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love life

The Most Complicated Relationship You’ll Ever Be In: Day 36 of 365 Days of Love

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The Most Complicated Relationship You’ll Ever Be In: Day 36 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Hager Eldaas, Multimedia Journalist

Get to know her on Instagram

Story from: Queens New York, USA



I can’t place my finger on the exact day that I started hating my body, but I remember vividly all the moments that may have led up to it.

The first time I experienced a deep awareness of its existence, my body’s existence, was when I got my period. My mom had done her motherly duty of telling me that it was coming and what to expect when it did. But I was a late bloomer compared to my friends and I got mine at 13. I wasn’t excited or scared, nor was I confused about the changes ahead of me. I was not ashamed like I had heard many girls were when they spotted that first red stain. I was annoyed. I didn’t tell my mother and just kept changing my clothes and hoping that it would permanently go away. I wanted to wish it into disappearance. And it worked. I didn’t get my period the following month or the four after that. But after five months, it came back and had apparently grown more resilient. It’s been a regular visitor ever since.

I now know that there are other women who can claim the same feelings, but at 13, my epiphanies only lasted as long as my longest teenage crush, and so, aside from when I received my bi-weekly migraines, I went back to forgetting that I had a body.

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At 15, I was interrupted. I had fractured the same toe twice in one month. Afterwards, I was taken to a podiatrist who revealed to me that I was walking all wrong, but I knew for a fact that this was no fault of my own. I had my father’s walk—barely lifting our feet off the ground, exerting minimal effort to drag our bodies along and hoping they’d learn to cooperate. But it was understood that I’d have to develop a new walk because my toes could no longer afford to go on tripping over and bumping into chairs and doorways and whatever else came in their way.

I could imagine that somewhere in between the time that I was practicing my new walk and the time I did away with the idea that I’d ever perfect the new walk is when I started noticing that I didn’t like my body very much. I was probably around 17. I don’t remember the specific instance when I acknowledged that feeling, but I do recall staring at the mirror often during this time. Puberty had hit me hard and I was putting on the weight. It might’ve been one of those days when I was feeling particularly metaphysical and had caught my reflection in the mirror and thought to myself, “That’s me. I am that. That girl, the one that I’m looking at right now, is the same girl who’s thinking these exact thoughts.” I probably didn’t like what I saw.

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At 20, I started to feel sharp pains at the top of my stomach and down to the right side of my abdomen. Anything I ate made me sick, especially if it was spicy or oily, which was all I consumed when I was in college. At 21, they told me I had to get my gallbladder removed. It made sense. I hadn’t been very kind to it.

I spent the next few years trying to fixate some of the fascination I had for my mind onto my body. “No, I don’t have a body. I am a body, just as much as I am a mind and I am thoughts.” But at 27, I was in a hospital room as my father’s soul was exiting his body and the idea that the two were one was no longer sitting well with me.

Shortly after my father’s death, my ears started ringing (that’s what they call it, but it’s more of a whooshing— tinnitus is it’s official name). My neck pain was unbearable. My hands randomly numbed and tingled. My doctor ran tests and then recommended a psychologist and maybe some yoga. My symptoms were likely caused by trauma.

At 28, I tried yoga for the first time. It was nothing too serious, just me following along to a Youtube video. The instructor often repeated the same sentence, urging us to focus on our breathing, which proved to be an impossible task for me. My breaths just aren’t the most cooperative. But the exercises did make my neck feel better, so I kept up with them.

And now, at 29, I wish that I could end this by saying that through yoga and meditation, I have finally found a way to love my body or even that I’ve been tapped in to it’s flow, but no. Most days I forget that I have a body, that I am a body— I haven’t decided which one it is yet. But I can tell you this: I take it out for a daily stroll and I think it’s grown accustomed to it’s strange little walk because it rarely trips over it’s own feet anymore.

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Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to the inspiring woman Hager for sharing her story. I battled for years on my body image and developing love for my body. It is indeed one of the biggest battle I have tackled and still find ways to improve it. I have finally found love for my body and where I am today. I learnt how to stop looking up and feeling inadequate when I looked at magazines with super model. I hope you have been working on your body image and body love because it is a key to self-love.

Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 329 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE/SHARE HERE.

LETS INVEST IN LOVE ONE STORY AT A TIME TOGETHER.

With Lots of Love,

Aida

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Saying No To Less: Day 34 of 365 Days of Love

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Saying No To Less: Day 34 of 365 Days of Love

Networking is always an interesting setting. It could be either extreme of completely authentic or completely fake.

This past weekend I attended the Harvard Arab Conference and in these two days I learnt a lot about entrepreneurship, investing and technology in the Arab region and met incredibly inspiring Arabs. But I also left much more empowered as a woman because I realized I can say what I used to find to be the hardest word:


N O



My dad growing up told me over and over again that the hardest word I would learn to say is no and I never quite understood that until I had to learn how to protect my heart because not everyone out there has the best intentions for me (basic thinking but I guess I was a bit naive and a super optimist).


At the conference I said many yes’s and many no’s including:

No to BS conversations.

No to bad energy.

No to people who (whether explicitly said or not) want short term things.

No to people who refuse to respect me.

No to people who refuse to hear my story and only want to share theirs.

No to people who didn’t see my worth, whether said through their words and the more telling body language.

Saying yes to the right kinds of people and no to the things that were not aligned with my values, situations and people was so empowering and freeing. Kind of got that same feeling that I had when I was on the Bali swing overlooking the thousands of trees, feeling so free, centered, in-tune with life and empowered by the things I chose.

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But a part of me still fidgets and feels slightly uncomfortable as I write this and saying out loud that I am valuable. I hope to one day reach the level of not having a single fidget and saying that I am valuable out proudly and with a humble exclamation point.

Why?

Because we must.

Not just for love

but for gender equality in the workforce.

for more seats to be available for us at the table.

for us women to able to support one another because when we each see our values then we will create the space to support each other, and remind each other never to forget what gems we are.

Not to be too dramatic or anything but our future generation depends on us. We are the ones who are setting through our every word and action we take be it an consciously or subconsciously.

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When we see our individual value and collective value as a community magic happens.

This magic needs to be continuously fostered by selecting the right partner in business, friendship and love. Getting to that right selection would inevitability mean that you (and I) will need to get used to saying no many times until we meet and are surrounded with people who amplify our value and celebrate it with us. So for Day 34 of 365 Days of Love I propose you take a few minutes to reflect today:

Where are you with your self-worth?

How many times have you said no or yes to something or someone?

and why?

Who are the people around you who amplify your self-worth and celebrate it?

And once you identify them send them a thank you message and amplify their amazingness, remind them because God knows in this crazy rollercoaster ride of life we need an awesome tribe who will cheer us on. Life is meant to be lived in amazing, powerful and meaningful communities.

With that, I wanted to thank Nora Yousif, Mona Mofawi, Asma Jaber and Dalia Tarabay for the panel discussion yesterday talking about Arab Women in the MENA region. You were all inspirations to me. Thank you for being models of incredible Arab women doing powerful things unapologetically.

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Why I Can't Say I Love You: Day 33 of 365 Days of Love

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Why I Can't Say I Love You: Day 33 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Dania Shafei, a student of the world

Get to know her on Instagram

Story from: Maryland, USA


I’m 25 and it wasn’t until 2 weeks ago that I finally uttered the words “I love you” to my own family. Three words I gave up 10 years ago. It’s only been recently that I started to question why.


Why was I incapable of uttering 3 simple words?


It drove my little cousin insane. To understand why I had to back track to the time i swore it off and what my fallible understanding of love was.

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It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t suffer a teenage heartbreak nor lose someone I loved to some tragic accident. I didn’t think much about love in high school because it was a turbulent moment in my life. My mother passed away when I was almost 2 years old and my father was never really in the picture. I was raised by my mother’s parents in my uncle’s home in deep Maryland. At the end of middle school, one of my father figures (my grandfather) had passed away. And in the beginning of high school my grandmother (who has been a mother to me and raised me since birth) had decided to move back abroad, and I moved from one uncle’s house to another in the suburbs of DC. I lived with a semi ‘new’ family. I didn’t have a cell-phone and so I called my grandmother once a week or so. I was on my own. Living with a new family (even though they were my relatives) and being away from my grandmother for up to even a year at one point created a strain on that aspect of my life. 

They say it takes 30 days to build a habit...and soon enough I built the habit of not saying “I love you”. I valued those words so much that I didn’t throw them around. At the same time while living with my uncle’s family I was strengthening a new form of love - Love through service.

I didn’t feel comfortable with saying “I love you” to the family I started lived with and so I started to show it through action. Soon enough I found my tongue freezing to the words of “I love you” but my heart extending it’s hand to those it cared about most. My idea of love became warped. Why warped?


I started to strongly view acts of service as the strongest form of love and started to not trust the linguistics of love. This all came to hurt me when I started to devalue one form of love over another.

I started to question my friend’s and family’s love towards me when I didn’t see them reciprocating love in the way I thought was right.

And that’s when I realized with the help of my best friend that everyone shows love differently in different degrees.


Some people value showing love through words so much more than acts of service. And some people put so much value in showing love through physical touch than anything else. And yes by now you are thinking about my references to the 5 love languages but it’s more than just the languages… 

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I’m sure most of you have taken the love languages quiz where at the end of a 5 minute survey you’re told which form of love you value the most and which not so much. It’s a helpful test in understanding your love values but what I found was missing from these results was a big sign that says "no one love language is better than another".

