Before we get started on this chapter, I want you to keep an open mind.
Some of the sentiments expressed here, are not articulate enough to breathe brevity into the thoughts, expressions and ideas.
When I wrote the first version of this, I never had intentions for it to be anything more than just a rant – however – in the years that have passed and as my audience grew larger, I’ve felt it’s become more relevant for friends, and less about me.
My ideas, feelings, and my thoughts have all changed.
I am not the same person. I don’t share the beliefs of the Marcus 12 months ago.
But to rewrite that chapter would do me injustice. As much as I wanted to share the thoughts that I have today about those relationships – it’s only timely that I grasp the opportunity to create the next iteration as a whole new chapter.
In my last chapter, I spoke of three specific women who have altered my life for the better.
It was as if, I was being guided by the next person – and I was directed by someone else. It’s crazy to think that my life was (by my decision) out of my control.
Crazy to think about right?
But that’s the reality of it.
Granted, I was lucky enough to have met three incredible people in my life, who created enough of an impact on me to shift in a direction that I would slowly start to manifest control over.
What I didn’t explain – was how each of those journeys through my life, and the time spent with them – impacted my life choices, decisions and capabilities to love myself.
You can decide whether or not to remember or; to forget someone. That’s a choice you will always have. It’s not about reading into your thoughts, or digging into a rabbit hole of emotions – it’s seeing it for what it is, not as you want it to be.
It’s about communicating with yourself, and listening to your emotions.
You are just as important in any relationship – as the other partner. But the relationship that matters the most is the one that you share with yourself. It’s true – being honest with yourself is the ultimate freedom. This is what empowers every decision you make, which ultimately controls your life.
Communicating with yourself is the simplest complexity you’ll ever have to face.
Why? because accepting who you are comes first.. and fuck me – it takes time to realise this.
Not everyone has had the luxury of peppermint double chocolate chip ice cream during a break up.
Not everyone has had the support of family, friends and even strangers to make the smallest notion – for you to understand that it’s not about being with someone or to being alone.
It’s ok to be alone, as a matter of fact – it’s a necessity in life to have time for yourself. Not for the sake of working, Netflix, or procrastinating.
It’s ok to be alone, because you need spiritual healing.
It’s ok to be alone because you need emotional healing.
It’s ok to be alone because you need mental healing.
Spiritual, emotional and mental healing all require the great exertion of effort that never ceases to challenge you. They each do so equally.
It’s ok to be alone simply because you need to find the courage to take action into your situation.
I’m by no (or low) means religious, but there is one statement that I’ll stand behind – “Faith without works is dead.”
You can not remain stagnant at a time where you need to be progressing. To be clear, It’s not responsibility and it’s not accountability. It’s because of the simple complexities of “happiness”.
Happiness is a result of actions. It’s an emotion triggered by action.
Hoping for happiness is the aspiration where a serotonin-triggering outcome will reveal itself.
We can not expect to be happy every waking moment of our lives. That concept is part of the societal utopian ideal, and yet that is our aspiration while we are within a protopian state.
What we need to understand is that happiness is the result of actions. But for us to feel happy? Does not always require actions that we manifest.
“Never Mistake Motion For Action.” – Ernest Hemingway
“Organic Happiness” is something that happens on its own, by chance. It’s something that should be considered a miracle considering all things said and done in life. It’s those tiny moments of bliss that can extend to certain acts of kindness extended to us, or something as simple as seeing a smiley face in the sky. It happens by chance, and the problem is: we expect organic happiness to occur every waking moment while we neglect our capabilities to manufacture our own happiness.
Faith without works is dead. Happiness without understanding, without communication, without patience, without perseverance – can not exist.
So how do you expect someone to love you when your expectations don’t align with who you truly are? Short answer – it’s impossible.
Love is not about doing everything for your partner, it’s not about being unconditional – everything in life is conditional and has it’s limitations. It’s an unfortunate fact of reality. but without limitations, without conditions, love can be just as destructive as it is constructive.
The worst thing you can do, is compromise without understanding deeper than the face values you tell yourself. While most would argue that it’s dangerous to be too caught up in your thoughts, that you should let things pass – it’s not always the case. Love is not just about sacrificing for those that you love. Love is not painful, it’s not an experience – it’s a part of you. Charity begins from home, and for most of us who are fortunate, we have parents and siblings to show us what that means, and to educate us to love ourselves – for better or for worse through what we experience growing up.
