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. 

Friends vs. Acquaintances

A bomb just went off and all the banks have been destroyed. Money is no longer an element in society. Anarchy is taking over. It is now, every man for himself. Homes are being broken into and innocent people are getting murdered. Supplies are limited. Who are the people in your “circle” that you would stand next to in that scenario? Who would have your back and share their supplies with you until your time ran out? Who would you want to spend the last week of your life with if you knew there was an impending air raid? Who are your “friends”? Who can you trust? Who do you invest your time in, and why?

There is a difference between friends and acquaintances ( people you have met along the way) people who invest in you and build you up as a person are friends. People who you say “hi” to at social functions and have as a Facebook friend don’t necessarily count. Who is investing in you as a person and your future. Who can you go to when your car breaks down at 3 am…who do you value as a person? Who will bail you out of jail when you get a DUI and wont tell anybody else about it and wont treat you differently? These are things I think about when I decide who I am going to put time and effort into.

We put so much time, emotion and emphasis on the relationships we have in life. That is good- community is key to survival. In life, one of the biggest hurts we face is the loss of a person close to us. We lose people daily in many ways. Some die and some move away whereas some are romantic relationships that ended and others are friendships that grew apart. Either way- it is a loss. It is important to validate that each loss causes pain. With every goodbye, you learn.

The key point is that each person you come across in life is for a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to get us through a hard time in life when we didn’t think we had anybody. A person will come out of nowhere to be “your person” through that trial. In time, that person may fade out of your life yet sometimes they stay. Sometimes we enter into romantic relationships that don’t last. We have to go into relationships knowing that each relationship you enter into will either end in a breakup, or you will end up together. That is part of the process. Each person that you meet may not be the one you end up with- however, they were there for a purpose. Yet each breakup we face we are devastated- why?

When romantic relationships end, we tend to get lost in aloneness and lose self worth thinking that we will be single forever because we lost the one that we wanted to be with. If you ended the relationship then you made the right choice- it wouldn’t have been an option in your mind if it wasn’t the right decision. If that person left you it is important to remember that there is no use wasting your emotions on somebody that LEFT YOU. What you do with yourself and your future no longer includes them. It is hard to face that but it is true. You WILL miss them. That is also part of the process, but remember that you weren’t the one who gave up. When the relationship is right, that person wont just walk away. If it is TRUE LOVE then they will love you unconditionally and work through ANYTHING. When you experience a broken heart think of it as a blessing from God. It is your reminder that He saved you from the wrong one. You dodged a bullet, so to speak. Nonetheless, it will still be painful and it takes time to make peace with that.

When your friend circle dissipates and you start to feel alone, it is natural to feel lonely. Your best friends may enter relationships and start investing their time in a significant other rather than you. That is hard to accept and it is easy to resent their new love. However, if the roles were reversed you would do the same. It is a natural part of the process. Some of your friends may get married and start having kids. It is fun to see the baby here and there, but eventually you realize that you as a single person don’t fit in with the married people and their babies. You just don’t. Not yet. That is hard to accept as well. The key here is to accept that as normal. It’s the cycle of life. Singleness is NOT a bad thing. It is fun and exciting and it is typically only for a time period. Don’t waste that season of singleness in misery worried about who is the right one. If you don’t remove yourself from that previous scenario of your previous friend circle and create a new one then you will get depressed. We all do.

We have to realize that our community of friends is ever-changing. People will come and go from our lives at different points in time. We need to be open to making new friends and entering into new circles in order to avoid getting lost in aloneness. Holding on to the past of how things “used to be” is delusional thinking. Move forwards not backwards. Things will NEVER be the same…that doesn’t mean that is bad- It will just look different. People will be in your life for a specific reason….or they may just be there to help you through a season….and sometimes, JUST sometimes, people stay in your life until the end. Those people are rare and those relationships should be cherished. It is important to note that a relationship takes two people. That means each party needs to invest time and effort into it.

If you come to a point where you are investing a lot of effort into people and you are not getting the same return as you used to, that may be the point where you have to stop and realize it may be time to let go and move on. You only have two hands. Holding on to two hands that don’t want to hold yours back will take up your energy and your hands. Free yourself up for people who WANT to put the effort back into you. Stop crossing oceans for people who wont jump puddles for you. Life is short. Spend your time wisely with those who want to spend it with you. Don’t force relationships. You will be fine….just fine…..

Love or Lust

Hollywood paints the wrong picture of the love story. It shows people who meet and fall in love. It gives us an unrealistic expectation of what love and relationships are like. The difficult issues in life that affect relationships on a daily basis are not presented in the films. The love is covered in Lust and it is based on a physical attraction. Love endures, lust does not. There are many issues in relationships such as: Whether or not they want children, how the finances will work, where the kids will go to school, religion, purpose and direction in life, and moral standards. These are issues that are not touched on that make or break the relationship. The Hollywood picture of the perfect relationship of falling in love and everything just “working out”, leads to the increased divorce rate. Just because you love somebody does not mean the relationship will work out. Many people forget that. Relationships are tough! The word “relationship”, scares a lot of people.

