Category Archives: Single

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If You’re a Valentine’s Day Hater, You’re Missing The Point

The cynicism surrounding Valentine’s Day is enormous. It only takes one peek at our FB newsfeed to see people buying into it or remarking how it’s a “Hallmark Holiday”.

There is tremendous value in the holiday though. For some couples it’s an amazing opportunity to celebrate their love for one another, and for others it’s a necessary reminder as to the importance of expressing our love to the special people in our lives. The reminder is great, but what does it say about the state of love and relationships that we need this reminder?

And for single people, if the pressure they feel every other day of the year wasn’t bad enough, V-Day is that pressure on speed and steroids. Combine that lonely desperation with alcohol at the bar and it’s a recipe for some high pressure loving that will lead nowhere good, unless good is an orgasm.

Why do we need to HAVE to have someone to celebrate this day with, and if we don’t, we’re a failure?

I think V-Day just perpetuates a commonly endorsed misconception and belief about relationships:

Being “in a relationship” is better than being single.

The truth is that being happy has nothing to do with being in a relationship, and everything to do with just being happy, alone.

Research suggests this too. It’s happy people who have great relationships, not people in relationships who are happy.

In other words: Happy single people become happy romantic partners. 

Happy people report greater relationship satisfaction, improved health outcomes, and a lower divorce rate. 

Of course healthy relationships and shared connections are important, but it’s not a romantic relationship that is predictive of our level of happiness, but more so relationships in general. 

People who have great interpersonal relationships with friends, family, and lovers, are happier.

Not surprisingly, they also have a great relationship with themselves. They can sit comfortably in their own thoughts and find peace and fulfillment through spending time alone. 

“My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.” – Warsan Shires

Because truthfully, it’s always been about falling in love with ourselves first. It’s from that place where we choose relationship partners who add to our already amazing life. That way we know we’re picking kick-a*s people who remind us that love comes from a place that’s whole, not empty. If they don’t improve our lives and help us grow, and us do the same for them, then they are not welcome to join us on the ride.

Sure, even when we find someone from that place of fulfillment we can still take each other for granted and the little “wake-up” that V-Day can provide is important to remind us that it’s all about the little things. 

The types of things that are the fuel to continued love and connection. 

“Do what you did at the beginning of the relationship and there won’t be an end.” ~Tony Robbins

Love is born through everything we do. Love is a verb. 

And we need to communicate it on the daily. 

I’m not saying we need to buy our partner chocolate and such each and every day. What I am saying is couples can, and need to, consistently communicate love through how they speak to and interact with one another in each moment. 

Something as simple as buying your lady her favourite coffee on your way home from work, or getting dressed up to look sexy because we want to capture their heart and show each other we’re still trying.

That’s it. People want to know that they matter. 

They want to know that you’ll still fight for them and try to win their love. 

They want to know that you’ll pry their heart open when they’re on the verge of closing it and still wine and dine them to get some loving by earning it, not expecting it. 

They don’t want you to skip foreplay because “it’s just not something we do anymore”. 

All of these things matter, and intimacy and sexual connection need to be a beautiful event and production at times. 

Sometimes candles are nice. Sometimes lingerie is. 

Team that up with some R&B and handcuffs and we have a party. 

Valentine’s Day is just another day, and it’s all about how we use each and every day to improve how we are showing up to the world and to love. 

Although this is the “official” day we celebrate, it should be no different than any other. 

It is a beautiful reminder that we should never forget love requires effort. 

Whether we’re single or taken, being happy and personally fulfilled is the most important thing we can do for not only ourselves, but also for our partner, even if we haven’t met them yet.


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Are You Giving The Wrong Kind Of Love?

“Can You Actually Love Someone Knowing They May Leave You?”

I remember when a friend of mine asked me this question…

I thought this was ridiculous. In my first two relationships the women left me… and I was understandably heartbroken.

This pain led to confusion about what love was. I wondered, “How could love hurt this much and be a good thing?” My confusion turned to frustration, which translated into drinking lots of pints and making out on dance floors.

