First Date Tips for the Gay Man

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Even though it can seem that nobody goes on actual dates any more, there are still some guys out there that do want to spend time getting to know you before heading to the sheets.

Shocking, I know.  LOL

Sadly, especially with the advent of the smart phone apps, most of us don’t even bother following a few basic first date guidelines.  Sometimes we’ve spent so much time chatting online to each other, it’s like you’ve already had your first or second date, just without even meeting.

Bust is this a matter of getting too familiar too soon?

The whole point of a first date is to get to know someone new and see if there’s any connection between you.  It’s not to unload your entire life story, or to complain about your ex, prattle on about your newest gadget, or to extol the virtues of your new workout routine.

It’s all about see what you have in common and if there are any sparks between you.

Some of the below may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many guys forget about them.

Do something mutually fun and affordable

All too often guys will go along with their date’s ideas even if it’s something they don’t enjoy or maybe even can’t afford.  There’s no rule that says one of you needs to take charge and decide what you’ll do on your date, or that one of you should be submissive when it comes to making a decision.  It is, after all, your date too so you do have a say.

And let’s be honest – unless you’re a sugar daddy looking to snatch up some young money-grubbing twink, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing something on the cheap.. but perhaps not so cheap that you’re eating dry ramen sitting in a park.  LOL

Overall, a date should be fun and interesting.  And the most important part is spending time to get to know each other.  So if you both have an interest in the arts, why not tour a local art gallery (some of which may even be free..).  Or if you’re both foodies, why not sample the wares at some weekend market.

A first date doesn’t have to be some big lavish production.  Just go enjoy yourselves and each other’s company.

Casual is the best way to go

As clichéd as it may seem, too many gay men out there will spend hours picking out just the right outfit, or even go shopping for something new because they think that will impress their date.

But when you get right to it, is there really any point?  He’s going on a date with you, not your designer duds.

Now that’s not to say you should rock up in your paint-splattered (unfashionably) torn jeans and a dirty sweatshirt.  You still do need to look presentable when meeting someone new, but it’s also equally important to be comfortable in what you’re wearing.

Don’t go on a date wearing a button-up shirt and chinos when you’re really a jeans and t-shirt sort of guy.  Be yourself and dress accordingly.

Pick somewhere quiet and easy to get to.. for both of you

When you live in a big city, it can occasionally difficult to find a place that is mutually beneficial location-wise to both parties.  And all too often, guys will purposely try to choose a place to meet that’s closer to them than the other person.  But is that really fair?

On top of that, the whole point of a first date is to be able to talk to each other.  But if you’ve chosen to go to the movies on your date, you can’t exactly talk during the film (please don’t.. it’s annoying hahaha).

Instead pick somewhere that’s realistically reachable for both of you and isn’t too crowded or noisy.  For instance, if it’s a nice day then why not grab a couple of ice creams or gelato and go for a walk in the park.

And yes, the old stand by of meeting for a coffee is always a great option.

It’s a date, not a competition

As fun as meeting for a round of mini-golf or enjoying a few games of bowling might seem for a first date, it’s actually not that great an idea.  In fact, it’s leaving you (or your date) open to be humiliated.

Because let’s be honest – nobody likes to lose, and if you’re competing during a date, there’s always going to a loser.  And that may put a damper on the possibilities of a second date.

And yes, gay men do like to be competitive, even if they’re not into sports of any kind.  In the end it’s not about the game but about the results that will affect the outcome of the date.

To bar or not to bar

It’s all too easy to suggest meeting for a few drinks on your first date.  And sometimes that may be a great way for both of you to relax since you’ll both probably be nervous.  But the last thing you want to do is to get drunk.  Or for your date to think you’re a lush.  Or that you live on the gay scene and are a party animal.

As well, absolutely do NOT go to your local gay bar or the hottest place around.  You’ll be more likely to run into someone you know, and then will come the awkward questions about what you’re doing there.

Instead, why not go somewhere new that neither of you have been to.  Or hit up some out of the way cocktail bar for a more cosy atmosphere.  Or better yet, go for a nice quiet meal somewhere fun.  Just make sure it’s somewhere you can hear each other speak without having to yell at each other.

Be engaging and listen 

Who hasn’t been on a date and spent the entire time listening to the other person just talk about themselves without engaging you once?  Unfortunately, this is a lot more prevalent than you’d think.

We all love to talk about ourselves (even if we don’t like to actually admit it..) and whatever hobbies or activities we’ve been up to, but how is that a conversation?  It isn’t, so why not hush yourself and engage your date in an actual conversation.  Ask the other person what their interests are.. and then actually listen to what they have to say.

The more you engage and converse back and forth, the better the overall date will be.  It’ll be memorable for the right reasons, and not for being an ugly, self-centered car-wreck.

Date + Friends = Recipe for a non-date

It’s way too easy to just invite your potential date to join you and your friends to hang out.  It may seem like it’s a ingenious way to get to know your new beau while getting some friendly feedback at the same time.

Wrong.  Oh so wrong.

Just think how uncomfortable that would be for the guy, to be forced to hang out and engage with people he doesn’t know, when all he wants is to get to know you.  And by doing this, you’re essentially sending him the message that you’re really not interested in him romantically, but more as a ‘pal’.

Save the meeting of your friends for somewhere down the line if it turns into something.

Time limit or no time limit?

