Becoming a Rockstar – 6/15/17

Because every origin story needs a plan and because I’ve recently discovered life is easier when organized in a Word doc.

Hello followers,

Some of you may know me. Most of you may not. And if you’ve already read this far, you might be wondering why on earth you should keep reading any farther.

Well, I want to invite you to join me on a journey.

I was recently accepted into an Arts Mentorship alongside 90s songwriter/local folk star: Erin Benjamin. This comes at an interesting point in my life.

I’m 27, male, homosexual (with zero patience for intolerance) – I’m a self-published Young Adult Fiction novelist with books available for sale in Chapters Pinecrest and Coles Bayshore (#shamelessselfpromotion) – and I’ve become utterly disillusioned by the life that exists today.

I have a steady office job which allows me to practice my writing in a non-fiction setting but yet I constantly find myself pining for a beautiful life. A life made up of art and hope and change and human rights and all of that other Liberal left-wing propaganda that everybody says is just a fairytale.

I want that life. And I want to lead a revolution to change this world with that art.

When you come down to it, it’s not that unrealistic a goal. The world has been changed by music for decades – from disco and the 70’s civil rights movement, from grunge and the anti-establishment movement, to more specific examples of Michael Jackson and Beyonce demonstrating the sheer power that can arise when a symbolic voice uses their music to send a message.

This mentorship, while straightforward in nature, I now look at as an opportunity to move toward that life.

It is what you make it.

That’s my slogan for the next five months. And now it’s time to come up with a gameplan.

 

Influence

I decided to think outside of the box a little bit.

While I, of course, plan on recording a demo of music before the end of the year, something that I’ve been dreaming about since I was 19, I want to do more to ensure that it doesn’t just become another installment for the shelf (both figuratively and literally).

When you think about the artists that have made it and the ones who seem to maximize their status into celebrity, the one thing that drives them all is influence.

They have hordes of people swearing allegiance to them and as much as it begins and ends with the music, music for the last 40 years has never been the most important part of a musical career. It’s the person creating it.

We fall in love with our pop stars. We croon over our songwriters. We glorify our rappers.

And it’s not just about image. If that were the case, I could make a point to hit the gym 10 times a week and invest in plastic surgery on top of trying to launch the demo forward.

No, the personality of the individual behind the music has influence. They have the potential to either catch your attention or not. They have the potential to sell you a story that you can believe in. And they have the potential to lead a musical revolution.

And so the question is put forward…  – am I that person?

Well, as it presently stands, probably not. Sure, there are bits and pieces of me that I like and that others might find admirable but how do you put that forward 100% of the time? And how do you maximize that so the largest audience of people are able to see it and become interested?

My idea is simple but strange.

If you don’t like the life you are living, create a new one.

I feel like I’m advocating lunacy but it’s not entirely that absurd. You look at the successful artists who have done this (Eminem – Slim Shady, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, KISS, etc). These are some of the most successful music artists of all time and they each consciously decided that they needed something eye-catching to tell the stories they were putting forward. And what’s more is that they knew their alter egos could do a better job at it.

Influence is a unique concept and one which has evolved tremendously since the dawn of the internet.

We have internet celebrities now – people who are literally famous for talking to a camera or a blog with hundreds of thousands of followers that care about them and what they do. How crazy is that?

Some “do it for the vine” and others just take sexy selfies on Instagram but what all of these people have in common is that they’ve found a way to capitalize on people’s interest. But how do you stand out? And how do you ensure that you use this power for good and not evil?

Well, I’m fairly certain that if Lady Gaga had an Instagram account at the beginning of her era, people would begin to pay attention.

And so I introduce to you the idea: Johnny Famous.

He’s the rockstar I’ve always wanted to be and he can be the rockstar everyone else wishes they knew.

He’s smart, he’s cool, and moreso than anything, he’s kind and considerate to all human beings. He believes in love and human equality. And he isn’t afraid to be himself and wear his heart on his sleeves for you. He stands up for what he believes in and would never say or do something that downplays the sensation of love he wants to put forward across the Earth.

He’s here to save the world with music.

He’s there inside of me but a much more private version and this mentorship is a great opportunity to let him out into the world in a way that ensures he won’t get hurt and gets his full shot at what is to come.

So, over the next few weeks. Expect to see him come out a little bit more. He’s ready to show himself.

I hope you come along for the journey.

