Tag Archives: relationship

Love Language

Total Read Time: 6 Minutes

“I thought they were another Buzzfeed quiz. You know? Those clickbait type quizzes to learn what kind of Pokémon you are?”


Don’t touch

See yourself in your Lover’s eyes
Painted holy and still tacky

Who am I then?

A museum piece
Preserved in a state of fallacy
For you’ll never again be
Who you were a minute ago

What if I stay really still?

And dry?
No, I’m Andrey.

I’ve been cleaning my suit of armor
Thinking with every passing day
How safe am I?

If I stare at this chest plate
Do I look away, Like I do reflections elsewhere?

Do I give this one another coat of polish?
Or
Languish and pray I never have to wear it.

-A


Welcome

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately.
Mostly introspective type philosophy, designed to bring forward a self actualizing being out of me.

It appears both kinds of fiction are capable of reaching deeper.

Mostly, I rely on these readings to habituate writing for me.
Like surrounding myself with instruments to promote music.

I want to share two moments of inspiration with you

The first is a story from Richard Power’s, The Overstory.

This is my summary:

A man commits himself to a Stanford prison experiment to earn $15 day because he had nothing better to do with 14 days.

He realizes purposelessness when he doesn’t give his blanket to save a man in solitary confinement.

He sends his previous selfishness aside by chasing purpose in Vietnam, where he loads carpet bombs and clears forests of life.

When he falls out of a shot plane, he is saved by a tree’s lush foliage and leaves the war.

He tends to horses and reads them Nietzsche through the winter, burning pages as he reads them.

When winter is over he digs up his savings and leaves Idaho, toward Oregon.

On the way he realizes how barren the forests are becoming thanks to loggers.

He commits the rest of this story to planting Douglass fir seeds in the ground by hand.

Reapplying a symbolic blanket to the earth.


When the purpose for which you act expands, as in the desired audience grows unfathomable, the act you do becomes more finite and yet incalculable. As simple as planting seeds. As infinite as the amount of seeds it takes to grow a national forest.

This thought process has helped me become a more disciplined writer.

Expand your desired audience

Simplify your daily ritual

Replicate until the end of time


The second piece I’d like to share with you is a quote shared with me by a dear friend.

“Don’t forget to practice your love language on yourself.”

Gary Chapman

5 Love Languages

Words of affirmation
Quality time
Gifts
Physical touch
Acts of service

Feel free to take the quiz and patronize Chapman for his fine work.
My lack of references are not out of disrespect.
I believe they would take away more than they provide here.

The point here, is we are all innately predisposed to be skilled in giving and receiving a unique combination of these languages.

What I’ve found is, most of the time they are different.

For example, I am least receptive to acts of service.
However I am very good at performing said acts.

They can change over time,
They sure have for me,
or maybe I’ve become more honest with myself.

Self examination

This part is quite interesting.

BUT

You have to be honest.

I’m sure you’ve already given some thought to which of the languages you’re great at; I do mean innately.

Now take a moment to think about which one (or two, but no more than two) you are uniquely horrible at doing

For Yourself

I consistently find it easy to perform acts of service and give myself gifts.

Physical touch is a much more serious topic that I aim to one day cover at length.
To summarize staunchly, I adamantly believe physical touch is a love language that solely deserves to be shared.

However, words of affirmation and quality time have always been a struggle for me.

I think it’s a self esteem thing, saying kind things to myself.

I don’t think the quality time is a loneliness issue, although that is how I’ve framed it for myself in the past.

For me, both of the love languages are a struggle born out of fear.

Recently, the best gift I’ve given myself is alone time and words of affirmation. It’s meditative and honest, creating a ripple effect of confidence throughout the week.

Fear is more present than I’ve ever believed.
And facing that fear by being alone with myself, listening to all the negativity, and realizing it’s all bullshit has been a beautiful shedding of armor.

I feel most things have to come naturally to someone.
So I can’t just say, you need to follow your fears and all of your questions will be answered.

