Random Talk: Getting in Touch back with my Soul

April 17, 2008 at 9:04 pm (relationship) ()

I am not a religious person, I am spiritual and I think I will be referencing God a lot in this blog. I am so burnt out. When I was younger I used to think that all the bad stuff happened because it was meant to or because I was an unlucky person but obviously after awhile you realize that most things happen based on your choices and maybe sometimes some things happens for a reason. At the end of the day though, I think it’s about taking accountability for the conclusions of today and having faith that there is a lesson somewhere, and when you least expect it you realize something profound. I believe as Ben Franklin eloquently put it “God help them who helps themselves” . So if you think by sitting on your ass something heavenly is going to drop from the sky, you are going to decay waiting. By the way, this is what I am telling myself every time I think I feel like going back to my old ways of dealing with lemons. I am hoping writing about it will get my mind, soul and body to cooperate because all three parts of me are on the different corners of my self right now, wish I had one of those remote control things where with a push of a button all three parts will come together in attention. *pout*

The process it takes to reach an epiphany is so much easier to read about or watch in a movie, but when you are actually going through it, oh my god, it feels like an excruciatingly painful and frustrating ride, all you want to do is scream “stop!” “stop!” and find the stop button. You can try to avoid all the internal chaos by going to parties, flirting, drinking, watching reruns of comedies all day…but if you don’t let yourself feel through it, there will be no progress. I am thinking about that movie “Something’s gotta give” where Jack Nicholson’s character broke Diane Keaton’s heart due to his own limitations and she went through bouts of emotions. She would be writing her play and during it she would suddenly burst our crying, or she would be doing something else she would just burst out crying. I thought it was really funny and comical but I didn’t really get the therapy in that then but I think I see the purpose of it now. Speaking of that movie, when she left Keanu to go back to Jack after Jack realized I was like…”What the fish, dump the old guy and stick with the cutie!” Haha, but love is love.

Anyways I stopped trying to distract myself. I stopped trying to think through my feelings, I am just letting myself feel and I soothe myself as I would soothe a best friend who is down in the dumps. And I try to recite the serenity prayer in my head if it gets too bad, at first in the midst of the tornado of emotions you can’t seem to recall the words but as you try to get all the words out by the time you are able to recite the whole prayer, things seem calmer. If I can just survive through this moment, there would be calm after the storm and my epiphany will happen (I am hoping). Reinhold Niebuhr (I still have no idea how to pronounce his name) is a great man for coming up with that prayer. It works for all hard situations not just alcoholics.

I am still in the storm trying to stay alive but I am hoping that this will help me get back in touch with my soul, I need to, I am no saint but I think I would be disrespecting God’s gift of giving me life if I just avoid whatever and let my soul decay. I already don’t go to church I can’t have him mad at me for that ๐Ÿ˜›

Oh and PS, if there is anyone who thinks I am a wimp for being so feely feely, I can guarantee that THAT is not true and the person thinking that will get a telepathic kick in the butt. It takes great inner strength to confront your feelings and rise above, if it was so easy, there wouldn’t be so many self-help books and organizations or people with anger issues or addictive personalities. *makes smug face* ๐Ÿ˜› Ok no smug face, that is not nice. ๐Ÿ˜€

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Random Talk: Multifarious concepts of Friendships

April 8, 2008 at 2:02 am (friendship) (, )

I read somewhere quite some time ago that friendship is developed either during youth or through mutual interests/values. Living the nomadic life I have led it’s not as simplistic as a person I meet is either or, usually friendships become fond memories and not necessarily part of my current support system but through sites like Facebook I have found friends that I was close with during different parts of my life which then comes back to how living a nomadic life, friendship becomes fond memories but at least I know they are doing well. Which is inspiring so indirectly the friendship continues. This is my glass half full perception. Actually come to think of it, I have rekindled some old friends into something new. Being able to start where you left off even after 17 years is rare but definitely something to smile about.

I have always harbored envy towards people that have lived in the same geographical location for a long time, friendships that were nurtured through youth. I yearned for that, but that was not something I could have. Regardless, while I am at a bar in a new environment by myself having a solitary drink or at a restaurant eating a meal, I would make a face when I see a group of girls or group of friends sharing dinner or drinks together laughing about their day like the “Sex and the City” girls or “Friends”, childish yes, but can’t help myself. But I learned a survival skill which is the ability to strike up a conversation wherever I go and use the solitude as a time of being in the moment instead of choosing to feel insecurity. Fuck it. I am stronger than that and I love good restaurants or going to a museum or going to watch a movie. Why miss out on it because I don’t have anyone to go with me? But the envy remains because I do love interaction and as they say, no man’s [woman’s] an island.

