Back to Love Basics 7, The Plus Side of Solitude Sucks

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in trying to find our soulmate that we forget about the pleasures of being alone. In case your suffering from the solitude sucks syndrome, may I suggest the benefits of not having someone else around to share life with.

Consider these advantages of being one and only one-

1. Living alone means making the bed is optional rather than submit to the control freak compulsions of a significant other.
2. Being alone means that making pancakes for breakfast on Friday at 9 p.m. requires no excuses.
3. Lonely people don’t have to share the last cookie not to mention feel the least bit guilty eating it.
4. Being alone means you can squeeze the toothpaste tube any darn way you want.
5. Alone means you can watch any television channel you want or those dvd’s you’ve been too embarrassed to share, and drink all the beer or eat all the ice cream you feel like in the comfort of your underwear, without any snarky feedback except perhaps from the pleading eyes of your dog. Okay, if you’ve got a dog you can’t possibly be lonely and don’t need to read the rest of this list.
6. Being alone means you need not explain to anyone just why you feel like blowing up balloons and then stoping on them after a trying day at work.
7. Alone means you can change the color of lipstick you wear every day without your room mate asking “Is something the matter?”
8. Single means that when you order a medium pizza you suddenly have enough “food” to last two entire days.
9. Being alone makes grocery shopping so much easier. “Did she say Toastie Crunchies” or was it “Chocolate Crispies?”
10. There is a singular bliss in solitude knowing that you can fart however and whenever you want.
11. Sleeping alone means you don’t have to pretend you are sleeping when he/she comes home late wanting to talk. Another plus on the subject of sleep is that alone means you don’t have to worry about snoring, unless, like me, you snore so loud you wake yourself up.
12. Being alone means you already have the one audience who will always listen to you. Yourself.
13. Perhaps the greatest gift of being alone is that now you are absolutely, totally available to whatever opportunity comes along. This means that when that elder gentleman in the tuxedo and top hat walks up to lonely you sitting by yourself in the coffee shop and says, “Excuse me, I can see that you are lonely and my anonymous employer has authorized me to hand you this round the world travel ticket including a check for $500,000 to cover expenses. The only stipulation is you must leave this week and you must travel alone.”

Of course, you can have only one answer…

“Me?”

And lastly, being “alone” makes you part of one of the world’s biggest ironies.

Consider this, you are sitting in solitude, feeling down, hoping that your life will change. At this very moment, all around the planet, there are millions of fellow loners just like you, with similar thoughts. Conclusion: you are actually surrounded by a sea of fellow solos. None of you are even close to alone.

I’m waiting for someone to stand up in Starbucks and shout, “Hey! Is anybody else lonely here?”

I’m listening…

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You might also enjoy: Seattle Sun, Soulmates at Starbucks

Jumping Off

leaning out the open door
time roars by
it’s gone
no more
I wonder what my life might be
had I the courage to jump free

behind me in the train’s cocoon
dreams fly off to distant moons
faces glued to heartless screens
joyless stares and silent screams

and so we travel every day
secure and safe or so we say
the child no longer comes to play
the status quo will have its way

will I stay an untold story
remain in hopeless purgatory
pretending that I care no more
soul crying for its need to soar

then I jumped off into space
the unknown flying in my face
It’s not clear where I will land
no matter
I am free again

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You might also enjoy : Life is Like a Broken Egg, Paddling a Submarine vs. Living an Authentic Life.

Back to Love Basics 4, Friends First

There are the naive few who believe that the way to climb Mt. Everest is to simply by an airline ticket to Nepal, some equipment, and set off to climb the world’s tallest peak, in spite of the fact that they can’t climb the stairs to their bedroom without pausing to catch their breath.

In early years, I was one of the naive minds who took the same approach to building loving relationships.

Consider my first attempt at landing a date-

After years of angst and hours in front of the mirror practicing my technique while trying to cover up uncontrollable acne, I finally got up the nerve to ask Julie out. Seriously hot, Julie had sat in front of me in homeroom for more than two years without me ever saying more than a shy “hello.”

She was standing in front of her locker when I came up beside her.

Julie turned and looked at me.

There was an awkward silence.

She smiled, “Can I help you?”

Stammer. Stutter. Blurt, “Will you go out with me!”

Her smile grew bigger. Either she thought this was a joke or she decided to humor my sweaty neediness.

“Sure,” she said calmly,and added, “what are we going to do?” as she turned to put her books in the locker.

There was a clatter as I feinted against the nearby lockers. An affirmative response had not been anticipated.

