Matters of the heart

Relationships are difficult. I’ve had a plethora of them in my lifetime but only a handful have actually meant something. Is that shallow? Possibly, yes. But I argue that people who do not ‘date around’ have little concept of what they really want in relationships. Moreso, they probably have not learned how to handle conflicts in a healthy manner, deal with breakups or communicate effectively. Those skills are not just relevant to relationships, they also spill heavily into the sewage systems of life where we put in life’s crap and eventually are returned clear, fresh water. It’s a complex process and there are so many parties involved and different events happening that often you forget which crap is your problem and which problems are just crap. Your issue is the important one, right? You have the crappiest problem floating down there and you demand to be comforted.

Truth is, we all need to be comforted when it comes to relationships. They are simply hard. Even the fairy tale type relationships, which absolutely exist in this world, have problems. The cold, hard fact is that no two people are a perfect match and that is what makes relationships interesting. So in an effort to deal with my own breakup, I would like to offer my two-cents to the world of relationship advice.

*DISCLAIMER* 

I came to Thailand with my girlfriend of 2 years. Before coming to Thailand we had that fairy tale relationship where everything clicked and the world was bright and joyous. But it was only through this experience that we realized we wanted different things in life. As of today, she got on a boat and is heading back to America after a short hiatus in Bali, Indonesia. I will not be joining her. Instead, I am going to Ashikaga, Japan to continue my travels and education experiences. Does it hurt? Hell yes. Am I okay? Yep. Did I love her? Stupid question. Next one, please. Are I going to give mildly cliche advice? Probably, but it’s from the heart, so stop asking questions and just read it. 

Let people give you advice...even if you do not believe or agree with what they have to say. 

      Yep. Even the words I’m about to utter in this post should fall upon mildly deaf ears. Why am I saying that? Because we all deal with depression differently. You might hear a spectrum of advice such as, “Go get drunk.”,”Just have a rebound relationship.”,”Wanna talk about it?” to, my personal favorite, “Burn it. Burn it all.” The last one is pretty extreme, but I’ve done that and ,at the time, it felt good. Regardless of the advice that is given, there is an underlying comment being made, even the pyromaniacs are saying it, albeit in a very strange way. “I care about you and I want to help you.” Embrace that fact. You might just find that knowing someone is there is enough to get you through the worst of it and back on your feet. Once you accept that, go have your alone time, get those emotions out and then just be in the presence of someone else. You don’t have to talk or even look at them. Just know that you are not alone, because you are not.

By and by, my neighbors are Korean. They don’t speak much english but they are absolutely wonderful people. In my book, anyone who roasts their own coffee and then grinds it in the mornings can do no wrong. They recognize that I’m not particularly happy at the moment and have brought me food (and the aforementioned coffee) and generally have made their presence known...should I wish to join them. To me, that proves that despite language barriers or cultural differences, humans are inherently good and want to help others. So maybe that friend urging you to have an impromptu trashcan fire is really saying, “I know how hard this is for you. I’m right beside you and I’ll even throw in the first matchstick if you’d like.”. That is quite literally the fires of friendship burning for you.

Listen to music

     I’m not going to go into the psycho-analytical here. It should be very obvious that music affects our brains, bodies and souls. Ask any person and I can guarantee they have a list of ‘go to’ songs. Songs that make them happy, cause them to exercise harder, trigger nostalgia and memories or be more productive. The list is endless. Music is a visceral part of how we go about our days, and many of us have soundtracks to life. So...I’m going to give you a list of songs that I listen to when I’m sad. To you, these songs are just that, songs. But to me, they are extremely powerful gateways to my emotions and do all kinds of different things to my heart. I consider the following excellent songs, you may hate them, but if nothing else it might show you artists that you have yet to discover. I’m only going to list one song by each artist, but please know, they are fantastic musicians and deserve to be explored further. Thus without further ado:

Fall for you - Michael Henry and Justin Robinett  (Originally Secondhand Serenade)

Gone, Gone, Gone - Philip Phillips

Windows Are Rolled Down- Amos Lee

Company Of Friends - Danny Schmidt

I Will Wait - Mumford and Sons

The General - The Dispatch

Konstantine - Something Corporate

Sun Will Set - Zoe Keating

Last Goodbye - Wailing Jennys

World Spins Madly On - The Weepies

Okay, that should do it. Bottom line? Listen to music. It’s good for you and silence is awkward anyway...unless it’s with nature. Then silence is golden.

Exercise

     Got frustrations? Music not working and you hate everyone and everything? Go exercise. Endorphins are amazing and getting out all your emotional build up is much easier and healthier through working out then it is to say, scream into a pillow, eat a gallon of ice cream or plummet into despair. Hate running? Don’t like lifting weights and you can’t swim? Try yoga, Zumba, walking, etc. I’ll take a small wager and say that very very few people come back from working out and don’t feel at least a little better. If you need a more...aggressive approach, might I suggest a punching bag? Just be careful with that though, punching or kicking incorrectly can lead to injuries. But if you need to hit something, a punching bag is a better choice then a wall or your ex.

Distract yourself

     Sometimes pain is simply to great to deal with and we need time to dull it. In this case, distract yourself. This can mean an almost innumerable amount of things. For me, this can take the form of being with friends, playing video games, art, playing guitar, household chores, shopping (yes, I like shopping) and cooking. Actually cooking is my go to. I LOVE to cook and anyone who has joined me in the kitchen knows that I take pride in making good food from simple ingredients. You can always tell when I’ve had a rough day because I’ll have made a three course meal and denied any offers for help.

Creating a distraction allows our subconscious to handle a few things without us knowing. It can only do so much though. Distracting yourself is good, however, don’t run from the emotions if they come to the surface. Face them, accept them and work on understanding the why and the what of each. Remember, your body and mind will give you what you can handle but those feelings aren’t going to disappear unless you approach them and see each for what it is and where it is originating from.

So that’s all. Take it or leave it and agree or not. You can probably find a slew of similar articles on both WordPress and liberally slathered across the internet. Like I mentioned in the beginning, this is only my thoughts and the experiences I am having now. Sharing it and also offering advice helped me to deal with the pain and I feel better because of it.

Thank you for listening.

-Jesse