Insecure Relationships

Winner: 2016’s Blog of the Year #3

900 Relax and Succeed - Being possessive about a personWhen I was a teenager I had the same girlfriend for five years. For four and half of those years–as amazing as it sounds–we quite literally didn’t have a single argument. I had this clarity that everyone else thought was weirdness and she had a humility that made her look like the sanest person on Earth to me. That was a long time ago and we’re still best friends today.

I said four and a half of five years because the last six months of that I went through a growth spurt that made my legs ache horribly every night, I got little sleep, and because I didn’t know about testosterone at the time I would seemingly get mad at nothing. I’d never had it happen before. I could track where my emotions came from, but here were some that were simply part of being human. I had to ride them like a cowboy in a rodeo and it taught me to feel sympathetic about the hormone cycles women experience every month.

This all lead to about a year of feeling very suspicious and angry. For the first time in my life I was jealous. I could meditate on my anger and disassemble it after the fact, but I had very little control when it came to my immediate reaction. I did not like it at all. Fortunately the best friend was smart enough to leave and I worked hard to better myself and eventually that cloak of frustrated energy naturally lifted and we reconnected. It was a big relief. Jealousy or insecurity in a relationship is one of the most damaging forces you can encounter.

900 Relax and Succeed - Marriage won't stop a cheaterThere is no way for the other person to win with a suspicious mind. The suspicious mind will have reasoning behind it how it feels. Maybe they saw one parent cheat on the other and they blame that for the ruin of the other parent, so they’re watching closely to ensure it doesn’t happen to them. They idea is that they will be able to self-validate the reasoning, but that doesn’t mean a lack of trust is helpful to any relationship.

If you don’t have trust that can be for good reasons or less productive ones. But even if you have good reasons, no trust is essentially no relationship. Unhealthy people are held together by obligations and even threats, whereas the healthy kind of human relationship is one that’s naturally attractive, magnetic and safe.

We’re not complicated creatures. We go where we thrive. If we don’t go where we thrive, we wilt. A relationship is not something you can protect, it is only something you can reinforce with love and positive feelings. They aren’t about keeping other people out, they’re near-constant invitations to be in.

900 Relax and Succeed - If you love a flowerLook at your life. Do people do things for you because they love you or because they feel they have to? Because if you’re laying down “rules” for another human being then you’re misunderstanding deep relationships. They have no rules. No one is supposed to be anything except happy. That’s how unconditional love works.

You can have all the commitment in the world and still fight all the time. Commitment is like a rope tying something down. Love is like the sun. It doesn’t hold anyone in place it just promotes growth in the direction of its warmth by making sure the other person is showered in enough light to ensure they have all they need to help them fully realise themselves. Relationships are not about what you need, they’re about what you give.

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.

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.

The Friday Dose #83

775 FD Relax and Succeed - Be happy for this momentI’ve got super-valuable information on raising pre-schoolers, I’ll blow your mind with what’s being 3D printed and for the introspective I’ve got a very human, open and raw video on breaking up. And, if you want a super-cool video about how movies secretly influence you then duck back a couple days to The Movie of Your Life. Let’s start with this article and idea that I hope gets a lot of attention. As a species we’re a lot more brilliant than we give ourselves credit for and this article points toward a part of brain development that has been vastly undervalued for about 25 years:

The Decline of Play in Preschoolers
and the rise of sensory issues

*

And now we’ll have a couple videos, one for the people feeling good who want to fill their minds with wonder, and one for the people who are in the midst of some of the heavier parts of life and are therefore seeking more introspective things. This breakdown of what’s currently being 3D printed will seem funny and dated someday, but looking at it today I think you’ll be amazed by what’s already happened:

And we’ll end off with people. People breaking up, specifically. As we age we learn that our views will change and our perspectives will shift as well. That means we can literally change our thoughts and the people we know become actual different people to us. This is a great example of that as a couple who broke up years ago agree to answer each other’s questions. (Warning, they do talk a little bit about sex.)

Have a good weekend everyone. Spend it like it’s your own life. 😉

peace. s

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

00 Relax and Succeed - Friday Dose Footer

Rejection

Let’s make one thing clear for (especially for people in their teens and twenties): it obviously hurts really badly when we feel someone has rejected us after we’ve opened up to them and loved them. That is the most meaningful connection in the world and every version of it is valuable. Simultaneously, it’s important to remember that when you’re young you only have one or maybe two experiences to judge by, so remember your views of any experience will always change over time. It won’t always hurt that much I promise.

