Charles DeVeaux

Social Theorist | Cultural Creative

Writing, producing, and facilitating works & conversations about love, modernity, and humanity.

Filtering by Category: Mindset

Why is it so hard connecting with men in 2015?

A lovely woman in a Facebook conversation asked me about friendzones and why it's so hard to connect with men in 2015.  I'm thinking, "... because it's still 2014."  :-)

Okay, enough about being in the moment, let's get a jump on the New Year.  Here are some answers to the questions from that FB convo.

Everyone has challenges

Men are being forced to change everything we thought we knew as men, thanks in part to the wonderful changes of powerful women, genders, pluralistic ideas, globalism, and all things dynamic happening in the world.  Oh, plus, for some, their last partner broke their heart, and uh, video games and porn are overstimulating us while simultaneously causing us to emotionally withdraw.  Not to mention, we're as unsure as anyone else these days about the value of relationships.  But, hey, it's not a lost cause.  It's good!  Men have to adapt too!  Women can't be the only ones having to change.  Respectfully, though, as with all life's challenges, when talking about connecting, we begin an outward conversation from our center.

Talk about pet peeves

From what I have observed, women and men, of all types, want their future partner to be a complete person already.  No one wants to have to go through growing pains with someone.  Shit, we don’t want to go through it ourselves!  So why tolerate someone else?!  It’s inconvenient.  Fit the perfect picture of my love, for crying out loud.  Additionally, folks got pet peeves they are talking about way before dating.  No judgement, just perspective.  I've got pet peeves too.  In fact, I've got a wife of 20 years who I didn't know until too late, had mastered a couple of my pet peeves.  Go fig.  Do I wish I had known upfront?  Nope!  Get this, because it's her doing them, they are no longer my pet peeves!  How the hell did that happen?!  Rigidity is not our friend, good people.

I'm not saying we let go of our standards, but we gotta loosen up.  I once had a woman lick my face while making out on our first date.  (Some of you got stuck on "lick my face."  Others are stuck on "making out on our first date."  Let that be your gauge.)  Yes, licked, like Scooby-Doo, licked my face.  Not for me.  For her!  She liked the feeling of stubble on her tongue, but obviously liked me enough to share that.  Now, that's agentic!  And weird.  But after all was said and done, I don't remember complaining.  No, she did not become my wife.  I'm just saying don't knock it 'til you try it.  And as far as "complete people" go, neither my wife nor I are there yet.  Well, I'm definitely not.  I didn't foresee this state of "incompletion."  I thought we'd be there by now, wherever that is.  But I kind of like that there is something new and undiscovered to contend with each day.  It let's us know how well we handle change.

The Truths

The truth is women and men, particularly heterosexual women and men, whether we like it or not, hold each other to traditional social expectations.   Don't use cute emoticons, boys, it's unmanly!  I agree, if someone likes you they should be calling to TALK to you.  In fact, they should be in a hurry to meet up with you again (in a calm, cool way of course).  Call me crazy.  Unless you are skyping to a loved one cross country or overseas, digital time is playtime.  I don't think that's a traditional thing, I think it's a human thing.  Speaking of digital, while I wasn't necessarily a fan of the digital interface, I have been witnessing some good things with online dating.  After all, it's just further exposure to an available network, with a precision tool.  Truth is nothing changes, you still have to negotiate your needs and your relations.

The third truth, here, is that women, men, and all genders are socializing, and being socialized, somewhat differently than they were 50 years ago.  That statement alone says so much.  The combo of old and new makes things tricky.  We are acting in new ways, but in our minds, collectively, we are expecting/desiring some of those old traditional notions.  Especially heterosexual women and men.  Again, I say rigidity is not our friend.

What to do?

