Other Perspectives #90

811 OP Relax and Succeed - Mom what is marriageThis is funny. In my experience thus far, the vast majority of men get left for the same reason every time. Same with the ladies. The guys tend to be emotionally inattentive and they keep calling their decisions the couple’s decisions. The ladies get it wrong when they do what this quote suggests: when they assume that their way of doing things is the correct way and that their spouse’s way is stupid, as opposed to just being another way of approaching something. Both the inattentiveness of the men and the certainty of the women lead to them usually being completely blindsided when their spouses leave them. Speak respectfully of those you love. Because you could flip this quote around to read, Dad, what is marriage? It’s a fancy word for having to put up with a bossy arrogant person who will constantly try to treat you like a child. Doesn’t sound nice, does it? Respect. If you’re going to be in a relationship with someone then make sure your commitment to love them is a verb that you practice daily and not just something you claim out of obligation or habit. Because whether they’re talking to other people or talking to their spouse, healthy people in healthy marriages talk about their partner’s qualities a lot more than the challenges they present.

peace, s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Other Perspectives #34

492HR Sat1 Relax and Succeed - Your value doesn't decreaseAnd we will end my little break with a re-post of the first-ever Other Perspectives. In fact, the little jpeg that’s in the original blog went viral off an old page I used to run for Relax and Succeed and, in a way, it spawned the idea of The Friday Dose. And I’m glad it was popular, because I don’t want girls thinking of themselves as needing a guy to provide validation of their value. That value is inherent in our existence. We are all equal actors, all able to play infinite parts. Our life is our stage. This blog reminds you that the stronger roles are generally easier and more fun. Enjoy:

Other Perspectives #32

480 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - It is not only necessary to love

Okay I can go with this quote provided the definition of “say so” is broad enough. As Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages rightfully points out, love can be communicated through words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, gifts, or quality time. You can’t ask your partner to have a different history and to have become a different person just because you’re dating them. That’s fatally immature. Your job in life is simply to appreciate. So rather than tell your partner how to show you love in a way that is unnatural for them, make it a part of your nature to expand to the point where you can come to appreciate the treasures contained in their form of delivering love. Don’t wait in expectation of getting something you fantasized about, instead be aware and anticipate the surprises that will emerge out of their demonstrations of love. Either way, in the end love is love, and we’ll always recognize it if our minds and hearts are open.

peace. s

Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous and—while I intend no offense to their creators—I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.

 

Soul Mate School

Every time I see my ex my gut gets heavy and it hurts to even look at her. She says she doesn’t want me in her life anymore but she says the love is not dead. But she’s
with another guy. Should I just stay away? Am I just being a jealous ex?

signed,
Broken Up

Dear Broken,

I’ll assume by your phrasing that you’re the one that got left, and the fact that it hurts indicates that this wasn’t the direction you wanted things to go. First off, don’t feel alone. Keep in mind I and almost everyone else you meet will have experienced those feelings. In fact very few 314 Relax and Succeed - The wound is the placepeople who live on this Earth won’t experience them. It’s ultimately extremely human. It would be a shame to live and miss out on feeling it at least once. Without knowledge of it there would be so many other moments that would lose their poignancy.

The reason we know the feeling is that we did the same things you did. Or some variation of them. When people “are together” whether that’s dating or a marriage, there’s a sense that because it’s named that it’s over. That it’s happened in the past tense, as though it was a one-time decision, rather than the truth—which is that it is re-decided over and over and over after each experience, throughout the relationship. Most of us forget that is happening and we slip into a lull where we start to behave unconsciously—where we genuinely lose track of the fact that the decisions we make each day are, in a way, made for more than just us.

This blindness can conceal a lot. Even the cheating spouse isn’t thinking that their point is to ruin their marriage. That’s why they’re sneaking around. They don’t want to ruin the good parts of their relationship. They want to replace or shore-up what they perceive as the bad parts. Or maybe they just want some compliments or to have sex. Do you see how they might tip towards people who are offering one or both? They aren’t thinking about the pain their 314 Relax and Succeed - Sometimes it takes a painfulspouse would feel—in almost every case that’s precisely why they’re keeping it a secret. They don’t want their loved one to experience the pain, but they also don’t want important aspects of themselves to go un-lived or that’s just another kind of pain.

Love is a complicated business once we get words and definitions involved. Without the words and definitions love is left to be a verb, either expressed or suppressed. It does not have a history or a future, real love—the act of love—happens in-the-moment. So if you’re with your partner and you feel close feelings, you will act in a close manner. If your thoughts are elsewhere, on other “priorities” then you will feel those thoughts and in the meantime your relationship will idle from your lack of attention, even though it may have your physical presence. But it is important to remember that your partner is also a thinking being, so as your thoughts are about other things, their thoughts begin to be about other things too. And that is where the distance can start.