Startled by her suitor’s sudden swoon, Julie turned and asked, “are you okay?”

Obviously not, as my many practice scenes in front of the mirror had not included any happy endings.

Another nervous pause.

Longer pause.

Finally, an inspiration popped to mind.

My mouth opened, “and I spoke, “the fish are running. Let’s go to the hatchery and watch them strip eggs.”

There was a loud crash as Julie’s books fell to the floor, followed by resounding echoes of hysterical laughter.

“Are you for real?” she questioned, unable to contain her mirth as I scurried to pick up her books, which I handed to her and then vanished into social reclusion.

Okay. That didn’t turn out as hoped for. It took many months of counseling sessions with my dog, Homer, and many more sessions in front of the mirror, not to mention many more tubes of acne cream, before I finally came up with a date pitch that worked.

I think the winning line was, “Wanna go midnight bowling?”

Although the exact words fail me, I do remember the ensuing experience, painfully etched into the failed relationship files in my mind.

It started out well enough. We walked into the bowling alley, I paid for shoes and drinks, and we claimed our lane. Tina, or maybe it was Shawna, I’ve a tendency to erase negative memories as soon as possible, seemed quite comfortable with the game. I carefully studied her form, and then her bowling technique, noticing she’d already thrown six strikes to my similar number of gutter balls. At this point, she also threw a gutter ball, perhaps a touch of pity coming over her when she looked at the score.

Tina returned to her seat and began to sip her drink. I picked up my ball and turned to face my pins.

Suddenly, bolstered by caffeinated Coke courage, I spun around, bowling ball gripped tightly in both hands, and blurted out, “will you marry me?”

Tina continued to sip her Coke, staring at me, a blank expression in her eyes.

I anxiously repeated my request, “Will you marry me?”

This time there was a response. She dropped the Coke. It fell to the floor and exploded all over my yellow and pink bowling shoes. I dropped the bowling ball as I stared down at the brown liquid chaos. I watched the large black ball fall in slow motion towards my unsuspecting toes.

“Owwww!!!” Again, the exact word escapes me as have most painful relationship memories.

As I danced in agony, the ball rolled into the gutter. another scoreless night as Tina’s bright red hair exited the premises.

Okay. That didn’t work so well either.

Neither did numerous subsequent efforts. Keep in mind that the emotional turmoil that resulted from these failures took months to recover from, and many more counseling sessions with Homer, who is not only much cheaper than a psychologist, he also gives free face licks when he sees me lying despondent on the couch.

Yes, admittedly I’m a slow learner, especially when it concerns social matters. However, to my credit, eventually I did figure out something important.

It is much better to have great friends than to have occasional great sex. Good friends I look forward to seeing again and again. I can’t say as much for some sex partners, although I’m sure those partners couldn’t say much good about me.

I adopted a new dating and relationship strategy. Friends first. I decided that the intimacy I really wanted, that feeling of closeness and security was only possible by building friendship, a process that takes time and commitment. Friendship is not a one night stand. Yes, the bliss of sexual pleasure is alluring, but is often a momentary illusion, a glimpse of something grander. But that something is only possible with dedication to building a mutually rewarding relationship.

May I suggest that if you’re intent on climbing the Mt. Everest of Love, start with “Friends First.”

I don’t expect anyone, especially those youthful in years and filled with love fantasies and raging hormones, to pay much attention to my advice. Each of us must find our own way in life,but I hope you take the time to seriously consider the true value of friendship.

If there is someone special you’d like to be involved with, start with friendship first. If this works and the two of you become respectful, trusting, and supportive of each other, new doorways will open.

Friends first, because if you can’t be friends, why bother?.

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Looking for more Love and Relationship Help? Get “Remedies for Reluctant Romantics, 100 Ways to Win the Love Game” FREE when you sign up for my newsletter. Subscribe with the widget on the right side of my blog.

You might also enjoy: Starting Over Again, Back to Love Basics; Back to Love Basics 3, Give the Love You Want

Back to Love Basics 3, Leap for Love!

Yes, it’s February 29, an extra day because it’s a Leap Year, So do something special today.
Leap for Love!

bc_FRONT_1.15.08

Love is not likely to find you if you’re not looking and leaping for it.
Leap for Love in 2016!

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You might also enjoy: Starting Over Again, Back to Love Basics, Back to Love Basics 2, Give the Love You Want

Back to Love Basics 2, Give the Love You Want

Are you smiling? Just checking to see if you read my previous post about loving yourself and learning how to dribble the Love Ball.

Remember, it’s all about smiling.