Regardless of how hard people try to fight being in a relationship, ultimately everybody has the fear of being alone. Many people date around and are “seeing” a lot of people at once. They are afraid to enter into a relationship because they’re afraid of making a mistake. The painful truth with that is, any relationship you enter into either ends in a happily ever after, that may include a marriage, or it will end in a divorce or a break up. That’s all there is to it. The relationship will come to a crucial point where you need to decide to end it or move forward in the relationship. Acknowledging this at the beginning, will lessen the hurt when it has to end. Dating is a risk, but it is an informed risk. In the situation where somebody is dating around with many people at once, a lot of people get hurt. If the person is not forthcoming about what their intention is with each of these people, that leads to heart break. The fact is, if you don’t give a relationship a try, you don’t know whether or not you could be happy with just one of the prospects.

Let’s be clear: dating is exhausting. It’s hard to sit down and tell your story to one person on Monday and repeat it on Tuesday and again on Thursday and Friday. It’s physically exhausting to date. When you are monogamistic and you pick one person to spend your time with and to invest in, you have more time to find out who that person is and whether it can go somewhere. If you spread yourself thin amongst many people at once you will get nowhere with any of them because you can’t possibly give yourself out to that many people and have any return on your investments. Granted, if you are seeing one person at a time and you realize that there are nonnegotiable’s that you guys cannot work out, then it only makes sense to end the relationship before you go further. That is a step that most people miss. They continue in a relationship even though they know that at some point it will fail. Again, this comes from the fear of being alone. Most people do not have enough self-worth to know that they will be just fine after the break up. Anybody who has gone through a break up and has found love afterwords has realized that there is hope. This is just hard for people to grasp at the time. We have all been there. Regardless, you won’t know whether or not the relationship can work past the obstacles unless you try. If there are two or more things that you want to change about a person then that is probably not the right person for you.

People can change, yes. Statistically speaking, people don’t change for the better. You can at least give it a try, but again, it is an informed risk. A lot of times what is stopping these people who date around with a bunch of people and deny themselves a relationship status, is the fear of being “taken off the market”. They are afraid to be exclusive with one person because they fear losing out on a bigger, better option. The issue with that is, if you’re afraid of losing out on a bigger, better option then you shouldn’t be in a relationship right now. You are just destined to break a lot of hearts. Yes, you are looking out for your own happiness, but that is at the expense of others. That is when ethics and morals come in to play. You can do what is right for you as long as you don’t hurt anybody else. When you are dating like this, your motives are wrong. Looking for a bigger better option shows internal motives that you don’t want exposed on the outside. Unfortunately, this is very common in today’s dating world.

You need to know what you are looking for and don’t settle for less. That doesn’t mean to be opposed to settling down. Know your non-negotiables. BUT – When you’re ready to settle down, make sure that you are not settling.

Please Help–HOPE and a FUTURE: PAY IT FORWARD

Please Help--HOPE and a FUTURE: PAY IT FORWARD

As many of you know I published my autobiography this past year. It is a raw, organic story that tells the ugly side of my past with the explanations of how I turned it into success. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, it is available to order online at http://www.amazon.com/Taking-Back-The-Pen-Predestinated/dp/0615874436
IF you have read it, I am asking that rather than letting the book sit on your shelf, please pass it along to somebody in your life you believe can benefit from reading it. I didn’t write it to sell a million copies or for the fame. My intentions in publishing it were to bring hope and change in peoples lives and to inspire those who struggle in life….which is ALL of us. I want to get my story out there so people are not afraid to open up and seek help when needed. everybody has a story! Please pass my story on and continue to love people and appreciate stories because we are all walking through life together.

If you have not ordered it yet, please order one and read it yourself and then pass it on to somebody in your life who you feel may benefit from it

Daddy issues? Reality check on dating older men

Things to keep in mind if you are dating somebody older than you, ( 12+ years of age difference) when dating older there are benefits as well as risks.

Typically I would write my posts gender neutral, but in this area of interest the statistics show that women are more often in this situation of dating older, as opposed to men.

Benefits: The person has had more life experience and has wisdom to offer you. They are typically more mature. They have seen the good and bad in life they Are generally established and know what they are doing in life as opposed to dating somebody in their 20’s who is still figuring out their life. They offer a sense of safety and security. They can fill voids in some sense ( some call it daddy issues but regardless, if it works for you WHO cares).

