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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Fake It Till You Make It

By Richard Cordova III

November 30, 2010

That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

My first two blog entries flowed out of me as easy as wine does among friends on a summer's night. This one, not so much! In my first blog entry I mentioned how it's easier to have that positive attitude when things are going well but that it can be a real challenge when things aren't going so well.

The situation: My boyfriend and I broke up.

I won't go into the details, but I will say that I am angry at how it all went down. I feel disrespected and abandoned. So the challenge, for me anyways, is still honoring and respecting the not-so-positive feelings I have while still moving towards a place of peace with the given situation. Recognizing where those feelings come from is an important part of the process for me too. For instance, this situation makes me feel abandoned because that is the baggage I carry from my own family upbringing. I think we all carry some form of baggage, whether it is from our family upbringing or from previous relationships. It helps me to recognize where the feelings are coming from so then I can act more appropriately. As for feeling disrespected, that is most definitely because of the particulars of how the breakup happened.

Herein lies the challenge. It's easy to just be completely angry because I feel like I have been wronged and act out towards him. However, if I do that, who wins? Not me -- not him -- no one wins!

I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that coming to a place of acceptance and peace with a situation that has made you feel wronged is easy. When I feel angry about something it is a challenge to consistently remind myself in those moments of anger that I need to look towards the positive side of things and also remind myself about the lessons that I am trying to take from the situation. It is easier if I ask myself "OK, what will I do differently next time?" In asking that question I make it less about the other person and more about the changes I want to make for myself. To be clear this isn't about blame either! I refuse to get down on myself for making the choices I have made. We all make choices and some are better than others. All I can do is endeavor to learn from the less-than-stellar choices I make, course correct and move on.

I hope this blog entry makes enough sense to everyone that is reading it. It might be a bit easier to understand if I gave you the details behind the situation but that wouldn't be fair to my ex-boyfriend. Besides, stories are told from the perspective of the teller and like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike!

I'm taking lessons from this situation, that's for sure. I know that in the future I'm going to be more vocal about my needs, especially if they aren't getting met.

For those of you facing a situation that is making you angry, my challenge to you is to find the lesson in the situation. I can assure that it will not be easy and you may have to force yourself to find it. Then when you have those sad or angry thoughts you can acknowledge them and then remind yourself of the more positive view you have chosen to take on the situation.

I know taking the time to write this down has helped me come to a place of peace in my life. Feel free to share your stories with me via email or with everyone via the comments section.

Till next time. Yours in positivity.


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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Tony S (Chicago) Fri., Dec. 3, 2010 at 11:07 am UTC
I'd like to express some things that I've learned with my relationship with my wife. Some of our challenges have been fairly obvious. For example, we were fighting a lot while we kept busy at work and didn't have time to spend with each other. Not surprisingly, the solution...spend more time together.

But while figuring this out we were directed to Tony De Mello. Some of his speaking and writing was very inpsirational and I strongly recommend looking him up ( and specifically articles 9 & 10 ( Your perception is always biased. Accept this bias and use it to your advantage. That is to say acknowledge only you can make yourself mad, sad, happy, etc. It is you and your perception that affects your mood. Concentrate on the now and reality not on what you hope or expect others to be. Also, you can and should depend on others, but do not depend on others for your happiness.

Now I don't mean to pretend to understand your (or anyone's) particular relationship status, but acknowledging and more importantly reminding yourself, that you are the one making yourself upset not other person really helps to focus your energy on yourself and moving your mental state in the right direction.

Good Luck!
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Comment by: Richard Cordova (Chicago) Mon., Dec. 6, 2010 at 10:55 pm UTC
Tony, Thank you for the information. This man's writing rings eerily similar to Landmark Education

I have gone through one of their courses and basically it tells you how everything that happens boils down to

1. What really happened
2. My perception of it

So, that being said. In the case of my boyfriend breaking up with me. I am saying, as a human I experience some very valid real emotions based on my experience of what happened.

However, Landmark Education and it sounds like Tony De Mello would say that all that really happened was a relationship ended and my feelings were just my perception of what happened.

It is our human experience that gives the ability to feel our emotions. I have found through personal experience that these types of personal enlightenment programs only serve to convince people that their own emotions aren't to be trusted. In doing that they create the space in which to pull you in to their way of doing things. It is only when you are talking in their lingo, with others that are also into it, that you even remotely get the "benefit" and I put benefit in quotes for a reason.

I do not find these types of programs based in actual reality. They ask you to disregard your feelings and that in my opinion, is dangerous. Secondly, I feel these types of teachings encourage people to disregard taking responsibility for their own actions. They encourage you to do whatever it is makes you happy in the moment, totally disregarding your own conscience and the affect you have on others around you.

All that being said, if you have found your state of bliss in writings such as Tony's, then I am happy for you. However, after careful evaluation of writings and teachings such as these, I have found that they are not for me.

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Comment by: Tara (Boston MA) Wed., Dec. 1, 2010 at 9:23 am UTC
Beautifully said and I thank you so very much for sharing as I am struggling with very similar emotions. It's been a long, painful path but I am very close to seeing and embracing the positive. Dealing with feelings of abandonment can be quite crippling, especially when you are the one who brought that particular "baggage" into the relationship. It's so tempting (almost instinctual) to lash out at the other person for hurting you, but you're totally right, no one wins. I have to remind myself of this every single day. Anyway,thank you again and please know that your encouraging words have resonated with me at a time when I really needed to hear them. Much love to you.
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Positive Indeed

RRichard Cordova

Richard Cordova

Richard finds a positive attitude and a sense of humor to be two of his most powerful weapons in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Richard is the Director of Athletic Events at TPAN, and teaches Spinning classes at a local gym in Chicago. He also answers questions on's "Ask the Experts" forum on Safe Sex and HIV Prevention.

He enjoys talking about himself in the third person (on occasions like these) and finding new and exciting ways to be healthier physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He has been living with HIV since 2002. Diagnosed with 123 T-cells, he is technically by government standards not HIV positive, but in fact a person living with AIDS. To that he says HA!

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