I never really thought about limiting how much I loved until I saw what love can do. Because of the devastation of heartbreak, from that moment forward I abandoned going to the depths with love and relationships (not the “drop it like it’s hot” kinda depths, I could hit tha floor). I had now subconsciously subscribed to the story, “If I love people they’ll leave. If I let people love me they’ll hurt me.” This is a common narrative that most people live by without even knowing it, and they’ve abandoned loving, like, truly loving, because they’ve been hurt. Welcome to the club, right?

What I didn’t see is that the heartbreak is love too. We want the pretty parts of love… but love is ALL the parts.

The “unconditional” part of love is where most of us get confused because most of us weren’t taught it. When our families need us to practice “this” religion, to get “this kind” of job, to marry “this kind” of person, that’s conditional love. When the people around us only love us when we do things that make them happy, that’s conditional love. When our societies and cultures only accept us when we stick to the status quo and don’t challenge their beliefs, that is conditional love.

Our need to be accepted and part of a tribe/group is inherently programmed into our cells, which evolutionarily, if we were kicked out of a tribe, meant almost certain death. Those who followed, survived. Those who didn’t, well, they aren’t on Ancestry.com.

So how do we love unconditionally when we’ve never been taught it? And more importantly, how do we love someone even if our relationship ends?

Relationships are where our  wounds are born, so it’s in relationships our wounds are healed. But in the dance of love, this isn’t so easy to do, right?! Why does healing have to feel so hard?! Gawd. No wonder we would all rather take antidepressants, get hair plugs,  and inject our lips and asses.

This is how most of our relationships play out:

We meet someone and get super excited (or we’ve been with someone for awhile and love them deeply)… and then they either don’t reciprocate our invitations to develop a relationship or they end the one we had. It’s a terrible feeling to want to build love, only to have that desire not reciprocated, and from our perspective, rejected.

When most of us love people, we don’t love them just in the present moment, we love them also because of the story we’ve built in our minds of “how it’s all going to play out.” Loving someone and holding them to a future is, in essence, conditional love. It’s “I love you as long as this story goes the way I have imagined.” Well, it seldom does.

It’s not to say that when people leave and kids are involved it’s not painful. Or when relationships end in any capacity we’re not allowed to be heartbroken – because if we did, that would mean we’re loving people conditionally. It’s not that at all.

As I said before, the painful parts are the love too. They’re the unconditional parts. They’re the parts that say, “I love you so much that I can still love you regardless of what you choose… even if that’s not me (us).”

It can be challenging to understand when our hearts have been broken, but I think most of us have been in the space where we have wished that others would’ve understood when  we wanted to follow a passion that wasn’t in alignment with what our family/culture wants, or even why we didn’t want to go on a second date. Most of us have been in the position where we’ve hoped that someone would be able to offer us compassion when we broke their hearts or left them… We have all wished for unconditional love from those around us.

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So what we wish for from others, we must give.

When those women left me when I was younger I didn’t understand how to love them despite their choices. Sure, I wanted what was best for them, if it meant me. And them not choosing me had me resentful. It made me angry and caused me to abandon my own heart because they followed theirs. I fell in love with a story that wasn’t mine (them being part of it), and because of that I put down the pen on my own. I tried to force a love story with those women, not seeing that if I accepted that truth (and let them go) in my heart, I would welcome in the woman who was actually part of the story I dreamt of.

You see, this is where we all get stuck; we don’t offer ourselves the unconditional love for our story to not look exactly how we thought and/or we’re taught it should be. When we do we accept and see that maybe being a doctor, having an arranged marriage, being heterosexual, getting divorced, following a different dream, are all okay paths. Actually, they’re not just okay, they’re perfect, for us… because they’re our story.

What does this have to do with people leaving us or relationships ending? We allow their path to be their path. When we allow their path to be their path, we allow our path to be ours as well. Do you see that? When we love people for being human, we give ourselves permission to be human too. Unconditional begets unconditional.

How do we make this make sense when people abandon families and/or cheat and leave? Firstly, needing to make it make sense is the foundation of building a prison to keep ourselves in. Secondly, if we get stuck in the space of wishing they hadn’t left or wanting our lives to look differently than they do currently, we are fighting against what is true. You fight reality, and when you fight against what’s real, you lose.