There are loads of people who think you should set a time limit to how long a first date should last, generally no more than three hours.  But is this realistic or setting too much of a limitation on how much you allow yourself to enjoy the other guy’s company?

Obviously, this is something that needs to be decided on an individual, date-by-date basis, as not all dates will be same.  Perhaps you’ll be getting along like gang-busters and want to spend the night together.

Or perhaps you just don’t gel that well, so it’ll only last a short while.

Some say if you spend too much time together on the first date, then you’re not giving them an opportunity to want to learn more about you.

But then again, if the spark is there right away, then that first date may turn into the second or third without either of you even trying, perhaps leading to something more.

And ultimately, isn’t that the end goal?

This post has been inspired by — 10 Gay First Date Tips That Should Be Obvious! – Gay Pop Buzz

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Embracing Your Solitude

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It’s an age old scenario – you’re sitting alone in a restaurant, enjoying a quiet meal for one.  Perhaps you’re reading a book, or checking something on your mobile.  Perhaps this meal is a treat for yourself, and you’re having a lovely time.

But then you notice a glance from someone at a neighbouring table.  Without knowing your situation, they’re looking at you with pity. As if eating a meal solo means you must be lonely, anti-social, or socially unwanted.  That there is something inherently wrong with being alone in a public setting.

And they’re wrong, because it’s actually empowering to do things like having a dinner out alone, and that uninformed person is allowing their own insecurities colour their opinions.  They can’t even fathom actually spending time alone.

In fact, they’re probably afraid of being alone and are missing out on the best company they could ever find – themselves.

Spending time along doesn’t mean you’re being anti-social or ‘disappearing’ from action.  It just means you’re focusing on yourself.

And those who do enjoy their free time, they understand how a bit of solitude can be beneficial to them.

Recharging your batteries

It can be mentally exhausting to constantly having to be ‘on’ in social settings.  Keeping up engaging conversations, making people laugh, showing empathy when someone’s feeling emotional, generally trying to make those around you happy, and so forth…

It’s absolutely draining to say the least.

But by taking some time away from the social scene, you’re allowing yourself time to recharge.  To turn your brain off.  To focus your energies on your own happiness.

Reflecting isn’t just in the mirror

When you’re constantly on the go, you really don’t get much time to reflect on your life or think on where you want your life to go.  Instead, you’re constantly surrounded by others that take up your time and energy, leaving very little (if anything) for yourself.

By taking some time out for yourself, it allows you time to improve your own self-confidence, work through issues in the past, and start planning for your future.

It’s a golden opportunity that really shouldn’t be missed because it’s your life, and you’re the only one that can propel it forward in the future.

Getting in touch with yourself

Along with being mentally draining, being in constant social settings can also be draining emotionally.  Because if you’re constantly catering to other people’s emotions or being their ‘cheerleader’, that leaves no opportunities to keep in touch with your own emotions.

Time alone can allow you time to gain a better perspective about your own happiness, while learning about what upsets or saddens you.  No emotion is a bad emotion because the more you know how negative emotions can affect you, the better prepared you’ll be in the future to handle them.

And a true strength of character comes from being able to overcome the hard times in your life.

Doing things for yourself

Who hasn’t been out with a friend or a group of people and had to give into someone else’s desire while setting aside your own desires or needs?  Whether you realise it or not, we all compromise to an extent when looking for a common solution.

But when you’re enjoying your alone time, it’s all about what you want to do because you have the freedom to decide for yourself.  It’s not necessarily about being selfish, but if you’re continually giving in to someone else’s needs, yours will never be fulfilled.  It’s all about the freedom to do what you want to do.

This also means focusing on your own happiness, although it doesn’t mean you’ll completely ignore other people’s needs as well.  You should know what makes you happy, because ultimately you shouldn’t be relying on someone else to ‘make’ you happy.

Be more productive

We all have things we need to get done in our personal lives – laundry, groceries, house cleaning, and so forth.  And while there are some things that would be fun to do with another person, sometimes you just can’t be truly productive when you’re constantly in someone else’s company.

Their presence will become distracting and your ‘to-do’ list will just keep growing and growing.

When you’re alone and getting things done, you’ll find you’re more focused and able to get some work done.  And the only one that’ll be able to distract you is you.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder..

How are you going to miss someone’s company if they’re constantly by your side?  And do you really want to spend so much time together that you run the risk of getting on each other’s nerves or possibly even getting sick of each other?

A routine is one thing, but being together 24/7 means you literally get no space for yourself or to take care of your own needs as per the above.  But when you’re spending some time apart – even if it’s just an hour a week – that time together becomes more important and you’ll appreciate it more.

Independence Day

The independence that comes from doing certain activities alone – like going on holiday by yourself – can be absolutely electrifying.  And not only will it help reduce any anxiety about being alone, but it’ll also boost your confidence.

And feeling independent can be truly empowering.

Stop apologising

Spending time alone means you don’t have to apologise to anyone for what you’ve done or about to do.  You can allow yourself the freedom to stop second-guessing your actions or worrying if you’re upsetting someone else by doing what you want when you want it.

Trust your own instincts

All too often we’ll stop ourselves from making a decision or taking a particular action because we haven’t run it by a friend or loved one first.  We’ll look to them for validation that we’re taking the right course of action, or perhaps for some advise on what to do next.

