When to Settle Down?

After writing my last piece on being bad at love, I really had a chance to sit down and think about love and life. So I joke around about being bad at love, but the truth is I am truly not bad at love (which was evident towards the end of my last post), but I wanted to share the second half of that piece that was missing.

In a society that defines success not only by your own personal accomplishments, but also by your relationship status, it is easy to see why love is on everyone’s mind. As I get older and slightly wiser, I have started to realize that just like everything else in life, love has a timing and place.

Over the past three or so years, I have been focusing so hard on securing the perfect relationship with someone and for some reason I lost focus on how important picking the right person needed to be. I floated between people who truly were not built for the person that I was and the person that I was trying to become. This lead me to great heart-break as well as breaking other’s hearts.

The last two people who I considered dating more than friends were the two individuals I needed to enter my life to truly allow me to figure out this whole love “thing” in my own sort of way. There comes a time in every person’s life when they finally realize that they are ready to truly “settle down” in either in a relationship or life in general.

First thing, you will experience the worst heart-break that you could have ever imagined. This could be the person that you end up marrying later down in life, or it can come from a person without any romantic ties at all. You experience a heart break that will take the wind out of you. It will hit a place you did not know existed. It is the heartbreak that comes when you realize you are not ‘good enough’

A little less than a year ago, I gained feelings for someone who was a genuinely nice person but they would never see me as their ideal partner. Although our we had a similar faith, mutual respect for culture, similar cultural and religious upbringing, shared a mutual friend base, similar infatuation with one another, and career goals were in the same place, having a woman who did not constantly look up and feel inspired by him was not something he desired. Having my own career and becoming continually successful within my career was both intimidating and a turn off for him. Consequently, he only saw me as an object of desire and not a viable partner in life. One drunk night, I texted him how I felt without a filter. He never replied to my text and two weeks later he had a woman crush Wednesday on three of his social medias(if you have not figured it out it was surly not me). At the time I deleted his number, deleted him from snapchat, unfollowed him on Instagram, and unfriended him on Facebook. I have never felt an ache as bad as I did with him. My confidence took a hit, and I was not secure in the person I was becoming.

After this I took a social media hiatus for about three months and started to discover who I was. Outside of my career, social media presence, persona I present to my friends, persona to my family, and all the faces I constantly change to fit my environment. I dug deep into my faith and truly cleansed my soul. I stopped becoming the person that people expected to see or interact with and slowly became the person I always felt I was deep down. The ideal person that I wanted to not only be perceived as but the person I felt was truly who I was. I gained both my confidence and the true knowledge of my past self, current self, and what the future holds for the person I am striving to become. (Just to spoil the ending, we are both now mutual friends with respect for one another who share the same best friend so we are bound to constantly interact)

Second, you will experience one of the most satisfying times when you are not the right person for someone or someone does not see you in a romantic way and you….survive (GASP). Not just survive but thrive. You chalk it up to the person not being the right fit and move on. During the season of finding myself I dated sporadically but kept everything light and tried not to see a future or make plans with another person before I truly became content with myself. At the start of this year, things turned an unexpected turn with a coworker. It was a true infatuation stage. As the infatuation cooled for my coworker, and I truly become engrossed within career shifts on my end and some of my own personal issues, he decided to have the “let’s be friends, I am not sure if you are the one I want” talk. As I felt the conversation coming from a mile away I did not feel the doom that I would typically feel in the past. It was more of a relief. It was the moment when I truly realized that I was whole on my own. I was not searching for someone to complete me but was looking for a person to compliment the whole person I already was. I was finally searching to find another whole person. It is an awakening moment when you realize that it takes two whole people to truly pursue a relationship. Two people who realize who they are as individuals but they are also ready to merge their life with someone else that can amplify and promote growth as two people together.

