Feb 18, 2013

How I Came To Be A Relationship Coach

The Three Moments That Changed My Life

If this is your first time on my site then an introduction is in order.

My name is Jordan Gray.

Instead of rattling off a bunch of facts and figures from my life, I will share the three defining moments from my life that I feel most made me who I am today.

1. A Kind Of Death Sentence

I’m twelve years old and eavesdropping on my parents dinner party from the safety of our kitchen.  My parents are clinking glasses with some of their best adult friends and I listen intently to hear what they have to say as they enumerate the goings-on of their respective children’s lives.

Joseph is getting into this school.  Lauren made that sports team.  They can’t believe that Liz is already driving.

Then my name comes up and my ears perk up even higher than they had been previously… ready to soak up any relevant information about how my life could be summarized into two minutes of conversation.

To my surprise (and to be honest, disappointment), there was hardly anything of note in my brief life re-cap.  I’m doing well enough in school, still taking a liking in my arts classes, and hanging out with friends a lot.  I don’t know what I was expecting to come out of the conversation, but in that moment I felt painfully insignificant compared to the rapid-fire pacing and merriment that had surrounded the discussion of my older siblings.

And then it happened.

The soundbite of conversation that shifted my mind forever and put the fear of god into my heart.

“He does worry a lot though. He keeps stressing out about what he’s going to do with his life and he wishes he had more direction.”

“What!? He’s only twelve!  He shouldn’t be worrying about that yet!”

“That’s what we keep telling him.”

“He’ll be fine.  People like him… he has lots of friends.  Worst case scenario, he can always become a real estate agent.”

It was this last sentence that felt like an utter death sentence to me.  Time seemed to crawl to a halt as I had heard these words.  My heart stopped beating and my brain went numb.

Would that be what my life would be reduced to?  Back up plan after back up plan of settling?  A plan B and C for every best laid plan that went astray?

I can’t fully describe the terror I felt in that moment, but it was then that I decided to stop living by other people’s standards, and to start carving my own path.  I would be dead broke and happy with my life, before I ever took a job that paid well and made me eternally miserable.

2. Being Bitch-Slapped By My Ego

Fast forward to almost a decade later.  I won’t go in to too much detail, but let’s just say that I had some painfully awkward years of physical growth, dated a few girls through high school, and in the present day time of this story, I was dating my dream girl for the first time in my life.

She was smart, beautiful, witty, and gave me just the right amount of shit that I found it charming.  I was a passive, manipulative, doormat that barely deserved her.  We were like magnetic kryptonite – attracting each other in the way only a hormone-driven passionate stupor can provide, while our respective emotional weaknesses kept us clinging on for longer than we should have been together.

Up until this point in my life, I had always dated girls that I felt were relatively safe.  I felt that I had had the upper hand most of the time and it was comfortable.  She, however, was not safe.  She was a wild hurricane of brilliant feminine energy that scared the shit out of me.  And the side of me that was attracted to gaining a sense of significance through my relationship, thrived off of the emotional roller coaster that I gained from being with her.

After a seriously strained year of dating that ended with the emotional momentum crawling to a stand still, she dumped me.  Hard.  Like unexpected piano over your head kind of hard.

To her credit, she listed off my personality traits that she found unattractive and (seemingly from a place of caring) took my massively distorted view of our relationship to the cleaners.

I felt gutted.  I was miserable.  I felt angry at myself for letting it get to this place.  Everything she said was absolutely true, and although it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, ultimately, it was what I needed to hear.

But I didn’t know it yet.

I had spent our entire relationship in the disillusion that everything was fine and we were emotionally healthy for each other.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  But I didn’t want to see it.

Now that it was being force fed to me as she left my car and the tears started to stream down my face, I made a resolution to myself that I would never feel like this again.

And for the next three years I emotionally re-coiled.

It was around this time that I dove into studying attraction and self-improvement full time.  I figured if I can make a really convincing social mask to hide my sensitive self inside, I would never have to feel emotional pain again.  I couldn’t have been more wrong, but it would take another four years until I truly learned that lesson.

