Tag: relationships

Don’t Worry About Dad

Don’t Worry About Dad

Another year, another Father’s Day— and that means seeing a string of “Thank You, Dad” posts on my social media. Now luckily, I like the people on my social media feeds for the most part. Many of my closest friends are now fathers themselves– and damn good ones at that.

They deserve to feel the love, no doubt.

It’s just with every good father that makes time to play catch, there’s a father out there who’s really dropped the ball. For every dad who busts his ass to put his kid through college, another is years past due on child support. For each dad bod we want to laugh at, there’s so many we can’t even poke fun at because they’re not even there.

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So many nails to hit, y’all

Surprise, surprise, I grew up without “dad” playing a key figure in my life. I promise I’m not bitter. More indifferent than anything. And that’s why I wanted to write this post: it pains me to see the friends I have who agonize over this day.

There are people who feel anguish on Father’s Day because for them it’s a reminder of what they never had. They feel like they’re missing something grand. These people are left with longing.

And sure, if that person was in their lives, wouldn’t things be better? I mean, maybe. Maybe not.

The sentiment that irks me the most: “If I had a Dad, he would’ve shown me how to do things right.” If a father was around, he would’ve shown me how to be good.

“What is good even?” – Great Philosopher N. D’ambrosio

That’s a very idealistic way of thinking about it because there’s simply no guarantee.

A good guide is appreciated, but when you don’t have a map, you still need to find a way to navigate. Kicking yourself for not having one, while understandable for a brief moment, doesn’t get you anywhere. And it’s going to suck when 20 years down the road, you haven’t gotten anywhere because you’re still hung up on that.

Good Dads, I salute you. Bad Dads, well, whatever then.

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Love is NOT…

Love is NOT…

All right! I’m doing it– the blogging thing. After starting the year strong with the mantra of New Year, New Story, let’s get to exploring love itself. Just in time for Valentine’s!

I thought about adding to my list of Lessons from Dating, but I think the best way to approach this topic is to focus on the misconceptions of love. We might all want to know what love is, but let’s tackle what love isn’t.

1. Love is NOT not ever having to say you’re sorry. 

On a podcast years ago, I was talking about that famous line from the movie Love Story: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” My friend Sam called that line on its bullshit because, yeah, when the need arises you should apologize.

So why has this quote carried on throughout the years? Part of it has to be that soundtrack. The other part has to be the idealized want of forgiveness (i.e. our love is so strong that they’ll always forgive me, and if they always forgive me, I don’t need to say sorry).

Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean you can skimp out on the apology, but you should be wary of two things. First, don’t give an asshole apology where you blame the other person for taking offense or getting the feelings hurt. You need to be able to own up to your mistakes. Second, don’t make it all about the apology. Some people think “I’m sorry” are two magical words that can fix everything. Those words are a step in the right direction, but saying “I’m sorry” all day/everyday without any follow through won’t mean much.

And yet, I see people repeat those words like a broken record….

2. Love is NOT completion.

We hear it all the time. Barry Manilow lied to us. Bryan Adams lied to us. 98 Degrees too. Your significant other shouldn’t be the reason you live your life.

Can a girlfriend/boyfriend be a huge part of your life? Absolutely. Should a spouse enrich your life– most definitely. But I know I’m fighting against a lot of words and phrases that’ve become embedded in our speech.

“What? You want to tell me my wife doesn’t complete me? Fuck you, Jon!”

I’m not trying to take away from anyone who feels they have something special. It’s just that if you spend your whole life searching someone to make you whole, that means you live a good portion of your life thinking you’re incomplete. You carry the mindset that you’re not good enough.

And not only is that no way to live, it’ll also skew the dynamic of how the relationship plays out. What might seem romantic becomes a reality of neediness and over-dependence. And in turn, being the “everything” for someone else is a lot of pressure to bear.

Getting hold of your “other half” might also be disappointing because you’ll learn that…

3. Love is NOT enough.

Damn it, Beatles! Who hasn’t been conditioned to think “All You Need is Love”? This point really hammers in the idolized love that so many people deem romantic. But don’t ya know? Love don’t fix a headache. Love don’t stop a ticket. Love don’t pay the bills.

