Category Archives: Relationships

It’s Okay To Have Good Memories With Them

When I was in Bali, I often found myself tortured by circling thoughts surrounding my ex and previous relationship.

I found it hard to imagine how such boundaries could be crossed… And what made me act in the strange ways that I did?

Love is a powerful drug, and as I’ve learned it doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in you.

Sure, it can make you stronger, happier, healthier, and give you a newfound passion and purpose for living. It can be exactly what you need.

But it can also bring out your possessive side, the needy side, the manipulative and controlling side.

If everyone is being completely honest no one is close to perfect. We all act a bit strange while under the influence of the most powerful drug on Earth.

Even if your actions are kind, you still likely have some problem. It could be that you’re idealizing your partner, or perhaps you’re being a bit too okay with certain boundaries being crossed.

As powerful as that love is, it isn’t always meant to last in this lifetime- if at all.

There’s probably not much more painful than a break up. It can go on for days, weeks, months, years… It just hurts. And you don’t know how to fix it.

It’s such a mind-fuck. It’s like you’re mourning someone but they’re still alive. It’s such a challenge, and one of the hardest things to overcome.

Idealizing the past is not good because that is not the true situation. The truth is it wasn’t all sunshine n’ rainbows.

You can’t hate them though because hate keeps them in your heart and prevents you from moving on.

You can try to focus on their downsides as reasons for moving on, but that doesn’t help much either.

You can delude yourself into thinking things would be better in the future, when really you two would just fall back into the same dynamic.

Honestly I don’t think a certain part of the brain will ever understand a break up. Can it?

One day you wake up and it doesn’t hurt so bad. You feel a bit happy and grateful for everything you have.

And there’s not anything special that you did, it’s just that you feel better.

Sure things like making deep friends, getting a life purpose, working hard, working out, and just letting yourself cry help- a ton.

There’s also the side of recovery which is just “giving it time.” Feeling it out. Going into darkness, so you can be reminded what light is.

One of the biggest mind-fucks of a break up is the contrast between the good and bad times.

If you focus on the good times, you idealize your past partner, ignoring that your boundaries were crossed and that you probably have some self-development work also.

If you focus on the bad times, as a method of telling yourself “this is why we need to move on,” then you just grow resentful and the pain stays all that much more longer.

One of those most important epiphanies I had when I first came to Thailand was that..

It’s Okay To Have Good Memories With Them.

And it’s okay to let those good memories sit there. Don’t indulge in them, but they don’t need to be destroyed or forgotten.

I think I was trying a bit too hard to forget everything. I couldn’t comprehend that her darkness existed next to her brightness.

Since that day I’ve felt a ton better. It’s like a wave of acceptance and peace washed over me.

Some days I still hurt and have a few tears to let loose, but I’m doing so much better. When a positive memory surfaces, I can just let it be there and then let it go back into the countless list of great memories I have.

I think I got this epiphany thinking of other girls I had a short thing with, or even girls that I had hung out with here.

There is one very attractive girl I hooked up with recently for example, and even though that was a one-night thing there’s no need to purge this memory all because it won’t continue forever into the future.

The memory can sit there, and I can just be grateful for the experience that I had.

While the dynamics in my past relationship weren’t perfect- we definitely bordered on co-dependence- there were some damn good memories and she was there and vice versa sometimes.

I found this brought about a new wave of gratitude for her, and peace. Not gratitude in a needy way desperately wishing to go back, but just gratitude that it happened.

We were meant to be in those moments of time. We weren’t mature enough or ready or perhaps even meant to be forever… and that’s okay.

Now when I feel the pain, I try to ask myself what other lesson I need to learn. Sometimes I learn about how I should’ve set better boundaries, or walked away sooner.

But there are also lessons of the mistakes that I made. The pain forces you to improve and grow. It is fuel for a better you.

The past is the past, and all because there is pain for a love that didn’t last forever doesn’t mean the good memories need to be purged too.

All because they weren’t there when you needed them in the end doesn’t mean that they weren’t there for you before- because they were. Just something changed, maybe your fault, maybe not, but it did, so change and improve with it.

With every experience in life we can “get better, or get bitter.” Change forces you to move up or down. Reflecting on my life there’s never been a moment that I haven’t been moving up or down.