I do think you can follow your fears and you’ll learn they’re not so bad.
You’ll learn you’re not alone.
You really find your true self down there.
I picked myself up down there.

Before you call me a stoic, I do think there’s validity in the cold shower. You can teach yourself, by exposing yourself to homelessness that it would be okay to take the big investment risk and have to shower in a puddle.

While it didn’t get quite as extreme for me as sleeping under the Fullerton bridge, it was as scary for me to make no plans with anyone and sit at home alone.

And yes, it was as simple as giving myself a pat on the back when no one was around to see.



For questions, and so I don’t feel so alone…

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

Thank you for reading this far.
You mean the world to me.
I write for you.

I’m Writing about My Relationship with Alcohol

Total Read Time: 8 Minutes

This post is about trauma. About Numbing myself. This is about choosing to give myself life instead of taking it away. I know it’s hard to read. Believe me, it’s harder to write.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I do not advise anyone on changes to their health. Please consult your doctor before you do anything. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol, please seek guidance and help from a professional. There are people a phone call away that know exactly how to help.

The most spent currency is time.

One of my mentors, although there’s no chance he knew the impact he has had on my life, is a man I worked with years ago. He worked with urgency, indulging in a sigh only when time was taken care of. I mean the kind of “taken care of” when we are waiting on time itself. His most quoted saying was, “we are up against the clock.” The clock started when he woke up. It ended when his tasks for the day were finished.

We are either waiting on time, or time is waiting on us.

When you start a kettle of water, the time span before it boils is YOUR time. During that time, you are free to do anything you want. When the water has boiled, you are back on the clock; with time waiting on you to pour that water over some coffee grounds.

I find a soothing relief when I am waiting on time. I feel productive and in control. Ahead of the game.

Another example of this is efficient dishwashing. Not the kind at home after you ate some eggs. The kind where a 50 table restaurant that seats 200 people sends back 200 plates after they finished eating. Imagine you are the dish washer, and the next set of guests is arriving. Clean those plates.

I once worked with a young server named Jake. The dishwasher at the time was complaining they had to wash too many dishes. Jake pointed out,
“You’re not the dishwasher. That machine is the dishwasher.”

The point here is, the one thing we can not control is the time the dishwasher takes to run each cycle. What we can control, is having the next tray of dishes ready so that we can have the dishwasher running as often as possible. When the dishwasher is not running, time is waiting on you to load that thang up.

Alcohol is a time suck

I see alcohol as an exchange. A trade sometimes. Most of the time, just a time suck. I give away the rest of my evening, to the influences of alcohol. I sacrifice the productiveness and efficiency of the following morning to “recovery.”

“I give away hard earned dollars to the empty calories I worked so hard at my job and in the gym for. “

Don’t mistake my drama for preaching. I am all about loving myself. I want you to love yourself. You are amazing. Your life is worth living. You are incredible. Don’t beat yourself up for a night of drinking. This is about understanding the CHOICE you’re making. Man, I’m full of caveats today…

Alcohol BLURRRS Time

My father often related his first drink of the day to it’s conclusion; the day that is. Decisiveness takes a steep drop after that first drink. It’s self-perpetuating. Alcohol demands more of itself. The hardest part is to stop.

The easiest… not starting at all.

“Drinking alcohol is borrowing happiness from tomorrow”

Matt Mullenweg

The Challenge

Awareness – Take note of the opportunity cost with drinking. Understand what you will be unable to do instead.
Value – Apply intention in weighing the value of your consciousness that you lose while drinking.

Honesty is the true challenge.

Why is it easiest to lie to yourself, when you are the person that knows the truth?

I want the blur. I hate the clarity of the mirror. I don’t value my time. My productivity doesn’t produce anything the world wants. It’s better NOT TO FEEL and keep the past buried. It’s easier to sleep.

I couldn’t be more wrong.

What I know about myself is I find the edge too hard to balance on. One drink is so perpetually powerful, I eventually succumb.

The easiest answer is no, to starting.

Why am I being so hard on myself?