You say that your ex says that she still feels that love for you exists but that she wants space from you. Can you understand that just as the breakup is hard for you, that it is hard for her too? I know she initiated it on an official basis, but she may very well feel that you initiated it by having your thoughts focused too-much on subjects other than her. Maybe those thoughts were lazy and easy, like you were focused on the playoffs of a sport or on some important work event or life event like an important new promotion or a wedding or even a death in your family. Our reasons for being distracted can vary, but the distraction is equally innocent, regardless.

Don’t beat yourself up for those distractions—just try to be more aware in the future. And don’t resent her decision—it would have been hard for her too. But know that your thoughts about her are currently a tangled mess of would-be, could-be dead-end thoughts that never lead you to anywhere good. That’s what her thoughts were like before she left you. And just 314 Relax and Succeed - Far too many peoplelike it did for her, eventually your spirit realizes that these thoughts are fruitless, and you begin to naturally abandon them in favour of other more productive thoughts. Over time you replace thoughts of her or your failures with thoughts of other people and the fun you’re having, and just like every other human, your natural resiliency leads you back to health. In the end we don’t so much find our soulmate, it’s more that each relationship teaches us how to be a soulmate for whoever we’re dating.

Yes being left hurts, just as becoming someone who leaves is a painful experience too. The only thing that makes these painful thoughts “go away” is to replace them with other thoughts. She’s done it with someone else (which is why that’s often referred to as “rebound”), but you will have to do this very consciously at the start. Maybe you’ll use a person. Maybe it’ll be an activity or interest. But your naturally healthy mind will find something to focus on and your innate health will emerge as a result. So the only thing you can do it accelerate that process a bit is by really looking for things to invest yourself in. Then when you bounce back to painful thoughts about your ex, know that you can bounce right back to thoughts about something else.

I feel for you. It’s easy to remember the sort of feelings associated with heartbreak. It’s a painful thing to think we’ve let down someone we care about. But it’s not like that was your intention, so you should be forgiving of yourself. Invest your consciousness wisely going forward. Be very intentional about your thinking and your life will reflect those choices.

All the best.

peace and a hug. s

Sad Friends

There are many ways to Be in life. I don’t like to number things, but there’s not a lot of ways. At least not in general. Less than 20 for sure. We’re all little pattern machines that either go right or left at this or that stimuli. That’s why you can meet your friend’s new boyfriend at a party and you already know his “type.” People are psycho-logical. And without even realizing it, 160 Relax and Succeed - The only way to have a friendyou’re pattern-matching him to other people who’ve given you similar cues.

At its worst, this assumptive calculating is what ruins the world. But in daily practice we need it to function, and if you have a particularly quiet, truly open mind, it’s also correct the vast majority of the time.

No pattern is any better or worse than any other. They all have advantages, and disadvantages. But one pattern everyone will easily recognize is the woe-is-me “friend.” Everyone has these people in their lives. If you feel you don’t, then maybe it’s you. You don’t have to guess though. You can always test yourself to see if you meet that definition or not.

The woe-is-me friend rarely talks philosophically about life itself, and they rarely ask about yours. They mostly want to list their miseries to you. And they don’t want to tell you about how they overcame anything, or how they learned from the experience. They just want to make sure they detail their suffering to a few people before chalking it up under the “I knew it,” section of their lifebook.

It’s not that we don’t love these friends. We do. In fact, maybe more than most. They’re certainly more demanding of us than other friends. But we know they’re good people just like anyone else. And we’re not adverse to hanging around with them. The problem is, they never want to hang around. Go figure that they’re depressed. They turn down every invitation to fun they’re given. And then they say they’re left out.

160 Relax and Succeed - Keep doing what you're doingThe truth is, they are addicted to the chemistry of pity. They live their life in such a way as to ensure that they will receive regular doses of it. But pity isn’t a fun emotion. And friendship is about fun. Friends aren’t friends because they have to be, or because they should be. They’re friends because they want to be. So if you feel you have no friends, you should ask yourself, “Am I friendly?”

If you never do anything fun…. If you don’t interact with the world and allow it to inform and shape you into your own unique person, then you will have very little to share with others. And you don’t want their time with you to be taxing. You want it to be rewarding. But to do that it has to be: a) actually happening, b) voluntary, and c) engaging. Friends are friends by choice. It’s a selfish act at its best. Each person is focused on appreciating what they receive from the other.

If you’re always just wanting, your life will feel small and painful regardless of your external circumstances. However, if you feel rich enough to be generous and share with others, and if you appreciate the qualities in others, then you will be attracting those same qualities in the people around you.

Do not hide yourself away. Not with physical space, your clothing, your hair, or your silence. Be yourself. Be open. Be compassionate. Be loving. Be active. Be fun. Do those things and the appropriate friendships will find their way to you. It’s that easy.

peace. s