Archive for responsibility

Will Classic “Black” Radio Exist in 15 Years??

Posted in Music Industry with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2010 by djvinceadams

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Close your eyes, take a second and think back to Black Radio in 1995. On one station that plays current Urban hits (we’ll call this station “Station New Music”) you hear Jodeci, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige and some Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey thrown in for good measure. A little further down the dial you have your typical “V103 – Urban Contemporary” station (we’ll call this “Station Dusties”) where you hear some current Luther, Whitney, along with some classic Stevie, Marvin and Aretha (notice, no last names needed.) Before you get too comfortable, open your eyes and figuratively turn on those same stations today.

In 2010 if you turn to “Station New Music”, not only is the selection more narrow than its ever been (in regard to variety), its nearly impossible to imagine how a lot of today’s music would be played on “Station Dusties” 15 years from now in 2025.

Can you imagine what “Station Dusties” will sound like in 2025? Will the 9am – 9pm be filled with this past decades hits like “Laffy Taffy”, “Hot in Herre” and Ciara’s “Goodies”? Will the slow jam/“quiet storm” after 9pm section be filled with radio anthems like “I’m in Love With A Stripper”, “Shawty is a 10” and “Birthday Sex??” Think about it, what songs from 2000 – 2010 will be considered a classic or “an oldie, but goodie” in 2025.

I ask these questions because as much as today’s music is about what’s hot or relevant in this social/news cycle, it has really moved away from being crafted music to simply being manufactured “microwave hot” songs. As a DJ, I talk to people about their views on music. One conversation not long ago with a Sprint representative (while I was in the Sprint Store) was that in her opinion people don’t care about whether music is “good” or not, they just want to have fun. She continued to say “think about it, whatever could be done musically has already been done. There’s nothing new left to do, so what are people left with.” I didn’t debate her position, but my initial thought is that if we as humans really believed there was nothing new left to do we would still be living in caves, playing with 2 sticks to get fire while wearing bear skin.

However, I do believe that she has a point. Not that I believe that there’s no new ground to break, but I do believe that many artists are more caught up in “what’s hot” than in breaking new ground (personal note – I don’t consider Auto-tune songs breaking new ground.)

My main purpose for writing this is that it really wouldn’t matter if all of the song writers, singers, rappers and DJ’s got together and said “we’re only going to give people quality music”, that wouldn’t change things in the least. There are still independent artist and some major artists who produce quality and potentially timeless music. Some people say that it’s all about exposure & marketing, but I don’t totally agree with that either. I believe that it’s the old “supply and demand” formula. Simply put, the people that listen to radio stations and consume music are the one’s that are ultimately responsible for what gets played and what doesn’t.

To me, the solution to this is similar to the solution that I’ve stated in previous blog entries about the state of music. We as individuals must demand more from our own music likes and dislikes and set our own personal bar for what does and doesn’t get played or purchased by us. In the event that we don’t change our personal standard for what’s considered good music, we are not only killing the future of Classic Soul radio, but future generations won’t have a measuring stick as to determine what a good standard for quality music really is.

Its up to us as consumers to not just “live for the day” as it relates to music, but we also must make sure that we conserve the institution that great African-American artist set for us in the 1900’s. Who will be the Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, James Brown, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, The Temptations, et al of the 21st Century? So, next time you’re blasting  “Daddy’s Home” by Usher, “Pretty Boy Swag” by Soulja Boy or “Massive Attack” by Nicki Minaj give some thought to the future of Black Radio. Oh yeah, think about progressing “Black music” for the next generation wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

The same way that planting a tree preserves the forest or using less plastic preserves the ecology, the choices that we make in music today will either destroy or cultivate Black music radio/culture moving forward. Much love, take care of one another and remember – “we all we got”…VA

Oh yeah, R.I.P. Guru from Gang Starr – a true lyricist. Check out a blog about him and his passing from national tastemaker and blogger Audarshia Townsend… http://312diningdiva.blogspot.com/2010/04/deejays-reflect-on-rap-icon-gurus.html

Related Information:

“From Nancy Pelosi: Death to Music Radio?”

http://www.wgnsradio.com/from-nancy-pelosi-death-to-music-radio/15513/

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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

Be Careful What You Wish For…What’s On Your List??

