Thought Catalog


20 Signs Your Partner Isn’t As Serious About Your Relationship As You Are

Posted: 10 Jan 2016 07:03 PM PST

Twenty20 / saritawalsh
Twenty20 / saritawalsh

You want it to work, you really do. You swear things between you two would be amazing if only he would stop doing this and start doing that instead. You two look so good together. He’s perfect on paper. The sex is hot. You’re so tired of the dating scene. Blah, blah, blah.

Stop it! You know what you’re doing and you know you can do better. Here are 20 very clear signs this is a situation and not a relationship, and it’s going absolutely nowhere.

1. They’re “too busy” to text you. There are 24 hours in a day and each of those hours holds 60 minutes. Every single one of those minutes has 60 full seconds in them. Now, write a text. How long did it take? #PointProven

2. They play the cat and mouse game. One night, they’re into the relationship and the next you’re reenacting Adele’s “Hello.” Just as you’re giving up, they call to say they’ve thought about things. They were a fool. Please take them back. Once you do, they’re gone again. Show them you stopped playing “girl chase boy” in grade school and run the other way.

3. They make everything all about them. You make sure their needs, wants and desires are met, which leaves literally zero room for you in their me, me, me world.

4. They use gaslighting techniques as a way to keep you in check. Gaslighting is a phrase assigned to an emotional abuse technique that has one partner convincing the other that reality is an illusion. If your partner is denying they said and did things or blaming you for saying and doing things you didn’t, it’s abusive.

5. Your partner is a dick. Healthy, normal adults know how to speak to and treat others like human beings. There’s no power or charm in being an assh*le.

6. They disrespect things that are important to you. Whether it’s a religious belief they don’t share or a hobby they aren’t interested in, you don’t need to be with someone who can’t treat the things you value with respect.

7. They don’t support you. Support is a lot more than just not saying they don’t support the things you’re doing. Do they show up when you need someone there? Do they stay up and help you practice your presentation, and show an active interest in how things are progressing? When you fall, are they there to catch you and offer you a hand back up? What’s the good of being with someone who doesn’t have your back?

8. They don’t introduce you to people in their lives. Yes, it takes time to be invited home to meet the parents, but if you’re five months in and no one knows you beyond your name, he’s not serious about you.

9. They make you feel like you can’t say anything right. Is your guy constantly picking fights with you and misinterpreting everything you say? Do you feel like you’re running around in circles and defending yourself even when you’re being nice? Unless you’re speaking in code, there’s a bigger problem and it has nothing to do with you.

10. They constantly say “sorry” for the same thing. Sorry is just a word unless there’s a real effort made to not make the same mistake again.

11. They don’t make you feel like yourself. You’ve twisted yourself in so many directions and walked on so many eggshells that you’re exhausted.

12. It’s all about sex. Yes, you can still have dates and cuddle, but when the only compliments are about your body and all of your time together feels like a means to an end, it’s not love, but lust.

13. They never invite you out on prime real estate nights. It’s fun to grab a drink on a Tuesday night, but if you’re never having dinner on a Saturday or laughing over brunch on a Sunday (without having slept over the night before), you might be questioning who is.

14. They’re on Tinder but claim they aren’t seeing anyone else. This is just an insult to your intelligence.

15. Your friends can’t figure out why you keep trying. Sure, no one knows what really happens in a relationship, but your friends can definitely tell you when you’re not in one and not going to be.

16. They remember nothing about you. You have full conversations that he cannot recollect. He’s heard you mention your April birthday five times but still swears you were born in June. If the only thing he remembers is your address and his favorite bra-and-panty set, there’s a problem.

17. They close down when you try to get close. He will share photos of his penis, but try to touch his heart and he freaks out.

18. They make you cry several times a month. Tears are expensive. Is he worth it?

19. They aren’t your special someone. We all know the couple who stayed together because they were too afraid (or lazy) to get back out there and meet the right person for them. While it may be tempting initially to give into the “bird in the hand” mentality, don’t kid yourself. You’ll meet someone else and they will make you feel more than just safe — they’ll make you feel safe and butterflies.

20. Deep down, you just know you need to end it. TC mark

This post originally appeared at YourTango.

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What If People (And Not ‘Things’) Are Actually Your Silver Lining?

Posted: 10 Jan 2016 06:45 PM PST

beatriceong
beatriceong

Somali-British poet, Warsan Shire, who is one of my favorite contemporary writers, has a poem titled, “For Women Who Are Difficult To Love.” In it, she has some of the most earnest perspectives on what it’s like to be that kind of woman. My favorite line is the ending which I keep as a screensaver on my phone: You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, something not everyone knows how to love.”

