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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The Polish Woman-DONT JUDGE

Today I went to the hospital to drop off a prescription and when I was in the parking garage trying to park I had quite an interesting experience… There was an SUV that kept backing in and out of a space trying to get out. There was at least 10 cars behind me waiting to get past this car. Finally when the driver pulled in one more time before she reversed the three cars in front of me zoomed past and I followed around we were all frustrated. I looked back at the car and it was an old lady in there.. The remaining cars that were waiting continue to zoom past behind me. I parked one floor up and I had a feeling that something wasn’t right. I walked down to the next level in the parking garage and went up to the car door of the lady that was again trying to reverse out of a space. I went to her driver side window and asked her if she was in need of help. She said, “yes I am”. I said how about you get into the passenger seat and I drive your car out of here for you. She immediately got out and went around to the passenger side no questions asked. As I drove down a couple of the ramps I talked to her to try to figure out what was going on she said that she had eyes surgery today and it was supposed to wait but she had to get back home right away so she left the office early. Her family was too busy to drive her to her eye surgery today. I told her that it was not a good idea for her to leave right now and that she should wait. I sat in the car with her for 20 minutes while she told me stories of her coming to this country with only five dollars in her pocket. It didn’t look like her eye condition was getting better enough to drive so I parked her car in a different spot and brought her inside with me to fill my prescription. While we waited for my prescription to get filled and we had lunch and continued to chat. She was the sweetest 80-year-old lady I have met. Of course I am biased towards Polish people but she had a lot of wisdom to share and she had quite an interesting story. Once her vision came back to normal I walked her back to her car and made sure that she got out of the parking garage okay. She thanked me and told me that God sent an angel to help her today and that she was very grateful. I learned a lesson in humility today. I was so frustrated and angry at this person who could not back out of the space and was holding everybody up while in the meantime it was somebody who was struggling and needed help. I need to exercise Grace more frequently in life as much as has been given to me over the years. We are in such a hurry so many times that it’s hard to see what’s really going on around us.

Life is short….How do you spend your “dash”?

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend,
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From beginning to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth. . .
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars. . . the house. . .the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard. . .
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left.
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real,
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile. . .
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a while.
So, when your eulogy’s being read
With your life’s actions to rehash. . .
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

– Anonymous

One of my favorite poems with such a great message.. thought provoking!

Reslience

Since publishing my book, (Taking Back The Pen- Resiliency Amidst Life’s Predestinated Storyline), many people have asked me where I got my resilience. They have also asked me if I can put into words what it is that makes people resilient. The debate has come up of whether resilience is a trait that a person is born with or if it can be obtained in life.

To start off we need to define RESILIENCE The Mirriam-Webster online dictionary (2010) defines resilience as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to change or misfortune”. The American heritage online dictionary (2009) defines it as “the ability to recover quickly from illness, depression, change, or misfortune; buoyancy.” These are both great definitions. On a personal level, it is about how we apply these definitions in our lives. I do believe that resiliency is a personality trait as well as a dynamic life process. The ultimate key here is bouncing back and returning to normal life regardless of what happens. The fact that trauma and life changes occur is not what is in question here. We are in an ever-changing world that is full of misfortune. The focus needs to be on what happens after the misfortune. You cannot stay in suffering. Once you move forward past it and you do not let it control your life you have been resilient. The antecedent to resilience is adversity. We will all face the adversity in life. The question is, will we all be able to be RESILIENT?

People who have RESILIENCE as a personality trait will demonstrate effective coping skills master their problems, have positive adaptation and are able to integrate control while adjusting and growing through life events. The key term here is GROWH. When we defeat a trial, we grow as individuals in wisdom and character. Some people CHOOSE To have a depressive mind state when they come in to adverse life events. In any situation we have a choice of how we react. We cant always choose what happens but we can choose our response Resilience has a lot to do with personal choice it stems from ownership of our actions and reactions to life events. We can’t always control our life events but we van control our response. How we interpret the event is key. The events can be either physically, psychologically or emotionally traumatic- sometimes even socially. The cognitive ability to interpret this adversity is found through your worldview. That is a personal thought process. Those with different worldviews respond differently to stressors. It is key to have a high self-expectancy and self-determination and to set goals in life. You need to have positive relationships as an individual. Your social support is key in life. Building community is essential to have a successful life. WHO ARE YOU SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH?

There are many different groups where we can look at resilience: see where you fall into a category

Children- Building resilience begins as early as childhood. We all started there… Take a glance back to see where your roots began. Many children are born into poverty or have a parent who suffers from mental illness. Many have divorced parents. Some children have a chronic and terminal illness will some suffer from child abuse and neglect. Some children are even born into a homeless family. Resilient children are able to respond diversity by adapting circumstances and can cope and manage these major life problems despite their immeasurable disadvantages in life. It is true and it should be noted that children who have “rough lives” growing up start out with resilience for survival and carry that through later in life. That is why people going through such events are stronger than most. They began to fight these battles early in life. There is a switch in life from surviving to thriving.

Survivors of disasters- In America we have had plenty of disasters in the recent years. Many of these survivors of these disasters were resilient by resolving to live, obtaining food and shelter, maintaining survival strategies, keeping families together and building their community. Social support is CRUCIAL. These people were able to give testimony after they finished the trial. That testimony helps others. Trust in God, family support as well as your friends around you allow you to maintain resilience through these challenges.