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2009 by djvinceadams

TO ACCESS PREVIOUS BLOG ENTRIES USE THE LINKS AT THE TOP OR CLICK “THE BLOGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE” TITLE TO ACCESS THE HOME PAGE…

candle wish

Quick Addendum: I would like to thank “Kim” for her early comment.  I am personally not a fan of using lists today.  However, I do believe that its a big part of many people’s approach to moving forward with a relationship that I would address some aspects of designing how to look for your ideal match.  Regardless of a “physical” list or not, everybody has basic qualities that they are looking for and that overall is what is being addressed.  Thanks and enjoy…VA

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since the last blog and believe it or not, it takes a lot of thought and consideration to decide what I would like to share with people related to whatever subject I’m writing about. It has really been interesting sharing my thoughts and ideas regarding life, but it seems that the topic of relationships is definitely one that people are interested in getting more information about.  So, as the old saying goes – ask and you shall receive.

I mentioned in the last blog that I was going to come out with a two-part blog series addressing “The Art of Dating” and “The Art of The Breakup.”  I have given that idea a lot of thought and I’ve determined that there is a step that is missing with regard to moving into a relationship or even being open to a relationship and that is the proverbial “wish list of wants” that people have when deciding who they would like to date.  The list, the damn list – LOL.  Why do I call it “the damn list?”  I think that my list has gotten me in trouble in the past and if you think about your past list(s) you may say that yours has lead you down the wrong path a time or three as well.

I can say that in all of my unsuccessful relationships that I have for the most part (if not completely) gotten what it is that I asked for in the person that I was dating.  The problems/issues in the relationships weren’t necessarily in the items that were “checked off” as completed or attained on the proverbial list.  The problem was in the items that I did not specify that I really should have paid more attention to.

HOWEVER, and this is a big however, I am moving more to the position that the list can be a recipe for disaster when it is not developed in the proper way.  Let’s look at the attributes that you may find on a woman’s list.  Now, before we go into the women vs. men thing, I am speaking to each sex equally here – there is no fault, no bearer of ill-doing, etc.  I think it could be said that although men have their “virtual list” of what they want in a woman that it is probably more likely that a woman would have the list committed to writing.  With that being the case, let’s look at 10 qualities that a woman may have on her list for the sake of discussion:

  1. Believes in God
  2. Educated (at least a college degree)
  3. Earns a good-living (at least $XX,000)
  4. Doesn’t have kids
  5. Loves me unconditionally
  6. Is at least 5” taller than me
  7. Has a good relationship with his mother (however, isn’t a Mama’s Boy)
  8. Loves to travel
  9. Will respect me and my family
  10. Will be honest and communicate openly with me

Now, this list was drawn up randomly, but it does encompass many of the things that we “hear” that women would like in a man if not many, many more.  Although this list has 10 qualities it is possible for these physical and virtual lists to have more than 25 items on it and can actually be upwards of 50 items.  Some people may be reading this and presuming that it is absolutely impossible to get all of the qualities on the list or that you have to “settle” for only 80% of your needs being met and 20% of the qualities are things you’ll just have to live without because you can’t have it all, right?  More importantly, some people make “80%” lists and leave off very important qualities with the thought that you can’t have it all.  We’ve all heard about the 80/20 rule and I’m not going to talk about that either.

So what exactly am I talking about?  Let’s presume that you can attain 100% of what you wanted on your list.  I personally believe in the “ask and you shall receive” law of the universe that allows you to attract what it is you say/think that you want.  Although it’s a challenge, let’s again presume that you attained your goal of having your ideal list of qualities in a potential boyfriend/girlfriend.  Does that really, really make you happy? Let me ask this in a different way – have you ever really wanted a job, vacation, car or anything that was a goal and found that you were very underwhelmed, maybe even very discontent once you received it.  If you’re over the age of 18 I am willing to guess that you’ve experienced this at least 3 times in life, if not many more.

So, if I believe in lists, believe that you can essentially get what you want on the list and believe that the attainment can be unfufilling – what’s the catch?  The catch is actually a two-parter:

  1. As I’ve stated in other blogs, but it definitely needs to be addressed within this topic – another person cannot make you happy.  If you are not happy with yourself and by yourself the chances of something/someone making you happy are close to slim and/or none.
  2. The missing piece of the puzzle is this – you have to begin your “Wish List” with the end in mind. You have to ask yourself what feeling is it that you want to have once your have attained your mate and what qualities/items on your list should be connected to that end position.