Sometimes people notice my phone screensaver, and ask to read it. Whenever I hand it over, I wonder if it comes across like I’m advertising that I am all of those things –terrifying, strange, and beautiful. And then I wonder if this is true, does it give the impression that I’m some sort of masochist? Whenever I get follow-up questions about these words, oftentimes, asking whether they describe me, I respond with, “I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like they do.” That’s good enough for some people. But for people who want more, I go on to say, “Mostly, it’s a reminder to love terrifying and strange and beautiful people too.” At this point, if someone had misjudged me as a masochist, they might either find it profound or pretentious. In these times (perhaps, in all times) of seemingly greater connection and yet less sincerity, isn’t there a fine line between pretentiousness and profoundness anyway? Nevertheless, I digress.

In Shire’s poem, she also has a line that states, “You can’t make homes out of human beings…” The first time I read these words, I felt like someone had slapped me in the face. Not a harsh slap, but the kind of slap that wakes you up from a certain kind of slumber, and the world now seems to make more sense than it did before you fell asleep. I think about these words often, especially in the context of my personal view that one should love things, places, and people, without becoming attached to them. In fact, I would argue that attachment to things, places, and people, does not only come with a certain kind of immorality, it does not give you the space and the presence of mind to love and accept them for what they are. Mostly because you can’t see anything clearly when you’re attached to it.

But I fell in love with a song recently that has made me do some thinking or rethinking of these ideas. It’s by Jacob Banks, 24, who is a British singer-songwriter. The song is called, “Silver Lining” and do give it a listen. Because I have such a hard time picking my favorite lines from the songs, however, the following are the first and second verse, followed by the chorus:

[Verse 1]
I’m a wrecking ball at best
A big house with empty photographs
You are my only souvenir
You are my silver lining

[Verse 2]
 I’m that song that no one ever knows
A big load to deliver, no one’s home
You’re the reason I am never letting go
You are my silver lining
You are my silver lining

[Chorus]
I’m a train about to crash
But you take me as I am
Through it all, I know the sun will rise again
You are my silver lining

Much like Shire, Banks gives us this idea that he experiences an awareness of being a difficult person – to be exact, “a wrecking ball at best.” And indeed they both give this perspective that one has to accept what they see and who they are; one has to be honest about it. Unlike Shire however, who doesn’t want to find a home in people, Banks is singing of a person who is his relief in the world – his silver lining.

Now I do not think that Banks and Shire are arguing about the same precise idea, so perhaps it is unfair to parallel their words against each other. But I do think that in comparing Shire’s words against Banks’ words, one can reconcile the feeling of being seemingly alone in the world, of feeling sometimes too demanding of the world, and of one’s self; feeling lonely, and sometimes entirely misunderstood – with the feeling that there are still people we can turn to who see us, and love us.

It’s part of our social conditioning to think of homes as places, but it’s also part of our romanticization of love, any kind of love, to think of homes as people too. Like Shire, I find myself weary of this notion. But like Banks, I think it is a beautiful perspective to think of our silver linings not as things that may come and go, and that are dependent on circumstance. And not as places that we may come and go from. But people – good, wonderful people; our people.

What does it mean when your silver lining is a person? It means, I think, that the love you share, whatever kind of love it is, is first of all, honest. Honest in the sense that who you are fundamentally, is not only accepted but cherished. It means that when you feel the world is cruel and unfair, you find solace in the knowledge that there is someone who will always meet you with compassion. It means that whether you feel lonely or lost or afraid or anxious, you know that you always have a shoulder to cry on, or simply a shoulder to rest your weary body. It means that even in those times or maybe especially in those times you feel like a difficult person in the world, which might be all the time, you know that you’re still loved; loved of course, by your silver lining(s). TC mark

12 Constant Struggles Of The Perpetually Clumsy Girl

Posted: 10 Jan 2016 06:41 PM PST

phiasinclair
phiasinclair

1. Having no idea how you got those random bruises.

Taking a shower is just as much about marveling at newfound mystery spots as it is actually cleaning yourself. Each day is a mini-surprise. “Ohhhh, look! Got a big boy right on my thigh. Ahhh, an especially purple one on my arm!” Where did they come from? When did they get here? Some things you’ll never truly know.

2. Stairs are your arch nemesis.

Yes, you will be clutching the side railing for dear life because you know what happens when you don’t. You somehow even manage to trip walking UP the stairs. Truly gifted.