Just when I think my life can’t get any more challenging, I get a job that is located in the boonies and in Korean culture, you can’t make friends with your employees, and I am the only girl manager…so my connection to the world is via internet. I was quite bummed for a while because I am an extrovert, I need to bounce of people’s energy and the only energy I could bounce off of were my quiet employees who needs a lot of coaxing to share there opinion with work and my cats. Trying to draw out opinions in a non-responsive environment is taxing and my cats, well they are cute to look at but meowing with them doesn’t necessarily fill my need of conversation. Felt like I was drifting further away from from the few friends in Seoul…and not having any opportunity to make new friends because I can’t sign up for anything to nurture my interests…god…I am getting depressed just writing about my scenario. Being isolated for an extrovert is like taking away Insulin shots from a diabetic, I reckon. Silence is deafening takes on a new meaning. But as they say, after you hit rock bottom there is no place to go but back up and your survival instincts kick in because at the end of the day, it’s either you get sucked into a vortex of self pity or you make things happen. I reaquainted with people I knew throughout my life through facebook, got involved in groups, started to organize get togethers, people with different personalities and backgrounds meeting up to discuss about their life in Korea through drinks just being communal enjoying camaraderie…workin it *snap**snap**snap*

I am experiencing a paradigm shift on the notion of friendships. The notion that your friendships are developed either through youth or mutual interest/values still remains but it has expanded. Although some have been lucky to have a best friend from the age of 4 or some get to develop close companionship through mutual interests/values, I think as life gets more complicating everyone we meet becomes a friend of some sort. In this 21st century, we don’t need one person to fill our need of companionship. Having someone you have never met but got to know through facebook leaving you an encouraging word on your wall or someone you meet through a mutual interest group to just shoot the shit, bouncing of your thoughts in anonymous discussion forums to get a better picture of what is going on in your head, the roles a friend comprises of are spread out through different modes, does that mean it’s wrong because it’s not conventional? Nope. It’s better than living like a hermit and feeling like life threw you lemons. Screw that, throw me lemons I am makin not just lemonade…lemon meringue pie, using lemon to hightlight my hair, lemon vodka… whatever I can make with it.

I stopped feeling sorry for myself because my friendships doesn’t fall into a black and white category. I have met a lot of people from all walks of life, I have been privileged to have had at least one close friend in each chapter of my life. Collectively I have friends spread globally and I know if I needed a 2nd opinion from someone that have known how far I have come, they are a keyboard or a phone call away, and even though I miss being able to jump in my car to meet my close friends at a restaurant or have a girls night out, there are other means, which reinforces my independence at the same time satisfying my social needs. It shows me that I can survive in any environment on my own and can still satisfy my social needs by thinking outside the box.

Most importantly, what counts is being able to be your own best friend. When you are able to do that, the hindsight of needing someone which can blind you from seeing people with an objective and open attitude dissipates and you become more open to other people’s differences. Not everyone is like you nor should they be and I am grateful because I can appreciate individuality. I think people are like art, each person is shaped by so many different aspects in different shades…how interesting is that?

In addition, when you become your own best friend it has a ripple effect towards everything in your outside environment. You can become a better friend and when people you don’ t know leave an encouraging word on your Facebook wall or someone you haven’t talked to in awhile writes to see how you are doing or friends without asking says they are there for you because they notice you are not yourself…or when you get to find someone you love that is there for you or someone you can talk to about anything, you really feel the appreciation from deep within your heart and that is such an amazing feeling. How can you appreciate those things if you don’t know how to appreciate yourself? Cliche but so true.

Will the envy of people who have had friendship for a consistent period of time ever go away, I doubt it. Am I grateful for the different people I have met from my past to the new? Most definitely. What is my conclusion, nothing is in black and white and sometimes you need to step outside the box to satisfy the friendship quotient and that is ok. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Relationship Talk: Embracing Your Relationship

April 2, 2008 at 1:10 pm (Blogroll, relationship) (, , , )

heart_swans_1.jpg

I am not sure if it’s because spring is in the air but I have been privy to many people’s views or woes or gratitude about their relationships. In the spirit of embracing your relationship I came up with some points which I concluded from what I listened to and what I learned from my own experiences, to be vital in any relationship that are wanting forever to be a reality and wanting that forever to maintain its color.

