The Language of Love

A while ago, I noticed something interesting about myself, as it pertains to romantic love. When I have been in relationships, I always seemed to feel especially adored when the man would pay attention to the things that I loved, and then acted upon them. When my favorite coffee fixings and foods were in his home. When he would bring me a white flower every now and then, just because he knew how much I liked white flowers. One man even bought me ice skating lessons after he overheard me talking about how much I wished I could skate. Yes, those things made me feel cherished. As I looked back further on these relationships, I also realized that I would do those same things for the men in my life. Pick up their favorite dessert while at the store. Get them a subscription to a magazine for something I knew they enjoyed. Maybe put a little note in their jacket pocket. But, surprisingly, I didn’t always get the response from the men I would have expected. One man was not so happy with me, when I put a cute magnet on his refrigerator. Another man told me to add anything on his shopping list that I would like in his kitchen, and yet still I was bringing my own Almond milk and Stevia for my coffee to his home. Then I came upon what is called The Five Love Languages. Dr. Gary Chapman, a marriage counselor for over 30 years, realized that most people identified with a primary way in which they feel loved. I am going to tell you what these Five Love Languages are, with a very short description:

  • Words of Affirmation: This is praising someone. A “thank you” when they do something nice for you, a “WOW, you look especially gorgeous today,” and of course an “I love you,” or “I care deeply for you,” because you do.
  • Acts of Service: this is doing simple tasks for the other, without being asked. Like washing the dishes, ironing their shirt for them, cooking a special meal. Things of that sort.
  • Receiving Gifts: they do not have to be anything grand; it really is that the other knows you are thinking about them. And tokens are how they enjoy being shown that.
  • Quality time: This is time spent just together, being fully present and fully engaged with each other. Turn off that cell phone and give your attention to your partner.
  • Physical Touch: This is exactly as it sounds. Handholding, a wonderful hug, a kiss, sex.

After reading this, it became apparent to me that my primary love language is, obviously, receiving gifts. I looked a little harder at my own past experiences, and saw that I also very much enjoyed putting my arm in the arm of my love while we walked down the street or holding hands, and I usually would touch his arm while talking to him or some other endearing touch as I would walk by him. So it seems that touch is my secondary love language. What I found particularly intriguing, as I was looking back, is I realized that I GAVE the expression of love to others that I wanted to receive, rather than giving them what made them feel valued. Of course, I didn’t know any better. I believe that is probably what most of us do, give what we enjoy receiving. No wonder we are all so baffled. If a man I am involved with, experiences the feeling of love through words of affirmation, and I am giving him little gifts all of the time, he is not feeling it and we are both left disappointed and confused. I found this understanding unbelievably liberating. Once we know our own love language, we can gently explain it to our partner. And when we know theirs, we can express our love to them in a way that will fill their hearts. Such subtle things that make all the difference in coming together! And by the way, The Love Languages are not for romantic partners only. what a wonderful thing to do for all of the people in our lives that we love.

© 2016 Alice Badler

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New Year’s Resolutions – Friend or Foe?

As that time is rolling around where people will be making resolutions for the coming year, I started wondering about it all. What is a resolution exactly? And how did that get started anyway?

The dictionary defines a resolution as a firm decision to do or not to do something. No big surprise there.

People have been making resolutions for probably 4,000 years. It was around 2,000 years ago, in Rome that resolutions became connected to, what is now, the New Year. At that time it was all about spirituality.

People would spend New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in services reflecting on the past year and seeing how they could be more valuable people and treat others better. This idea spread throughout most of the Western cultures. Which is how we got here today.

It has only been in the past two hundred years that we started to make our resolutions more about self-improvement: more about external rather than internal work on ourselves.

The big ones are weight loss and going to the gym, followed by letting go of bad habits like smoking and things of that nature.

I think we set ourselves up for failure when we choose one day a year to make hard and unattainable goals, in order to try and correct all the things we want to be better at, and have for ourselves.

Then, when we cannot achieve these insanely strict rules we have put on ourselves we feel like failures; and shame and guilt set in.

Maybe instead, if throughout the year we were to look at who we want to be in the world and take baby steps to achieve those goals, we would have a better chance of attaining them.