And sometimes that is the right thing to do.

But honestly there are plenty of times where we’re completely capable of making a decision without someone else’s input, or need someone else to validate our choices.  And when you’re spending more time alone, you’ll trust yourself more, and be more confident in making decisions without someone else’s two-cents.

This post was inspired by — When You Start to Enjoy Being Alone, These 10 Things Will Happen.

Dating Tips for the Gay Singleton

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Whether you’re newly single or have been single for what feels like an eternity, getting back into the dating scene can seem intimidating.  Some seem to think that the second you become single that you should be immediately jumping on the apps or hitting the bars looking for your next relationship.

However there’s no set rule as to how long you should stay single before jumping back into it all.  Or even what you should do to get back out there.  Sometimes taking that time to be single and enjoy your own life can be beneficial, and your body/mind/soul will tell you when it’s time to get back in the game.

Now, I’m no expert on the dating scene – if I was, I probably wouldn’t be single myself LOL – but here are a few tips on how to put yourself out there and maybe actually enjoy it.

Don’t stress about it

characters-couple-happy-love-single-Favim.com-57296All too often when guys try to get back out there after a period of singledom, they tend to put too much pressure on themselves to ‘get it right this time’, so to speak.

Let’s be honest – dating can be awkward, uncomfortable or downright silly at times, and there’s no point adding pressure on yourself to ‘do well’ right out of the box.

If anything, you should be allowing yourself to just have some fun, see where things lead you, and not worry if it could end with a marriage proposal let alone a second date.

The more you stress over it, the more uncomfortable you’ll feel about the date and the more reluctant you’ll be to even bother trying.

Get out there and mingle

It’s never easy getting back out there on the scene, and one of the difficult things is figuring out where to meet new, interesting, compatible people who you might be interested in romantically.  And asking your mates if there’s someone to set you up with isn’t an option, as it could make them uncomfortable.

Instead, get yourself out there and mingle with people you wouldn’t normally meet on a regular Friday night at the local pub.  Perhaps joining a social group with a similar interest could open up a whole new world of people that you could relate to. And if you don’t meet anyone romantically, it’ll at least give you an opportunity to meet someone for a new friendship.

Speaking of new friends…

All too often, guys will go looking for a new romantic partner without allowing themselves to be open to a new friendships.  Not every new guy you’ll meet will be compatible romantically, so why would you limit your ‘search’ to just new romantic partners?

The best ideas for gay datesWhen going out on the scene again after a break, it’s inevitable that you’ll meet some amazingly interesting guys but there won’t be any romantic spark.  Or perhaps there’ll be guys you’ll meet you’ll initially be interested in but it doesn’t turn out.

No point just dropping them on the wayside, as you never know when you’ll meet that great new best friend.

And perhaps that might be the best approach to take, just looking for a new friend or two, and see where things lead.

Go out and have fun!!

Way too often, guys will plan dates as a way to make a good first impression on the other, and will make choices about the date with only that other person in mind.  Or they’ll act a certain way because they believe the other guy will like them more for that ‘first date persona’ than the real them.

Don’t allow the date to be more about one or the other person’s interests, but instead organise it around something you both enjoy.  Talk to each other during the planning stages to figure out some common interests and go from there.. even if it’s just going for a pint at a pub.

Learn from the rejections

Let’s be fair, not every date you’ll go on will be a home run.  And sometimes it’ll be bad, really bad, ending in you being rejected by the other guy.  And that is ok.  Rejection is part of life, especially when you’re out there trying to date, so why let it get you down?

Instead try to learn from it.  Accept the rejection for what it is – incompatibility – and a way to learn more about what you do want in a new partner.  The more you think on it, the less likely you’ll be to move forward and meet someone truly interesting.

This post has been inspired by — 5 Gay Dating Tips For Men Who’ve Been Long Term Single – Gay Pop Buzz

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Dating and the Fat Man

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The other day I was surfing around a site sent to me by my fellow blogger Ivan (ivansblogworld.wordpress.com), and the below article title caught my eye.

7 Struggles of Dating When You’re a Fat Gay Man – Gay Pop Buzz

YES!!  I’m not the only one who finds it a struggle!  Maybe this would be the article that would truly get me.

Quick recap – I’m a 43 year old fat gay man who’s never been in an actual relationship.  I’ve only ever dated guys casually for a bit before they would claim I was getting ‘too attached’ and only wanted something casual.. which usually ended with them having a new boyfriend within about 6 months.

So.. I opened this article hoping to gain some mutual insight into what I’ve gone through in my dating life.  That it was going to be validation for all the years I’ve felt marginalised for whatever reason.  And as I read the first couple of lines I thought I’d found a kindred spirit as there were a lot of similarities.

fat-manBoy… could I have been even more WRONG!!!

The more I read, the more I realised this wasn’t me or my experiences.  Instead, this was someone who’s allowed himself to become so dismissive of himself, his weight, and the gay community that he’s allowed his negativity to feed into his own fat-shaming.

It was to the point where he was obsessive about it.  And he was absolutely adamant that this was the truth for all chubby gay men out there.

Well, No.  His experiences sure as hell haven’t been mine.

So based on his article, I’d like to give my experiences over the years and how I’m feeling.  These aren’t facts or anything other than my observations, and I would never allude that anyone else should feel exactly the same.

