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When you think about it, despite feeling difficult, the problems people struggle with in dating sound pretty trivial.
For instance, we have been walking and talking our entire lives, yet walking up to an attractive person and opening our mouths to say “hi” can feel impossibly complex to us. People have been using a phone since they were children, yet given the agony some go through just to dial a person’s phone number, you’d think they were being waterboarded. Most of us have kissed someone before and we’ve seen hundreds of movies and instances in real life of other people kissing, yet we still stare dreamily into the object of our affection’s eyes hour after hour, telling ourselves we can never find the “right moment” to do it.
Why? It sounds simple, but why is it so hard?
We build businesses, write novels, scale mountains, help strangers and friends alike through difficult times, tackle the thorniest of the world’s social ills — and yet, when we come face-to-face with someone we find attractive, our hearts race and our minds are sent reeling. And we stall.
Dating advice often compares improving one’s dating life to improving at some practical skill, such as playing piano or learning a foreign language. Sure, there are some overlapping principles, but it’s hard to imagine most people trembling with anxiety every time they sit in front of the keyboard. And I’ve never met someone who became depressed for a week after failing to conjugate a verb correctly. They’re not the same.
Generally speaking, if someone practices piano daily for two years, they will eventually become quite competent at it. Yet many people spend most of their lives with one romantic failure after another.
What is it about this one area of life that the most basic actions can feel impossible, that repetitive behavior often leads to little or no change, and that our psychological defense mechanisms run rampant trying to convince us to not pursue what we want?
Why dating and not, say, skiing? Or even our careers? Why is it that a person can conquer the corporate ladder, become a militant CEO, demanding and receiving the respect and admiration of hundreds of brilliant minds, and then flounder through a simple dinner date with a beautiful stranger?
As children, none of us get 100% of our needs met. This is true of you. It’s true of me. It’s true of everyone. The degree of which our needs aren’t met varies widely, and the nature of how our needs are unfulfilled differs as well. But it’s the sad truth about growing up: we’ve all got baggage. And some of us have a lot of it. Whether it is a parent who didn’t hold us enough, who didn’t feed us regularly enough, a father who wasn’t around often, a mother who left us and moved away, being forced to move from school to school as a child and never having friends — all of these experiences leave their mark as a series of micro-traumas that shape and define us.
The nature and depth of these traumas imprint themselves onto our unconscious and become the map of how we experience love, intimacy and sex throughout our lives.
If mom was over-protective and dad was never around, that will form part of our map for love and intimacy. If we were manipulated or tormented by our siblings and peers, that will imprint itself as part of our self-image. If mom was an alcoholic and dad was screwing around with other women, it will stay with us. If our first girlfriend/boyfriend died in a car accident or dad beat us because he caught us masturbating — well, you get the point. These imprints will not only affect, but define, all of our future romantic and sexual relationships as adults.
You and I and everyone else have met hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Out of those thousands, multiple hundreds easily met our physical criteria for a mate. Yet out of those hundreds, we fall in love with a very few. Only a handful we meet in our entire lives ever grab us on that gut-level, where we lose all rationality and control and lay awake at night thinking about them.
It’s often not the one we expected to fall for either. One might be perfect on paper. Another potential lover might have a great sense of humor and they’re amazing in bed. But sometimes there’s the one we can’t stop thinking about, the one we involuntarily keep going back to over and over and over again.
Psychologists believe that romantic love occurs when our unconscious becomes exposed to someone who matches the archetype of parental love we experienced growing up, someone whose behavior matches our emotional map for intimacy. Our unconscious is always seeking to return to the unconditional nurturing we received as children, and to re-process and heal the traumas we suffered.
In short, our unconscious is wired to seek out romantic interests who it believes will fulfill our unfulfilled emotional needs, to fill in the gaps of the love and nurturing we missed out on as kids. This is why the people we fall in love with almost always resemble our parents on an emotional level.
Hence why people who are madly in love say to each other, “you complete me,” or refer to each other as their “better half.” It’s also why couples in the throes of new love often act like children around one another. Their unconscious mind can’t differentiate between the love they’re receiving from their girlfriend/boyfriend and the love they once received as a child from their parents.
This is also why dating and relationships are so painful and difficult for so many of us, particularly if we had strained familial relationships growing up. Unlike playing the piano or learning a language, our dating and sex lives are inextricably bound to our emotional needs, and when we get into potentially intimate or sexual situations, these experiences rub up against our prior traumas causing us anxiety, neuroticism, stress and pain.
So that someone rejecting you isn’t just rejecting you — instead, to your unconscious, you’re reliving every time your mother rejected you or turned down your need for affection.
That irrational fear you feel when it comes time to take your clothes off in front of someone new isn’t just the nervousness of the moment, but every time you were punished for sexual thoughts or feelings growing up.
