Dominance in Relationships

1314 Relax and Succeed - Dominance in Relationships
People often want relationships to be equal, but they often work better when they are balanced. ‘Equal’ means that each person has half the responsibility for each thing. And doesn’t just include tasks, these are also approaches to life.

An example of the above would be a naturally unemotional parent is often urged to assume ultimately insincere, unnatural emotions towards their children, all in the name of good parenting equality. Yet many unemotional people, or people on the Autism spectrum, have made wonderful parents by being exactly the way they were. We need to learn to connect with those sorts of people too.

Contrary to ‘equal’ is ‘balanced.’ That means that the relationship is shared around the idea that each person gets to be who they naturally are, without being told to be someone else by their partner. That love is unconditional.

If that wasn’t a possible way to live and love, then people like Stephen Hawking couldn’t have fallen in love, because he certainly wasn’t helping around the house. Then again, because he was Stephen Hawking he was likely able to afford help, but it’s the marriage itself still demonstrates a passion to support another human being in a way that few people can relate to.

I have no doubt his marriages were sincere on both ends, but the fact that they did or could not include certain romantic relationship tropes points to the fact that clearly there are other forms of shared passion that both people find deep value in. What they give each other and the world is very different in the end, and it could be described as unequal, but what matters is if it worked for each of them.

Today we’ve begun to ignore when things aren’t working because our thoughts and ideas have become so predominant that we ignore how life feels. We want things done in the ‘right’ way, and by current standards of thought the ‘right’ way is things divided equally, even if the people involved don’t want it that way or if they don’t think that’s reasonable.

If people are equal then both people have to care which restaurant is chosen, and both have to care about how things are cooked at home etc. etc. But when two people both want to pick the restaurant that can lead to arguments, and the same thing can happen over how to cook in the kitchen.

1314 Relax and Succeed - It is a healthy thing to be ourselves

In an unequal but balanced relationship, a naturally more passive personality can be far more comfortable not deciding where to eat, and they may be far more interested in family happiness than the happiness they get from how a food is cooked. They may simply not care enough about this or that subject to argue over it.

Their passiveness is actually a form of letting-go that is a cooperative, helpful aspect of the relationship, not obsequiousness. Any demands that they be more assertive are stressful, unwelcome and unnatural for them. Can that go too far? Or course. But the approach itself is not an issue. Many couples walk that line to very long and happy marriages.

Just as some are more passive, others are more naturally comfortable leading. Who is who can change from subject to subject, but one person being active and another being passive is not necessarily a problem. That can very well be what is making things work really well.

The point in fairness is not equality, it is respect. It is not about dividing things 50/50. It’s dividing everything up in a way that demonstrates both respect and responsibility for and from each of us. No spouse who ever cared for their loved one with cancer or dementia was in a position where equal made any sense when it came to expressing love. People shouldn’t need a disease to be given that grace by the rest of us.

If some goth couple wants to move in next door, be awesome neighbours and swap traditional gender roles –or even have none at all– that’s great. They’re awesome neighbours. No one should feel the need to talk him out of letting her dominate.

Likewise, if some couple chooses super traditional male-female roles because that’s what they’re more comfortable with, they also shouldn’t be told to change to suit others because others deem that relationship unequal.

Further, if some transsexual or gender-less couple moves in across the street, that too is fine so long as it works for them. No one should pressure anyone to assume identities that don’t feel natural. Each of us knows ourselves better than even our closest friends. We know what works for us.

There is room enough in the world for everyone to be the versions of people they naturally are, including versions that we aren’t comfortable with. It’s not other people’s job to make us feel comfortable. Our discomfort lives between our ears.

Instead of talking to ourselves or others about our judgments about other’s lives, we should be pleased any time we see anyone find a partner (or a life without a partner), that supports them in being who they naturally are.

peace, s

Mountains of Motivation

1237 Relax and Succeed - Success did not give meOur egos have a desire for predictability precisely because they are created by the fixed ways of thinking that we have been subconsciously taught. Any impediment to our original direction is always seen in direct relation to that direction. It might create glee because we compare it favourably to our expectations, or it may create suffering via our unmet expectations.