You need to accept what’s real, because the only alternative feels like pushing a big rock up a big hill. You look at your life as it is today, and you love yourself unconditionally. You put one foot ahead of the fucking other and you build from where you are. You start. You take care of you (and those around you) and you stay committed to your life, your story. Stop getting stuck on which actor needs to play which role and see that you’re the casting director and the fucking writer, and the lighting person, and the executive producer. You’re all of it. The whole fucking sha-bang (is that a word?!).

If you loved yourself unconditionally, you would love your life as it is. You would express and love all the parts of you, even if you think others won’t. You would put your self-worth in your hands and make you choosing you decide your lovability rather than someone else. The moment you decide whether you’re lovable is the moment you put your worthiness in your hands. When it’s in your hands, no one can ever take it from you.

I see now that it’s not whether I can love people if they stay or go, it’s: Can I stay and love me even in the most painful parts?

unworthy, mark groves, createthelove, relationship advice, not lovable, worthiness, positive psychology

If You’ve Ever Felt Like You’re Not Enough, Read This

I was born into a wonderful and loving family. I am the youngest of three children, with both an older brother and sister. When I was younger I often felt like my brother and sister related better to one another than I did to them. I sometimes felt left out on their jokes and their adventures.

For me, this was the first time I can consciously remember not feeling like I was enough. That who I was, wasn’t good enough to be included in all of the fun and the secrets that my brother and sister shared.

Next would be the time in grade eight when I was called a porker (pleasantly plump would’ve been a little nicer). Following that would be being cheated on by a girlfriend… and then by another one.

I share these experiences with you so that you can see that, time after time, we all have these moments of feeling excluded and not lovable.

Those are some of mine. What are yours?

Now the challenge with understanding our childhood experiences, such as mine, is that we look back with the eyes and mind of an adult. I can rationally process the way I felt was silly. With my siblings it was just a phase of our childhood. My brother and sister meant no harm and I have wonderful relationships with them today. My girlfriends were young and I made decisions and choices that led to their choices… we’ve since reconciled so everything is ok now, right?

What you can see from all of this, is that I can make my feelings make sense.

But here’s the issue that happens when we do this to our past stories, especially from our childhoods:

We dismiss our wounds and don’t acknowledge that when we were four, eight, or twelve years old (whatever the age), those were real and valid emotional experiences. By rationalizing these experiences, we invalidate our childhood feelings.

We often don’t think our past experiences influence our lives today because we understand them logically, but that doesn’t heal them and stop them from being the main program running in our subconscious and guiding our decisions. Our emotional brain still remembers the impact of not feeling like we’re lovable… And the pain of the fear of isolation for a human is far greater than any other psychological pain (or physical pain) we can experience. To protect ourselves and prevent this pain we often react defensively, we cling so tightly to the people we love, and, in some cases, it causes us to never let people in…because if we do, we believe they’ll just hurt us.. and often, in our pasts, we’ve been proven right.

Here’s the deal… 99.9% of us live with the underlying belief that we’re not enough. For some of us we may intellectualize it as a “fear of rejection” and/or a “fear of abandonment”. But even at the base of those fears is the underlying belief that we’re not lovable. Because of this underlying belief of unworthiness, most of us send our representatives out into the world to be the ones who are seen. The version of us who acts like everything is wonderful and then goes home and suffers from GI issues, weight issues, depression, drinks Jack Daniels for breakfast, and for some reason, has crippling anxiety and just can’t sleep.

The majority of the time, the underlying pathology is that being someone else is f*cking exhausting. Pretending like everything is ok, f*cking sucks. Acting like we believe we’re good enough by buying more shit and getting more affluence works for a bit… till it doesn’t. And then we just go into hyperdrive and pretend “everything is fine” so as to hide the scared child who lives underneath. And the truth is that we can never get enough surgeries, lip injections, botoxes  (is there a plural for this?), do enough drugs, eat enough food, become successful enough, take enough steroids, or buy enough sh*t to hide the fact that we’re afraid. The fact that we don’t believe we’re lovable.