So let the good memories rest where they may, and keep on moving up. Better awaits.

I’ll add too that this applies not just to past romantic partners but everyone- friends, family, everyone & everything.

As I “adult” I learn that not everyone is who I thought they were. The past begins to make more sense with certain people as I learn things that… shock me.

We all have a darkness inside of us, no point in denying that. That doesn’t mean the light needs to be purged because that too is the truth. There are two truths in everyone.

Let the good memories be, and let them go as you create new ones.

-Michael.

All In or All Out

When I took magic mushrooms for the first time over a year ago, I knew it would be deeply spiritual, but I never could’ve guessed just how important the messages would be to me.

I learned several key lessons in that first trip, which I wrote down, saved, and some of which I remind myself of to this today.

One of those lessons is this: all in, or all out.

All In or All Out

Life is full of decisions. You could eat at a million different restaurants, live in countless countries and countless cities, date countless people, and work too many jobs to fulfill a dozen lifetimes.

We each feel particularly called to something, which is our “heart” or “intuition.” It’s very important that we listen to it.

The whole Universe works to help you follow your own path, even if it doesn’t seem like it.

Events which we consider “bad luck” could actually be events which are designed to change our course and bring us unknowingly to riches we deserve.

How many stories are there of someone getting fired, then finding what they are truly passionate in? Suddenly they feel so grateful for getting fired, otherwise they may be dying slowly on the 9-5 grind they never really wanted.

Sometimes though you face a crossroad where there isn’t a clear path. The choice is up to you.

You should always consult your heart, and if your intuition doesn’t say “no” to any of them, then try listen closely to see what feels better. Sometimes it doesn’t matter- but you still have to make a choice.

You can’t live with regrets though. Sometimes you follow your heart and not everything goes to plan, or something unexpected which we call “bad” happens.

Should you have not followed your heart? No because in following your heart, you often learn to listen deeper, and your heart becomes wiser in its decisions.

Sometimes your heart knows that it must go through some pain and growth or loss in order to get something which it wants. The heart wants what it wants, but it also wants you to feel good, creating conflict.

This is where success barriers come in- we avoid doing what we know we really must do.

With anything, you need to be “all in” or “all out.” If you make a decision, go all in with it in that moment- if you can’t, then maybe you should be all in for the other decision.

The problem with many, including sometimes myself, is that they make a decision but think of the other, or hold regrets, or always wonder “what if…”

One great way to make decisions is ask whether you’d regret something because you know that if you would not be all in for the other decision and regret not taking the other path then it is a path you truly must take.

I’m speaking even of the small things here- if you can’t be all in for eating Mexican food tonight, then why should you go eat Mexican sitting there wondering what Italian food might taste like on your tongue?

Sometimes we make a decision and there’s no clear path. There is no good answer. In these cases it still makes the best sense to go all in for one decision.

If you make a decision but don’t take responsibility for it, then you can only be bitter at the world for that it didn’t work out exactly as you desired.

If you make an uncertain decision certain, then you can be “all in” and fully responsible for the outcomes, even if you can’t control it completely.

In this way you become the captain of your life, guiding yourself through life. You listen to your heart, and you follow it, knowing that things may not always go as planned but that it’s your true path.

There may be nothing worse on this Earth than not following your true path.

To fail in the face of authenticity is to have earned yourself a wonderful experience of following your heart, an experience which may just lead to your treasure.

To fail in the face of inauthenticity is to have cut yourself twice- once for denying your heart, and once for failing also.

The pain of not following your heart is greater than any pain you could experience by following your heart.

The nagging feeling of your heart whispering “I want to do this” is enough to drive man mad.

For long I’ve ignored the next big step in my path, and now that I’m taking it, it feels scary, but I know that I am living true and that whatever fault may come it is for better.

There is risk, of course. I don’t say anything of the future, either- I will not say where my path will go, just that I think I know where it goes, and I believe that I’ll arrive where I desire to arrive.

Of course, the path may change to get there, but I have faith as long as I follow my heart everything will turn out- it always does.

Try to follow your heart, be all in for it. We both know you can’t be “all out,” for that is to not be alive, and you are here now for a reason. You know it intuitively.

Promise your heart you will listen to it, that you will do what it asks of you.