Struggle

It’s been a few months since my last post.

My book is now in Chapters and Coles bookstores which is great.

And the summer weather is finally here. And I certainly love the warm.

But I’m really struggling right now.

Struggle is such an interesting word. It evokes survival and pain; suffering but determination. 

It can come at a moment’s notice or from years of hardship. You just never think that it’s going to happen to you.

I’ve made a career out of getting to know other people: understanding their hardships and empathizing with the people who lack representation. I’ve written characters who suffer depression and anxiety having never experienced those conditions myself to a measurable degree and tried to explain their features to others who never even cared to ask.

But what does one do when the darkness comes knocking at the door and the name it asks for is yours?

I best described it to a friend last week. It isn’t an endless abyss of darkness; I wished that it was because then I would feel more justified in screaming for help. 

No. My prison is a musty broom cupboard. It’s tight and enclosed and suffocating me from the air I need to breathe.

The advice that I receive is the worst part. “Focus on the positive” and “ignore the stress”. It’s great advice and probably something I would have recommended a year ago too but there reaches a point where it will always continue to rear its ugly head. 

It’s impossible to ignore because it stems from a disappointment of everything wrong with the world. We’re overworked, mistreated slaves of a selfish capitalist regime. And people either “ignore it” and make the most of our bed of fecal matter or they join the regime. 

We keep being told there’s hope but there is no hope. Not for this generation. And probably not for the next. Because for every step forward we take, the selfish of us cause 3 steps back.

Maybe I’m more like the God I critique so adamantly in my books than I thought or maybe it’s just the Dystopian author in me wishing for a use of my skill set for once; I want to see the world reset. Because I’ve lost faith in our abilities as people.

I’ll be fine. I know I always have been and I know that there is light peering from my broom cupboard. But it really begs the question of what is the point of coming back if it’s just to a world everyone unanimously hates?

On Motivation;

I wanted to tell a story:

About motivation;

About the feeling it makes as it tingles down the sharp recesses of your spine;

As it inches ever closer,

to the combatant fabrications of your mind 

Where it is attacked and broken down and fought with every “oh I don’t know” and “I just don’t have time” from the worst pangings that your self consciousness has to offer.
Motivation is like a drug. It encapsulates. It pixilates until you feel the wonders of its worth… 

Just to feel the withdrawal once it passes.
Motivation motivates.

It wakes you up and tells you when it’s time to speak your mind, 

when your mind is too afraid to say it itself.
Motivation is a moral obligation

To better ourselves and get out of bed every morning,

Even when the sky is on fire and diseases are killing the loved ones around us while teenagers shoot and snort and vape their ways to an early grave.

Even when the streets are paved on the bodies of dead and missing indigenous women and the multicolored slaves of yesteryear still tiptoe around delicate matters near white folk who might not have voted ndp or liberal in the last federal election.
But motivation doesn’t fix the problem, it just slaps on bandaids. 
Hundreds and millions of selection brand bandaids.
An entire planet of bandaids. A global nylon scented brown sticky bandaid, floating in space as we orbit our way towards the sun.
I wanted to tell this story but I got lost along the way.
Because no one is motivated anymore.
Nobody WANTS to do anything.
We consider ourselves grandiose beings in the larger scale of the world. We imagine multiple galaxies and our place at the top of the food chain;

as individuals who can talk to one another but instead we just argue, 

as land-dwellers who learned to fly but instead just slop around in the mud,

as simultaneously more wonderful life forms than both our parents before us and our children below.
Our motivation to react is limited and it is difficult to overcome our fear for the unknown in a world where we live just to die and face it head-on.
We write and destroy and kill and enjoy and we do it all from our motivations however good or however evil.
As we fight this war so valiantly fought until we fall at the helm of existence and bow before our maker to explain that the life we lived was a lie and that our stupid motivations led us down to our own destruction.
Why would we write a song so loud that we pretend we are anything more than what we are which are: cruel; selfish; ignorant; stupid mortals who are destined to make the wrong choice?
Because we can inspire to love.
And we can work to seeing the good in people over the evil.
And we can motivate ourselves to do better. 
I wanted to write a story about that.
Now I need people to read it.

The Problem with Democracy; an Argument in favour of Utopian Socialism and Self-Government

The Problem with Democracy; an Argument in favour of Utopian Socialism and Self-Government

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The Prime Minister of Canada announced earlier this year that electoral reform would not be achieved in this term of Federal Government.

