Intellectual Intercourse: The Battle Between the Heart & the Brain

“Your heart is a weapon the size of your fist. Keep fighting. Keep loving.” 

We as human beings harbor an internal battlefield. We have two (sometimes three) organs in our body that are vying for our attention and submission. Sometimes we let the heart take the lead, making decisions based on overwhelming passion. Other times we listen to our brains, carefully considering consequence. In either instance, the entirety of the individual is held accountable for the sum of its parts.

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In case you are part the population of those who greet me with furrowed brows when I say that I watch the Bachelor (…and play in a fantasy league…), let me give you a brief recap. Each season, contestants have two months to find out if they could potentially be set up with the love of their life. On the outside looking in, it seems laughable. Can you really fall in love in two short months, where your attention is being split amongst many? Isn’t that a lot of pressure?

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When it came down to the final two last night, it was a battle of Heart vs. Brain. Bryan, the heart, gave Rachel the passionate confidence that he was ready to be her husband. Peter, the brain, was in love enough to speak the honest truth: that he wasn’t ready to speak for forever. Rachel, wanting a ring at the end of this thing, was not happy with that response. This was the first time that a Bachelorette didn’t have to make the ultimate decision, it was made for her.

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There are bouts of time when you’re acting with your brain, yet speak from your heart. Peter told Rachel, if she wants to rush into a proposal, she can go find someone to have a mediocre life with. Her and Peter broke up, and she accepted a proposal from Bryan. Although this break up was fueled by the brain, it was more emotional than the proposal, which was led by a passionately pumping heart.

Rachel and Bryan’s relationship will never be mediocre. The love is certainly there, but there takes much more to know if a relationship will stand the test of time. How much of a relationship can we physically process in just two months?

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Who knows what circumstances would have let Peter let his heart take the reins? Maybe what they say is true, that the brain is the most outstanding organ, that works for 24 hours, 365 days, right from birth until you fall in love. That’s when the heart starts pumping, and never looks back. When this happens, you better hope you’ve prepared well enough, back in the day when your brain was in the driver’s seat.

As someone who leads with their brain, I feel you Peter. But, we can’t let our hearts get rusty. If you don’t use it you lose it, and us mindful decision makers are in danger of missing out of those free-falling emotions associated with leading with your heart. Life is a balance, and if the give isn’t equal to the take, then maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner & love is in the air! 💓 Go follow @the_best_date_ever to follow the adventures of our Out There Socialite Bri & her boyfriend Chris as they quit their NYC jobs, dropped their leases, booked flights, & are traveling the world! 💏✈️

The Plight of “the cool girl”

We’ve heard it before, that nice guys finish last… But we hardly talk about the how the “cool girl” trails behind.

Behind every cool girl is a world of stories. Stories of open hearts and open wounds. The cool girl knows what she’s feeling and when she’s feeling it, but will suppress it, making sure your comfort comes first. When she does express herself, she does so eloquently, with a rhyme and a reason. She balances her heart and her head, and will bite her tongue before saying too much… Because she always keeps her cool. The cool girl is a catch. She’ll possess the traits that you’re looking for, no strings attached. But why buy the cow when you can get the cool girl for free?

Deep down, the cool girl isn’t as cool as she seems. There’s a whirlwind of uncoolness that lies beyond the surface. Her mind moves faster than her mouth, as she’s constantly processing her fearful thoughts. Insecurities and anxieties from those prior who have dubbed her, a really cool girl. Her walls are built up bigger than her body, but occasionally, when she’s feeling particularly brave, she’ll let them down… For somebody that she finds pretty cool. She’ll be acknowledged for the cool girl that she is, nothing more, nothing less.

The cool girl always contemplates losing her cool, since it’s the crazy girls who seem to be living it right. The ones who demand. Who expect. Who receive. But when it comes down to it, the cool girl doesn’t have it in her. She’d rather call a spade a spade with tears in her eyes than pretend that spade is a diamond. She’ll pick and try again, no matter how many times it takes to get it right. Why? Because she’s pretty fucking cool.

Dating is Weird 

What’s a date nowadays anyway? Does Netflix and chill count if you’re legitimately chillin’? 

Back in the day, a guy would give a girl his varsity jacket, and they would go steady. They would go get milkshakes and dance the night away at the sock hop…

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I tend to look at this whole dating game from a very black and white point of view. While yes, grey areas exist (sometimes 50 shades of them), a polarized perspective helps to shed light on these shadowy spots. 

Not only is my perspective made up of millennials swiping left and right, I have a glimpse into the 50+ dating scene with my mom being a single fish in a world of plenty of them.

What I learned: it doesn’t matter what age you are, a careful combination of these things will dictate your dating habits:

The Ghosts of Relationships Past

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You can’t change the past, but you have a say in how it affects your future. In the world of ex’s, there are two main types: 

The one who leaves you optimistic

These are the relationships that ended for the right reasons. There was a mutual love and respect for each other, allowing you to walk away- self worth, dignity and confidence still in tact. It is more than likely you will remain friends, because you will always support this person on their future, although you knew well enough that you couldn’t be a part of it. 

