Now that the spotlight on our love relationships (or their absence) has passed for another year, it seems a good time to think about ways in which we can spend the next 365 days so that our relationship satisfaction is improved by the time Cupid next comes around, wielding his lethal crossbow.
Apply the practices and attract more love into your life!
GRATITUDE: Be grateful and express gratitude, real time
Appreciation helps focus attention on the positive. By focussing on the positive, we are able to see more of it. Turning our attention away from our problems, we begin to feel happier. Happy people are not always grateful, grateful people are both happy and able to maintain that happiness in tough times. Happy people are magnetic.
Being appreciated feels good. People tend to gravitate to those who make them feel good about themselves. Being appreciative, and happy is one of the simplest ways to attract people into one’s life.
Already in a relationship? Appreciation, as we know, is one of the long term predictors of relationship success. A couple that regularly appreciates one another is more likely to survive the knocks and twists of life.
Begin with a gratitude journal. Start noticing all the things that people in your life do to enrich your world. Appreciate them. Be as specific as possible about what it is that enriches your life and why it matters to you. Do this also with new people and strangers. Begin to see if, instead of waiting to journal your appreciation, you can notice and appreciate strangers in the moment.
And once you are able to appreciate strangers in real time, take a risk. Write a letter to someone dear, reflecting not only on what they have done for you today, but throughout your relationship and what it meant to you to be on the receiving end of their kindness. Read them the letter, face to face and give it some space to sink in. It is likely that afterwards, there will be a shift in the relationship and it will be easier to feel and express appreciation, in real time, for the small things as well as the big moments in life.
JOY: Spend Time Doing Things You Love
We know that happy people are magnetic. Doing what we love makes us happy. If you love windsurfing, take lessons. If music is your passion, go to concerts, sing in a choir or take a course at the community college. Set aside some time every week to take yourself on a journey into what makes your heart sing. It may be browsing in the bookstore, or listening to an author read from a new book. Whatever it is that floats your boat, do it!
And, while you are becoming a fabulous love magnet, you just might meet some new people who share your passions. Every new person you bring into your life brings a network with them. You never know who you might meet!
ONENESS (1): Make Connection
Loneliness is not only the result feeling disconnected and unloved, it is also the result of feeling there is nobody to love. Making connections and building a community provides a sense of belonging, which is an essential ingredient for happiness. (And happiness is a love magnet, remember!) By becoming involved and engaged with a group of people provides us with a group with whom we can develop bonds of caring, affection and love. The greatest feelings of love are not experienced second hand by being loved by another, but by having a heart full to bursting, for others.
Join a club, a class, a spiritual group. Engage with activists in the community on issues that matter to you. Listen to friends, rather than waiting to talk. Ask questions of others and be curious. Whether in a relationship or single, keeping connections strong and creating new ones is an important part of building support networks and resource for bad times, as well as the good.
ONENESS (2): Spend Time Alone
The most attractive person in a room is the one who does not need the company, but chooses to be there. Unless we are good company for ourselves, how can we hope to be good company for others? If you find yourself feeling bored, alone, it may be because your life is boring. Spice it up! Become a more interesting person: read books, travel to a new part of the city, learn a new skill, watch Ted Talks, do yoga, meditate, draw, take photographs or walk in nature and try to identify the different plant varieties you see. Do something fun, but most of all, get acquainted with yourself, and become the interesting person with whom you’d like to spend time.
If already in a relationship, time alone is essential to keeping separate identities and keeping the relationship fresh, as well as growing as an individual.
SERVICE: Do Things For Others
Aside from the confidence of being not only comfortable but delighted with one’s own company, the only thing sexier and more attractive to others is kindness. Kindness and altruism make others feel better, and by acting from a sense of kindness and purpose, we feel good as well. Through the phenomena of emotional contagion, the whole community becomes a happier place. Being the source of good vibes makes one charismatically attractive.
