Category Archives: Gratitude Challenge

Lessons Learned from a Future Faker

For quite some time I have been trying to figure out how my now ex-boyfriend could have such bi-polar reactions in our relationship. Why wouldn’t he just follow-through when he made promises? Why did he walk out when he was caught or it became clear it was time to put his money where his mouth is? Why, in the end, did he disappear by text message from a year-long relationship filled with dreams of the future we’d share together? One day he was on, the next he was off. It was maddening. To make matters worse, he’d often try to make everything my fault. He was never responsible for anything including his lies and contradictions – I misunderstood. 

If it is true that the greatest love survives the harshest conditions and he claimed to love me deeply and want to spend his life with me, how could he disappear at the drop of a hat? That nagging question has plagued my scientific mind.

Then, I finally stumbled across the answer and my jaw dropped. I thought the description was written directly for my ex. He is a “Future Faker”.

A Future Faker is someone who talks big about the future, but never actually plans to deliver. They sell a fantasy and when you’ve bought in and expect them to deliver – they’re gone ASAP and usually in the most dramatic disappearing act they can muster.

And you’re left there holding an empty bag. You keep looking around thinking, this can’t be happening.

They on the other hand feel differently.  To pull from an article by Natalie Lue on Baggage Reclaim,

“If it didn’t work out in their mind, if they’re not feeling compelled by another person to break ther typical habit, they write off the possibilities, press the Reset Button, and then lather, rinse, repeat with the next person. This also further distorts their self-image and general perception of past events because they focus on recalling how they made people feel good, not on how not following through caused pain and confusion.

They don’t actually care about how they made you feel after the reality breaks through the fantasy. They say what you want to hear and for a while get off on how happy that makes you and what you will do for them as a resultt of their words, but look closely they’re not doing much else but talking.

I found myself waiting around a lot for my ex to make good. I invested a lot of myself into him. I wasn’t prepared to just walk away without being sure I gave our relationship a fair shot. I found myself chasing after the outcome. He knew it was showtime and he wasn’t going to deliver. So, like a coward he escaped thinking only of his own back. I was left with the emotional mess to clean up. He, no doubt, has rounded up a new victim to sell his freak show to. As they say, there’s a sucker in every crowd.  I was the sucker this time. Someone else will be next time.

Men like this don’t just suddenly begin acting this way. They are practiced at it. So if you meet him and he’s 35, 44, or 56, don’t fool yourself into thinking the problem is you. It is not.  If he tells you his history as mine did to me and you’re horrified,  don’t turn your spidey senses off – just go. Don’t look back. You escaped. There was nothing good there waiting to happen.

At some point though I believe it will be hard for him to even believe his own shtick. Future Fakers run out of people to blame and eventually look in the mirror old with liver spots, wrinkles, and withered muscles and they see exactly who the problem has been all along. They also have nobody there to love them. Time’s up. Karma is a bitch.

I have learned so much from this relationship that never existed. I have learned that:

1.  Relationships only exisit when both people are being genuine.

2. People who try to fast forward quickly through the normal getting to know you / trust building steps are to raise big waving red flags.

3. REAL men handle tough circumstances with courage and integrity.

4. Actions must match words and if only one exists, rely on the actions to tell you what’s up.

5. Don’t make excuses for grown men. They are not children, they are not mentally handicapped. If you’ve made your expectations clear, they clearly know what to do. They either do and keep you or they don’t and they lose you.

6. Don’t ever chase a man down to fulfill a promise. If he loves you he will come through. A good man doesn’t want to disappoint you.

7. Leave any man who asks you not to trust yourself or your own thoughts or feelings. Leave if he tries to isolate you from friends or convince people you’re crazy so you have nowhere to turn but him. This is called gaslighting. It is mental / emotional abuse.

8. Only stay with someone who really gets you emotionally. Of course no one is a mind reader, you must communicate. But, if you have to constantly explain the meaning of things to him, there are basic compatibility issues.

9. If he causes drama the night before or day of a big event or something meaningful to you he is manipulating and sabotaging you. This man is not supporting your success or growth. He will be a bad life partner. Life is tough enough, you don’t want someone who would even soil the good times.

10. Remind yourself that you’re not running out of time, you’re not too old, and as long as you’re still making an effort you still have a shot at a healthy loving relationship. I am almost 40, I’ve been through two marriages and two divorces. My life has been turned upside down so many times it has taught me the meaning of the word resilience.  I need to believe there is a wonderful man out there who gets it like I do.

So, in some strange way this post has turned into a thank you letter. Now that’s a gratitude challenge!

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

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Gratitude Challenge Day 30 of 30!!

Gratitude Challenge Day 30 (Final Day) – Gratitude for Myself

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Sometimes it is really hard to talk about yourself. Other times you think that maybe you have so many shortcomings that there’s not much about yourself to be grateful for. If you’ve been through the school of hard knocks you may just be so used to getting knocked around that you’ve forgotten how many times you’ve gotten back up again.