Be autonomous.  This works for anybody.  To get out of the friendzone life that I had unnintentionally mastered so many years ago, I had "to learn" to be a "bad boy."  Why? Because no heterosexual woman I was trying to talk to responded to Mr. Sensitive Nice Guy.  I didn't have to stay a "bad boy" as much fun as that was, I just had to learn a new mode of interaction.  I know many guys still stuck in that badboy place because someone hurt their feelings.  True story.  But that's not being autonomous.   Being the bad boy or the "bad bitch" (I hate that term) are the same.  Entice and withdraw.   It's like trying to catch a wild animal.  When you imagine how any date night plays out, it should be something like this,

We had fun, I like you, I want you, but I don’t need you. I got another date. Talk to you later?

Wha??  Sorry.  I just turned myself on.  Can you imagine the desire that kind of interaction creates?  Imagine being able to deliver that kind of an experience to the person you just dated.  How does someone not get drawn in on that??  And by the way, you can still be autonomous and considerate.  Don't weaponize this tactic.

Mystery and Playfulness

Agentic.  That's my new favorite word.  It seems modern women especially are about being more agentic.  I agree with it.  Flirtier, sexier, more fun, and less forced expectation.  In my experience, fun, free-hearted people get called back, even if just to hang out or to be matched up with a friend.  Get a couple of your friends, go out and do that.  Act like you want to make 100 friends instead of finding "The One."  Most likely, you'll get both.  100 friends.  50.  Shoot, 15!  That's about rapport, openness, and trust.  If you can do that over the next couple months, you'll be amazed at the changes that will occur.

But... You'd Better

You had better know the 3 non-negotiable things you are looking for in your partner.  Qualities, not possessions. For example "Person has to be resourceful," rather than "Person has to be rich."  Don't include the obvious.  If you are a comedienne and know it only makes sense you'll have a partner with a good sense of humor, then don't include it.  Think of another quality.  If you don't know the important qualities you value, you will never even notice them when that person goes right past you.  Even if you get your hands on them.  Also, please don't let your 3 things sound like every other person's 3 things.  They should be based on your particular experience.  You want to know yourself better?  Me-di-tate.  And that's no platitude; take it to heart.

Make room for more.

Your #1 Most Valued Trait in a Relationship

While preparing to take a business trip out west, a friend of mine decided to ask his girlfriend along, and surprise her with an engagement ring.  He took her to one of the National Parks.  In that park is a mountain called Angel's Peak.  He told me it's one of the most beautiful places he's ever seen.

"Man! That's amazing," I said.  You wanted to take your angel to Angel's Peak and  share the most beautiful place you've been with most beautiful person in your life.

"Well, not really," he said.  "This mountain has been here thousands of years, and will most likely still be here long after we're gone.  I wanted to propose to her in a place that represented "Permanence."

I thought that was one of the greatest things I'd ever heard!  Let's look at a mountain.  It represents ideas like strength, protection, reliability.  These aren't qualities my friend picked up recently.  He's been practicing them a while.  When we were young, his parents split up.  As a result he had moved around the country a couple of times.  I've had other friends who've moved away and we've never stayed in touch.  But he has maintained contact with all his friends all the while, no matter where they are.  And he's always willing to help, when you need him.  He wanted to create examples of permanence in his life.

Everyone is looking for permanence, right?  It can be tough in a society that has a short-term, disposable attitude toward everything.  But my friend, despite challenges, is saying, "I'm here.  I ain't going anywhere."  He can say that because he's worked at it.  And because he's worked at it, he knows what he's looking for.  It took a little time for him to find it, but it was worth it.  It can take us all a little time to find what we're looking for.  It's okay, though, because it gives us time to practice.  And that's fantastic!

LIfe gives all of us a bunch of challenges.  We can let the hardships break us, or we can summon the qualities that help us adapt, be stronger, and even change the cycle of our lives.  For my friend, that meant imparting some of the permanence he desired.

What does this mean for you?  What are some qualities you value in a relationship?  Could you name 3 of them; or maybe there's one you're working on the most, and wouldn't mind sharing in the comment section below.  Go ahead.  Claim it.

Make room for more.