The funny part about that process is that we have no clue what would really be good for us. Examples of this include things like; a person is dating person A, and then they happily see the appearance of person B as a positive diversion from their wedding plans from person A. The problem is that everyone thinks their marriage will be in the successful 50%, but despite the good feelings in that moment, marrying person B could very easily turn out to be a decision the person would be inclined to regret.

If we can’t know what is ultimately right for us, it seems fair to ask where should we go? But the reason that question seems more complicated than it really is that the common and correct answer is always met with a but….

1237 Relax and Succeed - Decide who you want to become

Those that do pursue their answer by pursuing their passions will then have people say they’re crazy or irresponsible. This applies as much to someone wanting to be a musician as it does to business genius who would rather raise children, or a great athlete he wants to be a carpenter. A job’s status or income does not make being married to someone financially secure and negative better than someone financially limping, but who’s very enjoyable or exciting to be around.

We shouldn’t assume that any emotion is negative, it’s how it’s used in a current context that demonstrates its value. The adrenaline rush of war can lead a former soldier to express rage in inappropriate contexts, but that same adrenaline addiction is what pushed a large group of war veterans to face the repeated attempts necessary to successfully scale Mount Everest. Again, it all depends on how our chemistry is applied.

Some might say that those men would have been better to be home and caring for their families and there’s a very good case to be made for that. Yet, if long term experience in war has tuned a person’s biology towards violence and extreme emotions, isn’t it reasonable that their reaction would not be the same as ours? And for the same reasons, namely our personal life experiences? Some of us will be healthiest knitting. Others will need to jump from airplanes. We should accept these differences.

1237 Relax and Succeed - Life is simply a series

Rather doing what some might, and joining therapy and make the slow biological switch back to different tendencies, does it not make a kind of sense that those former WWI soldiers might choose instead to invest their honestly earned intense temperament in something meaningful to who they were at that time? That they would follow the guidance of their experiences just as we follow ours? After all, there are many young people who should be grateful that a profoundly unprepared or poorly suited parent acted as they did. Desertion can be an extremely loving act.

Other than hurting others–which healthy people feel a natural inclination to avoid–people should feel free to pursue whatever emotions and motivations make sense to them, regardless of whether or not others from other perspectives deem it boring or insane. We all need to find the right context, and we may appear off balance to others, but if our soul feels good about it the results will do remarkable things; like like turn middle-aged angst into a soulful career, or an angry anti-establishment rebellion into something like The Beatles, or maybe even Nirvana.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Understanding Your Raison D’être

1082-relax-and-succeed-we-are-stars-wrapped-in-skinDid you find what and who haunts you yesterday? For some it was easy and for others the specifics of their central truth was difficult to clarify, but almost everyone will have mistaken their gift for a problem.

In theatresports, a form of improv comedy, there is a terrible thing the host can do to a team and it is to leave them in space, with no surfaces for them to push off of to propel themselves. You can’t just put a performer on stage and say slow-motion! or astronaut! or nighttime! because that’s akin to saying be funny.  That is too much to ask of the performer.

You’re a soul. Your identity is the performer. So your identity needs some surfaces to triangulate off of to ensure you are free to go anywhere once you have intention. When we discussed the temari yesterday, we did a meditation designed to get you to find your temari frame; otherwise known as your problem, or… the framework that you push off to get where you’re going.

1082-relax-and-succeed-people-torture-themselvesSomeone who suffers from a mental illness is missing some surfaces and so their movement is limited and they have the potential to leap completely away. And someone with too many surfaces can be spun into meaninglessness by bouncing around inside them incessantly without ever going anywhere. Regardless of how sides we have, we all need somewhere to start. Even if all we’re going to be is in opposition of it, we need something to be in opposition of.

