love is a choice. You choose to unconditionally love somebody. There is no timeframe for when you can choose to do so. I favor the biblical definition of love. If you meet those qualifications there is no timeline. It’s good, healthy and admirable to love somebody. And it’s selfish for you not to tell them. It’s amazing what changes in a relationship, romantic or personal, when one truly feels loved and when one truly feels that they are accomplishing the art of being loving. 
Clarification needs to happen. Love is too often tied to romance. When in fact love is a lifestyle you should be striving to walk in. 

When people say, “I’m in love with you”, that is VERY different than saying, “I love you.” To be in love, is to be infatuated with somebody and to be pursuing them. Everything around you fades and you focus all your energy on one person. People tend to say that people are crazy for saying they are falling in love. They say “it’s too soon to tell” and that “it’s just a feeling.” Well, the feeling of falling in love in this sense is a feeling. It’s a good feeling at that. You like the way that you feel with this person. It feels good to be wanted and pursued and to have somebody who desires to please you. Those are all beautiful things. You like their physical affection towards you and you are falling for them. Keep in mind…. these are physical things. It’s part of it but it’s not the whole picture. It’s not complete until it is proven and sustains. That doesn’t mean that the process of falling in love is not happening. This means that you were letting down your walls and you were letting somebody into your heart. This doesn’t mean that it’s perfect love, it just means that it feels good and you’re falling into the process of love. With romance it begins there. Those feelings can come at any time. They are just feelings and not actions. So you can’t say you truly love the person. However, falling in love is a process towards achieving romantic love with a person. If somebody tells you that it’s too soon to say I love you, they’re probably bitter and have brokenness in their own heart to deal with. We are all bitter at some point. Bitterness is not healthy. That is not loving. It is wrong. Love is a healthy thing. It should never be scorned or blown off. Even if the definition is not met, when somebody moves to say I love you, they have a deep feeling towards an individual that needs to be expressed. 

There is never a right time to say I love you or to fall in love. But rather there’s a right way to love and to fall in love. You dont want to fall in lust. Physical attraction is the first thing that draws us to most people. It’s easy to lust and we end up getting to know them physically/sexually before we even know them mentally, spiritually, or personally. Once we cave to the sexual aspect, the other elements are missed and a solid foundation was never placed. If you build your house on a solid foundation it will last through a storm. If there’s no solid foundation and you build your house in the sand, it will fall away in the storm.  
Anytime you have sex with somebody, you are giving them the deepest most intimate part of yourself. That is why it’s so difficult to let go of somebody you have been intimate with. Sex has become an addiction. It has become an action. People have devalued sex by having random hook ups and friends with benefits. Sex is a beautiful thing it was designed by God to be so. There is a reason that relationships fail and hearts are broken. It’s because it was not built on a solid foundation. Sex is great, it’s fun, but in and of itself is not fulfilling. When you have somebody that you are in love with and that you can honestly say, “I love you”, to, the intimacy and passion and sex is greatly increased and you can feel the difference. It’s not the same feeling that you get with a random hook up or casual sex partner. It’s just not. It may feel good physically, but you will be emotionally, mentally, and spiritually hurting and not understand why you can’t heal and move foreword. If you’re trying to get healthy, you can’t keep living in unhealthy ways. Until you are ready to make life changes, you will never truly heal and you’ll never be healthy. The inner satisfaction and true joy of finding the right form of love and finally being fullfilled radiates from an individual and everyone around consider friends. You feel different, you look different, and you live different. Life without love is a life lost. You don’t have to feel lost. Learn to live in love and begin the journey to truly understand what it means to love. When you find it, you will know. True love never fails. 

RELATIONSHIP 101: Rebounds and moving forward

The first question people ask when they are the first date after a break up is ” Are you sure that I am not just a rebound?”. The answer that the person usually gives is “Of course not”.  That is a lie. With every relationship you enter into it will either end in a breakup or a marriage/permanent relationship.  So with any relationship you enter into, you must go in with the expectation of either one. So many times we will hope that the relationship ends in marriage but when it ends in breakup we are heart broken and in shock that something  “so tragic” could happen to us. We have all been there. When we go through a breakup it is hard to deal with. We spend so much time with the person. We have in some cases changed our lives for that person, and changed friend circles. When a relationship ends, so does that friend circle and current circumstances.  The first few days we are depressed and seek counsel from friends. In most cases we lock ourselves in our bedroom with movies and Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream for days and shut ourselves off from all outside communication. Eventually we put ourselves back together and we realize that the time has come where we need to stand back up and get back into the dating game. 

