Moving From Dating to Relationship

As you move into relationship territory as a couple, you’re not really looking around for a mate anymore because you’re feeling as though this person is, “the one.”

Photo credit: couple holding hands silhouette patheos.com

You’ve had talks (at least, you should have because men who have not said they are in a monogamous relationship probably aren’t) about being in a “mutually exclusive” relationship. If one of you is not claiming to be in a relationship, then you are not; you are only dating or, “seeing each other.”

When you move from falling in love to coupling, you’re more likely to go out less and enthusiastically enjoy the simplicity of basking in each other’s presence.

Your couple vernacular includes cute nicknames, and the term, “love you,” is part of your occasional, if not regular, dialogue.

If he or she has an ex-, he or she (the ex) has been alerted that there’s a new SO (significant other) in town.

Public Display of Affection (PDA) is showing up as you’re holding hands in public, sitting “close” together, unashamedly embracing or touching each other and/or locked eye-gazing.

When you’re going to attend an event, you’re likely to assume your new love interest will accompany you. When you’re making plans to go places and do things, this specific object of your affection is the person you would most like to share these experiences with.

You’ve introduced him or her to your friends and family, and it looks like you’re both ready to change your relationship status on your respective social media accounts.

You’re talking more and more about how good it is to be together, even making plans for your future together.

 

And if you’re not having sex, you’ve been at least talking about it, for as Dr. Pete Eaton PhD, author of Sex Wise: Understanding Why Your Wife or Husband Lost Interest in Sex and How to Deal with It, says, “If you are not sexually compatible, you are headed for a train wreck.” According to Eaton, you either have a hunger for sex (measurable on a scale of 1 to 100), or you’re performing sexual acts as, “a favor,” as a means of prolonging the relationship. A mismatch at this juncture could have negative ramifications in regard to the relationship’s longevity.

More and more you are learning to trust your partner, so you’re more likely to ask your partner for assistance, or share intimate details of your life and a variety of personal stories, they type which you might only share with your best friend.

You’re becoming less afraid of showing your negative side as you’re feeling comfortable enough to let your guard down and let some of your idiosyncrasies show through and your partner, who feels similarly, will see these as the silly or cute mannerisms which make you even more special to him or her.

What is Delusional?

You’ve probably been in a social setting and heard people in relatively normal conversation use the word delusional and wondered, “What does it mean to be delusional?” Just so you know, this word is often mis-and-over-used by people in a disrespectful manner, especially by predators and bullies, but also as a general characterization of a set of personality traits in therapy. So, what is delusional?

To understand what it means to be delusional you must comprehend that society and/or people have a certain set of normal (or widely held) beliefs to which they attach their sense of security. That is to say the masses, or general population, would agree on a particular precepts or ideals and affirm by congruent feelings that they are held to be “true.”

What is Delusional?

A person who highly regards any idea which is contrary to what is either a popularly held ideal, or appears to other people to not be supported by factual data, might be considered to be delusional, especially if the idea is extreme in comparison to popular belief or generally accessible and available data.

Everyone, at some point in time, might consider an idea which is not widely agreed to be factual or prudent, but these generally are dispelled relatively quickly, by gaining additional information which causes the idea to break down, or friends, peers, or counselors can help to assist the person who dares to believe such a thing that their perception is incorrect, convincing the person that the idea is unsound and cannot stand on its own.

If the subject continues to align his or her thoughts with this contrary thought pattern or philosophy, he or she might be considered as suffering from Delusional Disorder and referred to professionals for treatment. In a sense, to reel him or her back into a better sense of “reality” to which the masses agree is a more normal perspective.

There are many different types of delusions, such as a paranoid belief that one is under surveillance or secretly persecuted by some government or other unknown sources (may include spirits, demons, or aliens), which is the most common type of delusion.

Then there is the medical dysfunction type of delusion where the subject claims to suffer from a type (or many types) of physiological conditions, believing they have unsubstantiated diseases, bugs, implants (or extractions) where there is no physical evidence to support such claims.

The love delusion refers to a condition of a person who believes he or she has a romantic relationship with someone (usually someone in a higher position/stage of life, such as a celebrity) which is intense in nature, but not substantiated in any way, except in his or her own mind.

The delusion of superiority is indicated by the person who sees himself or herself as better than anyone else due to their own definition (which is not generally agreed to) of being smarter, wiser, imbued with special (magical) abilities, access to unsubstantiated “secret” information, or special relationship with a higher intelligence (or God).

Of course, there are many types of delusions which could be categorized but in most cases, these ideas are often considered as “bizarre” at first blush.

In clinical circles delusional disorders are considered psychiatric conditions and people who suffer from them can be treated by pharmaceuticals which alter brain chemistry, causing patients to think “normally,” and treatment may include cognitive therapies in an attempt to re-establish a normal paradigm of thought.

