Tuesday, January 24, 2017

URBAN DECAY

"Our intellect has achieved the most
 tremendous things, but in the meantime
 our spiritual dwelling has fallen into disrepair."
 - Carl Jung


Yeah, if you know your cosmetics, this is a play on word on that one very amazing cosmetic brand. Google it if you're confused. That aside, let's hit straight into more interesting things that more people will be keen in reading... 'Urban Decay' - the process whereby a previously functioning city, or part of a city, falls into disrepair and decrepitude due to neglect or age. And yes, this is another relationship article, they always seem to get the most attention. I guess we're all just dying to find out the magic to achieving eternal belonging. Replace the word 'city' with the word 'relationship' and you have this fortnight's topic: a previously functioning relationship falls into disrepair and decrepitude due to neglect... 



Two moments have really dug it's claws into my mind for this topic:
1. Last year I oversaw a friend messaging his long time girlfriend about date night. I was surprised they were both telling each other how excited they were for the anticipated night. I thought it was so beautiful, five years in and they still treated date night as something like their first date, when realistically, it was probably their 1000th date. I felt towards them the same warm fuzzy feeling I get when seeing old couples stay romantic even into their late 80's.

2. One of the many nights at the front of my house, I thanked him for dropping me off. But his reply was rather negative: "Why do you always thank me when I drop you off?". It's not just what he said, it was the tone he said it in, the tone of utter confusion and lack of understanding with no hint of wanting to truly understand. More like a condemnation of my act of gratitude. He might not remember this, but I remember this all too clearly, because that moment did more shock than he knew. A man with an open mind is one that I fall for, people with open minds are the ones that I stay around with. And I guess that's why he's no longer around...

Point being, gratitude creates lasting relationships. Full stop.


I admit I was not always completely myself around him, I was too sweet, too soft, too tame... He never made me feel comfortable to be myself. I never felt safe to let him witness the true me, and so he missed out on my extremely entertaining sass. His condemnation of what he witnessed was, for a rare moment in the relationship, something truly innately me, something I never knew was not common to everyone: gratitude.

I thought it was very normal to thank people for their kind acts, to never take things for granted. But I guess some people only thank strangers, acquaintances and semi-friends for things to keep a 'pristine' image, to look like a polite and well-mannered person for society, and to lay out a 'relationship' to obtain more kind acts from them in the future. For some it comes from the heart, for others it comes from a less pure place. Another argument for why it's so strange to thank close friends or family is that they're so close to you that they should just 'know' you appreciate them, that they should 'trust' you appreciate them without any verbal reinforcement, and as such, there is no need to thank them. To thank someone means you're not 'close' to them. But that is not true. A simple kind word or thought may have a larger effect than you know. 


I thank my mother all the time, and my father, and my brothers. I thank everyone. And they thank me too. It doesn't mean we're not close. Damn, quite the contrary actually, cause my family is tightttt (#dawg). It creates a much better dynamic between us all, when we openly show we care and appreciate each other. It's not just about having manners. It's fostering a good happy relationship. When a kind act is done, I will thank them. Because the truth is, too many people do take close loved ones for granted. That's why relationships fall apart. It may not have been the cause of my past relationships falling apart, but they certainly lacked the expressions of gratitude way too early on. I know that if 'one thing' didn't tear us down, the lack of gratitude would eventually anyway.

Old couples are adorable, especially when they are still 'lovey-dovey', when they still hold hands and kiss each other on the cheeks: subtle acts of passion. When they still compliment each other every now and then (not too frequently, but frequently enough). You may have heard of the 'honeymoon' stage, well these old couples shower each other in banter and love like they're still in that stage! And I do wonder whether it's been there since the very beginning, or maybe the spark of young puppy love is reignited when life slows down, old age kicks in, and people start realising what's important. Either way, we should aspire for this type of love at every age, and we do so by showing gratitude more frequently. Don't wait for a special occasion to do it. Don't wait for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, birthdays etc. Otherwise be prepared to see your relationship turn mediocre real quick, and things begin to slip out of your hands. 

Thanking someone not only fosters a better relationship with them, it makes you innately more happy. How? Because verbalising something helps you appreciate all the things you should not be taking for granted. It puts things in perspective and makes you feel lucky for all the things you have. Don't just say 'thank you', say 'thank you for...'. Because now you have to think, 'what am I really thankful for?' Plus, for the person receiving it, it also sounds far more genuine. When you say 'thank you for spending the day with me', it puts into perspective that this doesn't happen all the time, and that not everyone is so lucky to have such great company to spend the day with. It makes you feel happier just being grateful for the little things. It sounds so 'girly', making a big deal over the 'smaller' things. But trust me, if you cared enough about that person, it makes a big positive difference to the dynamic of the relationship.

Relationships so often fall into disrepair because one person stops putting in attention and effort to keep it in good condition (the grass is greener where you water it). They say 'distance makes the heart grow fonder...' but no one until now bothered to burst your bubble and tell you that it only happens for the first week (or so), because after that... people will drift. My mother reinforced my blogging thoughts in saying this: "At the end of the day, we are still two people of different blood, so distance only separates us." 
People have different views and beliefs from one another because we have each gone through different experiences. So, when two lovers share a distance, and hence experience life separately for a significant period of time, they grow... apart. That's why it's important to stick together. Independence is important, but the dream team must come back frequently to share their experiences with their counterpart so that they continue to see the world in the same light. If not, views diverge and conflict arises. Long distance relationships will not outlast the milestones that each person experiences separately. Heck, relationships alone are often tested heavily in the times where milestones occur. When we graduate, or start work, or travel... we grow, we change, and often we drift... 

Thoughts to take away from this: 1) If you care for each other, don't be so selfish as to venture off to grow alone; and 2) Be more thankful, show (not assume) more love. And yup, peace! #I'mOut!                

Fashion Union Black Crop Top / Zara White Denim Shorts /
Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers (Red)

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