Based on this definition most of us are frauds aren’t we?! Sh*tty deal right?! At least we’re all playing the same tricks. Really we’re just a bunch of actors and representatives running around pretending we love sh*t we don’t love and living lives composed of things we’re “supposed to” want… It’s insane isn’t it?! This is the greatest joke of awareness… that if none of us played the game, it wouldn’t exist. Welcome to the conundrum of humanity.

Freedom begins the moment we quit the game. When we begin to shed the bullsh*t stories we’ve been taught and actually decide we’re going to choose a life that reflects what we want, that we actually love ourselves, and we’re worthy of being loved for who we truly are. The trick is, we have to give it to ourselves first… and that means finally letting people see us. The real us.

How do you know if you’re kinda/sorta wearing a mask and pretending to be someone you’re not? It’s not that hard to diagnose… 

Let’s try it:

Does your partner know everything about your past? Are you both open to talking about the greatest fears and the times you felt rejected and didn’t feel like enough?

Do you persecute your partner for their pasts? Do you get hung up on how many sexual partners they’ve had and the mistakes they’ve made?

Do you hold back your real feelings and don’t tell your partner that you’re upset out of fear of being seen as “needy” and/or “too emotional”?

Do you have stories and situations that you’re holding onto in your relationship from years ago that you are afraid to talk about? (If so, it’s not in the past… it’s a giant elephant in the fucking room… it’s operating in your underlying behaviour and unconscious in every moment.)

Do you avoid telling your partner about things you’ve done because you don’t believe they can handle the truth and/or they’ll get upset?

If you’re single, do you choose people who treat you poorly? Do you keep breaking up and getting back together? Do you keep dating “a*sholes” or “b*tches”?

Do you suffer from GI disorders or skin outbreaks? Do you have pain in your body that is there despite all your efforts to understand it and treat it?

Do you subscribe to a religious/spiritual practice and hold others to a standard while you have secret indiscretions that don’t align with that practice? Do you operate with an actual set of beliefs that are different than the ones you say matter so much to you?

Do you harbour any racism and/or dislike any group that doesn’t believe what you believe?

Do you have issues with your weight, drugs, alcohol, gambling, debt, food, sex, partying… and just in general anything that seems to be an escape from the pain?

Are you currently living a life that feels out of control, and your soul is calling to you with every ounce of its power?

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If you answered yes to any of the above questions, there’s also an incredibly high chance you’re a human being.

Every single question above indicates that  we would rather be loved for who we pretend to be as it’s safer, than be loved for who we really are… because we’re afraid that no one will love the real us. The core belief at play here… guess?!? DING DING DING. We’re unlovable.

So what’s the way out?  Awareness. Truth (getting real with ourselves). And then a sh*t ton of courage.

I wish I could sugarcoat this sh*t, but if I ask you to pursue truth I need to give it to you straight. Look, it sucked that I had to admit I was chasing love through flings. It sucked when I saw that I used alcohol as an excuse to numb my values and integrity. It really sucked when I saw that I made protecting my feeling of unworthiness – a core part of my former identity – more important than my desire to love deeply. It monumentally blew (not the good kind) when I saw that I hadn’t actually let anyone love me… like, truly love me, in sixteen years.

But I had to face all of my sh*t to change my life. I had to admit that I didn’t have it all figured out and that I’d been hiding myself and my heart because I didn’t want to get hurt. I let go of a religion that caused more separation than unity. I let go of any beliefs that made it so I didn’t meet others with love and acceptance.

It sucked but it was also the most freeing and transformative moment in my life when I decided to stop changing myself to accommodate the world, and instead said…

“This is who I am Universe. What do you got for me?”

For the first time, I let the world adjust to me.

When we finally see that everyone is full of sh*t and no one actually knows what the hell they’re doing, we begin to understand that under everyone’s representative and “perfect” life is a child who desperately craves to be loved. A child that craves a voice, and the birth of an amazing life is through giving that child words and self-expression.