There is a great deal of concern among the psychiatric and therapeutic communities focussing on the normalization of all peoples, which could support the idea of there being those whosuffer from Individuality Psychosis.

You might see how many major breakthroughs in science and emerging technologies may not have been possible if their inventors or out-of-the-box thinkers had been diagnosed and treated for their delusional disorders.

It makes you wonder…

Difficult People and How to Handle Them

Learning to deal with difficult people is like learning a foreign language.  It’s well, shall we say, difficult? But as challenging as it is to develop fluency in conflict situations, it’s just as hard, if not harder, to learn to detach yourself emotionally from the outcome.

It helps to think about it this way: drama is a childhood phenomenon.  So whenever you are faced with hysteria, irrational thinking or out-of-control emotions, know that there is simply a child in the room – a fully-grown adult child, but a child nonetheless.

See, underneath difficult personalities there is an unhealthy, undeveloped, unsatisfied ego who is acting out. Since these egos are remnants of childhood, normal, rational thinking does not apply.  They live to ensnare you into their reality when something has happened to make them feel insecure.  But, it’s a time warp.  Do not go! If you do, you’ll end up mired in another person’s emotional environment that is rooted in the past.

Of course, not being privy to that past, you have no idea how the person is allowing his or her ego to distort the present.  All you can do is manage it from your perspective the best you can.  The key is to stay steady and not get drawn in.

Easier said than done, I know.

Chances are, if you’ve been in the workforce for any amount of time, you have crossed paths with some of these ego-laden “characters.”   Here are some things you can do to help manage the conversation and the person to whom you are trying to talk.

The Ticking Time Bombs

Think Tasmanian devil. These folks are volatile, inconsistent, and unpredictable. They fly off the handle easily and feel empowered by making others walk on eggshells. They stifle free dialogue by shutting other people down, and they kill the possibility of having productive conversations by breeding insecurity in their relationships.

  • The Tyrant rants and raves and makes no sense.
  • The Ogre is grumpy and unpleasant and snaps for no reason.
  • The Bully derives pleasure from pushing other people around.
  • The Loose Cannon is quiet and pent up but abusive when set off.

How to Deal:

Weather the storm. Remain calm no matter what.  If you ever heard a story about what to do should you find yourself face-to-face with a lion in the wilderness, you know your only chance at survival is to stare it down, eye-to-eye, and remain still until it is convinced by your lack of fear that you are not the perfect prey.

What to Say:

“Whoa, hold on,” and then don’t be afraid to ask the Ticking Time Bomb to simply stop. Request that he or she refrain from snapping, bullying, abusing, ranting, raving, etc. . .  State that you don’t do well under attack and that you would like the conversation to progress in a mutually respectful way.

Don’t make it harder than it has to be. On many occasions, I have said to people who felt the need to push me around, “Please don’t bully me. I don’t like it.” It works!

The Centers of the Universe

These people have a bad case of me, myself and I myopia. They only see themselves and have a distorted view of their own importance in the world. Communicating with them effectively is a challenge because they don’t listen, unless, of course, you are feeding their egos, which is more about them. They filter what they want to hear, taking what feeds their egos and rejecting anything that doesn’t fit into their delusion that the world revolves around them.

  • The Narcissist cannot tolerate being wrong and brings an unreasonable sense of entitlement to conversations and self-focus to relationships.
  • The Power Monger is interested in compensating for his or her own feelings of weakness and inferiority by acquiring power through status, people, and things to feel more important.
  • The Control Freak needs to control not only conversations but people, too, in order to feel good about him or herself.
  • The Intimidator wants to establish his or her superiority, often by instilling fear so that others won’t speak up.

How to Deal:

Don’t take the bait. Centers of the Universe will have you as twisted as they are in no time if you play into the game that they are playing with themselves. Stay on track and do not allow yourself to be reduced.

What to Say:

Nothing. Ignore the bravado, and don’t engage in their histrionics – just stick to the facts.

The Buzz Kills

These guys and gals are negativenegativenegative! They refuse to explore alternative possibilities or open their minds. They obstruct important dialogue from occurring because they are stuck in a world of small-mindedness.

  • The Naysayer says that everything won’t work and is not interested in anything new and/or improved.
  • The Know-It-All always has to be right and thinks he or she knows how things will turn out regardless of whether it’s true or not.
  • The Curmudgeon is ill-tempered, full of resentment, and stubborn.
  • The Ignoramus is not open to suggestions from others and is not open, period.

How to Deal:

Ask questions. Every time a Buzz Kill tries to put the kibosh on something, try to find out why he or she feels the need to choose failure over success before even trying.

