Archive for frustration

Is Your Will Power “Broken”? Here’s Why…

Posted in Life Lessons with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2010 by djvinceadams

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Happy New Year and Happy New Decade!!!  I know that we are now officially several months past the New Year, but this is my first blog of 2010 and I thought that I would start by wishing everyone well. Some people have asked “hey, where is the new blog??” I enjoy blogging because it allows me to share my thoughts and opinions, but it’s always important to me that when I write its something sincere and heartfelt and not perfunctory. I’ve taken the last few months to clear my thoughts, read some books, travel a little (some for work, some for play) and now I’m back!!!

We’ve often times heard that the best way to start the New Year is with resolutions. Some people do them, some people don’t believe in them and some people don’t do them because they know they won’t stick to them. In th[e]is “goal oriented” world we live in, we’ve also heard that the best way to get rid of an old habit is to replace it with a new habit. Additionally, we’ve heard that the best way to start a new habit is to repeat it at least 21 days in a row and then it will integrate into your way of living. Cliché after cliché, we hear them, but for some reason resolutions, good habits and routines don’t always stick. Let’s find out why.

The key to moving your dreams and goals into being is to change your beliefs. It isn’t our will power, it is actually our belief systems that create the focus, discipline, conviction and drive that help us stay on point with accomplishing anything. Far too often people rely on sheer will to create long-term changes.  Whether its going back to college, losing weight, advancing your career or any goal, you will be far better served to take the time to establish new core beliefs about that goal as opposed to simply relying on will power to achieve a goal.

To illustrate, I’ll use something personal. I used to really dislike checking voice mail. I believed that it was a chore, I believed if anyone really needed me they would call back and other things that discouraged me from wanting to check my messages. I genuinely wanted to be more consistent in checking my messages and I tried (through will power) to check my voice mail on a frequent basis. It worked for a few days usually, but it didn’t take long before the messages piled up again. It wasn’t until I shifted my belief to “you could be losing money/opportunities by not checking your voice mail consistently”, that I then moved to a state of checking my voice mail typically every 48 hours (if not sooner), not out of habit, but out of a newly established belief that drives my actions. Now because of my beliefs it’s hard for me not to check my voice mail for the anxiety of potentially losing business.

Whether you want to lose weight, save money, start a business, commit to a relationship, leave a relationship or anything – you have to examine your core beliefs to make sure that they line up with your actions. For example, if you want to lose 20 lbs, but you have a core belief that, “I know some of what I eat is bad, but I could change it anytime if I wanted”, chances are the 20 lbs won’t go away (or may even increase). As a matter of fact, you may join the gym, go many times, but until the underlying core beliefs are changed, chances are you could possibly sabotage any progress made. However, if you adopt a new belief that says, “I owe it to myself to be in my best health and eating X or Y or Z sabotages my progress, so I have to limit X,Y,Z to once every two weeks in moderation or eliminate it to get my desired result”, you are now letting your beliefs take the lead.

In most cases, until we shift our beliefs, it is highly doubtful that any long-term change will come out of sheer will. This can be a liberating discovery to those who just thought that they couldn’t get through the routine of changing habits because of lack of will power. It’s not our habits or even our will that first needs to be addressed; the primary force is our core beliefs.

The trick is that the core belief has got to be a prevailing thought that holds more emotional weight with you than any other thoughts. For example, you may dislike working out, but if your core belief is, “my family needs me to be healthy” or “I refuse to go another summer not looking my best”.  Whichever belief holds your emotional attention the most is the one that guides your long-term actions/results. Just think of the smoker who has tried to stop for years, and then they get bad news from the doctor and don’t ever smoke again (and lose the compulsion to). Their habits didn’t have to change to create an instant change, their beliefs lead the way.

Don’t let the lack of accomplishments from prior goals or a feeling of weakness/inability stop you from making the changes that you want to make.  However, don’t let me oversimplify it either, exploring your inner core beliefs can be an emotional and involved process in itself. The difference is that failed attempts based on “will power” can now be eliminated and you can now begin to work on establishing new, supporting core beliefs that move you closer to the focus, discipline, conviction and drive you need to live your dreams.

I definitely hope this helps you move a step closer to your dreams and as I always say…
Much love, take care of one another and remember – “we all we got”…VA

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A Fatherless Child at Christmas Time – The Glass is Half-Full…

Posted in Life Lessons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Not that long ago I thought about the last time that I ever saw my father.  Maybe the partial irony in that statement is that the last time that I saw my father was the first time that I saw my father.  I think that the thought arose because it was around the month of November when I was about 8 years old.  Prior to that time there wasn’t really much talk in my family about my father.  Some may see this as a bad thing, but for me (even as a little fella) it was as if I was the Immaculate Conception.  There was my Mom (who had me a month before her 18th birthday), Grandma, my aunt and myself – we were a team.

Some people may think “oh, how tragic that you didn’t know your father before the age of 8” or “its, such a shame that men abandon their responsibilities” or the other comments that may be said in regards to a father-less situation.  In reflecting upon those times, I think that it’s a blessing that I was born into a family that showed support, guidance and love and I cannot remember a time EVER that anyone in my family (Mom included) ever had a bad thing to say about my father or his absence in my life.  I think that the “matter of fact” nature that it had back then has really helped me not harbor any resentment or ill-will toward not knowing my father or having a relationship with him.

Back to that last/first time that I saw him, it was a cold night in Chicago and he picked me up from karate class and was introduced to me as “your father.”  I’ve had the same demeanor all my life, so even then I was like “hey, nice to meet you.”  No big smiles, no tears, no jumping up and down took place.  The amount of care and compassion that I received in my home, sans a father, never lead me to feel that I was not cared for fully.  We took a trip to Burger King and later while at my Mom’s house he asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  Anybody over the age of 30 can remember having a Sears or JC Penney catalog with all of your favorite toys circled in the catalog.  I pulled out my catalog and we made a list.  I eventually went to bed and that was the last memory that I have of my father.

For some, this may be a sad story, in my case, I to this day feel that it is not possible to miss what you never had unless you choose too.  Although it may have been the makings of a sad story, it’s a story of triumph to me.  I feel that I have matured through the years by being a very masculine, yet caring and secure person by the guidance of my immediate family and the various extended family, mentors, coaches and other people who have had a strong influence in me being the person that I am today.

I am sharing this story because during the holidays there are many people that spend far too much time focusing on what they don’t have as opposed to being grateful and cherishing the things (material and non-material) that they do have in their lives.  Also, there are many women who are raising boys/young men on their own and they are wondering can they do “enough” to raise their child to be a man.  In many instances, it still does take a village to raise a child, but in short the answer is “yes, you do have what it takes.”

I invite all of us to be more conscious of the words that we share with people in all aspects of our lives.  The loving nature and quite frankly, the respect that my family showed my father (although he wasn’t present) is something that has rubbed off on me to make me calm in the face of adversity and see the glass as half-full while many others may view the glass as half-empty (or just empty.)  The strength and communication that they’ve shared with me over the years has helped me show gratitude for what I do have as opposed to bemoaning or begrudging what I don’t have.

Energy is transferred among us, especially when it comes from a parent to a child. As we go into a new decade, don’t let disappointments and situations of the past hold you back like dead weight and stop you from accomplishing your life’s purpose.  Many people feel like they should be able to say whatever they feel, but the thing that distinguishes us from animals is the ability to think before we speak.  Moving forward into 2010 let’s move in a positive, uplifting manner that encourages others to be the best that they can be while exhibiting grace, character and maturity in the process.  Our families need us, our communities need us to walk as the example of what it is we would like to see the world become.

I share my Christmas story of being a fatherless child to say that there is an opportunity in every perceived threat.  There is potential strength in every perceived weakness.  Now more than any other time, we can’t look to anyone other than ourselves to create the social and emotional climate that we want to see in the world.  Let’s treat others as we would want to be treated, forgive ourselves for the mistakes of the past and look to make a better life not just for us, but for all that we come in contact with.

Spread love this holiday and challenge yourself to be a better person to others in the future where possible.  Also, allow yourself to forgive those who may have hurt you in a way either known or unknown to them.  This is your time and it will be what you make of it.

This is by no means meant to absolve absentee fathers in any regard.  Nor is it meant to invalidate the feelings that men or women have regarding anything missing or removed from their life.  What it is meant to do is share that your happiness/fulfillment or disappointment/anguish in life will be a direct result of where you channel your thoughts, feelings and energy.  As I’ve shared in earlier blogs, the “Strangest Secret” is 6 words – “man becomes what he thinks about.”   If you think about being abandoned, a victim or “wronged”, you will be.  If you think about being loved, fulfilled and “whole” those things in turn will come your way.

I invite you to turn as many of the half-empty glasses in your life to half-full, you will soon find that they are totally full and there is little else to worry about.

Much love, Happy Holidays, take care of one another and remember – “we all we got”…VA

Additional information

“The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale – http://www.nightingale.com/AE_Article~i~22~article~StrangestSecret.aspx

The “Ugly” Truth About Men – What Women Should Really Ask Themselves…

Posted in Life Lessons, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Ugly Truth

The “Ugly” Truth About Men – What Women Should Really Ask Themselves…

I make it out to the movies on occasion and I saw the movie the Ugly Truth while it was in the theater.  As much of a “movie” as it was, it was pretty accurate in some of its depictions (at least in my opinion) about what draws and repels men/women to one another.  This train of thought led me to the realization that sometimes despite a deeper-than-surface level understanding that women have of men, they still tend to be filled with questions about why men do what they do.

On another note, writing the blogs that I have written over the past month or two has really been about discovery, not only for me, but for the people who take the time to read my “long-ass blogs” as they’ve been called.  I really don’t mind the reference to them being “long-ass blogs” because they definitely are, but that statement is quickly followed up with the fact that people find them interesting – which I definitely appreciate.  Another observation that some women have made is that I seem to direct a lot of my focus and attention to women when discussing relationships in my blogs.

The next connection with this point is that it may seem as though I’m absolving men of the responsibility and accountability that comes with the collapse of this “man-woman” thing that we just can’t seem to get right.  I think that it’s important to understand at this time that – well, I’m a man.  In me being a man I think it’s safe to say that in many cases that I may have an inside track on what men think about, what they focus on or even what motivates them.  It’s because of this understanding that I channel my communication and direct it to women.

Before I get into the “Truth About Men” let me ask a few basic questions to frame my position.  Do we think that the target audience for TV shows such The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil and other shows that discuss relationship and human-interest topics are geared toward women or men?  Do we think that movies that focus on relationships such as “When Harry Met Sally?”, “You’ve Got Mail”, “Sex and the City” or “The Proposal” are geared toward women or men?  Lastly, do we think that books like “The Rules”, “He’s Just Not That Into You” or even more obviously, “Think Like A Man, Act Like A Woman?” are geared toward women or men?  I think that when positioned in this manner the answer to all of these questions overwhelmingly is that these different forms of media are primarily geared toward women.

Let me kill two birds with one stone by explaining why I gear my communication toward women and why the target market for these multi-media products are women.  Drum roll please…….

The reason that I, as well as these other outlets, address women as opposed to men is that women are the number one consumers of “caring” in the world.