3. You weren’t the most athletic kid growing up.

Sports weren’t your forte. Or really anything that required basic hand-eye coordination.

*Typical conversation with your P.E. teacher*

“You mean, you expect me to actually CATCH that flying object hurtling towards me????”

AWW HELL NAW NO KANYE WEST
AWW HELL NAW NO KANYE WEST

4. Dreading your period.

Okay, so very few of us really celebrate when we get our periods (Unless you’re freaked you might be pregnant. In that case, BRING ON AUNT FLO!). But in addition to the usual annoyance of cramping and generally feeling terrible, you become even MORE clumsy. Hey, nothing says a good time quite like blood and losing your balance!

5. Being afraid to hold someone’s baby.

Because you can’t just offer to replace that shit if you drop it.

6. Uneven pavement ruins your day.

OK, WHAT KIND OF HELL IS THIS? THE GODDAMN GROUND ISN’T EVEN FLAT??? IS SOMEONE TRYING TO KILL YOU?

7. High heels, lol. No.

There are some women who glide along, graceful and effortlessly chic in a gorgeous pair of stilettos. You will never be one of them. But it’s okay. You rock those flats, baby girl.

8. You can’t really wear white.

Because if there is possibly a way you could spill something on your pristine outfit, trust, YOU WILL. You’ve decided it’s not even your fault. Gravity is just out to get you.

9. You fall on literally nothing.

Honestly, kudos. How do you even do this? You trip when there isn’t anything to trip on. This kind of takes skill. Good for you.

10. Head-butting your date when you’re trying to be sexy.

Your attempts at seduction are always blocked by your natural clumsiness. You should come equipped with a warning label. CAUTION: Hooking up with this person means they will accidentally hurt you at some point.

11. You couldn’t ever master cutting things in a straight line.

In fact, you sort of sucked at all crafts that included using your hands. (Read: all crafts)

12. Sometimes, you fantasize about becoming a ballerina/professional dancer.

…And then run into a door. So, you have to let that dream go. TC mark

16 Ways Women Who Aren’t Quick To Trust Love Differently

Posted: 10 Jan 2016 06:10 PM PST

jachcole
jachcole

1. She shows you how she feels with her actions, instead of with her words. When a woman has difficulty trusting, but still cares for you, she isn't able to say it in the straightforward way you expect. But that doesn't mean she isn't able to feel it and express her emotions in other ways.

2. She will throw herself into learning about you because she is scared of fully exposing herself. When she opens up parts of her life to you: her friends, her family, how she likes to fill her time when she's alone, it's a sign that she is genuinely trying to let you become part of her life.

3. She wants to believe in love more than you think. She is not the outward cynic, she's just scared to reveal the parts of herself that have believe love can end in happiness instead of in ruins.

4. Her insecurities will show at the smallest times, instead of in the big moments. She knows how to handle herself in the big moments. She always, always knows how to keep her shit together, or how to come prepared. It's in the tinier moments when she's caught off guard that you'll catch small glimpses of her insecurities.

5. She will be more defensive than she needs to be. It isn't your fault. She starts relationships worried that she will have to defend herself, so it is her default setting. The more she trusts you, the less defensive she'll be.

6. She will have high expectations, but she will never let them scare you. She will never let her expectations make you feel inferior. Instead, she'll help you rise to meet them.

7. She will be hesitant about the love she accepts. It's not because she's trying to make you work harder. It's not because she wants you to see her as "coy" and wants you to keep vying for her affection. It's because she wants to make sure you're not going to take advantage of her. She wants to know that you're not going to be in love one day and leaving her behind the next.

8. She won't forgive easily because she has experience dating people who only showed her tough love. However, she will still be open to giving you a second chance because she knows what it feels like to be denied that privilege.

9. She'll tease you, call you out on your bullshit, and gently make fun of you. These are all good things.

10. And yet she will take your side when you least expect it. She make might fun of you, but she'll be fierce with anyone else who does. When you're a woman who knows what it's like to be in a relationship where the other person never sticks up for you, you know better than to let someone else feel that way.

11. She will appreciate every single time that you are patient with her when she doesn't feel like can move as quickly as you might want to. She won't let you guilt her into commitment, but she will love you for moving at her pace and not rushing her into a serious commitment.

12. If she really cares for you, she won't be overly annoyed by your small, minorly-frustrating habits. She knows that the way you treat her is what matters, not whether you're clumsy, or whether you always have the right comeback or wear the right shoes.

