Would you carry a gas can and a blowtorch to a peace summit?

My ex-girlfriend called me and said the most popular lead in to a bad conversation, “We Need to Talk”. 
I told her to give me a few minutes to finish some “man stuff”, and then we can talk. 30 minutes later she walks in my office and knocks unusually hard on the door. I look up from my computer to see her standing there with the most intense look of anger. Her body language screamed, “I’m not happy”.

What I saw (in my head) right next to her was a five-gallon gas can and small blowtorch.

We held each other’s intense stare for a few seconds before she repeated the words, “We Need to Talk”, as she placed the gas can and blowtorch on the table, almost directly between us. I had to slide to gas can and torch over a little just in order to be able to see her and to reach over and touch her.

The conversation lasted for just over an hour, before I decided it was a no win for me. I noticed every time the conversation shifted towards any area of discomfort for her, she would either light the torch or start playing with the gas can.

As you can imagine this not only made me scared, it also made me wants to protect and defend myself in every way from her. Under that type of duress most people are going to say or do whatever makes the gas can and torch go away. Even if it causes them to have to do or say something they don’t want to or really mean.

I’m sure you can guess that our little talk didn’t go well for either of us. We both walked away feeling worst than we did before we started the talk. When the true intention of the talk was to clear something up, fix something, or just reassuring someone of your love. Why did things go the exact opposite of what both me and her really wanted?

Hear is my perspective. In the story the gas can and torch represented her hurt and anger, which can be reduced to Fear. My ex-girlfriend brought so much hurt and anger to the talk, that it was doomed from the start.

The minute I got present to her hurt and anger, it was fight or flight for me. I felt like protecting myself was more important than easing her pain. So the talk fell totally apart. We ended up hurting each other even more, because hurt people, hurt people.

Here is the takeaway message for my cliff note fans, the next time you approach a loved one to have a talk intended to somehow improve your relationship. Leave your gas can (hurt) and blow torch (anger) out of it.

If you bring years of back hurt and pain to a current talk there it’s more likely to go south real fast.

Don’t bring anything that could hurt someone to a peace summit.

What is the cost of your love?

Love is free until the bills arrive.
I believe most people don’t realize how expensive their love is to others. In a perfect world we might give and receive love with no attachments, but we’re far from Utopia.

In this world, you have to pay for love, and sometimes you will pay dearly.
I have noticed that most of us place a greater value on the love we give than the love we receive. To put it another way we tend to focus on the cost of something, more than we focus on the benefits it would bring. It’s almost always the first question when we buy things, ” How much will it cost me?” For some it may be hard to that they think this way regards to relationships.

Everyone in a romantic relationship has some form of measurement or criteria by which they assess the value of love they give and the love they receive. Most couples never fully express what this criterion is, until it’s too late for their partner to meet it.

I’ve had many short-lived relationships that ended when the woman notified me, normally in an ultimatum, that she needs more from me because her feelings changed.

To me this felt like she was raising the price of her love. To be honest, I normally wanted more from my partner as my feeling grew, I just never requested it in the form of an ultimatum.

I realized that I had always placed conditions (price) on my love, while simultaneously desiring to receive unconditional love. I actually didn’t believe unconditional love didn’t exist, because I had never given it to anyone.

Another cost of loving someone is all the things you don’t like about him or her. That’s the cost of having the things you do like, sometimes it’s expensive.

Romantic love has upfront cost, hidden cost and fine print cost. The upfront costs are the things you know about form the beginning. The hidden cost are the things that you don’t know about form the start, but you expect them or you’re aware of the possibility of them. The hidden costs are the things you’re paying for that you don’t know your paying for. You can’t expect someone to pay the full cost of something if they don’t know the cost of it.

Once you place a value on something your experience of it changes. You began to see it based on the value you placed on it vs. on actually what it is.

The only way to truly love freely is to love with no expectations. To give all the love you got to give and be happy with whatever you get in return. That’s the highest form of love and few of us ever experience it for long periods of time.

Is your love free?
What do others have to pay in order to receive your love?
Have you ever love anyone unconditionally?
Do you know the cost of your love?

Know Thy Self

“Know Thy Self”
This is one of the oldest aphorism’s known to man. According to Greek legend it was inscribed in the forecourt of The Temple of Apollo at Delphi. It has been attributed to 6 Greek Sages and many great men since. Now I use it, because I must do it. It’s time I Know My Self, like I’ve known myself never before.

This year I turn 50 and I feel like I’ve just starting to know and except who I am. I have more certainty and clarity than ever. What’s funny is I’m actually where I thought I was 25 years ago.

Knowing oneself is very important in developing self-love. You have to know who you are, before you can change it or love it. The more you know and understand something, the more you love that thing. It works the same with knowing yourself, the more you know yourself, the more you’ll like yourself.