What exactly do I mean by this?  Let me explain in brief.  For the purpose of this argument there are two different kinds of men.  The first kind of man is the man who actually cares when it comes to male/female relationships.  What does he care about?  He cares about how you feel, he cares about applying his best in the relationship and he cares about getting it right.  Then there is the other kind of male which doesn’t care.  What doesn’t he care about?  He doesn’t care about how his actions affect you, he doesn’t care about how you feel and he doesn’t care about much beyond getting his own needs met.  Here’s the big shocker (which won’t really shock anyone) – I would be willing to say in a very unscientifically-studied manner that the percentage of men who don’t care is very far and above a greater percentage than the percentage of men that care.  You’re shocked – I can tell.

So, to specifically answer the question of why I along with the overwhelming majority of information based outlets don’t gear “our message” to men is that they simply don’t care.  Now, let me clarify, as I stated there are a percentage of males who in fact do care about these things.  They are out there and they are looking for healthy and whole relationships where they can apply their energy and effort in a progressive manner to foster a happy relationship.  HOWEVER, what me and these other outlets understand and recognize is that it is a waste of time, energy and effort to direct a message to people who are not listening and furthermore could care less about making the shift to a more progressive, collaborative and self-less approach to relationships.

On the surface it could appear that this means that I’m absolving men from the responsibilities that they play in the degradation of the male/female experience, but this is definitely not the case.  I understand that the best application of my understanding and insight is to address the audience who actually has an ear toward progressive/adjusted behavior regarding relationships.  My job as a blogger is to catch the ear of those looking for a message.  As a person, I would not consider myself an optimist when it comes to all things although I overall maintain a positive attitude.  I also wouldn’t consider myself a pessimist because of my desire to see a better outlook than the one that may initially be presented.  I would call myself a straight-up realist in that I see things as they are, make an assessment and then make the appropriate moves based on the assessment made.

Do I feel that men play a significant role in the decay of the state of male-female relationships, especially in the Black community?  No doubt.  Do I feel that reaching out to brothers to let them know what they’re doing in many cases is disrespectful, negligent and deteriorating the fabric of our communities is important?  Sure I do.

Let’s get this straight though.  It is an exercise in futility to shout to the deaf.  The “Ugly Truth About Men” is that they are creatures of habit who are driven more times than not by primal needs, certainly not emotional ones.

This takes me to my point of what women really should ask themselves instead of asking me.  I get questions like the following:

  • Why do you address women more in your blogs than men when they are just as culpable?
  • Why do men not take responsibility for their actions when they do things that aren’t fair and/or appropriate in a relationship?
  • Why do men cheat?
  • Why can’t men settle down?
  • Why do men say they are in to you and then change their script?

I don’t think that it takes an English major to see that the one common trait that all of these statements/questions have in common is that they start with the word “why?”  I think that most men in general cringe at women-originated questions that begin with the word “why.”  Reason being is that if you truly think about it, unless the subject is something with absolutes (like math or science) the word why has a very subjective and nebulous answer associated with it.  I think that if you just look at the five questions above there is really not a single answer that could be given that would satisfy women across the board.

It is for that reason and many more that I have come to the conclusion that most people are mislead into thinking that getting answers to questions is the best mark or indication in making progress. That’s actually one half the case. The true mark or indication of making progress is not solely in the answers we get, it’s in asking the right questions. Many people (especially women by the sheer nature of being “question oriented”) fail to realize that people often times ask the questions that “quietly” push them to doing certain things regardless of whether that “thing” is for the best or not.

For instance, it is a far different question to ask “What is the benefit/detriment of me remaining in this relationship” as opposed to “Why does he do this/that when he said that he wouldn’t do it anymore?”  Let me break it down – the word “what” immediately calls to mind tangible and concrete concepts, while the word “why”, as stated before, is a much softer and indirect/intangible word.  Also, by directing the question asked to yourself as opposed to outside of yourself there is much more control that is being assumed for the next step in your process.  By turning the question within there can be a sense of empowerment taken for the next course of action as opposed to the helplessness that trying to figure out why someone who is doing something that doesn’t work for you continues to act in that manner.

The important thing to take from this offering is that the words that you use to form your questions about your life can either empower you or hand your power over to the whims and actions of another.

I think that its natural in moments of frustration and wonderment to ask why the opposite sex behaves the way they can at times.  Its natural and I’m not saying that as an inquiry that it doesn’t have its place.  However, after the initial frustration, the progressive person has to understand that the most important thing that they can do is assess the impact that a person, situation or relationship is having on their life and what are their next steps to remedying the situation.  Although relationships are with 2 people (at least let’s hope so), you have to understand that your behavior is the only behavior that you totally have control over.

That brings me to my next concept which ties the topic “The Ugly Truth About Men” with “What Women Should Really Ask Themselves.”  The tie for me in these two topics is that I know who I’m writing to (primarily women) and why I’m writing to them (because they care in many cases to create a progressive relationship.)  This means that I have in essence “sorted” my audience to say “this is who I’m looking for to share my message.”  In much the same manner, women need to understand that they are not in the business of conforming, transforming, reshaping or creating a man.  The man that you want to be with may not come to you in his completed form, but the question that should consistently be asked is “Is this the man that cares or is this the man that doesn’t care?”

As I explained earlier there are essentially two different types of guys – those who care and those who don’t.  The basic point that most women miss is that they are not in the business of understanding why men do what they do, they are essentially in the business of sorting.

What exactly is sorting?  Sorting is very quickly asking yourself, not the man, does his character, his traits, his treatment of you and his essence as a man fit the mold that you see as being a partner for you to look toward developing a fulfilling relationship.  Far too many women at the end of one bad date and especially a bad relationship spend a significant amount of brain power, emotion and energy trying to figure out “why” he did what he did.  Now, I truly believe that evaluation is critical in understanding what it is you want to attract moving forward and assessing what may have gone wrong after an experience.  However, the trick to not recreating these situations is to properly assess the situation as opposed to asking the typical “why did he” questions which doesn’t retain your power – it gives it away to the person who frustrated/hurt/disappointed you.

ONE TO GROW ON: men do the majority of dumb things that they do (i.e. tell stupid lies, walk up to you at the club and ask you to buy them a drink, attempt to impress you with what they think you want to know/hear, etc.) because there is some woman out there who will go for it.  Instead of losing sleep, wasting time and zapping neurons wondering and asking why they do this, just understand that it’s a method of operating and keep it moving, you’ve got better things to concern yourself with.

I want to share some examples of questions that women specifically can ask as it relates to their dating/relationship situation.  A couple of things first – one, I’m presuming that the woman is fair, reasonable (i.e. not on some diva/princess/extra stuff, that she is looking to come to the situation contributing and sharing, etc.), that she is not just taking away from the situation and she is looking to be a desirable compliment to a “good guy.”

Some very empowering questions to ask yourself that don’t allow you to BS yourself at any point in a “getting-to-know-you” situation or relationship are:

  • Is this someone I, in my gut, feel I can trust?
  • Do I find myself making excuses for his poor behavior?
  • Do I find myself disappointed and on the end of broken promises or treatment that I feel is not in line with what I feel is fair or desirable?
  • Does his path in life seem to be in compliment or contrast to where I am headed or even where I pictured my partner to have their life directed?
  • Beyond feeling good with this person (if you get to that point) is this a person who I feel is good for me?

If you contrast these questions to the “why” questions that I shared earlier above there is one stark difference that these latest questions have that the “why” questions didn’t have – they can all be answered with a yes or no answer.  If you’re asking questions like “why” did something happen or “why” did someone do x as opposed to y you are actually inviting not only the person to lie to you, but more importantly – you are inviting an opportunity for you to lie to yourself by “crafting” an explanation to sustain where you want to go as opposed to where you should go.  Also as important, by providing the answers to questions like the ones just shared you are very clearly able to determine by the “yes” or “no” provided if the man you’re dealing with is one that cares or one that doesn’t care.  That means that if you find yourself making excuses for his behavior is a yes and knowing in your gut that you don’t trust the person – how could you lie to yourself to say that this is a person who truly cares about you.

I will soon be developing a 2-part blog series that talks about 1) The Art of Dating and 2) The Art of The Break-up.  I don’t want to leak concepts too early, but I think at this point that its safe to say that if you ask questions that have yes or no answers you are able to more quickly assess whether you are in a situation with a person that is either to your favor or to your detriment.

The other important factor in formulating the question is that the basis of the question should not be based on the other person’s perceived feelings, but based on your own.  For instance, many women ask the question “do I really feel in my heart that he truly loves me??”  Well, although the question subconsciously positions it to appear to be an assessment of your feelings – it’s very clearly an assessment for your perspective of his feelings for you.  The importance of asking these questions is to get an understanding on how you feel about the situation or the man you are with to determine whether he truly “cares” about you or whether he doesn’t.  I can’t define what “care” means to the letter because it’s a relative term for everybody.  I can say however that there are a lot of men who may feel that they earnestly love you, but they really operate in a manner that would reflect that they don’t care about you.

If you have read all that I’ve written and you read that last statement to then ask “how is it that you can love somebody and treat them like you don’t care” then you are definitely in the “business of understanding” which is a painful and bitter business.  I would definitely advise anyone to move out of the business of understanding to the business of sorting, by which you make the assessment, understand what the situation REALLY is and then move accordingly.

Some people may say that this business of sorting sounds way too mechanically and emotionally removed for it to be something that women can do with success and I would strongly disagree.  First of all, the formula for the approach that I’m giving does two things instantly that benefit women.  The first thing that it does is that it changes the nature of the question being asked from an emotional one in nature to a factual one in nature.  Again, “why does he do what he does” is an emotionally charged question versus “does he take the approach to me that I feel best serves my direction in life” is a fact-based question, if the answer is no – its more fact based than emotion (it could also involve emotions like disappointment or other things that come along with the feelings of being an adult that are totally inescapable.)

All of this may seem like an oversimplification of some very complex emotions and situations, but it is we as humans that can tend to over-analyze and over-engineer situations when there are often times processes and signs that are provided for us to elevate our capacity to cope and progress to another level.  The people that are truly successful at anything are the ones that have developed the regimens and the discipline to apply in their field of endeavor.  The same is true in relationships.  In order to be successful there is an emotional-mastery that must be attained in order to comfortably withstand the frustrations/disappointments and then contribute to the successes/positive discoveries.

“The Ugly Truth About Men” is that regardless of whether women come across a good one that cares, a good one who doesn’t care or one who doesn’t give a damn – the woman can’t give her power away and become the victim in the face of situations that require more awareness on her part.  There are winners (i.e. gentlemen, wonderful women, etc.) and losers (i.e. gold-diggers, jerks, etc.) on both sides of the sexes-coin, so it is inevitable that everyone will encounter misfortune, broken hearts, dishonesty and less than stellar behavior on both sides.  Understand that the man who doesn’t care truly doesn’t care.  That’s not something to debate, to try to conform or transform – its something to recognize.

That’s all sorting is, recognition.  I am addressing the men who care and the women who care because there are enough out there who when armed with the best approach to a healthy relationship will do the best thing that they could ever do – be an example to those that don’t think that its possible.  We are a people of osmosis and environment – we are heavily influenced by what we see and what we experience.  With that in mind the only reality that we are fully able to guide is our own reality.