I find that I often only realize the level of determination I possess after I hear somone elses reaction to the stories of my life. I realize how capable, versatile and resiliant I really am. I have the ability to transform myself and adapt to every life change I’ve faced thus far. I feel like I’ve reinvented myself many times over. At the same time, this is the very first time in my life that I know who I am and have accepted myself completely (warts and all).

I’ve learned to respect the hard times I’ve faced because they’ve taught me more about the core of WHO I am. I also appreciate my zest for life and the child-like awe that I’ve kept with me along the way. I love that I can keep smiling even when I’m not feeling that great because I know it feels better than a sad face. I still laugh loudly having never learned to be embarrased by my hearty laughter. I am helpful, kind, compassionate, and filled with love. I am growing and getting to know myself more every day.

I have had to learn to be grateful for the person that I am. It hasn’t been automatic. But as I have gotten to know her better, I’m awfully glad she’s in my corner.

Thank you for coming along with me during this 30 day challenge. I hope that you enjoyed your trip and perhaps were inspired even a little to start a gratitude journey of your own. 

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler 😉

Gratitude Challenge Day 29 of 30

Challenge Day 29 – Gratitude for Self-Care

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One of the biggest challenges I faced after getting divorced 3 years ago was learning how to care for myself. I am not talking about understanding how to pay bills or take a shower. I’m talking about things like how to say ‘NO’ and pampering myself. I am referring to knowing when compromise is no longer an option and walking away is the only right thing left to do.

It is easier said than done. Many times we think we’re taking care of ourselves better than we really are. For example, have you ever listened to the kinds of things you say to yourself in your own head?? If that were an actual person in front of you, would you take that crap? I sure hope not! But that’s the kind of stuff I’m referring to.

While self-care is bubble baths, workouts at the gym and others kinds of me time, it is also learning to be your own best friend no matter what. It is learning to be happily alone – to enjoy your own company.

It has been a long road to get to that point and while I still have my struggles with taking better care of myself, I’m miles ahead of where I used to be.

Now I find myself 3 years later embarking upon a new chapter in my life- I am once again in a serious relationship. This will be a test to see how I manage being together with someone again after learning to care for myself alone. I will have to stay conscious of caring for my needs and expressing them to my partner so I can work to have them met. Afterall, I sure don’t want to lose myself again.

When I care for myself I am better off and so are the people in my life because they witness the real me.

I am no martyr. I am no savior. I have no interest in either job. I am just another messed up person like you trying to find her way in this big mad world. Taking care of myself just means I leave fewer messes behind for others to clean in the wake of my existence.

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler 😉

Gratitude Challenge Day 28 of 30

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Challenge Day 28 of 30 – Gratitude for Letting Go

I was just talking to my boyfriend about my belief that we meet who we are meant to when we need them the most. As I reminisced about the Camino, I reflected on such a meeting with a wonderful Italian woman, Giada, who was also divorced and searching for a way to drop her burdens during this journey.

Often you meet someone who has experienced something like you, but offers a twist in perspective. That’s where the learning comes from. She was in a lot of pain inside, just like me, but she also had a real zest for life and looked for pleasure in each day. I really liked the way she did that and I missed the part of me that used to do that too. Somewhere along the way I became so heavy that taking on fun felt like excess energy I couldn’t spare.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that joining her in finding the pleasures of the day was one of the things that actually lightened my load.

I am grateful for being able to finally let go. I’m grateful for the people who have helped me do so along the way, and finally for the new found lightness that allows me to add only what I want to carry.

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler 😉

Gratitude Challenge Day 27 of 30

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Challenge Day 27 of 30 – Gratitude for Kindness

Never ask yourself if the kindness of strangers is an accident. Everything happens for some reason. In that moment you needed to be reminded that you are seen and loved. Kindness between two or more people is another way to say friendship. It is the fastest way to make a stranger a friend.

Kindness to oneself is an act of love so profound that the rays of your self-acceptance stretch out so wide that they touch others and tenderly give them permission to be who they are too.

Kindness requires compassion. Compassion is the root of love. Every kindness we offer is the manifestation of love.

To whom will you extend your loving kindness today? How will you manifest love in your life?

I am grateful to have the knowlege that there is a very practical way to show love to everyone and anyone no matter the walk of life or the conflict you may find yourself in. Even cooler — Anyone can do it.

Just be kind. Repeat.

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler ; )

Gratitude Challenge Day 26 of 30

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Challenge Day 26 of 30 – Gratitude for Stillness

It is so easy to fill our lives up with things that seem all important. Then we complain that we have no time for the things that matter to us. Heck we most often feel like there is no time to even sit still with ourselves.

This is really a farce. We act like someone other than us is doing this. We complain like we are victims of an illusive slave driver. What a joke !!

