Loved and Learned Rather than Loved and Lost

Here’s what I learned about gratitude and pain during the worst variety of heartache…

Pain + Gratitude = Less Pain.  Less Pain + Gratitude = A Thirst For More Gratitude.

I like to think that gratitude is the currency of the Cosmos.  The more I spend the richer I become.  Like everything else, being thankful is a choice, just as in choosing love over fear, or happiness over crappiness.  Consciously choosing to dwell in gratitude simply makes me feel I’m closer to the source of the Universal gift dispensary.

This perspective sounds totally do-able when the road is paved with sunshine and smiles, but when the Darth Vader of heartache pays you a visit and bad things happen to good people, suddenly the “do-able” seems bloody impossible.  Here’s what I learned about gratitude and pain during the worst variety of heartache; Divorce.

Rather than fight the sadness, the fear, the resentment, the embarrassment with a fake smile and my genetic British upper lip bravado, I chose to commit to my grieving seriously.  I fully belly flopped into my feelings and gave myself permission to fall apart like a total pro.  Intuitively I knew that unleashing the hounds of pain, anger, disappointment, ridicule, and mountains of crap-ola I had put up with, was the massive exhale that my soul was starving for, after all those years of holding it’s breath.

Thank you for failing.

When you’re faced with good, bad, and ugly, it’s often tricky focusing on the good.  We get so tempted to dwell in the darkness, the pity, the punishing shoulda, coulda woulda’s that we forget to simply congratulate ourselves on being human and that   “failing” is actually critical to succeeding.  My bad and ugly were frightening and painful, but my good was the prize that made it all worthwhile.  My own happiness was not the only one at stake.  I had a child and we both deserved gold.

Thank you “Golden Boy”.

During much of my marriage, I often felt like the passenger in the movie “Speed”, with the work of a madman at the gas pedal.  Even though you may not be in control of your breakup, you are in complete control of how to proceed from here on out.  Knowing that you can get off the bus without knowing what is going to happen next is both terrifying and spectacularly thrilling.

Relationship Resolutions — Why They Are So Important to Your Happiness

…more people regard maintaining healthy relationships as the most important factor to their wellbeing.

Whether your circle of friends grows every weekend or has shrunk down to a handful trusted confidantes, it is undeniable that we are all social creatures who seek the comfort and support of others from time to time.

But as with many aspects of life, from diet to exercise, we don’t always pay enough attention to what we know will help our wellbeing – and relationships are no different. The neglect our social lives suffer is highlighted by new research released by the Mental Health Foundation to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. It shows that more people regard maintaining healthy relationships as the most important factor to their wellbeing than those who cited healthily, exercising or avoiding negative habits including smoking combined.

Nevertheless, 46 per cent of the 2,000 adults in the UK who took part in the survey also admitted that they regret not investing more time in their relationships – a figure which hits 50 per cent among men. And despite the fact that most people claim to value their social lives above their physical health, only 11 per cent of people surveyed made it the focus of their New Year’s resolutions.

In response to the findings, the Mental Health Foundation is encouraging people to make a relationship resolution. Those who sign up on their website will receive a text on New Year’s Eve to check their progress, and prompt them to continue their efforts into 2017. “What we hear time and again from our supporters is how important friends and family are on the road to recovery from severe mental illness,” says Nia Charpentier, a spokeswoman from the charity Rethink Mental Illness.

“Having people in your life who are understanding and supportive, be they a full-time carer or just someone to share a cup of tea and a chat with, can make a big difference,” she says, adding that peer support groups are also a vital tool for many people.

As the taboos surrounding mental health have been gradually stripped away in recent years, the physical and mental impact of loneliness was thrust into the public consciousness by John Lewis‘s 2015 Man on the Moon Christmas advert, which depicted a young girl attempting to contact an elderly man enduring a solitary existence in space.

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, social interaction can cut the risk of mortality and developing certain diseases, and help individuals to recover more quickly from illness. However, socialising can be a daunting prospect for those struggling with their mental health. But it is important that people do not become withdrawn, explains Stephen Buckley, head of information at the charity Mind.