9 Steps to Remarkable Success in Love - Part 3

[This is the final part of Remarkable Success in Love, a LoveRules reinterpretation of Jeff Haden's 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successfully People from Inc.com.]

  1. Be Yourself - This step on the "9 Beliefs" article didn't really align with what I'm trying to say, so let me tweak it a bit.  If you find that you are always putting on an act when meeting people, stop a moment.  You want to be appreciated for who you are?  You want people to like you, for you?  There are many internet sites that can give you steps on how to be more likeable.  There are professional courses offered that do this as well.  "Ask questions to create conversation."  "Orient the conversation around the person you want to like you." It takes practice and can be worthwhile.  But if you want to be appreciated for yourself, after LoveRules #1, the next thing is to appreciate others.  Stop being judgemental of other people's quirks and idiosyncrasies.  Always having something superficially critical to say about others isn't cute.  Have a little more patience and be accepting of others and you'll find people more patient and accepting of you.  People will receive you, as you receive yourself and as you receive others.
  2. The Extra Mile - The extra mile is not how freaky you can get in bed.  Well... it could be.  And if it is, still, please add more depth to your game.  The extra mile is what you owe yourself, first.  How open will you allow yourself to be to possibility, to opportunity? Will you try again when you're a little depressed? Will you try again when you've written off Love? Will you allow yourself a little forgiveness?  These will allow you to go the extra mile for others.  Have an open ear when someone is apologizing for an honest mistake.  Be a real friend to someone you've only known a short time, even if the romance didn't work out.  To be thoughtful and creative about what might interest your partner instead of thinking only about yourself.  That's the extra mile.  All that adds up in making you more lovable, and you'll feel good too.  And that's attractive.  I'm just saying.

Simple enough, right?  I hope this helps stir some thoughts.  Perhaps these ideas were new to you, maybe you've heard them before.  But like I was saying, sometimes we know what to do to be successful, but can we consistently follow through our steps to see the results?  How strong are our beliefs?  How serious are we?

If you were able to have a life surrounded by things you are most attracted to, would you consider that success?  Most people say yes.  Is Love one of those things?

Make room for more.

9 Steps to Remarkable Success in Love - Part 1

I recently read an article about "success," written by Jeff Haden, Inc.com.  Don't get wrapped around that word just yet.  I'm not about to talk money or business.  Success is like beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder, a subjective matter.  Some hear the word and think of financial success, others envision their dream careers.  Every person defines success a little differently.  And by now you know I'm all about defining things differently.  Still, certain principles of action carry across all areas of life.  Welcome to the world of physical laws.

The same principles that create success in your favorite hobby or your career are similar to what I share on LoveRules.  Although some of my readers might think LoverRules is purely about romantic love, it's fundamentally about Love, at large.  Universal Love.  Love, the attractive force.  Let me ask you a question:

 

If you were able to have a life surrounded by the things you are most attracted to, would you consider that success?

 

For most, the answer is yes. Here is the article from Inc.com about success principles.  It's called 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People.  Read it and come right back, it's quick.  No wait, read it later.  ;)

At first, I didn't like the title of that article, but actually it's good.  It inspired me to write a parallel LoveRules piece because two important questions are asked:

  1. What kind of life do you want... a remarkable one?
  2. It also asks you to consider what makes things remarkable... the strength of your beliefs.  What are your beliefs?

I find the limitations of a person's beliefs are a major obstacle to having Love in one's life, the way they want.  That's because we're conditioned to think it's a notion reserved for fantasy.  Yet, we want it in all its fairytale glory.  So as Lauren (my wife) says, how do we get over the fairy tales and just get the dream?

How would LoveRules reinterpret these same "9 Belief success" steps to create Love in your life? Let me go step by step:

  1. Time - First, establish honestly with yourself what you want, then commit to aligning yourself to those ideals in your off hours.  This is personal work, self-development. Are you for real?
  2. People - Tired of the party people and one night standers? Stop going to clubs.  Want someone who is focused on their career?  Spend less time with your gaming buddies and join a meet-up for professionals instead.  Like my friend Bassam Tarazi likes to say, "You'll lose friends along the way."  See Lesson # 18.