Not everything has an instant recovery. Not everything can be “snapped” into place. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept yourself for who you are. You should not compromise. It’s the situation and the situation doesn’t define you. It is however, your responsibility to learn to love every bit of you. Your flaws, strengths, your passion, your desire for the next iPhone, the need to move every single damn time Michael Jackson’s Rock With You starts playing… all of it. You deserve to be loved.
Compromising is such a hugely underrated word. It defines being content with what you’re not happy with. it describes a decision that occurred, where you refuse to accept it – but let it happen anyway. Compromising on where to go for dinner, where to meet, whether or not you’re capable of meeting someone at a specific time, or compromising on the fact that you’re just not important enough for someone to choose you first.
Would you compromise the safety of your loved ones in a state of apocalypse? Probably not. So why compromise on the safety of your well being. Compromising is the first mistake in so many relationships because the idea of compromising exists.
And this is exactly what happened to me.
I failed to communicate with myself, and I compromised on more than what I would have ever allowed myself to. My standards hit rock bottom, and climbing back was a journey of salvaging the sanity and healing whatever mind I had left.
It’s not easy to recover from loss, it’s not easy to admit that you’re damaged. But I swore to myself, that I would not enter a relationship without having certainty over myself that I was capable, willing and restored. The last thing I would want, is for another human being to suffer because I’m still damaged, broken and incapable of truly loving another.
When I said, “start with an open mind” – what I really meant was prepare yourself for some honest shit.
The Girl Who Settled For Me.
Before I dive deeper into my mind about how I was impacted by this girl, I wanted to give you an idea of who she is, and that may qualify her as a reason for my happiness and anxiety both being triggered.
When I met (let’s call her Hope), I had exited a toxic relationship where I was driven to a nervous breakdown – multiple times. To clarify – that previous relationship was the cause, not the girl (she’s super happy, great and has an amazing partner – it brings a smile to my face knowing I had a role in their get-together). Between this toxic relationship and Hope, was another situation that I found myself in – as the SIDE GUY #2 (I’ll save this story for Vol 3).
Hope had this wicked smile, goofy personality and positive gun-ho attitude. It’s difficult to describe her other than perfect, but there’s always rose-colored glasses to take off at some point.
Hope healed me.
She found me when I was in a state of change and accepted me for who I was. Nothing more, nothing less. She accepted me for all of my flaws, encouraged my strengths and yet – I was the one to break her heart (complete dick move – I KNOW).
What I loved about this girl was that we both had the desire to grow ourselves. We wanted more out of life. We wanted to travel, to experience new things, to live life as we intended, not as life intended for us to live.
I wanted to build my digital marketing profession and she wanted to grow her designer capabilities. The best part? We worked for the same company so we were always in each other’s faces. We made it a game to surprise each other at work with little random spontaneous moments of puppy love.
Flowers. Post it notes. Chocolates. Tea.
She made me feel valued because she could learn from me, and that feeling was mutual. I saw her start from nothing with photographics to travelling around the world as a visual artist for enterprises that enable opportunities for young, aspiring entrepreneurs. Pride doesn’t even begin to describe the sensations that I felt.
On the same page, I couldn’t be where I am today without her. My skills, talents, experience kindled with her to the roaring flames that it is today. Everything in that relationship to me showed patience, understanding, and acceptance.
But unfortunately there’s a dark side, and most unfortunate – that dark side was me.
Let’s face it. None of us, ever want to tell our partner – “you settled for me”.
Worst. Feeling. Ever.
But in some cases, we just know.
This girl though, I felt the change she hit me with. It felt like she put my anxiety to ease when I was with her, but, it wasn’t until I broke her down that I started to trust her because in the most sadistic way possible – that was evidence to me that she wanted to put my needs first.
The dangers of this?
She committed a crime against her emotions.
She allowed someone else to determine her happiness, her mental stability, and spiritual needs.
Nobody deserves this. Nobody deserves to be put under pressure like this to “fix” someone else.
Nobody deserves to be forced to feel inadequate, to feel broken by someone else because they weren’t ready to be in a relationship.
Nobody deserves to feel like they have the world held over their head by their partner, and their partner is disqualified from having an justifiable opinion.
Emotional damage is the root cause. It was a premature relationship for both of us. I was 2 months into my healing process, she was still with her boyfriend who was overseas. So you can imagine for me to step into a relationship like that, placed a bucket of anxiety on my head.
“Would she leave me the same way she left her boyfriend for me?”
Trust is key to any relationship that is personal, business and/or otherwise. How could we expect a relationship that we created together to last, when the foundations were built on misfired trust, hope, and believing in someone that we’ve only known for less than a month?