Just because “acts of service” was highest on my list, it does not mean that someone not showing it to me means they love me any less. For them they might highly value words of affirmation more so than acts of service and them telling me they love me has just the same force of love as my service to them. And that’s when I had the self-epiphany and lesson.

I had to be considerate of what other’s valued as love if there was going to be an equal reciprocation and understanding of it.

Just because I found little value in saying 'I love you', does not mean that is the same to another person. For someone else, saying those words could provide them with so much comfort and could mean the world to them. 

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Understanding this has only gotten me to understand a small % of what love actually is.

Love is a pretty difficult topic for me to grasp. It’s been something i’ve been working on for most of 2018 and will continue to work on each month in 2019. Although it’s still not the new year, I wanted to take the two months prior to train myself to reflect on love each month with the hopes that every month in 2019 I learn something new or reassess my own understanding of it.

To capture and share my love lessons I’ll be publishing a new article on every 10th day of the month. Join me on Dania's Love-ology Journey with Aida’s 365 days of love!  Subscribe here :)

-Dania Shafei 


Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to the inspiring woman Dania for sharing her story. I never actually never realized how for me saying I love you was so central to my expression of love and I thought that if I didn’t hear it back that meant the person didn’t love me as much. Thank you Dania for reminding me that love comes is communicated in different ways and we should find more ways to meet each other with understanding and love.

Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 332 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE/SHARE HERE.

LETS INVEST IN LOVE ONE STORY AT A TIME TOGETHER.

With Lots of Love,

Aida

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Is Love in a Marriage the Ultimate Kind of Love?: Day 32 of 365 Days of Love

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Is Love in a Marriage the Ultimate Kind of Love?: Day 32 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Anonymous woman

Story from: Canada

When I was a kid, I fell in love with the idea of marriage and of having a husband. I truly thought marriage equals love and love is marriage. And that's all the love I'll ever need to feel whole.


As I grew into a teenager and an adult I daydreamed of myself waiting for my future husband in our future home wearing a sexy dress with perfect hair, skin and makeup while also having a meal prepared on our future dining table. I fell in love with that idea.

I was preparing myself to be a perfect wife.

I learned how to cook, I searched for the best ways to please my future husband in bed and I searched for sexy outfits to wear. I also made sure I always dressed modestly and looked like a perfect innocent girl while I was out in the world. I didn't talk to too many guys because my future husband wouldn't be happy with it. I saved my intimate self, my virginity and made sure I was pure for him. That's all I focused on as a teenager and in my early 20's. I was ready and determined that getting married and having kids were my ultimate goals in life.

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It's not until I actually got married that I realized how stupid and naive it was for me to build myself to be the perfect wife instead of me building myself to be the best version of myself. I didn't love myself. I was full of insecurities. I was defined by how people, specifically men, perceived me.

When I got married, I was on full service duty. I did everything and enjoyed it. I acted dumb. I acted cute. I acted sexy. I just did everything I thought men would like. I was obedient. I listened and did not argue. I followed directions without thinking. I stayed small and didn't cause any trouble. Even with me basically being a servant, my husband didn't seem happy and was becoming more disconnected and distant everyday . I felt like something was missing.

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WHAT WAS MISSING?


I eventually found out that my husband was having extra marital affairs and my life CRUMBLED! How could this be? How? I prepared for this man almost all my life. I prepared myself to be the best goddamn wife a man can ever ask for. How can he do this? My heart broke and shattered to pieces. My whole reality was shook. Why was I told all my life since I was a kid that I needed to be a perfect girl so that I’m marriage material.



Why was the whole focus of my growth to be the best wife?

Why wasn't I told to pursue my dreams?

To love myself?

To enjoy life?

Why was I told that I had to save myself for this one man?



I wasn't allowed to travel or do a lot of things until I got married. What kind of life is that? Why do some parents teach their daughters that their only goal in life is to get married, have kids and take care of their homes? To strive to serve and please? What happens to us girls/women? We eventually lose ourselves. We wake up years later questioning where our time has gone? And what have we done with all that time and with ourselves?

*          *          * 

Now that I am years away from the traumatic experience of infidelity, I can say that God put me in that position to teach me a lesson. And that lesson is:


I am not on this earth to serve people. Losing yourself in someone else isn't love. The only love that will never hurt is the love of God and love of thyself.


I learned the hard way that I needed to love myself and needed to take care of myself. That I needed to have my own ambitions, own goals, and own opinions. It's okay for me to fight for what I want. It's okay for me to speak up. It's okay for me to advocate for myself.

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It took hard work to get to where I am today. I will no longer disrespect myself. I will no longer hate myself. I will no longer act dumb. I will no longer SHUT UP. I will no longer be taken advantage of. I am a woman with a voice. I am a powerful woman. I am a women with passion, ambition and goals. I believe in myself more than I ever have. This heartbreak made me put myself on a pedestal above anyone else in my life because without taking care of me and making myself whole, I don't have much to offer this world.

With all that said, learning self love and compassion has healed me, lots of work from both sides and personal development. I am still married to the man that hurt me and we have never been happier.


Don't ever lose yourself.

Don't ever live your life for someone else.

Don't ever prepare yourself for someone that you'll meet in the future.

Work on yourself to become the person that you would be proud of in the future.

Love yourself because to be honest, you can't love anyone more than you love yourself. If you want to deeply love the people around you, then you must first deeply fall in love with yourself.



With Love,

Anonymous  


Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to the inspiring woman for sharing her story. This story hit my heart so deeply I teared multiple times because for many years I thought my purpose and my self needs to be molded into making my future man happy and I forgot myself along the way. As this beautiful woman says you . are . enough. Love yourself first. then all else will follow.

Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 333 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE/SHARE HERE.

LETS INVEST IN LOVE ONE STORY AT A TIME TOGETHER.

With Lots of Love,

Aida








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Smile Because It Happened: Day 31 of 365 Days of Love

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Smile Because It Happened: Day 31 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Anonymous woman (We will name her Leila for this article)

Story from: Canada

This began as a story about love. About the amazing experience that was my first time falling in love. But we ended before I had the chance to say I love you, and I agonized over the question: how can the story just end?

Eventually, I remembered the lesson that I have forgotten time and time again:

everything happens for a reason.


God has a plan, and something else is out there. Not someone, per se; rather there are life experiences and opportunities waiting for me to open the door and breathe in deeply. I will realize, in those moments, “this is what I was waiting for!” although I didn’t know I was waiting for anything.

At this point, I can’t imagine something else, but that’s why we have faith. To give us comfort in knowing that

“what was meant for me will never miss me, and what misses me was never meant for me.” To reassure us that things will always work out for the best.



Maybe, this is as much a story of faith as love.

 

*          *          *

 

I decided years ago that I would rather never marry than marry someone I didn’t love. My friend disagreed: “I would marry someone I didn’t love, if he was a good person and we were compatible. You can learn to care for someone.”

Partly, I was naïvely hopeful. I had set the bar high, and I would wait for my Prince Charming.

Partly, I was driven and independent. I had so many career interests that I knew I would be both happy and fulfilled pursuing my passions.

Partly, I was cynical about dating, relationships, love, etc. I told my parents: “I’m never getting married. Don’t ask me about boys.”

That changed one semester, when I learned to believe in love.

 

*          *          *

 

I first met him in the library at 3 AM. When he asked if I write for the school newspaper, I smiled, always pleased to be recognized from my byline. “Yes! You read the newspaper?”

My sleep-deprived brain later made the connection. The previous summer, I had written the front-page story on Mohammed Ali’s life, legacy, and passing, which was accompanied by a full-sized picture. My classmate reached out to me with this message: “My roommate has your article on his wall. He said to give you a shout-out for writing about Mohammed Ali.”

This was the roommate! My article was hanging on his wall. If that doesn’t say soul mates, I don’t know what does.

The following semester, we began seeing each other around campus. Something clicked – I can’t explain it, but we just had this amazing connection. He knew all the right things to say. He read my articles and quoted them to me. He talked about International Women’s Day.

I wanted to know him.

I am a strong independent woman, I tried to convince myself, and this is the 21stcentury. I know what I want, and I should do something about it. So I summoned all my courage and asked him out.

We went for coffee, our first date, on my birthday weekend. I was so nervous. But he made me feel comfortable. He was romantic, insisting on buying cake to celebrate my birthday. We talked like we had been waiting forever to know each other.

We entered a long-distance relationship almost immediately, as his internship took him to California when I returned to school the following month. Even so, the semester that followed was the happiest of my life. My stress levels decreased drastically. I was confident. My average improved. And I landed my dream internship.

To quote Cher from Clueless, I was “sublimely happy”. There was no space left for stress or anxiety. My heart was full.

I know that happiness comes from within, and that another person can’t give it to you. But he made me happier than I had ever imagined was possible. He made problems disappear. I felt like the world was draped in a new colour, and I basked in the glow of my emotions. It was magical, falling in love.

Still, distance took its toll.

I broke up with him. The short version of the story: I felt he could not make time for me; if this was a problem already, it would only be exacerbated with time. When we met for the first time after months, I was already upset, thinking about the possible outcome of this conversation.

We talked for a long time, and he was so good about it. He told me, “do what makes you happy.” Maybe I should have taken that as a sign – he would do anything to make me happy, including letting me go.

He let me go.

For days, I cried and watched Mamma Mia! on a loop. I didn’t eat or sleep. I remember thinking, I’ll never be able to listen to ABBA again.