What to Say:

“Why must you put a damper on everything?” Point out how their pessimism is grounded in nothing substantive and that whether they know it or not, they’re making everything harder than it has to be, including trying to have a conversation.

The Slippery Sly Ones

Watch out for this group. They are underground operators. They undermine healthy dialogue and erode trust by feigning authenticity and operating under false pretense.

  • The Dissembler conceals the facts and his or her true intentions.
  • The Skulk is evasive and shirks responsibility.
  • The Conniver schemes, lies, and cheats to get ahead, all the while making pretend to be on the same side you are on.
  • The Manipulator bends the truth, twists words, and hides his or her motives as a means to serve his or her own end.

How to Deal:

Call them out on it. You have to, because when the ego knows you see it, it has nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. By merely revealing your awareness of its presence, you will often shame that part of the Slippery Sly Ones into minding its manners.

What to Say:

“Something doesn’t add up here.” Or, you could say something like, “This does not feel kosher . . . or cool . . . or copacetic . . . or right.”  Remember, it is perfectly acceptable to tell someone what you think and how you feel.

The Suck-Ups

We’ve all known our fair share of these. It’s their insincerity that makes it so difficult to communicate with them. They’ll “yes” you to death in lieu of having a meaningful conversation.

  • The Blowhard is stuck on him or herself and full of useless self-serving jabber.
  • The Sycophant seeks favor by flattering people.
  • The Brownnoser is motivated by approval and goes out of his/her way to impress those he or she deems important.

How to Deal:

Make it clear that you would prefer not to have a conversation that consists only of agreement and accord.

What to Say:

“Please stop. . . .” Point out that they don’t need to work so hard to look good and that it is infringing on your ability to move forward with them in the conversation.

The Oblivious

This bunch is really out there. They exist in their own reality, which is unrecognizable to almost everyone else. The problem is that real issues aren’t addressed while they detract from the clarity needed for constructive conversations.

  • The Dreamer is not only not in reality, but in denial most of the time, too.
  • The Flake has trouble connecting what he or she says with what he or she does, and as a result, conversations with him/her seem as though they never happened.
  • The Drama Queen blows everything out of proportion and creates drama for attention.

How to Deal:

Have the conversation and cross your fingers that the Oblivious “get it.” Give it your best shot and document everything that is said because when it comes up again, the Obliviouswill have no idea what you’re talking about.

What to Say:

“Snap out of it.” You can ask them to try to step out of their own reality and face the facts as they are, but don’t hold your breath.  All you can do is try.

The Juveniles

These kids trapped in adult bodies are more draining than a marathon. They sap energy, waste time, and turn the workplace into a day-care center.

  • The Blamer never accepts responsibility for even the smallest, stupidest things and finds reasons to blame someone else.
  • The Whiner complains all the time about how everything but he or she is the problem.
  • The Excuser makes excuses for everything and is automatically defensive.
  • The Spoiled Brat pouts to get attention.
  • The Gossip stirs up trouble and wastes time being concerned with other people’s business.

How to Deal:

Point out specifically what is juvenile about their behavior. The best thing to do is express your amazement that such behavior exists in a professional, adult, work environment.

What to Say:

Tell them point-blank how unbecoming and inappropriate their behavior is.

The preceding is a reprint of an article featured in Psychology Today by  Author of Surviving Dreaded Conversations, Donna Flagg, who said it better than I could have. Stretch your mind and your body by visiting Donna’s site at Lastics.com

What Do You Believe?

What do you believe? Whatever it is, you’re probably pretty well attached to the idea, so much so, that you’re willing to defend what you believe, even risking life and limb in defense of your most highly held beliefs. So, what do you believe?

Due to the proliferous American culture, there’s a good chance when you were young, you believed in Santa Claus and/or the Easter Bunny. Then, one magic day, your belief bubble was burst, and you became aware what you previously held to be true, was not. This, or some other youthful belief awakenings, signaled the introduction to your continuum of beliefs.

As you move through life, your beliefs are in a constant state of flux, morphing and changing as you are exposed to new information and emerging thought which causes you to revisit and reevaluate previously held beliefs. It’s all a part of the process of growth and expansion.

Americans believe a great many things, here are some examples, which depending on where you are in your belief continuum, you may, or may not, believe:

Global warming is a serious problem
Angels are real
You have had a paranormal experience
Believe Ouija boards are dangerous
Believe in ghosts (spirits of the dead)
Psychic or spiritual healing of the body
Ancient advanced civilizations, such as Atlantis, existed
The Earth revolves around the sun
Places can be haunted by spirits
People can be possessed by Satan, demons, or other entities
Believe in ESP (Extra Sensory Perception)
Aliens have visited Earth in our ancient past

When you enthusiastically align yourself with a particular belief, it is filed away in your collection of known facts or truths in the brain, and the ego will exert toxic amounts of energy to protect these ideals, as they give us a high-level sense of safety and security as we navigate the world around us.