I always think about brides who say their wedding day was the best day of their lives. That sort of sentiment always makes me sad because after that day, then what? It all goes downhill? You see the same thing crop up when people get nostalgic about high school.

Life without love might be bleak, but love isn’t a magic cure. Just like the apology scenario we covered above, you need the follow through. There needs to be something else– something more to it. And it’s not that you need to work harder or have to kill yourself by putting more into the relationship! Don’t make it all about love.

Actions without love might be bad, but love without action is worse.

I don’t quite know how to transition to that thought, but I’m going to take a gamble and believe in myself for doing just enough set up. Go on and tweet that.


 

Do you or someone you know struggle with keeping a realistic hold of self-value when it comes to love? Schedule a free consultation by calling 617-870-3615.

New Year, New Story

New Year, New Story

I know a lot of people detest New Year’s Resolutions because so many of them are done on a whim. Most resolutions are handled with wishful thinking and end up with piss poor results.

That’s a sad truth, but I totally support the chance to re-write your life story. The new year is an opportunity start a new narrative. I just wish people would utilize that enthusiasm on a day to day basis instead of waiting until January. But since it’s here, why wouldn’t you make use of it?

I want to remind people: nothing is more important than the story you tell yourself.

The way we reflect on our experiences and memories can empower us or break us down. Once you’re aware of self-communication, you can cut the crap. You’ll strengthen not only your speaking but life as a whole.

My Failure in Self-Communication

Before I made fitness a staple part of my life, here’s the stories I would tell myself:

  1. Finding someone to love me for me is a top priority.
  2. Once I find that person, I’m set for life.

Some of you are reading that and wonder what’s the problem. To some, those stories are perceived as romantic. That’s definitely what I thought at the time.

These days I don’t look back at those words so lovingly. Then again, I’ve been told I’m not that much of a romantic either. If you note the term “hopeless romantic”, are you able to recognize the problem of labeling yourself that way?

It’s the very word “hopeless”. You’re resigning yourself to the idea that things aren’t supposed to work out. These concepts of romance have a lot of problems.

Back then I wasn’t completely pessimistic and self-loathing, but another problem that stems from my story is lack of self-worth. When you tell yourself that someone else is supposed to be the priority in your life– that means you are, by default, incomplete. That way of thinking diminishes any achievements you make on your own as “not really success”.

I became desperate and needy in finding that fulfillment.

If you decide that you need a specific situation to happen in order to be happy, your happiness will become a slave to…

Posted by Kyle Cease on Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In my sophomore year of college, I would find someone who matched the needs of my narrative.

That Reality of That Relationship

When I finally got into that relationship, I actually became more needy, not less. I think when you hype up someone to be your everything, then your brain goes into thinking that person has to always be around.

The logic becomes “without them, I am nothing”.

I definitely didn’t want to be nothing. I wanted to be something grand. I did work hard at some things, but I would just attribute any achievements to the relationship. I still failed to build any self-worth.

Making someone else your everything just isn’t natural. You’ll try too hard to keep up a sense of “happily together”. It’s like going to a movie theater. Yeah, it’s rude to be loud and disruptive by talking to a friend. But, a person who’s trying so hard to police even the slightest sense of disorder can also ruin the experience.

Being uptight is neither cool nor sexy.

 

The Truth Behind My Words

Lots of problems as you can see, but here are the two major ones.

First, the reality of “finding someone to love me for me” didn’t make me feel fulfilled. It made me lazy and complacent. I used the cover of “having someone appreciate me in the moment” to mean “since I have someone to put with my shit, I don’t have to do anything anymore”. In essence, I stopped taking care of myself. That’s how I gained weight.

Second, thinking I’d be “set for life” didn’t really make me happy. At the time I was kidding myself, but the truth was it made me scared to lose it. Being needy, uptight, and afraid is neither cool nor sexy.