By the time I stopped crying, I knew I had made the wrong decision. I knew it was my fault. I tried to talk to him, but he told me that I was right. That he can’t prioritize me. That he isn’t at a point in his life to be able to maintain a relationship.

Although I was the one to initiate the breakup, I couldn’t come to terms with it.

 

*          *          * 

It’s been two and a half months.

I considered praying istikhara, asking God to give me guidance. But istikhara should be prayed with an open mind, willing to accept any guidance. And I wasn’t ready to hear that we have no future.

Until a couple weeks ago, when I had an epiphany.



I think God gave him to me at a time in my life when I needed someone.



Last semester, I spent a lot of time by myself. I lived alone, I studied alone, and I spent Ramadan breaking my fast alone. I remember my mom saying tearfully when she dropped me off at the airport, “Call me often. I know that your friends won’t be on campus with you this term.” It was true – most of my friends were interning that summer.

But I was okay, because I had him. He was a blessing, and I was so grateful.

People come in and out of your life for a reason. I don’t need to understand why he’s gone now, because I know why he came. Although we had a short amount of time together, those months made a world of difference to me. For my school, career, mental health, self-esteem, and general happiness.

I am reminded of a Dr. Seuss quote that I have always loved:

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Now that I have gotten past the hurt, I am smiling.

With Lots of Love,

Leila*


Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to the inspiring woman Leila for sharing her story. My favorite message was how powerfully intertwined are faith and love. Thank you Leila, you are a beautiful soul and you deserve so much love in this world and I have full faith that you will get it starting with yourself.

Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 334 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE/SHARE HERE.

LETS INVEST IN LOVE ONE STORY AT A TIME TOGETHER.

With Lots of Love,

Aida

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Love is Between You and You: Day 30 of 365 Days of Love

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Love is Between You and You: Day 30 of 365 Days of Love

“I’ll go to Paris, a city i’ve dreamt about for months when I meet my future husband.”

 

“I’ll go to this 3 Michelin starred restaurant that i’ve been wanting to try for years, with my future date.”

 

“I’ll wear a Tiffany & CO ring only when my guy proposes”

 

How many of you have said things like this? How many of you have put things on hold and waited to live a few of life’s experiences till you meet that special guy (or girl)?

 

I certainly have. And that is certainly about to change.

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Today as I entered the HQ office of Tiffany & CO, I did not know that I would leave a changed woman.

I entered and felt my inner romantic come out with butterflies surrounding her. I remembered all of the different day dreams I had as a little girl imagining my future husband proposing with a Tiffany ring, or surprising me with the signature heart shaped Tiffany necklace. 

Then it hit me that I’m 29 years old today. Granted I am still young in many ways, I am no longer that baby Aida who can put things on hold, day dream, and simply be waiting for that special guy to fulfill her. 

I looked around at the Tiffany boxes and felt a shift in my heart and mind.

I realized that I no longer need to wait for my future man (whoever he may be) to experience many things that life has to offer.

 

I no longer should put certain experiences on hold as I wait for him to come along because of the single question many of us fear to ask,

what if he never shows up?

 

I know some of you reading this, your heart just beat a bit faster. Mine certainly did. But this is the reality and a true possibility that I (and you) may never meet the guy who proposes with that dream Tiffany ring I always thought of. 

 

I may never meet the guy who I will get to tour the most romantic cities in the world with such as Paris.

I may never be dined out at that long list of restaurants I have with the romantic lighting and delicious truffle risotto.

 

I sure hope I am (and you) one day blessed with love that reaches to that Tiffany ring moment but the mindset of putting these experiences on hold for him is done and it’s honestly about time that it’s done.

 

So what am I waiting for? .. Nothing, I am going for all the things I want today. Not tomorrow. It’s now a matter of prioritizing what it is that I want to experience and live.

 

Today after leaving Tiffany & CO, I said goodbye to old Aida who waited for things to happen to her and welcomed the Aida who celebrates life for what it is today and not what it could be tomorrow. 

 

I celebrate my new self who will always (I hope) keep an open heart for that beautiful possibility of love and I welcome the Aida who invests in love in everything. 

I left Tiffany & CO and entered one of the restaurants on my list and treated myself to the most delicious truffle pasta. It was definitely an over the top mid-day break that I certainly deserved.

 

Right now, I am the new Aida who is learning how to celebrate herself, from giving herself a Tiffany ring to dining at that 3 star Michlen restaurant to touring Paris with her lovely self - happily alone.

 

And those two words combined “Happily” + “Alone” are the magic words because

the second you are happy with yourself, when you are so full that you emanate happiness, love and magic, is the second you will create the space for a man worthy of you to enter. 

 

With that, I’m excited to dive into the chapter of ticking off that check-list, one romantic adventure at a time. I hope you do too as well.

Life is short and don’t live it while waiting on the side lines for someone who may or may not show up. Go for it and don’t look back.

 

With Love,

Aida 

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Home Is and Love Is Too: Day 29 of 365 Days of Love

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Home Is and Love Is Too: Day 29 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Razan Abu Sharia

Get to know her on Instagram

Story from: Washington DC, USA/ Amman, Jordan

Traveling from Jordan to DC for my very first time, I have met a lot of new people from diverse backgrounds that own unique mindsets. Two months passed and I don’t know how this happened, but I love has seemed to be the center of many conversations i’ve had. We all seem to have been confronting the thought of love together, ultimately searching for the meaning of it. 

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And I thought of it, once, twice, and more, trying to understand and question my ideology of Love. 


One thing I always knew is that love has no rules, nor time. 

 

Love for me has always meant waiting. Waiting and not settling for anything less. I’ve known that I will never be able to control love, but that it will always come on its own without having me put in the effort. It just will be.

 

Over time the questions i’ve asked was is love a matter of effort? A matter of fate? Or a matter of self-love before anything else?


These conversations have passed with the days, until I oddly remembered them again in a museum that had nothing to do with love. Visiting the National Museum of American Indians, and reading the word “home” over and over again, I have been questioning how fascinating the idea of our longing for home is. It made me see how “home” is interconnected with “love”, and how we grow up searching for both equally. 

 

The struggle to find that home seemed very similar to the struggle to find the love we long for. 

 

Love is the house, home, or place we are always in search for. It is that picture in our head of a perfect rigid juxtaposition of two souls. Home comes in different sizes when love does too. Home is there to accommodate more than one soul when love does too. Home is the escape when nothing is okay when love is too. Home is what keeps our secrets when love does too. Home is the stability that reflects its shine during the day when love does too. Home is where our personal language and state of mind is made when love is too. 

A glimpse of lands from my home, Jordan

A glimpse of lands from my home, Jordan

Love is what you look for when you are away from home, when home is also what you look for when you are away from home. Love is the meaning you give to any home, when home is also the meaning you give to love. Love is what you escape when you do not feel like home, and when your heart is flipping from left to right, when home is also what you escape when you do not feel like love. Love is what creates us, when home is what brings us to life before love. Love is not concrete, but abstract, when home is not concrete but abstract too. Love is a feeling when home is too. Home is not a place, it is a feeling.  

Me during a hike in my home country

Me during a hike in my home country

 An inspiring saying by Yasmin Mogahed is how the word “qalb” in Arabic meaning “heart” in English literally means something of that which turns or flips. It is very similar to how the concept of “home” is. Humans are always in search for that “home”, even when they’re in a home, they are in search of another home. We are never stable, and so is love. 

 

To understand such dilemma, we have to accept the power of “change” and how it is not always linked to a negative transformation in our lives.

Temporariness is the reality of things.

Hence, this is how our heart works. It flips and turns around every now and then, and this is why we as humans are always struggling in finding that “balance” in life. Love comes from here. It is the school of patience, compromise, and acceptance. But, before starting to search for these three in the other person, we’ll have to find it in ourselves. 

 

What we invest in ourselves brings home back to its place, just like it brings back love too.


Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to the inspiring woman Razan for sharing her story.

Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 336more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE/SHARE HERE.

LETS INVEST IN LOVE ONE STORY AT A TIME TOGETHER.

With Lots of Love,

Aida

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Who Does the Cooking: Day 25 of 365 Days of Love

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Who Does the Cooking: Day 25 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Sumayya Tobah, Freelance journalist

Get to know her on Twitter/instagram

Story from: Washington DC, USA





Who does the cooking?




I really couldn’t tell you why, but the past couple of weeks I’ve only been able to watch documentaries.

I recently watched one called “RBG” on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second female supreme court justice and the litigator who truly broke through sex discrimination in the United States.

Her work cannot be diminished in this day and age.

Being a journalist in Washington DC and an avid scholar of the women’s rights movement in the United States, I was very familiar with her work in the courtroom.

Photo from  Kevin Drum

Photo from Kevin Drum

What came as a total surprise to me was the more personal aspect of Justice Ginsberg’s life. Her relationship with her home, her husband and her children.

Ruth Bader met Marty Ginsburg when she was seventeen. She said of her then eighteen year old husband, “he was the first boy I had ever met who cared I had a brain.”  Ruth would marry Marty while they were both pursuing undergraduate degrees at Cornell University and when she started studying law at Harvard, she had a fourteen month old baby and Marty was diagnosed with cancer.

She found a way to:

study law and

be at the top of her class while also

raising her daughter and

caring for her husband.

And when Marty thankfully recovered and was hired at a New York firm, she completed her degree at Columbia University.