Although the most recent experience did not leave me torn or had a moment where I felt like I needed to have a full on self-discovery phase (although I spent like eight hours thinking about the situation days later-because I naturally overanalyze everything), it also made me realize that every person needs to get to a certain place in life before truly jumping into the dating pool.

So here are a few ways to realize that you are truly ready to settle down.

You know it is time to “settle down” when you finally realize you are a whole person on your own. You do not need anyone to complete you. When you are broken with the pieces still on the floor and you are still reassembling the pieces of yourself, it can be impossible to allow someone else to fit the pieces together in the proper way . It is hard to truly love another person when you cannot love yourself. Accepting the love from another can only come after you love yourself and have made yourself whole. Being once broken but pieced back together allows light or love to shine through the cracks but you are still whole in your own fragmented way. Being whole is the first key to being ready to accept the love someone else has to share with you.

Settle down when you are content with yourself and not willing to change key components of yourself to please another person. Simply you can truly be the unedited version of yourself. If a certain trait is not attractive to your potential match than they are simply not meant for you. Your true self-will eventually surface and it is easier to start sharing who you truly are as a person than to have it discovered later after emotions are invested.

Settle down when you find someone who you can mutually grow with. It is not about who is more successful or who is more accomplished, it is about finding a person that allows you to grow and you do the same in return. We are humans that are constantly attempting to perfect ourselves and growth is unavoidable. You must be okay with the person you meet being someone totally different in ten, twenty, and even thirty years down the road. Change and growth can be viewed as the element of most lasting relationships because it eliminates becoming complacent or bored with the person. You will learn to love a new person every few years and so will the person you are with.

Speaking of mutually growing you must not erase the past you have and the past of the person you are with, but simply accept it. There will always be someone they loved before you, or a past that may be frightening. We all have demons or chapters of our lives that we hide away from the world. Accept the fact this impacts the person but may not define the person and who they are trying to become. We are not a victim of our past but rather a product of what our past holds. It affects each person differently and in unknowing ways but has little effect of the absolute and final outcome of who that person becomes. You are truly ready to settle down when you accept your past and are open to the idea that many people have a colorful past in turn.

Settle down when you realize you do not always need to be right (most people who know me-knows I sometimes struggle with this one). In fact, it is okay to be wrong. Having someone who thinks differently than you on some subjects is important. It keeps you from having a single mind-set and being able to see the diversity in the world. Most of us tend to find people with identical beliefs as our own and remain blind to the world around us. I am not saying that you need to find someone who is your complete opposite. Like you are a devout Christian and you need a hard-core atheist, but at the same time I am denoting that you need to find someone that may have a slightly different perspective than yourself. Just realizing that you can be like a person but be different enough to learn and grow. If you are both open-minded about ideas and do not shut down the other person’s thought process, this can help both of you grow. Agree to disagree at times.

You are ready to settle down. When another’s opinion of you does not destroy who you are. Someone telling you that you are not what they are looking for or you are not their ideal mate should not be life crushing. It can hurt, but it should not send you into eating chocolate ice cream alone and crying. Well let me stop here for one second…first anyone who makes you feel this way should never be a part of your life and you were lucky you escaped in one piece, but second the important part of this statement is that your self-worth should come from knowing who you are and never trying to live up to an image or to someone else’s ideal of who you should be.

Settle down when you realize that jealousy is a personal issue and not your love interest’s issue. Having jealously is both natural and a part of human nature. It is how we react on this needless feeling that defines us. I am naturally an overly jealous person, but through training and self-reflection I have learned a few things about it. Jealously is a true reflection on one’s own trust and confidence. It is a manifestation of self-worth and the value we place upon another’s actions that has little to do with them and more to do with our own personal demons. Jealousy is this little monster that tells you that you are not enough. Being jealous is not an issue for your partner or romantic interest to fix but simply your own. Why do you feel this way? What is the true cause of these feelings? On that note if a love interest is purposely flaunting and trying to make you jealous than that person is truly not mature enough for a real long-lasting romantic relationship and you should consider other avenues. If you are open and communicated your concerns and make it a point to tell the person that you feel a certain way because of your own securities, some people are willing to eliminate situations that will cause you to experience low self-esteem. Jealously again is natural and not saying that you should never feel jealous but realizing that jealousy is a reflection of you and not another person is key to knowing when you are truly ready to settle down.

