Self-Improvement, Self-Therapy

Relationships & Responsibility

 

Being in a relationship can sometimes be an eye-opening experience.

At it’s base level there is  a element of two realities clashing. The way one person see’s the world is interacting on a day-to-day level with the way the other person sees the world.

Toothpaste squeezed from the top is neither good or bad.

However, in one person’s reality – it’s a major offense. For the other partner – it’s not even noticeable.

What one partner doesn’t notice, the other partner is disturbed by and given enough occurrences this partner then potentially considers ending the whole relationship.

How do you fix the discrepancies?

“Communication” is key they say.

But what about when the differences are more than skin deep or trivial practicalities. What about when differences are cultural, or things that you were raised with?

Sometimes it’s not until your years-deep in a relationship that you realize that you and your partner have some fundamental differences in the way that you view the world.

If you can’t agree on what the world looks like, how can you navigate it together?

“Can two walk together, except they are agreed?” – Amos 3:3

Relationships can also make you question the validity of your own feelings. Are you unhappy because of a history of independence and not being used to having to compromise? In which case you should probably learn to be uncomfortable until you remember how to sacrifice.

Or is this a real red-flag that is trying to save you from hurt feelings and wasted time down the road?

When emotions are inflamed/involved, how are you supposed to know what is real and what isn’t?

Is there a person who I can’t possibly leave?

Looking back there were definitely people who it hurt me to leave.

When I’m not given enough alone time, I overwhelmingly feel relief when the opportunity to not hang out comes up.

Maybe its because of my attachment styles.

Because I’m of the avoidant attachment category, I require large amounts of free time otherwise I end up feeling smothered.

One way to reclaim responsibility for my happiness is to ask for and make space for myself. To a allow other people the opportunity to respond to my requests and sacrifice for me.

If I need alone time, communicate and take it.

Visualize and think about what you want from a relationship, week to week, day to day and what the most successful relationships in your past felt like. What do you need? What do you want? where can you not compromise?

Fly or Fall,

OFO

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Real Estate, Self-Improvement

One Big Goal Down..

 

Great news!

Ya’ll remember that goal that I referenced in a earlier post? Well, the actual goal was just to sit for the exam. On 6/26/18 I found out that I actually passed the exam! I was elated! The people at my job made a big deal of it, which was nice.

I was happy that I didn’t fail.

It also started me to thinking about the rest of my goals on my board. The BCPS exam has been on my  goal list for almost 3 years. This was the first year that I was able to put real effort behind accomplishing the goal of knocking it out. Luckily for my confidence, I was able to achieve the outcome I desired. Now, I’m pondering the other huge goal that has been haunting me for the last two years.

The goal thats been haunting me for the last 3 years is my quest to buy my next rental property. This goal is daunting because from my rough calculations it would require quite a bit from me.

And isn’t this the point of goals? I know I need to grow, and in order for me to grow I’m going to tackle things that I’m not sure I can accomplish. So just like for this exam, I know I’m going to need to do 3 things to achieve this goal in this competitive market.

  1. Pray Consistently
  2. Break down the pieces that I need to have in place
    1. Market
    2. Important team members
      1. Real estate agent
      2. Lender
      3. Property Manager
      4. Contractor
  3. Create a system for screening deals in the market I choose
    1. Aggressively screen deals (at least 5-10 daily)
    2. Be ready to move when I do see a deal – making offers.
  4. Act!

Keep me honest as I try to move towards this goal!

Fly or Fall

OFO

 

P.s. One of the things that I have struggling with as well was figuring out how to reward myself with a job well done. I was having trouble at first, then I looked at the things that I needed and realized two things have been on the list for a while: A Laptop & some new clothes and shoes.

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Self-Improvement, Self-Therapy

[*The Appearance of] Integrity

Integrity

A couple of years ago I think I was listening to a sermon by Andy Stanley, where he was talking about the definition of “Integrity”.

I hadn’t taken time to really ever think of Integrity and had assigned it some definition related to virtue and being a person of upstanding person hood.

That is definitely one possible definition.

However, for some reason, this definition didn’t resonate with me. Probably because I’ve run into too many examples of human frailty parading itself as the epitome of moral idealism.  For me, the most interesting (and perhaps attainable) definition was that of wholeness.

Wholeness. Being undivided. Being one.

That to me, resonates, as both achievable for the average human being and yet more  challenging than one would sometimes suspect.

This had been a particular struggle for me. When I was younger I made some decisions that I wasn’t always proud of; sometimes I still struggle with shame and feelings of not being worthy. As a result I had some puzzle pieces of my life that weren’t given quite the same amount of sunlight that I gave to other parts of my life.

How do I integrate the parts of my life that I’m not super proud of? How do I love all parts of me. Even the young, foolish parts? The parts that have burdened me with regrets or responsibilities I couldn’t quite shoulder at the time? How do I move toward a whole Me?

Answering these questions has been the work of the last couple years. I’ve made some progress but I find that there are always new challenges on the road to integration.

One of the areas that I often wonder about is Social Media. How do I use social media to face my fears of being transparent? Do I exhibit my scars, or just expose them when asked? Is social media the place for my soul baring? Isn’t it just a curated presentation of our best selves?