We all will have the “first person after the breakup” that we date. This person is termed by society as the rebound. 

There are a few definitions for a rebound 

1. Urban Dictionary- Going from one relationship to the next right away to avoid the pain of a breakup

2.  A rebound is someone who you date/go out with to keep yourself busy and you use him/her to keep your mind off of your ex who you still have feelings for
 
3- The freedictionary.com-  To recover, as from depression or disappointment. 
 
These definitions fit societies view of a rebound well. Any time you start a relationship it will end in a breakup or a full commitment…EVEN with a rebound. The problem is that most rebounds end up failing which give them a bad reputation. The reason they fail s typically because the person who just got out of a relationship “settled” for the quickest new relationship, or the person started a relationship with a potentially good match too soon after the breakup and did not have time to fully heal emotionally.  When you start a new relationship without fixing the problems you brought over from the old one they will not just disappear, and you will end up with the same problems in this new relationship. 
 
People tend to believe that a rebound is not fair, or that it is a bad idea. I beg to differ. I believe that a rebound is a necessary part of the process. without a rebound right away, the mind can wander and depression can set in. To end a relationship depressed and down on life is sad. When the rebound steps in and starts taking you out and building you back up, it is a positive thing. They will help you through the healing process and will allow you to realize that the problem is not you. You will then be able to have a sense of hope. By the time you rebuild yourself through this rebound, you will now see clearly that the rebound is not quite the level you deserve. When you end that rebound relationship, you are on your way to full self healing and realizing your full potential in a relatonship. You will then learn what you want and what you DONT want. That is key to understand in a relationship.  This is a learning process for both parties in the rebound relationship. One can argue that it is unfair to the person to be used as a rebound…..but by definition as listed above… the person is going from one relationship to another quickly….so then wont the person who just got “dumped” move on to another relationship? Absolutely! It is all a part of the cycle and it is all necessary in the process. Each breakup requires two people to move on. A rebound is simply the first person you date after a relationship. Just like any other relationship you are in, it will either fail or move forward.  The key is….If you have gone through a breakup, move forward. Date more. It is ok to “rebound” don’t be afraid of that term. Everyone has to get back on the horse to date again eventually.  A rebound is a healthy part of the healing process.  Have fun with dating and tread lightly. Try to remove ALL EXPECTATIONS. Just enjoy people. 
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Just say, “NO”. 

How many times have you taken a day off and said, “today is my day”. And then you pick up your phone…. And the day is no longer yours. In order to have time to give away, you need to make time to get away. 
We live in a world of busyness. REST is just missing a few letters to read as STRESSED. We add too much to rest and then it becomes stress. Stress is DEADLY. Many evidenced based studies show the negative impact of stress on our life. Rest is the easiest cure yet we never get enough. 

We need rest. Sometimes when we get away from everything we take a vacation and we take our friends with us. This is not getting away from everything. This is taking your life with you and you are not truly getting away from it all. There is a difference between traveling and vacation. 

So many times, we find our identity in our work. This is not who we are. The problem is that we feel as though people need us. That’s just it. People don’t need us. Everyone is replaceable. That’s life. We can give more of ourselves when we are fulfilled and recharged as opposed to just being and constantly draining ourselves. How can you be inspiring and of use to somebody if you are no different and no more passionate than before, because you never stepped away to learn more and get rid of the old and allow yourself to receive the new. 
On the 7th day of creation, God rested. How in the world do we think that we don’t need what God wanted. We need rest. Sometimes we need to simply learn to just say, “no”. …. And when you say, “no”….. Be okay with it. Otherwise the stress from your regret or saying “no” will eat you alive and ruin your rest. Set boundaries in your life. 
We live in a world that doesn’t stop. We work so much and push ourselves so hard that we are literally killing ourselves. 