13. She won't cling because she has been the one who held onto a relationship that was already gone, and she knows how badly it hurts. She never wants to be the one holding on too hard. She wants to be on even footing with you.

14. She'll put in as much effort as she receives because she isn't trying to play games. She isn't going to do all the work in the relationship because she doesn't find "the chase" alluring, she finds it exhausting and won't waste her time with it.

15. She loves you for giving her space without asking too many questions about why she needs space. Sometimes she wants to recharge while spending time with you, but other times she just needs to hang out with herself.

16. She will want to know everything that hurt you. She understands that these things shape how people love. TC mark

41 People Share The Funny And Deep Lessons They Learned From Their First Awkward Sexual Experiences

Posted: 10 Jan 2016 04:59 PM PST

via twenty20/masharotari
via twenty20/masharotari

1.

You can ejaculate without anything touching your penis. Michelle, if you’re out there, I’m still sorry.

2.

I don’t know, I’m too old.

But I’ll tell you the last lesson I ever needed to learn about sex: sex is communication. Pure communication.

Once you learn that, you get to see what real sex is like.

3.

There’s another person to consider. Watching porn and jacking it is all about your own fulfillment. The moment there is another person there who has their own likes and dislikes it’s a whole different scenario.

4.

It’s a lot lower (the vagina) than you think it will be.

5.

Hand jobs from someone else can really suck.

6.

Queefing during sex is just a vagina’s way of saying thank you.

7.

Some girls just lay there and let you do all all the work and it really fucking sucks. It’s boring.

I’ve not had sex with any guys but I bet some of them just lay there and fart during it all.

8.

Shower sex is harder than it looks.

9.

When she farts and laughs, you better laugh as well.

10.

Condoms kill all sensations and instead of being the fumbling virgin who gets off after a stroke & a half, it’s entirely possible to not get off at all.
Source: me.

11.

There’s smells. There’s mess. It’s not all waxed vagina s and bleached arseholes.

12.

An orgasm from sex is much better than an orgasm from masturbating.

13.

Porn is all lies. LIES.

14.

That male sexuality isn’t simple, but women believe it is.

15.

Don’t be a prude and have fun for goodness sake, it’s not a damn test. If you’re not enjoying it your guest probably isn’t either.

16.

There might be several first times. Took the second time to get it going. First time I made him stop because it hurt too much.

17.

That I’m better at getting myself off than anyone else.

18.

You need to use your arm for the motion because your wrist gets sore really fast.

19.

Yep, I’m gay.

20.

Well my first lesson was, maybe it doesn’t feel as good as people have told me, but that lesson got out to shame when I started dating my SO.

21.

If you finish her off before you’re even inside her, it doesn’t matter how long you last.

22.

That your (female) partner can be too wet. When I lost my virginity, I could barely feel as she was too wet. I find it a huge turn on though and pleased her to the best of my abilities, which sometimes feels even better than pleasing yourself.

23.

Sex in water sucks.

24.

The very first lesson? If you play with it too much it goes off on you…

25.

I couldn’t focus on baseball as well as I thought so it was over too quick.

26.

An uncomfortable position can kill the boner!

27.

Sex for me never truly clicked until I figured out how to go at it with less of a plan and more let instinct take over. That was the first real lesson I learned. The moments when sex has been the best in my life is when my partner and I communicate physically in a way that feels almost spiritual. To do that you must throw away any concepts you learned from unreliable sources and focus more on the partnership between you and your lover. If you’re doing it right the first time together should not be the best time together.

28.

I learned that my penis got longer and thicker when i pulled out of the vagina then before i put it in, telling me that the erection i was giving myself wasn’t full even though it felt full and can’t compare to the real thing when it comes to quality of erection.

29.

That I was one of many women in the world that won’t have an orgasm just with penetration.

30.

I can’t speak for women, but: the first time isn’t that fucking special. It’s awkward. I can understand it being made special in one’s head because it’s supposed to be, but the actual thing just isn’t. It’s clumsy, and I thought it would ruin my relationship.

31.

Gay male here. It hurts if it gets jammed in. After years of watching gay porn I thought that the top was supposed to ram it in. Nope. Lube is quite necessary.

32.

Don’t rush into it (if you’re nervous) or your jimmy wont work.

33.

Trying to get on condom on as fast as possible will result in frustration and eventually disappointment.

34.

That you need to be hard first.

35.

Rubbing your dick between a pair of breasts that are not lubed up doesn’t feel that good for either party.

36.