..Just musing..

OFO

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Self-Improvement, Self-Therapy

Too much Me.

20180605_102428-effects

Dominican Republic

The pursuit of Happiness. A inalienable right in America.

For most of my adult life, I’ve been on a safari for the perfect cocktail of life events, people, and places to create a life that would bolus happiness straight into my veins.

Because I started the son of immigrant parents, I tried to fix the glaring holes first. I remember the pain of wanting certain experiences and knowing that I wouldn’t even ask because my parents were already under financial pressure.

Staring at Bruce Lee and David Carradine and wishing that I could learn martial arts and be safe and able to protect the people I loved. I remember seeing the looks in my parents eyes when they had to say no to my repeated requests.

These feelings morphed into a focus on fixing my financial status and chasing financial freedom. I spent a good portion of my 20s chasing overtime, looking for investments, and saving for rainy days. Even today, I can feel the panic approaching if my bank account drops too much in too short a time period. These feelings were/are not wrong. They were survival skills. They are the fuel for my ambition. They have kept me pushing at times when I didn’t want to continue.

However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed the falling utility and joy that I’ve found in material success.  Past a certain point, each dollar saved has had less and less of an impact on my happiness. In my early thirties I started to allow myself to demand more utility from my money, and try to use my money to create the experiences and life that I dream of.

I started to realize that money in the bank is practically useless with regards to my happiness.

For a long time, I’d confused the need for safety/financial stability and happiness. It wasn’t’ until I came face to face with my unhappiness and started to ask myself “why so sad batman?” that I was able to unearth some of the issues surrounding money that were affecting me.

But you’ve heard that from me before.

What I’ve newly realized is that too much thinking about the future and the worries that come bundled with trying to plan the un-plannable can lead to unnecessary anxiety.

I’m coming to see that sometimes the best thing I can do for myself is just let go and chase the illogical. To reach for the thing that turns me on.

I’m also starting to see that focusing too much on what I want can be a recipe for disaster. Thinking too much about why “I” must have “my” way is terrible for overall happiness. I’m learning to let go of my desire to be in control and to have my way.

Too much introspection is dangerous. Too much self-focus can lead to unhappiness. Instead .. in these moments I’m learning to see if I can find a way to give some of myself away. To help someone else.

“Who can I be of service to” is the question I must remind myself to ask when I start being to navel-gazey.

FOF,

OFO

 

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Different Path, Self-Improvement

Bigger than Financial Freedom..

 

F U Money. Wake up and Cake up Money. Freedom Money.

For a good portion of my adult life I’ve been focused on getting to the mythical but oft-talked about land of financial freedom. I’ve consumed blog posts, books, and gone to seminars that are all aimed at getting me to a place where I can live life not ever having to worry about money and cashing checks from investments would be my biggest job responsibility.

I’m not the only one it seems.

There are a lot of personal finance blogs that cater to the idea of financial freedom and helping you to achieve it. I love them all. I love reading about how people who came from not-much are able to focus and create a life of abundance. One of my favorite pastimes is scrolling through the personal finance blogosphere during commutes or downtime.

My financial journey has been an interesting one in that it has shifted and transformed as I’ve gotten older. I started with an extreme focus on expense tracking and organization. Then I started to seek opportunities to improve cash flow by searching for assets worth acquiring. The last couple of years has been somewhat frustrating as opportunities to find have dwindled significantly.

So I read this amazing post from George Tako on Medium..

This post was paradigm shifting for me. It really helped me to come to terms with the emptiness that laid behind my determination to live a life where I imagined living by the beach, drinking Pina coladas and watching checks roll in. Because, first of all, I don’t like Pina Coladas.

Second, do I really want to stop working? No.

The whole point of becoming financially independent was so that I could then, go on to discover the work that I love to do. smh. This is backwards thinking. Why not figure out how to incorporate more and more of the work I love to do into my life now. Why not figure out ways that I can help others and make money today. If I can’t solve this problem today then I must keep attacking this problem until I get to a solution that adds value to both my life and the people I’m serving.

I’m trying to make the shift from wanting the material wealth to wanting the internal changes that acquiring wealth would require from me. I think I want to be a better person. Who knew?

I am a self-improvement addict. I don’t need more money – I just need courage and the self-awareness to keep growing.

I hope to continually craft a work-life that speaks to my soul.

Fly or Fall

OFO

 

[picture from San Francisco Marina Playground]

View story at Medium.com

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Different Path, Self-Improvement, Self-Therapy

Professor Time..

Lady on the beach.jpg

Today I sat on the beach for a couple of hours watching the waves pulse against and fall away from the accumulation of seashells, sand, and tourists. 

I’d gotten the opportunity to step away from the ho-hum and accompany my cousin to a mini-vacation that was stuck right in the midst of one of the busy weeks; full of obligation, guilt at being unable to attend to them all, and unease about if any of these things were moving me closer to the life I wanted.