747 Relax and Succeed - You can be the ripest juiciest peachIn fact in the best cases we make good use of those painful experiences. The pain will be what makes you more compassionate and successful when you’re trying to help someone else who is suffering. Because whether our connections are through love or compassion, what’s most valuable is the connection itself. So over time you’ll come to value even painful experiences because you’ll realize that is what connects you so strongly to other people, whether it’s the ones who were there for you when you were in pain, or the connection you feel to the people who are currently experiencing a pain you know personally.

Love is a huge feeling. Huge. The first time you feel it it makes sense that it feels like the entire world has ended when it’s over. You can see why love’s such a big deal in art and life. Whether through romance or compassion the feeling is like no other connection. So when we establish one super-strong connection it’s agony to yank it out. But over time you’ll even get used to that. I know it seems incredible but it’s true. Sometimes you’ll even volunteer for it. Sometimes that horrible feeling is better than being in the relationship.

The important thing is this: if you’re feeling rejected you don’t want to be concluding that you are being rejected. People can reject situations and choices and beliefs but they can’t reject a person. What would that even mean? All they can do is think about the other person differently and/or maybe physically place themselves elsewhere.

747 Relax and Succeed - Pain is inevitableThinking you’ve been rejected because your relationship ended is like saying that if someone leaves Paris for Rome that they’re saying Paris is worthless. But the assessment of Paris’s worth happens inside each individual’s head, and everyone thinks their own thoughts. So if there are seven billion points of view on the planet then it’s a guarantee that a huge number of them will love Paris just as a huge number—given a real chance—will love you.

Heartbreaks will hurt. But someone rejecting you does not diminish your overall value in this universe. You’ll think that it does for a while but then it’s up to you to return to the awareness that your value is inherent and that it is only your agonized thoughts that are creating your agonized suffering. There is nothing wrong with you.

You naturally glow like the sun and the only thing that can interfere with that light is some temporary clouds in your thinking. Just remember that being lost or in pain or feeling rejected is all a part of this wonderful experience called life. Both Paris and Rome will experience both sun and cloud. But by experiencing the agonizing parts of life we are primed to properly value the intense and beautiful connection that comes with the compassion and love we do receive.

Now go take this amazing world and make a beautiful day out of it. Love you. 😉

peace. s

Translating Love

If you go to enough Christian weddings there is a high degree of likelihood that you’ll hear a reading from Corinthians. As a young person it was often the only thing that would cause my attention to prick up. Despite not being religious myself I thought it was particularly practical and beautiful. The thing about enlightened love is that its lofty romantic parts are actually the same as its practical everyday parts.

744 Relax and Succeed - CorinthiansBecause it’s essentially a lesson in having a good relationship I figured it was worth it to try translate Corinthians into modern daily terms. Sometimes people include the portions before and after this section, and there are a lot of slightly different versions, but here’s an example of the English “original:”

Love is patient: this means that as much as possible you will earnestly try to let your partner function at their own natural pace, whether that’s getting up in the morning, sex you’d like to have, or deciding to have a family. You don’t like people making you go faster or slower than is comfortable for you either. So no verbal jabs at someone just for being themselves.

Love is kind: this obviously means that there should be kindness in your loving relationships. I know it sounds like I shouldn’t even have to mention it, but in most marriages this is the thing that disappears first. The absence of basic kindness does a lot of damage and it can and will lead to a marriage breakdown. It should be easy for you to remember lots of recent examples of kindness you expressed to your partner.

744 Relax and Succeed - The words you speakLove is not envious: this means you’re happy for your partner when good things happen for them and you don’t compare what you got to what they got. It also means you don’t compare what you were given to what they gave someone else. It also means you aren’t upset when they’re getting suitable attention.

or boastful: there is no need to elevate yourself around someone who loves you because true love denotes full acceptance. There is no need for striving—for ego. If we feel we have to impress our partner we’re working in the wrong realm and you need to get reconnected not more impressive.

or arrogant: even if your partner’s views aren’t as informed, they remain valid. Don’t assume you know what’s better for them. Allow them space to have their personality and their views. There are people who think a conversation is nothing more than them telling others how they should live, even if was no question asked and no problem was stated.

or rude: show your partner basic respect. Let them tell their own stories, let them learn from doing things wrong without sticking your nose into it. And if you have a criticism it’s really a request, so just skip the negativity and just make the request.