I spend a lot of time looking around myself; at the people I look up to, the people that raised me, and the people I can learn something from. So… basically everyone.

Most of the time, I’m paying attention to myself. What makes me feel good, bad, okay, and not enough.

The times I beat myself up the most are when I’m unproductive, financially irresponsible, and repeating mistakes I’ve already learned from.

When I look at what keeps me on track to being disappointed in myself, it usually involves alcohol.

When I look at accomplished, revered people around the world, many of them abstain from… alcohol.

Decision time

Drink a lot less alcohol.
As in, barely any.
Most of all, to better understand the true cost when I do drink.

Accountability

This audience… YOU are a great start. I really don’t want people pointing out when I’m slipping down the slope again.
So please point and laugh if I do.

Reward

I really Love finances. If anyone wants to talk about money saving techniques, credit cards, savings accounts, trading options, etc… Maybe I’ll just write about it. I’m bound to eventually.

I’m going to reward myself for every time I say no to alcohol.
I set up an easy transfer between a checking account into a savings account at a different bank. Capital One savings, in case anyone is interested.

They’re both interest bearing, but the savings account I specifically chose because I have no physical access to it. I did not link any automatic withdrawals from it. It’s way easier to put money in than it is to take money out. The point being, to mimic the sunk cost of spending money on drinks.

Every time I say no to alcohol, I get to deposit the cost of the said alcohol into my savings account.
Bottle of wine costs $15?
Just made $15 dollars by being disciplined.

I started thinking… imagine if you could get back all of the money you’ve ever spent on alcohol… god damn.

So that’s what I’m doing now. Positive reinforcement.

The easiest thing to forget is to accept being human and forgive mistakes. I’m not saying I’ll never drink again. I’m not demonizing it if I do. Remember, I said I want to understand the cost of doing so. I’m also making it easier and more rewarding to not drink.

What does Alcohol look like in YOUR life?

I’ve heard of dear friends drinking because they’re bored. I’ve heard coworkers say how they realized how much better they feel after NYE if they don’t glorify getting sauced. I have friends running challenges to make March a dry month.

The reality of it is, alcohol is so present in our lives. It’s effects do not have to consume us. The world is such a beautiful place with people like you in it. I would love to see what you’re capable of if you stop letting alcohol hold you back.

Truly, Thank you

For reading my spilled thoughts. You are so significant to me, and to this world. Thank you for being in it.

Thank you for being.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin

“Consider THIS Before Your Next Conversation.”

Total Read Time: 5 Minutes

Have you ever heard about the family that you actually got to choose for yourself? How about that you are the average of the 5 closest people to you? (Tim Ferriss quote… Seems to be a theme in my mentorship). The common denominator is your choice.

It really doesn’t matter where you are in life, what you’re working on, how much you’ve accomplished up until this point, or where you’re headed. The most valuable thing in our lives, is our relationship with the people around us.

Let’s take a bleak turn to drive it home.

On your death bed… Here Andrey goes again… You really get a clear picture of what truly mattered in your life. This is a gratefulness exercise. Imagine someone close to you died yesterday. What would you pay/do for one more day with them? Probably anything. I would pay anything…

This should make most of the so-called “problems” in your life go away instantly. Your relationship with people is above everything else.

Consider THIS before your next conversation.

Your day is built upon choices you make. You employ discipline, you have routines, and you choose the manner in which you conduct your relationships.

Relationships:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Significant other
  • Boss
  • Coworkers
  • Mentor

Every interaction you have can be a withdrawal or a deposit into your ongoing relationship.

Visiting your mom and spending time cooking with her: Deposit.

Visiting your mom and communicating your stresses in life: it may sound like a withdrawal because stress can be vicariously taxing, but I’d bet it’s a deposit in your mom’s eyes.

Visiting your mom and recommending new exercises, yoga, hiking, and general motivation for getting more active: sounds like a deposit because of great intentions, but could be a withdrawal if mom is a human and takes criticism with a grain of salt.