I'll stop there for now.  Thanks for reading.  Stay tuned Part 2 of this installment, coming shortly.

LoveRules on Naked Radio Show!

TUNE IN TONIGHT at 10pm-12midnight EST to hear LoveRules on the Naked Radio Show.  Tonight's show is LIVE on PNCRadio.fm and called "How To Make A Marriage Work." You can tweet me @LoveRulesNow or @NakedRadioShow to participate in the live discussion! Hosted by the creators of the award-winning relationship blog Naked With Socks On and culture brand Stark, Naked Radio Show is a weekly talk radio program that tackles tough issues from an honest and real perspective. With a focus on relationships, news, politics and current events, and Yours Truly is honored to be a guest, sharing some of my marriage years' experience.  Check it out!

Don't forget to Like LoveRules on Facebook!

Loving Who You Have... even if it's just you for now

Have you ever been angry with your girlfriend or boyfriend, spouse, lover?  Or even yourself?  Have you ever arrived home after work feeling frustrated or ticked off?  Have you ever been dissatisfied with your partner, or dissatisfied with yourself, and just sat around with a gloomy cloud over your head.  Maybe you argued, (criticized yourself) maybe you didn't, but you can feel the slight tension between the two of you.  Be sure to talk it out easily, acknowledging each other's perspectives and feelings. Agree to not get impatient, or angry even further.  Agree to walk it through, giving it the time and energy it needs, like stretching a sore muscle that hasn't been worked out in a while. You know, our bodies have a lot of muscles, and some of them might have become weak muscles, atrophied from lack of frequent use.  Chances are the areas of concern that have made you feel 'tight' at home are not new but are muscles that have frequently gone unused, areas not fully addressed.  I know these areas and muscles well because I forget to use them from time to time.  There's the "Thank you" muscle, the "I love you" muscle, and of course the many physical loving muscles. ;o)

Reinvigorate the forgiveness muscle as often as you can, the "I made a mistake" muscle, the "I'm sorry" muscle. The "I didn't know how you felt" muscle is a real tiny one tucked behind the ego. The "let's try again" muscle is located nearby.  Then there's the patience muscle.  That one you'll recognize from the pain in your ass.  The understanding muscle is easily often under utilized, mostly because you have to physically walk behind your partner, give them a hug from behind fixing your eyes to look in the same direction they are looking.  The goal is to imagine seeing life through their eyes.  Good muscles to keep flexing are the "I believe in you" muscle, the "you can do it" muscle. The "it's okay" muscle. Another real good one is the "I'm glad to know you" muscle.  That one is usually in need of a good stretching.

It's amazing how many muscles we forget we have especially, over time, when we seem to get by in exercising far less than when the relationship was new, and working out seemed easier.  After you have exercised these muscles a bit, remember to give them time to recover, at which point proper nutrition and massage is okay too.  Massage doesn't have to be as tedious or as vigorous as you think, especially when you are tired.  In fact, your partner doesn't even have to know.  Two of the strongest tools for massage are our lips.  And the nutrition is provided by kind uplifting words which can be mouthed with a whisper.

When they are asleep [hopefully you went to bed on good terms, but even if you haven't] lean over and kiss them with gratitude.  Kiss them with thanks, that they have changed your life, even when you didn't notice.  With gratitude that they have helped you grow, made it through a tough time in your life, another full year, have believed in you, shown you good times, laughter, and happiness.  Kiss them for having picked you up when you felt down.  Kiss them for being who they are, for working hard.  For being a friend.  Kiss their shoulders or head, back, neck, or arms.  Now if you are your own partner for now, take it easy with kissing yourself.  You don't want to pull a muscle kissing those hard to reach places.  ;)

But massage kiss your partner.  Don't wake them up.  They don't need to know you gave them this thankful massage... this thankful message.  They will feel it.  More importantly, you will know you.  If they were angry, their heart will soon soften; and a softening heart aids in limbering up the muscles very well.  If they happen to notice the kisses, and say nothing, they will swell with appreciation.  And if they do turn over and wake up, who knows?  There might be more love to share...  Make room for more.  Happy New Year every one!