Assuming you’ve done you’re Back to Love Basics homework, let’s move on to Lesson 2, “Give the Love You Want.”

Let;s consider how Frank is currently dealing with his loveless reality-

Frank, entering the coffee shop, notes that his favorite server, Coffee Girl, is at the counter and silently falls in line, immediately behind a sweet little lady who smiles at him.

Frank stares blankly back at her.

Two guys about Frank’s age come up behind him, talking about last night’s basketball game which the home team lost on a last second missed
shot..
‘Can you believe a guy who makes a million a year missed a simple layup,” says one of the guys.

Frank, who had watched the game, was similarly incensed but says nothing.

Suddenly, Frank is standing at the counter in front of Coffee Girl, an attractive young woman who he has had a crush on for weeks.

He stammers, then blurts out, “double espresso.”

“Double expresso coming up,” says Coffee Girl with a smile, and takes Frank’s money.

She hands Frank his change and leaves him with “Have a great day!”

Heartbroken that his secret crush did not invite him to dinner, Frank sulks over to the pickup counter.

Does any of this sound familiar? This situation is not gender specific. Frank might be Francesca. Coffee Girl might be Coffee Guy, or any number of possibilities. The point is someone who wants love,perhaps someone like you, is stammering at the service counter.

What might Frank have done differently to change the outcome here?

First, let’s get clear about what Frank and millions of lonely love wannabes really want. Frank thinks he wants an intimate loving relationship in is life, and he’d really like it to be with the darling Coffee Girl. The problem is that Frank has got his “wants” mixed up with his “needs.”

Sure, I’d like to have a brand new Porsche to rod around in. No mind that I’m blind but it sounds great doesn’t it.

The Porsche may be what I want, but what I really need is dependable transportation. Frank may want the fantasy relationship with Coffee Girl but what he really needs is more loving attention in his life.

Here’s how Frank could have got what he “needed”-

First, when the sweet little lady smiled at him, all he had to do was smile back. He might even have said, “Good morning.”

I guarantee her smile would have broadened and she have ans

I guarantee the lady would have smiled even more and probably answered him with another “Good morning to you.”

A small thing, but this interaction would have left Frank feeling good.

And how about the two guys behind him? Frank could have said, “Yeah, I saw that game. What a putz, he should have to pay a day’s salary for that miss.”

From this, Frank would have gotten the momentary camaraderie of three guys reliving a flash of vicarious outrage.

Again, not a big thing, but Frank would have felt good for having connected with other beings who shared a common life interest.

Then, there is the moment with Coffee Girl. Frank simply sates his order, nothing more. He doesn’t smile. He doesn’t greet the young woman.

Nothing but, “Double espresso.”

What if Frank simply said, “Hi! How are you today?”

Coffee girl would probably answer, “Great, thanks! How can I help you?”

Then Frank puts out his “double espresso, please!” with a little gusto.

For a smile and a few words, Frank actually gets to connect with Coffee Girl. No, she’s not going to marry him just yet, but I’m sure Frank would feel hugely better for having this encounter at the counter.

What is the lesson from Frank’s experience and, to be sure, the experiences of millions of other folks like him seeking love in the world?

Give the Love you want.

That’s it. If you want people to pay attention to you in positive ways, pay attention to them first.

Smile at people and they will, most often, smile back.

Greet people and they will, most often, greet you back.

Reinforce what someone else says and, most often, they will welcome your support.

If you want love in your life, give it first.

Please note that I believe the best way to do this is to love everyone around you, from the little ladies in line to the grumpy old farts who live next door. The more you open up and give love, the easier it is to open up and give love to someone you might be afraid of, like Coffee Girl.

What happens if someone chooses not to respond to your gracious outpourings? Move on. Some folks just are not going to have a good day no matter what. Keep smiling. Keep putting Love out there. You’ll feel much better for the effort.

Okay, time for this week’s “Back to Love Basics” homework-

For the next 7 days, give the Love you want. Make an effort to communicate in a positive way with everyone you meet. yes, last week you smiled at everyone, especially yourself. Start with a smile, add a greeting, then perhaps even ask, “How are you today?”

If you really want to get things going, add a compliment with your greeting.

“Hello, my, what a beautiful hat!”

“Hi, what a great smile you have!”

“Wow! Where did you get that haircut? I’ve always wanted a Mohawk!”

I’m not giving you a number of times to do this, counting past 10 seems to have created difficulties for some. Rather, just make an honest effort.

Smile, greet, say something nice. Do it with Everyone from kids to seniors and, yes, of course, even Coffe Girl or Coffee Guy.