The news struck many Liberal voters painfully as the campaign promise that suggested a dramatic shift from the notably-flawed “First-Past-the-Post” system in place now, was, in actuality, a mere tease for the fairer democracy Canadians have been craving.

It goes without saying that a complete electoral overhaul of the current system is a daring move, one which cannot be implemented without consideration for every potential consequence down the road but in a political climate that integrates anti-Muslim rhetoric and “Barbaric Cultural Practices” hotlines into election platforms, a daring move may be just what is necessary.

The Problem

The problem with democracy as it stands right now is that it is built on a system that divides its people. By examining your country in a dichotomic election, major world issues become polarizing. Conservative and Liberal ideals stretch themselves to their extremes in order to best encapsulate the needs of their demographics and issues which should be viewed in a state of gray become black and white topics with no real resolve until one side triumphs. Although this system has helped to benefit a significant amount of challenging world issues throughout the years, it still omits those which are perhaps the most taboo of conversations – those being the conversations surrounding race, religion, sex, orientation, and gender, ie: our most identifying physical/mental/emotional features.

Consider politics as an elastic band. You can stretch it left and you can stretch it right. But after a certain amount of stretching in either direction, the elastic is going to give. What you are witnessing right now across the world, be it Brexit, the Alt-Right movement, or the white supremacy movement taking place, is a response to decades of people being stretched too far. It is what occurs when the elastic reaches its breaking point.

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In a way, this is good. Humans throughout history have a tendency of repairing their broken systems as they occur and finding new and innovative ways to move into the future. After all, we didn’t transition from Egyptian pharaohs to where we are today without a few stepping stones along the way.

However, this methodology in itself reflects just how truly unsophisticated we are in our ability to solve problems as a unit. Instead of planning for what may be, human beings are inherently absorbed by the present. Everyone likes to fantasize about what the world could be but no political leader in their right mind would spend time and resources investigating ways to change the system which made him/her the most powerful person in the country.

Which brings us back once again to the initial point of the conversation: What-is-the-problem-with-democracy?

Federal politics as it stands right now (at least in Canadian and similar systems) puts the absolute burden of responsibility for decision-making on our federal leaders (and as John Dalberg-Acton once expressed, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”, but more on that later). In turn, constituencies abandon their own civic responsibility of remaining engaged in political processes. For a long time, this was a necessary procedure. As people lacked the instant communication systems of today, it was impossible for every resident to be involved in politics and live their own lives simultaneously. That all changed in 1876.

Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone revolutionized the world as we saw it. It gave an undocumented power to its beholder which was the ability to communicate with another human being in real time from across the world. The sheer thought of how the device would be perfected to the point of being accessible to any human being in a 3×6” form to fit in their pocket along with an endless supply of information would have toppled the 19th century on its head.

But it is a reality now. And changing realities demand changing frameworks from which we may govern.

As circumstances would have it, this era of enlightenment is occurring simultaneous to another era of capitalist oppression and a war is being fought everyday amongst ourselves to see which side will come out victorious. We call this war the political spectrum and in a black and white democracy, every four years, it is fought again.

It is an interesting tug-of-war to bear witness to and one of which tensions have never been greater but as previously mentioned, at some point, the elastic band must snap.

At the present time, political systems have two options:

  1. Remain with the status quo until the system inevitably breaks and then rebuild. Or;
  2. Plan for a society that promotes the peace and wellbeing of all community members by implementing the technologies that exercise communication strategies of the 21st

It should be said that the first option will get worse before it gets better and in order to work together, we must first bear witness to the increasing resistance of opponents to change. That said, history has a tendency to side with the ideal of progressiveness.

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The second option is significantly more optimistic. It involves social activeness and long-term planning far beyond the 4-8 year terms we usually see from our political leaders… a minimum of 60 years into the future, in fact.

The internet is the tool necessary to unite people and create a system of government which is free from the burden of absolute power, absolute control, and of, course, absolute corruption.

In order for a self-governing system of politically minded citizens to work, however, citizens must first be politically minded enough to put aside their differences and agree that the will of the people is greater than the will of the powerful. In order for that to occur, the education system is in dire need of a revival, as well, to train our future decision makers on civic responsibility and world diplomacy.