You don’t have to have the answer for everyone, everytime, everywhere. Take time for YOU. 

The Detroit Comeback: Is it real?

Detroit…..

Masquerade Brigade

“You lived in Detroit? Get out. No you didn’t. You mean you lived in one of the nice suburbs around Detroit? No? So, actually like, inside Detroit Detroit. Wow, well, tell me about it. I read this article the other day… I mean, I’ve been hearing a lot about Detroit lately…”

So have I.

Over the last couple of years or so, “The Detroit Comeback” has become a staple headline across news media outlets all around the globe. From small local newspapers to the BBC, the headline has been recycled eagerly over and over again. And quite frankly, that headline is really starting to upset me.

Now, before any of you proud Detroiters start throwing your coney dogs at me, let me first say this: I love Detroit! I just have a bone to pick with Detroit’s new trademark “The Detroit Comeback” headline.

detroit silhouette

First, this headline has created a shockingly…

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Budapest

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Budapest

When I went to Budapest I was not sure what to expect. What I did know is that they were famous for their Hot Springs, thermal baths and bridges. That’s all I need to know to spend an extra day there in the spa! Trisha and I had quite the experiences there. It was our midway point of a six-week backpacking trip. So we were using Budapest as our relaxation point where we could just spend all day in the thermal baths at different locations in the city to recharge for the rest of the trip. We ended up spending two whole days at the Hot Springs. It was amazing. The mineral baths were therapeutic, relaxing and just what the doctor ordered.

When we first arrived in Budapest we checked into our hostel – which was five star hotel converted into a hostel.It was called wombatz hostel. It was huge. There were young adults there from all over the world. It was the best place to meet people….. Although, I am still trying to decide for myself if there is a real difference in the definitions between hostel and brothel! It was definitely a hook up spot for random people! We learned that very quickly! Although, I must say that I did not join in the festivities. After we dropped our bags off, we went down the street to look for some food. On the way to the restaurant we saw this Mexican place. When we walked by there was a man through the open window who made eye contact with us. As we walked past the door the guy came out after us. He came up to me and said, quote you look very happy, I would like to give you a massage. Not the sexy massage but the relaxation kind. I would like to do this for you in my apartment right next-door hardly a price.” I looked at Trisha with the eyes of, “is this real life?” The guy was serious. We thanked him and walked away. He did not speak great English. I was in shock that actually happened. It was hilarious. We spent the rest of that evening at the train station mall. It was a four-story mall. We caught up on all of our shopping there for the rest of the trip. Budapest was really inexpensive!

The next day, we went to Gellert spa. We spent all day to different thermal baths that went up to 40°C and then the 19°C pools. It was much needed relaxation day. We followed that up with an hour massage at the spa. Later that evening, after a full day of relaxation, we met up with a couch surfing friend that I met online. His name was Ramin. He gave us directions to his house to meet him and two French girls and two Italian girls who were also strangers from the couch-surfing website as well as his roommates at his apartment before they went out for the night. It was late at night. We made it off of the subway to the stop that he told us. When we got to his home, we rang and rang and knocked and knocked. There was no answer. We decided after standing in the dark street for 10 minutes that maybe this was not a good idea. We figured that they had left without us or it was a set up.

We then decided to sit on the curb near the apartment. We opened up a bottle of wine and began to drink it on the street side just like everybody else did in that town. People were walking by and we still had no response by phone from the contact we were meeting up with. We decided to make the best of it. A younger guy walked past us and Tricia asked him if he wanted a drink because we have plenty. He smiled and said no thank you and walked on by. I looked and down the street and said, “wait where you going. ” He said that he was going to meet up with his friends to go out. I said, “perfect let’s join you” He felt a little bit uncomfortable but said yeah I guess so…. We got up from the street corner and walked with him. When he went to unlock his door it was the same building that the guy we were supposed to meet lives in. I then told him the story about how we were meeting this guy named Ramin to go out with him and his roommates and friends and that I hadn’t heard back from him. The guy stopped and looked at me. He said, “no way”! As we walked into the building. She said, “that is my roommate”! As we walked up the stairs Ramin started walking down. He said, Rachel, hello! I apologize, I was in the shower and I did not have my phone with me.” We all stopped and laughed. We told him the story about how we gave up on him and decided to join another person for his night out and he turned out to be going to the same place we were. That is why again, I will always say, talk to everyone. You never know who you are going to meet.