The most immediate use of this logic is at work.

Everyone has difficult coworkers, an unreasonable boss, and unfathomable clients/customers. If you structure your interactions, with positive intention, your days will get better, I promise you.

“This isn’t manipulation, unethical, or deceitful. The key is to care.”

If you struggle to care for someone, realize they are structurally tied to “the mission” and you will lose without their help. If you want a good shift at the restaurant you work at, the bad server needs help with their 3 table section. If they don’t get help from you, they’ll give poor service, bring out food late, force the food to get cold and the table will ask for the food to get remade, that will slow down the kitchen, and then YOUR table’s food will be slow and your table will be upset with YOU. I digress.

Surround yourself with Positivity

My best friend David DM’d me a quote on instagram: “Pay attention to with whom you feel your best.”

I later saw another one of those quotes: “Pay attention to who is happy with you, when you’re winning.”

It’s so environmental. Tying back to one of my earlier articles, The Hands That Hold You Down, your environment is directly responsible for not just holding you accountable, but directly influencing the quality of the decisions you make for the day ahead of you.

It’s quite easy once you do the mental heavy lifting. And that is, Honesty. Once you are honest with yourself and answer the following questions, you can easily delegate your attention toward the positivity in your life.

  • What facet or quality of your life would you like to make more deposits into? (Love, Health, Finance, etc.)
  • When you think of a deposit, what does it look like?
    • Is it more time with a loved one? Is it eating healthier foods? Is it avoiding going out when money can be allocated more prudently?
  • Think about who helps you deposit into those categories and who forces you to withdraw from them.
    • At the same time, think about who gives you negativity when you share your progress and who celebrates with you and supports your successes.

Confronting these people can seem so difficult, but I promise you it’s easier than you think, and quite addicting after you start.

For example, I’ve recognized alcohol as a slippery slope in my life that I needed greater control over. See Andrey’s Alcohol Commandments. I had to take an honest look at my life and recognize who I naturally drank more alcohol with.

“My approach was initially light handed”

I suggested alternative activities like playing frisbee, skateboarding, bike rides. Fortunately for me, some of my friends really enjoy doing those things and it was easy to structure hanging out without alcohol needing to be involved.

After hanging out, I just needed to decline an offer to go to a bar or hangout and have a beer.

However, some of my other friends really don’t do much other than drink. They would ask me to hang out, and I had to say I’m busy. It wasn’t unreasonable, since I work a lot and generally live further away. (It really helps that I work night shifts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and they work a M-F 9-5). Conflicting schedules, busy lives, and if all else fails…
“I’m saving for a wedding.” (Also very true and an incredible motivator).

Prescribe yourself Positivity

I freaking love a conservatory. Plants are beautiful, the buildings are warm and humid, it’s oxygen rich, everyone is in a good mood at a conservatory. I can’t think of a better place to go for positivity than Nature. If it’s cold outside, if you’re in a big city like me, odd’s are there is a conservatory near by that eliminates the cold and the distant forest. The Lincoln Park Conservatory in Chicago is free, and parking is free, so there are really no excuses.

Start a day off with some arugula, sunflower seeds, an apple, some olive oil. Visit a conservatory. Take some photos with your phone of a weird plant or a cool turtle.

“Clear your headspace by flooding it with positivity and displacing anything that’s been holding you back.”

Once you’re in that state of bliss, go through the questions again. It’s uncanny what a new mindset can shed light on.

It will have a domino effect

Surrounding yourself with positive influences and people who celebrate you cascades into every facet of your life. People who you care about, and who care about you give life a new meaning. It gets easier to wake up in the morning. You fall asleep quicker at night. Stress dissipates and so does the blood pressure.

I want everyone to feel significant. If you take the time to filter your life for the things that lift you up, you too will want to give back as much as possible.

Thank you

To the people who help me climb to new heights, you know who you are.

Thank you.

Andrey Starostin

Email
(Yes, I respond and read every one)
Andrey@andreystarostin.com

Instagram
a.o.starostin