The one who leaves you pessimistic

These are the ones that make you never want to have another feeling again in your life. The pain that you have felt at any point before, during, or after this relationship makes you want to bottle away any inkling of new feelings, and bury them deep inside. You have loved, and you have lost, and you never want anything to do with either ever again. The single life is the life for you. #NoFeelingsNoCeilings 

Shades of Grey…

Balancing the ghosts of exs and ohs (they’ll haunt you… thanks Elle King), is not an easy task. While in many ways I wish I never met the one who has left me so pessimistic, he has been a necessary evil in balancing out my optimism, making me: a realist.

I know that bad relationships exist, but I’m also aware of the possibility of great ones, which I won’t cut myself off from. My past has made me protective of my feelings, but I still acknowledge them. I’m not afraid to be vulnerable, because life involves taking risks. The pessimistic possibilities are out there, but hey, so are the optimistic ones. 

The Presence of Dates Present

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Whether you met in school, at work, through a friend, or on a dating website, you have found someone with a glimmer of potential. Then, after the date, you’re left with one of two feelings: 

The one who leaves you intrigued

This is the person that you’re excited to tell your friends about. You have chemistry, similarities, and an easy time talking to each other. You’re patient when it comes to this one, because you know better than to rush a good thing. All signs point to a genuine connection, so you go with the flow and enjoy the ride. 

The one who leaves you indifferent

The same text that comes from the one who leaves you intrigued will have you rolling your eyes when it comes from the one you’re feeling indifferent about. Maybe you don’t like their voice. Maybe they come strapped with too much emotional baggage. In any case, you think to yourself, “maybe I’ll feel more of a connection on a second date…” Let me tell you right now, don’t waste your time. If your interest isn’t sparked from the start, that flame will never be ignited.

Shades of Grey…

Intrigue or bust. Life is too short to feel indifferent. What sucks is when someone you are intrigued by feels indifferent about you… or vice versa. Leading someone on is mean, so if you are feeling indifferent about someone who is clearly intrigued by you, be real with them. 

I recently had this conversation with my mom about a “fish she had on the hook.” She gave him that second date, where he excitedly drove 45 minutes to meet her, again. Although he was intrigued by her, the feelings were not mutual.

I really believe that communication is the key to life. While it may feel more comfortable to ghost someone we don’t feel a connection with, hoping they’ll get the hint by our lack of responsiveness, it can drive the person on the other side crazy. A simple “you’re a great person, but you’re just not the one for me” is all it takes for both sides to pick themselves and move on, in a mature, polite way. 

The Baes of Tomorrow 

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In an ideal world, the baes of tomorrow are made up of the intriguing dates of today. However, the world we live in is not that simple. There are many combinations of weird things that happen… which ultimately have led us to a 50% divorce rate. 

We rush into things

We want a relationship, and we want it yesterday. Maybe the one who has left us optimistic has us totally ready to jump right into something new. Or, maybe the one who left us pessimistic has us feeling insecure, and we need someone in our life to make us feel significant. In either case, if you’re daydreaming about what color the bridesmaids will be wearing after the first date… slow your roll. The purpose of this whole dating thing is to get to know each other, so put your selfish needs aside, and enjoy the process!

We wait too long 

I am livin la vida single, and have this mindset that being in a relationship means having to break up with my quality “me time.” I know that this is a poor mindset to have, but feel that it will change once someone treats me the same way I treat me. I don’t mean this in a material way, but in a way representative of the faith, courage, and respect I have fostered within myself. 

A fear of commitment doesn’t help this process along, either. Hell, I can’t even decide what state I want to stay in from month to month, you think I can picture myself in a relationship with someone?! That’s petrifying, yet awesome, if it is with the type of person that has felt just as intrigued by you as you have by them, where you are excited to share that quality “me time”, and work as a force to help each other reach new heights. 

Shades of Grey…

So, where is the sweet spot? What is the key to dating success? To be honest, I have no effin’ clue. There’s only one thing I know for sure: we’re given one life, and aren’t told when it can be taken away (more about my morbid motivations here). It’s sick and it’s twisted, but it’s reality; a reality that has helped me live in such a way where I don’t leave things unsaid (or un-blogged). 

The only wisdom I can impart: there is no such thing as good timing. Be honest with yourself, so you can be honest with others. If you’re unhappy with the relationship you have with yourself, then it will be impossible to find bliss in a relationship with someone else. Carry yourself confidently, say how you feel, and mean what you say. Don’t be afraid to march by the beat of your own drum, because eventually, often when you least expect it, someone will come marching along side you.

“Blocked.” Does Avoidance Solve the Problem? 

Being a millennial in the technological world of 2015 is a blessing and a curse. 