So I set down the path of building a new personality.  This version of Jordan was extra-charming, a bit of a ball-buster, and had a mysterious pain within his eyes that only certain women could see (the women that I stayed away from).

I wanted as much attention and validation as I could soak up, but I didn’t want people every truly seeing into me.  I was made of mirror glass.  And I was just as breakable.

Patterns in my life started shifting.  I started to date a LOT.  Too much in fact.  I had very little regard for the human being across from me.  All I cared about what that I was racking up my score card and had some new text messages to brag about.  My close friends that I had known for years were telling me that their friends thought I was a bit of an asshole when we met at that house party.  I pushed those who were closest to me away so they couldn’t see the hollow shell that I was becoming.

I even became a professional dating coach and taught men how to get in to surface level relationships with ease.  I was emotionally closed, suffering, and passing on my personal brand of shallowness with a forced enthusiasm that ate away at my soul.  As is often the case in these types of stories, the mental breakdown followed soon after.

3. And It All Falls Down

Call it a quarter-life crisis, or a breakdown, or a spiritual awakening, whatever it was, it felt like a mentally foggy hell on earth.  Over the course of the previous three years up until this point, I had gone further and further down a path that wasn’t mine.  Within the span of 48 hours I left my soul-destroying job, ended a long-term relationship that made me feel massively incongruent, pruned my social garden, and gave away 95% of the material possessions that I owned in the world.

My mind was beyond hazy.  I felt like I was on a roller coaster that I couldn’t get off of and my decision-making ability was completely shot.  It took me more mental energy than I had to get out of my bed to go for a walk.  I started seeing a therapist and was prescribed medicine that I never used.

My cell phone went from 20-30 messages and phone calls per day, to essentially zero.  My entire life was a gaping void and I was terrified.

In my logical mind, or what fraction I had left of it at this given time, I knew that all of these things were positive steps.  You have to stop chasing the wrong things to let the right things catch up with you.

Instead of skirting the issue of dealing with my emotions, I decided to face them head on for the first time in my life.  I had to go through it, instead of around it.  I knew it would be messy, but it would be worth it.

I cleaned up my act, reached out for support from the friends and family members that I still trusted to handle me in my vulnerable state.  I felt bent, but not broken.  I knew that there was no way I could get through this massive shift in my life without a few pairs of helping hands.

Over the next year I picked up the pieces one by one.   I took a break from serial dating, surrounded myself with positive role models, and did my internal homework.  It was through this year of suffering that I found my life’s purpose.  To deconstruct the layers of falseness, live and love from a place from authenticity, and to empower others to do the same.

The End of The Beginning

There is a theory that has recently come out of the positive psychology movement stating that a person can’t truly be emotionally durable without having faced hardships.  Having had many guys that I’ve worked with that were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, and sometimes feeling like I was born on the cusp of that same precipice, I can definitely vouch for this.  If you are told you are an amazing human being just as you are from the time you are born, and never have to work through anything difficult, you will live your life as an emotional adolescent.  Where one man would let his recent firing roll off his shoulders, it would absolutely crush someone else who had never faced adversity in their lives.

Whatever you have gone through in your life (hiring and firing, new girlfriends and break ups, challenges and victories) it is all valid and has made you who you are today.

All of the challenges in my life have only made me stronger and I am grateful for every single one of them.  If there’s one thing you can take from this post, it’s to love who you are, AND who you have been.  Too many men have shame, guilt, and resentment towards their past.  They are constantly skating on the thin ice of their egos, hoping that the cracks won’t take any effect.

Accept and be proud of your past, no matter how awful it may have seemed, because it has undoubtedly made you a stronger man.

It took me years of suffering to get to this place in my life, and as I shed layers of emotional baggage, I am fortunate enough to be able to give back in the process.

The fact that I can continue to be a big splash in the ocean of knowledge when it comes to helping men emotionally mature, and get into deeply fulfilling intimate relationships, via my online and offline practice as a relationship coach, allows me to end each day with a huge smile on my face.

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