I have focused the last few sections on self and self-reflection but being ready to settle down is a two-sided coin and also involves someone else. Being content with oneself and understanding who you are is vital in the success of a relationship, but there are many other instances that you must move past self-reflection and fulfillment to engage in the reality that a relationship takes two people and a lot of compromising and editing of your life to merge two lives into one consistent relationship.

Settle down when you are able to put someone else’s interests ahead of your own. There is compromise and sacrifice in every relationship. It could mean engaging in topics or movies that have little to no interest for you. The important message here is that in a healthy relationship, your partner’s happiness is just as important as your own. Being willing to put someone’s interest above your own, at times, is a sign that you are ready for a long-term commitment.

Settle down when you can allow the little things slide. No person is perfect and we all have traits that are undesirable. Overlooking this undesirable quirks or not bringing a large amount of attention to the small things is fundamental. We are constantly searching for the perfect person without flaw for a marriage, but most of the time we need to settle with a few quirks and overall be happy with the person they truly are. Again it is a part of being human having at least a trait or two that is not as desirable to others.

Settle down when you can accept a person for who they are at that point in life. Entering into the a relationship in hopes of changing a person into your desired mate will never work. It is important to note like stated above in healthy and thriving relationships, both partners will motivate one another to become better versions of themselves and growth is inevitable, but growth is not the same as trying to change someone’s nature. So be honest and open and never enter a relationship in hopes of trying to mold an individual into your perfect ideal mate.

Settle down when you are ready to merge your life with someone else. Although your relationship should not take up your entire existence, it does affect a large portion of your life. You become interconnected with someone else’s family, friends, hobbies, children, pets, and the list can go on forever. And consequently they become a part of yours. Sure at some point there are boundaries but willingness to allow someone into your daily routine and being a part of someone else’s is a big step on showing someone you care and are willing to make the commitment. This is the first step in building bridges into one another’s life and starting to tear down the walls that separate you from them.

I save my most valued and most important point for last. You are ready to settle down when you are happy in your singleness. As I stated above about being whole and finding self-fulfillment is beyond important. It goes hand in hand with the fact; if you are not happy single, you will not be happy in a relationship. Single is a simply word that can describe someone who is strong enough to live their life by themselves until the right person comes along to share it with them. When you are constantly looking for a relationship out of loneliness, you will find yourself settling with the first person who comes along that happens to have interest in you. You must have enough self-respect and dignity to hold out for the person that truly deserves you. The only way you can truly be able to hold out for this person is to be happy long before they have been introduced into your life.

More important thing to remember than all these signs of knowing the right time to settle down, is something that you cannot read or someone can not advise you on. That is how you feel. When a person is in the right season in life or stumbles across “the person”, you are destined to know that you are ready to leave the single life behind and build a new life alongside someone else. But until that time comes that you find the person who fits into your love story, continuously work on yourself and defining your own happiness because one day you will be able to share this with someone else.

When you are truly ready to settle down, as I experienced myself. You will surly know.

 

-Bella

Chasing Butterflies 2.0

Within the past year, I have adopted and coined the phrase ““Chase the butterflies, because that is when you feel truly alive”.   Anyone who actively follows my writing has read multiple pieces about chasing the feeling regardless if it comes to love, changes in life, or something as mundane as sharing your soul through your work.  This has been a constant motto when I decide to actively pursue a new adventure in life.