Smaller Target Audience

I learned after a few years (and a bit of heartbreak) that there really is a smaller target for bigger guys like me, regardless of what type of guys I found physically attractive… and it sure as hell wasn’t other bigger guys like me (lesbian bears, as I like to call them haha).

At first I thought, because of my own fat-shaming, that I’d have to settle for whomever was willing to have sex with me.  That I was truly ugly and unattractive, so I’d have no real choice in the matter.  But then I found the bear community and the chasers… and I was meeting some pretty gorgeous guys.  And who’d complain about that?  😉

Loneliness is best served cold.. with gravy

Like probably a lot of people out there who have weight issues, I tended to turn to food as compensation when I was feeling down or bad about something.  It was an instant gratification while trying to justify my bad food choices.

Who munches on celery sticks when they’re feeling down?  LOL

Fat_ManBut this is something I’ve recently started working on, mostly because I was starting to feel like my weight had gotten out of control (partly due to quitting smoking I think).  I’m taking it day by day to ensure I’m making good food choices and pairing it was regular exercise (walking part way to/from work).

It’s only been about 2 weeks, but I’m feeling good about it and need to keep it going.

I’m one hell of a hermit

I don’t think I’ve used my weight as an excuse not to go out and be social.  Instead I’ve allowed my laziness to justify why I’ll spend a weekend at home having a Netflix marathon alone.

I think my hermit-ism is more due to my own feelings of being left out by people, and not taking the issue in hand to do something about it (see previous post).  I know there are places I can go and potentially run into someone I know (KA in Soho for instance), but I’ll let my laziness to justify why it’s a waste of time spending an hour travelling into town on the ‘chance’ of meeting someone I knew.  Or someone new.

And that’s not good.

I do alright, sexually.. sometimes

I know I sometimes moan about how I’m not getting laid as much as I’d like to, or even as much as I used to a few years ago.  But at no point have I ever said it’s because I’m fat.  Sure that may limit my possibilities, but it shouldn’t ever stop me.

And no, unlike the original article’s author, I have never paid for sex.  Fuck no.

Instead I know my lack-luster love life is down to my own laziness and not putting myself out there as much as I used to.  If I’m sitting at home all the time, how am I going to meet someone one new and exciting?  Sure, there are the dating apps, but mostly I’m only going to get the same group of guys within my immediate area.

naked-men-in-bedA compliment is a compliment

I’ve never been that great at accepting compliments from guys, mostly due to my own low self-esteem.  Usually I’d just assume they were saying these things just so they could have sex with me (and some of them might have been..).

But I think I’ve done well to get past that somewhat and accept a compliment for what it is.  And if the other person isn’t being sincere, then that’s on them.  I’m not going to spend my precious time over-thinking everything a guy says to me just to figure out if it’s real or not.

We’re homophobic towards each other

I’ve been living out and proud for over 20 years now, and it still never astounds me how much as a community we put ourselves down by ostracising our own sub-sects or stereotypes.

no fatWho hasn’t been to a Gay Pride and watched as all the muscular pretty boys in their little hot-pants get all the cheers and catcalls, while anyone who doesn’t fit that ‘society-approved norm’ basically gets ignored.

However I won’t allow that to affect how I feel about myself.  I go to Pride most years and have a laugh, usually ending up at the bear bar drinking in the streets with everyone else.  And I just get on with my life without allowing other people’s perceptions of who they think I am stop me from having fun.

Never assume to know someone

True, I look like the stereotypical little bear, but that doesn’t mean you know who I am based on someone you’ve known in the past who has a similar look.  Or that because I’m above a certain age with a bit of grey in my beard that I must be a ‘daddy’.  Or that because I’ve attended several naturist parties that I’d be interested in going to an orgy.

It’s all bullshit.  Not one aspect of my life wholly defines me as a person.

BUT…. if I’m being truly honest, I’ve been just as guilty of it as anyone else.  I would see some pretty, young ‘twink’ and immediately think they must be a self-absorbed, fashion-obsessed, obnoxious airhead.  Or that some beefy, muscled out gym-bunny must be dumb as a bag of hammers.  And so forth.

Sadly, this is something we all have to struggle with on a daily basis.  We’ve grown up buying into the stereotypes just as much as we’ve been fighting to get past them, and sometimes still treat people of similar backgrounds as gay clones.


So… what now?

Well, not much really.

It’s not like I wrote this to work through some issue or to justify my actions.  It was more of an exercise to prove that not everyone’s experiences are the same, no matter how many factors you may have in common.

CarrotHowever I do think it’s helped show me that, although my dating life is pretty stagnant at the moment, it truly hasn’t been all that horrible.  That despite never having that relationship I’ve always wanted, I still have met some amazing guys – and yes, some assholes too – that have made the journey so far worth it.

Yeah, shocking as it is, I’m actually feeling somewhat positive about my dating past and the potential for the future.  And that it’s just a matter of getting my lazy ass out there again. LOL

Source: 7 Struggles of Dating When You’re a Fat Gay Man – Gay Pop Buzz

Stopping Self-Sabotage

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We all have things in life we’d like to achieve, be them certain dreams or goals, but never reach them.  Or perhaps started multiple projects but never finished them.  External factors withstanding, it may be the only thing that is standing between you and your success or progression in life is YOU.