I was discussing this topic with my good friend and frat brother Teddy Gilmore and he pointed out that there is also another distinction that there are some men who are capable of caring, its just that they don’t care about all women in the same manner or to the same degree – it’s a case by case basis.  I felt that this was a very important distinction because as insensitive as this may sound to some women, the fact is that this “case by case” assessment is applicable to women as well.  There are many cases where women date and they will not apply the same level of effort, understanding and dedication in one situation as they will the next.  The chief difference is that there are times when women based on their feelings or at other times based on “being wooed”, become more engaged in the person that they are dating.

Although the specifics may vary by the sexes and definitely vary from person to person, its important to understand that this notion of caring or when to care needs to be processed by an approach and set of questions that empower you with a “position of knowing” as opposed to frustrate you with the desire to understand.  Remember, knowing that someone doesn’t have your best interest in mind is far more important than understanding why they don’t have your best interest in mind.  Spend your time with questions of knowing, not with questions of understanding.

In my effort to share my thoughts on relationships or just life in general I will always make the attempt to create a dual-pronged approach for both sexes to be aware of things in their behavior that when addressed would be a benefit to everyone.  With that in mind, I ask women to be more conscious of the “why is it that men” type of questions that are either voiced or even thought about.  That is not to say that these are not legitimate questions to consider or that they can’t be applied to women as well.  It is to say that asking the “why” based questions to a body of non-respondent people is not a good use of time, effort or energy – I don’t do it, as it relates to the men that don’t care, and I would strongly suggest that women let it go as well.

Much love and take care of one another – “we all we got”…VA

The Myth of “The Representative” ~ Are We Really “Dating In The Dark?”

Posted in Life Lessons, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Phantom Opera Mask

Yesterday was an interesting day.  I was ready to put together a new blog, but I had about 4 concepts running around my head as to what I would actually write about.  I updated my Facebook status and I stated that I would be returning to the topic of men/women after writing a few blogs about other matters.  This status update received a variety of responses including one from Elizabeth who requested that I write about the “dreamland stage” that people are in for 6-12 months before they discover the “real deal” of how their girlfriend/boyfriend really is.  I responded to her that I didn’t really think that the perpetrating of a false position with people really lasted that long at all, definitely not for men and that I couldn’t see writing about the subject.  I did thank her for the suggestion.

Also on yesterday I watched a new ABC dating show for the first time called “Dating in the Dark.”  The premise of the show is that 3 men and 3 women meet in the dark (I mean no lights, total darkness) and they pair off to see if they can establish a connection with one another totally through interaction without the benefit of seeing who they’re “dating.”  Eventually, the couples get to see their potential partner for a few seconds and then determine if they would like to pursue a “getting to know you” situation or if they want to break out and not continue seeing the person.

I won’t get into the specifics on what took place on the show, but when I put these two events (the FB status response and the concept of the show), it really made me think.  Looking at “dating in the dark” as a metaphor for the so-called “representative” that some people are accused of having – made me wonder: do people really have representatives in 2009?  My personal belief is that for men and women the answer is no.  2009 is the new age of “keeping it real” and often times many people are keeping it SO real that they’re not bothering to go through the “I don’t want you to be disappointed with who I really am” efforts that people went through just 5-10 years ago.

Ok, I can hear somebody shouting “I disagree, I went out with this guy/girl that did yada yada” – right, I hear you, but let me explain.  We can ALL agree that there are no absolutes when it comes to human nature, so people could never be lumped in a category.  Therefore, YES, there are some manipulative people who purposefully set out to create an image or impression of who they are that is false and it is done consciously and deceptively.  YES, there are people who lie or avoid the truth on things that may be considered undesirable or embarrassing.  I could go on, but I think that you get the fact that there are people who definitely misrepresent themselves intentionally or create “the representative” to lure someone into a false sense of believing that they are something or someone that they truly are not.

So let me say for the record – there are two types of people – genuine and posers.  We know that genuine tends to have a positive connotation, but it is not good in all instances and I’ll speak to that later.  Posers are what we would consider representatives.  However, posers wear the mask and if you look at the right gaps, you will become like a collector of fine gems, they can tell the real from the fake.

I want to now section this entry off into 3 parts: representatives generally speaking, the myth of the male representative and the myth of the female representative.

Representatives Generally Speaking

Generally speaking there is a getting to know you process that any new couple goes through.  This process may specifically address “what are your intentions in getting to know me” or it may just flow and take on a life of its own.  This process may contain email, social networking, text messaging, phone calls, face to face meetings – there’s no limit to the combinations that could be put into place with all of the conventions in 2009 that honestly didn’t exist 10 years ago to the extent that they do now.  Understand that technology has totally changed the landscape, premise and guise upon which we interact with one another – I digress (maybe that’s another blog), but the fact remains that “things done changed.”

My reason for stating this is that we now have so many variables in a person-to-person interaction that the rules of engagement have practically flown out the window.  Twenty years ago there was no email, people didn’t have cell phones or text messaging.  Now with the “instant gratification” of immediate interaction it is very easy to establish a chain of communication (daily interaction on email, text messaging, etc.) that goes along with the newness of any new “thing.”  It is not my desire to refer to people as “things”, but I do it to say that as humans we do get excited over new “things.”  There is an old school saying that says “you shouldn’t start anything that you’re not willing to continue or to be consistent with.”  The only caveat that I would put in place with that rule given the conventions of 2009 is that if many people talked, emailed and texted to one another for 5 years like they do in the first 3 weeks of being excited about one another – they wouldn’t get much done in those 5 years.  As much as I agree with the rule, I think that as people that we have to build some allowance for the honeymoon effect of constant contact to wear off after some time has passed.  I will soon write a blog about how to “properly” date, but again, I digress.

This is important to see because there are many instances where people say “in the beginning he was blowing my phone up everyday.”  There are many ways to handle that, but that’s not the subject of this entry.  My point specifically as it relates to this level of interaction and communication in general is that we have to build a certain level of tolerance, understanding and reason into our expectation that says that if you’re doing something with somebody at an “above average” rate, the chances of that thing continuing over an extended period of time are pretty low.

So, the question can be asked, was the person sending their representative out on those calls, dates, emails with a desirable frequency and the “real them” that emerged later is a different (less consistent) version than the one modeled by the supposed representative?  My answer would be, no, this is not a representative, this is human nature.

As adults, responsible adults, we’ve got to learn how to temper our excitement to create a pattern of doing things (i.e. contact, dates, etc.) that represents a more sustainable frequency – will that always happen, no it won’t.  Also, as adults we’ve got to build a level of emotional maturity that allows us to address these “post-honeymoon” adjustments with understanding and resolve, not resentment and volatility.  I can agree that it is my observation that the fluctuation in communication does come more often from the man.  However, it is incumbent on both people in the relationship to monitor and moderate their interaction in a way that doesn’t set them up to fail in the long run.  It’s like the old saying “an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Generally speaking, both the man and the woman have got to become more cognizant of how early actions can wane or not be maintained for a long term and understand how this could build disappointment when the frequency of said-action slows down.  This is not the work of a representative, this is human nature.  It’s no different than a guy getting excited about the World Series and as its ending he’s now cheering for his favorite NBA or NFL team.  Also, it’s no different than a woman who gets a new purse (sorry if purses aren’t your thing, but stay with me) and she wears that new purse often, but a month later she’s ok with alternating after she’s familiar with the new purse.  It’s not a diss, its just human nature.  Bottom line is that we’ve got to not go into these situations eyes wide shut.  Every change of behavior is not a sign of the representative, sometimes its just human nature and time taking its course.

The Myth of the Male Representative

It amazes me often times when I talk to a woman about how much she can’t believe that he “did that” to her.  Based on my conversation, whether I have just met the woman or whether we’re childhood friends, it only takes me a few questions (depending on the situation) to map the “now behavior” that the guy is showing to some prior behavior that was apparent in his behavior in the first 6-8 weeks that she was dating him.

That’s my personal rule, not scientific, but through observation and experience I have seen that if a guy is putting up a front, he typically can’t do it any longer than 6-8 weeks.  Again, there are no absolutes, so there are exceptions.  However, now would be a good time for me to say that I think that man are some of the simplest, crudest, redundant, creatures of habit known to Earth.  Men can’t perpetrate for weeks/months on end because they are such creatures of habit you will know if he’s shady, genuine, trustworthy, volatile or any number of other positive/negative traits.  The signs are there many more times than they are not, the question for the woman is are you seeing what he is showing you or are you seeing what it is you want him to be or what you want to see.

There used to be a point where guys would hide the fact that they were after a woman for their body or for sex only.  Let me let you guys in on a secret: there are so many women out here that are willingly giving up sex for nothing outside of a request that the average “sex monger” these days won’t even waste his time with a woman that he thinks that he has to work to get sex from.  Again, there are gamers/exceptions, but I would like the ladies to understand that there are a fair number of guys these day that are dating with the prospect of getting to know you better and there are guys out here who may simply make it known that they have other intentions in mind.  Although, I stated that a guy won’t apply himself in all cases if he’s only out for one thing, that doesn’t mean that the guy is going to come right out and pronounce what his intentions are.  This is where you have to have your antenna up and pay attention to the signs.

Some inquiring mind might say, “ok what are the signs?”  All I can say is that the signs are a lot more related to your intuition and your common sense than they are to any list that I could come up with.  I think that one of the main problems with women and the myth of the male representative is that so many women are desperate for love and attention that they are out of tune with the good sense God gave them and they don’t heed the signs to leave a situation that they had no business even pursuing.

Hear me out on this one – if a guy is smooth talking and promising his way to your heart, there is a chance that he is sincere, there is a chance that he is not.  What makes the difference in believing what he says?  His character. Do you understand what I’m saying??  It’s the guys character, how he interacts with his friends, how he conducts his business, how he honors his commitments, how he presents himself to the world outside of you – that’s what determines if what he’s saying to you is solid or not.

Essentially men don’t have representatives because they can’t disguise their character.  These posers can be seen and detected a mile away if you can remove yourself from listening to what he says to shift your attention to learning who he is.  If you’re telling yourself “I know how foul he is with other people, but he’s good to me” then you are choosing to be lied to.  Again, I would venture to say that in the overwhelming number of instances of people who date and live in the same city and communicate with one another on a consistent basis that you can get a feel for a man’s character outside of how he is with you by observing how he treats the waiter, how he handles the valet attendant, how he calls back when he says he’ll call back – even the good old fashion “what kind of relationship does he have with his Mom.”  The problem in many cases is that women don’t take the time to get to know a guy and then blame him for being the person that he always was before he met you, while he was dating you and then after the relationship ends, in the event that it does.

With that being said, a little information can be dangerous, so let me temper my statements just a bit.  These observations are not being shared to make women any more paranoid, circumspect or leery than they already are.  Actually, this information used the right way can be empowering because the only thing that is required is that you move your focus from what the guy is telling you directly to observing who he is as a person and you will have a greater scope to determine if the guy is genuine or a poser.  Understand, there is no representative – he’s choosing to show you who he is the entire time you’re with him – the real question is are you paying attention.