When we got to his house, there were two girls from France and two girls from Italy. One guy from Argentina. There was also one other guy from Finland and his roommate from Italy. It was quite the interesting bunch to go out. Nobody knew each other. It made for great conversations and an excellent night out.
Ramin was from Iran but lived in Budapest. He reminded me of Borat. There were certain things that were lost in translation. When Trisha and I started laughing at something he said, he would ask us “why we were laughing on him”. The poor conjugation made us laugh even more. He told us about how his favorite animal was a meerkat. He even had a photo of one on the back of his phone screen. He took us to a ruin bar. Two of them actually. A ruin bar is an abandoned building that the city turned into a bar to use the space. Everything is raw. It is an open space with a lot of eclectic things. It would be considered very hipster. The first one we went to was the third best in the world.

The next day after that, we went to a spa in another location in the city. That was another relaxation day. After that day at the thermal baths we walked through town. This time we stopped at an Asian massage place. It was a lot better than the first place I made a reservation at which was called the princesses of massage. That was not the type of massage we were looking for. This was the most awkward massage I’ve ever had. They made us take off our shoes downstairs and put on their sandals. Then we walked upstairs to a dark place. There were curtains separating the rooms. When I got to my curtained off room, there was a mat on the floor. She told me to take off all my clothes and lay facedown on the mat. When she came in to do the massage, she sat down next to me and began. Halfway through she was sitting on top of me to do the massage….. I felt very uncomfortable. I was definitely not expecting that. When Trisha was finished with her massage next-door, I asked her what her experience was like. She said that she kept her clothes on and that it was not the same….. Weird! We then went on a walking tour of the city. The first thing that our tour guide told us is to learn the language of Budapest by picking up a Hungarian lover for a couple of years and settle down with him until you learn the language and then move on. One thing that I noticed about Budapest is that they referred to the shady places as the shadow areas. The tour guide would tell us to “move into the shadows.” I learned that the helicopter, vitamin C, ballpoint pen, and the Rubiks cube were all from Hungary. Also, an important thing to know is that hello actually means goodbye.

That night we were very tired, but everybody insisted that we go out and check out this popular ruin bar in town. As we were walking there I stepped into a manhole that was exposed and got covered in mud. Luckily for me it was right across from where we were sleeping, so I got to go back home and change. There were a couple other shady characters he walked past. Two separate guys on the way stopped me to give me a kiss on each cheek and then kiss my hand. It was weird. So after a rough start getting ready to go out for the last night in Budapest Trisha said “I feel like God is telling us to stay home and to not go anywhere tonight”. We looked at each other and agreed. We decided to at least go check it out. We got tacos at a seedy place and then we started walking to the ruin bar.

In route we were approached by two very shady characters. We were a block away and there was a Nigerian man with healed knife marks on his face and neck with his right Eye missing. He came up to us and started speaking Nigerian with broken English. Then his friend came from across the street behind us. I told Tricia to keep on walking and to follow me. I moved quickly to try to avoid eye contact and went through the bouncers to get in. Sure enough, they followed us in. To be sure that I wasn’t just crazy and that they were actually following us, when we walked through the bar, instead of following everybody at the main entrance I went to the left towards a hall with a stairway and we started to go up the stairs. They had followed the main crowd for a few steps then they turned around and came towards Tricia and I. They were talking to us and it was hard to understand. We pushed through them and went to the main entrance. I told Tricia to run! We went through the main crowd and ran to a small crevice and waited for them to go past. Then we went up the stairs to be able to look down into the main part of the restaurant and locate them to see where our best exit would be. When we saw them downstairs they were looking around and looking upwards for us. The one guy made a phone call and the other started going upstairs. I took Trisha and we sat down at a random table full of Italians. We jumped into the conversation like we belonged. When the coast was clear we ran down the stairs and made a safe exit and got back to the hostel. We both agreed that it wasn’t worth it to go out again. The next day we had to leave, but we had time to go hiking. While we were hiking up a mountain, we saw the Italian guys that we sat down with. That was random!