We can do it, although the elastic band is tighter than it has ever been. Will it snap or will we take this opportunity to take a chance on something new? So begins the next great tug-of-war.

 

-per amicus

2017: A New Hope

2017With the just recently announced deaths of Star Wars actress, Carrie Fisher, along with her mother, famous actress, Debbie Reynolds, it seems that 2016 just couldn’t get any worse, right?

This has been an iconic year in the sense that social media has perpetuated the thought that the year is to blame for all of its own shortcomings between the mass amounts of iconic celebrity deaths, strange political movements, and just overall turmoil within our nations.

However, with the new year ringing in tomorrow, I do have a firm belief that things will get better. Picture almost any movie, novel, screenplay, short story, etc. When does the “worst” moment occur? Usually, immediately before the turnaround when the hero triumphs.

What if 2016 was just our darkest moment before people decide that they deserve better?

I get it. Life isn’t fiction but I like to believe that people want it to be and that’s why we enjoy watching and reading such novelties.

Things look bleak now in a variety of manners. The majority of Americans are upset about a misogynistic cheetoh potentially ripping the rights away from Muslims, PoC, LGBT groups, planned parenthood groups, etc, etc. Black people are being murdered by police officers in the streets and rapists are abusing their privilege to get off scot-free in our courts of law. And a gorilla was shot causing the internet to implode on itself (less relevant but somehow I feel this required inclusion).

People know they deserve better than this and with the ending of what has been deemed an awful year (whether it’s the year to blame or just the circumstances surrounding it), I have a firm belief that people are ready to change things for the better.

In 2017, don’t make new years resolutions. There’s nothing more important to resolve yourself to than fixing our current social climate before our descendants look back at history books and mock us.

Advocate your officials to care about climate change – better yet, do something yourself to help the environment like purchasing an electric vehicle or starting a vegetable garden.

Advocate your officials to fix our skewed electoral system in which a minority of a country can elect a majority government – better yet, challenge yourself to come up with ways that can make us do better.

Advocate your officials to stand up for human rights – better yet, lead by example and challenge those who remain ignorant to societal progress in the name of “humour” or “comfort-zones”. Don’t sit blindly by as our friends and families are mocked and thrown under the bus for being who they are but because some arrogant pricks believe that sensitivity and taking a moment to consider other people’s views is too much work for their already, cumbersome daily lives.

We, alone, have the power to dictate our future. Make 2017 great because of the shortcomings we faced in 2016 and refuse to let 2017 get any worse. It’s the only way the human race can get any better.

Happy new year to all. And I wish you the best in 2017. Because you deserve it.

-per amicus

America: What next?

America: What next?

Donald Trump has been elected the President of the United States in a close but definitive political race. And while the rest of the world may have stared on in awe and shock, many Americans knew where they were casting their vote on November 8th, 2016 and it wasn’t for Hillary Clinton.

Arguing the details of what Mr. Trump’s presidency will accomplish in the next four years is unpredictable. But his win is iconic of something greater – America is a very different place than it once was, particularly on the political side of things. And there is quite a bit that they, along with the rest of the world can learn from such an upset.

  1. You don’t need to be a politician to become a nation’s leader anymore.
  2. Scandals mean nothing.
  3. The future of progressiveness is going to slow down
  4. Us vs. Them mentality is still alive and strong.
  5. There is a clear disconnect between Urban and Rural communities that is not being addressed.

Let’s start with the simple one.

You don’t need to be a politician to become a nation’s leader anymore

Hillary Rodham Clinton came into the mix with an impressive resume of political experience – 30 years spanning First Lady of the United States, Secretary of State, a New York Senator, etc.

Donald Trump entered the picture as an underdog. Yes, he had a following still accrued from his days as a reality TV show personality and billions of dollars as a businessman, but he lacked the political savvy one would expect from a future President of the United States. He did not conduct himself in the professional manner of his colleagues, he did not “politic” his answers to avoid confronting the darkest side of himself, and he did not hold back from expressing his most offensive thoughts. And it worked for him.

People liked the change. Since the days of Abraham Lincoln, those hoping to become the leader of the United States had to walk a very careful tightrope, watching their words and monitoring their actions lest one slip-up cause the country to turn. But this approach was the antithesis of that. And it reflects how Americans felt about their political system.

There is no doubt that future aspiring-presidents (particularly Republicans but Democrats as well) will make a note of this success and learn from it.