How do we even begin to do that? Grab a piece of paper and a pen and take an inventory of the things in your life that are out of alignment. What do I mean by that? Anything that feels forced, heavy, and not a celebration of who you are in your heart. What relationships (family and friends included) are weighing you down? Is your job what you really want to do? Do you live in a city/place that feels good? Geez… does your home feel good?! What are the habits in your life that hurt you more than they help you?

Start there. Start with an audit of your life… and then get ready to be courageous. Because all of this stuff is easy to understand with our brains… and a whole other story to face and change. Why? Changing parts of our identity, especially a core belief (that we’re unlovable), can be challenging because of the neural pathways we’ve built and the foundations of our life (jobs, religion & relationships) have been constructed upon our identity in order to reinforce it. We’ll even fight wars and kill others to preserve our beliefs.

So, if we want to feel like we’re enough we have to make choices that reflect that. In each moment where you’re feeling stuck and/or wondering what you should do, ask yourself:

“If I was enough, would I tolerate this situation? If I was enough, would this matter? If I was enough, what would I do in this moment?”

On a final note, I want you to truly understand, like to truly feel, to awaken to the truth… that the loneliness you fear, the paralyzing concern that if people met the real you, you won’t be loved… is happening right before you’re eyes. Because if you don’t share your deepest truths with the world, you’re sending the message to yourself that you’re not lovable. The thing you fear most you’re already living in… so it can’t get worse. It can only get better. And the people who are meant to love you for the real you, will. That’s a fact. But they can’t find you till you find you.

love, dating advice, relationship advice, couples, feminism,

Maybe You Don’t Have A Man Because You Don’t Need One

“I don’t need a man.”

I have always found this statement rather disheartening. It’s a phrase that is often expelled from the lips of a spiteful woman.

Its roots are in the wake of a feminist movement that saw many women left abandoned. Wives and mothers who dedicated their lives to family, only to be left without a career, their own money, and their husbands often withholding child support in order to control and manipulate.

I get it, the “breadwinner” marriages of the mid-twentieth century had few winners. Patriarchal relationship structures communicated the role of women to be one of servitude. “Dedicate your life to your man and your family, and he’ll take care of you, meanwhile you’ll compromise everything, including your own identity.” Sounds like a crap deal to me.

So, here we are, in the wake of a necessary feminist movement, with messages that swung the pendulum in a totally different direction. Men and women, who experienced and/or observed the devastation from relationships of the past, communicate to their daughters messages of strength:

“Never depend on a man.”

“Be independent.”

“Never need a man.”

“Take care of yo’self”

It’s important to honour that these messages are absolutely necessary and important. However, when these messages are not clarified, they are left to be interpreted by the receiver… unfortunately that receiver is often a child who lacks the intellectual maturity to ask questions and look for more direction.

Left unexplained, what we often hear are messages like:

“Never open up to a man.”

“Never depend on anyone.”

“If you ever feel like you ‘need’ someone, you’re giving too much.”

And of course, with these messages comes the conundrum:

We are all human, so, inevitably, we fall in love.

And, in turn, we want to give ourselves to the relationship, but there is just something holding us back and we begin to feel the devastating consequence of a message of strength gone wrong.

We live our relationships from the place of:

“Never let your man feel like you need him.”

And that’s where we are today, in a space where often (not always) women are taught to not need a man and when they’re in relationships, they are incredibly scared to do or say anything that could communicate they are vulnerable and want to depend on their partner.

Although that fierce independence is brilliant and inspiring, taken to the extreme it has negative effects on an essential component for relationships:

If our partners don’t feel like we need them, why would they stay? Why would they want to feel vulnerable and give themselves to the relationship?

Men are creatures of purpose. We want to provide and have a role in a woman’s life. We want to be able to love our woman. And when that woman communicates either directly or indirectly that she doesn’t need us, it hurts.

What we hear is that we don’t fit. We have no purpose in her life.

In addition to that, a large percentage of women are out-earning their partners. The role of man’s purpose as a provider in the relationship has shifted. A man’s success and identity have been evolutionarily rooted in being the provider, and when that role is no longer available, men seek to find another role in the relationship and/or in other areas of life.