Volunteer with an organisation or organise the community towards a goal. Aside from doing good and feeling good, more connections with like minded people will be made. If you’re single, your future partner may be in that crowd, and if you are in a relationship, taking on a volunteer role outside of the relationship helps maintain individuality and take the pressure off of the relationship. We know that nobody can meet all of our needs. Working together for a cause can be a bonding experience, but it can also provide the space for the two partners to pursue their own passions, independently.
MEANING: Make Peace With The Past
We all have a past. Some of it was wonderful and some was not. We all had hurt, betrayal and abandonment at some point in our history. This is the hand we were dealt. It is up to us now to determine how we play it. There is little that is more unattractive in a person than bitterness and resentment. The choice is ours: get better or grow bitter. The latter is a recipe for a life of loneliness or a miserable match with an equally bitter person.
We must be vulnerable enough to go into those hurt places and heal them. We must admit what hurts, why it hurts, and accept any responsibility we may have had, while forgiving others for hurting us. Only then, having processed and healed our hurt, can we be free.
A word on forgiveness: to exercise compassion and understand that everyone is susceptible to hurt and trauma which can lead to bad behaviour or to understand that a mental illness caused bad behaviour does not mean that the bad behaviour is acceptable. We can understand the other person, understand how they came to a place where they could hurt us so badly and we can even forgive them for their behaviour. But the behaviour can remain wrong and punishable.
Holding on to our anger, bitterness and resentment does not give us justice. It robs us of our joy. Justice may or may not be served upon the person who wronged us, but what an injustice we do ourselves to let the past rob us of any more of our present or our future.
This can be a difficult – perhaps Herculean task – to undertake alone. Seek out spiritual counsellors, friends, uplifting texts on forgiveness, a doctor or a therapist. Making peace with the past, and finding the transcendent meaning in our suffering, empowers us to move forward.
To attract more love into our lives, it really is that simple: First we must be willing to demonstrate love to others. Making peace with our past, we can be vulnerable enough to admit how much our loved ones mean to us. They are not our all and our everything, for we have a full life filled with purpose, connection, self assuredness and passion.
We attract love by being love.
We continue our series on individuals making a difference in the world, with the skills they possess. As a Valentine’s Day special, we feature LA based street artist WRDSMTH.
Each day, WRDSMTH touches hearts around the world with a new WRD – spray painted images of a vintage typewriter, topped with his messages of motivation, love and humour. WRDSMTH mixes a sense of nostalgia with pop culture in his art and for a world lost in the complexity of the “extreme present,” his WRDs evoke a simpler time – perhaps imagined – when we were all a little kinder to ourselves and one another, and when love was a committment for life.
Every piece, in its own way, feels like a love letter, sent out to the world, from the artist.
WRDSMTH calls his WRDs “indelible messages” which he “tattoos on walls” in cities around the world. WRDs can be found in Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego, West Palm Beach, London, Paris, Edinburgh, and Melbourne. His art is best experienced in its public context where its position in the surrounding environment adds another layer of meaning. However, for those unable to see it in situ, clever use of social media enables worldwide followers to participate in the daily experience, with photographs of his work appearing on his Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts.
Hoping to achieve a modest following of 500-1,000 followers, WRDSMTH currently has over 75,000 followers on Instagram and the number continues to grow, daily.
We emailed WRDSMTH in LA, to ask him a little more about his work and his motivations for being a force for positive messaging in the world.
TTDOG: In a recent article you were quoted as saying: The aim of art is “to inspire, entertain, or woo other individuals” Are you trying to woo us, Mr. WRDSMTH? As my father would say: What are your intentions for us?
WRDSMTH: No and yes. I recently used the word woo mainly to refer to the romantic WRDs I put up all over the world, as opposed to the motivational ones which inspire and the funny ones which I hope entertain. However, yes, I am trying woo people with my words. My intention is to affect. Period.