Don’t believe me? Think about this. Someone no-shows for a regular business meeting with you. How do you feel? Annoyed likely. Maybe a tad disrespected. But chances are you get over it quickly, and by the time you get home and are watching TV, you don’t even remember it even happened.
Now, imagine someone you are extremely attracted to no-shows for a date. How do you feel? If you’re like most people who struggle in this area of their life, you feel like shit. Like you just got used and led on and shat on.
Why? Because being flaked on rubs up against your unconscious fear of abandonment, fear that nobody loves you and that you’re going to be alone forever. Ouch.
Maybe you freak out and call them and leave angry voicemails. Maybe you continue to call them weeks or months later, getting blown off over and over again, feeling worse and worse each time. Or maybe you just get depressed and mope about it on Facebook or some dating forum.
Every irrational fear, emotional outburst or insecurity you have in your dating life is an imprint on your emotional map from your relationships growing up.
It’s why you’re terrified to go for the first kiss. It’s why you freeze up when it comes time to introduce yourself to someone you don’t know or tell someone you just met how you feel about them. It’s why you clam up every time you go to bed with someone new or you freeze and get uncomfortable when it’s time to open up and share yourself with somebody.
The list goes on and on.
All of these issues have deep-seated roots in your unconscious, your unfulfilled emotional needs and traumas.
A common way we bypass dealing with the emotional stress involved in dating is by disassociating our emotions from intimacy and sex. If we shut off our need for intimacy and connection, then our sexual actions no longer rub up against our emotional maps and we can greatly diminish the neediness and anxiety we once felt while still reaping the superficial benefits. It takes time and practice, but once disassociated from our emotions, we can enjoy the sex and validation of dating without concerns for intimacy, connection, and in some cases, ethics.
Here are common ways we disassociate dating from their emotions:
Objectification. Objectifying someone is when you see them only for a specific purpose and don’t see them as fully integrated human beings. You can objectify people as sex objects, professional work objects, social objects, or none of the above. You might objectify someone for sex, status or influence. But objectification is ultimately disastrous for one’s own emotional health, not to mention one’s relationships.
Sexism. Viewing the other sex as inferior or inherently evil/inept is a sure way to redirect one’s emotional problems outward onto a population at large rather than dealing with them yourself. Without fail, men who treat and view women as some inferior “other,” are more often than not projecting their own anger and insecurities onto the women they meet rather than dealing with them. The same goes for women.
Manipulation and games. By engaging in games and manipulation, we withhold our true intentions and identities, and therefore we withhold our emotional maps as well. With these tactics, the aim is to get someone to fall for the perception we create rather than who we really are, greatly reducing the risk of digging up the buried emotional scars of past relationships.
Overuse of humor, teasing, bantering. A classic strategy of distraction. Not that jokes or teasing are always bad, but an interaction of nothing but jokes and teasing is a means to communicate without saying anything important, to enjoy yourselves without actually do anything, and to feel like you know each other without actually knowing a thing. This is most typical of English-speaking cultures — men and women, straight and gay — as they tend to use sarcasm and teasing as a means to imply affection rather than actually showing it.
Stripclubs, prostitution, pornography. A way to experience one’s sexuality vicariously through an empty, idealized vessel, whether it’s on a screen, a stage, or running you 10000 Rupees an hour.
Generally, the more resentment one is harboring, the more one objectifies others. People who had turbulent relationships with their parents, or were abandoned in a previous relationship, or tormented and teased when growing up — these people will likely find it much easier and more enticing to objectify and measure their sex lives than to confront their demons and overcome their emotional scars with the people they become involved with.
Most of us have, at one point or another, disassociated our emotions and objectified someone (or entire groups of people) for whatever reasons. I will say, however, that there’s a lot of social pressure on men, particularly straight men, to ignore their emotions, particularly “weak” emotions such as a need for intimacy and love. It’s more socially acceptable for men to objectify their sex lives and boast about it. Whether you think that’s right or wrong or doesn’t matter, it is how it is.
Confronting Your Issues and Winning
Disassociating from your emotional needs is the easy way out. It requires only external effort and some superficial beliefs. Working through your issues and resolving them requires far more blood, sweat and tears. Most people aren’t willing to dig deep and put in the effort, but it yields far greater and more permanent results.
1) The biggest misconception when it comes to working through an excess of emotional baggage is that these feelings ever completely go away. Studies indicate that fears, anxieties, traumas, etc. are imprinted on our brains in similar ways that our physical habits are.1 Just like you’ve developed a habit of brushing your teeth every time you wake up, you have emotional habits of getting sad or angry any time you feel abandoned or unwanted.