Adult population- As we age, health wise, we have a decreased functional status. Our stress level increases, poor living conditions abound and we have faced many negative life events by this time. These changes can be influenced to a more positive outlook by maintaining good quality relationships building community and developing coping strategies. Many people have family support and a large network of friends. The problem comes with broken families that do not have the family support. This population leans more heavily on the friends in the community around them whether it is neighbors or people from church or other social circles. Older adult women and sometimes men have faced sexual abuse either as children or in their early adult years. It is been found that these women have used silence, holding in their thoughts and emotions about it, and internal sense of hope, social support and advocacy and intentional self-care. The biggest attribute here was social support. Those are personal dramatic events that most people don’t know about and the resilience here is internal because the success cannot be physically and publicly weighed against what they have been through in order to fully understand how successful they really are today, compared to where they have been. Many people attribute a spiritual grounding as the main source of help. Having a higher power to lean on that give meaning and purpose of their lives. This is key to purpose and strength of moving forward past adversity

Building Resilience – There are many characteristics of resilient people that can be learned and acquired in life. Having a sense of hope. There’s no such thing as false hope, any hope is a positive thing. Self-efficacy, control (Being able to regain control of the situation and alter the events to the way that you would like them to go), coping, confidence, flexibility, adaptability, sense of coherence, recognizing the skills you possess, and the ability to focus. Cognitive reframing, critical reflection and reconciliation are all strategies to build resilience. THESE ARE ALL ATTAINABLE. So when the question is asked, can anybody obtain resilience or are you born with it? The Answer is, YES, anybody can be resilient, they just have to CHOOSE to be.

The first step is to get back up every time you fall. Nobody will move you forward in life except for yourself, with your own two feet. You can’t fully depend on anybody else. There are social structures that can help you in times of need but community is ever changing. Ultimately you need to move forward on your own and except help when it’s given but when it’s not available be able to handle it on your own. Autonomy! Strength! Resilience!

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Portugal

Portugal

The first portion of my 6 week backpacking trip began in Lisbon, Portugal. For this trip my friend Tricia and I decided to go solo with only a backpack full of items and no set plan. We will be doing couch surfing, hostels, and hotels. The benefit of hostels is that you get to meet travelers who are doing the same thing you are and you can find friends along your journey. Couch surfing is a website where travelers from all over the world take in different guests and host them at heir own home, in hopes that when they travel, others will do the same. Portugal was my 4th couch surfing experience.

Luis – Luis was our host when we arrived in Portugal. Most people said that my girlfriend and I should be weary of staying with a random man in Portugal…. Common sense also said that you should… So … Our experience went as follows- we had originally planned to land at the airport and go to his house at 8 am and leave our backpacks in his house after meeting him- our flight was delayed ( we met some cool people during the delay at the airport that were training with the Portugal Futbal team to be professional soccer players) —- our flight was delayed A few hours so by the time we left Detroit and arrived in Portugal, our couchsurfing host was already at work. When we got to the Airport he told us that we can go drop our bags off in his trunk in the parking garage in city center and we could meet him later in the day to go stay at his place. This seemed very shady for him to be a total stranger… What did we do? We dropped off our bags in the trunk. Throughout the day-we joked with each other about how crazy that situation was and hoped we met him again to get our bags. Turns out -we did! We went to his house and it was a very nice apartment with a great view. Throughout the trip he was a life saver! He gave us great suggestions on what to do and drove us around to places. It was awesome to have a personal contact in the city and somebody to look after us. He drove us around in his
Lexus convertible 🙂 let me just tell you he was VERY attractive- and such a gentleman!!! The next day we met up with the soccer players and hung out at their pool in the beach for the day.

Transportation – The train and metros were a great way to get around. The castles and gardens in Sintra, and the beaches in Estoril- they were all easy to navigate. We took buses taxis train and metros and it was all very easy to figure out. We went with NO plan whatsoever and it all worked out just fine! Be prepared to wear comfortable shoes.. We climbed to Cruz alto ( a high cross in the mountain) and I was wearing flip flops because I didn’t know we would be hiking) bad choice!

People- The people spoke a little English…In the smaller towns they didn’t seem to speak or understand any at all. There was a lot of pointing, hand gestures and smiling and head shaking to communicate. Language barriers make the trip very difficult. They sing fado music during meals at dinner. A the place we went to the waiters would stop and sing to the restaurant but they wouldn’t if people were talking… The only thing I didn’t like about that was that I wanted to have conversations with the people we were eating dinner with but we couldn’t because it was considered “rude” while the people were talking – otherwise the live local music was great.

Food- There were a lot of pastries and cream cakes. Lots of fish and sardines! The late night partying drunk food was sold by people on the street pulling around coolers full of chicken legs. The streets were all uphill-downhill cobblestone. The parties were in the street like Mardi gras. I would never want to live downtown in that city!

Drugs- Everybody will try to sell you drugs on the street

Port wine- I never drank wine before because I don’t like it. But I tried it at Luis home and I loved it. It is a new favorite of mine!

One of the funniest things that my host had said that didn’t translate well, was when he was telling us about his girlfriend. When he told us about why they broke up he said it’s because she made a “big shit”. This translated that she made a big deal out of nothing

One main thing that did not translate well is when I said that I rode a crotch rocket back at home. Here we refer to them in America as crotch rockets sometimes. Race bikes or street bikes. Not cruisers. When I said this the person’s eyes got really big and they didn’t understand how I rode a crotch rocket.

Some key things I learned from a poet I met there…

Sometimes you just have to trust people
-Love can finish ( to be in love can end)
-When you have everything it is hard to appreciate anything
-Once you achieve all of your desires, your dreams will be destroyed – don’t make your goal to have everything.

Did I mention that I love Portugal?! We met two Portuguese men on the train to Venice as well. Showed them our funny videos and pictures from when we visited. They were so nice. That was the first time that we had cute boys our age sit next to us on the train who actually spoke English!

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.