It’s just not possible.
The anxiety eats away at you like a squirrel on a nut tree.
That added stress caused by my needs of perpetual reassurance was completely unnecessary to the point where it caused me to outrage my emotions over the fact that she was hanging out with mutual friends without inviting me. I had no right, no justifiable opinion because I walked into a relationship too damaged, too unstable and too soon.
Everything fell apart when we started to take the next step in our relationship – that we conceived as the right choice. To spend time working on ourselves because we needed to build ourselves for one another.
I started to go to the gym to build a better me in hopes that she would have appreciated it if I was healthier. She had started to venture into travel, the same as I did – but in different places. I traveled to the United States and the Philippines – she ventured to Hong Kong and Singapore.
The reality of this is: neither of us were capable of putting the relationship first. While in this rare instance, it’s acceptable – neither of us had expected to love less. We realized that we both have much of the world to explore.
The constant that remains as the same thought over and over again in my mind with her, stems from my best friend:
“is she savage because she’s beautiful? Or is she beautiful because she’s savage?”
In other words, are we simply attracted to the stars that shine too bright and enable ourselves to fly too close to the sun?
Do we create an perfect image of them in our minds, and see only the good while neglecting the bad?
Nobody can answer this but you.
You do not deserve to suffer greater than you need to. You won’t need to.
Going In On The Reverse
So as much as I have been in the position of needing that reassurance, and needing to have my anxieties eased – I have also played to role of the comforter. Actually, it’s natural for me to play the role of comforter because that’s just who I am.
And it’s complicated. So very, very complicated.
Being the comforter to those that you love, at times is as easy as licking the back of your hand.
At other times, it really forces you into a difficult position.
So difficult in fact, that it impacts you on every level possible. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. There’s really little left to consider when being a comforter that requires you to need to restart, refresh and clean slate your emotional plate.
I’ve been in a position where I had found someone that had the rare qualities that I was seeking. But fear of missing out, lead me to being with her if I was in a stable set of mind. Just as before, I entered a new relationship prematurely before I was ready. What makes matters worse, was aside from being the comforter, I was the solution. I treated myself as the solution for someone else. I treated a relationship, like it was a 12-month marketing contract.
What I encountered was this:
- It was way, way too early. Everything moved too fast.
- I let life decide my life, because my reactions to it was to solve everything. I thought I was in control, but really – I was just being reactive.
- I thought that I could handle the persistent reassurance and anxiety – turns out – it forced me into an even worst emotional state because I couldn’t commit to my promises. I couldn’t commit to being a solution, simply because that’s impossible.
- I let frustration, anger and impatience get the better of me.
- I saw my partner as a problem that needed to be fixed, and I didn’t accept them for she was.
I wouldn’t have been in a position of perpetual compromise, expressing my own unhappiness if I had known my own limitations. If I had known whether or not I was ready.
But my own ignorance prevented me to create a rational decision.
I ignored the signs, I ignored her tell me “I’m not ready” and “I’m still healing”.
And when I saw “well look where that brought me” – nobody brought that on but themselves, and it’s such a disappointment. I couldn’t manage my own expectations the way I had hoped.
If there’s anything to take out of this, it’s this:
Take a deep breath, and try to understand what your frustration is, and where it stems from.
What I was unable to communicate to myself earlier than needed, was that my frustration was being triggered from providing reassurance. Something so simple, something that should be granted by default and with a teaspoon of happiness. While this was a trigger, the root of it was even more heart-wrenching: I had set expectations of someone that I had seen only through rose colored glasses to be perfect in every way.
Diverting from being perfect, was just unacceptable – and nobody should ever be held to these toxic expectations.
Seeing her anxiety, her fear, her doubts, her panic — I could never, and have never said to her that it was something simple to fix, because it’s not. What needed to be fixed was my expectations. It was my frustration. Had I have fixed this earlier, I wouldn’t have gone through a toxic wasteland of emotional hell. We would not have had to deal with that depressive ride, and I would not have to experience what mental instability is truly like.
Stepping back to the girl that had side-lined me as her #3 guy once told me the reason why she was in love with her new boyfriend was so simple: “I know exactly why he loves me, but I just don’t understand why you do.”
Trust is everything. Desperation is easily misguided as love. It’s not just love that makes us do stupid shit, it’s desperation too. So be sure as shit the next time you want to start a relationship with someone, that you don’t need to convince them to love you. Leave that to actors, musicians and entertainers with their audience.