The Things You Undervalue About Dating

Cuddling, sharing, and happiness! These are just some of the things we can enjoy about dating someone.

1. By default, you always have someone to do things with.

2. And you can communicate using special eye-code when other people are around.

3. You get honest (read: invested) fashion advice.

4. And like, you finally have someone to make your choreographed dreams come true.

5. Sofa time is accompanied by hi-tech foot-warming technology.

6. There’s also the sweet, sweet relief of a simple hand-holding sesh.

7. You see a SIGNIFICANT improvement in meals…

And finally someone will appreciate your smooth moves in the kitchen.

8. …and twice the manpower for cleaning up (and other boring chores)!

9. Let’s not forget: Joint. Streaming. Accounts.

Guilty pleasures are best shared!

10. In fact, sharing things in general…

11. …and saving $$$ as a result!

(AKA money left over to do even more things together!)

12. Your knowledge improves from adopting their smarts and interests…

13. …and so does your hygiene.

14. Let’s not forget the comfort of sleeping with your S.O.’s shirt while they’re away.

Bonus points if you have a pet — you get all their attention too!

15. Just having someone special to hug and hold is awesome…

…and best of all, even staycations in your sweatpants can be considered sexy.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

If Your Dad Wanted to Pay a Man to Marry You…

What would you do?

Fathers can be so embarrassing right? How they’re always making hokey dad jokes to the waitresses at dinner, dancing like idiots at weddings, and making public offers to pay a guy millions of dollars to marry you. Uh, come again?

Dads, am I right?

Going way beyond the usual “Oh Dad” groaner, a property developer in Hong Kong with way too much money on his hands has offered the equivalent of $64 million to any man who will marry his daughter, Gigi Chao. And I thought the time my grandma offered my boyfriend a diamond ring to give me was bad! Sheesh.

To be fair, Cecil Chao Sze-tsung did say that his only requirement for potential suitors is that he “loves my daughter, and she loves him,” so maybe his heart is sort of in the right place?

Or maybe not exactly. Adding to the drama, there are reports that the marriage offer is timed to a significant development in Chao’s life. Last week, she may have eloped via civil ceremony in France with her longtime female companion, Sean Eav (a union which would not be recognized in Hong Kong). Ouch. Chao has tactfully declined to talk about her personal life, saying “I’m not afraid to admit anything. But I do want to respect my parents.” She says his proposal to the men of the world is “quite entertaining.”

Well, she sounds like a classy lady who deserves love from any man or woman she chooses, without a multi-million dollar incentive. I’ll choose to follow her dignified path and refrain from any comments except to say how thankful I am for my own dad for never trying to interfere in my love life.

Do you find this dad’s move to marry off his daughter to a man totally horrifying? Or is he just looking out for her happiness? Has your dad ever done anything to interfere in your love life?

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Play Together, Stay Together

gettyWhen kids get bored, they can easily get into trouble. That’s why “go outside and play” is one of the more common phrases parents use. For kids, play is an opportunity to get centered, learn new things, and have fun in a constructive way. But for adults, the word “play” has come to mean something entirely different.

“I don’t play games,” says the woman trying to appear drama-free. 

“I’m not a player,” says the man who wants to earn her trust. 

“Play” for grown-ups sounds like the opposite of fun. But what if I told you that play can actually save your relationship? What if “acting like a child” made your grown-up problems easier to cope with?

Playing together might be the most mature decision you’ve make all day!

Too often, long-term couples smother themselves (and each other) by falling into boring routines. We work, we go home, eat dinner and watch the news, go to sleep, repeat. There’s simply no time for anything else. So we worry we aren’t having sex enough, or talking about our feelings enough. We talk ourselves out of intimacy, and it’s exhausting.


My favorite antidote for worry is play. Once play becomes a priority, sex and conversation might actually come easier. We all want less frustration and more intimacy. We’d all be happier with fewer wasted moments and more time together. You don’t have to wait for vacation. You can play where you are, right now.