1) Communication is seriously the key to all successful relationship. I know it sounds a little cliche but through communication you share and you learn which can provide the sparkle, the connection that is needed to keep a relationship strong. How are you going to share a joke to laugh? Be silly to maintain the child in you? Feel cared for when you are stressed? Debate to open awareness?To sort out differences to grow as a couple?

I know guys have a tendency of being more closed up because of upbring or culture but man…if you fall in this category, dude, get out of it…you missing out. And for the ladies, I know you have no problem in this area but sometimes less is more and a comfortable06-07-relationshipcommunication.gif silence doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong in the relationship. Main thing is being comfortable in communicating.

I think of communication like ballroom dancing, not the part where the guy leads the girl to dance but two people working towards being in sync. Communication killers, choosing ego and getting competitive or choosing fear and being submissive and finally not listening. By the way communication has two parts; listening and speaking.

2. Dealing with the tough parts effectively with sincerity not emotionally. This actually is part of communication but I made it a separate point because if you do not know how to handle this part, it can really damage a good relationship. When I say tough parts I mean telling your partner your needs are not met, or feeling jealous or insecure, anything that causes problems in a relationship.

Keeping it in, or emotionally and irrationally reacting to the core reason is not the way to go. Usually when you react negatively to a situation, there is an underlying reason. The reaction is symptomatic of a root cause. For e.g Partner doesn’t call during the time set –broken_heart2.jpg feel upset – reactive outburst occurs – why? Feel like I am not remembered – Feel like I am not important enough – (root cause) Am I not good enough?

All negative reactions comes from a root cause and usually how you react to someone you should delve into yourself first to see why you are reacting so negatively emotional instead of expressing your upset in a communicative manner. It could be your partner but look inside you first.

I copied and pasted a synopsis of the four stages a relationship goes through when problems are not dealt with effectively that can lead to the demise of a relationship. Yes I am being lazy ๐Ÿ˜›

Dr. Barbara De Angelis, in her best selling book, โ€œHow to Make Love All the Time,โ€ identifies four stages in a relationship that can kill it. And, by identifying it, one can immediately intervene and eliminate the problems before they become unmanageably large.

Phase 1: Resistance
This is the first phase of challenges in a relationship. It occurs when you take exception of something your partner said or did which you did not like. Maybe, it was a joke, which you did not find very tasteful, or a statement that offended you, or something else, which you wished had not happened. Of course, resistance is bound to happen in a relationship between two human beings, but the secret is to talk it over, and settle it before it reaches the second phase.

Phase 2: Resentment
Resistance, if not handled properly, can lead to resentment. Now, your irritation with your partner grows into anger, and a communication barrier is erected between you and him/her. In this phase, you begin to avoid your partner, and the intimacy that you both enjoyed is virtually over.

Phase 3: Rejection
If resistance is not eased, or if you and your partner do not talk the matter over, you may move into the third phase: rejection. This is the beginning of the physical separation from your partner. Coupled with emotional separation, in this phase, you begin to find everything about your partner annoying and irritating.

Phase 4: Repression
This is the most dangerous phase of the demise of your relationship. In this phase, you stop communicating with your partner altogether. There is an emotional numbness between the two of you. Slowly, you just become a roommate of your partner, not concerned of what he or she is doing or feeling.

If let’s say no matter how you hard you try you still end up in the throes of an irrationally emotional argument and things were said or feelings were hurt, I found this short article by Dr Jacki Black to aid in repairing the aftermath of an argument.

There may be occasions during your relationship when you hurt your Honey’s feelings or s/he hurts your feelings. There may be those rare times that your beloved does or says something that shakes your trust or you do or say something that shakes his or hers.

Those times may seem like the end of your relationship. You might fear that nothing can be said or done to repair the damage. Repairing the hurt is possible if you are both willing to work it out!

When you are hurt do you try to hurt your partner back? Do you hold a grudge? Do you reject your partner’s effort(s) to apologize and make up? Sometimes partners don’t have good tools and skills and don’t use their words effectively in emotionally charged situations.

While acting out against your partner may feel good in the moment, it really only serves to make the situation worse in the long run. Acting out creates more hurt feelings and makes it harder for both partners to work through the original hurt.

Here are several essential steps in the repair process:

ยท Acknowledge what happenedholding-hands.jpg

ยท Admit that you did or said something that you now recognize was hurtful and unkind or that has shaken your partner’s trust

ยท Offer an apology that includes acknowledging that you said or did something that hurt his/her feelings or contributed to shaking his/her trust in you

ยท Ask what you can do or say to make things better

ยท Allow your partner time to soothe himself or herself and be open and ready to receive him or her when the time is right.