Let me offer some examples.  Let’s say that you are a man who on the surface feels that you want a woman who is respectable, classy and handles herself “well” in public.  Along with those qualities you feel that it’s important that due to your “status” that your ideal mate should have a college degree. It’s possible that you can date a woman who has these qualities along with other qualities that are important to you.  However, there is a possibility that there is a woman with a college degree that you find very classy in public and you find her to be very “unadventurous” away from formal settings in a way that could be a turn-off.  On the other hand there could be a woman that doesn’t have a college degree, who is very classy in the situations that you find class is needed, however she’s adventurous and the life of the party when the time is right.  The question is, is that guy not going to pursue a relationship with the woman because she doesn’t have a college degree?

The answer to that question should lie in what is his ultimate desire (or end result) for starting a relationship.  If the ultimate desire is to be in a fun, progressive and fulfilling relationship then what place does the college degree have on the list.  This may sound like very elementary thinking, but ask yourself how many relationships you know of or have been a part of that “looked good on paper”, but were unfulfilling for the people in it or even miserable on one or both people’s parts.  That’s the importance of crafting your list from the right place.  This is also akin to the point I’ve made in previous blogs that it’s important to ask the right questions more so than focus on the answers. The end result of what you want from the relationship is the question, the items on the list are the answers.  If you don’t focus on the end result, you’ll come up with a bogus list of unsatisfactory qualities.

Another example is that there may be a “successful” woman whose end result is that she would like to be in a progressive, fulfilling and exciting relationship.  It may show up on her list that she wants a partner who makes as much, if not more money than her because men in the past have been “intimidated” by her earnings/success.  It’s possible that by focusing on the earnings of the guy that she’s missing a bigger picture.  Wouldn’t it be a better approach to want a guy who was taking care of himself financially and was secure with his earnings, as well as hers versus specifying what his earning power was?  Now, if her end desire is to build a “power couple” dynasty that will buy up the world, then her mate’s earnings make a difference.  If she wants to simply be in fulfilling relationship then maybe the focus should shift to his security rather than his earning power.  Isn’t it true that there are men who are insecure regardless of how much money they make??

There are two big caveats for this train of thought though.  It is always possible that there are multiple “end results” that you would want to achieve in your relationship.  Whatever the reasons are a person should just make sure that the items on the list are related to the end desired result for the relationship.  The second caveat is that there are always “deal breakers” for everybody.  I won’t go into what “deal breakers” are because they vary from person to person.  Its just possible that regardless of how the individual list items add up that there can be a factor that makes the situation something that you would choose not to pursue.

Another aspect of developing your wish list is that the list is a “living document.”  There are many times that people set their list in stone from relationship to relationship and they become so committed to their “ideal” of what they want in a person that they don’t allow for modification or adjustments to their list.  Different situations/relationships should call for some amount of human “factoring” that may re-sort the order of importance or weight of qualities from relationship to relationship.  Also, as we achieve some of these qualities in a partner in a relationship, the list should be reevaluated to insure that those attained qualities (or at least how they were presented in that relationship) held the level of importance they initially seemed to have.

The bottom line for all of these considerations is that we really shouldn’t “block our blessings” by “majoring in minors.”  Don’t get caught up on individual “nice to have” items that could prevent you from finding a close alignment with someone more suited for you.  Additionally, don’t focus on items that ultimately may lead to you being in an unsatisfied, unfulfilling relationship by paying more attention to fringe “list items” rather than your core needs.

As with all of my blogs (especially on relationships) the focus here is on you internally and not what other people do to you or for you.  If you properly align your “Wish List” with your needs, the chances of you achieving your true end result grow exponentially as opposed to throwing a bunch of non-tangential qualities on a sheet of paper and thinking the attainment of this collection of “things” will lead to your happiness.  You and your God are the source of your happiness, craft the life and associations that compliment your self-happiness and the rest will work itself out.