The Myth of The Female Representative

Before I start with the section on women, let me state that the following information does not apply to all women.  I have spoken to many women who in a very frustrated tone ask me “where are all the good men if there are any left?”  There are some women that have great attitudes, dispositions and are absolutely becoming.  At the same time there is a certain sect of women that are very much the cause of their own discomfort and frustration and they are as much to blame for not having a man as any statistical data that claims that a good man is hard to find.  I addressed many of these considerations during my 3-part relationship blog in the “Open Letter To Woman – ‘The Woman In The Mirror’” (https://djvinceadams.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/an-open-letter-to-women/.) For the sake of brevity I will not rehash my observations from that entry, but I do offer it as a supplement to the information shared below.

Let me state for the record, I like women, better yet, I love women.  I love looking at women, a woman’s voice, a woman’s touch, the scent of a woman, I could go on.  I’ve been this way most of my life and I’ve studied women to find that the more time progresses the more I’m literally stultified at how out of touch women have become with what really attracts a man to a woman.  It’s almost as if many of them don’t care that they have these major flaws that would be a no-go for a lot of men based on the claim of “this is who I am and I’m just being me.” For real, like really???

These are my observations, opinions and experiences – that’s really the only frame of reference that I can speak from.  It is my observation that women are more clever, observant, tactical and just downright sneaky than men are.  Oh yeah, they’re smarter too because they can move out of character beyond their nature long enough to get a goal accomplished.  Some people may disagree, but hey – I think that women make the best intel because they hold their true position longer in order to gather all the information they want to come to a conclusion or take a course of action.

With that said, in 2009, (many) women are now more dude-like, sloppy, flakey, “keepin’ it real” and “I’m gonna do what makes me happy” than any other time in modern history.  It’s a pretty wild phenomenon, but in 2009 there are just as many women with stubborn, hardcore, guarded and callous positions as there men (generically speaking.)  That would lead me to feel that the 2009 woman actually doesn’t have a representative either, she is so eager to keep it real and tell it like it is that she’s running away the men that actually would be the genuine guy (as opposed to the poser.)  So, that means that the genuine unbecoming disposition of many 2009 women is in effect repelling the genuine 2009 male who would like to date her with a virtuous purpose.  I like to refer to this effect as “when keeping it real goes wrong.”

Keep in mind, my perspective is that women are not putting up a front, they are letting many of their undesirable, repelling qualities (i.e. combativeness, emotionally unavailable, clingy, aloof, etc.) be displayed bright and early in the getting to know you process.  So, with such revelations the question can be asked “are these women bringing ‘their representatives’ to the table or are they being their true selves??”  Answer: unfortunately, they’re just being themselves.  Are there women-posers out there?  Sure, the “gold-digger”, groupie and “out for her self”girl is still out there somewhere, but just like with the guys – if you watch a woman’s character more than her walk/talk you can get to the bottom of what she’s really about.  Devilish people reveal themselves constantly, they just don’t do so always by calling themselves “devilish” – they do show their horns and tail.  This goes for women as well as men.

The major difference between the male issue with “the representative” and the female issue is that women are doing the most “complaining” about the absence of male accountability, but when all of the cards hit the table it appears that women are just as flawed as many of the men that they take issue with.  In addition, it is my observation they are unwilling to make the necessary adjustments to become more desirable in a healthy way that would attract to the type of guy that they would like to connect with.

Going back to the concept of the “woman in the mirror” in many cases the person that let the woman down in a bad relationship was herself for not paying attention to the signs that were omnipresent through most of her dating process with her guy.  On the other hand – in many cases the reason that a woman let herself down during the potential of a good relationship is that she didn’t have the discipline to take the steps to grow to become the person that would be the fit for the guy that she wants to attract.

I can hear the peanut gallery now saying “wow, he’s really giving guys a pass and giving women an earful.”  Let me make some clarifications.  Men cheat, lie, cheat some more and lie about the fact that they cheated.  OK, we got that.  Women want to know why do men do the things that they do – I get those types of questions all the time.  Those aspects of men are known factors and I’ll be honest again, most times the liars and cheaters can be spotted 10 miles away by everybody except for the “victim” because she wasn’t paying attention to his character.  Again, there are exceptions, but in many instances – the woman was the only one who was “in the dark.”

That brings me to this metaphor of “dating in the dark.”  People see what they want to see, but are they (men and women) looking at their own character and scrutinizing and analyzing their flaws and shortcomings as critically as they are the members of the opposite sex.  Women have tons of tons of conversations about how men “aren’t like this” or men “don’t do that”, but women don’t have nearly the number of conversations when it comes to checking themselves on certain behavior.  Are women ready to put themselves under the same microscope that they put men under and analyze what about them keeps this “man/woman thing” way off balance in addition to the inadequacy of men mentally, emotionally and with regard to responsibility.  Ladies, in the end are you misrepresenting yourself not to the guy, but do you really know who you are??

It is my true feeling that we as a people will not get back on track until women become as critical of their own behavior, actions and patterns as they are of men.  Women are the nurturers of the universe, if the analysis does not move from “without” to within we will not be able to move forward.  As with any strong woman, when you are properly calibrated, then and only then will men follow your example.  You can’t expect for men to respect you when he senses that through your guards, attitudes and projections you continue to show a lack of true acceptance, respect and love for yourself.

It may appear that I’m giving women far more harsh reality and giving the guys a pass.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Let me state that the percentage of men that have pure intentions of dating a woman for the “right” reasons is far smaller than the idiots, gamers, assholes and “no good” men.  Yes, we know that the percentages/ratios of men to women are not in the woman’s favor.  This means that in order for women to have the connection and to be PREPARED for the man that she say that she really wants, there has to be an inventory taken of your own character.  Although there are pockets of men that sit and discuss the conditions of the “dating-sphere”, this is a practice taken up by women in far greater numbers.

Women, does it really made sense to be disenchanted, to complain and overstate the obvious in men when it’s possible that you are spending your time with the wrong guy and don’t have your inventory in order when its time to PARTNER with the right guy?

Again, I love women, but its time to take your own character, short-comings and bad decisions and put them under the proverbial microscope, so that you aren’t blocking your blessings.  These continued discussions of men’s screw-ups, guess what “he did” and the myth of the representative remove the attention from many of the real unaddressed issues that could be worked on.  The good news for you is that most of the men that are clueless will let their idiotic nature be known and you have the criteria to make an informed decision.  The not-so-good news is that most of the clueless women believe that they have all of their ducks in a row and become more concerned with “how they feel” than they are about “getting it right.”  Its time to put the fronts, the projection, the guards and blame aside – only then will we catch a clue and get it right.

We’re not dating in the dark – there are a bunch of asshole men out here with crying girlfriends and she is still seeing what she wants to see.  At the same time, there are a bunch of men in unhappy relationships who would rather cry and moan about the treatment that they receive as opposed to be strong enough to walk away from the situation if it’s truly not in their best interest.

The more important factor comes in the level of accountability that we should all have for ourselves, because in essence, we are the only people that we truly have control of.  Men, is it fair to ask a woman to be more “on the ball” and virtuous than you are willing to be?  Women, is it fair to want a guy to offer you consistency in action and behavior while you can have attitude attacks or flake-out based on a passing mood with regularity and without consideration of what effect that has??

The time for confusing ourselves with this notion that people at the end of a relationship (or even after a date) aren’t the people that they started out being is in my eyes, generally a myth – people are showing their true colors earlier and more often than ever.  We’re not “dating in the dark”, we’re dating with our eyes closed.

Open your eyes, much love and take care of one another – “we all we got”…VA

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Open Letter To Men/Women Wanting a Healthy Relationship…Do You Know Where You’re Going??

Posted in Life Lessons, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Road to Nowhere Color

NOTE: THIS IS A THREE-PART SERIES.  TO ACCESS THE OTHER PARTS CLICK THE LINKS ABOVE BY THE TITLE…

Disclaimer: This is the third of a three-part blog series on relationships.  The first was An Open Letter To Men and the second was an Open Letter To Women.  As with all of these entries, they are based on conversations, observations and experiences related to male/female relationships and behavior.  The premise of the letter is to expand the conversation regarding relationships and hopefully serve as a benefit to those seeking positive and healthy relationships.  This entry will not be able to address or account for everything that has ever gone wrong in the history of relationships or totally prepare the reader for everything needed for a fulfilling relationship.  That is totally beyond the scope of one letter, book, seminar, sermon or other aid.  This is just one step in what should be a person’s never-ending search for knowledge, understanding and progression.

This document is geared more toward single individuals that are open to pursuing a relationship as opposed to people currently in a relationship.  Again, it’s just that the scope of this letter can not realistically address all issues related to dating whether in a relationship or open to being in one.  The attitudes and behavior addressed in the Letter to Men and Letter to Women aren’t addressed in this letter because those behaviors need to be addressed if they haven’t before this information can be applied.

Dear Friends,

What’s up and I am glad that you’re willing to take a moment of your time to allow me to share some things with you.  You may have read my prior two letters to men and women addressing different aspects of how “we” can be or how some of us are.  If you have not read those letters I would definitely recommend them for when you have time.  By this point in life you may have had a relationship or two (or three or more) and find the opposite sex to be confusing, frustrating, unpredictable or some other adjective that may not be positive.  If you have great feelings about relationships and the opposite sex then that’s definitely a good thing because I would not assert that all people are disenchanted with the opposite sex.

Before I go any further I know that everyone has their own perspective and this is simply my perspective.  It can’t be all-inclusive of all things, it’s really just meant to operate as a springboard to a better understanding or just something to consider.  Millions of books have been written on love/relationships.  I will share 5 major components/understandings that I think if addressed could significantly improve a person’s chances of achieving a fulfilling relationship.  In addition to these components I will share solutions that can get the ball rolling in getting over the hurdles that are presented.  The good news is that there is a solution in most cases.  The “not so good news” is that there are no quick remedies or instant revelations that move you from Point A to Point B overnight – as with anything worth having, it’s a process that takes work, time, energy and effort.

1) If You Are A Weak Individual By Yourself, You Are Just As Weak In A Relationship

Far too many people view a relationship as crazy glue, as a wonder drug or some magical remedy that will address a void in their lives or their personality.  I believe that it can be said that far too many people do not assess their own personalities or their own offerings prior to entering into a relationship and feel that something or someone outside themselves will fill the void of what’s possibly missing within them.  The first person that you must love in a relationship is the person that you are.  There are too many instances of a person not loving (in some cases not even liking) themselves that enter into a relationship and project their loneliness, their emptiness, their discontent for where their lives are on to the person they’re dating.  Their next step is to load up the figurative “relationship wheel barrel” and they hand their discontent to their new partner and say “you carry the load now – I don’t have to do this by myself anymore.”

That’s where it is first and foremost required that anyone understands that in love/relationships – two halves don’t make a whole. There are an extremely high number of individuals who do not go through the often times uncomfortable process of evaluating “who am I and am I fulfilled with my life independent of who is in it.”  This is a must-do process for anybody for two reasons.  One, it’s the smart thing to do because understanding deficiencies in your life independent of a relationship gets you to the place of identifying that regardless of how many relationships you enter – you won’t be satisfied and its not the other person’s fault for your dissatisfaction.  The second reason is that it’s the socially responsible thing to do because as you lure other people into your “no-win relationship” you drag other people through the process of you being unfulfilled.  How does this happen?  It becomes a situation where you are constantly going to the relationship to address your voids and that’s not the responsibility of your mate, that’s your responsibility.  You virtually become insatiable.