Sometimes, despite the best intentions or even being the utmost capable, you could be sabotaging your own success.  And this could be from a variety of things – negative self-belief, unhealthy behaviours, fear of failure (or success), or any combination thereof.

This lack of confidence in yourself means you are your own worse enemy in your life, and maybe it’s time to tame that vicious beast once and for all.

Discover the ‘why’

Surprising as it may sound, some people actually self-sabotage out of habit or to keep themselves within a certain ‘comfort zone’.  It’s not necessarily intentional, not do they even really realise they’re doing it, but it can become somewhat routine.

One of the hardest things to determine is why you’re doing it and identify the areas it’s affecting.  You have to really dig deal inside to identify the basis for feeling unworthy or for shooting down your own success before you’ve even tried.  It could just something as simple as your own inner negativity attacking yourself due to a fear of rejection, ridicule or any number of self-limiting beliefs that could be holding you back from achieving your goals.

When in doubt, write it out

Journal_writing_coffee_journal_millsOne of the many benefits of keeping a journal, be it online in the form of a blog or even an old-school physical notebook, is that it allows you to fully explore things you’re feeling or situations you find yourself in, and you can take your time to extrapolate how you think or feel about them.

Basically, think of it as free therapy.

When it comes to this sort of journaling, it’s more about allowing yourself the space to write freely and express yourself openly without concern of judgement or over analysis.  You may want to keep all this person and for yourself (as opposed to publishing online for the world to read.. ), but this a decision only you can make.

And it’s not about being creative or writing to an audience.  This is truly and only about you and how you’re feeling or thinking.  It’s all about the expressing of your thoughts.  It could just a couple lines, or a couple pages.  Or it even could just be a doodle.

It’s your journal so you make the rules after all.

Don’t talk yourself out of it

Whether you realise it or not, you talk to yourself every day.  We all tend to have an ongoing inner monologue going on as the day progresses.  It could be about your behaviour, something you’ve overheard, thoughts about what to have for dinner, criticism of your own performance, or any number of things we all think about daily.

Self attackUnfortunately, this inner chatter can frequently turn negative, which in turn can demolish your self-worth and self-esteem.  And sometimes you don’t even realise it’s happening until it’s too late, and you’re already reinforcing any negative limitations you’ve placed on what you’re capable of in life.

It could arise in the form of guilt over some past experience, anxiety over something still to come, or hopelessness at our current situation.  Basically you have to be more aware of how often you talk down to yourself in your head, and actively adjust to thinking differently to build a more positive attitude about yourself.

No more apples and oranges

be diferentWho doesn’t compare their lives to those around them, and then start feeling inadequate or lazy because we haven’t achieved the same levels as someone else.  By doing this, you’re saying to yourself that the other person is ‘worth more’ than you, that they’re better than you.  And it’s utterly unrealistic.

This constant comparison is demotivating and will only lead you to feeling worse about yourself.  You’re lessening your own self-worth along with your own beauty or potential for greatness.  You need to remember that everyone is different, and that is what makes your life so unique – nobody else in the entire world has lived it!

So instead of imitating someone else’s success or behaviours, be true to yourself.  Realise your own authentic self and be proud of what you’ve achieved, or where you’re headed in life.

Be your own best friend.

You’ve all heard this before – you need to stop giving everyone else around us all of your life, time and attention, and start focusing on yourself.  You need to start allowing yourself time to be self-nurturing and truly enjoy your own company.  Spend quality time doing what YOU enjoy, and stop trying to please everyone else around you.

a789bff55ac029875a2b8c3a39e681d2Self-sabotage causes us to overlook other people’s issue or mistakes, and then tear yourself down for doing the exact same thing.  Is this right or fair?  Of course not because it just reinforces those negative limitations you’ve placed on yourself.

Instead, take the time for self-discovery.  Enjoy the journey to exploring yourself and your true potential.  Remind yourself regularly (if not daily) that you are an amazing person and you deserve to be the best ‘you’ you can be.

This article has been influenced by — http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/stop-sabotaging-yourself-5-easy-steps.html

Stepping Up to Mental Wellbeing

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Everyone deals with stress, anxiety or depression in different ways, and there’s no true set rule on how to deal with any of them.  We’ve all read countless online self-help articles touting themselves as being the ultimate list of how to do this or that.. when in reality, most are just rehashes of the same things over and over again.

One thing does ring true though regardless of which articles you read – If you don’t at least give them a shot, then you’ll never know if they truly make you feel more positive about your life, or even help move you down the road to your own happiness.

Side note – Happiness isn’t necessarily a destination, but more of a state of being.  And everyone’s ideal of happiness is different, so find your own happiness. 🙂

What is mental wellbeing?

Per the below NHS site, mental wellbeing is defined as such:

“Feeling happy is a part of mental wellbeing. But it’s far from the whole. Feelings of contentment, enjoyment, confidence and engagement with the world are all a part of mental wellbeing. Self-esteem and self-confidence are too.

“So is a feeling that you can do the things you want to do. And so are good relationships, which bring joy to you and those around you.

“Of course, good mental wellbeing does not mean that you never experience feelings or situations that you find difficult. But it does mean that you feel you have the resilience to cope when times are tougher than usual.”

Sarah Stewart-Brown, Professor of Public Health at the University of Warwick

Like anything in life, the more you put into something like your own well being, the more you’re likely to get out of it.  And if you’re waiting on someone else to ‘give’ you happiness, you’ll be waiting for your entire life.