Part 3 Fin. LoveRules #9 - Love, Self-Defined

This is the last, somewhat delayed, part of LoveRules #9, for now...  ;o) (re-read the others if you need to...  found in the previous blog posts.)

Shoot for the ideal ! Some people call this "starting with the end in mind."  I realize "IDEAL" can be a tricky word. Here, I mean it in the sense of best case scenario.  Holding yourself, best as possible, to imagining a person who would meet your personal quality standard. This is not meant in the sense of absolute perfection, or in terms of flawless looks and gobs of cash. You can desire those things if you would like. But those ideals can be fleeting, temporal. I don't suggest focussing on them.  But rather, aim for the ideal in terms of your lifestyle (activities), your values, your ideals in terms of personal substance.

If you are a traveler, don't think you can't find someone just because up until now, you never felt long distance relationships could work. Life is short.  Change your mind.  Know there is someone out there who likes to travel, or, someone who understands people sometimes need to travel for work for significant amounts of time, and is okay with it. Perhaps it gives them personal time they don't mind having every now and again. This is a new world ready for people with courage and daring to create new relationship arrangements.  How creative can you get in the name of Love? There is at least one person, or two, out there for each of us. Someone who fits well with what we do, complements our life. Instead of looking for someone who seems money rich, set in mind that you desire a person who is industrious and business savvy.  You might find someone who is temporarily cash rich, with no fundamental idea how he or she acquired his or her wealth, later to lose that wealth. But desiring someone who is industrious and business savvy is a little more descriptive of a person's characteristic or substance.  Finding that person would be finding someone who, if parted from his or her wealth, would know how to acquire it again. Now isn't that real wealth?

Remember. Desire in another, that which you would desire and are willing to work for, in yourself.  Make room for more...

Part 3 again. LoveRules #9 - Love, Self-Defined

Continuing with "Love, Self Defined"... If you have ever played sports, you know that you cannot play the other team's game. They play to their strengths.  Each of us must learn to understand and use ours.  This means we have to define our own visions of love.  Define the relationship of your dreams, your vision, with real qualities, characteristics of substance. You should hold these qualities firmly in mind, able to call them out, if asked.  In that way, you can say you know what you want. I recommend they are not material or superficial, if you can help it. Once you know these qualities, leave them in the back of your mind. Don't go calling them out, showing off in front of your friends.  That's tacky.  And don't go referring to the mental shopping wish-list to compare each person you meet on each date.  Chill.  I repeat, do not go searching and hunting for the person with these characteristics. Simply ask the universe, or God (your choice) and keep your eyes open. To hunt is to repel, to scare away. But to ask is really to acknowledge, to know this desire is a real possibility, and to attract it. Be ready to respond quickly when you see a person demonstrate the qualities you desire.

Really.  Be yourself, but be cool. Don't rush the heat. I know that is a challenge for most of us.  Do your best.  I don't mean "play cool," I mean stay cool.  As you get to know this person that meets your needs, just be there for them, be present. Don't let them feel that you are hard-pressed to get in their life.  You've never seen a fisherman dive in the water to grab the fish have you? It's not often successful.  To be rushed and in a hurry is to repel. Let the connection happen naturally. Enjoy the dance. You know, entice and withdraw... entice, and withdraw.  But continue to move forward. When dealing with that person, be honest. Be honest in all your dealings with anybody. Period. Always. But especially with this possible love match because you might be tempted to act a little more than your natural self, just to please that person.  Chill. Be yourself, let people see you for who you truly are. That is to be genuine and whole.  That is what attracts.  And as you get to know this person, if they ever ask anything of you, still be honest. Don't go overboard trying to please.  If they ever ask you for input about themselves, tell them truthfully.  Don't be brutal. Don't be hurtful. But be plain. True love can handle the truth, even if it does hurt a little.  Support them.  They have challenges too.