We tend to compare, measure, and judge life and others around us, constantly comparing it to what we know to be “true,” even if there is no real constant in the belief continuum. From the perspective of the continuum of beliefs, it is difficult to perceive beyond our own fear and expectations, because we are trapped within the belief spectrum which causes us to project and predict outcomes based on that which we believe to be true.

When a highly held belief is challenged, your brain releases dopamine as a method to emotionally charge or invigorate your defense of your belief, so you go about your fighting for your right to believe, without the benefit of having the logical part of your brain fully functional.

This is the same system which is triggered when you are threatened by the potential of being eaten by a ferocious tiger, lion, or bear (oh, my), which we refer to as the fight-or-flight response. It’s what motivates our heroes, such as military, police officials, fire fighters, and others in protective services to risk their lives to save others.

Only after we have recovered from the initial shock of being chemically dosed and influence, and our brain chemistry begins to return to normal, can we begin to sift through and newly exposed data to evaluate a new rational conclusion.

Knowing this can be a huge advantage to those who are actively engaged in being exposed to new ideas and emerging thought patterns.

You can learn how to control the beast within, and many have, but the pendulum can swing so far in the opposite direction that you might find it easier to deny it, or turn off the system altogether, deciding to believe in nothing.

Although, to think that it is possible to believe in nothing is, well, impossible. But you can decide not to believe in what everyone else believes.

Even 20% of atheists consider themselves, “spiritual but not religious.”

Everyone believes in something, and you are emotionally charged about it, whatever it is, whether it is the brand of car you drive, clothes you wear, or bag you carry. Anything from your favorite artists, your mentor(s), electronic devices, or favorite video games are all connected to this belief continuum.

We all have a strong inclination to admire and worship something; if it is not a higher energy, we replace the need to focus our admiration on other ideals, people, other forms of life, or material things that give us a reason to feel like we have something outside of ourselves to value or regard endearingly.

What do you believe?

7 Phases of Love

Romantic relationships can the most exhilarating experiences of your life, they can also be very dramatic. If you can make it through the 7 phases of love, you can have the breakthrough bliss of the expanded and evolved couple and share your love with the world.

Phase 1: Falling in Love

The first phase is what gets us into relationships in the first place. It’s that exciting time when this person makes your heart soar and you’re higher than a kite (actually you are because you’re overdosing on love hormones, like dopamine and oxytocin.

In your honeymoon daze, you see all your wants, needs, and desires fulfilled by this person, and you project your dreams upon your love interest, therefore he or she appears to be your dream come true.

Phase 2: Coupling

Following some time of falling in love with someone, the two of you agree that you are somehow meant to be with each other and you go about the business of building a relationship together.

In the coupling phase, you’re getting to know each other better and beginning to see what life would be like as a couple. You begin building real appreciation and a sense of secure bonding is taking place as your relationship moves beyond surface issues and begins to deepen.

Phase 3: Sober Up

One day you wake up and ask yourself, “Who is this?” man or woman whom I’ve aligned myself with? The love hormones are wearing thin, and you’re starting to see him or her as he or she really is, and you think this isn’t the person you fell in love with.

You’ve been together long enough to feel comfortable enough to speak your piece about how your partner is not what you thought he or she was, and your partner returns in kind, as the green grass on the other side of the fence seems so very attractive.

Phase three is the place where most relationships break down, as either one or both parties feel like living life, like this, would be unbearable, though some push-through to the next phase.

Phase 4: Deepening

In phase four, one or both parties feel as though the relationship is worth pursuing, instead of posturing for control or splitting up, they seek to find healthier, more mature ways to look at life shared by two individuals, working thorough problems and disagreements while finding effective solutions without compromising their connection.

This is the make it or break it phase as the partners are more transparent and open with each other, moving forward with increased vulnerability, so things can get a bit messy, but by supporting each other with openness and honesty, sharing and caring, real growth and maturity of each individual can be immense, and the surviving couple thrives as they grow and change both as individuals and as a unified force.

Phase 5: Genuine Bonding

This is when the age-old charge, “the two shall become one,” feels like real romantic love fulfilled. When you’ve reached phase five, your phase one expectations seem silly in comparison, because now you see your unique combination as an expanded entity, an extension of both you and your partner’s lives, with endless opportunities.

If you’ve been resistant to the idea of marriage before, once you’ve reached phase five, you start entertaining the thought of getting married, embracing the idea that you could, and would prefer to, live the rest of your life in a relationship, like this.