The way to change is not by removing these feelings or anxieties altogether, but rather consciously replacing them with higher order behaviors and feelings.
This can only be accomplished through taking action. There is no other way. You cannot rewire your responses in healthy ways and confront your insecurities if you aren’t out there actively pushing up against them. Trying to do so is like trying to learn how to shoot free throws left-handed without ever actually touching a basketball. It just doesn’t work.
If you have a habit of flipping out and leaving angry voicemails every time someone doesn’t call you back, you don’t get rid of the anger, but rather channel that anger into a better and healthier activity, like say, going to the gym, or painting a picture, or punching a punching bag.
2) Anxieties can be overcome through utilizing implementation intentions and progressive desensitization. For instance, if you get nervous in social situations and have a hard time meeting new people, take baby steps to start engaging in more social interactions. Practice saying hello to a few strangers until it becomes comfortable. Then maybe ask some random people how their day is going after you say hello. Then try to start some conversations with people throughout your day — at the gym, at the park, at work, or wherever. Then, challenge yourself to do these same things with people you find attractive.
The key is to do it incrementally. Setting the stakes too high, too early will just reinforce your anxiety when you fail to meet your lofty expectations. Again, baby steps.
Obviously this takes time and requires consistently facing situations which make you uncomfortable, but that’s the idea. You must overlay old emotional habits of fear and anxiety with healthier ones like excitement and assertiveness. Mentally train yourself so that any time you feel anxiety, you force yourself to do it anyway.
3) The final step — once you’ve learned to channel your negative emotions in constructive ways, once you’ve eaten away at your anxieties and are able to often act despite them — is to come clean with people you date about your needs and start screening based on them.
For instance, I’ve always had a fear of commitment and needed a woman who was comfortable giving me space and some freedom. Not only do I openly share this with women I get involved with now, but I actively screen for women with these traits.
Ultimately, your emotional needs will only be fully met in a loving and conscious relationship with someone who you can trust and work together with – and not just your emotional issues, but hers as well. We unconsciously seek out romantic partners in order to fulfill our unfulfilled childhood needs, and to do so cannot be completely done alone.
This is the reason that honesty and vulnerability are so powerful for creating high-quality interactions – the practice of being upfront about your desires and flaws will naturally screen for those who best suit you and connect with you.
This kind of authenticity changes the whole dynamic of dating. Instead of chasing and pursuing or wishing and hoping, you focus on consistently improving yourself and presenting that self to the beautiful strangers of the world. The right ones will pay attention and stay. And whether you spend a night or a year with them, this enhanced level of intimacy and mutual vulnerability will help heal your emotional wounds, help you become more confident and secure in your relationships and ultimately, overcome much of the pain and stress of that accompanies sex and intimacy.
Fall in love with someone who chooses you just as confidently as you choose them. Commit to the person who lifts you up whenever things get rough, the person who fights to make things work when the reality of life gets difficult and discouraging.
Fall in love with someone who sees the wars within you and not only chooses to stay, but chooses to stand by your side and help you fight them. Strive to find someone who cradles your dark, who embraces your light, someone who always wants to be your best when you yourself are not your best; someone who reminds you of every strong thing you are whenever you feel feeble.
Fall in love with someone who does not make you feel like you are hard to love. Give your heart to someone who does not call you weak for feeling so deeply, someone who adores the soft creature you are, and who fights to protect it in a hardened world.
Fall in love with someone who challenges you, who inspires you to think and feel. Fall in love with someone who ignites a wildness within you; someone who grows your mind just as much as they grow your heart.
Fall in love with someone who respects you for changing because they understand that it means you’re growing. Dedicate yourself to the person who stands in awe of how you bloom, how you flourish; someone who loves you not only for who you are, but for who you have the potential to be.
Please, do not ever settle for less. Keep waiting. Keep learning about yourself, keep trying and fighting for the heart within your chest. Keep growing and nourishing your wants, keep discovering your needs. When the time is right, you are going to fall in love with someone who will appreciate everything you stand for, who will compliment you in ways you never imagined. When the time is right, the love you have always been worthy of will flower within your life, and you will finally, finally, understand why you had to wait so long.
One big problem a lot of people have is that they slip into thinking of themselves as victims that have little or no control over their lives. In this headspace you feel sorry for yourself, the world seems to be against you and you get stuck. Little to no action is taken and you get lost in a funk of sadness and self-pity.
So how can you move out of that mindset? In this article I’d like to share a few things that have helped me.
1. Know the benefits of a victim mentality.
There are a few benefits of the victim mentality:
Attention and validation. You can always get good feelings from other people as they are concerned about you and try to help you out. On the other hand, it may not last for that long as people get tired of it.
You don’t have to take risks. When you feel like a victim you tend to not take action and then you don’t have to risk for example rejection or failure.