Listening although always an important process more so during times of troubles or struggles in relationship. It’s probably so difficult to do but if your intention is that you care about your partner’s well-being, you will learn to put aside your ego or insecurity to actively listen and have a discussion to figure out the solutions that will help the relationship evolve. Action is also required, if you make it to this point where you find a solution but there is no progress due to no action, then it would be pointless. But if you are able to evolve through the bumps, the connection and intimacy gained is invaluable.

3. Never taking someone for Granted. This means cherishing your partner and acting hearts.jpgaccordingly through being appreciative and being thoughtful on a consistent basis. Making an effort to show that you are grateful for that person at least once or twice a day should be a good benchmark and it is such a necessity, like eating to nourish your body it nourishes the soul of the relationship. Yeah, you think “only once or twice a day!” or “oh my god so often?!” If you can maintain the awareness to do more that is great and it’s definitely not too much, you’d also be surprised how after being with someone for awhile or having someone be good to you all the time, you stop noticing…I think if the stats for divorce rates are true, this would be one root cause. If the people that have talked to me about their relationships be considered as a sample size, it would reinforce my notion that taking someone granted can stale, and even kill a relationship. Seriously!

PS. If your partner makes an effort to show you appreciation, make sure you respond with positive reinforcements if you want it to stay consistent or if you want more often. It’s like a cycle that will only grow depending on positive reinforcements. Would you want to keep being thoughtful and sweet when it doesn’t get noticed??

4. Leaving the past behind and only taking the lessons with you. If you have never been cheated on or abused or used I hope you are thanking god that you were lucky enough to not have experienced something like this. But if you have, please go to Amazon.com, conduct some research to figure out why you ended up in a relationship like that or how to evolve past a relationship like that before going to the next one. Because if you don’t the next one is either going to be thetrust.jpg same or you are going to damage a good person. I am not saying that the scars of something like this will magically disappear in your current relationship but at least if a bump occurs due to it, you will be able to catch it, realize it, be proactive about it and with time you can finally be free from old scars, it’s a process that is guided through awareness, information and support. And if the person you are with is supportive …even better it indicates that the relationship you are on is on the right track.

If you don’t have a scar from your last relationship, make sure you take a moment to be aware of what went wrong, what you liked and didn’t liked before starting something new, it will help you filter better and pave a way for a better relationship.

Maintaining a good relationship takes effort just like anything in your life and like life if you expect it to be easy then you are already setting yourself up for failure.

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I think even the most fabulously single people yearn to find a mate they can connect with. Someone to entangle legs with under the dinner table while talking about your day or teasing each other on how you pronounce certain words or how you are using a vocab wrong, somebody you feel safe enough to be totally vulnerable with, feeling loved during the good days and bad days…mmmm how lovely.

I know that the honeymoon phase of a relationship is dreamy, the bond is scintillating andheart-in-hand.jpg you want it to stay like this forever. But all things that breathes life has ebbs and flows and the key is to find ways to appreciate when it flows and find ways to learn from the ebbs to get flowing again. If you are in the post honeymoon phase wishing it will go back, there is something wrong and you need to assess because the intimacy that comes from learning more about each other through communicating and through overcoming differences in addition but not limited to being and showing appreciation continues the sparkle in a relationship but it’s deeper, the honeymoon phase end up looking like a fun memory you like to reminisce about rather than wanting it back. Like how they say you should live your life like it’s the last day of your life, you should have that same mindset for the person you love, remember and treat the person like it’s the last time you will see him/her. Not easy but worth the effort.

I hope that if you are in such a relationship, you embrace it and always make effort to make time no matter how your hectic schedule is to nurture it. One should not be in a relationship for the wrong reasons, but if you are in one that makes you feel loved, that makes you want to be a better person individually and as a partner take a moment to feel it, be thankful for it because it’s not easy to find someone you can connect with so don’t take it for granted or mess it up. Seriously!

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LDR Talk: To All the LDR couples around the world

February 3, 2008 at 5:40 pm (Blogroll, Personal, relationship) (, )

ldr-pic-1.jpgIt’s a quiet Sunday afternoon and for the first time since my boyfriend left I am able to transmute all the emotions that came from separation anxiety to something constructive which is writing this blog. Like how Isaac Newton realized gravity from a bonk of an apple, I realized that I am not alone walking this journey of long distance relationships (LDR), knowing this and expressing empathy through words is a great way to not get sucked into the negative facets (which I will talk about in later blogs) of LDRs.
I found out that out of an approximate global population of 6,602,224,175, over 10 million couples are in LDRs, so if you find comfort in numbers, this little bit of information should let you know that you are not alone in the struggles and you are not alone in trying to make a LDR work.

