Date Responsibly Volume 1 By Kevin S Carr
Smashwords Edition Copyright 2013 by Kevin S Carr. All rights reserved. KSC Inc. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Table of Contents Introduction The Reason… Acceptance… The Power of Ideals Standards are a Must The Importance of Clarity The Meaning of it All
Introduction This e-book, which is the first of four, is designed to serve as the foundation for the groundwork that must be laid so you can achieve greater results when it comes to your relationships and dating experiences. My intent is not to point out your wrong doings or missteps as a woman (who says you’re doing something wrong?). Besides, I wouldn’t dare, as I have no such leverage in your life to do so. My burning desire is to raise your awareness so that you may Date Responsibly. I must be honest, it’s going to be quite a process, but we’re in it together. So let’s settle within ourselves that we will move forward one step at a time. Although it is essential that we start with the end in mind, this book is dedicated to the beginning. You must be intentional and deliberate if you expect to improve in any area, and as mentioned earlier, you begin by laying your foundation. Let us forgo the ever popular “What NOT to do” list and focus on what works, what’s right, and what’s true. In order to begin Dating Responsibly, you must first discover your ideals, set worthwhile standards, and walk with clarity. This e-book will teach you how to do that. Thank you in advance for joining me for this candid conversation.
The Reason… This work was inspired by my shortcomings. It’s ironic that my missteps have placed me on my present path, which affords me the opportunity to be able to communicate with you presently. I do not take that lightly. I cannot. It amazes me that I am in a position to articulate my thoughts, experiences, and research into mediums that you are receptive to. Still, as much as I am amazed, I am admittedly uncomfortable. Perhaps it is that discomfort that serves as the anchor of my humility. My shortcomings and my discomfort were equally put on display during and after one particular Sunday morning church service. Here’s a brief back story. I got a call earlier that week where I was informed that my Pastor would be catering his Sunday morning message to the “singles” in the church. More specifically, he would be talking about dating, sex, and relationships, and seeing as though I wrote a book on the subject, it was suggested to him that I assist with delivering the message. Gasp. Any respectable church goer knows you don’t say no to your Pastor when he or she makes a request of you that is reasonably within your power to fulfill. So, naturally, I obliged. Fast forward to 8:20am, Sunday morning. Service starts at 8:00, but I was late. That’s a really early call time for a church service! I was actually more excited than I thought I would be about the opportunity that had been placed before me. I was anxious about taking to the pulpit partly because I knew that I would be forced to face my own feelings of inadequacy in the process. Such feelings stemmed from the remembrance of my not-so-distant past and a need for reassurance that I had indeed become the person I believed I was. My Pastor introduced me, and it was show time. I did what I always do. I was me. That’s when I am the most comfortable. That place of ease for which I had been searching for the previous few days enabled me to speak to the audience as transparently as I possibly could in The Lord’s House. After the service, numerous people came up to me and mentioned how much they enjoyed the message and what a good job I had done and what a fine example I was. As soon as I started to believe the hype, a woman walked up with a different look on her face. She walked in close, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Do you know who I am?” I recognized her mainly because I could see a resemblance to someone I once knew; her daughter. So at that moment, I knew what she wanted. I’ll never forget the way she looked at me. It pierced me, and so did the words that would follow.
Acceptance... A few years earlier, her daughter and I had what I thought up until that moment was just a fling. Actually, I’ve always known there was more to it. I told myself it was just a fling to ease my conscious of that fact that, at a pivotal moment, I failed to live up to the responsibility that had been placed before me. In many respects I failed to be a man. It still bothers me presently and has its influence all over this work. Perhaps this is my attempt at reconciliation. The only reason we became acquainted in the first place was because her mother suggested it. Her mother had observed me over a course of time, and from what she saw, she assumed I would be a good “change in direction” for her daughter. With that endorsement, she reached out to me. After a few flirty Facebook messages and some phone calls where we spent more time talking in sexual innuendos than anything else, she ended up at my house. In my bedroom to be exact. How did we get here? She liked me. She told me so. In fact, she put all of her feelings on the table in the very beginning (DANGEROUS!). She did so with the hope that our sexual indiscretion would turn into more. She was ready, so she thought. I had no interest in what she desired. But how was she to know? It’s easy for confusion to overtake us when we fail to grab the mantle of responsibility. Turns out the effects of that interaction between the two of us still lingers. As much as I tried to rationalize what happened between us, I couldn’t do away with the guilt as her Mother explained to me the lingering disappointment and bitterness that keeps her daughter away from Church to this very day. That was a hard thing to hear and even more difficult to accept. The truth is we were both responsible, each of us responsible for our own actions. It was my duty to be honest and forthcoming about my intentions. I wasn’t. It was her responsibility to govern her actions and emotions. She didn’t. So the resident