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Steps to Mental Wellbeing

Below are a few suggestions we could all take to boost how we’re doing.  As previously mentioned, this isn’t an exhaustive list and some may work better for some people than others.

Connect with others

All too often when we’re feeling down or a bit blue, we’ll find ourselves pulling away from our loved ones.  Instead reach out to the people around you, be them family, friends, colleagues or neighbours.  Just be willing to make that step to open up the lines of communication.

Be active

This isn’t necessarily about going to the gym or starting some massive work out regime.  It’s more about just finding an activity that you enjoy and incorporate into you daily life – take a walk, go for a bike ride, go for a swim, and so forth.

Keep learning

Sometimes all you might need is to boost your own wellbeing is to engage your mind in something constructive.  It could be learning a new skill, taking a hobby class , getting that certification you’ve been dreaming about.  Or maybe just read that book gathering dust on your bedside table.

Volunteering your time

Being a volunteer in any capacity can not only help you feel like you’re contributing more to your community, but it’s a goldmine for networking.  But you don’t even have to go so far as to actually volunteer – sometimes the smallest thing, like smiling at a stranger or giving a kind word to something, can make the world a difference.

Be in the present

This could be called ‘mindfulness’, but it’s mostly about being aware of what is going around you at any given moment.  This can include the world around you, local/national/international politics, your thoughts or feelings, and most importantly, your own body.  However, don’t allow yourself to get so immersed in this that you block out other parts of life, as that’ll have an averse affect.

This post has been influenced by — Five steps to mental wellbeing – Stress, anxiety and depression – NHS choices

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Turning Your Life Around

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No matter what your age, there is always something you’d love to change or improve upon.  It could something to do with your career or your personal life, or even just something like quitting smoking or loosing a bit of weight.

Regardless of what it is you’d like to change, and regardless if it’s a massive or small change, it can be daunting to set up and get started.  This could be because we all get bogged down in the little details, and allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by what we’d need to do to get started.

Below is a timeless short list worth working on regardless of the goal in mind.

Stay in the Present

Let’s be realistic – the future is a wild and unimaginable entity that nobody can truly predict how things will turn out.  You’d have to be a truly gifted psychic to predict every single little bump and pitfall that’ll occur in your life in order to be 100% prepared for what life throws at us.

Instead of spending all your free time fretting over what may happen and trying to over-plan every step along the way, why not live in the present and enjoy life as it happens right now.  Stop worrying that you don’t have a 5-year plan and allow yourself to enjoy deal with the successes and pitfalls of everyday life.

The little successes you have now can potentially have a massive impact on your future, and ultimately lead your life in a totally different direction than you’d have predicted.

Enjoy Your Trip

life-is-a-journey-1We’ve all been there – focusing so much on the end goal that we’ve forgotten to enjoy the journey along the way.  As healthy as it is to have a goal in mind, it’s how we get there that truly makes that goal all the more worth it because of what we’ve gone through to get there.

Perhaps it’s a matter of hitting certain milestones along the way that make it worth it, or the physical or psychological changes we see in ourselves over time.  Whatever it is, enjoy the little things in life along the way.. and remember to take pictures.  😉

Everyone Takes the Easy Route

For something in your life to truly make a lasting impact, don’t allow yourself to take the easy route as that is basically allowing yourself a cop-out.  If you spend your entire life just reaching for the easiest and simplest goals, then your journey won’t necessarily take you very far.  Taking the easy options is being lazy.

Instead, try something new and difficult.  Reach for something you never in a million years thought you’d ever try or achieve.  Master a new skill.  Move countries.  Start a business.  Write a book.  Obviously, start off small, but the more you get used to achieving a slightly harder goal, the easier it’ll be to go for that big goal in the long run.

Plus, those harder goals?  They make the journey of life move along at a much more interesting rate than taking the easy route.  And more exciting too.

Trust Your Instincts

failure-quoteDon’t allow yourself to be bogged down in the uncertainties of life.  If you do, then you’ll never achieve those slightly harder goals from above.. or even try to begin with.

Let’s be frank – life is a risk worth taking, and if you’re allowing yourself to be held back from the unknown of what will happen next, then you’ll never truly live or know what could be possible.  And that potentially could be worse than if you’d taken the risk and tried in the first place.

Because if you’d at least tried and still failed, you’ve already achieved something because when you try again you’ll be even more ready for anything that comes up. So go for it already.

Nurture Positive Relationships

We’ve all heard it before, about how we need to cut out the negative people in our lives in order to lead a more positive and success life, be it personally or professionally.  But yet we all still allow those negative influences into our lives without meaning to because we still haven’t learned how to spot the rotten apples.

An entire post could be made up on this topic alone, but in the end it’s all about recognising those who’ll be nurturing and encouraging for your life goals along the way.  You want to surround yourself with people who’ll be willing to put the heart back into your life instead of sucking it out.  People who’ll go out of their way to help you because they want to, not because they expect something in return.

For now though, here’s a good read on how to meet the right people.

In the end, it’s your life and your journey.  It’s not a race or a competition.  So why not enjoy it to the absolute max while you’re on it, and share it with those who truly deserve to be along for the journey.