And when you need to make any decision, be all in or all out. Not fully down for it? Don’t do it.

If you are uncertain, choose to be all in because there is no other choice. It is pointless to take one weak step in either direction, when you could choose to take a step with power, even if you don’t know what the right decision is.

Fortune favors the bold, which requires you to be all in.

All in, or all out. Choose. Now.

Done.

-Michael

Don’t Make Promises

Last night I did some late-night reflecting, and I realized that most promises aren’t worth making. You can’t actually guarantee any promise will be fulfilled. Here’s why.

The Unspoken Promise

In most commitments, there is an unspoken promise being made also. Let’s give an example of this.

“I will stay with you forever and ever,” a girl and a boy say madly in love with each other. That’s the explicit promise.

There’s also an unspoken promise, which goes “…if the circumstances of this promise remain the same.” In most promises I think this unspoken catch is there, whether or not you realize it (most people probably don’t, which leads to several problems, discussed in a moment).

If girl cheats on boy, then the boy will leave the girl. Is that not breaking the promise?

Well, it depends on how you look at the promise. Technically speaking he did break the promise because he left her! The unspoken promise (I won’t ever leave you… as long as you don’t cheat) may not have been made verbally explicit.

This is why business contracts are so long and complicated. Most would make the moral argument that it’s safe to leave her if she cheated, and that he’s not really breaking a promise, but technically speaking there was no “if you cheat on me” clause on the promise.

The Grey-Area of Promises

This murky grey-area is what leads to so much suffering, pain, and worst of all: guilt.

I know that for me stepping away from my ex was one of the hardest and most painful decisions I made in my life because I made the promise to “always figure things out.”

I like to stand by my word, so in a way I was breaking my word, and to someone whom (despite I was leaving) I cared so much about!

In my case there unspoken circumstances of the promise were violated- huge boundaries that involved life and death were crossed. Problems kept recurring in the relationship. Perhaps not everything can be “always figured out.”

Another unspoken promise of the “we’ll always figure things out” is that both parties work to keep the circumstances of the promise the same. What if one person doesn’t work to figure things out, but the other does, and then because the person not trying doesn’t try, the person who was trying leaves?

The person who left broke a promise, but again, the circumstances of the promise changed!

Promises & Time-Problems

Try making this promise: at 10AM next Saturday, you will go to the public mall closest to you.

Sounds easy to achieve, right? It probably is. You could make this promise with for the most part high confidence that it will be fulfilled.

Now make the promise for next month. Or 2 months from now. Or 6 months. Can you make the promise 1 year from now? What about 10 years?

It becomes clear that the more time you add onto a promise for it to be fulfilled, the more likely it is that the promise won’t be fulfilled! 5 years from now you might rather adventure through Europe, or perhaps you’ll be working long hours in your new job.

Imagine living on the other side of the world 10 years from now. Or what if you live in an area that gets severe flooding, and 5 years from now the mall is in a severe flood. Will you risk your life to fulfill such a promise?

The above example is obviously ridiculous (going to the mall), but think about how this applies to your unique life: how can you promise to be with someone 10 years from now?

Unfortunately, the more time between the length of time it takes to fulfill a promise and now, the more likely you are to have data-problems:

Promises & Data-Problems

By “data problems” I mean that circumstances change. Let’s say you make a promise to go out with your boyfriend on Sunday at 11AM. Then your car breaks down, so you can’t drive.

The promise was broken, technically speaking! Of course this is another “silly” example (and a forgive-able problem), but really consider the implications of such things which I’m describing here.

When you make a promise, it means you guarantee a certain thing will be fulfilled, typically no matter the circumstances. Are all of the circumstances under control? No.

And as discussed above, the more time it takes to fulfill a promise, the more likely you are to encounter uncertain events that nullifies the promise, technically speaking.

Remember, almost everyone would agree that there are “unspoken exceptions” such as a disaster preventing you from having to show up to your work commitments. Still, at a very technical level, your promise has been broken unless the exceptions were explicitly agreed upon.

Dangers of Promises

You might be reading this and going, “okay, this is a bit ridiculous… everyone would agree that in the face of disaster it’s okay to nullify a promise!”