It is absolutely true for anyone to be fulfilled in a relationship that they have to be very comfortable with who and how they are as a person.  That doesn’t mean that people don’t have insecurities about themselves or things that they would like to improve.  The key word in this instance is identification.  Some people understand this next point and some are totally unaware of it.  That point is that if you truly can’t spend time with yourself, be fulfilled within yourself and you constantly NEED other people and things around you to be fulfilled then the chances of you being fulfilled outside of yourself decrease exponentially.

Many people feel that ignorance is bliss and it truly can be.  In this case, ignorance can be weakness as well.  By blocking out the constructive criticism and positive feedback from individuals that are closest to us share about our “ways”, characteristics and behavior that could use some improvement we are consciously choosing to remain a lesser form of ourselves.  Let me clarify what I mean by this.  I’m not referring to “directions in life” type of advice like “you should go back to school”, “you really need to settle down” or “your job is not challenging enough.”  These are life decisions that everyone needs to make on their own and although outside consideration is valuable, its not always the best course for you.  I’m referring to behavior statements like “you’re pretty hard to get along with sometimes”, “its hard for me to communicate with you because you seem to not listen to anyone other than yourself” or “why does it seem that you are never willing to compromise with other people.”  Those around us who actually are of great integrity and have our best interest in mind can be a catalyst for positive change if we are open to receiving what they share.

The basic solution to this understanding is that life is an ever-evolving and progressive learning process.  Many people think that learning ends when formal education (i.e. high school, college, graduate school, etc.) comes to an end.  Puberty is the first stage to adult development, but the true “wonder years” of figuring life out take place when the first bill with your name hits your mailbox post graduation.  The true leaders and winners in life understand that they don’t have it “all figured out” and they seek the progressive advice of people, books and other sources of information to progress their life from where it is to where they want to go.

The true winners understand that you must be a student of life in order to really progress yourself and your life’s conditions. For many people, they would rather “wing it” and take an “I got this covered” approach.  Often times the result is if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten.  Watching Oprah a few times a week and other casual activities won’t make you the best career person, parent or prospect for a successful relationship.  Value the input of those around you that you respect when they share, but just as important – you have to pursue excellence in order to be excellent.  Many people are content to lean on their own understanding which is an exercise in futility in many cases.  True learning begins after you graduate.  Never stop your willingness to learn.

2) People Often Seek Relationships With Others Who Have Qualities That Are Not Compatible With Their Preferences or Qualities That Aren’t Compatible Period

Many people have a physical or virtual list of qualities that they want in a person.  It has been my observation that far too often this list contains qualities that are dissimilar and incongruent.  That is not to say that there isn’t that magical person out there that fits all of your qualities listed on your “should have” list.  However, the chances of you finding that individual grow far less likely when you are looking for someone whose character traits are unlikely to exist in one person.  Again, it’s improbable, not impossible.

What do I mean by dissimilar, incongruent or incompatible character traits?  Let’s look at women for a second.  I’ll share a story about a good friend of mine who has done well for herself as a lawyer in “the big city.”  She used to date a guy that was a big time real estate investor and they would kick it hard.  This guy would take her on expensive vacations, everything they did was top shelf, dinner for two people would be over $500 many times.  That’s great and they both enjoyed the time and the lifestyle.  Now here’s the issue, sometimes the guy would be an hour or two hours late for dinner.  I can hear women across the country with one collective “aww hell naw – that’s not gonna work for me.”

Let’s look at this a little closer, this guy is a multi-millionaire in real estate.  Anyone who has ever sat in a closing for the sale of property knows that you literally can never tell how long a closing will last, they easily could go over the expected time by one or more hours.  Here’s the bottom line, if you want a man that’s always on time you will have to find a guy who’s career and lifestyle fit the type of flexibility or inflexibility that works for you.  It would be different if the guy was cheap as hell, but if she wants to enjoy the fruits of his labor with him, she’ll have to give him the room and understanding that go along with his career.  Bottom line, your preferred attributes and qualities in a partner should be congruent – if you want someone who is on banker’s hours, date a banker, not a real estate mogul.

Now let’s take a look at the fellas.  For the guy that is looking for a match to his power couple image of a relationship, he may pursue women that are very career oriented.  Along with that woman comes her schedule and responsibilities.  That means that it’s pretty unreasonable for that guy to want this career oriented woman to have dinner on the table everyday at 7pm like his mother did.  She may have dinner on the table at 7pm one day, 9pm the next day, she may pick up the dinner the next day on the way home and you may have to do something for dinner to help out the other two days of the week.  For him to have the expectation that this “compliment” to his “power couple image” will have the same schedule of “household maintenance” that a woman who is looking to be more of a caretaker in a relationship are incompatible traits.  If he wants to date a woman with that ambition, somethings got to give OR if he wants dinner on the table everyday at a certain time then he may need to find a woman who’s career and lifestyle make that possible.

Understand that these examples are only that, examples, they are not absolutes.  I’m not saying that real estate moguls are exempt from respecting a woman’s time and that career women are exempt from providing nurturing and “feel good” esthetics that men like.  I’m simply saying that there has to be a degree of flexibility that tempers your expectations if you have preferred characteristics in a partner that may be more of a contrast than a compliment.

Then there are people that date a person that has traits that are incompatible with their own.  A woman who hates sports may want to date a guy who is a sports nut.  A guy who loves sports may want to date a woman who has never been and doesn’t ever care to go to a football game.  An even better example of this is the person who has a very active social life that falls for the person that has a very inactive social life.  In all of the examples just stated there is often a strong desire to CHANGE the person that you are in a relationship with.

Let me now state this – the only person that you can change, control or exert power over is yourself. If you met a person and they have “undesirable” likes, manner, interest and lifestyle (meaning that they differ from your preferences) you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration by understanding what makes them tick as opposed to getting them to change what they gravitated to long before the two of you were a couple.

If a woman had a lot of male friends before you met her, its not probable that she will stop talking to her male friends now that you’re in her life.  If a guy has “guy’s night” out and likes to hang with his boys – that’s his thing and although prospective shifts in a relationship you can’t remove people from their interests and likes.  The primary result of attempting to change them is resentment and as much as you think you’re helping yourself by trying to change your partner, you’re probably creating resentment toward you and your position if his/her behavior was like that prior to the relationship.

This is not to say that opposites don’t attract or that people can’t expose others to more than they already know.  It is to say that expectations have to be viewed as contiguous qualities and not these disjointed desires such as “I want a beautiful woman with no male friends” or “I want this head strong man who never refutes what I say or has an opinion different than mine.”  The more closely in alignment with one another your desired qualities are, the better chance you have of finding someone who realistically meets your standards.

The solution to this issue is born out of the definitions of disappointment.  My definition of disappointment is “the result of unmet expectations.” Some people are crafting a world of disappointment by creating tons of expectations in another person that more than likely will never be met by them.  Of course you should have expectations, standards and behavior guidelines that work for you in your relationship.  However, it’s important that you align those expectations in a way that you give the person you’re dating the opportunity to win.  Far too often men and women create a set of diametrically opposed traits that will create their own frustration.  The awareness has to be adjusted in their expectations that give themselves and the other person the opportunity to win in the relationship.

3) Many People Tend To Be Reactive and Problem Oriented in Relationships

This issue can’t be any more plainly stated than it already is.  There is a large contingency of people that chronically complain.  It may be that their observations are accurate, but they continuously whine and complain as opposed to create a winning environment.

The words that usually accompany the complaint are “you should already know this”, “why should I have to even tell you this” or “I thought you would have figured that out by now.”  Any iteration of that statement has a certain level of presumption and/or assumption in it.  Although I do agree that there is a basic code of conduct that most people would have toward one another, I would add that “common conduct” ain’t always common.  That just means what’s expected by one person isn’t a “given” to somebody else.  For example, I went on a lunch date with a woman who thought that it was proper for me to get out of the car when we parked, walk around to her door and let her out in order for her to exit the car.  I definitely didn’t do it, but my illustration (though a bit of an outlier) more so is to illustrate that people have different perspectives on what “common conduct” is.

My main point here is to say that people are not mind readers.  There are a lot of cases where people sulk, “blow a gasket” and get bent out of shape when people don’t perform an activity or provide something that they wanted or expected that somebody should or would do.  Additionally, some people are more apt to complain in many instances rather than see this disconnect as an opportunity to grow closer to together.

The solution to this issue is simply open, honest and effective communication.  The key to making the communication effective is to be solution oriented with the issue by creating an outcome that works for not just one, but both people. Additionally, in order to preempt an issue from arising, more people need to communicate what their expected/desired behavior or response from their mate is prior to an issue ever coming up.

Let me go back to the example of my lawyer-friend and her real estate mogul boyfriend.  I agreed with her that her time mattered and that she needed to be given notification of times that he was running extremely late.  I suggested to her that instead of wagging her finger in his face and demanding that she wasn’t going to be disrespected that she present a solution.  I gave her several examples of things that she could do that would create a win-win scenario and she said that what I shared with her was not only practical and feasible for her, but not an inconvenience to him either.  Although the relationship with that guy didn’t work out she found that the general advice of being solution oriented made sense and she put it to use in her next relationship.  I just found out that she and her current boyfriend just got engaged this weekend and she’s happier than she’s ever been.  I’m sure that providing solutions and not just addressing problems has gone a long way to creating a more collaborative environment than combative one for her.  Yes, it takes more work, but most things worth having do take more work.

4) People Show You Who They Are If You Take The Time To Look & Listen

Let’s get real for a second – most people that are horrible in a relationship show you that they’re going to be horrible before you ever commit to the person.  There are a ton of non-verbal and verbal clues that people share with you to let you know that they are selfish, shady, volatile or a ton of other undesirable qualities before you wake up and ask yourself “what have I gotten into.”  How does this happen?  Often times people go into relationships with their “eyes wide shut” looking at the things that they want to see and not the things that are actually happening in front of them.

This is not to say that there are not some good posers, actors and con artist (men and women) out there.  However, I bet in many instances that when people look at situations in hindsight that they can piece together different things that they glossed over that should have been something that was more disconcerting at the time it was recognized than it actually was.  We all have to go through different situations, experiences and frustrations in order to learn and grow.  Part of learning what you want is experiencing what you don’t like.

Volumes could be written on this point alone, but I will share one quick item to address this point.  Simply stated – A RED FLAG IS A RED FLAG!! I can’t take credit for this phrase, its something that I actually got from my Mom, but the truth of it is undeniable.  There are too many people that look at undesirable behavior in a dismissive capacity instead of with the seriousness and importance that it really deserves.  The worse part is that more times than not, by the time a person accepts the red flag as being a red flag they are “time committed” into the situation and then begin to put good time in after bad time as opposed to recognizing that the situation isn’t a fit for them and removing themselves from it.

There are times that a guy will give a woman an indication (hint: maybe a red flag in their book) that he is not the most dependable person as it relates to remembering things that she would feel are important to her (i.e. appointments, dates, things that he said he would do, etc.)  Yet, in many cases this pattern is dismissed in favor of thinking that as the relationship progresses that he’ll get better.  The news here is that often times people are at their best behavior in the early stages of the relationship and this is about the best that she’ll get from him (possibly.)  Many women talk about how guys have “representatives” in the early stage of getting to know the guy that he sheds to reveal his true self at a later time.  That’s well and good, but what about his (or her) true self that is shown to you that you choose to ignore. Many times people are given all they need to know up front still go deep into an undesirable situation where the person is showing who they really are up front.