Phase 6: Comfort

Phase six is where it gets tricky because you’re comfortable. You’ve made it through phases one through five and living your life with this other person is good, pleasant, and good enough, but left on idle for awhile this comfort can lead to complacency.

Some time has passed and it looks as though you’ve fallen into an endless recurring routine and the relationship has lost its sheen. This is yet another phase where one of the parties might be looking for the exit sign leading to a little more excitement.

Not to worry, all advanced couples reach this stage (it is commonly referred to as the seven-year-itch, though it could come at any time) and you could also seek to rekindle the flame of true love and find yourself headed for the final phase of romantic love.

Phase 7: True and Enduring Love

You have weathered the storms of life in love together and hand-in-hand you have persevered, broken through barriers, shared epiphanies, expanded and ever-evolving as individuals and as a unified force in and for love.

You have established a meaningful relationship in perfect push/pull harmony which is a delicate balance to maintain but it is so worth it. You welcome the challenges, and when things get tough, you are more apt to lean in and trust your partner, who has been there for you as your love has withstood the test of time.

Openness, honesty, and trust are reciprocal and there is no greater sense of safety and security, and others look on with awe.

From this phase of love, the two of you combined can impact the world for the greater good, as your love inspires others, giving them hope as they aspire to build true and enduring love relationships.

The two of you are separately and “as one flesh” living your best life and making the world a better place.

What is the Best Spiritual Journey?

As a spiritual coach, people often ask me, “What is the best spiritual journey?” Compassionately translated, it might read, What religion, brand-of-thought, or style of living might be the best path to follow?

If you’ve asked that question, you have a way to go, yet.

Think about your spiritual journey just as you would any other trip you might take. Let’s say you’re in Seattle and you want to go to New York. There are so many roads which can be travelled between those two locations, the question is how do you want to get there?

Many people want the fast-track, so they stay to the highways and get there as quickly as possible, maybe staying the night in one or two locations along the way, some driving straight through, while others take an RV and as many side roads as possible, enjoying the scenic route.

Of course, you can plan and execute your own spiritual journey any way that is the best for you. We’re all different and we all experience our lives in unique and different ways (at least we should). So, to ask anyone what is the best path to take doesn’t really make any sense.

You can ask me about the path that I took, or you could study the path that someone else took, but you must take your own path, even risk creating a new trail through terrain which may not have been travelled before (or lately).

Your spiritual journey is not a race, nor a competition, and you never reach a finish line. There will be monumental moments when you feel like you’ve reached the pinnacle, and these moments are to be savored and celebrated. After a moment of settling into this new, expanded energy, you will see another peak in the horizon.

Or, you can find a comfortable place and settle in for the remainder of your years, if that is what is best for you.

There is no right way. There is no wrong way. There is only your way, and your way will be unlike anyone else’s way.

Sure, you can receive input from others, query them, and see what piques your interest, dabble in a particular thought pattern or belief system for a while to see how it resonates with you. There is no harm in that. Who knows, it may lead to a major unexpected leg of your journey.

And don’t be afraid of changing your destination, or taking trips along the way that may seem like they’re taking you in a different direction. All your trips along your journey add to the quality of this life.

There may be treacherous terrain to be crossed, you may meet challenge, drama, and pain along the way. You are likely to encounter situations and circumstances which you could not have anticipated or prepared for. Not to worry. No mistakes can be made, as long as you keep moving.

There is no judgment for you here.

You might find yourself in Orlando, when you originally thought you were headed to New York, but your journey will have been rich and full of life, and you will have tales to tell. Tales which will have eager eyes trained on you as you tell of your travels around the campfire, eager to hear each and every detail.

Most people don’t get to live a life like the life you are living.

What is the best spiritual journey?

You are a spiritual being, on a spiritual journey and your journey is the best spiritual journey for you.

You are your spiritual journey.

(And there is no way you can do it wrong.)

 

Who Are You? What Do You Do?

Everything revolves around your answers to the two questions every person you meet asks you, “Who are you? What do you do?”

When you’ve decided to take a stand or make your mark, you will be miles ahead doing the preliminary work of creating a platform to support yourself along the way, so prepare for exponential success.

Who Are You?

To start off, you must define who you are. Of course, you know who you are, but how are people who don’t know you going to know who you are and what you do? Lets stat with who you are.

Try to encapsulate in a few paragraphs your life as it has led until now. No need to go into great detail, but be certain to include key elements which helped develop you into the person you are today. Don’t worry if you think your life has been lackluster or unglamorous. If you think your life was awful, look at these famous celebrities who suffered prior to achieving their highest and best.

Be brief, but transparent. Enquiring people want to know you have a history, and who knows? Your story may be incredibly inspiring for someone else.

What Do You Do?