744 Relax and Succeed - Well done is betterIt does not insist on its own way: this means you don’t assume that what you want for you as a couple is the same thing that your partner wants. A lot of couples will have one person who innocently but unfortunately assumes that everything they want to do is a couples idea. You don’t need to pick your partner’s clothing or hairstyle or holidays unless they ask you to. More importantly, don’t assume you know what’s better for your kids. Assuming you’re the better parent is a very dangerous thing and the kids rarely agree with the parent who makes such a bombastic claim.

It is not irritable or resentful: as much as possible try to keep petty complaints to yourself and when people do display them do not resent it. You too will need the latitude when you’re ornery and looking to pick a fight.

It does not rejoice in wrongdoing: easy—no I told you so’s.

but rejoices in the truth: be grateful to your partner for sharing difficult things that are emotionally challenging. Those are difficult to bring forward and if we react negatively to honesty we will only promote dishonesty.

744 Relax and Succeed - Being deeply lovedIt bears all things: no matter what should enter the marriage—financial challenges, sick children, family deaths—these are inevitable parts of life and if we’re not prepared to bear each others challenges then we’re not prepared to be in a mature true-love couple.

Believes all things: do not doubt your partner. Yes they may lean hard on you when they are low, but the confidence you show in them will be reflected in the quality of your relationship overall. When a spouse is weak a good partner doesn’t attack them, they double their support. And that’s because they remember who the person fundamentally is so they don’t mistake weather for geography.

Hopes all things: of course you should want the very best of things for your partner. If you’re really evolved you’ll even want them to have the best partner possible—even if that’s not you. That keeps you on your toes and reminds you that we need to re-win our partners back every few years just as they need to do with us.

Endures all things: tolerance. Within a decade a person will go through a huge range of fortunes. They hardest thing is when you’re both down. But when one’s up and one’s down, the one who’s up must show patience and understanding to the struggling partner because one day the tables will be turned and we will need the help.

744 Relax and Succeed - You don't need someoneSee? No matter what religious background you’re from that is a pretty good guideline for most relationships. But it can’t just be words you hear in a church on a wedding day. Whether it’s your wedding or someone else’s, that passage should remind you that your relationship is a verb—it is an action you take in your life.

You don’t get married and stay married. You fall in love and you continue to nurture the love or you don’t. That’s the difference between marriage and divorce the vast majority of time. It’s not that the people that can’t be together. It’s that they’re not being together.

Again: it’s a verb. Don’t forget you’re on a team. If you have a list of how your partner could make the relationship better then you know you’re lost. If you have a list for yourself (and its not overly critical or negative), then you’re on the right track.

Here’s to many happy relationships.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #71

701 OP Relax and Succeed - Don't flirt with someone else

As you get older you can read quotes like this and you can usually guess the age of the writer within five years. That shows you how much the same we all are. We’re all moving through patterns of behaviour as we move through our seven ages of man. Listen, I know that seeing someone you love being with someone else is something that really hurts. But there’s a great lesson in that. Because I promise you that the pain is not coming from seeing them. It’s about looking at them and then thinking. It’s the thoughts that hurt. Because if they’re happily with someone else, you can’t go quickly get someone and make them jealous. Because if they left they left for a reason of theirs and they went to this other person for a reason of theirs. So they might look over at you and feel a short temporary jab, but because their thoughts will shift to the better position they themselves feel they are in, they will feel fine. That’s why the leaver always does better than the leavee. The leaver either wanted someone else or they wanted more freedom but either way their thoughts will be less commonly on the past and more on the future, whereas the leavee has to rip themselves away from the future they’d imagined so they can start living in the present moment they’re in. So if someone’s flaunting just to hurt you then that’s just childish. Maybe in the future when they’re more mature, but for now, if someone is vindictive or possessive then they’re still immature and you don’t want to be in a relationship with an immature person. So just live your own life. Don’t keep your thoughts on inappropriate things. Learn to do this early in life and you will bring yourself great salvation later, I promise. Good luck.