I hope my work makes people ponder, smile, and maybe laugh. The notion that people turn a corner and see a piece of mine or are driving by one and my WRDs affect them in a positive manner, makes me happy and, in turn, adds fuel to the creative fire. If a percentage of those people notice the name attached to my pieces and at some juncture look me up, fall into the rabbit hole that is the my body of work, and possibly become followers/fans, then my wooing was successful.
TTDOG: Why do you think positive WRDs from an anonymous stranger are so important to people and why is that craving so universal?
WRDSMTH: When I began WRDSMTHing, I just felt that this city (L.A.) and the world needed some positivity. I think it’s easy in this day and age to feel negative toward current events, politics, and even most of what’s deemed entertainment these days. I shy away from those heavily debated topics and instead choose to focus on the individual – the person that happens upon my WRDs – and, again, I aim to affect them in a positive manner.
And even though my messages reach a wide audience, I think people find the words compelling because of that one-on-one experience. I often am told people feel like my WRDs are speaking directly to them, which is a huge compliment, in my book. And the mystery of who is putting all these WRDs all over the world definitely works in my favor, which is a big reason why I retain my anonymity.
Born in Ohio, WRDSMTH moved to Chicago, where he crafted words into slogans designed to sell dreams through consumption. Realising that time waits for no one, he risked all to chase his own dream of being a writer and moved to Los Angeles. Following a very successful run, in 2013, he again turned his craft to selling a dream, with his WRDs. This time, it was the most cherished but often abandoned dream – fulfillment.
Despite his startlingly rapid rise as an international street Artist, WRDSMTH remains dedicated to his first passion: writing. He writes, every day. For solitary people of letters, his WRDs offer not only a dose of motivation but a sense of community.
TTDOG: One of your most famous WRDs says: “Aspire to Inspire Others and the Universe Will Take Note.” In what way do you feel the universe has taken note – for yourself as well as for those who have been inspired by you?
WRDSMTH: ‘Aspire’ has definitely become a mantra for WRDSMTH, but that’s because those words are so in line with what I aim to do and aimed to do from the get-go. I began this endeavor speaking to all the creative individuals doing time in Hollywood. However, I quickly realized it wasn’t just about those doing time here, but those doing time everywhere. Everyone has a dream – whether it be a creative one, a productive one or a romantic one.
We all aim to inspire others and if that intent is truly altruistic, I firmly believe the universe will take note. And hopefully good karma ensues. My success has been unexpected. I actually started WRDSMTHing for me because I needed an active hobby. The fact that my WRDs are resonating with so many is thrilling on a daily basis, which is why ‘Aspire’ is a mantra. The messages I get from fans and followers are amazing and are always welcome. I love hearing how I have inspired and motivated others. I also love hearing how my romantic WRDs have helped bring people together.
In a city and in an era where ‘authenticity’ is simply an attribute for branding, the nostalgic warmth and sometimes gut wrenching honesty of his art hints at the character of the man behind the WRDs.
TTDOG: Is the open hearted, playful, and vulnerable quality of your WRDs an extension of your professional writing, or is the anonymous WRDSMTH an alter ego that doesn’t get space for expression in your other writing? Why put yourself at risk, in a renegade medium? What impact does the medium and your anonymity have on what you communicate?
WRDSMTH: Both. I think the most compelling stories in any medium are open-hearted, amusing, and vulnerable. At least my favorite novels, movies, TV shows, and music have those characteristics. My professional work includes novels and screenplays and I follow that path, along with a strong belief that “less is more” in all my writing. WRDSMTH is such a merger of worlds for me. I used to work as a copywriter in advertising, so I think I understand how to be effective and affect with as few words as possible. However, WRDSMTH is not like advertising in that I have the creative freedom to say what I want with no agenda or boundaries. That is refreshing and addictive. As far as the risk in a renegade medium . . . isn’t that a vital ingredient in most success stories?
While affirmation is a great drug, I was not seeking it when I started WRDSMTHing and I always say I’d still be doing what I do even if I only had 500 followers. I will always say what I want to say and will always express myself in a myriad of personal and vulnerable ways because that’s what writers do. Hemingway once said “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” I love that. Another mantra of mine that I penned is, “Do it for yourself and hope that what you do resonates with others.” I guess where Hemingway and WRDSMTH intersect is where my WRDs are born. The medium of street art seems to add a level of cool to my words.