bitterness and disappointment has its root in irresponsibility. The time to accept that responsibility is now. I would be in error to think you are responsible for my actions, and you would be equally at fault for indulging in a similar thought path. Within us, the individual does the responsibility lie. Each of us responsible for our actions and for the accompanying results; there are no exemptions. That leads me here. To this work, which in many ways is a plea to women and men alike (myself included) too become responsible and to be honest with people allowing them to make choices they are comfortable with. I had to learn the hard way that life is difficult enough without me making it even more challenging by deceiving those who are depending on my character to be genuine. Many of you reading may be wondering what all of this means to you as a woman. You aren’t playing with men’s emotions (hopefully), telling them one thing and doing another. You aren’t going around breaking hearts in your pursuit of physical satisfaction. How does the call to Date Responsibly apply to you? Let me explain…
The Power of Ideals GOD’s greatest creation is the individual. Who you and I are away from the crowd is all that matters. By embracing our individuality we come alive to the highest level of liberty. With such liberty comes power. But to whom much is given much is required, and so with the liberty and power of individuality comes an inescapable responsibility. Generally speaking, we are responsible for the quality of our lives, but even more specific in regards to this conversation, WE are responsible for the quality of our relationships. “Welcome to planet
Earth. There is nothing that you cannot be, or do, or have. You are a magnificent creator” (Abraham/Esther Hicks). This is why the call to Date Responsibly is so important. Because whether you are aware of it or not, you create the quality of your relationships. You have total control over the quality of your dating experience. So what is your ideal? The process of discovering your ideal is the first step to getting what you want. An ideal is an ultimate object or aim of endeavor, especially one that is of high or noble character. It’s a goal, a standard, a status if you would. So ideally speaking what does
your relationship look like? What about the men you date? What qualities do they possess? As you navigate through the dating pool, do you require that these qualities be present? Or do you relax your standards for the sake of instant gratification? If you do not have a clear idea of what it is you are looking for, along with the fortitude to actively require it to be present, then you will never get what you truly want. Most people don’t know what they want and are in turn frustrated by what they receive. Life is full of surprises, but matters of the heart should never be left to the mercy of chance. Create your ideals; it’s the only way to be certain that you will realize them. I am not advocating that you attempt to escape reality. The only way to accurately identify what your ideals are is to embrace reality. The act of embracing your reality will give you the strength to change it. Perhaps the men you have been dating aren’t quite what you need and your most recent relationships have not turned out how you would have liked. That’s reality, and I cannot discount that and neither should you. However, as I mentioned earlier, the beautiful thing about life is that we, the “individuals,” have the power to shape our respective realities into what we want them to be. When you fail to take up the challenge of shaping your reality, you are left to eat the scraps from life’s table; and in doing so, you give yourself over to the “cycle of same.” If your relationships aren’t adding up to what you think they should be, perhaps something in the equation is off. As you look within yourself keep in mind that changing the men you date will not suffice if the qualities and characteristics that those men possess remain the same. If the scenes change, the people change, but the outcome consistently ends up the same, then it’s time to focus, or in some cases re-focus, on your ideals. Your results should be in line with your ideals. However, the first step in realization is creation.
“Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not long remain so if you but perceive an ideal and strive to reach it.” - James Allen Here are five benefits of having clear Ideals: • Helps to simplify your dating experience • Creates a clear picture of what you want for you and from him • Your ideals hold you accountable to them. • Sets before you the criteria to measure the men that are seeking your affection against • Assists in weeding out those who aren’t a good fit for you
The Discovery Process… Two Essential Questions You Must Ask and Answer (Yourself) What makes you happy? In order to be able to identify who has the potential to contribute to your happiness, you must FIRST be aware of what makes you happy. When I speak of happiness, I am talking about fulfillment. Dive deep within yourself and discover what is it about life that creates such contentment on the inside that it causes you to smile on the outside. Discover this, and you will be able to clearly articulate whom to allow in your life that will not disrupt your harmony. What’s important to you? This question speaks to your core, the essence of who you are at this very moment. This is a loaded question in that within it lie the queries; how important is religion and spirituality to you? Do you want kids? How about marriage… what are your thoughts? Would you prefer a drug and alcohol free lifestyle? All are valid questions, and the answers will vary. But answer them you must. Upon discovering the things that you find most important, you will become more observant in your dealings with men. This will go a long way in helping you avoid attachments that could ultimately turn out to be harmful. In saying that, you’re not using your ideals to judge people but rather measure them against the desired direction of your life.