Unless you’re born gifted, you don’t have the gag reflex mastery you think you do…you will choke.

37.

Don’t let your first time be on the ground in an area of trees and bushes, next to a circus tent. Worst part? She fucking suggested it herself. Which brings me to my second lesson learned, women are just as horny if not more than men.

38.

If you’re not clear about what you want, then you’ll get whatever you’re given.

39.

It won’t make him love you.

40.

A little tongue goes a long way…and most people want freaky, they are just scared to admit and initialize it.

41.

The reason it won’t go in is not because she’s tight, it’s because I sucked at foreplay. TC mark

12 Ways Athletes Love Differently

Posted: 10 Jan 2016 04:37 PM PST

dj.akisanya
dj.akisanya

1. We won't tolerate your extreme laziness.

Sure, we'll bum it out with you on our off days, but if your daily plan is to sleep until three and eat leftovers, we're not into it. Get up or get out.

2. We are passionate as hell.

The game has taught us this. From hours of practice to day after day in the gym, we've learned that when you love something (or someone), you give 110%.

3. We're used to tough love.

We're used to coaches and parents ripping us new ones. And we're our own worst critics. Tough love has helped us get our sh*t together and made us successful. But it can sometimes hinder our relationships.

4. We will push you to be the best version of yourself.

For years we've set goals and worked our a$$es off to reach them. We've had hard days, sore days, sad days, and almost-give-up days, but we've pushed through. And we love you, so we'll push you, too.

5. We take responsibility for our shortcomings.

We know when we f*ck up on the field. And we'll be the first to apologize to our teammates. When you're a part of a team, you carry the team on your back. And the same goes for our relationships.

6. We won't quit.

On you, on the relationship, or in an argument.

7. We are emotional.

Contrary to the belief that athletes are these emotionless, 'jock' or 'butch' types, athletes are probably the most sensitive people you'll meet. Just see us after a conference title or a big loss. We invest our talent and heart into our sports (and our love lives).

8. We're in our own heads a lot.

Keyword: over-thinkers. We spend a lot of time contemplating how we could have passed better, made that goal, caught that ball…and this obsessive thinking translates to our relationships, which can be both good and bad.

9. We're not good at admitting our fears or insecurities.

We've lived behind our game faces. Game face = don't let anyone see your weaknesses, so we have a hard time admitting the things we aren't good at, or what we're afraid of, especially when it comes to someone we love.

10. We are driven and need a relationship with energy.

Practices, games, gym-time, homework, family, work, school, friends—we have been busy our whole lives. We like to do things. And we crave and need to be with someone who is just like us, or understands that this craziness is just how we're wired.

11. We will expect you to do your part.

Playing a sport is a team effort. And to us, so is a relationship. So we won't deal with half-a$$ attempts to be in our lives. A relationship is between two people for a reason.

12. We are strong (in more ways than one).

We are physically strong, so don't mess with us. But we also are strong-minded. We're determined, headstrong, and stubborn as hell. We're going to think we're right (even when we're not) and we're going to fight with you. But don't ever doubt how much we care. TC mark

This Is REALLY Who You Should Be With, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Posted: 10 Jan 2016 04:00 PM PST

lizzieallenphoto
lizzieallenphoto

Everyone has an ideal partner. We can’t help it — we’re just drawn to certain personalities, characteristics, and gestures. So when someone has these qualities or does these gestures, we can’t help but feel attraction. That’s the fun thing about dating: we can seek someone we feel a deep connection with, no matter if we’re independent or dependent.

That’s why our zodiac signs give a peek into our dominant personalities. And these dominant personalities allow us to scope out potential partners. Astrology Answers tells us exactly who we seek in our relationships and why we’re attracted to them.

Aries (March 21 – April 19): Aries value confidence and independence. They seek equality in a relationship, so they want an equally independent and confident partner who can take care of themselves if the Aries is unable to.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20): Taurus like to be wooed, so your seductive nature and efforts to make them feel special stands out to them. It takes time and effort to gain a Taurus’ trust, but when you do, your patience and effort will pay off because they’re some of the most loyal of lovers.

Gemini (May 21 – June 20): Geminis are free, independent spirits who love to talk. They’re drawn to romantic and adventurous gestures, as well as the ability to listen, and match their energy and enthusiasm in a conversation.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22): Cancers are loyal and dependable. It also takes them some time to fully trust another person. When they do, that person has their full loyalty and devotion. Their ideal partner is someone who can offer them that same loyalty, and someone they can depend on.