After all, if Donald Trump can become president, why not other celebrities with an interest in leading the country and a platform of pre-existing followers? Beyonce could lead a civil rights movement for the Democrats in 2020. Anne Coulter could build off of Mr. Trump’s success and finish building the wall he proposed by her campaign in 2024.

Ellen Degeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Ben Affleck, or maybe even Arnold Schwarzenegger could follow through after his proven “governator of California” shtick worked so effectively.

The doors are open and I wouldn’t be surprised if the next 50 years sees wave after wave of inexperienced politicians taking a stab at the role.

Scandals mean nothing

If there is one thing that Donald Trump mastered throughout this process, it was the ability to manage scandal after scandal unscathed. Between his “pussy grabbing” comments which leaked less than a month before the final vote- – which all but positions him as an abuser of power – and his refusal to supply his tax payments – which when leaked, revealed that he had contributed next to nothing to the same government he proposed should help the working class people who rallied to his cry – nothing seemed to slow down his momentum.

Inversely, one scandal that did not go unnoticed was that of Hillary Clinton’s mysterious deleted emails. Though federal investigations showed no criminal interference, the scandal labelled Hillary as “crooked” and a liar.

So what was the difference between these two competitors?

Well, Hillary took the high road. Though she could have played Donald’s game of rolling in the mud and do it quite effectively, she thought herself above that which was admirable. On the opposite side, Donald Trump slammed Hillary on her emails every chance he had, even when it wasn’t relevant to the question he was answering. It might have looked and sounded ridiculous to the Democratic voters, but it certainly made a splash with his supporters, like a war cry to excite them into ending her candidacy.

There is certainly more at play here which can be discussed at length including Mr. Trump’s abhorrent white, male, straight, cisgendered “All-American” privilege being contrasted with Hillary’s most plain and simple weakness moving into this campaign, her gender, but I digress. Those attitudes are to be figured out by Americans, if and when they feel they are ready to risk a presidential race on evolving progressive ideologies again. Which likely will not occur again for a very long time.

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The future of progressiveness is going to slow down

The democratic party has, in the recent future, been recognized by its increasingly progressive ideologies. President Barack Obama marked a turning point in demonstrating that American voters were ready to support a black, male candidate – the first seen in American history. Americans showed readiness for “hope” and “change” and the last 8 years of the United States certainly attempted just that, legalizing same-sex marriage across the country and invoking affordable health care for residents.

America seemed ready to take the leap into pushing down the walls of what had yet to be achieved and Mrs. Clinton being elected president would have marked another turning point of the first female US president. Regardless of whether or not that was the reason for her failure, Mrs. Clinton’s loss in what was seemingly a “sure thing” against a completely inexperienced political leader will set back both the Democratic and Republican parties immensely.

Future politicians will look to Mr. Trump’s racist and sexist rhetoric and understand that neither of these qualities can stop the momentum in a presidential race. What’s more is that they will exploit this racism again in the future, realizing that it actually benefited Mr. Trump’s campaign.

Children are learning from his example and will continue to learn from it for the next 4 years, marking a new generation of voters who will be okay with these discriminatory attitudes, thus perpetuating the problem into future decades.

The Us vs. Them mentality is still alive and strong

Civil rights have come a long way in the last 70 years and it is particularly in the last 15 that key problems in society have been really identified and challenged.

Black Lives Matter is a great example of this; Black Americans saw an inherent problem in the specific instances of violence from police and they began a campaign to bring awareness to the item and work toward its resolution. Though the problem is still far from being fixed, it looked like it was connecting with people.

The same can be said with Islamophobic ideologies presented in the post-9/11 world that came to be and the marriage equality act. America was looking like it was catching up with the rest of the world in supporting the idea that all people should be treated equally, with respect and dignity.

With Mr. Trump’s victory, however, it is clear that at least half of Americans do not appreciate these efforts as much as it once seemed. There is a clear divide in Americans which can arguably be said about any other country in the world who has yet to see a political candidate such as him bringing the debate to the forefront.

Us vs Them still exists and it is indicative of a greater problem which can easily be seen by analyzing both Democratic and Republican victories and the areas in which they occur.

There is a clear disconnect between Urban and Rural communities that is not being addressed

Which leads to the final question: What is the inherent difference between urban and rural America that is leading to these immensely differing ideologies?