I’ve heard many people say the phrase “I don’t know what I want to do.” Even I still say it sometimes. It’s clear to see that not knowing what you want to do, won’t help you get it done. If you don’t know yourself, you might not know what’s best for you.

Knowing thy self thru self discovery is a great way to develop self-love. Of all the many ways I have heard this described, “Find Your Bliss” resonates the most with me.

What makes you happy? what makes you tick?, what inspires you?

Norman Vincent Peale asks it this way “What would you do if money was of no concern. If money didn’t matter at all, what would you do with your life?”

What would you do for free?

That‘s finding your bliss. Find your bliss and follow it with fever. That is a good start to knowing thy self and knowing self-love.

Formula for Happiness Discovered!

For years I have believed that unhappy people are the root of the problems in the world. When someone is unhappy with himself or herself, they will project their unhappiness outward into the world. By playing their unhappy movie on the screen of others, they never see anything but unhappiness.

I was a very unhappy person for a long time and I didn’t even know it. I had a protective coat of armor that kept me safe from any risk of hurt. My armor also kept me from experiencing lots of happiness. I was focused on what I didn’t want and spent lots of time avoiding anything I thought would lead to pain.

For most of my dating career I wouldn’t allow myself to like a woman past a certain point. When I started to feel an intense emotional connection that was beyond my capacity to handle, my emotional governor would kick in. I wouldn’t let any women get so close, that if she left me, I’d be crushed. It got so bad that I started picking woman that I really didn’t like, because they’d be easy to get over, when things ended. As you could imagine, I wasn’t happy.

My list of potential dangers grew exponentially after every unwanted experience. The more things I had to worry about, the more I drifted away from happiness. Just like the US military, most of my resources were being allocated to defense. My happiness budget had been dramatically cut over the years or diverted to survival such as…dodging bullets that others were sending my way.

I still believed that I would find happiness somewhere out there. Either some person or something was going show up in my life and Poof, just like that I’d be happy. That’s how it happens on tv.

I received a feeling that I called happiness form time to time during my current lust affair. I would always feel a short-lived spike in happiness upon purchasing my flavor of the month material item. For a short while I had convinced my self that this would be enough to keep my satisfied in the world of happiness, but it wasn’t.

I eventually realized that happiness wasn’t found in stuff or in what someone else does for me. Happiness is a state of being. Babies are happy, just because, their happiness has nothing to do with anything else.

I have discovered the best forms of happiness are happiness that’s attached to nothing, the happiness of serving others, and the happiness of completing a goal of a worthy cause.

When my happiness is attached to nothing it remains, when other things around me change. When I’m serving others I’m out of my head, not focused on my stuff, just thinking about how I can be of support. When I complete a goal that moves my life forward, these are the happiest moments of my life.

I’m least happy when my happiness is dependent on other conditions and circumstances. I’m least happy when I’m living my life selfishly and I’m never happy when I’m bull shitting my life away.

So the formula for happiness is to be happy just because…you don’t need a reason. Happiness is a choice. Be happy because you made someone else happy and be happy because you are moving forward in a manner aligned with mind body and spirit growth.

100% Responsibility, 100% of the Time

100% Responsibility, 100% of the Time

A few years back, I had a series of unpleasant events occur which made it very clear to me that I needed to be more responsible with my life. One of these events caused me to loose my freedom temporarily, and my desire to be free is my strongest desire in life.

To know that my freedom was threatened and that my lack of responsibility turned out to be the source of the threat, really was an eye opener for me.

My irresponsible attitude manifest in many different areas of my life, not all of them threaten my freedom, but it always leads to lower quality of life. Therefore this characteristic is counter productive my goals and purpose in life.

One of the main ways that I was being irresponsible was in my relationships with others. I had over the years developed a habit of allowing myself to be out of integrity just because someone else was out of integrity. 
This, “If you do wrong, then I can do wrong” attitude wasn’t turning out to be as effective as I thought.

Trying to teach someone what they are doing wrong by me doing the same thing is very juvenile and never really works. Plus I wouldn’t want it done to me.

My new approach is 100% responsibility 100% of the time.

How am I going to do this you might ask, with a lot of effort, patience and understanding? I will have to believe that no matter what happens to me in life, it’s all my fault, not the system, not my family, not some woman’s fault. There is no conspiracy against brothers name Mike.

None of those things can ever be true, they should never be spoken. Placing the responsibility of what happens to me on others, forfeits me an opportunity for growth. Plus I can change something I claim isn’t mine.

Where there’s great responsibility there’s great power.

Power and responsibility go hand in hand. When one goes down, the other goes down with it and vise versa.

Once again young world, I challenge you, as I often do myself, to approach life with the intention of 100% Responsibility. I’m sure we will see major improvements in our quality of life.