However, there is a danger that some people have of becoming highly speculative or even paranoid after being hurt by a person that showed themselves to be different than how they were initially perceived to be.  The danger here is that there are some situations where you as the “hurt person” must shoulder more of the responsibility for the caliber of people that you have in your life (friends and lovers) and more importantly for the time that you put into these relationships after you discovered that this person was not meant for you.

Many people may have heard the Maya Angelou quote “If a person shows you who they are, believe them.”  Unfortunately far too many people don’t believe that fire is hot and they have to stand in the flames long after they’ve been ignited before they remove themselves (if they ever do.)  Everybody has their own motivation for why they stay in a situation, so I could never address them all globally.  The one thing that I can say globally is that the object of experience is to not repeat lessons that have already been learned.  No need to be bitter, contrary or vindictive to the next person that you encounter – however, no need to be bitten by a different animal in the same spot you were bitten before.  Learn your lesson and recognize those red flags that you’ve seen or those like them when they present themselves.  Additionally, don’t erect so many walls of protection and create so many defense mechanisms that you cut yourself off from blessings at the time that you decide you are open to a relationship if you choose.  Being a cynic is not a good look for anybody, being aware is your responsibility though.  Knowledge is power, use it wisely, but you have to use it.

As a side note, not all people are bad, messed up, etc.  Sometimes people “just don’t work out”, have different agendas or are incompatible.  That comes along with the process.  I just didn’t want it to be implied that I feel everyone presents red flags.

5) Fear and Love Can’t Occupy The Same Space

This is a lesson that I understood clearly when I got it from The Road Less Traveled by Dr. M. Scott Peck.  There are far too many people that let fear and insecurity not only lead them into a relationship, but rule them once they get there.  A relationship is a process of giving.  However, the person that is constantly in a state of fear/panic/insecurity/gluttony/selfishness becomes much more concerned about what they’re getting (or not getting) that they often times forget (or neglect) to give.

A healthy relationship is meant to be a place where you are not only getting nourished, but you are nourishing someone in return.  Many times in relationships the scales of who gives and how much they give is thrown way out of balance by the fact that people are far more concerned about what it is they are receiving than what they are giving.

The solution to this issue is that there is a certain amount of ego that has to be dialed down (by men and women) and a certain amount of vulnerability that both people must expose themselves to in order to allow an environment of sharing or a win-win scenario to take place. In layman’s terms “it ain’t all about you.”  However, just as important, it ain’t all about the other person either.  Far too many people can lose themselves in a relationship by losing their love/care of self for the benefit of the person that their involved with and to their own detriment.  Either way it goes, when the scales are tipped too far to either side, somebody or both people in the relationship are bound to lose.

There’s no simpler way that I can explain the point that Fear and Love Can’t Occupy the same space than that.  This may seem like an oversimplified explanation, but really how much more difficult is it?  Humility is something that both people in a relationship need to exhibit in order to make it work.  Deferring to your partner because you respect their ability to make a decision is usually needed.  If you don’t respect your partner enough to allow them to participate in the decision making parts of your relationship then you need an entirely different letter written to you.

Let me quickly share something about tolerance in a relationship.  People need people.  You need somebody (not a relationship per se, just the love of people) and somebody needs you.  If you’re in a relationship you have to accept someone for who they are and their desire and ability to give their best (which is relative to every individual.)  We have to be patient and tolerate one another as we strive to be our best (and I’m not speaking financially or career oriented best.) HOWEVER, the word strive is the optimal word in that sentence.  If you are in a situation or venturing into a relationship with someone who is not seeking to live their best life or looking to be their best self, then enter at your own risk.  A person does not have to verbally commit to you that they are living their best life.  Its in their manner, their character and in their way of being.  If you openly choose to start a relationship with someone who wants nothing more than what they have and where they are (i.e. spiritually, mentally, emotionally, communicatively, etc.) then it is not their fault if they don’t live up to your view of who they should be.  More responsibility needs to be taken by people for the decisions that they make, as opposed to passing blame to their partner for doing what they have always done – simply being themselves, not their “best self.”  If you value your time, your energy and your emotions you will take the time to respectfully qualify the people that you have in your life, relationships as well as friendships because you are the sum total of the people you associate with – they are a reflection of you and vice versa.

We all come from different upbringings, different environments and don’t have the same experiences when we’re raised.  In order to balance this difference in all of us, it’s important to encapsulate all 5 of these points that I’ve presented to give you and the person that you’re looking to enter a relationship with the chance to win.  By being a student of life, properly identifying/aligning your desires, being solution oriented, seeing the red flags and being emotionally/mentally capable and available for that relationship if you choose to enter into it, you’re set up for success.

Why don’t people do these things?  I can quite honestly say it’s a lot easier to be lazy, be “about yourself” and not do the work that it takes to prepare yourself for a quality relationship than it is to work at being ready.  No truer words have been spoken than “you reap what you sow.” Identify what you want, but also create a life game plan that gets you where you want to go.  Many people are willing to invest thousands of dollars into their formal careers and academic progress, but don’t take the free time to learn and improve themselves as people when they want to progress outside of their careers.

Again, life is a never-ending lesson if you’re willing to take the course.  Some books that have helped me gain a view of what “matters” to me are:

  • “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck M.D.
  • “What You Think of Me Is None of My Business” by T. Cole-Whittaker
  • “Awaken The Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins
  • “The Law of Attraction” by Esther & Jerry Hicks

To paraphrase the great Jim Rohn “if you’re in the wrong direction you’ll never get to your destination.  If you’re in the right direction it may take you 5 years to reach your destination.  Although you can’t reach your destination overnight – if by chance you find that you’re going in the wrong direction, you can change your direction in an instant.” I pray that you’re all going in the right direction and find your destination.

Take care of one another – “we all we got.”  Thanks for taking the time to grow with me.  Much love…VA

An Open Letter to Women – “The Woman In The Mirror”…

Posted in Life Lessons, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Black frame with detail mirror

NOTE: THIS IS A THREE-PART SERIES.  TO ACCESS THE OTHER ENTRIES CLICK THE LINKS ABOVE BY THE TITLE…

This is the second of a three part series regarding the Male/Female Relationship.  This entry is an open letter to Women, the first was an open letter to Men and the third is an open letter to Men and Women who want a productive and fulfilling relationship.  This submission is intended to loosely connect with the first letter to Men.  Therefore, issues that were addressed in the letter to men will not be rehashed in this letter.

Disclaimer(s):  I could write an entire blog about disclaimers given that women are very dynamic individuals.  Very much like the letter to men, this entry is the culmination of experience, observations and conversations with men and women about women.  The nature of the blog is very frank and it is not intended to be inflammatory or antagonistic, merely one person’s vast, broad assimilation of information.  If you are a woman reading this you may feel that there are some items, examples and inferences that may not relate to you.  In that case, feel free to look past that as a “does not apply to me” issue.  HOWEVER, it has been my experience that there is quite a bit of denial within some women with regard to how they “really” are perceived by others vs. how they perceive themselves.

Also, this is a “lengthy” discussion to a broad topic.  I do not speak for all men, but I would say that the information is very pertinent.  I thank you in advance for taking the time to read it.  With that being said – here we go…

Dear Ladies,

Hello Ladies, I hope that you’re doing well at the time of receiving this letter.  Many of you had the opportunity to peek at the letter to Men that I wrote and if you have not, I would encourage you to when you find time.  As that letter stated, I don’t know everyone that this letter will reach, but there are some that I have had the opportunity to know in passing, some very well or maybe even “personally.”  I know that some of you are single, married, “unhappily connected” or “happily connected.”  Any way you may be at this time, I applaud you for making it this far and doing so much in a world that is often dominated by men.

Before I get started, I would like it if you as the ladies could do me a huge favor.  As you’re reading this, can you please let go of the excuse of “well if guys would just” or “what about when guys do” and all of the other references that could come up about men’s transgressions or wrong doings.  Two wrongs don’t make a right and men behaving badly in no way removes women’s accountability for the issues that they bring to the table.  So this letter is focused on women, not the things that men do to make women do unproductive things in return.  Ok, thanks for agreeing to that.

I think that there are many, many issues ranging from esteem issues, to insecurity, materialism, prior abuse, self-respect and many more issues that impact women in relationships.  Also, because women are so dynamic it would be impossible to address all of these issues within this letter.  With that in mind I will let ladies know that this letter will specifically speak to why many women attract more “busters” and bad choices in men and many times don’t get a call back or chance to pursue a relationship with the guy who may have been a better quality catch. Plainly stated, the undesirable components of some women’s personality quite possibly attract the buster and repel the guy with good sense.

Today (July 7, 2009) Michael Jackson was laid to rest and one of his more poignant songs is “The Man In The Mirror” which inspired the title of this letter.  I would like to ask every woman, presuming you could meet a single man who possessed your criteria for what a good man is, who wasn’t intimidated by other men or your place in life, wasn’t insecure, who was willing to develop a mature relationship with you that could lead to marriage – would you consider yourself to be the woman that he would want in return??  As much talking that has been done about how trifling, immature and under-developed men are, do you really consider yourself to be the woman that “Mr. Right For You” would want in return??

The origin of this question doesn’t come from my past serious relationships and it doesn’t come from my divorce.  It actually comes from the many conversations I’ve had with women (some dating, some just conversations), the conversations that I’ve had with “good” men regarding their experiences with women and my personal observations of women as a business man and DJ in the 3rd largest city of the country, Chicago.  It certainly comes from the numerous conversations or observations of women when I and other men think “do you even hear the words that are coming out of your mouth??” Unfortunately, if I had to assess whether many women are what I or what other men of good character would want (not referring to physical attraction, purely personality), the answer would be a resounding “hell NO.”

To cut to the chase as to why this may be the point, it is my observation that there are two types of women (for the purposes of this letter), the first is the woman that simply knows herself, the second woman is the woman who not only knows herself, but she is also “self aware.”  We all know what knowing yourself is – it includes your likes, turn-offs, ambitions, desires, etc.  However, being “self aware” means that you not only know yourself, you are also fully aware of how you are perceived by other people.

Again, my observation is that there are many women that exhibit less than desirable personality qualities (i.e. argumentative, uber-passive, over bearing, etc.) and unfortunately, they have no idea that they would run a good guy off in a heartbeat.  I’ve asked several women lately “which one of your girlfriends would you personally date if you were a guy.”  After a pause and some thought, many of them cycle through their girlfriend’s idiosyncrasies, quirks, bad habits and oddities to then say, “let me get back to you on that.”  Of course that’s not true of every woman.  However, the major point that I’m sharing is that sometimes women can be so fixated on “this is me and this is who I am, take it or leave it” that they don’t realize how much of a turn off their personality truly is, especially to a man that they would want to attract.

Its even amazing the number of arguments/squabbles that women have with their women friends during girls night out, girl’s vacations, etc.  You hear comments like “I’ll never travel with her again”, “I hate waiting for her” or “that’s why I like it when I drive as opposed to riding with them” and many more complaints about women friends.  Guess what – you and/or your girlfriends bring that same behavior (and more) in their relationships with men.  Women don’t even want to deal with their girl friends (in some cases) because “you know how SHE is.”  That’s exactly the point I’m making about the same and worse behavior with men.