Much love, s

Other Perspectives #67

681 OP Relax and Succeed - I don't understand

There’s a lot of hormones raging in any teenager so it’s not surprising the boys are prone to cheating and the girls are prone to drama. But there is no direct relationship between your care for someone else and their care for you. It’s not like a bank machine where you put your care in and then later you withdraw it. You each come with your own upbringings and your own tendencies in terms of how you were taught to deliver love (gifts, time, touch, talking, assistance etc.). It would be incredibly unlikely if both parties gave equally or in the same ways. For instance, if a guy had a distant, non-demonstrative father who never gave gifts then the guy is likely to be the sort of person who never buys a birthday card or gives a massage or barely says I love you. She can think he doesn’t love her but then the same guy can be solid and enduring during chemotherapy or with a very sick child. Likewise a woman who doesn’t show much affection or offer much attention to her partner can still be a remarkable partner to have during the death of a family member or for the most trusted of duties. You should be with people because of how they are in the world, not because they tick off a bunch of boxes in some magazine or off some list created by your friends. Your partner is not in a movie performing a romantic role for you. Your partner is a person with their own drives, interests and values and personality. The differences between you can coincide and be very compatible and helpful to both people. But you’ll still both routinely fail to meet each others expectations. But that’s not them failing. That’s you expecting. That’s not their problem, that’s yours. Lose the expectations and you’ll lose the pain too. Let people be who they are, don’t tell them what to do, but be fully yourself and that will make you an enjoyable person to be with. After that the rest will take care of itself.

peace. s

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:

Relax and Succeed

When I began this blog it ran six days a week. As it progressed I realized I needed more time for my telephone and in-person students, so I culled it back to five. Meanwhile on facebook I was doing Saturday postings of Quote Rebuttals. These were quotes that people had innocently created in an effort to create healing or strength, when in fact they were inadvertently promoting ego and insecurity. These rebuttals have become more popular than I expected because I had previously failed to notice what extra value they offer.

When a photographer is working with sunlight as her light source she has two choices. She can reflectmore light in using a shiny surface, or she can absorb more light away by using things like black velvet flags. This is why mogul skiers prefer runs through the evergreen trees when the light is very flat. The trees…

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The Nature of Trust

147 Relax and Succeed - One does not become enlightenedAn unconscious life is an innocent one. An ego is so subtly formed that each individual will have no idea it’s even there. Essentially we live as a programmed robot, largely reacting to things for reasons we’ve neither assessed nor understood. And we’ll never change that unless we become conscious of our own patterns of thinking.

An ego is a pattern-recognition system that plays back whichever behaviour it believes is suitable, and our programs are constantly being rewritten by experience. So if under stress your mom drank and your dad yelled, then you will either yell, drink, or absolutely not-yell, or absolutely not-drink, but either way it will have been those primary relationships that generated that result. You will literally have been formed by your experience. This process continues throughout life.

If you’ve never had a person cheat on you and no one important to you betrayed someone else while you were watching, then you will be a naturally trusting person because trust is a natural state. That’s why little kids make friends so easily. But if you have been cheated on, or if you watched cheating really hurt someone you care for, then that possibility will now exist within your imagination. The real question is, how often do you access that imagination?

147 Relax and Succeed - I am not what happened to meIf you’re concerned about the commitment of your partner, then remember that agreements, rules, and promises are merely ideas. No one can guarantee their future behaviour, so in reality everyone could potentially cheat. But living under that constant fear isn’t living at all. So a simple decision must be made: either we leave a situation to remove the risk, or we accept the risk as an aspect of any relationship. The real questions becomes, what is the definition of accepting?

To accept something is to cease to think about it. Our histories are our histories, so we can expect that life will deliver us these old menus regularly. We can look over the dishes that life offers to serve us, and we can see that some of these dishes involve the suffering or jealousy or fear, but while we cannot stop the menus from being handed to us, we can consciously choose to avoid ordering painful experiences into our lives.

You worrying about someone cheating won’t stop them from cheating. But you worrying about it will make you anxious, upset and short-tempered and those things will affect a relationship. While you will always be the person your life created, you still want to be a conscious version of yourself. You don’t want unproductive thoughts to take up too much of your life. Like everyone you will have your moments of doubt. But to live in a state of doubt is to surrender your entire life to fear.

147 Relax and Succeed - Your history is not made ofYour fears in life are hard-won. You suffered for them and it makes sense that you would make serious efforts to avoid experiencing them again. But there are no guarantees in life and we cannot live based on what we don’t want to happen; we have to live our lives by creating the things that we do want to happen.

So be grateful for your emotions. Because when you feel the pang of fear or jealousy, you can use that feeling as a signal that your thinking has entered dangerous territory. And by being conscious of your thinking, you can appreciate both its validity and it’s pointlessness. This allows you to be yourself without having your past dictate your future.

Do not feel victim to your pain. Your thinking is intimately connected to your suffering, and whether you realise it or not, you always have control over your thinking. Don’t undermine your life with fears. Expand it with love. It doesn’t guarantee you will never suffer. But it does ensure that your life will be open and free, and in the end that’s both glorious and it’s as good as it gets.

Watch your thoughts. They’re yours, but they don’t control you–you control them. Now go use that power to enjoy your day, regardless of your history.

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.