Tag Archives: lust

Open your Heart

A dear friend sent me a link to an interesting TED talk on love and relationships given by Mandy Len Catron. The theme of love and relationships had already been playing on my mind.

After watching the clip, I confessed to my friend that I long to share intimacy and affection with someone of the male variety. I quickly added that I’m just feeling impatient and that I should simply be present.

My friend replied: “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a special connection with a man. What you mustn’t do is ever make yourself feel bad because that want is there. It’s human nature.” It was nice to read her words.

Mandy Len Catron’s TED talk came about because Mandy, in the midst of a breakup, turned to science to better understand love. While researching the workings of the heart, Mandy discovered a study undertaken by psychologist Arthur Aron 20 years ago.

The study involved having two strangers ask and answer a series of 36 questions designed to make the participants fall in love. Six months later, the participants were married.

One evening, Mandy described Arthur Aron’s study to a university acquaintance. He proposed that they put the questions to the test. And they promptly fell in love!

Mandy went on to write an article about her experience for The New York Times. Since then, she has received endless calls and emails from people who all want to know one thing: Are Mandy and her university acquaintance still together? And the answer is that they are.

This may seem like the happy ending that we’re all hoping for. But what Mandy learned from this incredible experience is that there is no happy ending. There is no ending.

Falling in love is the easy part. The challenge lies in the decision to continue loving each other through the good and the difficult times. The hard part is to allow yourself be vulnerable and to give your heart to someone who may or may not choose to love you back.

These are the parts of love that many single people forget about when we crave a relationship. We want the smiles and the glances, the cuddles and the kisses, the electricity of attraction and the rush of romance.

However, closeness with a partner can really trigger you and bring all your issues to the surface. The choice then is to succumb to the temptation to close your heart and retreat (or defend) or you can deal with these issues and expand, both as a human being and as a couple.

It’s exciting and scary to open your heart to another human being. Being loved can make you feel blissful and secure one moment and out of control the next.

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Today, I told another friend about all of this. She excitedly suggested that we ask one another the 36 questions. “Imagine if we fell in love,” she laughed.

My friend and I answered all 36 of Arthur Aron’s questions. The questions encouraged us to share our life stories, embarrassing incidents, favourite memories, fears, problems and dreams. We were also invited to tell each other what we liked about one another.

Did we fall in love? I can honestly say that my heart was bursting by the end of the exercise. In truth, my friend and I already love one another.

However, this exercise highlighted how much we have in common and how much we value our friendship. Being let into my friend’s life in this way deepened my love for her. Answering these questions also reminded me of how far I’ve come, how great my life is and how wonderful I am.

How do a series of questions make people fall in love? I believe that these questions inspire you to share yourself with another human being openly and honestly. This vulnerability allows someone to get to know the real you. And this can greatly speed up the falling in love process.

I’d definitely recommend completing this exercise, preferably with someone dishy. It may just make you fall in love – with your friend, your partner, or an attractive stranger. It may also make you fall in love with your journey, with your life, and with you, the real you.

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My Dream Man

It is a late autumnal afternoon and I am walking with an attractive man. We arrive at the canal. I stop at a railing and gush, “I love it!”

I continue: “I know I can get very enthusiastic but there’s something about the water and nature and this time of year and the red-brick buildings. I love beautiful things.”

He faces me. The railing is between us. He states: “Nothing is perfect, Sharon.” I look at him and answer: “I didn’t say perfect, I said beautiful.” He leans in to kiss me.

A moment later, I move in to kiss him. He would need to inch a little more forward. He doesn’t. He turns and keeps walking.

I awaken. It is very early and the wind is howling outside. I fumble for a pen and paper. I feel this dream contains an important message. Something that’s come up a few times recently about how I still think I have to be perfect in order to be accepted and loved. And more importantly, in order to accept and love myself. I’ve also just realised that I place the same ridiculously high standards on any potential partners and on the relationship we may have.

Thankfully, the last couple of times I’ve become aware of this, I’ve recognised that there is beauty in imperfection. There’s honesty, truth and authenticity. There’s humanity and openness and connection.

Maybe next time, I’ll have that kiss.

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Wholehearted

I am yawning sleepily behind the wheel this morning when Stevie Wonder’s For Once in My Life comes on the radio. I turn it up loud and sing along as tingles fizz throughout my body. I drive delightedly into the beautiful green countryside, bathed in early September sunlight.

This is the kind of song that plays as the credits roll after a heartwarming rom-com, where the two lead characters finally shrug off their doubts and stubborn self-sabotage and swoop upon one another in the middle of a rain-shocked street or teeming airport terminal.

This is the kind of song that you only smile at when you’re in love. When you’ve found the person you believe is going to save you, crown you, give you the unconditional love you hadn’t even realised you’d been denying yourself. When you’re dazzled by the exciting debut of a relationship where colour and laughter are magnified and embraces and caresses come thick and often.

This is the kind of song you swiftly switch off when you’re not in love. The kind of song that grates on you as you peer out at lovestruck couples with envy and cynicism and a shameful knot of malice.

And yet, this morning, as a single woman, this is the kind of song that reminds me that life is wonderful, that I am happy, and that I don’t need a partner to distract or complete me. I am whole. Life is full. And I have all the love I could ever need.

The Apple of my Eye

Let me tell you about my new crush. I’ve known him for years but never thought of him that way. Until I saw him again on Sunday night. He’s such a nice guy. He’s cute and tall and wears cool clothes. He’s down-to-earth, funny and super-talented. He’s quite skilled on a unicycle and even manages to look good in an elephant suit….

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Okay, so he’s an incredibly famous rock star. But you know I encourage dreaming big. If he wasn’t married with kids, I’d totally go for it. Alas, I have principles.

* On a side note, can’t you just picture this song playing at a summer festival? The crowd sings along in unison to the chorus as the delectable Mr Martin pounds away on the piano… TURN IT UP LOUD! *

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