Standards are a Must Standards are EVERYTHING. They create the guidelines that govern who and what we allow into our lives. The standards that you set, or fail to set for that matter, are an extension of you, a direct reflection of the way you view yourself. Standards give the men in pursuit of you something to live up to. They also give you a measuring stick on how to judge their actions. Living life without standards is like attempting to drive a vehicle without putting your hands on the wheel. There is no telling where you will end up and how you will fare along the way. The standards you set today will determine the quality of your relationships tomorrow. Date responsibly and protect your emotional wellbeing by surrounding your heart with worthy standards. The standards that you enforce will assist in helping you to repel those men that aren’t deserving of your time. This is why your ideals are so important. They set your expectations, which in turn help you to set your standards. With that said, setting high standards for the men whom you allow into your life will be taxing at times. But in the end, it is worth it. Your physical and spiritual prosperity are all worth it. Allow such thoughts to lend comfort and assurance as you navigate through the dating scene. Let them encourage you as you raise your standards to match the level of your expectations. Both are equally important. They are married to one another. To expect to be treated a certain way and not have predetermined standards in place to assure such treatment is wishful thinking at its finest.
A Few Helpful Tips To Remember When Setting Standards:
• Decide what you want (Ideals). • Know what’s at stake (Your emotional well-being). • Know yourself (What’s important to you? /what makes you happy?).
The Importance of Clarity Hopefully by now you are beginning to realize your ideals and going through the process of setting standards. The next step is to pursue clarity. As you begin to date responsibly avoid the temptation of pursuing love, pursue clarity and love will appear. Many lose focus during the pursuit of love. In fact, many lose themselves. Don’t let this be you. Love begins with you and should extend from you. How can you pursue what you already have? Even when “looking” for a relationship, you shouldn’t be looking for love. When your focus is solely on love, and/or simply companionship, chances are there will be times when you will see what isn’t there and fail to see what is. John Lubbock was correct in saying, “What we see depends mainly on what we are looking for.” As you search for clarity, focus only on what is true, not on what you desire to be true. There’s a tremendous difference. Once equipped with the truth you are able to make the proper decisions that will ensure that you eventually get what you want. Clarity will protect your heart and enable you to make sound decisions. Decisions that you will not be forced to regret later. Be informed to be empowered. First, know what YOU want. Second, know what HE wants. If you are lacking understanding in any of these areas, your relationship will greatly suffer. I was taught the importance of clarity on two completely separate and ironically consecutive occasions. I was in one of those “relationships” that wasn’t really a relationship. During our time together conflict would often arise between her and me. Mostly because of the clarity issue. I was vague about my feelings and not really definitive about what I wanted. However, I made sure I was “clear enough” to keep her around. We would go through seasons. When I was “clear enough,” times were good. When she would require more from me, which she often did, frustration would rule over our interactions. She was frustrated at my lack of feelings and emotional involvement, and I was frustrated at her being so intent on definitiveness. I later came to realize that she needed such definitiveness because of her emotional involvement. Our relationship ended just like it began. Without clarity, you see there was no real conclusion to the matter except for the fact that we could not continue. Clarity still being an issue, let’s fast forward to my next dating experience. This time I was the one pressing the issue in search of clear answers. This time it was my feelings that were involved (who would’ve thought?) Quite frankly, because my feelings were more advanced than the relationship itself, I needed some sort of definitiveness to calm my nerves. That’s when the light bulb went off, and I realized how important clarity is. Clarity is the great equalizer of the unbalance that comes with not knowing if the feelings you have are mutual. Without it, you will be relegated to a state of limbo, unsure of yourself and your situation. Such uncertainty can be detrimental to your emotional balance. However, this
can be avoided by having transparent conversations and asking penetrating questions. Here are some helpful tips regarding clarity:
Why Clarity Is Important: • Helps you to protect your heart • Allows you to make informed decisions about your relationship • Helps you to recognize what his true motives are
How to Find Clarity: • Have transparent conversations about your feelings and his -Initiate them if you have to. You can’t expect him to be open if you aren’t. Any unwillingness by him to open up should serve as a red flag.
• Ask penetrating questions. -Do you want to be in a relationship? -Are we exclusive? -Are you having sex with other people?
These may seem like hard questions, but these are the answers that you need to keep you from heartache, frustration, STDs, and so on and so forth. Date responsibly by being informed.
• Pay attention to his consistent habits. -His habits will give you a clear picture of his character, and with this picture, you become equipped to make responsible dating choices. (Clarity)
The Meaning of it All Everything that we’ve discussed so far will go a long way in helping you find exactly what you desire. Maybe you want to be in a committed relationship. Maybe you don’t. Perhaps you would simply like a casual date with worthwhile conversation here and there. Whatever you desire, the beauty is that it’s up you. It’s your heart. Do with it as you please, but as you proceed, please remember to nurture it. Take care of your heart, and it will take care of you. Realize your ideals, and your ideals will provoke you to set standards. Set standards, and your standards will demand clarity. Cheers to the process! From this moment forward may you Date Responsibly.