Leo (July 23 – August 22): The most confident yet egotistical of the signs, Leos bask in the attention and admiration given to them. They’re attracted to one who gives them that attention and admiration that they crave, and likewise, they will give that person the same treatment.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22): The most intelligent and analytical of the signs, Virgos seek a partner who can match their intelligence and logic. So if you can maintain a stimulating and intellectual conversation with a Virgo, you allow them to slowly come out of their shell.

Libra (September 23 – October 22): Libras are the epitome of grace and hospitality; they love people but can also be superficial. So they look for someone who treats them with the same grace and class they show to others, maybe even a little bit more.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21): When it comes to love and attraction, Scorpios don’t play games. They passionately love and get extremely jealous. All they seek is a genuine person they can trust who’s also passionate about them.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21): Although Sagittarius are extremely independent, when they decide to do something they stick to it. They rarely ever commit to a person, so when they do they seek the same exact commitment from the other person, and a little adventurous streak is a bonus.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19): Capricorns are independent and ambitious. They seek a partner who’s equally passionate and ambitious because they’re drawn to the idea of a success. This allows the Capricorn to bask in the achievements of their partners, and vice versa.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18): Aquarius are free spirits, probably even more so than Geminis. They love adventure and spontaneity, so they seek a partner who can take them on these spontaneous adventures.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20): The most idealistic of the signs, Pisces are the hopeless romantics, the ones who fantasize about an ideal love story. Anyone who can fulfill these fantasies can capture their heart. TC mark

This post originally appeared at YourTango.

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This Is Why You Need To Let Go

Posted: 10 Jan 2016 03:34 PM PST

Tom
Tom

Everyone has things they can't seem to let go of. It may be a grudge of someone who wronged you in the past, a relationship that you no longer have, or even a version of ourselves we aren't ready to part ways with yet. Things that are so deeply embedded into us, we have trouble finding ways to release them when they are no longer serving us.

I have never been good at letting go.

When someone hurts me, I never forget. When someone breaks my trust, I have trouble trusting them again. When I make up my mind about things, I stand by them. I know that this is a terrible way to look at things. I know it is an indicator of how stubborn I can be. But this is also a side of myself I ironically want to let go of.

In the last few months I have realized that there have been things in my life that are no longer serving me. Things that have been a part of my identity, part of my heart, part of my day to day life. And then one day, they aren't anymore. The problem is that with everything changing, I am not sure who am I without them.

The fear of letting go, to find out who I am without these things, that have been so prevalent in my life, is keeping me from finding this new version of myself.

A version of myself I am both excited and scared to meet.

It's heavy, these things that we can't get out of our heads. It weighs on us. We are weirdly dependent on them, but they are also dependent on us. They thrive off our fear, they know we need them. They know we are struggling to let go. But what they don't know is that we are stronger than them. It is time. It is time for me become the version of myself that these things are keeping me from.

So here I am, letting go.

I am letting go of my grudges of those who have wronged or hurt me.

I forgive you.

I am letting go of the pain from the hardships I have faced.

I am a better person for them.

I am letting go of my fears, fear I won't succeed, fear of being alone, and fear of the unknown.

You no longer control me.

I am letting go of the version of myself that I have grown out of. It has made me into who I am today, but I no longer am that person.

Thank you for bringing me to where I am now.

I have always resonated with symbolism in life. So I wrote these things down, taped it to a balloon, and let it go. Luckily I have a best friend who is amazing enough to do this with me. But now they are gone. The weight has been lifted. I am taking a breath of fresh air. These things are no longer clouding me from finding myself. I am already seeing her clearer than ever.

Don't be afraid to let go. Your truest self is waiting for you. TC mark

22 Sane Ways To Figure Out What In The World You’re Doing With Your Career

Posted: 10 Jan 2016 03:14 PM PST

Twenty20 / sesser
Twenty20 / sesser

You just finished college or graduate school and are looking for your first job. You're in a job you hate. You're in a job you love, but with no upward mobility. You're thinking about going back to school. You tried to start your own thing and it didn't work out. Or you've been traveling or having children and are trying to re-enter the workforce.

Whatever situation you're in, at some point you're going to wind up asking yourself: "What do I do next? Where do I go from here? How do I figure out my next step?"

In my experience, there are three distinct stages you must pass through in order to be able to answer these questions: turning inward, seeking external inspiration, and then taking action. The first two stages instruct you to basically stop everything. Because figuring out what to do next is like needing to tie your shoelace. You can't do it while you're still running; you have to pause and do it properly.