Why not has this include both how we want to be as human beings and how we can improve ourselves? We can have that lean body and get rid of bad habits, while still working on being more loving and compassionate as well.

The idea of using New Year’s Day to reflect upon our lives, without being hard on ourselves is certainly wonderful. But there is no value in reflecting for a change if we judge ourselves.

Then we can start the process of defining what we would like to accomplish throughout the year and what it would take to get there.

Rome wasn’t built in a day!

© 2016 Alice Badler

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The Importance of Taking Care of Self

When you fly on an airplane, before take off, the flight attendant goes over what to do in case of an emergency. One of the things they tell you is that if the cabin loses oxygen, a mask will fall in front of you. In all circumstances you are to put your oxygen mask on first, before putting one on anyone else; this includes young children and the elderly. The reason for this is because if you cannot breathe, you are useless to others.

It is no different in everyday life.

If you are tired, cranky, depressed, anxious or unhappy in any way, don’t you feel like you can’t breathe? If you can’t breathe, you are no good to anyone else. In fact, your actions may, unintentionally, harm those you love.

People are so busy, it seems, from the moment they wake up until they turn out the lights, with responsibilities. Between work, errands, children, tasks surrounding friends and families, taking care of our homes and on and on. And many of these things are not rewarding or even enjoyable.

So what about us? What about taking care of OUR needs?

Self-care is not a luxury; it is a necessity. It is imperative that we all find time each and every day to do something for ourselves to bring calm into our lives and make us feel good.

It doesn’t have to be anything grand, just something you love and gives you a lift.

I love to take a walk with great music playing on my iPod. The neighbors think I am a little nutty as I “dance” myself down the street, but it brings me great joy. How about sitting outside with your lunch on a nice day, or reading a book. Playing video games for half an hour or watching your favorite show. Taking a bubble bath or a nap, spending time on a wonderful hobby: puzzles, baking and the list goes on.

We all have things we enjoy that are just for us. Things that are ours alone and put life back into our step.

So many people say they don’t have time. I have a feeling you make time to feed your children and get your work done.

Taking care of YOU should be on the top of that priority list.

And just a little add-on for you couples. What I like to call mutual-care is equally as important. Don’t forget about each other in the whirl of everyday life. Little touches during the day, cuddles, holding hands and a date night once a week, are so key in keeping that light flickering.

Self-Care. Act as if your life depends on it – because it does!

© 2016 Alice Badler

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The Four Agreements – Transform your Life

I would like to tell you about a man named Don Miguel Ruiz. Don Miguel was a brilliant surgeon in his native Mexico. Only a few years into his career, he was in a near fatal car accident. And like many people who have faced a life-altering event, he decided he needed to take a look at his life. It is said that the greatest growth is born from those big challenges. I would have to agree.

He immersed himself in both the ancient teachings of his ancestors and those of the American Shaman Indian’s.

Don Miguel shares what he learned with his first book: The Four Agreements. This book gives four principles (what he calls Agreements) to practice in order to create, peace, love and happiness in your life.

What I especially love about his works is how he combines both his background as a scientist with the knowledge and wisdom he spent so many years studying.

I am going to share with you the short description of each agreement, from Don Miguel’s book cover. Then, as we move further into the show, we can discuss the Agreements in greater detail and how you can use them to transform your lives.

Be Impeccable with your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

I would like to add something of my own here. We all know that old saying about sticks and stones. Well, it’s not true. Words can cut us very deeply!

Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

I need to add something here as well. Don’t decide what is on another persons mind; just ask them.

Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Trying to adhere to the Four Agreements 100% of the time is setting yourself up for failure. Don Miguel’s purpose with The Four Agreements was to create an awakening from old belief systems and show people a new way to view the world.

If you are able to adopt these principles as often as you can (however often that is), it will absolutely be one of the most life changing things you will ever do.

And as with all of the things I talk about, it takes paying attention to your actions and practice, practice, practice.

There are no overnight miracles.

© 2016 Alice Badler

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What About Our Fabulous Men!

There was a time, not so long ago, when women couldn’t vote, or work, or even go to college. Their jobs were to marry, stay home and take care of their families.

