Lessons of Love #5

Being A Couple Doesn’t Mean That You’re No Longer An Individual

Why is it that sometimes, we commit so much of ourselves to our relationship that we feel like we no longer know who we are? This is something that Jessica and I have talked about for a while now. Whether it be our own personal experiences or those of our friends and family, everyone has been or knows someone who has been in that place. That place where they don’t know who they are anymore because their personality was all based on their relationship. I know that I’ve been there before and I wondered how I got to that point and what I could have done to avoid it. Do we simply forget who we are when we are in a relationship or is there something else at play?

That question has always bothered and baffled me, mostly because I know that I have felt like that in the past. However, thanks to some sound advice, and a few inspiring examples in my life, I’ve been able to understand why this happens and how to avoid it. Most importantly among those things that I’ve learned is to never forget that you’re an individual before you’re a couple. Though that may sound obvious to some people, the fact is that sometimes it’s not obvious. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about then try asking yourself this question: Did you do what you wanted to do this week, or did you do what you thought your partner would like to do this week?

If you answer is that you did what you wanted to do, then you’re being an individual in a relationship. If your answer is that you did what you thought your partner would like to do, then you’re losing your individuality to your relationship. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do things that your partner likes doing, but I am saying that you should never stop doing the things that make you happy. The second that we forget to do the things that make us happy, is the second that we forget who we are. Making your partner happy is essential to any relationship, but don’t let yourself forget that your happiness is just as important. After all, you got into your relationship because it made you happy right?

Never forget to be yourself first. I hope that this little post gave some insight to people out there wondering why they feel like they’ve lost their personality to their relationship and how to get it back. Happy Friday to everyone and thanks for stopping by!

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Solar Freakin Roadways

Above is a video titled “Solar Freakin Roadways”, which is the campaign kick starter by Indiegogo that was intended to capture the attention of big time investors. With a goal of one million dollars to get an initial prototype project underway, the campaign was flooded with more than two million dollars and over 48,000 supporters in just a couple of months. Needless to say, these solar powered roadways, sidewalks and parking lots are pretty amazing. Aside from providing energy solutions, these roadways could open up a new market for job creation and also generate income from an unlimited supply of renewable energy.

As you watch the video, you’ll notice that the benefits of having solar powered roadways are countless. The installation of these roadways would call for an underground electrical channel which could be used in conjunction with each cities electrical infrastructure to remove the use of power lines. Heated solar roadways would also prevent the buildup of snow during the winter months which would result in less corrosive damage from salt, safer travel and savings from minimizing snow plow costs. Regular streets have to constantly be repaved and patched up wherever potholes appear, another possibly obsolete problem solved with solar roadways.

Each of the solar panels is lined with a high impact resistant material to prevent damage and also with LED lights which could be used in a number of configurations. For instance, let’s say there’s an accident up ahead, the LED lights could signal for you to slow down or merge lanes. Parking lots could be rearranged as needed in seconds because with the LED lights in place, painting the space will not be necessary. Like I said before, the benefits are seemingly endless so it’s best if you watch the whole video. I myself was a little skeptical at first, but the video convinced me otherwise. I believe this stuff could change the world one day and it could make our country an energy independent nation if taken seriously. So enjoy the clip and thanks for stopping by!

Lessons of Love #3

Why you lost those butterflies in your stomach and how to get those puppies back.

Of all the things that I’ve learned from my relationship with my girlfriend Jessica, no lesson was harder to learn than lesson # 3. Let me explain why it’s probably going to be as difficult for you as it was for me. From a very young age, the majority of us are taught to believe that love is some sort of mystical force that binds two people together forever. Were taught to believe that when we meet our soul mate, that we will know immediately and live happily ever after with them from that day forward. As ridiculous as it may sound to you now, the truth is that most of us (myself included) believe in this myth, even if we don’t realize that we do. However, the fact is that this myth is no truer than Santa Claus or the Tooth fairy is. Recognizing that fact is the first step to understanding real love and the reason why the butterflies likely went missing.