Anyone in an LDR can tell you that the separation anxiety when parting ways can knock the wind out of you. I know it did for me. One moment I was in love, then in another I found myself in this passage of LDR which from where I was standing looked really scary. Most people don’t realize this but when a human goes through change our “self” goes through a metamorphosis and if you don’t realize the phases of human metamorphosis, adjusting to the change can be very uncomfortable and if not careful, you can end you up at a worst place. Falling in love is a change, deciding to commit to an LDR is a change and the actual parting of ways is a change. I read this article a few years ago about human metamorphosis by Martha Beck and after reading this article it definitely helped me not go crazy whenever I felt like I was out of character.

Whenever I feel imbalanced and not my usual self, sure enough, I was going through some kind of change (yes, sometimes it can be PMS :P). You’d be surprised how many are not aware. And I think the root cause of all problems that seem to nest in the corners of our minds is not being aware…how are you going to solve a problem if you are not aware? You need to be aware, identify then acknowledge in order for you to come up with a constructive gameplan to be proactive. This is a general rule of thumb to deal with all kinds of problems but today the focus will be on changes. So take some time to read this article.

http://www2.oprah.com/omagazine/200401/omag_200401_beck.jhtml

I am doing a lot of research on managing LDRs which I will be writing blogs about subsequently but on a personal note this is what I have realized so far.

I think communication is key factor in the success of any relationships. What would that entail? Technically it would be to express yourself and to listen. These functions of communication seem like it would be easy but it’s a lot trickier than you think, because there is a difference between communication and effective communication. I took communication 101 and 201 classes because of my major and what I learned is when you speak you have the responsibility to make sure that the message that you convey is understood by the listener. Most people think that to express ends with just words coming out of your mouth but its not true. Two people speaking the same language can misunderstand each other because our forms of expressions are shaped by the way we grew up, the kind of communication we grew up in, how our parents communicated with us etc can differ. So how you say it is just as important as what you say.

Listening is the same, we receive information and translate the meaning in our heads based on what we know, and we digest the meaning accordingly, so just as the communicator has the responsibility of conveying the message until the listener understands their point of view, the listener also has the responsibility of being aware enough to ask questions to understand if in case the message conveyed doesn’t seem right to the situation. The following link I think explains better than I can about listening but I want to quote the definition of active listening a.k.a listening to understand from the exerpt

Active or Reflective Listening is the single most useful and important listening skill. In active listening we are also genuinely interested in understanding what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting or what the message means, and we are active in checking out our understanding before we respond with our own new message. We restate or paraphrase our understanding of their message and reflect it back to the sender for verification. This verification or feedback process is what distinguishes active listening and makes it effective.”

http://www.drnadig.com/listening.htm

So effective communication is two people interacting with these two functions gracefully like ballroom dancing.

I didn’t know this until I took those classes by the way. And since then, I always notice how people communicate. It’s quite interesting actually. I also notice how I communicate…as they say Knowledge is Power.

I tried to find a good definition of effective speaking but could not find one that says it all, it’s interesting to see how there are many for listening but not an exact one for speaking.

These very basic functions of communication are necessities for all relationships, whether is friendships, relationships, work, etc…but I think it becomes extra needed when you are in a LDR. Because communication is the only thing that keeps two people who are separated geographically to be a part of each other’s lives. Since the physical aspect is taken away from the relationships, couples in LDRs have to find a way to remain close mentally, spiritually and emotionally with only one main mode…communication and thank god we are in the 21st century because now we have many mediums to communicate. Establishing this is not as easy as you think but you should be armored with tenacity to make effective communication happen because the root cause of all failing relationships would be ineffective communication.ldr-pic-2-kissing.jpg

I think being able to authentically love is such an amazing gift. So that we are clear there is a difference between authentic love to needy love or dysfunctional love. And to be honest I was an avid anti-LDR person until this relationship. Learning to believe, trust, hope and have faith is something that I only recently re-learned and being in this relationship is really testing my threshold to believe, trust, hope and have faith. And its truly scary for a chick like me who was one step away from being jaded and skeptical. But the love that I have for my man is nothing like I have ever experienced which keeps me going even when I get so freaked out that I want to run sometimes. I am sure all those who knows how we became one step away from being jaded and skeptical understand what a feat it is to be in a LDR.

So to all the LDR couples around the world, I salute you for being brave and for really allowing yourself to love someone. Because if we can become better individuals and become a stronger couple through LDR, when we cross that finish line…it’s going to feel Oh-S0-Good.

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