Without comparison we don’t exist. Existence is co-dependent. We had to be someone. Even if we became enlightened and could be a profound version of nobody, the world will make us someone through comparison. That is how egos work. They compare, value and judge. A man gave up everything but love and became Gandhi, and yet he was killed because someone else thought him evil.

Today’s meditation is to meditate on the relationship between your life and your villain. You’re looking for the links. Do not stop looking until you find one that surprises you. Only then are we somewhere new in your mind. Are you like Steve and did you become someone in opposition to someone, or were you inspired by one parent to wrap while the other built your frame? Or…” These last two days are very important. Make sure you do these meditations earnestly. You’ll be the winner.

1082-relax-and-succeed-we-assume-others-show-loveHow the outside world reacts to you during your life is no good sign of whether or not you’re on the right course. If that were true there’d be no Van Gogh’s. People’s reactions come from their identities which are versions of their egos. The only really good indicator is that divine, pure intelligent part of you that is connected to everything. That’s the feeling that caused you to fall in love inexplicably–but you knew. It’s like recognising your own child the first time you see them–but you knew. Well deep deep down, you know yourself like that because deep deep down you deserve love too.

The challenges you faced when you were young are not the harsh cold edges of the bane of your existence, they are the very framework on which the vine of your brilliance can wrap itself as as it grows and expands and flowers.

The frame is the frame and everyone has one. Comparing to see whose is worse is not the point. Discussing them is not the point. Understanding them is not the point. The wrapping of our frame is the point, because once you’re done wrapping your temari, you’ll be left with something beautiful: you. And that is how  the greatest villains in our lives can secretly become our saviours.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

The Performance

1044-relax-and-succeed-half-of-life-is-lost-in-charming-othersMost people believe it all their lives. We think people are being figurative when they tell us that reality happens in our imagination. But we’re not, and until we face that absolute fact (that ties us all together), we will suffer because we will spend all of our time trying to satisfy a bunch of other people’s opinions when that’s impossible because they all see us in their own way.

Instead, our belief is that our reality is formed by society, and the events and practices of our lives. This means we can’t be happy at work because it’s called work and we reserve our happiness for the word play, or leisure, or vacation.

We can even be like that to the point where we can even dislike other people for the fact that they love their job. Or maybe it’s not our work; maybe we believe we can only be happy if we’re with one particular person because the definition of we have of ourselves is as half of a partnership. This of course means that any time we are single we deem ourselves as having failed.

1044-relax-and-succeed-anxiety-is-the-worst-use-of-imaginationOften, we’ll subconsciously let our society tell us what’s good and what’s bad and we live up to it without question. A lot of the time that makes society work better. But sometimes it makes individuals unhealthy.

For the vast majority of us, any unknown food is also an unwanted one. Pregnancy has to be an awful, painful experience you need drugs for. Or if someone in your family is afraid of heights they can teach you to be too. But does it really seem likely that heights themselves are dangerous? Of course not, people stand at the edge of substantial heights all the time.

Could we find people who like unpopular things? Could we find people who love their job? Can we find women who valued pregnancy and went through it without drugs? Due to simply no other choice, that would be more than half the women on Earth, so we can definitely find them. And as noted, there’s no shortage of people walking in places featuring extremely high heights.

Maybe we believe these people are working with more than we are. Maybe we really just aren’t that good. Maybe they are, maybe not. But more importantly, it’s unfortunate that that terrible idea of ourselves is all too believable to many of us.

Our life is not our actions, it is an emotional experience. We list it as things that made us happy and things that made us sad, when really it’s things we allowed ourselves to think gratefully about, versus things that we wished were different. We don’t really need to gain the difference between our ideals and ourselves, we need to lose the desire to do so.