In the documentary, Ruth speaks at length about how her home life offered a kind of sanctuary from her hectic life in law school and how it was a natural decision to follow her husband to New York. Later, when she would be offered a job as a judge in the US court of appeals for the District of Columbia. Marty made it clear that Ruth had carried the brunt of the house work while he was sick, and now it was his turn to be supportive of his wife’s career.

And even though this happened in 1993, it struck me how progressive this was, and how naturally Marty Ginsburg came to that conclusion.

Even though I’m a millennial and I was raised by an incredibly empowered mother and empowering father, I still felt the pressure to succumb to certain gender norms when I got married. When I announced my engagement, everyone assumed I would be moving up to Canada, where my husband was working at the time. And when it became clear he would be making the move down to Washington DC, I had girls who I had never traded two words with message me for my secret: how did you get your husband to move down for you?

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And while I knew these type of comments didn’t have an impact on my then fiance, after the sixth or seventh conversation, I started to wonder, was I doing marriage wrong?

It became clear incredibly fast that gender norms had no place in the home we created together.

My husband was practically raised in a restaurant and has been around food all his life. He loves it, nothing makes him happier. On top of that, he has an iron-clad relationship with his grandmother, who’s instagram would make Gordon Ramsay froth at the mouth. Her food has a reputation for being the best without fail. So when we got married and it became clear I didn’t know my pizza from my manousheh, it became just another way we differed from a typical relationship. And it took me a long time to be comfortable with that. There are still days I watch my husband work away in the kitchen and I wonder, am I a bad wife?

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So when I was watching the documentary on Justice Ginsburg over the weekend, a particular sound bite really hit home.

Marty Ginsburg and Justice Ginsburg were sitting together at a panel event, being peppered with questions from fans and someone asked, “how much advice do you give each other?”

The couple looked at each other, holding in laughter and Marty said, “as a general rule, my wife does not give me any advice on cooking, and I do not give her any advice about the law. This seems to work quite well on both sides.” The audience bursts with laughter. And in that moment, I saw something from my relationship reflected not only in another marriage, but in one of the most celebrated relationships in American political history.


It made my heart full in a way I can’t begin to describe.

There is no one way to have a marriage.


My husband did not follow me. He’s not a puppy. I did not have to negotiate our living situation. Marriage is a give and take and at this moment, my career required that I stay in DC. My husband supported me and was open to the challenge of living in a new city. He supports me, and in the future, should he need my support, he would have it without asking.

I have heard practically from the day we got engaged how unusual and atypical my relationship is. It used to chip away at the security I once felt but now, I understand a simple truth. There is no one way to have a successful marriage. There is no one way to have a successful relationship. If your relationship is accepting, and loving and safe, why should it matter who does the cooking?

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Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to the inspiring woman Sumayya for sharing her story. It was such a beautiful reminder of the need to take a step back to assess the gender norms and pressures we put on our relationships.

Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 341 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE/SHARE HERE.

LETS INVEST IN LOVE ONE STORY AT A TIME TOGETHER.

With Lots of Love,

Aida

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Why is it so hard to write about Love? Day 24 of 365 Days of Love

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Why is it so hard to write about Love? Day 24 of 365 Days of Love

For the past 24 days since I launched 365 Days of Love, I received 40+ messages from people in the USA, Jordan, Indonesia, UAE, India etc and more countries saying they are unable to write about love. They sit in front of the computer with every intention to write but they get writers block and nothing comes out.

Isn’t this odd for many individuals to encounter when love is probably one of the most used words and one of the top things we search for (in whatever form that may be). After diving in deeper with the people who were unable to write it, we uncovered it was because of the deep vulnerabilities and insecurities they have buried deep, deep, deep down. Facing that blank page to fill it with something that has much meaning to a person can be difficult especially if it has not turned the way you want it today.

Sourced from  The New York Times

Sourced from The New York Times

As I began writing this article I typed in google “how to write about love” and the first article that came up was How We Write About Love by Daniel Jones published in 2015. His words reminded me of the deep differences between men and women showing both the faults and strengths in both (of course generalizing here). He also shares how people who have completely embraced themselves have found it easy to write about love.

So before I leave you with my favorite gems from his article, I conclude with saying that it is your inner state that dictates the outer state in all aspects including writing.

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Love stories are full of romantic delusion, idealizing love to an unhealthy degree. But in the accounts I see, men and women delude themselves in opposite directions.

A woman is more likely to believe her romantic ideal awaits somewhere in the future, where her long-held fantasy becomes a flesh-and-blood reality.

A man’s romantic ideal typically exists somewhere in the past in the form of an actual person he loved but let go of, or who got away. And he keeps going back to her in his mind, and probably also on Facebook and Instagram, thinking, “What if?”



Women and men may feel love similarly, but they write about it differently.

A lot of men’s stories seem tinged by regret and nostalgia. They wish previous relationships hadn’t ended or romantic opportunities hadn’t slipped away. They lament not having been more emotionally open with lovers, wives, parents and children.

Women are more inclined to write with restlessness. They want to figure love out. Many keep mental lists of their expectations, detailing the characteristics of their hoped-for partner with alarming specificity and then evaluating how a new romantic interest does or doesn’t match that type.



It seems the harder we work at finding love, the more prone we are to second-guessing the results. High-volume online daters worry about this, along with those who routinely attend singles events.

The fear is we may force things or compromise after pushing so hard for so long. We may admire hard work in most endeavors, but we admire laziness when it comes to finding love. (If you manage to stay together over the long haul, however, it will be because of effort, not chance.)
— Daniel Jones

If you find yourself unable to write about love then dig deeper and get to know yourself more because something inside is lurking that you haven’t recognized or dealt with. Deal with it today, not tomorrow as life is too short living uncomfortable with your skin and not being able to love is the same as being uncomfortable in your own skin.

With Lots of Love,

Aida

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Curious Love: Day 23 of 365 Days of Love

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Curious Love: Day 23 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Victoria Tarantino

Get to know Victoria here

Story From: New York



Curious Love



I grabbed my pink journal and scribbled the word “LOVE” in big black cursive letters encircled by doodled hearts <3 <3 <3

Right below I questioned “how do you define love?” I stared at the inked question blankly. I read it over and over as I patiently waited for the answer to pop into my head and flow onto the paper but instead my brain flooded with more questions over analyzing and overthinking this definition.

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As I struggled, I grew increasingly more frustrated with my case of writer’s block around a topic I thoroughly enjoy exploring. The little voice in my head coached, come on Victoria you love talking about love. My instinct was to shoo away the little voice but then I realized she has a point. I spend so much time talking about love and relationships with my friends but as soon as I was faced with sharing my vulnerabilities I desired to retreat.

I felt the silver cage around my heart swing closed and lock with a twist of the key.  

I sighed and I flipped through my copy Pablo Neruda’s “Love Poems” for inspiration, that I purchased for myself as a Valentine’s Day gift. I focused my energy on immersing myself in the poems and painting lavish love scenes in my head. After realizing that it wasn’t working I tossed the the pink and gold pocket sized book aside and paused. I returned to my journal and decided to pour out all of my love related issues that were preventing me from opening up.

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As I put my pen to paper, I found it much easier for me to write about the hurt, pain, suffering, and hardship that love has caused me rather than reflect on the beautiful positive moments and experiences it has awarded me.

I was looking externally to place the blame on love when I really needed to look internally and reflect on the quality of love I have been giving myself and the framework that I have created for love. Instead of continuing on this downward spiral of negativity, I shimmied myself towards a place of curiosity around what I could do to improve this narrative for love I had been crafting and disrupt the comfort I’ve felt in maintaining it.


The little voice in my head came back, but this time I listened and wrote out everything she was asking: How can I cultivate a healthier relationship with love? How can I continue to improve self-love? What would it look like if everyone went through their days from a place of love? How can I return to falling in love with fleeting moments and experiences? How can I approach love from a fresh perspective? How can I change the narrative I’ve crafted? How can I let go of past assumptions of love?  How can I open my eyes up to finding the beauty and love in the monotonous routine of the day to day? What might I fall in love with every day? The voice continued to question on and on.

I thanked her for reminding me that I don’t have all of the answers. I have to advise myself to pause and not take everything so seriously. I encourage myself to approach love from a place of curiosity and excitement for what is to come.

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It is okay to allow myself to let go and receive what is around me rather than worry about what’s coming next or what has happened in the past. I am working towards constantly approaching love from a place of curiosity and am on the path towards a healthier relationship with love. It’s nowhere near perfect, but is definitely a work in progress towards bringing in a new perspective. When I am present in the moment, I can feel the love for myself and the gratitude for what I have even if it is fleeting. I aspire to embody an open heart through curiosity for love.

So, how do you define love?

-Victoria


Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to the inspiring woman Victoria for sharing her story and reminding me to take a step back to reflect on how do I define love, what are the questions that come up and am I running from something (escaping from some personal vulnerabilities)?

Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 342 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE/SHARE HERE.

LETS INVEST IN LOVE ONE STORY AT A TIME TOGETHER.

With Lots of Love,

Aida




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While I Was Waiting For You, I Took the Time to Love Myself: Day 22 of 365 Days of Love

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While I Was Waiting For You, I Took the Time to Love Myself: Day 22 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Salma Elbarmawi

Get to know Salma who is a: writer, activist and aspiring social entrepreneur. She has a special love for culture, meaningful conversations, politics and dance.