There are hundreds of reasons of what it could be but the plain and simple answer is that it boils down to the disconnect rural communities feel with those living an urban lifestyle. It is the ultimate Us vs. Them. Americans no longer feel united. They believe that a leader is either on the side of Urban voters with their progressive ideologies, technological development and dismissal of religion, or they support the rural lifestyles which are typically god-fearing, simple pleasured, working class Americans.

It is the old versus the new. Those who prefer the old fear that their lifestyle is being ripped away from them at the very root and those who prefer the new feel that progressiveness and change are healthy and good.

Neither is wrong but they simply want to live in a country where their very way of life is not threatened by who is elected as their leader. However, in a presidential election as polarizing as this one, there is no surprise that the two mindsets came head to head with little overlap.

Only time will tell how these demographics will continue to shift but the one thing for certain is that the educational system remains the most important part in shaping the minds of future voters. It will be interesting to see just how that paradigm sways in the upcoming years.

 

 

Things I Learned from Falling in Love

Things I Learned from Falling in Love

Being exposed to one other human being for a long time encourages the mind to grow.

Love is patient, love is kind, and love must learn how to comprehend the human mind in order to survive.

Not everyone gets the opportunity to share their life with someone else and not everyone needs to. But sometimes it motivates us with just the right kick in the pants we need to learn from our surroundings and wrap our heads around just how delicate human nature can be.

For example,

1) You’re Never Going to Agree on Everything

There is so much pressure in this world to find that perfect person. You’ve seen it in movies, heard about it in songs, and it’s been the emphasis of every Disney story since you were a child.

The concept has been romanticized and embellished so much to the point that upon first signs of a struggle, you start to question whether or not you were meant to be at all.

Let’s be honest for a moment.

Fights break out more and more over time. It’s not a sign that things are unstable between the two of you, it’s more a friendly reminder that you’re still two (very) different people.

And that’s okay.

Disagreeing is natural. It’s a sign of maintaining dialogue and it opens the door for compromise which will spark a long and healthy relationship when you’re open to it.

The honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever. We need to forget about this notion that we need to blissfully overlook one another’s flaws and spend our days in la la land in order to be happy – the real world’s not like that, anyways.

Embrace your differences but learn to respect that as much as you might feel your opinion is the better one, so do they.

2) Agree to Disagree

There are many people in your life that you won’t agree with. Thousands. Maybe millions. So my next suggestion might sound a little insane at first: Stop arguing with them.

No, you’re not admitting defeat. No, you’re not going to become a quiet little punching bag in the corner (unless you allow yourself to be).

It’s human nature to want to prove someone else wrong and have them see the world your way but it’s not ever going to be the case because as easy as it is to say “why can’t you ever see things from my perspective?”, chances are that they’re thinking the same thing. And you’re not.

True empathy is incredibly difficult to achieve, particularly when we’re angry and feeling that our voices aren’t being heard. And your partner might be there or they might not but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to put an effort forth.

Swallow your pride – if only just for a moment – and try to understand that maybe the way that they were raised conditioned them to think in a different way about a certain topic than you. And that’s okay.

Sometimes the best and most mature way to approach an argument is to revert to the sidelines, accept that they have a different opinion and find a positive way to move forward despite those differences while ensuring your own voice is heard.

3) People will Always Look at Things from their own Experiences

Whether it be a romantic partner with a differing perspective of how to raise kids or a racist acquaintance on Facebook you sometimes wonder how you became friends with, sometimes you just-won’t-get-it.

“How could they possibly think that?”

“What’s the matter with them?”

“I was raised this way and I turned out great so…”

Not everyone had the same childhood as you. Not everyone may have had the same shortcomings, the same challenges, or even the same lifestyle.

One is not better than any other and if you wind up falling in love with that person, there’s a reason for that regardless of where you’re from.

That’s why meeting your partner’s family is always such an adventure. And the bigger the family, the better the picture it paints.

The family is almost always the first set of people that someone is exposed to at length and more often than not, the one’s they remember the best since they’ll almost always be around.

See who they respect, who they get annoyed by, who they’re comfortable around and how their habits change around them.

These are the impressions that paved the way for who they are today and while sometimes it might make you uncomfortable, to them, it’s home and it used to be an everyday reality. Embrace it because as hard as you want to love someone, you can’t change their past. It might even give you a better perspective as to how you can best go about loving them more.