This article was inspired by: 5 Timeless Ways to Turn Your Life Around at Any Age

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How to Remind Yourself You’re Worthy of Love. – GayGuys.com

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You are made of LOVE

Re-post Source: How to Remind Yourself You’re Worthy of Love. – GayGuys.com

I used to think I was only worth what society told me I was. When I felt judged I instantly made it personal, dissecting the reasons why and ultimately burying myself in a cave of self-pity. But then something happened.

I realized the world read my value by observing my self-worth. When I felt worthless, the world took it at face value—that’s what they saw and it’s how they associated me. As humans we take a lot of our value from what people think of us, so as a result of their association, we assume their opinion is the truth when in actuality it began with us all along.

Raise our self-worth -> Raise our value.

Sometimes we have to do the work ourselves. We need to define who we are and know how valuable we truly are without needing to look at society. From then on, everything falls into place. It’s a never-ending circle that starts and ends with our own views of ourselves. Here’s how we can start raising our worth:

Remind yourself what it is they (the world) are dealing with. You’re not just anyone. You’re YOU. Stop comparing yourself to other people who might look different, sound different, feel different; the fact that you are original and unique is always going to work in your favor. You aren’t an every day run-of-the-mill kind of guy—you’re special. You got IT.

Give yourself something to accomplish so you’ll feel accomplished once it’s complete. In other words make projects, think of ideas, predict the future for yourself, come up with goals and actually try to achieve them. The simple act of working towards something makes you feel fulfilled, ultimately turning insecurity into pride.

Recognize your good qualities because the second you do, you’ll understand how it’s inspired others all this time. You’ll see that it’s your heart, your soul, and your spirit that make people love you rather than artificial things. Your goodness is your worth. Your goodness defines how valuable you are, and once you see how much you already have inside, (there’s a lot, trust me) resonate in it.

love-yourself-firstWake up happy. Before you have another self-deprecating thought, you need to fuel your heart with love. Wake up and be glad that you did. This is your room, this is your bed, this is your life; celebrate it with a smile. Place your mind in front of you rather than behind you, keep it floating on your own assessments instead of letting it sink.

Love yourself the way you love others. Too often we place so much adoration on our loved ones, yet we fail to treat ourselves the same way. We feel it’s selfish to love ourselves equal to loving the world, but trust me when I say if we don’t love ourselves we will never collect enough of it to share.

You deserve to be fulfilled. Yes, YOU deserve to be happy, to have love, to be joyous. You worked your ass off to get where you are today—you might be bruised and you might be shaken, but scars heel. Never think you’re unworthy of good things because you feel guilt or shame to have them. You deserve to be happy because you are here. You’re breathing, you’re living, you’re giving to the world, and you deserve goodness—never give it back.

 

Control Your Attitude

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Like a lot of people out there, I tend to dwell on the negative things that happen in my life.  And the more I think on things, the worse they make me feel and build upon the already negative feelings I’m having.

This, of course, isn’t a healthy or great way to deal with negativity in my life.  But sometimes it’s not as easy as just flipping a switch to stop thinking so negative.  It takes a lot of work to turn my attitude around, and sometimes if it’s been built up too much, then it’s near impossible to see the forest through the trees.

When I’m feeling negatively about something, I tend to get angry about it as well and wanting to lash out at something (or someone)… Which usually does more harm than good in the long run, so best to not allow myself to get to that point.  Not an easy feat at times.

So what is one to do if they’re starting to feel negative?  Well, why not try a few of these tips.

Shake that booty

As much as I hate hearing people say exercise is the best way to release tension and refocus your energy, you can’t help but agree the amazing rush you get when you get yourself out there and move around.  It doesn’t have to be a full-on work out, but could be as simple as going for a walk, try a bit of yoga, go for a bike ride.  Or even as simple as putting on your favourite dance tracks and dancing around your bedroom. It gets the endorphins surging for a bit and allows your body to pull away from your mind.

dancingSpell it out

For some people, myself included, writing out your feelings can be very therapeutic.  You may think that it’ll just bring you closer to the negativity you’re feeling, but that’s only while you’re writing them down.  Just the exercise of getting the words out can do you a wonder of good, as it allows you to look at the situation from a different perspective.  And perhaps allow you to actually work through that negativity in a more creative way.

Give someone a hand

There’s no better feeling you can get than when you’ve helped out a fellow human being with someone.  It be helping a mate move house or paint their new place, or even as simple as cat-sitting for a friend while they’re away.

Or if you want to take it further, there are numerous volunteer opportunities in your community, which allows you to make a more tangible positive difference in someone’s life.

In the end, helping someone else out can be very fulfilling and help you fill your head with new positivity.  It’ll also get you out of your cave and give you a chance to interact with others who need you.

No news is good news

Let’s be honest – there isn’t a lot of positivity shown on the nightly news, so if you’re already feeling a bit down, then turn it off.  Don’t even watch it, regardless of how intrigued you are about certain events occurring around the world.  The last thing you need is to feed your negative feelings with stories of war, murder, closed-minded politics or any other horrible thing they show each night.

Instead turn your brain onto something different, something beautiful and positive.  Read your favourite novel.  Watch your favourite movie.  Listen to your most uplifting diva.  Basically seek out the good stuff in life, and let the positivity take over your being.

Show those pearly whites

smile not crySometimes a smile, or even a good laugh, can do wonders for your negative feelings and help turn your energy back into positivity.