Story From: Egyptian based in London


While I Was Waiting For You, I Took the Time to Love Myself



I used to ask myself all kinds of questions about you. I wondered what you’d look like, if you’d have dark hair and gorgeous dark features. I wondered if you’d be tall, although you wouldn’t even have to hit 6 feet to tower above me.

I often asked myself if you’d be funny. If you’d make me laugh in a kind of burn in my belly sort of way, or if I’d laugh along just because I’d like you so much.

I’ve thought about conversations we’d have… and secretly I’ve had the entire back and forth dialogue between us in my own head, as I’m standing in the shower simultaneously contemplating my life choices.

I’ve thought about television shows we’d watch together, and books you’d tell me to read. I thought about the way you’d say I love you, before we go to sleep at night, or how you’ll get along with my parents and I’ll adore yours.


Photo by  Ryan Holloway  on  Unsplash

I’ve probably had thoughts about every conceivable aspect of what you’ll be like, and somehow I found it impossible to wrap my head around ever meeting you.

Recently I’ve overcome the fear. The fear of accidentally meeting you while I’m away from home, far off in a land I only planned to stay for a short while. Fear of falling in love with you while I’m still on my way to figuring out who I am.

There was a point in time when I feared I’d have to tell you I’m still unsure of what I want out of life. That I’m capable of giving love and receiving it, but incapable of committing to a single continent or career path.

Lately, the thoughts of you have shown up less in my mind, if at all. And I’ve often wondered if that’s my subconscious way of letting the idea of you go, or if that’s the universe’s subtle signal that you’re on your way to finding me.

Either way, I’m glad you haven’t shown up just yet. I needed this time.

I’ve learned to love myself in ways I didn’t think I needed to. I’ve learned to call myself beautiful with no makeup on, and wear my hair naturally curly when I’m out on the town. I’ve learned to be forgiving of my body and patient with my wants.

I’ve mastered the art of walking in heels and discovered the comforts of hiking in Nikes’. I’ve tested various shades of red on my lips, to which I can proudly proclaim I’ve mastered the science.

“black metal grill with be love ed text” by  Elijah Macleod  on  Unsplash

“black metal grill with be love ed text” by Elijah Macleod on Unsplash

I’ve discovered how much I value alone time, as much as I live and breathe a social life. I’ve even taken the time to try new foods — just to be certain that I am actually a happily self-classified picky eater.

I’ve added creative to the labels I give myself. Along with determined, relentless, loving and curious. I’ve crossed experiences off my list just to make room for new ones.

And I’ve been brave.

Not just brave in the way of independence, but brave in the form of vulnerability. I’ve started walking towards the things I thought would never be for me. The opportunities I thought I couldn’t land. The places I thought I’d have to wait a lifetime to see. I started working on my dreams rather than being mesmerized by them.

And I’m not finished.

In fact, I have to tell you — I’m just getting started.

In the way I once dreamed of you, I’m dreaming of the future I’ll create for myself. So when we finally do meet, just know, I won’t ask you what took you so long.


Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to the inspiring woman Salma for sharing her story. It was such a beautiful reminder of the need and power found in loving ourselves and building our lives not waiting for things to happen to us.

Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 343 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE/SHARE HERE.

LETS INVEST IN LOVE ONE STORY AT A TIME TOGETHER.

With Lots of Love,

Aida

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Summers Red Light: Day 14 of 365 Days of Love

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Summers Red Light: Day 14 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Angely Khan

Get to know Angely on Instagram, Wordpress

Story from: United Kingdom (UK), originally from Pakistan


A drug, so powerful that despite your hardest effort to stay away it will pull you in.

He asked, what this drug is?

She replied, it is embedded in all of us from a young age.

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Do you have to experience love to understand love?

I don’t think you do; I may not know a lot about love. Or maybe I do, perhaps we all try to reach a level of love that only exists behind the little red camera light.

A concept lost by the mass, a concept that has lost its definition through the limbs of social media. We love only to compete. We love only to get likes. We love only to fulfill a social expectation.  

As if we can’t gain romantic success without social acceptance, as if love is bound by opinions what happened to the real kind of love, the love that consumes you–is it all fictional?

Let’s not crush teenage puppy love but seriously how many times have you sat and scrolled on your phone and seen a beautiful picture of a couple at a restaurant? But once the snap is taken the smile fades, two people supposedly in love not talking to each other. Eat. Snap. Post. Then comes the indirect status update #Hate it when people are rudeCry. Snap. Post. Craving attention from the one they love but refuse to talk, refuse to communicate the real issue, starving love–no, in fact, depriving love making it loves inaugural affair with the 21st century. 



I asked my mother to define love. She asked me,


“Define the ocean without water?” I said I couldn’t. “Exactly, people are like the ocean, deep and mysterious filled with monsters but the water, the clear sky-blue water is what makes it beautiful. The water is love.”



 Old but consistent like ancient wisdom, like the men in top-hats. 

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But what happened to the men in top-hats?  (Let’s go back in time.)

The year of jazz, rich sounds of saxophones sprinkling the air and romantic gestures roaming the streets. You’re reading the morning news, sipping coffee in a café and he walks in and asks what you’re reading, how your morning is? The conversation is like a familiar rhythm he makes you smile; he’s there to win you not to borrow you already stamping an expiration date on you. He asks you out. You say yes. 

To experience the first date– the awkward beauty in it.

Experience the first butterfly.

The first kiss.

To experience love.

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I once believed I was in love; my heart and my mind were in a compelling argument against each other. My mind convinced me that I was in love–based solely on the virtue of a checklist, ticking off: 

1.    Money

2.    House

3.    Car

4.    Looks

One by one– a checklist created by society, each of us adding to it:
                                                               5.    Height

6.    Abs

7.    Funny

8.    Smart

My heart at first whispered in opposition except I was subjugated by the list when I should have been enthralled by him. My heart eventually screamed with the opposition.  *Exhale* I finally let go.

With that said let us not allow social media the glory of imprisoning love.  Love is more than just monogamy, love is a birth-right, ‘encoded and tucked away in our DNA’.  My mother says, ‘everyone experiences love, but not everyone falls in love, love of that nature is rare.’  

A drug, so powerful that despite your hardest effort to stay away it will pull you in.

He asked, what this drug is?

She replied, it is embedded in all of us from a young age.

He asked, will you take the drug with me?

She replied, once it wears off will you still love me?

He replied, I would be a fool if I didn’t.

My parents, a love story that inspires me every day and keeps my DNA filled with love.

My parents, a love story that inspires me every day and keeps my DNA filled with love.

With Love,

Angely


Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to Angely for sharing her story. I related to her on so many levels and am inspired by depth, introspection and faith in love. I reread Angely’s mothers response on defining love probably 5 times - quite powerful.

Second a big thank you to YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 351 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE/SHARE HERE.

LETS INVEST IN LOVE ONE STORY AT A TIME TOGETHER.

With Lots of Love,

Aida

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Finding the Power You've Always Had: Day 10 of 365 Days of Love

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Finding the Power You've Always Had: Day 10 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Sumayya Tobah, Freelance journalist

Get to know her on Twitter/instagram

Story from: Washington DC, USA





Finding the Power You’ve Always Had




When I was six years old, I saw the fabulous 1939 masterpiece, The Wizard of Oz and heard something that would completely change my life.

Judy Garland’s unforgettable Dorothy had just learned that the titular Wizard had lied to her and she had no way of returning to her family in Kansas. The good witch Glinda (if you’re not familiar with these names, its okay, I’m getting to the point soon!) says to her, “You’ve had the power all along.”

“I have?” Dorothy exclaims. “Well, why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because you wouldn’t have believed it,” the Witch replied. “You needed to find out for yourself.”

At six years old, I wasn’t able to really able to apply this beyond the plot of the feature film. But as I grew up and was repeatedly faced with situations where I felt out of control or powerless, I learnt what I was capable of and how much power I really had.

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Every time I wanted something and felt like it was just out of reach, I reminded myself. I have the power. I’ve had it all along. My love life was no different.

I don’t know when we, as women, got conditioned to believe that we can’t make the first move. We are told to be shy but flirty, available but hard to get, tempting but chaste. Don’t be too much of any one thing. Not too colourful or too bland. Not too smart or too dumb. Be interesting but be one of the girls.  It took me a long time to understand that this mold of what an “attractive” woman looks like was designed to keep us in our place; this sketch of an “ideal” woman is so ridiculous, it’s meant to keep us down.

It took me a long time to release myself from this mold, not just forgive myself for the things I would never be but appreciate myself for the things I am.

It definitely didn’t happen overnight, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t have my own insecurities from time to time, but cultivating that self awareness and self confidence truly was the key to so many things in my life, including finding love.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a conversation with a friend who is wrapped up in playing games with a guy. She thinks he likes her, she scavenges his texts for hidden messages and she stresses out when she doesn’t hear from him for a couple days. She feels powerless.

I’m always that friend with the advice no one wants to hear. Tell him how you feel. What’s the worst that can happen?

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The idea of “the first move” is so antiquated, but is still seen as such a power play. I’ve seen women who are strong and independent crumble under the frustration of waiting for the man they’re interested to come through.

Women are afraid to come off as too forward, but what’s unattractive about a woman who knows what she wants?

The first move was created to take the power away from us. I know its nerve wracking. Nobody enjoys the freefall of putting themselves out there. But when you face that fear, or any fear you have really, and you still push forward despite it - that is powerful.