But you also have to keep running eventually. You don't get anywhere in life by pure philosophizing — you get places by doing, and that's where the last stage comes in. You've given yourself a chance to catch your breath, which you've done while honoring the crucial balance between internal reflection and external inspiration, and now you're well-equipped with the information and confidence you need to make a decision.

Here's a break-down of the 22 steps I recommend for getting "unstuck" and moving forward with conviction in your personal and professional life.

STAGE 1: TURN INWARD

1. Give yourself time in silence. Spend 15-30 minutes every morning without any noise or distractions. Ask your heart questions ("What is my next step? What would I really be happy doing?") and listen to what responses come from your intuition. We spend so much of our days doing that we don't give ourselves any time for just being.

2. Travel. This doesn't have to be the whole "lose yourself to find yourself" line because I know from 3+ years of traveling that it doesn't actually happen like that. What I mean is to seek movement and exploration: a long car ride, an afternoon in a place with good people-watching, a short weekend away. A change of scenery is hugely inspirational, as is problem-solving and demonstrating self-sufficiency.

3. Think about your childhood. What things were you naturally good at? What are your happiest memories? What did you dream of doing before the world starting pushing and pulling on you? Let your past successes help inform your future.

4. Record your dreams. Dreams are an incredible window into your subconscious mind. Before you go to bed, spend time reflecting and asking yourself for clarity about your next step. Leave a notebook under your pillow and, upon waking, write down your dreams before you move, look at the time, or check your cell phone. Reflect on reoccurring situations, symbols, people, and places.

5. Go for a daily walk. Many great creative and powerful minds swear by walking (no music, no distractions) for inspiration and introspection: Gandhi, Stephen King, Thich Nhat Hanh, J.K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Beethoven. "Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move," wrote Henry David Thoreau, "my thoughts begin to flow." A 2010 study found that walking for 40 minutes 3 times a week enhanced the connectivity of important brain circuits, reduced declines in brain function associated with aging, and increased performance on cognitive tasks.

6. Journal about everything, but make sure you tackle these questions in written format:

When do I feel most successful/proud/motivated/joyful? Why?

What have I enjoyed most about my life and career to date? What has caused me suffering? Why? (The "why" is an oft-forgotten piece of the puzzle and we don't often dig deep enough and keep asking ourselves the "whys".)

If I could only change one thing about my life right now, what would it be? (And why?)

What do I love about myself? What are my talents?

7. Have purposeful dreaming time. This is different from time in silence or time spent journaling. It's time to actively engage your imagination by visualizing alternate possibilities for your life. The human mind's capacity to imagine the future with nearly as much sensory details as real life is one of its most precious – and sometimes paralyzing – capabilities. Use it to your advantage!

8. Take money out of the picture. You can put it back into the equation later, but it's important to spend time really considering what you would do if you didn't have to worry about finances. This mental exercise also lets you take a step back and see how much money does influence your decision-making, and if it has to influence it to the extent you allow it to.

STAGE 2: SEEK EXTERNAL INSPIRATION

9. Spend time with inspirational people. Ever heard the phrase "You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with?" When you're looking to make a transition in your life, surround yourself with the kind of people you aspire to be, ones who can provide insight, connections, and new ideas.

10. Have deep conversations with family and friends. After a period of meaningful (and ongoing) introspection, you can begin to share what you are discovering about yourself and the world with others. Talk openly with the people closest to you and probe deeper than you normally would. Sometimes sharing your thoughts and desires out loud helps clarify — or discover — them for yourself.

11. Don't ask for advice the usual way. Instead of asking others what they would do in your shoes, ask them how they would decide what to do if they were you. The "how" provides decision-making frameworks that keep YOU in the driver's seat while still allowing a helpful degree of outside opinion.

12. Read a lot. I recommend autobiographies of people you find inspirational, as well as a few personal development books specifically oriented around career and purpose, such as Body of Work by Pamela Slim and The Work We Were Born to Do by Nick Williams. Also, read widely about topics of interest to you. By following your intellectual curiosity, you can discover new fields you might like to explore.

13. Take up a new hobby. This related to curiosity, too. Learning something new is inspirational, and it also grants you the ability to see yourself succeeding in new frontiers. Not to mention that it often leads to meeting different kinds of people who can enrich your life and open up unforeseen pathways.

14. Do some "productive" stalking. Spend time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google and create a spreadsheet of all the people and careers you find inspirational. The goal is to answer the question: Who do you admire and why?