That’s where we have to take things back to the grey-zone. Some situations have circumstances which changed slightly, but not a ton (like a severe disaster), where some people would agree that the promise is nullified but others wouldn’t. That is the danger of promises.

You ever read one of those intense moral problems in school, with no right answer? Often the classroom will be split roughly 50/50 on who’s right and who’s wrong. The fact is that while extreme scenarios described above everyone can agree nullify the promises, there are situations that not everyone agree upon.

And if you’re one of the group of thinks that the promise is nullified, but the person you made to doesn’t believe that, you’re in for a lot of trouble…

This is why relationships, friendships, and family can be so complicated. Grey-zone issues arise that places a little fault on everyone, and black/white blame can’t be assigned to anyone. To some perspectives some are bad, and some are good.

If you make promises that end up in the grey zone, you’re sure to enjoy a lot of drama in your life.

Really think about this here: odds are you’ve made a promise that hit the grey-zone that caused a bit of strife. You might not think you did any wrong, but REMEMBER: that is your perspective and in many cases the other perspective is also valid.

This is why I say “don’t make promises.” Of course you will still make some, but you should be extremely careful with promises that you make, and make damn-well sure the unstated exceptions become known so that there is no grey-zone. More on this below.

One final huge danger of promises is when you make one to a narcissist or energy vampire, or anyone else who would exploit you for backing out of a promise. If you’re like me, you would prefer to keep every promise, so you sometimes feel a bit guilty when backing out of a promise.

If you made a promise to someone who will exploit those feelings of guilt, you’re in for a world of trouble.

In short, promises that hit the grey-zone where one party thinks the promise should be nullified and the other shouldn’t is where promises become dangerous. The more time it takes to fulfill a promise, the more likely circumstances (data) will change.

The circumstances are key to any promise. We humans often mean a promise 110% when we say it because the circumstances as are they are. Will you withhold the promise even if circumstances change? What if the other person thinks that the circumstances didn’t change enough to nullify the promise, but you do?

A Rough Personal Example

Let me try give a good rough personal example. This promise I made hasn’t hit the grey-zone yet as no conflict as arose, and I think the other person will be okay with me backing out of the promise. However, it’s possible they couldn’t be… Let’s see what you think.

Right before I left to Bali in Mid-April, I made a promise to a girl I just connected deeply with. We had a “thing” but nothing was happening (I am still not over my ex), but on our last day together we started kissing.. Alas, the “thing” became real!

I made a promise to her that I’d meet her in Bangkok in late May / early June and we’d travel Southeast Asia together for 2-3 months. This seemed to be perfect timing for us: she wanted to travel, we connected, I still needed a month or so to get over my ex, so I’d be able to travel alone for a couple months to get over my ex finally then she’d come and we’d travel and enjoy a little romance.

After the little romance she’d return to America (most likely, I suspect she’ll find a way to make money online) and I’d go back to Bulgaria for 3 months. The timing was perfect and I felt certain of the plan.

Suddenly she texted me: she had made a promise to a friend and her friend was expecting her to keep it. She wouldn’t be able to come to Asia until Mid July at the earliest!

This messed with my plans greatly. If I were to wait in Asia for her, then travel Asia with her, I would not be able to return to Bulgaria until much later than I’d like- probably December at the earliest.

I would not want this for it would be winter, and more importantly I miss my friends there so much that I refuse to let myself wait so long to see them! I must go, and soon.

This created another option: I could then leave in mid-May (around now) after a month in Bali to Bulgaria, spend a couple months, or spend another month in Asia then enjoy a month or so in Bulgaria before meeting her to travel in Western Europe or Asia.

This is also far from desirable. I do not want to leave Asia so soon on a long flight, especially to stay in Bulgaria for such a short time- if I’m going, I’m staying minimum 2 months probably 3. I am also not currently interested in visiting Western Europe or any expensive countries as my finances are a priority.

It should be noted that she doesn’t wish to travel to Bulgaria, which is why this complicates the matter.

This situation created a conundrum for a day for me, but then it hit me: why don’t I just do what I want to do regardless of her, and then she can join or not?

I haven’t told her yet, but what I’m personally leaning on doing is traveling in Southeast Asia for another month (so about 2 months total, maybe 3 if I’m loving the next destination) then I’ll go to Bulgaria for minimum 2 months maybe 3.