Don’t have to take the sometimes heavy responsibility. Taking responsibility for you own life can be hard work, you have to make difficult decisions and it is just heavy sometimes. In the short term it can feel like the easier choice to not take personal responsibility.
It makes you feel right. When you feel like the victim and like everyone else – or just someone else – is wrong and you are right then that can lead to pleasurable feelings.
In my experience, by just being aware of the benefits I can derive from victim thinking it becomes easier to say no to that and to choose to take a different path.
It also makes it easier to make rational decisions about what to do. Yes, I know that I can avoid risk and the hard work of taking action by feeling like a victim. But I also know that there are even more positive results if I choose to take the other route, if I make the better choice to take a chance and start moving forward.
2. Be ok with not being the victim.
So to break out of that mentality you have to give up the benefits above. You might also experience a sort of emptiness within when you let go of victim thinking. You may have spent hours each week with thinking and talking about how wrong things have gone for you in life. Or how people have wronged you and how you could get some revenge or triumph over them.
Now you have to fill your life with new thinking that may feel uncomfortable because it is not so intimately familiar as the victim thinking your have been engaging in for years.
3. Take responsibility for your life.
Why do people often have self-esteem problems? I’d say that one of the big reasons is that they don’t take responsibility for their lives. Instead someone else is blamed for the bad things that happen and a victim mentality is created and empowered.
This damages many vital parts in your life. Stuff like relationships, ambitions and achievements.
That hurt will not stop until you wise up and take responsibility for your life. There is really no way around it.
And the difference is really remarkable. Just try it out. You feel so much better about yourself even if you only take personal responsibility for your own life for a day.
This is also a way to stop relying on external validation like praise from other people to feel good about yourself. Instead you start building a stability within and a sort of inner spring that fuels your life with positive emotions no matter what other people say or do around you.
When I feel that I am putting myself in victim role I like to ask myself this question:
“Does someone have it worse on the planet?”
The answer may not result in positive thoughts, but it can sure snap you of a somewhat childish “poor, poor me…” attitude pretty quickly. I understand that I have much to be grateful for in my life.
This question changes my perspective from a narrow, self-centred one into a much wider one. It helps me to lighten up about my situation.
After I have changed my perspective I usually ask another question like:
“What is the hidden opportunity within this situation?”
That is very helpful to keep your focus on how to solve a problem or get something good out a current situation. Rather than asking yourself “why?” over and over and thereby focusing on making yourself feel worse and worse.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in thinking that forgiveness is just about something you “should do”. But forgiving can in a practical way be extremely beneficial for you.
One of the best reasons to forgive can be found in this quote by Catherine Ponder:
“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
As long as you don’t forgive someone you are linked to that person. Your thoughts will return to the person who wronged you and what s/he did over and over again. The emotional link between the two of you is so strong and inflicts much suffering in you and – as a result of your inner turmoil – most often in other people around you too.
When you forgive you do not only release the other person. You set yourself free too from all of that agony.
6. Turn your focus outward and help someone out.
The questions in tip #4 are useful. Another question I use when I get into the victim headspace is simply:
“How can I give value right now?”
Asking that question and making that shift in what you focus on really helps, even if you may not feel totally like doing it.
So I figure out how I can give someone else value, how I can help someone out.
And thing is that the way you behave and think towards others seems to have a big, big effect on how you behave towards yourself and think about yourself. For example, judge people more and you tend to judge yourself more. Be more kind to other people and help them and you tend to be more kind and helpful to yourself.
A bit counter intuitive perhaps, but that has been my experience. The more you love other people, the more your love yourself.
7. Give yourself a break.
Getting out of a victim mentality can be hard. Some days you will slip. That’s ok. Be ok with that.
And be nice to yourself. If you have to be perfect then one little slip is made into a big problem and may cause you to spiral down into a very negative place for many days.
It is more helpful to just give yourself a break and use the tips above to move yourself into a positive and empowered headspace once again.
Novel Submission Process
Submitting your novel to literary agents is a daunting business. There is no avoiding the fact that you’re sending your work out to be judged and that can be both frightening and painful.
I’ve been through the process a couple of times, and I can honestly say that it gets easier with practice. It helps, too, if you can remember that each agent (or publisher) is not judging (or rejecting) you as a person, they are making a business decision about your work based on the small sample they have seen.
Here are the tips I picked up along the way – I hope they are helpful.
First off, separate your ‘writing self’ from your ‘publishing self’. Your writing self is the one who put his/her heart and soul into creating the novel. It’s the self who thinks of the book as ‘his baby’ and who dreams of critical acclaim while being simultaneously terrified of revealing her writing to the harsh critical eye of the market.