How many movies have we seen where the girl leaves the “perfect guy” (the list guy) for the guy that captured the essence of what she REALLY wanted in a man?  I would strongly suggest that you give some serious thought to your core values/desires to create a collection of qualities that speaks to what matters to you in the essence of a mate and not just superficial “nice to have” qualities.  Again, those qualities should ultimately be essential to the desired result.  Before you make a wish and blow out the candle, be careful what you wish for – you just may get it.

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

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

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

TO ACCESS PREVIOUS BLOG ENTRIES USE THE LINKS AT THE TOP OR CLICK “THE BLOGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE” TITLE TO ACCESS THE HOME PAGE…

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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Can We Remember How To Imagine??

Posted in Life Lessons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by djvinceadams

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Aladdin lamp

Well, I’m back and at it again.  I decided to take a little break after the relationship blogs to let all of that information settle in.  I want to thank everybody for taking the time to check them out and I really had no idea that the blogs would go beyond 6,000 views in just a couple of weeks.  I’ve received some questions from people asking me when is the next “relationship blog” coming and it may be a few weeks or maybe months.  I’ve definitely got a lot on my mind and relationships as a topic is only one thread of thought for me.

So, moving forward with what’s next I’m now on the thought of building a better future.  I have 2 aspects of a better future I’d like to share, one is the perspective of building a better community/culture and the second, building a better “you” (or me in my case.)

A gentleman by the name of George Zalucki is a life coach and motivational speaker.  To paraphrase Mr. Zalucki, he said that “imagination is the closest thing that we possess as humans that allows us to tap into the God that is in all of us.”  That’s a pretty powerful statement when you look at the fact that everything that has ever been formed was at one time a thought before it was a physical outcome or a tangible item.  It’s very similar to Napoleon Hill’s words that “Whatever The Mind of Man Can Conceive, It Can Achieve” taken from his book “Think and Grow Rich.”

I personally think that when we look at the progression of technology and advances in “lifestyle” we can say that there have been many improvements made in American civilization.  I think that there is a degradation that is also taking place at the same time.  Being a DJ, I am constantly surrounded by music in one form or another.  Also, I am surrounded by people that have opinions about music.  It is my opinion and only my opinion that the quality of music and the standards of music desired by the mainstream music listener have been reduced to an all-time low in 2009.

At first glance it may seem that I’m talking about a lot of different things, but I’d like to bring them together.  I believe that we as Americans are some of the laziest thinkers in the world.  I also think that technology has made so many things readily accessible and has “painted the picture” of what we could think so vividly, that people have come to the point that they don’t imagine anymore – they don’t think for themselves.  Of course this is a widespread generalization and it couldn’t nearly apply to everyone.  I do feel that the number of people who read for pleasure, is probably at an all-time low.  I think that the patience that we have for and with one another is at an all-time low.  To put it succinctly, we have become a “microwave” society that needs and wants everything immediately.  However, we don’t put much thought into life beyond just “wanting things.”

Simply put, if we’re not using our imagination – we’re actually moving further and further away as individuals and as a society from being the most and the best that we can be.  When I say imagination, some people may think of that as “goal setting” and although that is a part of it, I do think that we “as a people” are quite comfortable with “wanting things.”  The imaginations of most people these days seem to stop short at what we can have.  What about what we can do, who we can ultimately be??  I think that we have stopped dreaming, stopped imagining as a people and we have become very preoccupied with wanting and having.

This could be caused by a number of things – upbringing, influences, environment, etc.  Regardless of the source of the stagnation, we can do something about elevating and moving to a better place.  I think that we all owe it to our parents, our friends/families and communities to become the best and most that we can become.  It’s not fair to those who need us to be our best to settle for less than who we can ultimately become.  Of course that’s relative to everybody, some people are leaders and some will never lead.  However, those who don’t lead have just as important a job as the leaders – it takes a village to raise a child and it takes us on a “conscious” level to understand that we all are villagers – we need one another.

So, what can be done about a stagnant society or about the lack of consciousness within many of us?  I think that the first thing we can do is to understand what it is that we let in our “space.”  That can be people, music, entertainment or anything that influences who we are or what we do.  If you find that the music on the radio is monotonous and annoying, turn off the radio.  When it comes to TV, sure it’s cool to have a guilty pleasure in reality TV, but what about creating your own reality by taking some of that time back.  I think that music listeners, movie watchers and tv viewers have increasingly accepted far less in quality without questioning it, as opposed to knowing that they deserve a better offering.  Listeners/viewers deserve better, however in many cases far less time is being spent creating value around what standards their lives should be held to.