I remember when I first started dating Jessica I would tell everyone how amazing she was, how perfect everything was and how in love we were. I felt so overwhelmed with love that I couldn’t hold back a smile even if I was at a funeral. It was as though all of my senses were amplified and my thoughts were occupied solely with her, making me feel both crazy and more alive than ever before. However, sooner or later, this intense feeling begins to fade and reality returns. All of a sudden the butterflies are gone, your partner no longer seems as perfect as they once did and both of you begin to show your true colors to each other. What happened? Were you mistaken about your feelings? Did you rush into things too quickly? Thousands of questions begin to race through your mind and doubt begins to push its way into your thoughts.

The reason that we hit this wall of doubt after being so sure about one another could only be explained by scientific research. What scientists have discovered is that our brains release a chemical called Oxytocin when we first begin to date a person. This chemical is what produces the effects that make us feel crazy in love and completely overwhelmed with emotion. But once two people have been together for anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, they stop producing this chemical all together. The result is that we begin to think clearly again and no longer feel this sensation of butterflies in our stomach. Scientists believe that the reason why we developed this instinctual chemical release in the first place was so that our species would multiply and increase our chances for future survival (aka. Have sex and make babies). While I understand that the idea of some magical binding force may sound so much more romantic then an instinctual chemical release, the reality is that this initial sensation that we all experience is no more than an evolutionary instinct passed down from generation to generation.

Lucky for you and your significant other, you both have a tool more powerful than Oxytocin or any other chemical in the brain, to attain true love. That tool is choice. This is the hard part to comprehend. In order to attain true and lasting love, you and your partner must both CHOOSE to love each other each and every single day. Being in love is not something that just happens on its own, but rather it is something that you must work hard for. Before you start to feel like you did on the day that you found out your parents were Santa Claus, hear me out. Yes, choosing to love someone is a difficult task and sometimes even a pain in the ass, but the reward for doing so is greater than you could ever imagine. The reason why I say that is because after realizing that your significant other chooses to love you every single day, is that you are able to truly appreciate that person and their commitment to you.

As for getting those butterflies back, you first have to talk to your significant other and explain to them how real love works. Discuss what you learned and be patient with each other, this isn’t something that can be done in 20 minutes, trust me. Now if choosing to love each other is something that both of you decide to do, then get ready to experience the real magic. As far as the butterflies are concerned, I recommend that you try doing this. For one whole week, spoil your partner every single day. For my budget friendly couples, don’t worry, you don’t have to break the bank. Things like picking flowers one day, writing a note the next day and/or burning a CD with their favorite songs are just as good as buying them a gift or taking them to a restaurant. Believe me that by the end of the week your significant other is going to be so overwhelmed with love that they will have no choice but to reciprocate that love. Finally, after all of your hard work and patience, you’ll find that those ever so elusive butterflies have returned at last!

 

Lessons of Love #1

 A relationship always has room for improvement.

About a year or two ago I remember my girlfriend Jessica asked me if I was truly happy with our relationship. I remember thinking then that our relationship was good enough. That was the problem. “Good enough” is just another way of saying tolerable. Neither of us wanted to say it but we were lacking something from our relationship. It lost its momentum somewhere along the way and comfort replaced feelings of passion. We soon realized that we were not satisfied with a relationship that was just “good enough”. We wanted more. We wanted a relationship that was amazing, like it was when we first started dating. That’s when a miracle happened. Someone recommended a book on relationships to Jessica, which she went on to read. When she was finished she begged me to read it. So I opened up the book and started learning about the art of giving and receiving love. That was a turning point for us.

After reading and applying what this book taught us, our relationship improved astronomically. That’s when it hit me. Relationships, like anything else, improve with practice, dedication and hard work. If you never put any time or effort into learning how to improve your relationship and then apply those lessons, you shouldn’t expect a relationship to get any better than it already is. Once those initial butterflies start to disappear, you and your significant other are faced with a choice. Either part ways and look for someone else, or choose to continue loving each other and work on bringing those elusive butterflies back. If you’re thinking of the latter, then I suggest that you start making an effort to learn more about relationships and love. None of us were born as experts in anything, so don’t assume that you can’t learn something new about love or relationships. Personally I recommend that you read a book titled, “The Five Love Languages”. This book has been the equivalent of the Bible for me, as far as relationships are concerned, and I’m certain that it could help you too.

Today my relationship is stronger than it has ever been. This does not mean that we don’t fight, argue or get on each other’s nerves because we certainly do, a lot. But rather it means that both of us make a genuine effort to love each other better each day. I hope this lesson of love helped some of you out there looking for answers.