The women’s movement changed all of that and that‘s a good thing, as so many women felt unfulfilled.

But soon there was unrest. It was almost as if men became the enemy as women fought for more prestigious jobs, equal pay and became able to take care of themselves financially and in almost every other way. Even I can change the oil in my car. Oh wait, I meant I could PUT oil in my car, not that I have any desire to do that!!

Many women wanted total equality with men. They even wanted men to be able to communicate with them the way we, as women, communicate.

But men and women ARE different. We are different physically, psychologically and emotionally. We can never be truly equal, and why would we want to be? Equal means the same.

As all of these changes were happening for women, men just moved along with us. Confused, not really knowing what their roles were anymore. This dynamic has changed the way men and women interact with each other in all things. It has definitely changed the dance of finding and falling in love with a mate. I think this is why courtship has become a lost art.

Here’s the thing. Men need to be needed. Men need to feel like the provider and protector. Men need to feel appreciated and valued.

They are built that way! This has been ingrained in them for almost 200,000 years, as the hunters of our species.

And as women, we can certainly give this to them, even in our wonderful roles, where we are so strong and capable.

How hard it is to notice all the delightful things that a man brings into our lives, rather than paying attention to the things he is doing wrong?

How hard is it to let a man know when he does something that has added value to your day, to your life? And I am not just talking about love relationships here. I am talking about the way we treat all men, from the men we work with to that man who may be serving you dinner at a restaurant.

Even young boys need to feel admired.

A woman who shows a man how much she appreciates him, values him and respects him, gets all the great gifts a man can bestow on a woman.

Men ARE fabulous, they really are! They need us to see that. We, the women, are the ones who can bring out the best in them. Now, that’s powerful!

© 2016 Alice Badler

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A Brief History of Sex

Back in the caveman days, people lived in tribes: each tribe cohabitated together as families in large dwellings. Young men and women would mate and have children. But if any caveman asked another to have sex with his wife, so it was. No big deal. And by the way, cavemen never needed to hit their wives over the head – their women were quite willing.

Let’s fast forward to the 16th century. It was around this time that marriages among the elite became more for convenience than for love. It was also at this time that the courtesan became a woman of status rather than one of ill repute. In fact, men were honored to be chosen by the most revered of these women. A courtesan and her lover would go out in public proudly and no one batted an eye.

Now we move on to the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Here in the United States women and men waited until marriage to engage in a sexual relationship. The rules seemed pretty clear. The man courted the woman and she remained chaste.

Not so far after that, we entered into the 1970’s. The age of Aquarius – love the one you’re with! People were exploring their sexuality openly and without shame.

And now here we are at the beginning of the 21st century.

The cultures of all other times before us seemed to have unspoken rules about the way things were.

Now it all seems very muddled.

Teens hang out in groups and sexually experiment with each other.

Many married couples enjoy monogamy, while others have open relationships or engage in swinging. But the two latter have to hide their preferences.

People are out there dating for a variety of reasons, from having casual sex to looking for the loves of their lives and everything in between.

Ah, and that intoxicating feeling that comes with great sex. Those crazy chemicals messing with our brains. This is where singles have to be a bit careful; as for many it blinds them from seeing their lover with clarity.

Those hormones served us very well as cavemen. Back then, that is how couples choose each other. Life was all about survival and procreation.

But now we live in very different times.

I suppose in this day and age where there are such diverse feelings regarding sexuality, we each have to come up with our own rules. As a single person, you can define what kind of sexual being you want to be and do share that with those you date. You want to make sure you are on the same page. As a couple, together you decide what works best for the two of you.

I like that. The idea of each of us choosing who we want to be in the world, in any regard, is a very powerful thing. But, as in all things, we must choose with pure intention and never to harm another.

© 2016 Alice Badler

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Do I Look Good in This Dress?

I was at a party with a friend and she asked me this very question. She really didn’t look so great in that particular dress. And so, do I tell her the truth? We are already at the party and there is nothing she can do about it. Or do I tell a lie so she can have a fun night? I choose to tell her she looked great.

While thinking about the subject of not telling the truth, it occurred to me that there are so many different kinds of lies, levels of lies.