STAGE 3: TAKE ACTION

15. Work on your health and physical well-being. It's easy to forget that the body and mind are intimately connected. Nourishing yourself with daily exercise and a healthy diet will hugely impact your self-esteem — and there's nothing better for plotting a career move than feeling great about yourself!

16. Reach out. Remember all that "productive" stalking? Now you are going to use that information! Start reaching out to people on email, LinkedIn, and other social media and request short Skype or coffee meetings to pick their brain about their career path (what I call informational interviewing).

17. Set up 5 job interviews. For any jobs at all. It's important to get out there and hear yourself communicating about your talents and experience. It's even better to start "practicing" by doing interviews where you are relatively unattached to the outcome so you can still perform well, but feel confident and relaxed. This approach can also lend you new ideas: perhaps you never would have considered a certain position or company before, but casting a wide interview net opened up new realms of possibility.

18. Work for free. This is the greatest test of your talents, experience, and ability to contribute. Those people you reached out to for informational interviews? Do something helpful for them for free. Send them a deck of research on a new market they might be interested in. Connect them to someone you know who could help their business. Make a small database of potential new clients for them. Get creative! Or boldly ask a company you admire if you could work for free for them for 3 months for the sake of exposure — and to prove yourself.

19. Brainstorm all your options. Sit down and make a list of every conceivable next step you could take: grad school, sabbatical, joining a friend's start up, creating an online business, staying in your current role, asking for a promotion, making a lateral move, changing fields entirely, etc. Once you've brainstormed every route you would possibly want to consider, narrow it down to a list of 2-4 options that seem most interesting to you.

20. Focus on the first step. For your short-listed options, figure out what the first logical step to accomplish them would be. If you think grad school could be the right transitional move, then the first step is to identify programs of interest. If you want to make a lateral move (say you like your position but dislike the company or industry), then you may want to attend a networking event in your field to meet representatives of different companies. The idea is to take small, non-committal steps in a few directions to get a feel for those paths.

21. Try something. The key to making a transition in life is to avoid paralysis at all costs, because you won't get anywhere through contemplation alone. It's important that, once you've examined all feasible options and tested the waters with a few short-listed options, you take action! Of course, your actions should be accompanied by an understanding that nothing in life is perfect, nor is anything entirely permanent. You'll never know until you try, so you simply have to try.

22. Choose to focus on the best case scenario. When change is upon us, we naturally focus on and plan for the worst that could happen, which is a natural part of our survival-based biology. Instead, try making a decision based on the best thing that could happen and see how that inspires confidence in making your next big move.

In the end, it's paramount to realize that your next step does not have to define the rest of your life, it just has to provide momentum. It has to retain your happiness of today and offer an incremental growth in your happiness of tomorrow, but it doesn't have to account for your happiness 5 or 10 years from now.

Think about how much time and energy you probably waste trying to project yourself 3, 5, 7 years into the future and surmise what "future you" would want and base your decision-making today on that hypothetical person who may or may not ever come into being.

Taking the next step or changing direction doesn't have to be a long, complex, and emotionally draining experience. In reality, practicing the above steps on a regular basis can actually help to sustain momentum and naturally offer opportunities for personal and professional advancement, allowing you to live a life of seamless transitions and self-assured navigation. TC mark

This post originally appeared at Life Before 30

Bless Up: 12 Times DJ Khaled Inspired Us To Get Our Sh*t Together

Posted: 10 Jan 2016 01:53 PM PST

1. When he gave us some legitimate advice for when we’re in over our heads.
@djkhaled305
DJ Khaled

2. When he taught us to get in better relationships.

@djkhaled is such an inspiration 🙏 #djkhaled #wethebestmusic #anotherone #lion #plants

A photo posted by Liam Jervis (@liam24680) on

3. When he gave us the ultimate key to success.
khaled1
They Don’t Want You To Win

4. When he reminded us to be thankful for the little things.
khaled
DJ Khaled

5. When he gave us the two basic rules for life.
khaled2
DJ Khaled

6. When he reminded us that people change.
khaled4
DJ Khaled

7. When he rocked some sweet sandals and told us that there’s always another thing to be thankful for.
khaled3
DJ Khaled

8. When he enlightened us about haters.
They Don't Want You To Win
They Don’t Want You To Win

9. When he inspired us to clean up our lives…literally.
@djkhaled305
DJ Khaled

10. When he encouraged us to follow him to success.
khaled5
DJ Khaled

11. When he become our support system.

12. And when he became our fearless leader.

#WordOnDaStreet

A photo posted by Not A Blogger 📠 (@word_onda_street) on

TC mark