Did you see that?  I know, that was fast.  I just took you from first encounter to the first month of relationship in like 30 seconds.  Trust me, these connections happen quickly. And LoveRules is like a pocket guide-book to help you quickly in a pinch.

To be continued...

Part 3. LoveRules #9 - Love, Self-Defined

Here we are with part 3 of LoveRules #9.  Have you found it funny that I haven't covered LoveRules #2-8 yet?  Remember, these aren't levels or steps, but more like principles and phases.  Besides, what the spirit or "trend" of the moment asks for, is what I share. So let's talk about how we define our loves.  What's important to us?  What does that important stuff look like, really?  Oh, but wait.  The trend was that everyone was talking about a certain woman celebrity, and being influenced by the abrupt ending of her ruse of a marriage.  It had everyone in knots, demanding marriage to prove to us that it is still worthwhile in 2011. While it created some good conversations about marriage, I think it's important to remember that we don't really know why this "celebrity" decided to get married in the first place. [On The Table of Truth Podcast, you might have heard me say, "marriage is what happens, it's not what you do." That's from LoveRules #7 - What is Love?  More on that later.]  Also, we don't know her definitions of love.  I can tell you this. She came to media prominence via sex tape.  Media stunt. Ruse. I'm not judging, but neither am I losing sleep over her actions.  I thought the following was the greatest quote I saw on Twitter last week:

"Kim K made a huge profit on her nuptials, then dumped the stock early and brought down the value of marriage. #occupykimkadashian."

Sad, but true.  But who knows? Maybe she is having a tough time shaping her definition of love, too. Or maybe she's just not ready for love, right now.  It's all good.  She's famous, but she's human.  If you know her, go ahead and share LoveRules with her.  She'll thank you.  ;)

To be continued...

LoveRules #9 - Love, Self-Defined. Part 2

LoveRules #9 is all about defining the love you seek. Today, we are continuing from Part 1. The love you want cannot be what others want.  It might have some things that are similar to others but YOUR love must be self-defined.  And if you have ever held any doubts that what you are looking for truly exists, then read on. The internet is an amazing tool.  As most of you might have long noticed, you can find just about any and everything online.  Discussions, answers, people, services, products. What is a turn-on for women, or men?  Why is the sky blue?  Where can I find a notary public? Have you ever heard of a green rabbit?  Where can I find a last-minute costume for a Halloween party?

So much information is on the internet already; and if it's not there yet, it will be posted up there very soon.  All of our current conditions and concerns get shared directly online now. But know this. While it helps us to be in touch with more people faster, the internet is not really connecting us. Rather, it is showing us we were connected all along.  I like to record instances that demonstrate how life is interconnected, that people are interconnected.  I like notating personal examples where life moved as I needed it to move, presented me with the solutions I was looking for.  I see that life is ordered.  Recording these things from day-to-day helps me not lose sight that anything is possible.  So here, like in Part One, I have another example illustrating how what we think or imagine about love's possibilities can be more than idle daydreaming or fantasy. It can be real.  Don't give up on the love you want for yourself.

Back to the internet.  Recently, I happened upon an interesting write-up by Robin Shamburg on Truthdig. She was reviewing a book about human desire and sexuality called "A Billion Wicked Thoughts" by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam.  The book shares observations of data gathered from what people search for on the internet.  [Those who read my post "Was It Good For You?" should at least check out the article, if not the book.] But here was Robin's closing paragraph:

"Ultimately, Ogas and Gaddam’s ambitious and thought-provoking book delivers a message of hope. If there’s one thing their exhaustive research reveals, it is this: No matter who you are, slender or obese, young or old, there is a group of people out there who will find you attractive. All you have to do is go online. And for a person who is looking for instant gratification—no matter how exotic or debased—the news is just as good. For this, the authors cite what has become known as Internet Rule No. 34: If you can imagine it, it exists as Internet porn."