Instead of spending time watching/listening/viewing others, spend that same time to sit with yourself, quietly and think about where you want to go in your life.  I think that more and more people are spending time looking at their current position in life and not spending time just thinking, imagining where they can be (as opposed to where they are.)  When we look at some of the great thinkers of the last 40 years including Dr. King, President Obama and Oprah Winfrey – I think that it can be said that they “had a dream” (pun intended.)  My point is that the chances of you getting where you want to go in life increase exponentially when you put conscious effort – just 15 minutes a day directing your mind to where it is that you would like to go with your life, who you want to be, what you want to do.  Not only can you get more, but the “things” that appealed to you can become less significant or even totally lose their appeal based on your having a higher standard of where you see yourself moving in your life.

Your imagination can serve as your life’s compass.  That’s a great thing and a scary one for some at the same time.  The good news is that if you take time to direct your thoughts in a positive and progressive fashion you have a great chance to advance to whatever heights you seek.  The “not so good” news is that for those who don’t take the time to direct their thoughts – there’s enough garbage out here to drive them to a less than desirable destination.  The worse part is that they often times won’t take responsibility for being the architect of that dead end destination by not using their energies to chart a better course as opposed to the one that they’re on.

I think that the great thing about Soul music from the 50’s – 90’s is that it was filled with imagery and imagination.  Additionally, Hip Hop music from the 80’s – 1999 was peppered with texture, creativity and “I could have never thought to say that” lyricism.  Where is the next Spike Lee, Russell Simmons or Susan Taylor (creator of Essence Magazine?)  There used to be so many discussions surrounding Terri McMillan and other fiction authors just 15 years ago.  It’s not to say that we don’t have visionaries in 2009, but it could be said that there are so many people trying to fit “in the box”, that “out of the box” thinking is more the exception than the rule these days.

I think that imagination will move us out of the copycat mentally of trying to sound like, look like and be like everybody else.  Furthermore, imagination will allow creativity and originality to take the forefront.  The person who becomes the creator of the “original material” will be inspired to be different and improve the quality of the products they deliver.  In turn, the receiving audience will expect to receive more than sub-standard products and will elevate the standards of the media (i.e. tv, film, music, etc.) companies to deliver quality instead of quantity.  This will force companies to go back to offering substance over style.  In the end this leads to a better community and environment overall with more progressive material and influences as opposed to stagnant or destructive material.

That speaks to the culture that we’re in, but what about you?  Ask yourself, who’s in my “inner circle” – what do they concern themselves with or “are we talking about anything that matters?”  What do you consider entertainment AND is it purely entertainment or more a lifestyle for you (aka “living the music video”)?  There are many books, articles and websites developed to encourage people to do more and be better with their God-given abilities.  I think that the simplest thing we can begin to do is to read more.  Reading sparks thought, it sparks imagination.  Some people say they don’t have time to read, but I’m sure that in many cases (not all) that there could be a time shift made to incorporate more reading and less of other forms of entertainment.

In the end, it boils down to vision – where do you see yourself.  Many people use different ways to stimulate positive thought within themselves.  Some people may meditate, some may use affirmations, some may pray.  All of these activities require some use of the imagination to move us from where we are to where we desire ourselves to be.  I’ve said it before in other blogs that people often times acquire what they think they want and find themselves unhappy once they get it.  This is partially due to spending a lot more time thinking about what they want as opposed to who they want to be.  There’s a big difference between “having” and “doing.”

It was revealed in Earl Nightingale’s 1956 audio recording “The Strangest Secret” that the commonality in all men is a secret that is revealed with these six words: “we become what we think about.”  So, ask yourself – what do you think about most?  By adjusting your environment along with having directed thoughts of who you want to be and what you want to do, you’re half way there.  If you find that you’re not where you want to be in life – tune out the outside world and tune into yourself.  Become the child you once were, connect to the little God inside of you – your imagination is only a thought away.  I hope you find it.  Your life, your family and your community’s survival depend on it…VA

For additional information on “The Strangest Secret” visit http://www.nightingale.com/AE_Article~i~22~article~StrangestSecret.aspx

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