Be yourself. It’s better for someone to love you as you are, than for someone to love you for just who you could be.
If there’s someone else to compete with, just don’t doubt yourself. If you’re not the one for you today, then they’re not the one for you today. Protect your heart as much as you would protect theirs.
Linking Your Spiritual Well Being, Mental Health and Emotional Intelligence
Understanding how each element that defines who you are work together, will illuminate what disparities you have underlying to embracing who you are.
Your Spiritual Well Being
Your spiritual, emotional and mental stability is in itself a framework for defining who you are.
So I’ll ask you: do you know what makes you happy?
Truthfully, that’s even too vague a question to be able to define a deeper answer. So to take that one level deeper, do you know what makes you happy in life? do you know what you want to do? what you want to achieve? what do you need, to make you happy? What qualities in life do you seek?
The best thing you can do for yourself, is to define them. It’s exactly what every other life coach, guru out there is telling you to do.
Write them down on a piece of paper and decide for yourself if those qualities are your aspiration. Having the list, is not just a checklist of things you need to treat as an achievement board. That list is a reminder for you that there is hope for happiness, and to know that someone will love you the way you are, with the qualities that you seek. Sometimes even, when we comprehend deep enough into the people that we choose to be with, you may even notice the items you’ve listed will change, will shift, and priorities alter because it’s your choice and not a compromise.
Every cell in your body regenerates every 7 years.
7 years from today, you are not the same as you were. You are not the same as you were 7 years ago.
Nobody is perfect, and neither is your list.
Your Mental Health
Sometimes, we just need a breather.
It’s ok to step aside from your problems and focus on other parts of your life in order to protect your mental stability.
Not everything is resolved in a flash (we’re not all Barry Allen).
Dealing with emotional pain is unlike dealing with physical pain. There is no band aid for the brain, it will just take time to heal the wounds and form the scars. Whenever you have that fear, uncertainty and doubt that you are actually healing, just know that you just haven’t had enough time yet.
It is better to long suffer to a point where a problem becomes small enough to digest and move on from. My family has a motto: “Turn big problems into little problems, and turn little problems into no problems.” It’s how we can rationalize our decisions with a clear mind. We make the decision on how we act to turn these big issues in life to smaller, digestible ones.
My friends, my family and I have had a history of depression, it’s not nice by any means. But we have dealt with our inner demons as individuals and as a family.
Depression can overwhelm you with emotions, with turmoil, with anxiety, with fear, with panic, with uncontrollable palpitations, with the feeling of being numb, with deafened ears. Depression is a condition where you have a fixation on suffering – and that can cloud your judgement.
So not dealing with things, is dealing with things. It can be empowering for you to have the strength to turn those big problems to nothing. it just takes time, and trusting in yourself.
Your Emotional Intelligence
Emotional healing is about spending the right kind of quality time with those that you love mutually, and at a balance. Family, friends, associates, strangers (yes, it’s entirely plausible to love a stranger).
Emotional healing, is the process of reassurance. But that weight of reassurance should not lie upon an individual. Remember: it’s all about balance. Your emotions of happiness, sadness, content, fear, anger, pride, ego, joy, love – decisions can be made, but we can’t always control our emotions. Every decision that we make, every circumstance that we encounter is another gamble, another spin on the emotional roulette.
We can take educated guesses of where the outcome of our emotions will take us. It’s the ill-conceived confidence that we enable ourselves to choose with.
It takes a community to raise a city, and it takes more than you diving in head first to your emotional problems. Unfortunately (and this is the kicker), emotional healing will tax you of friendships and of people that you thought were special in your life.
And a combination of alcohol. cigarettes and drugs (prescription or not) are neither the band-aid nor the solution.
Spiritual healing takes time – but it’s not time bound. It takes effort, it takes persistence. It does not require you to have complete emotional intelligence and mental stability. Why? Because spiritual healing is about removing part of who you are, so that you can be the greater version of yourself – and it hurts like hell to go through.
Depression, anxiety, fear, uncertainty – all of these emotions will happen through your life. And to challenge them head on as they continue to recur through your life heeds my only advice: don’t do it alone.
Self diagnosis and self medication of your spirituality can only take you so far. The world is there to help you lift your spirits with everything that it has to offer.
Happiness is by no means the result of spiritual healing, but acknowledging when happiness occurs, be it by your own hands, by opportunities that confront you, or simply by chance. There’s no “how to” book on spiritual healing. But I believe that the first step, exists in the world – you just need to find it for yourself because you deserve to have hope.