Lifestyle: A risk here is that they can be very set in heir ways. Many times when dating somebody older they expect you to drop your life and be picked up and dropped into their life they have set up. This may be a dream for some women….you get a man with a great job and a car and a boat and a house with land and a dog and everything is move-in ready. That is a beautiful thing and hats off to the man for establishing his life like that. But what if you want to live in a loft in a big city and he wants nothing to do with that idea. what if he has a dog and wants more and you dont like dogs…..” exit relationship here” KEEP in mind.. In a healthy relationship that is based on love, each party to the relationship needs to concede and be willing to make changes for the other person. If something as simple as changing which city you live in locally is going to cause an issue where the guy is unwilling to change, and if he isn’t willing to give up a pet to be with you ….is that really somebody you want to be with? I have come across this situation before and it is unfair for one person to drop their life to enter another’s …it should always be 50-50. I think that two people should want to build a life together and be willing to make concessions for the other. If there are more than 2 things you want to change about a person then you are probably with the wrong person. NEVER SETTLE

Health- LETS BE REAL- In the normal way of life with no traumatic events an older person will die sooner than the younger due to simple degenerative health conditions. Heart attack, stroke, diabetes etc. That being acknowledged you have to realize that if you are dating somebody 20 years your senior then when you are 60 they will be 80 if they are still around. Therefore it is KEY in dating an older man that he is willing to make healthy lifestyle choices to make sure he is in good health as he ages to be less of a burden to you. That is not a selfish thing to ask for. It is selfish if the older person that you are dating is not willing to work out and stay in top shape for you. That is the least they can do out of respect for you giving up the end years of your life withy partner to enjoy them in your life now. It’s going to play out to where you are taking care of your parents as well as your husband at the same time. ( this is not a negative…it’s a beautiful loving sacrifice- but it still has to be acknowledged or you will be in denial and quit the relationship early when you realize the expectations)

Finances. When somebody in their 20’s dates somebody in their 40’s it is obvious that the older person will be more financially stable and have more assets than the person in their 20’s. In most situations this is typically the reason for the relationship in the first place…and those relationships end early or are not truly satisfying. Men like to feel needed and they want to be the supporter and women like to be taken care of. This gets complicated when the women quits her job to be a part of this relationship and let’s the man support her. For the time period of the relationship this may work out well for both when both are getting what they need. You both get to spend time together and you can be the dream wife who has dinner on the table every night and meet all his needs as your full time job. BUT if the relationship ends 10 years into it and the woman has been out of the workforce for so long with no income or savings of her own it will be very difficult to be a part of society again. This needs to be discussed as a reality.

Children: Typically ,e in their 40’s have had children who are grown now. They are usually done having kids. This needs to be established before the relationship continues…..do you want your own children? Do you get along with his? If he already has his own then they will most likely not be ok with him dating you! I mean face it, if your dad came home with a girl your age, how would you feel? Lets be real…. There is a stereotype and there will always be judgement. You have to accept the fact that you will never be #1 in his life if he has children. They will always come first. That is how it should be. At the same time the man should never sacrifice his happiness because of a simple unapproval from the children. if that is the case then you need to move on for your own good and fall in love with somebody else who will treasure you and make you feel wanted in the midst of his circumstances. never let your needs be bypassed because of somebody else’s choices in life. Never sell yourself short. If the kids are grown and they have their own lives then it should be a non- issue.

Retirement: This goes along with finances. When dating somebody who is set up to retire in 15-20 years, this can pose a problem if you are both not on the same page. It can work out well if the man says that when he retires he wants you to retire with him and to not work anymore and then you guys can enjoy retirement life together. That would be best case scenario for the relationship. Sometimes if that is not the case where the man can financially offer that to you, then you will come into the situation where: you go to work 40 hours a week and you are stressed and tired just like any other real- life producer and you come home to a retired husband. He has done nothing all day and is stress free and making travel plans in his retirement dream living. This is dangerous territory. It can be easy to start to resent him. I have seen this many times. It is very hard when one person has several years till retirement and their spouse sits around drinking margaritas all day. It isn’t a typical lifestyle and that is a hard pill to swallow and it isn’t something that is thought through when starting the relationship.

Do you and the person have the same retirement goals.. That is HUGE! If the person you are dating or married to wants to move to California when they retire and you still have 20 years left at your job and you like the place you work at, are you willing to move jobs for the last part of your life if you have to continue working? All things that are difficult to think about but are a reality and need to be considered.

I’m just giving some common problems that I have witnessed and experienced myself. Dating older is a wonderful thing and I approve 100%. Most of my boyfriends have been 35-50 and I am 25 years old. I have learned a lot through the process and I have learned what really matters and have seen the realities of the end-goal. Just have fun with dating and make sure that younare both on the same page…..but realize that there are definite considerations to make if you see the relationship going further than a learning experience.

When you are ready to settle down…make sure that you are not settling!

Dating: Is there a standard timeline?