Again, the natural defense is to say “well, what about the guys who…” – we’re not talking about them right now, this is about you being ready for “Mr. Right For You” in the event that’s what you would like to have in your life.

I know that there are some women that would say “if a guy doesn’t like me for who I am, then he’s not the guy for me.”  Well, let’s take a look at who you are quite honestly:

  • Are you conflict oriented or conflict averse?
  • Are you boring or engaging?
  • Are you open to new things or stuck in your ways?
  • Are you super-stubborn or open to new ways of seeing things?
  • Are you bossy or flexible?
  • Are you abrasive or soothing?
  • Are you clingly/insecure or secure?
  • Are you overly needy or independent to the extent there’s no room for anyone else or somewhere in the middle?
  • Do you appear to be frigid or tastefully alluring (let’s be honest, men do want to be ATTRACTED to a woman?)

I know that times have changed and that women have to assume more responsibility in the home and in the office than ever before.  HOWEVER, one of the biggest things that I’ve seen in the 21st century woman that is a major turn-off is the lack of a brain buffer.  Quite honestly that means that what comes up, comes out.  In addition to the brain buffer issue is women who are theoretically so far on their own page with their likes, dislikes, “this is the way that I amisms”, that it literally turns people (women and men) off or runs them away.  Again, I am referring to the “getting to know you” process.”  These issues can be omnipresent even prior to an actual relationship ensuing.

Let me explain something briefly.  Many times the guy that you are looking for who is sensitive to your needs, supports you in your progression of yourself, wants to carry his part of the load and all those other great things really doesn’t want a sarcastic, “flip”, “say whatever you feel” kind of woman.  This doesn’t mean that he’s not looking for your opinion and doesn’t want to hear what you have to say.  That also doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want a funny, witty woman with a ton of personality.  This is where the old adage “it’s not always what you say, but how you say it” comes in.  We are in a time where far too often women don’t care how they say what it is they have to say to a man.  This may seem unreasonable, but it’s no different than the desire to have a man ask something of you rather than demand it.  The gruff, crass and thoughtless way that some women speak (especially to men) these days doesn’t garner any level of respect, love, courtesy or desire to want to spend time with a woman who doesn’t have enough discretion to think before she speaks.

Some women may say “I don’t want to have to go through all of that, if I feel something I should just be able to say whatever.”  Again, you wouldn’t want some guy coming at you half-witted and quarter-cocked with the first dumb ass thing out of his mouth.  Just consider the feeling mutual.  Too often the lack of decorum and the feeling of “whatever” that many women have will continue to attract the guys who do the same in return and alienate the ones who would offer them the respect in return of thinking before they said the first thing that came to mind.

Many women are under the impression that men are intimidated by free-thinking, motivated and assertive women.  Though that may be the case with some men, there are many men who want a woman with wit, energy, ideas and ambition.  HOWEVER, they want them to still be and act like women.  The same way that it’s a turn off for a man to exhibit what would be considered “girl like” tendencies, it is equally as much of a turn off to a man for a woman to interact with him, have conflict with him and “get at” him the way that a man would.  It doesn’t mean that a “good” man wants a woman to be demure or soft-spoken.  Mature and developed men can receive what you’re saying much better when it’s delivered with grace, class and panache’ as opposed to when it’s being delivered with the subtlety of a baseball bat.  The same way you want a man to be a man, a man talking with a woman, doesn’t wants to feel like he’s “going at it” with one of his boys unless it’s the tone of a specific conversation.  It is cool to feel like you have a woman that can flow between “kickin it” and the serious man/woman vibe.  Unfortunately, I’m not referring to moments of conflict; I’m just referring to typical everyday conversation where women are so raw and at times abrasive that it’s a turnoff.  When I say abrasive I’m not referring to profanity.  More like talking at someone instead of talking to them or just frankly saying anything that comes to mind regardless of how it may be received.

On the other end of the spectrum is the woman that feels that her opinion doesn’t matter or she constantly relegates herself to whatever the man’s position would be.  Included in that is the woman who is not engaging in many regards and doesn’t present any level of allure or captivating quality to attract a man.  The man you want typically only fully respects women that they fully respect themselves.  Good guys typically are drawn to women who feel good about themselves.  It is not my assertion in any way that a woman should “kow tow” to a man in any way.  I feel that the most progressive relationships will always be the ones where the two act as equals (still respective of the man/woman dynamic) and the woman is not relegated to the lesser person in the relationship.  Unfortunately, many woman position themselves in that place are at times taken advantage of because of it.  Much of that was/is her doing.

Again, it is my personal opinion that the right woman can get a man to do just about anything that she would want if she was more desirable (mentally and yes, physically too – this is a desire based connection for both sexes) than demanding in many cases.  There is an old statement that still is  as true today as it has ever been – “you can attract a lot more bees with honey than you can with vinegar” and unfortunately many women have lost sight of that.  On far too many occasions the otherwise desirable woman is driving men away by not being “self aware” and simply being herself.

So how is it that this position assumed by women of not being “self aware” can attract busters and stave off the desirable guy?  Let’s look at the buster.  The synonym for buster is predator.  Busters look at women with emotional issues, super-ego/attitudes, walls, emotionally unavailable and/or low self-esteem as prey or a challenge.  That means that by their very nature they know that your soft exterior or rough exterior, whatever you may have can be broken down by a series of saying and/or doing the things to get past the barriers that have been put up.  The same way that the jackal stalks the lioness, many women are throwing so much of their “this is how I am” nature or their “I have low esteem” nature out there that its literally pheromones attracting the jackal who is willing to “play the game” until you break down and give him whatever it is he wants.  The buster/predator sees you as a project, a thing to do, a conquest and is willing to engage in the game of “this is me” because he wants to destroy you or at least take the parts that he wants and leave the rest behind.

How does being “self aware” help minimize the attacks from the buster/predator?  The same way that the woman that is not self aware can turn her friends off and not care, can rub the right guy the wrong way and say “he wasn’t the one for me” is the same woman that is so far on her own page that she doesn’t see the true intentions of the buster.  It is her bullshit ways that have become the bait that the buster uses because they know that given the right “approach” they can and will break her down.

On the total other hand – the mature, progressive, “willing to grow with you” type guy is the one that typically sees the walls, the issues, the unnecessary difficulty, the low-esteem, the inflexibility or brash disposition and would rather not be bothered with all of that.  All of what you may ask?  All of the posturing, extreme ego, insensitivity, lack of esteem, potential conflict that he will notice very early in interacting with a woman if he himself is “self aware.”  Self aware women and self aware men are not predators.  They don’t have time to decipher the code of what makes you tick or burst through the proverbial walls that have been erected.

It is the law of attraction – those things that are alike in life are drawn to one another.  The predator and the prey are drawn to one another.  It is very much like Job 3:25 from the bible “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.”  Many women, I have to tell you – you are running the desirable guys away with your attitudes, lack of humility, lack of grace, lack of self-anything, lack of femininity (beyond sex appeal) and you are attracting the busters for the same exact reasons.  Then those same women are enabling and supporting the behavior of the predators that they are in relationships with and are looking to place the blame on the man.  Every person’s first order of priority is to love yourself, you can not look for anyone to love you more than you are willing to love yourself.

Men and women have a lot of complexities in relationships and again, this letter can not and does not address all of them.  However, if you are finding that you don’t know where “the good men are” or if you seem to attract predators in your life, it’s possible that you may have the entire male species figured out, so you would like to believe.  My question then would be, how much time have you taken to assess your own quirks, idiosyncrasies and ways about you that may drive your friends or a good man to not want to further a relationship with you?  How happy are you with your “this is me” attitude or disposition if “good” men and women may not want to be around you while you’re being you.  When you look at the woman in the mirror, is that your best self or the person that you’ve resigned yourself to be?

Life should be evolving, it should exhibit growth and I’ve seen and observed far too many women who have tuned out the world so much that the only tune that they hear is their own.  The sad part about that is that they’re the only ones willing to play that song because there’s no room for anybody else to join in.

I was raised by three wonderful women (mom, aunt and grandmother) and they are all very strong willed and opinionated.  The thing that I love about them most is that they speak loud and clear, but they also listen in return.  They taught me to listen, not only to myself, but to others.  That ability to listen is what can allow me to be in a conversation with a woman and be able to detect that the primary tune that she hears is her own, there’s really no place for me in that band.

I would venture to say that given the number of men that I’ve talked to about the state of their relationships that I’m “on to something” with this synopsis.  These good brothers find themselves on bad dates and undesirable situations with women just the same way women do.  Here’s the scary part – the buster/predator guys that are bad dates, really don’t care if they are good to women or not.  The buster/predator doesn’t care how you perceive him, if it’s a failed attempt, he’s on to the next victim.  The women who are bad dates, you can’t tell them a damn thing!!  To say that they are not self-aware is an understatement.  The even scarier part is that the dynamics of some (not all, but some) female friendships is that women can’t even keep it real with their girls and let them know how “out of pocket” that their girl is.  Or if they do tell her, she’s not listening.  Additionally, the women who know that they haven’t taken a good look in the mirror intentionally relay stories (by only telling part of the truth) to their girls to get advice from them that fosters their continuance of their less than desirable behavior.

In the end, it’s not up to a guy, your girls or anybody to police your behavior ladies. In the end it’s you.

Let me take this one step further for the women who do move past the “getting to know you” stage and actually develop a relationship with a “good guy.”  The woman who is “self aware” recognizes that once she has started dating a good guy that the journey is not over, it has just begun while the woman that only knows what she likes and dislikes feels like “mission accomplished.”  Far too many women equate fidelity with being a “good woman.” That is to say that as long as she’s faithful to her guy she can act in any manner that she wants (including driving a guy crazy for no reason) and as long as she’s faithful she’s a “good woman.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  If you are not aware of how your moods, outbursts, despondence, “shitty tone”, demands, sometimes insatiable or needy behavior is affecting your man you are not being a “good woman” in his eyes regardless of how faithful you are. This is where it becomes most critical that you are “self aware” because your behavior will push a good guy out the door if you can’t police yourself.

To the women who none of this applies to, congratulations to you.  That still doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues to be fleshed out while in the relationship, but at least you’re one step closer to shakin’ the busters and attracting a winner.  To the women that want to know where are all of the good men and why does this keep happening to me, when was the last time you took a look at the woman in the mirror.  When was the last time you heard and received the positive and progressive advice of the men and women in your life, when was the last time you asked somebody “what. if anything, do you think that I could work on to be the best person I could be for myself and in a relationship?”  I would venture to say that women spend an inordinate amount of time griping about how there are no (or only a few) good men out here, but not nearly as much time is spent on being the best that they can be or pointing out issues to their girls.  Again, sometimes they do that and their girl “knows so much” that she’s not listening to the good advice being offered.

I’d like to share that denial is a lose/lose scenario for everybody.  Its great to love yourself and feel good about who you are and I would never want to insinuate that anyone become less of a person to allow room for somebody else.  As men are to be providers and protectors, women are nurturers and sources of comfort.  I’m not saying to give your “gifts” of comfort and nurture to everyone.  However, allow for others to qualify you as you should qualify them without the “all self-knowing” part of your personality disqualifying you before you even get a chance.