Your publishing self is the businessman. The one who knows that publishing is an industry. Smart, book-obsessed people run that industry and they are all hoping to find the next ‘big thing’ but, equally, nobody knows what that will be. And, like any creative industry, the worth of the product is very much in the eye of the beholder. It’s subjective. Say that again (loudly) with your best, confident, business-self voice: ‘It. Is. Subjective’. (Don’t believe me? Go and look at the Flipkart or Amazon reviews for a recent bestseller or work of ‘classic’ fiction. Opinions will vary. Wildly.)
The next step is to expect rejection. I don’t say this to be discouraging, but quite the opposite; embrace your certain rejection. Pick a novel from your bookshelves and feel it in your hand. Know with utter certainty that both the book you are holding and the author who wrote it were rejected at some point.
The third step is this: Just do it. Much like writing the damn book in the first place, the only way to get through the fear of submission is to get started. Once you’ve got a few rejections under your belt and the sky hasn’t fallen onto your head and people aren’t stopping in the street to point and laugh, you will find it easier to continue.
So, a few practicalities. I’d advise sending out submissions in small batches. With the best will in the world, agents are super-busy and take an average of three months to respond. If you submit one at a time, the process will take forever.
Why not save even more time and submit to your entire (carefully researched) list of dream agents all at once? Well, small batches give you a chance to tweak your submission along the way.
If you’ve submitted to, say, ten agents, and you’ve received zero requests for the full manuscript, you might want to check over your submission package to see if it can be improved. Perhaps, on a second look, you realise that your first chapter isn’t as good as you originally thought and it really ought to be cut completely. Or, you discover that your covering letter opens with an embarrassingly ponderous sentence or a misspelled word (the horror!).
Finally, read the submission guidelines carefully and follow them.
Yes, all of them.
Yes, every time.
Most publishers/agents ask for a covering letter, a synopsis and the first three chapters.
How to format your Novel
You can format your novel manuscript any way you want as you’re writing and editing. If you want a purple font on a yellow background, have at it. If you have a font you just love looking at, use it while you’re writing.
But when you’re ready to submit your novel to an agent or publisher, follow the guidelines. Please. Let your creativity shine through your story, not your manuscript format. There really is a time to blend in with others, to be just one of the crowd, and this is that time.
No fancy fonts or colors. No odd sizes in fonts or margins. No illustrations or graphics such as your five-year-old son’s artwork for a suggested cover.
You want an agent or editor talking about your submission, but for the right reasons. Don’t be the joke of the week at your favorite publishing house.
Don’t give harried agents and editors an excuse to toss your manuscript before they’ve read the first word.
So how do you format a novel manuscript an acceptable way?
Find out what the agent or publisher recommends.
Yes, many publish their specs and formatting requirements right on their websites. Checking out the specs should be your first step.
Adapt your manuscript for each agent or publisher (most will be remarkably similar).
For any agent or publisher without a specific format, follow an accepted format for novel manuscripts, such as this one—
Font: Twelve point, Times New Roman (or Courier New, if you insist), black
Margins: One-inch margins on all four sides
Indent: Half-inch paragraph indentations (this tab is pre-set in MS Word) for the first line of each paragraph (even the first paragraph of a chapter)
Space: Double space; no extra line spaces between paragraphs
Align: Align left (not justified). The right edges will not be uniform or even.
Page numbering: Number pages beginning with the actual story (don’t count or put page numbers on the title page)
Scene breaks: Indicate scene breaks by inserting a blank line and centering the number sign # in the center of the line
Page header: Include your last name, your title (or keywords from the title), and the page number in the page header of every page except for the title page. Align the header to the right, so the information doesn’t interfere with the text of the manuscript. (Dear, I Hate You!)
Chapters: Begin chapters on new pages (insert a page break or format using styles). Center the chapter title, even if it’s only Chapter One (or Chapter 1), about 1/3 of the way down the page. Skip a couple of spaces and begin the text of the chapter.
End: Center a number sign # on an otherwise blank line one double-spaced line down from the final line of text of the final chapter or epilogue at the end of the manuscript. Or simply writeThe End. You want agents and editors to know they’ve reached the end.
Italics: Use italics for italicized words. (A former practice was to underline to show italicized words, but that’s no longer necessary unless an agent or publisher requests underlining.)
Character spacing: Use a single character space only, not two spaces, between sentences. If you forget this one, nobody’s going to turn down your manuscript because of it. It’s just a good habit to get into, especially for those of us who learned on typewriters and always added two spaces between sentences.
Include a title page—
Contact info: Aligned left and single spaced, near the top of the page, include contact information: Your real/legal name, address, phone number, e-mail address. Follow with the word count. Alternatively, you can set word count apart by listing it at the top of the right side of the title page.