Keep dribbling that Love Ball team!

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You might also enjoy : Starting Over Again, Back to Love Basics, A Mirrored Smile

Starting Over Again, Back to Love Basics

A funny thing happened when I looked at who had checked out my last blog post, “The Love Game, For Guys Only.” I discovered that, For all my good intentions, I completely missed the mark attempting to serve the needs of my reading audience.

A large number of my blog visitors are seeking relationship help and love advice. My mistake was thinking most of these folks were already in relationships and wanted ideas on how they could not just survive their intimate partnerships but thrive together.

It turns out that many of my blog visitors are on the outside looking in. They can’t win the Love Game because they’re not even in it yet.

Dear relationship wannabes, I feel your pain. But, unlike most of you, I’ve got fifty years of trial and error experience with this subject, and I can help you if you sincerely wish to grow yourself into a more loving human being and will do the work to make this so.

I’m offering you my Back to Love Basics Series, an opportunity for you to learn how to get in the Love Game, and perhaps even discover happiness and fulfillment along the way.

Here we go-

Back to Love Basics Lesson One: First, Love Yourself

Okay, I can hear the groans. C’mon Tio, I’ve tried all that feel good, affirmation, positive thinking stuff.

My answer, maybe so, but please play along for a moment. This gets better, and it’s REALLY simple.

“First, Love Yourself,” is the only true foundation for building successful, mutually supportive loving relationships.

I’m going to skip by all the reasons people don’t love themselves, all the rationalization that occurs to justify low self-esteem. Rather, I’m going straight to Love Basics. I’m going to teach you how to start loving yourself right now.

I’m going to teach you how to dribble the Love Ball.

That’s right, like basketball. To learn how to play basketball, you first must learn how to dribble the ball. You learn how to dribble the ball before you shoot baskets and pass to team mates . In the Love Game, you need to learn how to dribble the Love Ball before you can score points with potential partners or make successful passes at them.

In the Love Game, the Love Ball is self love.

Repeat after me: The Love Ball is Self Love.

Now, this part is really amazing. Take a deep breath, let it out, and read this-

The way to dribble the Love Ball is to Smile!

Again-

The Way to Dribble the Love Ball is to Smile!

No, I’m not joking. Here’s how it works-

When you smile, you not only stretch the muscles on your face and perhaps even show a few teeth, you send a message to your mind that says “Happy!” Your brain is shot up with feel good hormones. You feel different.

You feel “Happy!””

Yes, sometimes the message is a little “happy,” and sometimes it’s a big “HAPPY!” It doesn’t matter, because any “Happy!” feels good. And, since smiles are self-activated, when you smile you are making yourself feel good.

When you smile, you are loving yourself.

No, I’m not going to get into any existentialist arguments on the meaning of “Happiness.” This is my blog and I’m choosing to equate “Happiness!” with feeling good and love. If you want to take another tack, please feel free to do so on your own ocean.

My purpose here is to help relationship wannabes get into the Love Game. With that, I offer you the first Back to Love Basics Exercise: Smile!

For the next seven days, I want you to smile at least one hundred times each day. I want you to smile when you see your surprised face in the mirror. I want you to smile when you spill coffee on your work clothes and have to change your outfit. I want you to smile at everyone you meet on the street, on the bus, in the elevator, standing in line to get another cup of coffee, smile, smile, smile.

No, don’t leer. No Jack Nicholson “Shining” weird smiles. Just curl your lips upward, stretch your jaw muscles, flash some teeth and that’s it. No need to say a word. In fact, for this exercise it’s better to say nothing.

Seven days. 100 smiles each day. Big smiles,little smiles, just smile, smile, smile.

I guarantee that in one week, you will feel better about yourself and life, because if you honestly do the work here, you will love yourself more in one week than most of you have loved yourselves in months.

Seven days. 100 smiles each day. No need to say a word, but pay attention to the reactions you get. Let me know what happens.

Next time, Back to Love Basics Lesson Two: Give the Love You Want.

Now Smile!

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Love, Is There a Simple Formula for Happy Relationships?

Love. We all want it, but few of us have learned how to make it happen in our lives. I’ve certainly fallen on my face for love more times than I can remember. It would have been nice to have a mentor for how to be good at love.

Here’s a recent article that sheds light on the ingredients of successful loving relationships. Yes, it’s a long and challenging article, but my experience is that successful loving relationships are challenging and take a lot of work. Please pay attention to how damaging even a few negative comments are to a relationship.

http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/love-in-the-age-of-big-data/

Love bigger! Love better!

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