Let’s be clear, it does not rest on the shoulders of a woman to create purpose for a man. However, it is important that each person create the space for their partner to find and experience purpose, even if that is within the relationship. The challenge is that we need to develop the awareness to step past all of the messages and identities we’ve been taught of what it means to be a “man” and an “independent woman”. 

When we adopt these identities we often have an incredibly hard time gaining deep and connected long term relationships… because most men are still driven and rewarded based on archaic ideals, and most women have moved past old roles and into the role of the masculine… leaving no space for a man to love and appreciate his partner, because she’s now the provider, the parent, and she doesn’t need no man to take care of her.

There’s no space for a man, because women are being that man. 

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So what do we do? Women are the new men, and men have no clue what the hell to do. Where does that leave relationships?

This isn’t about just women. This is about what messages, identities and roles we’re creating and subscribing to as humans. It is our responsibility to take control of our own hearts, and together, regardless of the combination of gender, we need to create relationships that work for us.

We need to step outside of what society, culture and religion have taught us, and create relationships and identities that align with who we are as individuals, and how we want show up to the relationship.

We need to stop trying to be so tough and actually let people in. Men and women need to create space in their lives for each other. And although it is so empowering and beautiful to observe women so rooted in their purpose and taking over the world, women can do that and still be loving and maternal. Falling and being in love doesn’t give a woman’s power away, it actually makes women more powerful. 

We need to see our relationships in the same way we see businesses. Much like a corporate culture, we design our relationship environment, including how we want to feel and who we want to be within that partnership. Relationships today are partnerships, and partnerships require shared agreements and intentions. By discussing and coming up with these agreements and intentions together, we allow ourselves to create the relationship we want. We become the creators of our reality. 

And at the end of the day, if we want great love and great relationships, we have to let people love us. Again, we have to let people in. Till we do that we’ll always be loving with half our hearts. And I don’t know about you, but I’m too full of life and love to waste it settling for “safe” and “comfortable”. I want to be able to depend on my partner, and her feel needed as well.

Let’s get better, together. 

single, sad, selflove, positive psychology, relationship advice, dating advice, relationships, dating, motivation, communication

Why Are You Single? Wait… Is that a bad thing?

We have this belief system that being single is bad.

It’s not.

Check out this video where I dispel some of the myths about how people in relationships are happier and healthier than people who are single.

If you like this video please Share it, Subscribe to my Youtube Channel, and give it a Thumbs Up on Youtube! 

References:

Stressful social relations and mortality: a prospective cohort study

Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy

Marriage and health: His and hers.

pregnancy, relationship advice, dating advice, let down, breakup, love, relationships, dating, emotional intelligence

How To Choose People Who Won’t Let You Down

We can all relate to the young couple that gets pregnant by accident. Maybe it was us, maybe it was someone we knew. Nevertheless, it’s a time that is stressful and is a struggle for all involved. The consequences of sex weighs heavily on the woman. I mean, that is biologically obvious, but even beyond that, the hormonal changes and the bond a mother develops with a child are incredibly profound. As a man, I can’t relate to what that is exactly like, but I have experienced the love of my mother, and it is unlike anything else, she would do anything for me. (Shoutout to my mom!).

I know a young couple who got pregnant, and based on their lives and where they were at, they decided to terminate the pregnancy.

This article is not about pro-choice or premarital sex, so leave your judgements at the door. Read on if you can be without judgment. Stop here if you can’t.

The appointment was made and the plans were enacted. At home, nervous and stressed with the reality of her decision, the woman got ready as she waited for her man to come pick her up to drive her to the clinic.

So she waited. And waited. And he never showed up.

She, like we all do if we can when anything goes wrong, called her mom. Her mom rushed over and picked her up and drove her to the clinic. She had the procedure, and the recovery was painful and longer than expected. But she endured it all, alone.

When I heard this story, my heart broke for her. As with everything, life has a way of moving forward whether or not we choose to participate. That man’s choices didn’t change outcomes, he just sent the message of the kind of man he was in the storm. Not the kind of man I would even want as a friend, let alone a partner or father.