1044-relax-and-succeed-you-were-born-an-originalWe all perform so much of our lives to please others it’s ridiculous. Every life has challenges and it is experience that helps us each find where our line is between things we should accept versus things we should put our energy into changing. But it should be us deciding that.

If we want to change ourselves every time someone else wants us to act this or that way then we’re not even living our own lives, we’re just reading off of a bunch of other people’s unique scripts.

We are better to be ourselves. The people who will respond most positively to it are our people and we don’t need anything to earn their love and support other than to be the people we already are at that time.

That simple focus is much more relaxing than second-guessing ourselves into insanity. If we don’t do that, it leaves us tons of extra energy that we can use to become even better versions of ourselves.

We need to stop wanting life to be different. We need to appreciate how it is. Because the appreciation happens inside our head, meaning the act of appreciation is always within our control. And if you’ve got that, you’ve got happiness no matter where we are.

peace. s

Being Yourself

You need to really take a good hard look at how badly you want to be liked. Because that desire is what traps you in an egotistical state of mind. And it makes you ridiculously weak when that is not your nature. But you don’t act like yourself when you’re worried that you might make some social mistake that will threaten your very inclusion in the loving human family.

543 Relax and Succeed - Too many peopleI’m not saying that you can’t do things so heinous that the vast majority of people won’t turn against you, but those things almost never happen. In the end, what you perceive as some giant mistake on your part is generally just a blip in a day for most other people. But we don’t need to look at big things. We can demonstrate how scared you are using tiny things.

If you’re walking down a street and you’re going to pass another person going the other way, you’ll feel awkward about where to look and most of you will be too nervous to offer any kind of greeting. Did you get that? You’re an adult and you’re scared to say “hi” to people you walk past you on the street. Do you realize how frightened that is?

You won’t vacation where the cultures or languages are too far from your own, if you’re at an event and they request questions, you won’t ask one even if you truly do want to ask. You’ll be instantly nervous entering a room of strangers. You’ll do all of those things based on fears and yet there is no need for any of them. There is no need to tailor your personality (or likes and dislikes) to other people’s tastes. It’s childish. You are you. You have many aspects. But anyone else you try to be will have the tension of trying attached to it. If you simply enact yourself—if you simply be—you will find yourself right where you are and that’s exactly where you belong.

Start defending your life by standing up for yourself. This isn’t to say that it’s other people’s jobs to help you enact the life you want, but at the same time their judgments should not be standing in the way of you becoming the most developed version of yourself. People you care about will absolutely not approve of some of the things you’ll want to do naturally. That’s just part of life. They have their ideas and you have yours. But if they’re upset that’s their issue, not yours. It’s not your job to morph into whatever people need you to be in order for them to be happy. That’s extortion. You simply be yourself, and the people that love the real you will naturally show up. Authenticity is magnetic that way.

543 Relax and Succeed - Don't say maybeYou belong on this planet. Your very existence is all the proof we need that the universe wanted you here. So if you’re going to exist, you might as well maximize that opportunity. Be bold. Go after your dreams. And defend your life. You have a limited number of hours on this Earth to interact with the world. Do so with yourself fully invested in that knowledge—that your very existence is a fluky wonder—and use this magnificent opportunity to become everything that you naturally are, if you’d only take away the fears.

Stop with the fearful thoughts. Stop calculating downsides. Stop worrying. Feel strong. Advance your position. Be bold. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Seriously. It’s a choice. You make it moment by moment. Start living those moments with the firm knowledge that you are an amazing, worthwhile, intentionally created being with capabilities and talents that are valuable and some are even enjoyable. That’s truly you. So start living like that’s true because it absolutely is.

peace. s

Think For Yourself

It’s a long weekend here in Canada. I like to use those days to bring some attention to a previous blog that, due to the day it was posted, didn’t get the attention it deserved. Today is just such a blog about confidence, opinion and individuality. Enjoy.

Other Perspectives #14

372 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - Nothing hurts more

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.