Every human naturally has the instincts to alert them of danger and unknown territory.  We are naturally programmed to distance ourselves from things that are not natural to our-self. When things are not familiar we begin to feel afraid, our hearts starts to race, we become nervous, we avoid the unfamiliar, and ultimately we stay within our comfort zone.  We are simply creatures of habit.  Our brain is also programmed to tell us “you cannot get this done”, “this is crazy”, and any other phrase that stops us from pursuing something head on.

Due to my natural inclination to remain within comfort, I have made it my personal goal to chase the butterflies, to push past all my fears.  To become truly alive.  Fear is such a huge limitation even when we do not even recognize fear. Personally my anxiety and the expectations that I see within society limits the things that I pursue.  The truth is I limit myself in so many ways in life, as do so many other individuals.  We constantly tell ourselves that we are not good enough or allow society to tell us what is acceptable and what is not.  Chasing the butterflies has become a constant reminder that at the point when the fear of the unknown comes within my life that  I will constantly pursue that unknown.  That moment when you fear jumping the most is when you need to take the leap because growth is not developed within comfort zones.

As I coined “chasing the butterflies”, I have never stopped to think of the symbolism and importance of butterflies within the world view.  Butterflies have a vast amount of meanings depending on the person and the culture.  Within the christian religion butterflies signify resurrection, other people around the world see it as symbols representing endurance, change, hope, and life. There are so many heartfelt stories and meaning to each person that you come across.

Today as I hastily began to get ready for my last Sunday within my current position, I look up on my mirror and see a green butterfly. My first thought was that I was going to remind my niece to stop placing stickers on things throughout my house, and something told me to blow on the sticker, as i began to blow the wings of the butterfly fluttered and than moved to another position.  This was in fact a butterfly in my bathroom at 7 am in the morning was pretty peculiar and it was my favorite color.

I am not a person that believes in coincidence or mistakes.  That butterfly was my symbol.   It was a symbol for my life and the current life circumstances that I am at right now.  I am making a huge career move, and I have been questioning if my abilities will be suited well with the new responsibility. I have been struggling with my confidence to drive steadily into the future without looking back.  I have had butterflies and have felt the fear lingering within the dark corners of my being. Not only with my career but also within many aspects of my personal life.  The color green is a symbol of growth, ambition, harmony, renewal, and energy.  It is time for my new path. I am going to chase my green butterfly and start to feel more alive than ever before.

You will always catch me chasing the butterflies.

 

A Trait better than the Rest

There is a character trait that is overlooked but is the key to success. So often people before hiring an individual, dating someone new, or trying to feel someone out for the first time look at so many traits that are important but lack a growth aspect.  Most people look for skills or traits of kindness, intercommunication skills, sociability, and team work ethic. All of these skills are beyond important but there is one that is often overlooked and more valuable than any other skill.

This is being open minded.  Being open minded is the difference between someone who can get anything done, and someone that is willing to get everything done considering every factor.

A broad definition of open mindedness is receptiveness to new ideas. Openmindedness relates to the way in which people approach the views and knowledge of others, and “incorporate the beliefs that others should be free to express their views and that the value of others’ knowledge should be recognized.”

This is not saying that they do not hold their own opinions and have strong opinions on a subject. It means that they can function within a team with people who may not hold the same beliefs. That they are willing to hear a topic.  That although they may never change their mind on a topic, they will at least hear out someone’s opinion to gain new knowledge or appreciation of a new perspective.

People who are open minded are naturally more empathetic, knowledgeable, and well rounded than people who have a fixed belief while disregarding any other belief system.  Personally having an open mind always leads to bigger and better places.  It shows that you are flexible and can tolerate circumstances that may be out of line with what you know.  It makes you a life long student willing to share with others their knowledge and beliefs on a topic.

It is never too late to take off the rose colored lenses and see life through others shades of lenses.  You might just like what is out there.

Life Sucks

Everyday I come across articles that talk about how we should live the best life and a ton of positive messages.  The truth is I am a positive walking billboard.  I always see light in the darkest of places, and find a lesson in every circumstance.  I am a true optimist.  I share all those positive messages on my social media and I am constantly trying to up lift the people within my inner circle.