Understand that the notion that the “right guy for you” will love you just as you are, despite your idiosyncrasies, quirks, flaws and attitudes that are a manifestation of “this is how I am” (as opposed to general likes and dislikes) is highly unlikely. What’s a general like or dislike?  Basic things like “I don’t like football”, “I would prefer to go to the early church service” as opposed to “this is how I talk, so deal with it”, “this is how I get sometimes” or “I’ve never had to do XYZ for myself, so I won’t worry how to do it now.”  Its not that only “strong” women exhibit these attitudes, a passive woman who doesn’t form her own opinion or appears helpless or “whoa is me” at all times can be just as much of a turnoff for the mature man looking for a progressive relationship.

The fairytale, the “Notebook” (refering to the movie) love affair, the myth that any person male or female will totally accept and more importantly, be fulfilled with another person without regard to that person operating in their best self is again, high unlikely.  It doesn’t mean that a meaningful relationship can not be had, it more so means that the odds of that relationship being with the “ideal” man that was desired/envisioned is very improbable.

Thesis Statement Ladies: Many women say that they are not settling until they find what they want ideally in a man.  However, many of those same women settle on being their lesser selves as a person and potential mate as opposed to finding their best self that would attract the man they feel would be their ideal compliment.

When I speak of settling within yourself I’m not referring to worldly ambition or being “goal oriented.”  I am referring to character and the caliber of “feminine esthetic” that makes a man want to be around and partner with a woman.  There are many ambitious and accomplished women who develop false-pride (as many men do) and lose a fair amount of humility as they accomplish more and also as they feel better about themselves.  Accomplishment and esteem are in direct relationship to humility.  The more you “are”, the more you “do”, the more you “have to offer”, the more humble ANY PERSON (man or woman) should become.  Far too often women gain a stronger sense of self, attain more “stuff” and lose their humility which in turn may be a turn-off to a good guy.  Women deserve to be proud and feel good about what they have done or who they are as women.  There is however a huge difference in being proud and remaining humble.  The right guy will respect you more and possibly desire you more if your confidence and accomplishments surpass the average man without having the “false pride”, “BIG EGO” (pun intended) and “chip on her shoulder” to go with it.

A quick note to the women who have been hurt by guys in the past, let that burden and frustration go.  It is not the next guy’s job to pick up the slack and remove the hurt of your past relationships.  Yes, I agree – this is true of men, as well as women – I got you!!  Again, we’re talking about women here.

So, let me put a wrap on the letter by saying that of course there is no such thing as perfection.  There is an air of compromise, acceptance, patience and tolerance that a relationship will have to endure on both sides.  However, there is a growing contingency of women who are not “self aware” and have attitudes, insufferable dispositions/opinions who refuse to make adjustments in any relationships male/female and even with female friends and these individuals can not figure out why they’re unlucky in love.  The mirror is only a step away.

I also want to say that if your first response upon reading this is “well about what the guys when they” or “if men didn’t do” or “if men would do”, then basically you’re listening to your own song and missed the entire purpose of the letter.  It wouldn’t be surprising if you never heard what anyone said outside of your own voice in your head.  The subject of this letter is women’s issues in a particular area, not men’s issues.

Go to the mirror, put your song on mute, take a long look with both eyes open and ask yourself – “am I the only person that likes what I see”, your soul and your environment will provide the answer – only if you are willing to listen.

Much love and take care of one another – “we all we got”…VA

A Minute, An Hour, A Day, A Year Older…For Me Yes, Not So For MJ

Posted in Life Lessons with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2009 by djvinceadams

VA-MJ Pic

Michael Jackson as a child/DJ Vince Adams as a child

This is my first blog posting for THIS blog.  I say THIS, because I have written several blog entries.  Some public, most private (which is more of a private journal, but still the same concept of getting things off of your chest.)  This is now the dusk of my birthday and I knew that I wanted to start “consistently” blogging and what better time than my birthday to get started.   In case you see a pattern, the use of the words “THIS” and “consistently ” is a direct implication that I have not always kept up the habit of blogging or journaling.  Anthony (Tony) Robbins has stated that if your life is worth living, then its worth documenting.  This is my attempt at one form of consistent documentation.

I’ve always been somewhat of a “deep” thinker for as long as I can remember, so I am pretty sure that my blog will be long and tedious for many and not “made” for everybody.  For those that prefer short bursts of information, feel free to follow me on twitter.com/djvinceadams.  This is not Twitter, therefore my thoughts probably will not be “micro-blogs”, they will be more thought out and heartfelt expressions of what’s going on within me or just observations about the world in general.

It may strike some people as odd that shortly after the midnight of my birthday passing that I’m not out in a club (as a well known Chicago DJ) or possibly on a “hot date.”  I very specifically planned to spend this evening in reflection and take some time to get my thoughts together on entering the final year of my 30’s as my next birthday will mark the big 4-0.  I planned a lot of things out for the day.  What I would eat, what I would drink, what I would be doing.  It was all laid out perfectly.  The one thing that I didn’t plan was the passing of music legend Michael Jackson, that certainly wasn’t part of my plans.

I think that for some people the feeling and/or thoughts around your mortality are normal around the time of your birthday.  I think that it may have accelerated for me a bit after the passing of Farrah Fawcett (my favorite angel from Charlie’s Angels) and Michael Jackson on my birthday.  That means that as long as I am blessed to continue to celebrate my birthday, I will be consistently reminded of the passing of one of the most important (if not the most important) musical influences of my life.  I have a million and one favorite Michael Jackson moments, but that’s not exactly what this “entry” is about.

As I reflect on my own life, this is not where I pictured my life would be.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived a great life, done things that I’ve never thought I would have the opportunity to do, etc.  However, this is not where I pictured myself.  At the age of 39, I am divorced, no kids and though I make my own living working for myself – I’m not satisfied with where that has gotten me.  I, like many people in 2009 have been forced to take a step back today with the promise of hopefully taking two steps forward tomorrow.   Examine that last sentence.   Is it me, or is there an oxymoronic tone to have a “promise” to “hopefully” do something in the future?  I don’t think that it’s a false promise; it’s more that the biggest commodity that can be offered in today’s world is “hope.”

“Hope” means a lot of things to a lot of people.  To the person with an illness, hope is a potential cure.  For the citizens of Iran, hope is a potential for freedom.  For the unemployed, hope is the potential to gain employment.  Thank God that I am in great health, free to the greatest extent an African-American male can be and I am blessed to be working.  So, what does hope mean to me??  What am I hoping for??  Luckily on June 25, 2009 I was given the blessing of being a minute, an hour, a day and thankfully a year older to figure that out.

So, again, what am I hoping for?  I could get into specifics as it relates to finances, but that could bore some.  It’s always fun to talk about relationships (great source of debate), but I have been rather unlucky in love.  I have always dated wonderful women, for some reason, receiving the optimal behavior, maturity and application of relationship “best practices” hasn’t been in my favor.  By the way, that’s the very P.C. way of saying that I typically have received the short end of the stick in relationships.  There are many aspects of my life and of your life that we can point to and say that we “hope” that something moves more in our favor than it has in the past.  However, there is an old Teddy Pendergrass song called “You Can’t Hide From Yourself.”

Lyrically, the song says “You can’t hide from yourself, everywhere you go – there you are.”  Conceptually, I think that’s what makes hope such a powerful thing.  If you place your hope outside of yourself (besides with your God) you’re pretty much doomed.  On this 39th birthday, I’m really beginning to understand that if I put my hope in my government, my promoters that I work for, party goers, any business opportunity, the type of music being made, my “if I had a” girlfriend or anything outside of myself – I have essentially lost hope.  For me, refocusing my “hope”/faith/attitude on me and my actions is the key to bridging the gap between where I am and where I want to go in any aspect of my life.

Stated simpler – no matter what situation I am in, no matter what is happening, focusing my energy outside of myself and my God is an exercise in futility.  It’s as simple as the final two lines in the poem Invictus “I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul.”  In an even simpler form, it’s the four words shouted by “He-Man” when it was time to wreck shop “I HAVE THE POWER!!!”  That’s really it – I DO have the power.  The power for everything that I want and will achieve is within me.  That doesn’t mean that I remain oblivious to the relationships or environments that I am currently in.  It is important to “design” your environment to incorporate the things that are most beneficial for you, as well as rid yourself of those things that are not best suited for you to have the peace and serenity needed for your own progress.

Again, it was part of the design of my birthday for me to spend this day with and by myself for reflection.  If you find that it is difficult for you to spend time with yourself, it may be difficult for others to spend time with you as well.  This is not a sweeping generalization, more so a generic statement.  The fact does remain that knowing yourself, better yet, being in tune with yourself is the first step to “hoping” for the right thing.  It’s amazing how many people “hope” for the wrong thing because their minds and bodies are so scattered and active that they have not firmly assessed how the acquisition of what they “hope” for will affect their lives.  Its unfortunate how many people seek, “hope” and work hard for the perfect mate, perfect job, perfect situation, only to attain it and find that it’s not a fit and actually this new “thing” makes them unhappy.  The new acquisition of a noun (person, place or thing) can’t make you happy until you are happy with yourself.

That is why this moment means so much to me.  I have been given another minute, another hour, another day and another year to have a better application of “hope.”  The refined approach brings all the hope home.  That means that it is within me – again, I have the power.  I will continue to focus my energies on me, not on how certain promoters handle business, not how opportunities may seem very different today than they were years ago or not how I may not receive in a commensurate fashion to what it is I have given.  These things matter and are worth noting, but at this time I have re-discovered true hope comes from within.

Note – it is possible to believe in yourself and simultaneously put more of your effort, energy, expectation and purpose in others than you do in yourself.  My correction is to refocus that effort, energy, expectation and purpose back to me while I continue to believe in my capability of doing/having whatever is on the other side of my “proverbial bridge.”  Many people use their energy to correct the actions of others (i.e. family, co-workers, spouse/mate, friends, etc.) as opposed to firming and moving on their own constitution and conviction.  It is not possible to have others create the reality that we want for ourselves – that reality must be created within us first.  That is the renewed focus of my hope.

To paraphrase words from Esther Hicks regarding the Law of Attraction, we will not begin to be able to control how things around use are happening until we are able to control our feelings about those things that we can not control.  It is once we have control of our feelings that we can then focus our energies in a way that will attract the people and occurrences to us that most benefit us.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t get mad, frustrated or flat-out pissed at times.  It simply means that when we feel this way we are more aware of what it is that we don’t want.  As we become more aware of what we want (through experiencing what we don’t want), we then channel that “hope” into a greater acknowledgement of what we want which improves our ability to move closer to it.  As long as we have a minute, an hour, a day and a year more – we have the opportunity to “hope” responsibly (within ourselves) and not “hope” recklessly (outside of ourselves.)

God bless my pre-teen crush Farrah Fawcett and my musical hero Michael Jackson on this day – their last day with us.  They were taken to a better place and “hope” is no longer part of their reality.  We are still here and as long as that bridge remains where we are on one side and the places we want to go, the things we want to do and the people we want to be with are on the other side of the bridge, it is our responsibility to take the minute, the hour, the day and the year more that we are given to channel our energies internally to do what’s right and continue to “hope” for the best within us.

Much love, peace and blessings to you.  “Keep hope alive”…VA