Title and author: About 1/2 the way down the page, centered, enter the full manuscript title (all caps or mixed caps); on the next double-spaced line, type by or a novel by or a story by; on the next double-spaced line, add your pen name or your real name plus your pen name—Alexis Chesterfield writing as Billie Thomas
Agent: If you have an agent, include the agent’s contact name and information beneath your name (yes, skip a line)
Page header: Header information is not included on the title page. The title page is not included in page numbering.
Subgenre: For some genres, including romance and sci-fi, you can include the subgenre, such as suspense or Regency. Include this information either above or below the word count.
That’s it, a basic format for novels.
Source: Blogs and mails of other fellow authors.
An open letter to her which I think she will never ever read.
“I never imagined you and I, out of all the people in this world, would go through something so devastating as we did. Throughout the years, we created the most beautiful memories. We climbed all the way to the top together, only to slip and fall as soon as we got there. And though I may have contributed to that fall, I tried so hard to hold on to you.
My heart shattered into a million pieces. Eventually, I realized I couldn’t save us.
I couldn’t undo what had been done, and I let you go to find your true happiness.
All I ever wanted was my own family. Every day, I dreamed of falling in love with a woman, getting married, buying a beautiful home and one day bringing our own little bundle of joy into the world.
I guess it goes without saying that you made all of that feel real for me; you helped make most of those dreams come true. I wanted nothing more than to be the best husband, a romantic lover, the most selfless provider, and one day, the world’s best dad.
Our relationship wasn’t perfect, but I loved you so much.
All those things I wanted to be, I couldn’t imagine with anyone but you.
Our life together — it was like Disney World. We ran carefree in this theme park we call life. Holding each other’s’ hands, we laughed, cried, loved, and we were in awe of everything we experienced. We were children with dreams, and together, we thought about the day when all of ours would come true.
Eventually, though, those roller coasters stopped.
The music died down, the lights shut off, and our magical journey came to an abrupt halt.
You were gone.
Suddenly, everything that was so familiar about life felt so foreign. I was lost without you. All I had left were my memories and dreams of us that I knew would never come true.
There are a few things that I never had the opportunity to tell you …
Every time I called you, I looked forward to hearing you answer the phone. You would say “hey baby” in this voice that sound so innocent and so loving. And it never changed. It always reminded me of the beginning of our relationship and all of the reasons I fell in love with you. Who would have thought something so simple could be so powerful? It’s what made you unique.
I thought about us being kids, not having anything but each other. I thought about the dreams we shared, and how I was so ready to spend the rest of my life with you. You helped shaped me into the man I was becoming, and this was a representation of my love and appreciation for you.
That leaves me with our wedding day.
November 28, 2012, the greatest day of my life. I looked forward to that for 25 years, but I never imagined it to be as beautiful as it was.
I was in awe of everything. Everything was beyond my wildest imagination, but nothing could compare to the excitement I felt about becoming your husband.
I couldn’t wait to make you Mrs. Nitya Prakash.
Here we were, two teenagers who met on the streets of Pune, with no idea about life, love, and where it would take us. We finally created this day. We had built our lives, our careers, our home, and now it was time to build our family.
When those doors opened, every dream, wish and prayer I ever had came marching right toward me, more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
You were my best friend. I wanted so much more for the both of us.
Sometimes, though, we have to accept the unexpected.
Our worlds need to fall apart, so we can put them back together the way they were meant to be.
There’s nothing more important to me than your happiness, and knowing you have that means the world to me. Our lives took different paths, but that can never take away from the memories we shared.
As for me? I’m happy. I’ve found peace. I am busier than ever with work, I found a new passion with writing, and I’ve been rebuilding a life that was once in a million pieces. I still dream of having a family. I still dream of holding my own child. Of course, I still dream of falling in love and finding my true happiness.
I’m much of the same Nitya you knew, but so much different.
You see, too many people live with hate in this world. Those same people live with anger and fear.
I’m not one of those people.
I’m disappointed we never got to finish writing our happily ever after, but I’ll never be angry. I’ll never hate you, and I’ll never be dishonest about my emotions. God gave me this amazing opportunity to love. It brought me to so many beautiful places, taught me so much about life and gave me memories I’ll cherish forever. How can I ever be angry about that?
To your mother, sister — tell them I always loved them as if they were my own, and I’m sorry if I never lived up to their expectations. I knew how much they loved you. I knew what kind of man they wanted for you, and God knows, I did everything I could to make sure I was just that.
And finally, to you — I’m sorry for anything I may have ever done to hurt you. More than anything, I wanted to spend forever with you by my side, and to one day add our own little peanut who would join us for the ride. Everything I did in my life was to ensure yours would be all you dreamed it to be. I wanted to give you the world.