She will either have to wait, visit me in Bulgaria, or cancel traveling with me at all.

Already now we can see how this situation enters the “grey zone” of promises. Does her slight adjustment allow me to make an even bigger adjustment? Is it right to her to just do my own thing and tell her to come or not?

This depends on many factors, for example she is not my girlfriend so there is no consistent promise to her (and it’s not like we’re regularly calling or anything, too- we’re just friends with a thing between us). If you were certain you wanted this girl, you might make the necessary compromises in your life to allow this girl in.

I promised this girl that I would be there in Bangkok when she flew in and that we would travel together. She made a slight adjustment, which through my plans a bit out of whack.

Whether it’s right or not to decide to not consider her completely and do my own thing is up for debate. Of course, it also depends on your level of commitment (if she’s your wife of 10 years, this is a whole different equation than a girl you had a thing with and connected closely with in the last month of Phoenix).

Back to the whole guilt thing too: this girl is unlikely to make me feel bad when I do tell her how I changed my plans, but where this gets risky is if I get a guilt complex and she exploits that.

I feel that the level of guilt in me is going quite away as I self-improve, but some people could easily be manipulated into compromising themselves for another person.

What do you think of my situation? I’m happy with my decision, and everyone will have their own unique perspective which reflects their own values.

My personal lesson is to make less promises because of changes in circumstances. I believe that this promise was completely nullified by the fact that the circumstances changed when she changed her travel dates, but another person might have a different perspective. I also do not want to put myself at risk for a guilt-tripping vampire, in the event that when I update her with my plans she attempts that (again unlikely, and I’d block her if she did, but this stuff does happen).

Some Compromises are Necessary

Now some yin for the yang. Some compromises are necessary. You can’t have a happy, healthy relationship without some compromise. Never heard of such a thing.

Those are called one-sided relationships, and people that think they must be on their path 1,628.83% of the time regardless of anyone else usually end up alone and unhappy (or they end up with a pushover who molds themselves to fit their partner).

Promises are also necessary in life sometime, but the point of this piece is to make you reconsider when you’re giving promises and what the possible variables are that could affect the promise.

For example, you need to speak with the recipient of the promise the possible variables that could affect whether a promise gets fulfilled or not. You two need to agree on what happens when circumstances change because the longer it takes until the promise can be fulfilled, the higher the chances circumstances will change.

Right now my priorities are self-centered and YOLO-style. I will not promise anyone my time or commitment far in advance. Promising this girl I’d meet her was a mistake, in a way. Again, I think it was nullified based on the fact travel dates changed, but that wasn’t explicitly stated.

Note: I know it sounds silly writing this, but seriously guilt-vampires will destroy the hell out of you for backing out of a “promise” despite circumstances changing. It’s happened to me and also why I’m in this YOLO anti-promise stage.

Actually, now that I write this, it wasn’t a mistake to promise this girl to meet her- sometimes you also just need to stand by your own values & truth! Remember that at the end of the day it’s your life and sometimes you need to be a bit dis-agreeable.

The circumstances changed by her, so now the promise is nullified. Just think though of other promises in your life, that are perhaps a bit more serious (business, marriage, children, etc.) and how they could end up in the grey-zone… prepare for contingency and variable circumstance.

But all this being said, some compromises are necessary. This girl isn’t currently important enough to justify changing my plans for. A 5-year wife would be a 100% different scenario (but in that case I’d also likely feel satisfied adjusting plans to accommodate her).

Done.

What did you think?

-Michael

Go Through The Pain of Moving On!

Sometimes in life, there are only 2 options: little pain now, big pain long-term, or big pain now but heal long-term.

Going through the very painful short-term period can really suck. “Short-term” can also mean months or years, and long-term meaning years or decades!

Because me and so many friends are going through break ups now this post will mainly be focused around that, but you could also apply it to something like getting good business skills.

Break Ups & Pain

Sometimes someone close to us (a lover, family member, or close friend) may cross a boundary or do something to hurt us so bad, or it may not simply be meant to be.

Human emotions get tricky at this point: we really want to stick around because we care for that person, but we also know that for ourselves we need to move on.

The problem comes with moving on- it’s also painful! Even in the most physically abusive relationships, the victim often struggles with moving on because of those nagging feelings of caring for the bad guy or girl.

