Lessons of Love #4

It’s not what you said but how you said it…

Have you reached that point in your relationship where you and your partner find yourselves telling each other everything that you hate about each other? I know that I’ve certainly been there before and I began to wonder why a person who hates so many things about me would want to be with me. Telling your partner how much you hate it when they do something will do two things. First it will make you resent one another for being so negative and secondly it will start a chain reaction of telling each other all of the things that you hate about them. Plus, whatever it is that you want your partner to stop doing won’t happen because their already upset and likely not listening. This doesn’t mean that you can’t tell each other what you don’t like but it does mean that you have to communicate with each other better.

Let’s say that your partner is disorganized and constantly leaves their clothes on the floor. This frustrates the living guts out of you and you want them to stop leaving the floor a mess. Instead of telling them how much you despise it when they leave their clothes on the floor, it is much more effective to tell them that you would truly appreciate it if they would pick up their clothes. You can say something like, “John, I would really appreciate it if you could put your clothes away. I like having my floor clean and if you did that it would really make me happy.” Just by changing your words around, you avoid insulting your partner, avoid making them resent you and you still communicated your dislike of their actions.

It seems like a small thing now, but in the long run, you will both be much happier. I remember when my girlfriend and I were telling each other how much we hated things about the other feeling so upset all of the time. When we finally started changing the way that we addressed issues with each other it was like we were in a totally different relationship. I never listened to her when she said that she hated something because hearing those words made me angry from the second they were uttered and vice-a-versa. But now when she tells me that she would like it if I would do something for her because it is important to her I listen and try to make her happy.

Choosing the right words to say is a powerful tool in a relationship. If you could get to the point where you no longer tell each other how much you hate things then you will find how little you hate anything anymore. I hope that this advice helps someone out there who feels stuck in their relationship and is starting to doubt whether or not to stay in it. I would love to hear back from you guys on your relationship struggles and achievements. Did you encounter this problem and were you able to fix it? Let me know what you think and thanks for stopping by.

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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