Unfortunately, I fell short.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have held you tighter during our first dance and picked a song that never ended.
I’m not perfect, and I never want people to think that I am. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve done things I’m not proud to admit, and I’ve made decisions I wish I could take back. But I loved someone with every bone in my body, with every beat of my heart and every inch of my soul. It wasn’t perfect, but I know for sure I loved with everything I had; I loved in such a way that your happiness was always mine. And I’m thankful for that.
I once told you I wish I could put into words how much I loved you and share it with the world; here’s my best shot at that promise.
Losing you may have been the most painful experience of my life, but it made me stronger than ever. It somehow made life feel real.
While on paper I lost my wife, in reality I lost so much more.
I lost a piece of me that I will never get back.
Take good care of it.
All the best”
When a relationship is over, let go and move on in a healthy way to attract the right one for you.
“Have faith that true love is meant to be and one day love will come shining through. No matter how sad your heart is, the love that you wish for will come true…if you believe.”
When a relationship is over, it’s time to let go. Holding on to a past love clutters up your heart and mind. Letting go opens up the space and possibilities to attract the partner of your dreams. Try these things to stop dwelling on the relationship you had with your ex.
14 things to stop doing now:
- Listening tolove songs that remind you of him
- Going to places where you spent time together
- Thinking about the good times you had together
- Communicating with her (erase her phone number, email address, texts, etc.)
- Being Friends with Benefits
- Wishing and hoping that she’ll come back to you
- Being in denial that it’s over
- Looking at her pictures, cards, love letters and her Facebook page
- Staying in contact with her friends and family
- Talking continually about her with your friends, family and anyone who will listen
- Trying to run into her in bars and nightclubs
- Looking for her on online dating sites
- Trying to make her jealous by flirting with or connecting with her female friends
- Letting yourself get rundown (i.e. over-eating, not exercising, etc.)
In addition to stopping the above things, the following practices will help you transition and move forward with more ease and grace.
14 things to start doing now:
- Find yourhappiness from within
- Be grateful for the wonderful things in your life
- Find your passions and focus on them
- Get healthy from the inside out
- Focus on the present moment and know that all is well
- Connect and spend time with your family and friends
- Enjoy hobbies and activities that you’ve been meaning to do
- Do things to refresh, renew and soothe your soul
- Exercise and workout
- Listen to uplifting music
- Keep a journal
- Read positive books
- Create a bucket list and start doing things on your list
- Apply lessons (what you’ve learned) from your past relationships to create your ideal love life
Be patient and gentle with yourself during this time. It takes courage to move forward and becomes easier once you start. Try a few of the stops and starts. As you become comfortable with them, take on additional ones. All the best!
For no reason at all, I was reminded of this poem by Bertolt Brecht after so many years.
You can make a fresh start with your final breath.
But what has happened has happened.
And the water you once poured into the wine cannot be
Drained off again, but everything changes.
You can make a fresh start with your final breath.
I didn’t understand this wonderful poem when I first read it; perhaps I still haven’t fully. I turned it round and round as if it was a beautiful locked box, left it lying on the shelf a while, I went back to examine it after a while. Then one day when I was old enough, brave enough to let go of the structure, it came through. However, I would rather say “Everything changes, and changes for the better”.
Once I thought that Love is an impossible thing for me but today, I have found my true love in my wife, Shraddha Nitya Prakash. My Life at present is perfectly analogous to this piece of work. It’s a movement towards perfection.
I would like to quote Albert Einstein’s very crisp words of wisdom
“He, who moves not forward, goes backward”
Don’t look back because everything will change and it will always change for something better.
Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? Yes, many times life is not easy. And yet it is precisely because of the difficulties that you’re able to make life great. We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. I have been e-mailing a lot lately with a dear friend that I have met on Facebook. Both he and I lost someone that was close to us a few years ago. And though the causes of the loss were different, we both have to deal with the pain it inflicts on us.
I wanted to quote a part of an e-mail I have recently sent to my friend. And I guess my friend won’t mind me using these phrases here as well, seeing they can have meaning to all who read this post. Or maybe just stumble upon this post by “mistake”.
Quotation of a part of my e-mail:
Yes it is strange that someone you have recently seen, someone who had all the intention of living a good as possible life, can so easily slip away. Either by own choice or by illness. When you close your eyes it’s so easy to recall the last time you saw him/her, you chatted together about things that seemed so normal and now they are suddenly more important. I have thought about this all quite often, every time someone I cared for slipped away, and I always end up both sad and grateful. Sad for the loss and grateful that I had the opportunity of knowing this wonderful person. Even though I would want to have had that pleasure for many more years, that option sadly wasn’t mine to choose.