Acknowledge your fear, give it a moment, then push it aside; because the pros outweigh the cons and that one decision can change your life in ways you only dreamed of. I was terrified when I told the man who would become my husband how I felt. But if you had told me then that a single truthful conversation would lead to a life of happiness with my best friend, I wouldn’t have believed you. My life now is so blessed, I can’t remember life before we were us.

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I took this lesson and applied it to the rest of my life. I stopped being a “wait and you shall see” kind of girl, and became an “ask for what you want and work hard for it” kind of woman.

I got my first real journalism internship by emailing a senior producer, asking for an interview. And when she didn’t respond the next day, I emailed her every day for a week. I got the position a few days later. When I’m passionate about a story, I pitch it. When I’m having a problem with a person, I discuss it with them. And when I feel a situation is out of my control, I ask myself, “what needs to be done?”

After all, I have the power. I’ve had it all along.


Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to Emily for sharing her story. I related to her on so many levels and am inspired by her resilience, strength and acceptance. I can’t wait till I celebrate the man you choose but until then I am honored to celebrate YOU today and every day.

Second a big thank YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 355 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE STORIES HERE.

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To Love Without Condition: Day 9 of 365 Days of Love

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To Love Without Condition: Day 9 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Emily Langtiw, Seashorties Blogger and Social Entrepreneur

Get to know her on InstagramFacebookBlog

Story from: Chicago, USA





To Love Without Condition



 

The definition of unconditional love is intimacy with no constraints. It is the love that is shown when someone cares about you so deeply that, through their words and actions, regardless of the circumstances. The relationship that a mother has with her children is where this is most commonly depicted, but you can find this in all authentic connections, whether that be friendships or marriage. Conditional love, on the other hand, is situational. It may disappear over time due to geographical distance, change, or conflict.

Let’s face it, we all want to be unconditionally loved and romanced. You see it in all the rom-coms that women watch, and the princess books, and the happily ever after stories. Love transcends boundaries and limitations, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch. It’s also the foundation of marriage, and no woman (or man) deserves less than this in their lives. However, not all women have experienced it, let alone believe they deserve it.

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I’m here to remind you (and myself) that we all deserve every ounce of authentic love, despite getting involved with the wrong man (or woman), or in spite of your lack of experience in the dating scene. 

Today is a chance to begin again and do romance the right way. 

After exploring my faith more deeply, I learned that love is firmly rooted in faith. If you understand that God is the sole source of love and life, you will have an infinite amount of love to give to others. It’s a gift He’s given you, and He wants you to love without limits. This has transformed my view on how love works.

For years prior, I used to think that if I was not okay, I could not love or be loved the way I desired to be. However, when God came into my story, I realized that unconditional love means that an individual will love me, no matter what kind of day I was having. Instead of keeping myself at the unrealistic standard of always being the best version of myself in order to wholeheartedly love another, I could finally rest in knowing that I am actually not the source of love, yet I can tap into it the endless river.

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I did not experience unconditional love prior to last year when I met my very best friend, Sarah. She was present for my most difficult times in college, sheltered me from every storm both literally and emotionally, listened to my thoughts when life was brutal, and if the situation called for it, spoke truth into my life. Day after day, with love and persistence, she molded my character into someone I did not think I could ever become, and I refuse to imagine what life would be like without her genuinely caring for me as a human being. I picture the scene from Hidden Figures when, in the beginning, the student was handed the chalk. The professor believed in the student’s potential when no one else did not, and even if the professor did not see how this would directly benefit herself.

Think about where or if you see this play out in your own life.

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After experiencing unconditional love I have learnt of the core characteristics to look for if I want to create more of it in my own life (and I hope they help you too):

-       It is rooted in high morals and values.  This is why it’s super significant to know what values you stand firm in because you will know what you deserve and be less likely to compromise for someone who does not share the same outlook on life as yourself. Your values dictate the big decisions you make, and you must be able to share them with your significant other, who you will spend the rest of your life with. 

-       It happens when you unconditionally love yourself. When you are full of love, it’s easier to give and receive it. You especially know this is true about you if it doesn’t bother you to be single. Think of it this way: singleness is a gift. It’s the time to explore what intimacy looks like with God, friends, family, and yourself especially. There is a reason for this season of life, so while you are waiting for the right one to come around, embrace yourself and your gifts. By doing this, you will lessen the likelihood that you’ll deal with a codependent or abusive man.

-       It grows over timeJust like an old friend, the more experiences and storms you face with your significant other, the more the authentic the love between the both of you becomes. Think of dating as a process, not a status you sit in. You are constantly testing the waters and getting to know the other person. Like a garden, authentic connections are fostered over time. 

-       It transcends physical, emotional, and circumstantial limits. You know that you are unconditionally loved if it does not matter the season you are in, the person loves you just the same. Think of the marriage vows “until death do us part”. Loving is a choice that the both of you must make every single day, even if you do not feel that love all 365 days of the year. 

-       It is surrounded by authentic community. Involving your closest friends and mentors in your relationship will give you clear set of eyes as to whether he is right for you. Because they know you well and want the best for you, they will be present to give you advice when you face conflict, and even judge the person’s character. We all have that friend, or been that friend, who was blindsided by infatuation to the point where they ignored the red flags, so do not be afraid to surround yourself with community when evaluating if someone is a good fit.


There are also places where I found that I should not search for intimacy, (and I know many of us agree but are guilty of it).

Clearing up this confusion is just as important to navigate the dating scene. First and foremost, making virtual connections in the technological age has its harmful consequences. Let’s take, for example, dating apps such as Bumble and Tinder. Charm and beauty are their basis: you merely judge an individual based off the wittiness of their bio and the attractiveness of their profile picture. These are, unfortunately, not stable foundations for authentic intimacy because nothing substantial can develop from them. “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting” (Proverbs 31:10). While I know healthy couples who met on Tinder, and it is definitely possible to meet people online, I have found it personally better to meet someone in the communities that I involve myself in in-person.

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Finally i’ll say try to not forget that your own limitations will affect how you relate to others. If you think that all the good guys are taken, you will only attract taken guys. If you say out loud to the universe that no man is mature enough for you, you will only attract emotionally immature men. That is, until you think otherwise. For a long time, I only attracted unavailable men because I truly believed there was no one available for me. Instead, I replaced these thoughts with realistic ones, and I am no longer slave to my previous hurtful experiences, nor am I slave to the lies that kept me from intimacy with the best men and I hope you no longer are too.

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Xoxo,

Seashorties 


Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love <3

First, a big thank you to Emily for sharing her story. I related to her on so many levels and am inspired by her resilience, strength and acceptance. I can’t wait till I celebrate the man you choose but until then I am honored to celebrate YOU today and every day.

Second a big thank YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 356 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE STORIES HERE.

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Post-College Heartbreak: Day 8 of 365 Days of Love

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Post-College Heartbreak: Day 8 of 365 Days of Love

Contributed by: Brenda Lozano, Program Analyst and Beauty Influencer

Get to know her on instagram: @BellaBeauty808

Story from: Hawaii


Post-College Heartbreak




I still remember the first time I saw him on my university campus. It was 2006, my freshman year. Shaun* (name has been changed) captured my attention with his stature and big muscles. He had a presence about him that you couldn’t miss him if you tried. As soon as I saw him in COM 101 I knew I had to introduce myself. 

After class ended, I speed walked to talk to him and within a week we were inseparable. My family had moved off of the island and he was a transfer from California. After a few short months, Shaun became my family. I shared my deepest secrets with him, we had inside jokes, sang to each other, complained about different classes, and just about everything else. Every guy on campus envied him and my friends wished they had a relationship like ours. 

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Of course, as mature as I like to think we were, we weren't. I craved attention and neglected friendships. And Shaun? He wasn’t perfect either. He had a temper at times and girls flirted with him left and right. But we were two young college kids in love. It was us against the world.

My birthday always fell during spring break in Hawai’i. During my birthday week, days shy of my 21st birthday I was upset with him. He had kept something from me and we got into an argument. I went to his place a day after our argument and had a bad attitude with him as I will still upset. In a split second, Shaun lunged at me and raised his hand, as if to hit me.

I will never forget the terror and adrenaline that ran through my veins.

My 5’4 160 lbs self versus his 6’6 225 lbs stature was quite the difference. He could have severely injured me. As soon as I could get out of his apartment, I did. I ran for about 2 blocks with tears streaming down my face and my hands balled up into fists. I had never felt so afraid. 

Eventually I made it back to my dorm room and he apologized shortly after. We stayed together for several more years after that. We met each others families, discussed marriage, broke up and got back together. I knew it was over long before it was over. There were so many times when it should have ended. 

During the last few weeks of my junior year, I had a mental breakdown and he abandoned me afterwards (a clear sign he was not the right man for me, as if the abuse was not enough of a sign). But for some young naive reason I stayed in a relationship with him and after graduation when I got a job in northern California it made sense for us to move together but he said it wasn’t the right time for us to do so.

So we had a long distance relationship and he never came to visit me (another clear sign I should have picked up on). I cried myself to sleep for many nights during that time thinking love shouldn’t hurt this way. But I held on to our relationship like a lifeline. Why?

I held on because it was routine.

It was comfortable despite all of the heartbreak.



It was February 2013 and I had just gotten back from visiting Shaun. A week or so after my visit he sent me a text message in the middle of my workday breaking up with me. I was devastated. My stomach churned and my heart shattered. I immediately texted him back and received no response. After work, I called and called to no avail. He shut me out. Threw me away like a piece of trash. 