Looks like someone else is outlining some rules, too! But you get my point.  And shit, if it's online, it can also be found in real life, right?!  And obviously it doesn't have to be porn.

Are you going to wait around for the computer to show you everything about your own life?  Keep believing. Keep knowing.  If you can define it, you can find it.  Define the love you want!  Put some energy into it!  I have some more tips coming in the part 3 of LoveRules #9.

Make room for more.

LoveRules #9 - Love, Self-Defined. Part 1

I know we all get discouraged or distracted when it comes to love, but we have to keep our minds open to what we want, then, know that we can find it.  The love possibilities we desire for our lives are endless. To create what we are looking for, we have to define what we want love to be like, and know that possibility exists. Don't think so? Need a reminder? Here's some proof. Just about anything that has crossed your mind has crossed someone else's mind.

Questions you ask have most likely been asked by someone else.  Truly, the internet is the visual, digital representation of an old concept called the mental reservoir.  If you've never heard of it, the mental reservoir concept says that thoughts are things, and once they are produced, they are kind of like radio waves traveling in space until they are absorbed or retrieved.  All these thoughts and ideas exist for all time in a place where everyone can access them. The original iCloud.  This philosophical explanation hinted at why people in different places, with different experiences might arrive at the same ideas.  It illustrated that no one owned the realm of ideas, and if a good idea occurred to you, you should move quickly on it and put it to use. Thoughts that had been projected out, could be attracted at any time by the minds of people ready to understand them.  Similar to an internet download.

Why do I share this?  If you have read my feature on BetsyIce from last week, you know that at some point I realized how probable it was to meet a loving match for my life, despite my past break-ups and heart aches.  Maybe some of you come to this realization by understanding statistical probability. But math was never my best subject.  After feeling lonely for quite some time, I took steps to examine and embrace my loneliness.  Through that experience I realized we are not alone, none of us.  The thoughts I have, someone else has.  The feelings I have, someone else shares. The concerns that keep me awake at night are also concerns of many others.  This is the human experience.  So then, why not the qualities I value?  What about the lifestyle I desire?  Why not the goals to which I aspire? Why not the talents I want to share?  Why not the kind of love I seek?!  Certainly there is someone who feels the same!  My complement!

Now, check this out.  Here is something my friend BetsyIce wrote so honestly a couple of years ago, feeling down and lovelorn: "For the first time in my life that I can remember, I’ve given up on love. Just absolutely positively don’t believe in it.  ... [I feel like] I’m in a gym class getting ready to play dodge ball and the team captains have been chosen. I’m hoping and praying that I won’t get picked last. It’s down to me and another kid – the one that wears glasses and has one leg shorter than the other. “Please pick me,” I silently pray. I don’t want to be last but my name isn’t even called. The short leg kid is called to a team and I, fat kid, walked over sullenly to a team that doesn’t want me. Who is that team? Love. Team love. Team love doesn’t want me. ... Today, my spirit lost. Got knocked in the head with the damn dodge ball!! On a better day, I want MY team captain to want me on his team. I want him to hope and pray that he wins the coin toss so he can choose me first. And only me."

I thought her post was amazing!  We all know this feeling.  It sucks.  I have another friend, let's call him Tim, who works in the sports industry. He had the same unrequited love feelings as BetsyIce; so much, that it was an ongoing joke for him, always saying he was looking for a young woman to hire as his "Assistant Coach."  Well, one day Tim found his Assistant Coach. She wrote him a cute letter accepting the position.  Notice the language. I bet some of you reading this have used the same metaphor. [Actual letter posted here.]