I really have thought about this a lot. I have lost several people that were close to me. Last night, I ended up counting them, because my aunt told me that the cremation of our family friend this Thursday would be the second one she’s ever been to. She is fortunate enough to never have been to a funeral, only to the two cremations she mentioned. I have been to many of them, when I was done counting I ended on the count of 9. So tomorrow will be my tenth. And it never gets easier, you never get used to losing someone so definitely.
When you have a row with someone, it can be about just a simple, minor thing. If the person you had that row with means a whole lot to you, I would advise you to try and make it up. I have lost someone who meant the world to me at age 23 (I was 23 at the time) and the last spoken words had not been to kind. I still regret that those were my final words I had exchanged with that person. I never thought I would not get the chance to make it right. It only shows how fragile human life really is.
It also shows how often we take people for granted. You never really believe that they will leave you unexpectedly. Because you somehow have a connection to them. You feel secure around them. When the person you know is neither ill nor old, you just assume that you will have plenty of time to spend together with him/her. You don’t think about the consequences, about that you would do if that person slips away totally unexpectedly. It would be very horrid as well if the only thing that would keep your mind working would be the thoughts of losing someone you care about.
But maybe, a little maybe, those thoughts would help you to appreciate them more. If, at times, you would stand still and think about a dear friend. You remember meeting him/her. You remember stuff you have been through together, the good times and the bad times, and how you dealt with it. Not alone, but together. If you then think the morbid thoughts on what would happen if that friendship would cease to exist. What would you lose? What would you miss most? The things that pop up first are the ones that, in my opinion, define your friendship best. And to focus on those things might make you appreciate it all more than you have ever done before. And maybe, if you are feeling down, you could grab your journal and just write all that comes to mind about your friend and the friendship the both of you share. All these positive things might come in handy when you feel bad about yourself. Just re-read all you wrote about your dear friends and keep in mind, that they also value you as their friend. Maybe on different points from their point of view, but still, your friendship means a lot to both of you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be friends. Otherwise the friendship wouldn’t feel so right.
So I know what I will do soon. I will burn some incense, inhale it deep and find myself more relaxed, grab my journal and sit down and write. Write all I can come up with about my friends. About the friendships I have and what they mean to me. And maybe try to see in me what they see in me as well. And just keep on writing as long as my fountain pen is willing to support me and as long as my hand is not cramping up. I have my new journal lying ready as it is, so I don’t need to worry about running out of paper.
I need to get ready for the doctor’s appointment, the business meeting and well, all other things that will happen today.
A feeling of great pleasure, contentment or Joy. There is a reason why you were drawn to this. Perhaps your soul is extending an invitation to you, an invitation to get in touch with the deepest part of yourself.
One day a doctor was sitting with a patient who had a heart disease, and he asked him, why do you want to get better?
The patient was quite obviously perplexed. The patient said, “Doesn’t everybody want to get better when they’re sick?” Yes, the doctor said, but why do you want to get better?
He replied “If I get better, I can go back to work and make more money”
For some unknown reason, the doctor persisted in asking him why, why do you want to make more money?
Apparently amused, he agreed to play the game and said “It is because I want to send my son to a good university”
The doctor asked him why he wanted to send his son to a good university.
The doctor kept repeating his question. In the end he finally said “I want to be HAPPY.”
You can try this yourself. Ask anyone what they want, and when they tell you what they want, keep asking why, until you hear the ultimate answer “I want to be happy”.
Happiness seems to be the goal of all other goals, and yet most people seek happiness in a roundabout way. As I talked to the people, I got the idea “why not make happiness our primary goal? Why seek happiness through all these second hand means?” I discovered something even more interesting. If we make happiness our primary goal instead of our secondary goal, then everything else we desire is easily accomplished.
In many spiritual traditions it has been said that if you seek the highest first, everything else comes to you. Most people say “I’m happy because, because I have family and friends, because I have a great job, because I have money and security.” All these reasons for happiness are tenuous; they come and go like the passing breeze.
When happiness eludes us, we seek pleasure through addictive behaviours in the unconscious hope that we will find joy. External causes of happiness never create real joy. Joy is an internal state of consciousness that determines how we perceive and experience the world. The internal source of joy, our connection to our creator, our source, and our inner self is the cause, while happiness is its effect.
Happiness is a state of consciousness that already exists within us, but it’s often covered up by all kinds of distractions. Upon discovering this joy, wonderful and miraculously things begin to happen. We find ourselves becoming beacons of light and love, and our very presence nurtures the environment around us. People are drawn to support our desires, and even nature responds to our intentions.
Let us motivate ourselves and others, so that no one can ever think of ending his or her life. One must learn to be patient, calm and optimistic in the most difficult situations and with this belief happiness will always be there in you.