We’ve all heard that tired cliched saying ‘Turn that frown upside down’, usually from someone who doesn’t know what to say about what you’re going through.  And as lame as you may think that advise it, it’s actually quite valid.  Making yourself smile and laugh can be contagious, and before you know it, you’re feeling right as rain.

Turning your negative attitudes and feelings back into something more positive takes energy and effort on your part.  So go ahead and put the effort in.  Because in the end, you’ll only have yourself to thank for your own happiness.

This post was inspired by: You can control your attitude by Brian Tracy with article by Scott Stabile

How to Make Yourself More Dateable

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Being single can really suck at times, and trying to navigate through the gay dating scene can seem almost like torture.  But yet we’re willing to be masochists and jump right back in, even when it seems like we’re not getting the results we’d like.

But are we actually letting the world make us believe that it’s our own fault that we’re single?  Well.. yes and no.  When you’re not making yourself available or open to opportunities, you’re not doing anything to change your situation.

Allow room for spontaneity in your life

We all have people in our lives that seem to be constantly busy, and are never up for anything last minute.  These guys tend to organise their lives so far in advance that you end up trying to find ways to fit yourself into their diary instead of just going with the flow.

Too many seem afraid to allowing spontaneity into their lives, as if it’ll make the world spiral out of control if the day isn’t perfectly organised.  If you don’t take the risk to get out there and put yourself in new or unplanned situations, then how do you expect to meet someone new?  Or if you can’t change your plans, why not invite your crush-du-jour to join you.. it’s a great way to see how they interact with your friends, and vice versa.

Be proud to be yourself

Dressing_for_success_tips_on_dressing_for_an_interview_330x330Let’s be honest – there are way too many fakers out there, with their perfect lives and fabulous vacations, which they’ll recount to no end to ensure you’re green with envy.

Seriously, what’s the point?  What do they truly expect to gain from hiding who they really are from a prospective new beau?  They’re setting themselves up for disappointment and heartbreak because they’re secretly afraid of being judged for who they really are.

Instead just be yourself from the start, goofy quirks and all.  Because in the end what you really want is someone who gets who you really are from the start, not some hyped up version of yourself you think others will like.  Don’t dim your own light around others, because the most valuable trait you can possess is your own authenticity.

Know your moral compass

Too often we’ll meet people who’ll try to sway us from our goals and focus in life, be it our dreams for the future, how we relate to others, or even how we choose to live our lives.  These goals are what fuel our drive and motivation, and we should never allow another person to judge us or bring us down based on their own limitations.

Basically it’s your life, and it’s the only one you’ve got to live.  So why not make a stand for who you are and what you believe in, instead of letting that new sexy guy over-ride your ideals and thoughts.  And when you enter the dating scene knowing what you want and look for, then you’re more likely to find someone compatible with similar morals in life.

To thine own self be true

dream big

We’ve all faced the feared question in job interviews – Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years? – and regardless of whatever corporate drivel you spew out to impress that prospective boss, what does it really matter if you’re not the man you want to be.

Too often we focus solely on improving our careers or material possessions instead of working on improving ourselves.  Why not take that extra energy and put it into your own life.  Improve who you are as a person, and in the long run that ‘career’ will find itself to the happier, more contented version of yourself because you’re actually ready for it.

Love yourself.. emotionally

We’ve all heard the cliché that you’ll never find someone special if you don’t already love and appreciate yourself.  And despite it being trite, it’s actually true.  So how do you expect to meet Mr Right when you’re projecting the idea that you’re undateable or not good enough?

You’re an awesome human being, and everyone around you knows it and loves you for you .. so why don’t you?  Stop being scared of loving who you are as a person and trust that others will appreciate it as well.  Let your positive light lead the moths to your flame.

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Be good towards others

Part of life is we all make mistakes and no-one wants these broadcast to the world, so why is it we spend so much time shaming others when they screw up?  Who cares if someone did something wrong, or doesn’t fit into your perfect mould of how a man should act.  It’s probably not the end of the world (unless they’re some maniacal evil genius, obviously lol), so why not just laugh it off and focus on how the person makes you feel instead.

Stay focused

The best way to make a guy feel important and admire you for it is to give him your focus.  When you’re chatting with some cutie focus on him and what he’s saying, not on what’s going on around you or any possible messages you’ve receive on those dating apps.  Put away the mobile, stop staring at the exit to see who’s coming or leaving, and instead just truly listen to what he has to say.  It’ll make all the difference in the world.

Don’t live to work

Too many people put their careers before their personal lives, and in the end both tend to suffer for it.  How are you going to fuel your creativity or recharge your zest for life if you allow your work to overtake every other part of your life?  By ensuring you’re enjoying life itself, you’ll end up more satisfied in life and you’ll find you’re giving a visible value to your world.

Trust your instincts

brasil-gay-beachStop going dating with blinders on, because you’ll continue to miss on the crucial red-flags that’ll end with you in tears wondering why ‘Prince Charming’ doesn’t love you and turned into such a dick.

It’s crucial to be open-minded but not so naïve that you let the other guy walk all over you.  Be strong and courageous in your dating life, but don’t neglect your gut instincts.

You’ll be much happier for it.. and you’ll find your real ‘Mr Right’ in the end.

This post was inspired by: 10 Ways to Make Yourself More Dateable – GayGuys.com