The action of putting pieces up at all hours of the night while dancing a line of legality romanticizes the words to a great degree. There’s a difference between potentially reading “You got this. You know you do.” on a motivational poster or “You are amazing. You deserve amazing.” in a greeting card, versus seeing those words on a wall on the corner of Sunset and LaBrea. And the action of taking a picture of those pieces and Instagramming them or sending them to a loved one is more meaningful in this day and age of texting and social media. However, while I am aware of all this, it doesn’t change or alter what I put out there. My WRDs come from my life and my experiences, not from the expectation or hope that they will be Instagrammed or forwarded.
Specific laws, enforcement and penalties for street art vary from city to city and from country to country. In some cases, artwork is specifically commissioned or ‘permissioned.’ WRDSMTH’s installation at SYNDCTD creative agency in LA, and in Lululemon’s shop windows are recent examples of such work. Without such permissions, the question of legality is always a concern for artists painting in public spaces.
While second guessing what the law would consider ‘acceptable placement’ for his street art, WRDSMTH has stated that he never paints on private property in order to have his WRDs seen. Sensing what he terms a renaissance occurring in street art in Los Angeles, he points to promising changes on the horizon. Some city council members have begun to work with street artists to attempt to provision public spaces for art, as part of urban rejuvenation and beautification.
Not to detract from the LA cool of WRDSMTH, the street artist, his midwestern kindness goes beyond messages of love, humour and inspiration. A proponent of the Pay it Forward philosophy, WRDSMTH gives of his time and notes that most of his sales have some component of charitable giving attached to them. In 2015, he gave time and artwork to several causes including after school programs for LA children, local youth centres, the city’s homeless and for breast cancer research.
TTDOG: You help and inspire many people. Who has helped and inspired you, along the way? Who helps you these days, and what inspires you to stay positive and keep going, even on those days when things look bleak?
WRDSMTH: I am inspired by a lot of things: Friends. Family. Love. Music. Sunsets. Sunrises. Wanderlust. A really great burger. Cookies and mint chocolate chip ice cream. Honesty. Laughter. Great conversation. Really good wine. Art in all its forms.
Someone once said, “Life is a struggle. But every now and then, we stumble upon something magical and it just makes everything all right.” My list includes things I often stumble upon – and they just make everything all right for me. Maybe for some, my art is something stumbled upon. At least I hope it is. And I stay positive by immersing myself in the things I love, by surrounding myself with people who challenge me, and by finding the good hidden in all the bleak on this big blue marble we are spinning on.
TTDOG: Many people want to make the world a better place but feel that they alone can’t make a difference or that they don’t have the skills, talent or opportunity. What would you say to them?
WRDSMTH: Find a way. There’s always a way.
TTDOG: What do you wish people would ask you about yourself or your work, but never do?
WRDSMTH: I like when people ask me my name instead of calling me Word or Mister Smith. I enjoy when fans inquire about my other writing. I like when they ask about my muse(s). I love when they ask if they can buy me a drink. I’d like more single girls to ask if I am single. I also wish people would ask me what my favorite palindrome is. The answer: racecar.
Heads up, ladies: WRDSMTH is single!
As is our practice at TTDOG, there is one final question for the artist:
For what are you most grateful and where do you find your greatest joy?
I am most grateful for my life – the amazing and baffling opportunity to spend some decades living and making a mark in the world. And my greatest joy is knowing that my work, words, and WRDs are reaching and affecting people all over the world.
WRDSMTH’s original artworks have been sold at Julien’s Auctions, Art Share-LA, In Heroes We Trust, Q Art Gallery, The Gabba Gallery, Stone Malone Gallery, and LabArt. He currently has prints, photos and wearable art for sale at Paper and Fabric.