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The year after the break-up was HARD. There were many nights where I called him and of course, he would not pick up.  I'd then leave tearful voicemail messages hoping he’d hear them and call me back. I lost myself in pain and wallowed in it. I became bitter and distrustful of men. I couldn’t express true happiness for my friends in happy healthy relationships. I did not recognize the person I had become. 

Eventually, I got to a point where I had to find healing and closure.

This journey to healing wasn’t easy and I still find myself on it. After Shaun completely shut me out, I wished so many bad things upon him. I knew I was on my way to true healing when I wished pure happiness for him.

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As for me, I am happy most days. Some days I think of him, if only briefly. Other days, my brain betrays me and I dream of him. When I am feeling a strong sense of pity for myself, I think that I had my chance at love and blew it. Most days though, I think about the future and envision a love so great that I couldn’t dream it if I tried.

So for now, I am trying to become the best version of myself. I fail myself often, but every day I work at it. I know I have to keep practicing true love towards myself.

I know that only when I can truly love myself is when I will attract the love I hope to find and deserve.

I also am practicing patience. Patience with myself and patience that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. It would be easy for me to regret all of those years with Shaun. To be completely honest I sometimes feel I wasted the best years of my youth with him but I know, without Shaun I wouldn’t have been able to dig myself out of that dark and painful place. So today, I thank him because I learned so much about myself and so much about I will not tolerate in a relationship. I learned that our relationship was far from healthy and there is a very big difference between love and lust. 

Taking a step back and reflecting I find myself asking the question: What is the definition of love? Does anyone know? After Shaun and after everything I went through, I think love is resilient, steadfast, truthful, respectful, comforting, tender, loyal…and that’s just the shorthand version. One day I hope and pray love finds me; And when that day comes, I hope I am ready to receive it whole-heartedly and I hope you do too.

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*Name has been changed


Hi Everyone!

This is Aida, Founder of 365 Days of Love.

First, a big thank you to Brenda for sharing her story. I related to her on so many levels and am inspired by her resilience, strength and acceptance. I can’t wait till I celebrate the man you choose but until then I am honored to celebrate YOU today and every day.

Second a big thank YOU for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button below). We have 357 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE STORIES HERE.

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Friends to Partners: Day 7 of 365 Days of Love

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Friends to Partners: Day 7 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief introduction to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year (365 to be exact) to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories)

  3. Insights/thoughts about love


LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 7 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!

-Aida


Earlier this year in Lebanon I attended an inspiring event that brought youth together to inspire them to create social impact. There had to be over 300 people each buzzing with excitement from a combination of their natural youth, the fancy pink lights and the $250k ticket prize about to be awarded.

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Being a person who is sensitive to energy I quickly gravitated to two individuals who were glowing (for this article I will call them Hiba and Khalid as they asked to be anonymous). In this event filled with brilliant people I spent a significant amount of time with them and found myself not wanting to leave their company. I could not tell at the time whether it was their energetic young energy, their love for social impact or love for each other but I knew there was something special about them two. Today I finally know why.

This week during my call for stories for 365 Days of Love, I heard from Hiba*. She shared her story with me about how that night when we met in the hills of beautiful Lebanon, Khalid* confessed his love for her.

They have been friends for years and on that buzzing night he took the plunge and leaped to risk their friendship to tell her how he felt.

He has loved her secretly for two years and she had no idea. She did too.

It’s all in his eyes. Where I find the hue of the most magical things in life and all my reasons why. They are kind you could lost in …and I guess I did.
— Anonymous woman (Hiba*)

In looking back I could see the mutual respect and love they had for each other. The details in how attentive he was to her, not being afraid to have her lead a conversation, making sure she had something to drink and just seeming in awe when she spoke. She very much mirrored that exact love, respect and attentiveness.

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Hiba* in her story to me says in poetic speech:

It’s the way he carries his heart in his eyes and I swear I saw my name there more than once. Like a deep ocean they immerse my soul entirely and I am not afraid of drowning.

In his eyes, I knew I might burn but I just had to inch a little closer. I took the plunge.

In his eyes, my worlds have been stolen away making me happily lost inside his, my new world. My me home.

In his eyes, all time stops, mirrored by the clocks that stop ticking the moment I stared into them.

In his eyes, my soul pointed at him and whispered to my heart “him”.

My heart showed me in light form that “everything will be ok” in a sky with a million people that went unnoticed. 

With my eyes locked to his, I knew he is all I want.

With my eyes locked to his, time had a different and new profound meaning.

Today I ask for time to be kind to us, for me to fulfill my wish of graduating with him, growing with him, succeeding with him, and never loosing him.

With our eyes locked to each other, I ask God to keep him for me today and every day.


This beautiful and sweet story is just a reminder that love could be standing right next to you and you would never have guessed it. It reminds me how your longest friends can actually become the best partners, the partners you dreamt of who were standing right beside you all those years.

It also taught me that details matter. The way he introduces you, the way he looks at you, the small attentive things (or lack of) matter. So as you embark on your journey of love take a moment to be aware of those precious and very telling details.

Thank you to the beautiful couple (names anonymous) for sharing that special night with me and more importantly for sharing a glimpse of your love story to inspire more people to invest in love. I deeply look forward to celebrating love at your future wedding and every single day.

Thankful for knowing you both, may God bless every moment in your life.

With Lots of Love,

Aida


A big thank you for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed this and have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch (button above). We have 358 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

SUBSCRIBE TO THE STORIES HERE.

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Trust: Day 6 of 365 Days of Love

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Trust: Day 6 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief introduction to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year (365 to be exact) to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories)

  3. Insights/thoughts about love


LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 6 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!

-Aida


Indecision

.

Self-Doubt

.

Poor Judgement

.

What do these three words have in common?

.

Iyanla Vanzant says it is trust. Or rather lack of it.

The problem with todays culture and lack of trust, is due to the fact that we do not know who we are. In continuation to Sumayya’s story yesterday (Day 5 of 365 Days of Love), I and many of us realized that we walk around the day carrying ourselves without really deeply knowing who we are.

The problem with not knowing who we are is that we do not trust ourselves,

we do not know where our internal compass is,

how to listen to our intuition and

how to differentiate between the right or poor choices for us.

What follows from lack of knowing and trusting ourselves is we lack the capacity to trust in others and unfortunately taking a series of bad decisions such as bad relationships that always lead to some degree of heart break.

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But when thinking of heart break and working on trust I ask, how do we not let our past experiences and heart breaks scar us? How do we let go of the resentment to the people who broke our hearts and the fear of being hurt again? Iyanala’s advice goes back to trust but working on trusting yourself first. She says how the issue is not in trusting people but in trusting yourself to find the right type of people, to hear that inner voice that is guiding us and trust yourself that when people leave you you will be ok.

We all know how to suffer. But when it comes to being open, vulnerable, following our intuition and facing the unknown, can we do that?
— Iyanla

She shares how after being heart broken from every possible person in her life from experiencing rape, being abused, burying her daughter, getting a divorce and sadly more, she concludes that the only way to heal and find contentment in this life is through love. The path to love is trust in the following order:

  1. Trust in yourself

  2. Trust in God

  3. Trust in others

  4. Trust in Life

Iyanla reminds us that an experience you had does not define who you are today and who you will be tomorrow. If you trusted yourself more, you would not have those feelings of indecision, self-doubt and poor judgement because you would know the common truth in our hearts, that all will be ok.

When you live with trust, everything else becomes irrelevant.

That means you should be willing to

stand alone sometimes,

to piss some people off,

to look different,

sound different,

be different.

and those are risks many of us are not willing to do.

Are you?


A big thank you for reading this and taking the time to care for yourself, your heart and your life. If you enjoyed Iyanlas thoughts then listen to her full podcast interview with Oprah here.

If you have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch. We have 359 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

Share you story here.

Follow the stories here.

With lots of love,

Aida

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I met the man of my dreams. Twice: Day 5 of 365 Days of Love

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I met the man of my dreams. Twice: Day 5 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief introduction to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year(365 to be exact) to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories)

  3. Insights/thoughts about love

LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 5 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!

-Aida


Contributed by: Sumayya Tobah, Freelance journalist

Get to know her on Twitter/instagram: @thisissumayya


I met my dream man. Twice.


The first time I met the man I would go on to marry, I was 22 years old, about to go on to a post-graduate degree and living a sham of a life. We met on a sunny October afternoon (4 years ago to be exact), and I think I knew right away that he was the man I wanted to marry, but our engagement would last only a few months before ending the following summer.  

We didn’t know it at the time, but two years later, we would be officially celebrating our engagement.

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This story is not about my engagement per se. It’s about what happened after that failed first attempt, and what I had to go through before we found our way back to each other again. Because while it may sound incredibly dramatic, during the two years we were apart, my life literally flipped upside down. The life of Sumayya Tobah was altered or reversed in every aspect, in one way or another.  

You see, when we called off our engagement the first time, I was incredibly unhappy. I knew, I knew in my heart that this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. And yet, due to so many factors beyond my control, we fell apart. But as time ticked on -- one day later, one week later, one month later -- and I was still unhappy, I decided I needed a change.

Not a change. I needed a revolution.


First thing I did, I changed my setting. Literally.

I left the small Canadian town that had been my home for about eight years, and moved to Washington D.C. to work full time as a journalist covering the 2016 election. I left with two suitcases of sweaters, a couple of hijabs and a serious chip on my shoulder. I was fully prepared to embrace this new chapter of my life and become the person I had been dreaming of. And in doing that, I was trying to accept that my future might not include a significant other.