The irony is that it was actually the second time I had heard a story like this.

ie. Man is ok with the boning part, but can’t own the responsibility that comes along with getting his ding dong wet.

It pisses me off that men like this exist. I mean, we’ve all let people down, that’s part of being human. But when life gets messy and people REALLY need us, we must put our ego and our crap aside because what they need is more important than what we need in that moment.  Men who act selfishly when other people need them the most give all of the amazing and kind-hearted men a bad rap. These men are the ones who women often remember and their actions have women believing they are not worthy of being loved.

What these men do is anything but love. They are cowards of the heart.

So I ask the men who can’t show up for the people in their lives:

What kind of message do you think you send to the world and the people in it?

I’m not talking about the message you send just to women, but to the children you abandon and the truths you flee from?

What kind of message do you send to yourself? These choices just poison your soul and hurt your own heart.

You are your choices. You are anything but a man.

But before I get too Mangry (new word, just invented), at first when I wanted to write this article, I was going to write it solely about the men who haven’t shown up for others. And to be fair, there are a lot. But here’s why I couldn’t just write to them:

Because there are many men who have had their hearts torn apart by women who have lied, cheated, and let them down. There are kids whose mothers broke their heart, day-in and day-out too.

We perpetuate stories of gender issues, and the reality is that people let people down. And it sucks.

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So how do we improve our lives and our choices so as to create space for people who will show up for us?

If we all took the time to consider the messages our actions send, we would make a lot of different choices. What we do in each moment and the decisions we make can change lives, for good and for bad. The influence we can have on a person through the words we choose is so profound that it can model their view of love and of the world in general. And other people, if we allow them to, can do the same for us.

One of the most important aspects of creating the life we want is taking ownership that a large part of how other people show up for us lies in our own hands. I know that can sound twisted, but our lives are generally a reflection of what we allow. We can’t change how people show up for us, but we can change how we show up for ourselves and what behaviours we consider to be acceptable.

When people let us down big time, they have usually let us down in many small and moderate ways before that. Sometimes it takes the deep lows for us to wake up and see that they’re not there for us. The whole time we’ve been trying to convince others to choose and show up for us, we were really just waiting to love ourselves.

Part of letting go of the pain associated with people never choosing us is recognizing that their choices are never really about us. We can’t force people to become how we need them to be and we can’t change how they love us. We can just invite them to meet us in the middle, and if they can, amazing. If they can’t, then it just creates more space for those who can.

It can be viewed that this is a very dismissive way to love. But if a relationship feels heavy and we spend our lives convincing people to change and love us in the way in which we need them to, is that a life well spent? There are so many wonderful hearts, who, despite maybe not knowing exactly how to do it, are willing to join us on the journey and learn. They’re willing to try to understand how we love and what we need, and we, in turn, agree to fulfill the other side of that agreement.

When you begin to follow your heart and let go of the need to control everything, you will see that the world has a wonderful way of bringing into your life exactly what the choices you make reflect you truly want.

Till you meet that special person, I want to tell you what all those people from your past who have let you down wanted to say but didn’t know how:

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry that your heart broke in so many ways. I’m sorry that I told you all the things you wanted to hear but never showed you what those words actually mean. I’m sorry that I left you waiting to be told that you are everything to me. I’m sorry that in my own pain and selfishness, I failed to see the impact of my actions on your life and your heart. Don’t dwell on me, I’m not worth it. Don’t try to change me or convince me to love you, because I don’t even love myself. All I can say is I’m sorry.”

It’s time to choose you, so someone who is worthy of your love can choose you too.

christmas, single, couple, relationship advice

6 Ways For Singles To Thrive During The Holiday Season

The holidays are easy for couples, aren’t they?

The most difficult decisions they’ll face are when to stop adding to the gift wish list and what to get for their partner. If the stress from that isn’t enough, there will also be the unrelenting struggle to determine which Christmas dinner to go to, on which day. How will they ever decide?! Turkey and stuffing more than once in 24 hours?! Leftovers? Gifts from two families? Noooooooooo!