What about you? Did you read a book, attend a seminar or meet with a counselor that changed your relationship for the better? Tell me more about it, I would love to hear your story of love and what you learned.

Cannibal Warlord, General “Butt Naked”

Do you remember the last time that you ate a child’s heart so that you could be invincible in battle? Can’t recall ever doing so? Well take a look at this documentary that I found on youtube.com. The documentary was produced by Vice News, a news agency that does in depth reporting across the globe. In this documentary Shane Smith, Vice News co-founder and field correspondent, travels to the west African nation of Liberia to investigate the so called Cannibal Warlords that live there. Let me warn you that the documentary has some strong content.

After exploring several parts of Liberia, Shane Smith lands a shady interview with former General “Butt Naked.” The general, who gave himself the name “Butt Naked”, explains the origin of his name to Shane. He tells the reporter that he chose this name because of his combat strategy during Liberia’s civil war. A strategy in which he would instruct his rebel soldiers to strip down completely before battle. Once fully nude, he would have his soldiers bring an innocent child to him for ritualistic purposes. He would then cut the child’s heart out of his/her chest, while still alive, and have each of his soldiers consume a piece of it. General “Butt Naked” explained to his soldiers that this sacrifice would bring them magical powers in combat and make them invincible. Only then would the General and his soldiers go into battle, while still completely nude I should add. This ritual of sacrifice was repeated before every single battle, thus causing the needless slaughter of hundreds of innocent children during the war.

Today General “Butt Naked” spends his days preaching to his community. He converted to Christianity after the war and now preaches at churches around Liberia about his struggle with his violent past. Former victims of his cannibal rituals say that he converted to Christianity only to avoid punishment for his war crimes. So the former general’s life is now in constant danger of attack from people affected by his military past. According to him these are false accusations. He says that the reason he converted to Christianity was so that he could be a better person and more importantly a better father to his young daughter. Though he takes the full blame for his actions, he recognizes that if his parents would have raised him instead of abandon him, then he might be a different man today. That thought is what motivates him to be a better father and a better person with the help of Christianity.

I tried to put myself in his shoes and imagine what life must have been like for him in Liberia. I wonder what kind of trauma he experienced before deciding that killing children and eating their hearts was the right thing to do. Maybe he’s just a psychopath with no remorse, incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. However it seems odd to me that a person who is incapable of knowing right from wrong would choose to devote the rest of his life to Christianity seeking forgiveness for his sins. The question of whether or not this man should be executed for his crimes remains a mixed issue. Does punishing a person’s ignorance with death solve the issue of ignorance? Does not punishing this man solve the issue of ignorance? I’m not sure what the solution is, if there even is a solution, but what I do know is that this country and its people are completely foreign to me. I will pray for them and hope that change comes sooner than later…

I would love to hear from someone living in Liberia. If you are from there or have family that lives there, please reply to this blog post. I want to hear your story and know what it is like for you as a citizen of Liberia. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Post Sources

cia.gov

youtube.com

Liberia in Africa Liberia with neighbors

Source (Picture 1)                                                                              Source (Picture 2)

 

 

15 Quick Facts about Liberia

Official Language: English (Though only 20% of the population exclusively speaks English)

President: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, since 2006 (She was reelected in 2011 with 90.7% of the total vote in her favor)

Religion: 85.6% Christian, 12.2% Muslim

Total Population: 4,092,310

Capital: Monrovia

Median Age of Population: 18 years old (U.S. median age: 37 years old)

Sanitation Facility Access: 18.2% of the total population (81.8% with no access to restrooms or sewage infrastructure)

Health Expenditures: 19.5% of GDP

Physician Density: 0.01 Physicians/1000 people (Whatever you do don’t get sick in Liberia)

Education Expenditures: 2.8% of GDP

Total GDP: $2.89 Billion U.S. Dollars (Mark Zuckerberg’s Net Worth: $26.6 Billion U.S. Dollars)

Average Annual Income (Per Person): $700.00 U.S. Dollars (Qatar’s average is the highest at: $102,100 U.S. Dollars)

Privately Owned T.V. Stations: 3

Total Internet Users: 20,000 people (That’s less than 1% of the entire population)

Transnational Issues: Human Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Civil Unrest, Refugee Disputes with Neighboring Countries