On the way up we bounced the beach ball of conversation onto a couple of different topics. We started with how we were each, everyday, chipping away at the life we were given. We were constantly becoming. Constantly creating habits that would either make our sculptures more beautiful or letting the chisel slip and create details that we did not want in the final product.

We talked about how being comfortable could be a type of ambition anesthesia that allows time to slip away unnoticed, not capitalized on, and unappreciated. I started to think about what creature comforts I needed to remove from my life in order to give myself the nudge towards doing something different. Was it Netflix? Facebook? My Television? Tinder?

I watched the waves build, crest, and then crash into the beach. They reached as far as they could then reluctantly were drawn back into the ocean, never to be seen again in exactly the same form. 

I realized that my time here on earth was very similar. My time was very much like the waves. I don’t know when I might be asked to return back to the ocean. I don’t know what rocks I may crash against. However, I do know that I have some choice as to what I want to pursue while I have time.

What came to me while I was watching the waves lick at the beach, was that I wanted to create as much as I could while I could. I want to leave my mark in as many realms as I am interested in. I don’t want to waste any more time.

Practically this translates into a desire to create something new everyday..An essay, a piece of music, a new muscle, a skill, something that is additive. Ideally this is something that I can look at the next day and feel that exhalation of satisfaction in putting my heart, and nerve and sinew to the tasks of building something new.

Even if it’s a sandcastle on the beach.

Fly or Fall.

OFO

 

 

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Self-Improvement, Self-Therapy

Follow. Through.

Commitment.

Me and commitment have had a rocky past. And this apprehension around commitment isn’t limited to the romantic arena. It has bled into mundane day-to-day decisions. I’ve been giving myself time to think about a my life and where I am as I approach my 33rd birthday.  I’ve been trying to give myself undistracted time to evaluate the roots and fruits of some of my actions.

My struggle with commitment is definitely something that is preventing me from reaching my full capacity.

My mother is my hero. She and my father raised us in the middle of some pretty rough areas when they were a young couple with 4 kids. Unfortunately, because of the environment that we were raised in, the friend pool wasn’t always the most wholesome. As a result, my parents often resisted us getting too close to the “American’s” we were surrounded by. There was often the implicit suggestion that opening us ourselves to trusting the people in our immediate community would lead to pain and regret, because of the vastly different value systems. Couple this implicit suggestion about how to interact with others with my own devastating heartbreak in college, and I think I know the roots of my hesitancy around personal commitment. 

Unfortunately, these lessons stuck. I have a hard time really letting people in. I tend to be super individualistic outside of my family. My good friends are longsuffering and need to nominated for early sainthood.

One of my friends says I have an alter-ego whom she named “George”. George is a catastrophist. He’s always thinking of worst-case scenarios. He’s a saver, in case the rainy day arrives earlier than expected. He’s a planner because lists make him feel safe. He prefers inaction because inaction is more predictable. George is in many ways the polar opposite of an inner child. 

I think my early experiences around love and interacting other people actually led to me distrust my ability to make good decisions in these areas. It also allowed irrational fear to grow around making a bad decision. Recently I’ve been having to affirm to myself that no matter what decision I make, I’m capable of dealing with the consequences and that I have to learn to trust the self that made that decision. I can’t let my (worried, doubtful) self second-guess my (confident, intuitive, courageous) self, and thus undermine my self-confidence.

My track record of figuring out what kind of people I can trust has (of course) gotten better with more experience.  I have to continue to trust that the reason’s behind any decision I make were made with love and intuition. I can’t let my inner “George” steal the spark that makes life enjoyable. The spontaneity, drive, and risk-taking that makes a life remarkable.

I heard a sermon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdtrwHuQrfk)  where the pastor said the people who struggle most with  commitment the most are usually the talented. Too often talented see commitment as a whittling away of possibilities; so often the talented will wait and wait and wait hoping that they’ll magically discover some cause, person, or organization that is perfect enough to deserve their attention and time.

They often end up waiting a long time.

The cost of getting to your greatness is commitment. Sticking with something through the thick and thin means allowing that thing to stretch you, change you, and mold you into something better.  “Greatness cost what it costs” – TD Jakes.

Had a conversation with a good friend. I remarked that I was heading to the coffee shop to take a look at my current goals and perhaps re-work them. She stopped me and noted that the goals I’d set were fine, I just needed to be working towards them. It made me realize that I am oftentimes more excited by the setting of big goals then the day-to-day grinding to make them a reality.

That realization has helped me to make sure that I’m making steps towards my goals daily until I stumble over a completed goal.

I’m not sure what I want to impart in this particular post. I do know that you should trust yourself. Trust the dreams that are whispering to you. Trust the feeling that you are perhaps meant for more. Trust the inner child inside inviting you to play. Know that often your “adult” will have to come up with a gameplan and stand attention over the dreams to ensure that the child isn’t distracted. But while the Adult is attending to the details and creating task-lists..don’t let them get to talking down about your dreams. Don’t let your Adult sabotage your dreams. Don’t worry about the odds. Worry about your happiness. Worry about the story of your life that you want to tell your grandkids. Worry about dying with the seeds of dreams un-watered and un-acknowledged.

I wish you Bravery.

Fly or Fall.

OFO

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