When people begin to date somebody many questions go through a persons mind. We look at the person we are dating and we ask ourselves, “are we wasting our time or can this relationship work out”? we ask, ” Are we compatible, can I marry this person someday?” These are a couple questions that go into starting a relationship. My opinion is that if I cant see the relationship going anywhere, I will stop it before it starts so that nobody wastes their time. Any relationship that you end up in will end up in marriage/commitment, or a breakup. It is inevitable. When you are into a dating relationship it is easy to put timelines on certain things or set up guidelines. To make the decision that you are going to wait 6 months until your first kiss or to say that you cant get to know somebody and who they really are until after the first 6 months is a fallacy. it changes with every person you date. I do believe that time does tell, but I also believe that it should never be cookie cutter and that each scenario is relevant to each person. You should not determine that you will not marry somebody until a certain number of months have passed or till specific guidelines have been met. You are limiting fate. We think it is crazy when people get married after 6 months and we tell them that it is too soon to know the person. But really, who are we to decide another’s trust level with another person. 

An example would be, if two people are dating for 6 months and they see each other 2 times a week for dinner and they are in an exclusive dating relationship they will take a while to get to know each other.  If two people meet and go on two dates and plan a trip together, if they go away on a cruise for a week, they are having breakfast, lunch, and dinner together, as well as staying the night with each other and spending the in-between times together that is the equivalent of how close the other couple has gotten in their dating of several months. Both spend equal amounts of time together but the trust milestones will be different. The couple that spent a solid week together will be as close and bonded as the couple who has been dating for 6 months……if the couple who went on a vacation together gets married sooner, society may say that is too soon to know somebody, but; Is it?

In a relationship there are certain trust milestones. At a certain point when you feel comfortable with a person you start to divulge information that you keep a secret from society. When you start to trust somebody enough to talk about these things, your walls begin to come down and you begin bonding. That is the trust process. Trust is crucial to any relationship. With two different people there could be two separate timelines for when those trust milestones are acheived. does that mean that you are “more destined” to be with one person rather than the other, no. All it means is that the timeline of trust barrier breakdowns is different. That is why it is important to not hold yourself back or set a timeline in relationships. Each person you meet will be different. And NOBODY will ever be perfect for you. There will finally be one person who you can learn to compromise with and build a future. There will never be anybody that is perfect for you. That is a myth and it is not realistic. That delays so many relationships because we build this fassad of looking for the perfect match. When you love somebody, you have to compromise and sacrifice because true love is sacrifice.  Key points: don’t judge any relationship but your own, don’t limit yourself; have fun. Enjoy the process. The best person to ask advice from is yourself. You will know better than any of your friends what is best for your own life. 

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Best Advice: Everybody needs a mentor

As much as we all like to give our own opinions and advice, we all need opinions and advice to move forward in life. With some decisions that we make in order to take the final step, sometimes we need a different person to agree or disagree and to give us sound advice on their opinion preference. This does not mean that we make all of our decisions based on other people, this just means that we admit that we don’t always have all the answers. It is important to have somebody in your life to go to in times of crisis or in times of need when you can’t think straight and you need somebody to help filter the thoughts. Wise counsel is something to be sought after. That is why it is very important to have somebody solid, credible and trustworthy to turn to at these times. Having a good mentor in your life makes a huge difference. Sometimes that person may tell you what you want to hear because it won’t hurt you and doing so they know that you just need the extra motivation. But sometimes they will tell you the truth and it is what you don’t want to hear and your reaction to it may justify the reason that you indeed need to take the advice. Everybody needs a mentor. I mentor people everyday. More than ever now, after publishing my book. Many people come to me for advice and questions and want solid answers. The more and more that I put myself out there for other people, the more I realize how important it is for even me to have a solid mentor to go to. If I continue to pour myself out and have nobody there to fill me back up I will burn out quickly. I highly encourage everyone to find somebody that is full of wisdom and good sound advice.

One thing that I see most often is that we tend to hang out with people that are just like us. It is easy to go to their friends and ask their advice. Being that our friends are typically just like us, we know they will give us answers that we want to hear. This is why it is important to have a broad scope of friends. Being out of your comfort zone is a good thing. When you hang out with people that are not just like you, you get a chance to learn about other people, other cultures and gain perspective. Insight is a beautiful thing when it isn’t selective. Because you choose to be a Republican does that mean you do not want democratic friends? Because you’re straight does that mean you don’t want homosexual friends??? It is important to be open and have a broad scope. When it comes to making the final decisions in your life, ultimately you go with what is in your heart. Having solid people around you to advise you and guide you does not hurt. It helps and heals. You cannot give somebody else something that you don’t have. That is why it is important to stay filled up and ready at any moment to help others because you know that you are at 100% yourself. Surround yourself with positive people. If there are people in your life that bring you down change your group of friends. Life is too short to miss out on opportunities and have bad days. Happiness is a choice.

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