If you want your life to be made up of different things, then change it. I’m not saying snap your fingers and bam new life. But complaining doesn’t change a damn thing.

Take yourself seriously and make a game plan.

Drop the things that don’t really matter right away and those that need more time to detangle, just phase them out.

One of the best ways to do this is to give yourself the gift of stillness everyday. You can connect with what matters and what doesn’t. It sort of bubbles up if your willing to listen.

I am so grateful for stillness because it has allowed me to do this very thing. No one can go, go, go and expect to be healthy in body, mind, or spirit. Even music rests between sounds.

Imagine music without the pauses. Very stressful, right? That’s what you seem like when you walk around acting like your busier than the president of the United States. Oh no I have no time to call, to eat, to visit, to care, to breathe. You stress out yourself and others.

Get still and you’ll be surprised how much more you’ll get out of life.

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler 😉

Gratitude Challenge Day 25 of 30

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Challenge Day 25 of 30 – Gratitude for Movement

My grandmother used to say that we were gypsies because we loved to travel so much in our family. Or maybe we are like sharks we need to move to stay alive. Nonetheless, I travel anytime I get the chance. I love to explore the world around me, learn new things, and meet new people.

But it goes much further than this.

I really enjoy being physically active; enjoying such activities as dancing, walking, hiking, biking, etc. etc. It is hard to imagine my life without movement playing a big part.

I am grateful that I can move through this world and I pray that I will always be able-bodied enough to move no matter the age. To me,  movement is life.

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler 🙂

Gratitude Challenge Day 24 of 30

wpid-screenshot_2014-08-16-19-49-03-1.pngChallenge Day 24 of 30 – Gratitude for Intention

If you’re anything like me, you grew up with the expression, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Then, a few decades later “The Secret” turns us on our heads with the idea that “what we believe we conceive.”  All of a sudden those very intentions ARE the core ingredient to success. What’s more, if we have good ones, we may not end up in hell after all!  So, what gives?

This was one of the conflicts I wrestled with before I could accept the “law of attraction” in my life.  I grew up learning to take responsibility for my actions.  The point my parents tried to get across wasn’t – you are what you think, it was about what you did.

As I thought about it, I realized that when you decide what you want in your life and get clear on your goals, it is easier to get rid of what doesn’t work.  Just by focusing on what you want relentlessly, you reject by default those things that don’t support your vision.  As you think about what you do want and really concentrate on it, you naturally take actions to achieve your desires. The better you get at linking thoughts and actions, the more efficient the process becomes.  Your life becomes a snowball of your thoughts leading to actions which create results.   

So, if your intentions are negative, even if they are rooted in a less conscious belief system, your actions will create the results that match your thoughts.  Ultimately, our brain wants things to make sense.  It is how we move through the world without constantly feeling shocked and panic by every new thing we encounter.  We try to organize the data we receive and normalize it.  So, if it makes sense for you to have a negative outcome, you will think and do what makes that possible.  Same story if you believe that the outcome should be positive.  You will do what it takes to achieve that result.

When I came to realize this connection, I saw that thought is very important, but alone (intention) is not enough. You need to take action when opportunity arises in order to get a result.  So it seems that the best thing we can do is some prep work to get our thoughts straight and our belief system aligned to the results we want.  Otherwise, we’re just spending a lot of time and money fooling ourselves that anything will change.

In summary, I am grateful for 4 things related to intentions:

a) the road to hell is NOT in fact paved with good intentions, it is paved with inaction
b) we can change our lives whenever we make the decision to do so
c) what we believe determines our range of actions 
d) intention + action changes your life

—— With gratitude from aneternaltraveler 😉

 

Gratitude Challenge Day 23 of 30

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Challenge Day 23 of 30 – Gratitude for Peace

When I finally let down my burdens on the Camino de Santiago, I felt a peace inside of me that I had not known since I was a child.

Now, whenever I see people at odds with each other or find myself in conflict, everything inside wants to find a way to peace. When you have spent a long time in conflict or angry you may not even know how much it weighs on you and effects every relationship in your life.

I am so grateful that I finally know the lightness that peace offers and I consider it a personal mandate to work towards that in everything I do and with everyone I interact.

It really does start with you. Get right inside and then you CAN be the change you want to see in this world.

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler 😉

Gratitude Challenge Day 22 of 30

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Challenge Day 22 – Gratitude for Purpose
For me purpose has always been connected to passion. And as I said in my last post I was lost without passion.

But I have come to realize that you don’t always have to loooove what you do (or feel passionate) to feel like it gives you purpose. You just have to feel like doing it makes at least some difference.

This releases you from the never ending search for the “holy grail” of perfection and euphoric happiness when seeking deeper meaning out of your purpose.

Sometimes is just makes one person’s life better or saves one tree or gets the bills paid for your family — and those are each fine purposes to have and be grateful for.

With gratitude from aneternaltraveler 😉