Play is easy, it’s quick, and it’s free. There are a million ways to do it.

When you wake up in the morning, take 5 minutes for a cuddle party. Laugh at your puffy faces and messy hair. Race each other to the bathroom, and have a toothbrush karaoke party. Just be ridiculous. You might feel stupid at first, but that’s what play is: being goofy together, on purpose.

A serious relationship doesn’t actually have to be “serious” 24/7. Happiness doesn’t always appear on its own, so we play to manifest joy.

Challenge each other to do celebrity impressions in the shower. Try making something weird for breakfast. Do ten minutes of Kundalini yoga together – if you don’t know what that is, find a video on Youtube. Those breathing exercises can be pretty hilarious.

Embrace your childlike sense of humor. We may all be adults here, but none of us have to be old.

In the evening, make dinner together and pretend you’re on a cooking show. While you’re eating, ask each other to share embarrassing stories. And if you must watch something, make a game of that, too. My husband and I sometimes take turns picking Youtube videos, and it’s actually super fun! Any cool music you’ve heard, lately? How about the latest viral cat videos? Share the things that make you feel young, goofy, and alive together.

A silly game we like to play is something I call Mystery Records. You know those bins of $1 old records in thrift shops? I like to pick a few artists I’ve never heard of (cheesy matching sweaters on the album cover are definitely a plus), and then play them at home. This makes for some really random dance parties in our living room.

Feel free to create your own silly games. Maybe you could try inventing bizarre recipes using only what you have in your kitchen. Or you could assemble some ugly, dorky outfits and recreate some ‘awkward family photos’ in your dining room. Being weird together is infinitely more fun than being bored or stressed together.

Play doesn’t always require energy. Don’t feel pressure to be ‘fun’ all the time. Sometimes, we’re tired – and that’s okay.

At night, try putting your phones down and talk about things that make you happy. If you’re feeling passionate about a new project, say so! If your partner is doing a great job at work, congratulate them. Share the dumbest jokes you’ve heard all week. Talk yourselves to sleep about the things that make you smile.

Today, if you find yourselves talking in circles about whatever’s bothering you, take a pause for play. This doesn’t mean ignoring your problems; it’s just making them easier to approach later. There are a multitude of possibilities for play in the time you spend together. Trying just one of these things can lead you to even more ideas for creating joy.

When kids get bored or frustrated, we tell them to go play. Deep down, you’re just two kids in love, aren’t you? So go outside, get out of your heads, and play.

8 Ways To Stop Letting Your Insecurities In Relationships Outweigh The Good

How to stop letting your doubts ruin your relationships.

I do this thing where I bring old relationships, fears, insecurities and past traumas into current relationships which I should absolutely not do – no one should. My boyfriend is nothing like guys I’ve dated in the past yet I still become fearful of the same things.

My current relationship is the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in yet I find myself having worries that he will just decide to up and leave one day because I’m used to being left or having things not work out. I tend to be a lot, it’s no secret, I want constant attention and can be needy, and that scares me because I know that can easily be a turn-off. I fear that there are times when I am too much even when he assures that I am not. It’s a personal insecurity that no one has ever said to me but one I’ve built up in my mind.

I begin defining myself by the bad instead of the good. I look at the areas I lack instead of the areas that I thrive. I don’t see all the good I do for him, only the bad. It’s what sticks in my mind.

Seeing the bad is an insecurity of mine and there are times I let it consume me. I think this tends to be a common theme in life – to let the bad outweigh the good. We easily forget about the good and hang on to the bad things that happen.

You can easily forget that your partner loves you if they miss an important event in your life because you’re so focused on the sad emotion you’re feeling (which is valid).

It can also be easy to blame them and feel unloved when they fall short of uncommunicated expectations. We can hang on to these bad and negative emotions and bring them up long after the exact situation has been resolved because the negative feelings outlast the good.