That relationship didn’t work out (for the better, thankfully). And for the immediate aftermath it became too easy to frame the narrative like this:

  • You’re so stupid
  • You should’ve known better
  • What were you thinking?
  • How could you let this happen?

If I kept up with those stories, I’m not sure who or where I’d be today. I had someone who was very adamant in setting me straight: “Isn’t it time you took care of yourself?”

I hope that 2016 can be the year that the sentiment “I’m doing all I can to take care of myself” rings true for you.


Do you or someone you know struggle with this conflict of self-communication? Schedule a free consultation by calling 617-870-3615.

If you need more tips and tricks to get your fitness back on track, be sure to check out the Architects of Aesthetics for more information.

#FullDisclosureFriday the New Year’s in 2010 was a really rough start for me. The super indecisive girl I’d been dating…

Posted by Jonathan Dao on Friday, January 1, 2016

Girl Talk: Xmas Plans

Girl Talk: Xmas Plans

Even before I was teaching through The JET Program, I had heard that the winter holiday was better spent outside of Japan. My professor put it like this, “If you’re used to spending Christmas with family, you’re going to want to make sure you’re home during the break. Well… actually, yeah. You’re just going to want to make sure you’re home for Christmas.”

In my first year, I honored that and flew back. By the summer of  2010, I had spent a good chunk of cash on two more trips for friends’ weddings. Three trips back to the US before a full year of working was unheard of!

That winter I wasn’t going to be going anywhere for sure.

I was kind of excited, actually, to see what Christmas in Japan would be like with my own eyes. The year before, I had the break-up that turned my life around [ed note: I should probably put that story to rest in its own write-up, eh?] so I knew that even an uneventful holiday shouldn’t be so bad.

But I can’t lie, the decorations and scenery slowly started to eat at me. You see, in Japan they treat Christmas just like another glorified Valentine’s Day. There’s no sense of family, charity, and goodwill. It’s all about the Christmas honey, honey! Extra lovey-dovey kudos if you’re able to set up something on Christmas Eve.

So while I was trying to keep my feelings in check and not get too hyped on finding the girl of destiny, I started to think I should do something. I reached out to a friend I knew from college and was thrilled she was interested in meeting up on the day.

The only real “catch” was that I needed to go to her area. This meant forking up $100+ to ride the bullet train from Toyama Prefecture to Tokyo.

We hadn’t really been in touch. I was really trying to go into the day without any pressure. Seeing her again was nice– and just that. Nothing more or less.

I thought this was good. I could enjoy this time for what it was: spending Christmas day with a cutie. We chatted some at a cafe. We walked some around the block. And then, with a little twinkle in her eye, she had something she wanted to tell me.

Whatever could it be? Perhaps the key to all this romance stuff really was playing it cool and having no expectations.

“Anyway, I’m going to let you go. Have fun in Tokyo.”

It was a really long train ride back. I haven’t talked to her since.

Now what’s the lesson to be learned here? Despite my best intentions, were my expectations subconsciously too high? Maybe.

Quick sidenote: over the years, I’ve changed my attitude towards “setting low expectations”. It’s not so much you have to be so careful, and you shouldn’t live your life trying so hard to avoid disappointment. You just need to shape yourself to be able to move past disappointment.

But that’s a lesson that’s better served with a different girl story.

The big takeaway from this bad Christmas tale is this:

Don’t ever have your sights, your plans,
your sense of joy so dependent on another person.
That’s got to be all on you.
Your vision, your goals, your happiness–
that’s all on you.

It would take my several more years to nail down this idea. The romance, the girl, the dating– that stuff isn’t supposed to be a “payoff”. That stuff isn’t a reward that’ll turn your life around and make you happy.

Does it add to your life? Definitely! At least, a good relationship will.

More importantly: doing your own things, having your own plans, and then finding someone who’s excited to join them is way, way, way more satisfying.

Without family and friends around that year, I was right in thinking I should’ve done something. But that something should’ve been my own thing– plans that didn’t hinge on someone else to make it a success.

Have you ever spent Christmas alone?