We then parted ways. Trisha went off on the night train to Prague and I went off on the night train to Poland to see Auschwitz.

Wanderlust-The incurable disease many of us have

Wanderlust, like many diseases, comes with its own symptoms and side effects. Like a plague, it comes down on some with a vengeance and may never be cured. It can leave those stricken with lifelong symptoms and years of money and time spent trying to diagnose the incurable disease.

It leaves children and adults impaired, unable to function properly through their daily routines many of us take for granted. Because, like any sickness, its side effects can be damaging.

The wanderer cannot help his or her sickness any more than someone with the common cold. It’s a bug that takes over and flushes itself through the system, yet this one refuses to leave after a few days of Emergen-C and hot water with lemon.

It’s damaging to the brain, the body and the mind; it takes hold and refuses to let go. It’s a disease inflicted by ourselves on ourselves,

and there’s really nothing we can do about it, but hope to pacify the side effects.

We must learn to live with them, the way one learns to live with pain. It’s a constant ache that becomes part of our existence, like a bum leg. So for all of you trying to diagnose those aches and pains, here are the signs it’s probably just wanderlust.

Constant Yearning

The wanderer craves foreign lands the way a diabetic craves sugar. Though it may not be life or death, wanderers feel like a part of their soul is dying if they’re not able to cross oceans or reach new lands.

This yearning is usually brought on after a trip or before, when it seems like their hearts are swollen with the promise of a new land or the remorse of leaving.


Itches You Can’t Scratch

No matter where you go, it will never be enough. The downfall to traveling is there will always be a place you haven’t been. This itch will follow you throughout your life, like a bad rash, the only ointment and relief will come from momentary trips and plans of new ones.

The itch will make people wonder where you’ve been, what you’ve touched and just exactly how you contracted it.


Hazy Vision

It’s hard to see the world when you’re always thinking about another one. Another side effect of the wanderer is an inability to enjoy the present moment because wanderers always want to be in another one.

Unless they are dancing in Ibiza or eating pizza in Rome, wanderers will never be satiated with the present and their vision will always be skewed by the things they could be doing and places they could be going. Their judgment of the present moment is constantly clouded, like a fog that sits over a gloomy city.


Swollen Memories

Engorged memories of better days fill the mind of the wanderer. Wanderers have no ability to cope with the present when they are constantly thinking about the past.

Memories of past trips will haunt them as they wish they could relive them, or at least try and find something to replace them. Their head feels swollen with memories, good times and better days.


Tight Budgets

The plight of the constant wanderer is the inability to afford medication. Like the costs of most vaccines prove, there is a high price to pay for health.

From airfares to hotels, the wanderer gets no help from insurance companies or the government, but must find a way to pay for all treatments out of pocket.


Utter Discontentment

Disillusion and depression will forever be side effects of the wanderer who cannot wander. These people will never be happy where they are unless they are somewhere else and this keeps them in a state of discontent for most of their lives.

This side effect can be one of the most unbearable to live with, as wanderers live with the notion that life is always better somewhere else. This depression keeps them from enjoying all of life, mainly the parts that don’t involve crossing oceans or visiting uncharted territories.


Lucid Daydreams

Fantasies, mirages and hallucinations plague the wanderer on a daily basis. Unable to stay awake and alert, these people dream with their eyes open and their realities compromised. They sleep in other worlds and are constantly berated for their inability to live in reality.

They do not know how to cope with the real world because they’d rather be living in another one. This can many times keep them from maintaining jobs, relationships and commitments.


Fatal Nostalgia

Whether it’s following the scent of Indian spices into a dangerous neighborhood or tracking down some local, but unsanitary fish that reminds them of their time in South Korea, the wanderer will do anything to feel the way he or she once felt.

Wanderers will cling to people, things and notions that they should no longer rely on so heavily. Their nostalgia overcomes them, squeezing their hearts until they are choking on feelings and memories of things they will never have again, or at least for a long time.

As I prepare for my 42 day backpacking trip through Europe…these words speak to me

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This was written by Lauren Martin on  and was posted on Elite Daily. I resonate with this 100% and felt the need to share it with my readers.