What’s really hard too is when the pain is so long that you can’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel.

If you had a quick 2 month relationship, it won’t be so hard to get over as a 1 year relationship that also had a rocky break up with intermittent contact following.

Getting over the break up in that case could almost take a whole year! Even if the biggest of boundaries were crossed, that literally involved life or death, it’s only human to still care and want the best for that person (and not want to go).

Well I’m here to say to keep going and push through those break up feelings. Cry, release, then do something awesome or commit to a new skill or goal. Work out and upgrade your body.

Whether you broke up or were broken up with, or it was mutual, or something complicated and in between you need to move on because the past is in the past!

You are not the person you were in the relationship. You are changing and so are they. You can be better than you were before, and find something better…

Of course it doesn’t feel that way. It sucks. When you’ve been sad for so long, you don’t really remember what “normal” feels like.

Those happy times fade into blissful memories. It feels as if the world is ending, and you’ll never have anything like that again.

Then one day, you’ll have a quick moment of clarity… the pain will subside. Will you be finally over them?

Moments after the feelings of pain and suffering will resurface. It was just a trick of the mind, perhaps.

Then one day it’ll occur again, this time for a few seconds longer. Maybe you’ll start to get this every single day.

You’ll still cry, you’ll still hurt, and only God knows why this is all happening as it is…

You’ll still never understand it… but that’ll be okay. Some things in life are a mystery. Some things can’t really be explained or understood.

Why must we experience break ups? Why did they cross that boundary? Why didn’t it work out?

Maybe if you did this, or they just didn’t do that, or the Universe would’ve given you two a BIT better luck…

This is the hardest part to go through. I’ve tried so hard to understand my own break up. I’ve self-attacked so much, and combed through my every mistake and personality flaw.

I’ve tried to focus on every one of her flaws, and the boundaries crossed. I’ve made myself angry and bitter.

I’ve focused on the bad luck, the bad timing, how the Universe which seemed to put us together so perfectly tore us apart with such ferocity. I felt like a leaf in the wind, as if this was all some cosmic joke.

The truth is we’ll never understand why these horrible, painful, and devastating things happen.

The best we can do is pick up the pieces and go search for something new- a new memory, a new place, a new person, a new you.

It really sucks, and even as you move on you won’t really understand it. I know I don’t.

Even though I have those moments of feeling normal and good, I still often feel that pain in my stomach, the tears in my eyes, and the confusion of… why?

As I write this now it all comes up, this endless pit of pain… Yet at the same time, I’m somehow healing. I don’t really understand it.

What was so perfect, what felt meant to be, is now gone. Those happy memories will always have a space in my mind. I felt so young and fresh, and even though it’s been just a year, I feel so much more mature and rough around the edges.

I’m trying to retain the joy, the free spirit, and determination and all other good things… but let’s be real, sometimes you just need to cry on your bed while listening to sad music all curled up.

It happened as it did, as fucked up as it is. Sometimes shit just happens. It’s all too easy to keep your mind in the past, as if reliving the memories and re-thinking it over and over will change how it is now.

In the end, you will move on. I’m moving on. It feels good. Then the pain will come back.

Recovery is not linear. It’s not easy. It’s not fun. Somehow, for some reason we may only know in death, this pain has to be walked through.

Keep walking. Keep crying. Stay true. Upgrade yourself. Live an awesome life.

Just keep walking through it, as hard as it is. One day I promise it’ll all be better.

-Michael

Break Ups IV – Final

This is the fourth (and likely final) series of “break ups” related posts. Writing about all of this has strangely helped my thoughts a lot, and also visiting Montreal has helped a ton too.

To view the whole series, click HERE. As I’m feeling a lot better, this fourth post in the Break Ups series will much more positive.

Embracing The Pain Through Exercise

One thing which really helps a break up is HARD exercise. Since my tough break up I’ve ran more laps around the neighborhood than ever before, and also have taken up rigorous yoga training.

I can now “invert” for at least 15 seconds. Inversion is when you hold your whole body up with just your hands!

This makes me extremely happy because I wanted to achieve this goal in 6 months, but instead I achieved it in 1-2 months! Once I got over the mental hurdle and believed in my arms a bit more, it became extremely easy.

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