Hopefully they’ll make it through.

For singles, the holiday season is a whole other story. Christmas movies are filled with romance, love, sex, Hugh Grant, plenty of laughter and never any love misses.

Yet we tend to miss love often during the holidays. It is a time of year that has a way of reminding us that we don’t have anyone. Over and over our heart will feel poked and prodded.

“Who’s your plus one for the company Christmas party?”

The friendship couples’ Christmas  parties become a celebration of being the fifth wheel. To make matters worse, we see couples flirting and wiping the extra whip cream off each other’s noses from their eggnog lattes. How cute. Not. (Haven’t said that since high school.)

So I propose a new type of holiday season. One where single people thrive and reinvent what it means to have enormous amounts of extra time and money.

What’s there to be sad about?

We’re not blowing our money on useless gifts and driving in snowstorms to see in-laws we don’t even like. No more having to endure the same mundane conversations that have us blaming tryptophan for nodding off. Let’s be honest. It’s them, not the turkey.

SO, here’s six ways to turn the holidays into a time for growth, self-love and to thrive in your aloneness or better yet, not get back together with your ex or install Tinder (again).

  1. Don’t Grow Up. It’s A Trap. When we were young we didn’t think about how lonely Christmas was. We were so caught up in the amazing things to look forward to. Sure we wanted the gifts, but in a child’s mind it’s about more than that. It’s about sharing, excitement, cuddling and watching Christmas cartoons, and waking up at 5am before Santa even thought about visiting. A kid’s heart offers a lot of insight into how to live before we learned to build walls around our hearts. Go Kids Table!
  2. Get yourself the gift that keeps on giving. Constantly we search for love when we don’t have it within ourselves. It’s true that once we’re happy alone then we’re able to fully show up in relationships. Christmas is the chance to do just that. Gift yourself the gift of development. Sign up for a course, dance class, learn to build a website, start a blog. Whatever has been on your list forever, do it! It’s time to start achieving and doing things that you put off in your relationship. The time is now.
  3. Have sleepovers. Remember when you were younger and looked forward to sleepovers, movies, and late night talks with your best friends? Now do the exact same thing, except add rum, eggnog, the movie, Elf, and a plan to brunch in the AM. We forget how much these experiences fill our soul. The only difference between then and now is that we’ve found that a nice red wine greatly helps to fill it too.
  4. Holidays are for Family. We often forget what it means to cherish our siblings. We forget what it’s like to laugh and build forts. We forget what it’s like to truly connect with family. We can take the people in our lives for granted and not let them know just how important they are. Being single offers us the opportunity to focus on family. Take your mom and dad on a date; have courageous conversations about fears and dreams and wins from 2014.  (If family isn’t available then see #3.)
  5. Date your friends. What a beautiful thing it is to have close friendships. Research shows that people who have close friendships are just as happy as people in great relationships. Bet you didn’t see that coming?! Take your friends out on a date. Our love doesn’t have to be limited to romantic love. Rekindle a friendship with someone that is important to you. Find love in ways you never though you could.
  6. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Go tobogganing, play shinny hockey, learn to ski, make naked snow angels, brew some hot chocolate and drive around and look at Christmas lights, ask that guy/girl out for a peppermint mocha. Find something that scares you and take the leap. The world has a beautiful way of catching us when we’re filling our souls and following our dreams. On the other side of fear is freedom.

When we look at being single as an opportunity to grow and nurture ourselves it opens our eyes to a world we never thought existed. A world where being single is a gift. How we use each day is a choice. I can readily admit that the holidays can be tough when we’re single, we can either take that energy and use it as a reason to stay the same, or we can see it as a gift of motivation. Motivation to want more. To believe in yourself again, to pursue your dreams and passions and see all of the other amazing facets of your life that you can flourish in. Romantic relationships are just one part. It’s when you start to see all the amazingness you already have in your life that you can forget about what you don’t have, and just focus on enjoying.

Rediscover what it means to love yourself, so you don’t need the love of others. You choose it. Be merry.