This is the second question anyone asks you, so be ready with a one-sentence answer about what you do which sets you apart from anyone else. But before you answer this question, you will be miles ahead, if you know your purpose, message, passion, and mission (PMPM). I know many people who were forever known as one thing because they were not congruent with their PMPM at the time they were visited by media exposure and lived to regret it.

Armed with a clear sense of who you are and what your PMPM is, you can go about the work of creating your congruent unique identity, which we refer to as your brand.

Let’s take a brief look at what this might look like. Let’s say, for instance, you are a man who was raised in an urban neighborhood where cats over-populated the area. But you admired the cats, not far from being homeless yourself, as a young child, you could imagine what it might be like to be a disadvantaged cat. You could relate to them, you had compassion for them.

Then, one day, you visited your grandmother in a nursing home, to you, she seemed to be in a crowded facility, yet alone, not unlike a cat. So, one day you brought a cat from the neighborhood, “Scruffy,” one that you had nurtured to health, and gifted it to your grandmother.

It changed your grandmother’s life and the two of them, the grandmother and Scruffy lived out their lives together in joyous harmony. This was when you realized what your mission in life was to be.

Who Are You?

I’m JAG, just a guy who was raised in a neighborhood overrun by cats, but I loved them and became known as the Man Who Saves Cats.

What Do You Do?

I’m a Feline Rescue Engineer and as the Man Who Saves Cats, I match disadvantaged cats with people whose lives can be enhanced by the love and affection a cat can give.

Add to these a simple 30-second elevator speech, which you have practiced and can quickly recite verbatim and you are almost there because you’ll want to make sure you…

Buy the Dot-Com

In my Branding Masters seminars, a key component of capitalizing on those brief moments in time when the planets align, and you have a few seconds to capitalize on your media exposure, the dot-com makes all the difference. So, having the dot com which represents who you are and what you do (if at all possible. If not, keep reinventing, until you can find an available and catchy dot-com) is so important.

Properly prepared and positioned you can fulfill your life’s mission with expanded efficacy by laying the proper groundwork. Then, if you ever find yourself in front of a microphone, for even the briefest of moments, you can take advantage of that moment in time to expand the reach of your mission, even more.

Even if you are a witness to an unrelated freak accident or disaster, the interviewer will ask those two questions. If your answer includes “Man Who Saves Cats” and “Feline Rescue Engineer” and you own those dot-coms, and have information on those websites delineating who you are, what your mission is, and how people can join you in your mission, you’ve grasped the ultimate brass ring.

If this happens to you, and you are prepared, people will mob rush

manwhosavescats.com
and
felinerescueengineer.com

You will see your web servers explode with web traffic, your email servers will smoke, and your phone will ring off-the-hook if you’ve taken these preliminary steps. This man could easily then launch the Ultimate Pet Rescue.

You can also take the necessary steps to increase your credibility as a source and expert in your field. See: Where is Your Credibility?

If you are prepared in this way, when good fortune is visited upon you, others will see it as an instant overnight success, as if lightning had struck, never knowing that you had carefully laid the groundwork to ensure your success in the event of such a lightning strike.

Elsewise, you will have been just another nameless face on the TV, forever remembering that moment, when had you been prepared, could have made all the difference in the world. These moments are very difficult, if not impossible, to recreate.

When lightning strikes will you be ready?

Five Years

It took you five years to get to where you are right now. If you look back over the last five years, you can see how everything unfolded to have you arrive where you are today. You may, or may not, have exerted a great amount of planning and effort to come to where you are now, or just let it unfold on its own. Nonetheless, it’s been five years, and here you are.

In just the same way, you could be living a completely different life, the life you’ve always dreamed of, in the next five years, and you can do it yourself. You don’t have to break any laws, compromise your morals, or deceive anyone in order to live the life you’ve dreamed of.

I’ve known of and helped many people do just that, create the life of their dreams with extremely humble beginnings (some the humblest imaginable) and all it takes is creating a vision and mapping a path from here to there, with a little movement along the path every day, you will arrive at your destination.

Now, making a commitment for five years might sound like a long time at the outset, but think about the other commitments you make for five years, like for school, relationships, buying a car, or leasing an apartment. We all make five-year commitments to all kinds of things, why not something that can dramatically change your life for the better?

It may take a year, or ten years to get there, but you can do it if you do a little something-something every day to move you closer to your best life ever.

The basic process is simple enough, first to visualize your life in five years, then to break the progress necessary into chunks of manageable size to get you from here to there.

This works for anyone, unemployed, underemployed, over-employed, artists, inventors, novelists, organizations and businesses, no matter where you are or what stage of life you are at in this moment.