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We’re connected in a way like never before, where we can express our thoughts and feelings instantaneously. The anxiety of picking up the phone, dialing someone’s number and hoping they pick up is long behind us…

So, we got rid of that anxiety, and replaced it with a new one. Today, we are scoping out Instagram maps and tagged photos. We’re watching who ‘likes’ what, and freak out when Snapchat no longer tells us who’s best friends. Is technology the problem, or are we?

Considering social media is something that is being created by us, I’m going to say that we are the problem. But, on the bright side, there is a solution. One solution many people turn to: “block this user.” From a psychological standpoint, avoidance is basically coping by not having to cope. You’re pretending the problem disappeared *poof* into thin air. The feelings of discomfort are gone, and you are free to sink back into your comfort zone.

Of course, there are some situations where blocking a person is necessary. Perhaps they are someone you genuinely do not want to find you, due to possible violent or traumatic outcomes.

Some people “block” out of maturity, because they do not agree with the thoughts a person has, and would rather ignore them than give into the temptation of engaging in a fight.

Then there are others, who “block” because they are being told to. They’re faced with an ultimatum from a significant other, where they have to prove themselves by “blocking” someone else from their life.

To the one that wants the blockage:

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You remember on Friends when Ross was marrying Emily and she told him he couldn’t be friends with Rachel anymore? You’re Emily.

First of all, before getting into a relationship with someone else, you have to be 100% secure with yourself. Know what you’re worth and be proud. Be confident in yourself, so you can be confident in your relationship. A major tenant of any relationship is trust. By telling the person you supposedly love that they can’t talk to someone— what you’re actually saying, loud and clear, is “I don’t trust you.”

Maybe you have a reason not to trust this person. Maybe this person can’t have a platonic relationship with the person you want blocked. In that case, maybe you shouldn’t be in a relationship with them. It sounds like your future is a lifetime of mistrust, checked phones, and trying to dig for a deeper connection that doesn’t actually exist.

Or maybe these reasons are all in your head. Maybe you’re creating situations that cause you to be skeptical due to experiences you’ve had in the past. Maybe you’re not giving your significant other the benefit of the doubt.

In either case, have some more respect for yourself. Don’t think that simply “blocking” someone is going to erase your problem— because your problem lies within: security with yourself, and with your relationship.

To the block-er:

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Toughen up you weakling! A lot of people choose appeasement over dealing with their problems, because it seems like the easier option. Instead, all it does is dig yourself into a hole of deeper problems. You’re creating a standard with your significant other that they’re allowed to tell you what to do. A relationship requires sacrifice— it’s a give and take. It’s not a dictatorship.

Maybe your bae hit the nail on the head. “Block this person, you still have feelings for them.” Maybe they’re right, and maybe you’re too afraid to confront those feelings. Maybe if you didn’t block that person, you would suffer other repercussions, like having to sleep on the couch, or getting your iPad smashed.

Maybe they are completely wrong! Maybe you are putting a genuine friendship at risk, just to ease someone’s nonsensical, worrying mind. Sometimes its easier just to say yes, rather than put effort into explaining that they have nothing to worry about.

In either case scenario, you’re doing two things:

  1. Respecting the person that doesn’t trust you.
  2. Disrespecting the person on the sidelines.

To the block-ee:

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Knowing you are blocked by an old friend, former love interest, or even just some random Joe Shmo is a blow to the ego. I’m currently in this situation, on two very different sides of the spectrum (if you couldn’t already tell from the course of this post)…

The first one stemmed from a mutual attempt for a mature post-hook up-friendship (those could get messy, especially when feelings are involved). The second was from a long time friend, who feels more like a family member to me. In both instances, the “blocked” notifications hurt.

One of my favorite pearls of wisdom from the book “The Four Agreements” is: Don’t Take Anything Personally.

“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.

Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds…” -Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements 

To everyone reading:

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Maybe I’ve been watching too much “Are You The One” lately, or maybe its situations I’m currently being faced with, but I truly believe that when you are with your “Perfect Match”, you will be able to trust them.

Take a step back and look at your relationship for what it is. If you truly appreciate the person you’re with, and feel in your heart that they are doing the right thing for you; then let them follow whoever the hell they want on Instagram. If you feel that just one simple glance at a tweet is going to jeopardize your relationship, then maybe you’re better off single.

If you’re being told what to do this early in your relationship and would rather appease than succumb to threats, then do some research on abusive relationships. If you are giving into appeasement because you genuinely care for someone, have a mature, civilized discussion with them about the person they are feeling threatened by, and tell them they have nothing to worry about. But only if you mean it.

Stay true to yourself, realize what you are worth, and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Sometimes this means having hard conversations, sometimes it’s walking away from something that no longer suits you, and sometimes it’s writing a blog post to call attention to the issue. You’re given one life… live it out of compassion and trust, not out of jealously and fear.