Listen. Love & relationships are contact sports.  In the field of play, we often find ourselves fumbling the ball or scrambling to pick it up and keep it in bounds.  We get fouled hard in the melee and feel a bit injured.  We want to throw the ball down, curse, and quit the game. Try to remember, most of those fouls are not intentional.  It's just part of the emotional nature of the game.  Don't get discouraged.  Be a good sport, get your gear back on and give it another shot.  Keep your eye on the ball by keeping what you desire in mind. Each experience helps you refine that image, that future possibility, and be prepared to handle it.  What we want is possible, it exists. Just don't quit.  Like all things, it gets clearer as you go.  And you are not alone! Define your love. Someone out there wants to play this love game the exact same way you do!  And for what it's worth, it helps to know some additional little rules to play your best game.  LoveRules.  Make room for more.

 

Rule #1 - Love Yourself

So, now we've met, and I've introduced myself a little.  Let's get into the LoveRules. Rule #1 - Love Yourself One day I was talking with my friend Kristin, a young woman who, at the time, was dating, alternating between two guys.  She couldn't decide which guy she really wanted to spend more time with.

"Okay, which rule applies to me, Charles?" We had a nice little conversation which led me to a realization.  She hadn't healed from her last break-up.

"Ohhh, now I see. You have to start with Rule #1" I said. "I'm not on level one!" she retorted. "I am no beginner!"

Silence. Then we laughed. As we laughed I explained LoveRules are not really hard fast rules, nor are they levels.  They are more like principles and phases.  They are meant to give guidance as we look inward for our truth, our answers.  They are non-linear.  In fact, we can be experiencing multiple LoveRules/phases at any given moment; and where we are today might shift tomorrow based on our experiences and practices.

The best part about Rule #1 (phase 1) is that we need to come back to spruce it up more than once in our lives. We should practice going over it often.  Bad break-up? Criticism at work? Fell short of a personal goal? Not finding any dates as of late? Not in your ideal career? Feeling lonely? LoveRules #1 - Love yourself.

No matter who you are, if you're feeling like "less," but would like "more," I recommend taking a moment to create a personal conversation practicing some of the following or something similar:

* Love Yourself.  Truly, fully. Seek love in your reflection. Love is looking back at you.  Don’t expect to only find love in something that you are not, or only from others.

* Learn to love and accept how you are designed, your strengths and your flaws. You are a unique tapestry, absolutely one-of-a-kind. You are not mass-produced. Understand that people invest much into a one-of-a-kind item. Not everybody, but the right people do, the people who are meant for you.

* Love and praise your skin, your eyes, your hair, your legs, arms, neck, head, face, ears, nose, hands, feet, your back, your tummy, your chest or breasts, your butt, your personal and private places. Be grateful. Love your culture, your lineage, your origins. Then make room for more. You will grow. Be deeper. Love your smile, your odd expressions, your laugh, the way you run and walk, the way you play or do your work. Make room. Go deeper. Love your mind, your heart, your concern, your thought process, your inner strength, your cares, compassion, your courage.

* Love your areas for improvement, but more importantly, love what you have. Some of these areas of improvement can be worked on to suit your liking over time. You can work on the way you walk and the way you speak, if it makes you feel better. But first love and accept what you have. While it's important to look and feel good, try not to recreate the whole creation. It is very good as it is. Take stock and be grateful.

* Realize that while you are these wonderful qualities, you are not these qualities. You are more.  You are not limited to these.  Who you are fundamentally in your "soul," your heart, is boundless, immeasurable. Make room for change. Grow.

Loving yourself in the way I'm describing is not meant to be vain.  It does not include being the person that narcissistically worships her/himself at the expense of others, but rather being the quality of person that loves him/herself in spite of others. Always Love Yourself - to inspire those that don't love themselves enough, and in spite of those who don't show you enough.

Learn to know your worth, stand up strong. Make no apologies for who you are. Don't compromise what you want, but make sure what you want is something worthwhile. Love yourself.

Hit me back: How do you practice showing yourself love?