4) Get over yourself

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There are over 7.4 billion people in this world. And not one of them will be the same as you.

While this tagline might read like a motivational quote to be the best little snowflake you can be, that’s the exact kind of thinking you should try to get away from.

Stop thinking about the 1/7,400,000,000 snowflakes that is you and start thinking more about the 7,399,999,999 snowflakes that are other people.

About 7.4 billion other people in this world and every single one of them is going through their own challenges, their own successes, and their own separate lifestyle from you. It’s hard to imagine but if you were to drop a pin somewhere halfway across the world and follow any random man or woman from inside their own mind, you would see them interact with people – and it won’t be the same way you would – solve problems  – and it won’t be the same way you would – and get frustrated at things – and, surprise, it won’t be the same way you would.

Now what of your romantic partner?

You two might be inseparable, two sides to the same coin, a yin and yang of kindred spirits but even when you’re feeling on top of the world, until you learn that you’re not the only person whose happiness is important, you might not see the small things that could be going on inside your partner’s head.

How was their day at work? Who made them happy or sad or angry or frustrated? How much of that is still replaying in their head even when they get home? How might that manifest within their interactions with you? Maybe 9 days out of 10, they really don’t care that you don’t use a coaster but today their experiences have aggravated them to the point to say something.

There are a million different scenarios that could be playing and responding to the situation with “Well that was rude, you didn’t use a coaster last week!” isn’t going to make a situation lighter.

The same goes with people you might not see every day of your life.

That customer who feels the need to yell at you may have gotten home hoping to surprise their teenage son with a new shirt only to hear he hated it after taking the tags off and is now feeling defeated.

Or the guy who cut you off on the highway may have just been cut off by three other people.

These situations do not justify poor behaviour but they do help you to understand and empathize with where it’s coming from. And in only focusing on how these situations might upset you only helps to perpetuate the cycle of negative responses.

5) Keep it Positive

No relationship can be happy all the time. At some point, we will always feel the need to express our own frustration. That said, it’s worthwhile to make an effort to push positivity back into the room and convince your significant other to do the same.

A healthy relationship is one that keeps the feelings of goodness in the air moreso than the bad.

Celebrate your partner’s successes. Compliment them on how they look. Do things to surprise them. Tell them how much you love them. Recognize when they might need cheering up more than you and share the weight together.

And better yet? Convince them to do the same.

One person showering positivity while the other loathes in self-misery will only result in one person feeling undervalued and overworked and looks more like a one-way relationship. Two people doing it is a team.

6) Communication

They say it in every single self-help romance book and I’m saying it again now.

If you don’t learn how to communicate important concepts with your partner, you will always feel like you’re missing something.

Keep an open-dialogue. A part of that is making sure that both you and your partner feel safe to express whatever is on your mind without fear of starting a fight.

If you bottle the small things up your entire life, you’re going to be 60 years old stuck in a routine and feeling ultimately unfulfilled. Find a way to say what is bothering you so you can address it quickly and force your partner to participate in a dialogue. If they or you won’t listen to compromise, there is going to be a problem.

If things are meant to be, the communication should come naturally. If not, there may be deeper issues.

Which leads to my final point.

7) Love Always

This is probably one of the most difficult concepts to wrap one’s head around especially if you are a firm believer in true love. There might be several soul mates in your life.

However, the one you choose to be with is there for a reason.

The two of you fell in love because you saw something in each other. The two of you continue to grow together because you learn from one another. And ultimately, the two of you will stay together because you understand what it takes to make a relationship work.

“Timing is everything” when starting a relationship because you need to be at the right point of understanding in your life to make it succeed. “The One” right now might not have been the right one for you two years ago because maybe you or they didn’t quite learn these lessons yet.

“The One” last year might have realized at some point that one of these qualities was amiss and things fell apart. That doesn’t mean you didn’t learn the other five qualities in the meantime.

Learning to love is a journey and while it might not always be for everyone – either by choice, luck, or circumstance – it does carry an immense benefit of self-awareness.

Love can be intimate or broad. It can be with one romantic partner or with fifty strangers you meet in a day. It’s not limited to relationships, or family, or friends.

We all have the capacity to learn these lessons and probably many more through our own unique experiences. It’s a part of the ongoing pursuit of happiness.

Love always and love often and you’ll learn to appreciate life a whole lot more.

-per amicus