Although I am way too positive, the truth is life sucks, especially the day to day mundane bull crap.   My life is hard and I am constantly battling against dark forces.  I work more than I sleep. I never have time just to breath.  Life is truly hard.

There it is, the truth have been told. Just being able to share the fact that life sucks is beyond liberating.

With that being said, lately I have been thinking a lot about karma and others motives.  I have not firmly determined if I believe in the concept of Karma.  Truth be told I have seen some pretty terrible things happen to the best of people and some of the greatest things happen to people who obtain riches through terrible means.

I do not know why bad things happen to good people and the reverse, but what i do know, life is less about what happens to us and more about how we handle everything that happens to us.

I am someone who legitimately has the worse luck, if there is something bad to happen it will happen to me.  The funny thing is I chalk each experience up to a funny story or as a way to understand the world around me.  Truth is life sucks, but you can treat each horrible experience as a reason to complain or take life by the horns and keep it moving.

 

 

What Are You?

This poem/ open word piece is dedicated to anyone who has been wrongfully identified as a different race or ethnicity. It is also a testament of how I feel when people judge or make an assumption based on my physical features.

Your almond shaped eyes are so deer like, Are you middle eastern.

Your skin has a golden brown hue, Are you Puerto-rican.

You eye brows are dark, thick, and well defined, are you Italian.

You are hips are larger in proportion to your tiny waste, Are you African American?

Your nose is round and lacks a defined ridge, Are you Mexican?

Your hair creates the most perfect spiral curl, Are you Dominican?

Your lips are so full, are you Latin?

You speak Spanish, You must be a Latina.

You speak English with a lack of ethnic accent, you enunciate your words, you know the difference between to, too, and two. What are you?

I speak multiple languages, fluent in two and can understand four because I have a desire to communicate to every person that crosses my path. I do not expect everyone to know English. I speak Spanish because I yearn to travel the world.

My full lips allow me to speak up when everyone falls silent. It helps me to spread a positive message to the world, and call people to action. My lips are full of action.

My curls decide to twist, wrap, and take a different course everyday. Just like life my curls take their own direction. Sometimes I see them as a mess where others see their beauty. My curls are there to show a perfect representation of my life. Its crazy and a mess but outsiders only see the beauty of it.

My round nose that lacks definition. It does it’s job. It smells the small things like flowers budding, chicken frying, and my dirty dishes. It may not have a defined look, but its purpose is to allow me to appreciate the little things and warn me against hazard.

My large hips protects me when I fall. They allow me to bounce back. The also bare all the negative comments about women and how their bodies should look. They hold me upright when I should be falling apart.

My eyebrows are dark, thick, and well defined. They protect my eyes from dirt and anything that should not be within my precious eyes. They are well defined like my perception on things that do not belong in my life. They are thick because they had to shield my eyes from the world.

My golden hue skin. This was created from love. Two people who did not see color but love. I golden hue is unique like no other because it is never the same hue. It changes with time. The more light in my life the darker I become. The more I see darkness the lighter my skin becomes It reflects my life and mental health. It is an indicator of where I have been through.

Lastly my eyes. The beautiful almond shapes sees the world as it truly is. It sees that brown people are not viewed the same as the white man. My eyes see that the color of my skin is a predetermination of guilt. It sees that when I speak Spanish because of a language barrier others look at me like I do not belong. I see the the media wants to cast people of middle eastern decent as terrorists. I see that not all men are treated equal even if we are created equal. I see the injustice. I see the pain that is caused by injustice. Most importantly I see you judging me for who you think I may be from only my physical features.

What am I?

I am human like you.

Miracle Intervention

I am a big believer that everything happens for  a reason.  There is a purpose behind every mishap in life. Life tends to knock us down for a reason.  Although I believe that nothing happens by coincidence, when something terrible in life happens I always blame it one my terrible luck or the fact that I attract mishaps or problems.