The same goes for friendships. If your friends promised she’d go to dinner with you on Tuesday at 7 and texted you at 6 and said she wasn’t feeling it anymore you’d be disappointed. You’d harbor that disappointment and in the future, you will be wary of making plans with her and having her cancel.

We harbor the bad, in ourselves and in our relationships. We often see where others fall short and hang on to that because we tell ourselves that we wouldn’t do that.

There are some ways that I’ve found helpful to stop defining yourself and your relationships by the bad instead of the good.

  1. Start writing down the moments that make you happy. Maybe your boyfriend surprised you with flowers. Maybe your friend paid for your coffee. Maybe a stranger complimented you. Everything that made you feel good is something that you should write down and look back when you don’t feel loved and you’re feeling insecure. Those specific instances will remind you just how much love you have in your life.
  2. Don’t self-sabotage relationships. I was dating a guy once who lived in a different town than I did. I was going on a camping trip that he couldn’t come to because of work and stopped to see him on my way and planned to stop on my way back through his town. I was extremely hurt and disappointed because I texted him that Sunday morning and said I was excited to see him in a few hours. He replied back that he couldn’t hang out anymore because he got called into work. I was pissed, very sad and hurt that he didn’t text me to let me know he got called in before I texted him. I was being short with him, as you do when you’re petty, and my friend looked at me and told me not to self-sabotage this relationship because maybe he just got called in and forgot to text me. At the time I couldn’t see that all I could see was that he didn’t text me to let me know and I was upset I wouldn’t get to see him. Don’t let your emotions or doubts ruin things for you. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
  3. Don’t get in your own head. Like I said above, I feel needy and too much in relationships but no one has ever actually said that to me. It’s a way I’ve labeled myself. My boyfriend often asks me why I say those things and I reply that I’m not actually sure, it just feels that way. It could have been something he never noticed but now there’s a chance he could associate me that way. It’s a good habit to get in to break the negative thoughts associated with yourself. We tend to be our own worst critics.
  4. Express gratitude. It sounds so simple but it’s often forgotten. It can be easier to complain and start to take the people in our life for granted. Gratitude helps us recognize the good in people and appreciate their actions. If your partner cooked you dinner and that is something they rarely do let them know you’re thankful, even if it’s not good and you could have done it better. Don’t make them feel bad because you wouldn’t like if roles were reversed.
  5. Work on yourself and your happiness. Happiness starts with you. Of course, your emotions are often swayed by others but it has to start within. Find what works for you to find peace inside and practice self-love. For me, it was working with a life coach. It’s something I’ve done for over a year and throughout the year I’ve tremendously changed my mindset and become happier. I had to put in work and work on adjusting my mindset but it’s made worlds of difference.Beautiful african-american woman shy and confused
  6. Realize you do deserve good things and love. I think part of the reason I still am fearful of my boyfriend leaving is that I’ve never felt good enough because nothing else has worked out for the past six years. I’ve felt like I must be unloveable so I had a difficult time accepting that he’s here because he loves me for me and wants to be here. You deserve good love, as do I. The biggest struggle is actually believing that but you should because it’s true.
  7. Accept that you can’t be everything for your partner and acknowledge why you shouldn’t try to be. I have a lot of friends who try to be everything for their partner – their golf partner, their hiking partner, their caretaker, their best friend, their personal chef, their accountant, and so on. You can’t be everything for your partner and you shouldn’t try to be. You should let them have their own outlets that don’t involve you. You have to realize this doesn’t mean they don’t love you or appreciate what you do for them but they also need other outlets. You should not be everything to them and they should not be everything to you. No one should be your everything, it’s not healthy.
  8. Learn to appreciate the stability and OK moments of life. Part of life is learning to be okay with moments that are boring. Things at the beginning of relationships are all butterflies and fun. When those things wear off and it becomes more real I think it’s important to focus on the long-lasting connection. Don’t think that just because those tingles are gone that they’re not your soulmate, it’s important to accept those boring moments are more so about being content with each other.

Check out this related article: How I Came to Peace With My Jealousy of Others’ Relationships