To visualize all you need is a good imagination and a way to document the results. Close your eyes, and see in your mind’s eye the life that you want in five years, with as much detail as possible. Use all five senses and write it down while being very descriptive. The more detail, the better.

Next up, develop your map. Start from where you are by evaluating all the resources you have available at present, in essence, packing your bags for the journey, and it will be a journey, not a vacation.

A vacation, you start and it is paid for and budgeted (normally) in advance. A journey, on the other hand, you embark upon with what you have, and you pay for it, and make adjustments, as you go along the way.

No journey is ever taken without starting or taking the first step followed by many successive steps.

By reducing your journey into sections, it allows you to stop and reevaluate your progress along the way. Think of these as landmarks. It’s like charting a nationwide trek with key points or destinations to acknowledge along the way. You might stop at the Grand Canyon along the way, only for you, your Grand Canyon might be buying a house, horse, or bus to rent or building a website, investing in a certain amount of stock, or bitcoin, etc..

Whatever it is, you have these milestones, or goals marked out on your map in succession, so that your five-year plan will have you at your Grand Canyon at the specified time, say in six months. If you’ve accomplished your goal, you can feel rest assured you are well on your way and your map is accurate.

If you’ve made it to the Grand Canyon ahead of schedule, then you might want to revise your map, or at least the timeline, because if you keep it up, it looks like you’ll be living the life of your dreams a lot sooner than you expected.

If the date has come for you to be at the Grand Canyon and you can see that it is still a way off, then this is an indication you need to revisit your method(s) of progress. You may well be moving toward your goal a little every day, but it might be time to step up your pace or to readjust your expectations.

In any case, your best life, the life you could have only imagined before, is waiting for you only five years away, maybe sooner.

Fear Disguised as Compassion

How many times has someone rained on your parade or tried to put the kibosh on your idea(s) or squash your dreams? It happens all the time, and usually includes, “I care about you so much,” or, “I’m just looking out for your best interests,” but it’s really only fear disguised as compassion.

They don’t really care about you, or else they’d be more supportive. Okay, that was harsh, maybe they do care about you, but they’ve let their fear override taking the higher road of loving and supporting you to achieve your highest and best.

Let’s face it, most people are governed by fear. It’s the way we’ve been taught to live life on this planet, in a constant state of fear. Fear from the government or the police, fear of not being accepted by others or doing good enough. This is how we are easily controlled and herded like sheep, in a constant state of fear… and if things get too good or comfortable, look out. Because something very frightening is about to happen to make sure you’re slapped back into the state of fear.

We project these fear(s) onto the people we supposedly care about and we do our best to cover it up to make it look like compassion, like we care so much about whoever it is we’re “trying to protect,” when really, we’re projecting our own fear onto him or her.

Maybe you’ve done this (I know I have). When my brother was deciding to make a particular life choice that would have huge impact on the remainder of his life, I did my best to dissuade him from pursuing this path, and to me, it really felt like compassion, or more, like I was trying to save him from making the most tragic decision of his life.

Why? Because I was truly afraid for him (but not really). The truth was, I had made a similar choice early on in my life, with hugely less than desirable results. I did not want the same thing to happen to him. But guess what? I wasn’t him.

He maintained his position and stayed true to what he felt was his calling and became hugely successful following this endeavor. In retrospect, I can look back and see, my compassionate concern had little or nothing to do with my brother’s decision and everything to do with my fear based on my experience. Nothing to do with my brother and everything to do with me.

Since then, I’ve realized that we’re all uniquely different and we all are doing the best we can with what we have. Two people can do exactly the same things, step-by-step, and have entirely different results. One could go through the experience with invaluable yet harsh lessons to be learned in preparation for his or her next phase of life, the other wildly successful.

Now, I am more cautious about cautioning others who are pursuing their dreams.

Since I’m in the dream business, I am constantly surrounded by people pursuing their dreams. So much so, that I am often surprised when I find myself in a public venue politely engaging in chit-chat and discover most people are not pursuing their dreams.

I forget, sometimes, that the rest of the world is so fearful, and they have given up on the hope that their dreams would ever come true, except for the hope of maybe winning the lottery, one day.

Most of them can recall a time when they were more optimistic about potential positive outcomes, had a dream, took a shot at it, and was either not supported, or failed, and just gave up on it, as if it was just some childish fantasy.

And as we know, misery loves company, so those who had a dream and walked away from it, fearing that it wouldn’t come true anyway, try to gather people “we care about” around us, and persuade them to feel the same way we do, in their best interests.

With the best intentions, we try to gently smash their dreams, because we fear they will suffer the same heartbreak that we did when we had a dream.

How dare we do that?

If you really cared about that person (you were trying to save from himself or herself) you would boldly support them in their pursuit of his or her dreams.

Shame on you (me, or anyone) for projecting my fear onto someone else.