There is the white lie. That is the lie I told. Where by telling the truth we will make someone feel bad. Or maybe shaving a few years off our age?
A lie by omission: We ask our partner what they did last night and they tell us they went out for drinks with their friends. But omit the part where they went to a strip club and got a lap dance.

Then there is Fabrication. Where we might say something that we are not sure is true and hence we start a rumor about someone.

How about plagiarism? This can be as big as putting our name on a work that someone else created, to having someone think we made that wonderful cake and us not correcting them.

Making a promise we have no intention of keeping?

Even exaggerating a story we are telling, is a lie.

And the big one: Deception – a bold face lie, with intent. Included here is stealing, cheating, scamming, etc.

I am sure the list goes on.

I know people who don’t think some of these are lies at all; Omission and white lies top that list. In fact, I have met a few people throughout my life, who only consider deception a lie. The other things they seem to be able to reconcile in their heads.

If something is not the absolute truth it is then a lie. It is that simple.

If we take into account all of the above, then it would seem that most, if not all, people lie, often times without even realizing it. It is part of human nature.

But we all have such a problem with that word. We are taught that if we lie, we are bad.

Absolutely, there are certain types of lies that will always be unacceptable to each of us.

But am I a bad person because of the lie I told my friend? Can I not be trusted at all? I think not.

I made a conscious decision and I take ownership for that choice. I will not play games with myself and pretend that it was anything else.

Maybe, rather then being in denial about what is true about the human condition – we can figure out what our thresholds for lying are; for ourselves and those for the people in our lives.

What can we live with and what are our deal-breakers?

© 2016 Alice Badler

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Memories in a Jar

I was reading a little blurb a woman wrote. She said that throughout her day whenever something nice happened to her or a flashback to a wonderful memory, she would write it down on a little piece of paper and put it in a jar. When the jar was full, she would take it and go get comfortable with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and read all of those beautiful memories. How lovely is that?

It got me to thinking about all of the great things that happen throughout our days.

I have many, but to name just a few. There was the time my daughter came to visit and after she left, I saw a sticky note on my kitchen cabinet that read, “I love you Mommy.” She is in her twenties and still calls me Mommy. That makes my heart soar! Oh and when my dear friend called with so much excitement in her voice because she found a beautiful Conch shell that never should have been on that particular beach. And the time I cut someone off in traffic and instead of getting mad at me, he smiled and waved me in.

These things are happening around us all the time.

We feel the joy for a moment but it’s fleeting and then we move on with our day.

What about when something negative happens to us? Someone takes that parking space we have been waiting for, our child is mad at us, our boss reprimands us or our partner leaves crumbs on the counter. And traffic? That is a huge one! Those things tend to stay with us and can ruin hours, a day or even longer.

I wonder about that part of us humans. Why we can’t let go of those uncomfortable things?

Why not reverse it? Why not keep the joyful feeling of those wonderful moments and let the negatives ones be fleeting?

What a difference each day would be.

© 2016 Alice Badler

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Puppy Love

I want to talk about puppy love.

Let me tell you about my little dog, Jax.

He is so good at being in a relationship.

He is not afraid to ask for exactly what he wants. And he does it so nicely. If he wants to play, he will bring me a toy. And if he wants love or cuddles, he will paw me. Of course, I can’t always accommodate him. But he never gets upset with me.

And the same is true in reverse. Sometimes I want to be with Jax and he wants nothing to do with me. I never take it personally. And there are times when he might have a little accident on the carpet or I step on his tail by mistake but we never hold a grudge against each other. We are both always good with each other. This little boy is all about giving and receiving love.

I think you all know where I am going with this.

Look, I understand that dogs are not out in world. It can be hard out there. Relationships can be hard sometimes. So this seems like a very simplistic view of how to be in a relationship.

But what if we tried some of this stuff – just to see what would happen?

What if …… we asked for we wanted, nicely?

What if  …… they said no and we never took it personally?

What if …… we allowed for people to ask us for they want? And if we have to to say no, to do it in such a way that we never made them feel bad for having asked?

What if …… we gave love just because we want too with no grand expectations of anything in return?

Just something for you to think about.

© 2016 Alice Badler

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