The truth is no one wants to have negative things happen to them, but every good or bad experience in life teaches us all about this crazy thing we call life. It gives us strength that was hidden behind every good experience. It teaches us that bad things happen to you regardless of the type of person you are. To enjoy the little things in life, to enjoy the feeling of the sun on your skin, the wind on a hot day, and the people that make you smile from ear to ear. Misfortune puts life into perspective.

This year has been an even mix of peaks and valleys that have sent my life in every direction. I have made so many strides forward but have also had things tear me down to nothing.  With my last valley, I truly had the roughest time accepting that this was just another lesson. I did not see the light or anything positive coming from it. I honestly felt lost. I felt like my life lacked direction and that everything was spinning out of control.

Now honestly I have not fully recovered. I am still struggling from my last valley.  The light is not shining bright, and I am in search of the next peak and climbing the mountain. I cannot firmly say that this was the greatest life lesson I received but it was a miracle in disguise.

I have been living slightly over my means, and life decided to eliminate that and leaving me no choice but to live within my means. Now my finances and budget is on point allowing me to put a large portion of my checks into my savings again. The second thing that has happened is that I have been trying to reduce the size of my circle. Eliminate the negativity and to start keeping my life as positive as possible.  Part of this issue before my miracle was that I was invested into this small venture with someone that has been a constant source of negativity within my life. They worked harder to bring me down than to help lift me up. It was one of the most toxic relationships within my life.

The greatest things that I have learned is that sometimes when life seems to have turned upside down and you feel like moving on is impossible, maybe this is the miracle intervention that you needed. It is that swift kick in the butt that you might need. It will make a life decision that you would not have necessarily made on your own.  Instead of letting things tear you down, look and find the strength within yourself that you never thought was imaginable. Life will never stop giving you lemons, but there is always tequila for sale. So take a shot, eat the damn lemon, and keep on moving forward.

 

Lots of love.  From someone still climbing out of the valley to reach a new peak.

Running Towards the Light

Mark Twain once said  “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

I never realized that finding your purpose in life could change the way you view the world. I used to believe that having values, a moral center, and a general life direction lead to having a fulfilling life until the day that I found my purpose.  Finding that one thing that drives you is truly life changing. It confirms your values, explains your moral center, and it leads your life down the appropriate path that it was meant to take.

For the longest time, I always wanted to be “successful”. To live a life that one day when I would retire, I could look back and think that I lived a life with little regrets.  I linked my success with my position within the corporate ladder, and my goal to be on top.   I knew personally that I loved working with people and helping those in need. I found a company that I could help people and allow me to climb the corporate ladder, I had that moment where I thought that when I was old I would be proud of what I did. That was until I found my purpose.

Finding your purpose is almost like finding your soul mate when you never believed in the idea of soul mates to start with.  It is like having that unexplained happy feeling and knowing that what you are doing just feels…”right”. It completes you as a person. It makes you go from not realizing anything was missing from your life to feeling whole and complete.  Feeling like there is not limits that you cannot overcome.

I have recently found my purpose. It makes me feel whole. It feels like my life is taking the direction that is was meant to take. It gives me the sense that even if I end up broke for the rest of my life, at least I lived a rich life filled with passion.  So many people wake up and go to a 9-5 and make a great wage. They survive and they are content, but I want to fill truly alive. I want to know that everyday I wake up like it is a Saturday morning. Excited about what I will be doing and all the possibilities that the day will bring.

Finding your purpose and passion in life can change life as you know it.  I cannot explain the process of finding out the “why” to your life, but on all accounts you will know when you find your purpose. When you cannot imagine doing anything else with your life. When life goes from black and white to technicolor.  Every life has a purpose but not everyone finds their true calling. If you are someone who finds their purpose in life run towards the light until the moment that you can bathe in the rays.

-Valentina