Surely, you may share your experience with him or her, being careful not to communicate in any way that you might not be 100% supportive of their decision and effort to follow their dreams. Maybe you’re sharing your experience will help them avoid a potential pitfall as they go forward and seek to achieve their highest and best.

Therein is the redemption for your experience or failure. Every misstep or failure has a lesson in it. In most cases, the lesson is for you, but maybe, in this case, it was for that person who has raised the courage to go for their dream.

We all have our own individual paths to follow and journey to embark upon, celebrate those who have the drive to be true to themselves. Maybe they stumble and fall along the way. Support them, help them get up and back on their feet again. Be there for them, when they need a shoulder to lean on, but never say, “I told you so.” Instead, say,

“I love you and I will support you in whatever you decide to do, because I believe in you, and you will do what is right for you.”

If you really care about them, bless and support them for going for it no matter what.

You Hurt Me!

If someone intentionally and maliciously does something to hurt your feelings, what is really going on?

You could be moving on down the road of your life humming and singing along with your life’s soundtrack, smiling and having the best time and a friend might take note of it and say, “I wish I could be more like you.”

Of course, they could, if he or she chose to do so, but after a while, their reverence for your optimistic lifestyle wears on them and can turn to resentment. Because he or she cannot understand what it’s like to live a life in a higher vibration this person might secretly wish something ill, bad, or evil will visit your life for a little reality check from his or her point of view.

People who do not live their lives in the higher vibrations often cannot conceive of such a thing. To them, the good things they covet in life (like happiness, beauty, abundance, freedom, good health, and life, etc.) are only available to those who are unworthy. By unworthy, their paradigm would suggest that one may only possess the good things in life by working hard, sweating blood, forsaking all, in selfish dedication to the pursuit of money.

And even if the object of their attention is a person who has done just that, and is by their own definition “deserving” of such favor, they demonize that person for being a selfish glutton and money-grubbing fiend, or even worse, if they haven’t earned it, or it came to them easily by inheritance, winning the lottery, or some other undeserved good fortune.

Journalists and paparazzi cannot resist the idea of knocking someone down a rung or two if given the slightest opportunity, likewise your friend or neighbor might like to see you have a little attitude adjustment every once and a while, and might be willing to play a role in it behind your back.

This kind of tug-of-war isn’t just between the haves and the have-nots, you will also see this in moral fixations. For instance, if someone is always polite or kind, generous and serving others, is always on time or maintains a strong work ethic, or any other life choices one may have made which separate themselves from the majority their peers.

If you are one of these people, you have chosen to live your life in a way that is differentiated from the rest of the people who choose by default not to do so. In this respect, you are no longer normal, and you cannot blame normal people for acting normal.

While normal people might admire your qualities or lifestyle, they’d feel much better seeing you fall to a level of “normal” and be like them.

Sometimes, the same people you hope to trust, or call friend will do or say something intentionally to hurt your feelings or even damage your reputation, in hopes of bringing you down to a lower vibration.

Then there are other times when you find yourself compromised, disrespected, and hurt by someone, at least not maliciously or on purpose, “but you have intentionally hurt me.”

In neither circumstance, whether you were maliciously attacked or unintentionally harmed in some way, you cannot blame this person for doing so.

It’s easy to make it all about you because you’re the one who has been attacked and is hurting, but you fail to see the pain being borne by the person who has lashed out at you. You have no idea what he or she is going through. This I know, if you were that person, who had lived his or her life up until that moment, you, too, would have done exactly the same thing in that moment in time.

When people are feeling bad, sometimes making someone else feel bad makes them feel better. Can you blame anyone for looking for any means to relieve some of the pressure of the constant pain of living their lives? Maybe yes, maybe no, but who knows what you might do if you were in such pain?

If someone is mean to you, how should you respond? With dignity and compassion. If someone says something behind your back with is not true, ignore it. If you are confronted with it, laugh it off and walk away. You do not have to dignify a false accusation with a response.

Don’t pay attention to what anybody says about you unless it is true.

You are not obligated to ever participate in the perpetuation of anyone else’s drama. Simply, let, “your yea be yea and your nay be nay,” (because anything else is plain evil, anyway) Matthew 5:37 (my translation). Just don’t go there.

Always be kind and compassionate, being mindful to not call-out the state of pain your accuser might be in. Just smile, gently laugh (not to humiliate), and thank them for sharing their point of view, possibly inviting them to do some fact checking elsewhere.

People who like you, admire you, maybe even love you, might do or say something to hurt you, either intentionally or unintentionally. And when they do, remember this,

It’s not about you

It’s about them

Let them now that no matter what they do or say, you’re not going to take it personally, and you still care for them. Bless those who hurt you.