Journalists are notorious for having no personal lives. Going into my career I was so sure I would be in it alone. I was working 14 hour days, obsessed with the DC scene and desperately trying to break into the world here. But I was ecstatic. For the first time in my life, I had chosen my own home.

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The next thing I did was clear my life of any and all toxic relationships.

Some of this happened naturally but most was completely conscious. As soon as I moved out to DC on my own, I stopped having a lot in common with my friends back in Canada. Why would I care about small town gossip? I didn’t want to hear about so-and-so engagement or whats-her-name’s breakdown. I was worried about paying rent. I was overwhelmed with the news cycle. I did not fit into the mold that these girls were used to. And I was sick of the bullshit.

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with cutting out people in your life who are fake, who do not understand your purpose, who make you unhappy. While my friendships lasted since high school, they were empty. For years I had been feeling restless and unsatisfied by empty conversations and shallow people. But looking around at fifteen, at nineteen, at twenty-one, I remember asking myself, who do I have to turn to? what choice to I have?

Well, I had a choice now.

I truly believe a person’s friends is a representation of who they are. I was looking at the girls who were in my life at the time and I thought, is that how I want to speak? How I want to represent myself? How I want to be thought of?

Which is probably how I came to the realization that I didn’t really know myself.

So I re-centered myself.

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In a new city, without any of my former friends, I found myself facing silence. Literal silence. It was the uninvited guest waiting in my apartment every night when I returned from the bustling Newsroom. Growing up in a big family, I had never experienced silence like this. And with the exception of my family and a select few friendships, I was completely on my own. It was at this time, I began to rediscover who I was. In some ways, this was a spiritual experience; I found myself attending more faith-based events, taking more care during prayers, making sure my spiritual and mental health was taken care of.

In other ways, it was totally practical. I didn’t have anyone to go to movies with, go to dinner with, attending work functions with, so I had to learn to stand on my own. Believe me when I say this was the most terrifying and most cherished time in my life. I needed that time to travel, to work, to just breathe on my own before I was able to commit to someone else in my life.

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Looking back at that time on my own, not only did I learn who I was, I learned to diminish others’ opinions of me. Whether that was the town that never felt like home, the frienemies who were leaching off of me, or the passersby who judged as I enjoyed a meal alone. Every morning I wake up in this skin, with its scars, blemishes and imperfections. I wake up with this impossible mind and this resilient heart. I had to know it and love it inside and out before I could surrender it to another.

And so, when I met my dream man for the second time, a year later, he was exactly the same. But I was a completely changed woman.

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A big thank you to the beautiful human being, Sumayya for sharing her story and a few of the many lessons she has learnt. If you have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch. We have 300 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!

Share you story here.

Follow the stories here.

With lots of love,

Aida

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Never Give Up: Day 4 of 365 Days of Love

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Never Give Up: Day 4 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief intro to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories

  3. Insights/thoughts about love

LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 4 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!


In the past 4 days of launching 365 Days of Love I have received so many messages from both women and men telling me that they are about to give up on finding love. This was alarming to me on numerous levels as when you give up on something so major in life it becomes the start to giving up on many other things including yourself and what you my dear deserve. So the short answer to everyone who is thinking about giving up on love, don’t. Don’t do it.

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As in everything in life we will always be experiencing the ebbs and flows of life. As a practicing muslim I was taught that it is natural for our heart to contract and expand, where we experience days where our heart is so open and you feel so close to God. Then there are days where your heart is contracted and you wonder where did those feelings go. But the truth that i’ve been taught is that God is always with us, during our expansions and contractions and that no matter where we are in life, He is our constant.

This concept got me also thinking of Love. Where some times we are filled with it, feeling it from all angels from our family to friends to strangers, then on the other extreme we experience days where we feel no love and wonder if we are alone and if we will stay that way for a while or even forever.

My message to you is simple: Trust in life to give you what you deserve, trust in yourself that you are worth it and let it go knowing that something bigger than you will take care of you. It’s okay to have days where you are contracted and this is in fact if you see it with a different perspective a beautiful opportunity to take your attention inward. Take the days of contraction to identify what is it that is contracting your heart, to work on training yourself to be more centered, to work on loving yourself more and to push harder to see that love is truly all around us if only we see clearer.


My advice is when you feel your heart contracted, try the following (they have really helped me):

  1. Go into a room alone and take 10 deep breaths.

  2. Take another 10 more deep breaths where in every inhale you visualize breathing in love and fullness and when you exhale visualize breathing out any negative thoughts you have.

  3. Then imagine yourself as a child version of you. Remember how a child is filled naturally with love, how the natural self is meant to be curious, to fall a million times and get up typically without having scarred the inner self. Really feel that inner child and bring it back to life in your present day because children are truly a reminder of how we were meant to live life, without scars or negativity but rather with hope, light and love.

  4. Then with that child mindset go out and do something you’ve never done before. However small such as baking a new recipe or walking down a new road but go do something new. As you do it work hard on being present and try to train yourself not to think of other things (as adults do) but to be fully present in this one new thing (as a child does).

Wherever you are know that you are special, you are loved and that you are not alone. Never give up most importantly on yourself, love, and all the beautiful things that life has in store for you.



With Lots of Love,

Aida

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Letting Go: Day 3 of 365 Days of Love

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Letting Go: Day 3 of 365 Days of Love

Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief intro to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).

Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):

  1. Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)

  2. Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories

  3. Insights/thoughts about love

LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 3 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!


Every one of has felt some degree of romantic love to someone (whether you called it a crush or deep love). This love has either led you to be single or in a relationship right now. If you are in the relationship club that’s awesome but this article is tailored to more for the singles (please do share your love story here for the next article).

For the ones who are single right now that obviously means that the romantic love with that person you are thinking of right now didn’t work out. The normal person would take some time to get over it and move on to be open to other potential loves, but unfortunately there are many, many and I mean many women (including myself) and men who get so hung up on their past that they can’t seem to live their present nor see their future.

I have done this to myself, where I made every excuse possible to why the man has disappeared (as if I was his lawyer or some sort). “He is going through stressful times at work, he needs some space”, “He just went through surgery, he is feeling vulnerable and needs to be alone”, “He has commitment issues so i’m sure he will take a break then realize I am the right person for him”.. and the list of excuses goes on and on and on.

But the reality is quite simple. If a man wants you, YOU will know. He’s just not that into you
(I know it sucks to hear that but it really is that simple). Men aren’t very complex people, in fact I sometimes find them simpler than women (even though these days I question their ethics sometimes, an article on ghosting is coming soon).

He's Just Not That Into You_Pack_Y24804 DVDW-zoom.png

Have you ever watched the movie he is just not that into you? If not then i’ve found your plans for the night. Get some popcorn, a cozy blanket and watch it. Then come back here and share your thoughts!


So why am I talking about the past? Because if you are hung up on the past then you are blinded from the present. Imagine that for today you have decided to go sit at a cafe to sip on your delicious latte right before you head off to work. We are creatures of habit so we go back to our habit of thinking of him, remembering that time he made us laugh, thinking if he is ok, then without meaning to you look at your phone hoping he will text you all of a sudden (maybe he felt you thinking of him?).

But while you were in your own world thinking of someone who is obviously not thinking of you (remember if a man is into you, you will be the first to know), there was a cute guy sitting across from you. He has been trying to find a way to catch your attention but you were so into your thoughts of the nonexistent man and the man who frankly doesn’t deserve your thoughts.

He may even say hi, but you couldn’t hear or notice him because you were so deep into your thoughts that you somehow drowned out all external noise. Stop to think about it, how many moments have you wasted thinking about a man (or woman) who hasn’t deserved it? how many imaginary situations have you created of hearing from him (or her)? then think about the many potentials of men (or women) that you have blocked from entering your life because your mind and heart was so obviously taken (to someone’s mind and heart was clearly single)?

For today lets take a moment to let go and make room for the future potentials who will clearly show us that they are into us and who will never leave us sitting at a cafe sipping latte wondering if they are into us. Here are a few things I would recommend you do (and I did myself):

  1. Give yourself one night to feel the emotions you need to feel. Remember every detail about him, your time together, all the dreams and hopes you had for both of you, reread messages etc. Do whatever you need to do get it out of your system and look at all this knowing this is your LAST time.

  2. Write a letter to him, write down everything you would have wanted to say then throw or burn it. You don’t want it around you since you are moving on but it feels amazing writing it all out.

  3. The day you do this, before you sleep thank God and thank the guy for having been in your life, the lessons you learnt and say you let him go.

  4. Imagine now that you have let him go there is a vacant space within you, imagine this space is now filled with new and better love. Love first for yourself (the most important love) then space for a new love.

  5. In this new healthy space of love, concentrate on the emotions you want to feel. Is it respect, silliness, happiness, fullness, warmth etc? Focus on it, feel it then become it.

  6. Then let it all go again. Give it to the universe to sent you what is meant to be knowing that you are doing your part of (1) Making space for new things by letting go of the past (2) Loving yourself (3) Knowing what you want to feel (4) Having faith the right kind of love with come.

And with that I thank you for taking the time to first take care of yourself in the love department because at the end of the day it is the most important one. Thank you for reading this and for your time.

If you have a story or thoughts to share please get in touch. Also if you know someone who would like to sponsor these posts let me know here! We all would love to hear from you. Until then have a beautiful day filled with love!

Lots of Love,

Aida

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