Other Perspectives #95

Yesterday was about what real love is really like. Today I’m using an Other Perspectives post to discuss the dangers of where most of us start with love, and why we have to shift our beliefs before we can have a mature healthy relationship. Keep in mind that when I say “start” I mean when our egos start, because few of these requirements are associated with true love.

The need for 100% Honesty is based in a fear that we really don’t have the person on our side in a meaningful way, which is largely true in every youthful relationship and all jealous ones. We worry it might not be true when they say I love you so we constantly need to check. Also, as the hilarious hemorrhoid scene in the film This is 40 illustrates, later in life we realise we often don’t really want full honesty….

Where it is right is Forgiveness. That is the best skill one could hope to have for a relationship. 100% is impossible, but you can get pretty close. Great Communication helps, but there’s some couples that remain quite private by nature, choosing internal reflection over a lot of sharing. These people often feel most comfortable with someone just like them. It’s not for everyone, but it’s valid love.

Trust is okay–you want to aim to always feel trust–but there will be times where you’re insecure and you just won’t be able to help worrying and you’ll need some reassuring, as most women who experience breast cancer or men with testicular cancer quickly learn. Even putting on weight or losing one’s hair can do this. That’s all okay if it’s temporary or fleeting.

Faithfulness is far rarer than people realise. Not that it isn’t natural for some, but as many experts, including Dan Savage, often point out; most marriages actually survive thanks to some monogamish behaviours that can strangely remind us of the value of our long term partners. Patience at 80% is hopefully where you’ll get to, but don’t be surprised if your maturity won’t allow for it until you’re at least over about thirty five.

Similar Values at 50% is one of the few that’s backwards, That one should be closer to a high percentage because as you age you realise that don’t people divorce because one likes golf and the other likes marathons, it’s because one will cheat at golf whereas the other would never do that in their sport.

Time Apart at 20% only happens when you’re young and before your adulting starts. After that it is impossible because you’ll be at work for a third of your day so you’re already over, not to mention one parent spending their evening at hockey with one kid while the other’s at dance with another. Romance at 100% is the funniest. You will quickly learn that life gets too busy for things to stay romantic, which is fine. It actually means more when it’s mixed into a life that has other responsibilities.

Again, we’re back to agreeing on 100% Friendship. You can’t love the person’s appearance or style or identity because those are guaranteed to change. You have to be with someone who will be a good life partner and roommate more than a good romantic one. On the contrary, Zero Selfishness isn’t healthy. You need to put yourself first. You can’t give your partner what you don’t have. And Playing Games also comes with people dealing naturally with their discomfort around being totally honest. But it’s the last two that are most important.

Nearly the entire list is primarily immature, Unrealistic Expectations, and one of them is expecting yourself not to spend time dealing with Insecurities, which is an entirely unrealistic expectation to put on yourself or your partner. Again, think of breast cancer or testicular cancer survivors. It makes sense that would take some adjustment to get comfortable with. Besides, there can’t be a peaceful psychological and spiritual path unless there’s a not-path. Not-path is ego. You can get good at keeping it at bay, but to not have it at all is to miss out on a valuable aspect of being human that incites healthy growth.

We all start with unrealistic beliefs that were created by culture, so I’m sure they’ll sell a lot of these shirts. But inevitably, over time, as we age, the shirt will seem more and more ironic as we attempt to apply it to the messy edges of the real world. Which is why the real keys are the Friendship and the Forgiveness. Forget the rest. Focus on getting good at those and you’ll be headed toward the most successful kind of relationship there is.

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.

Other Perspectives #87

796 OP Relax and Succeed - HerI wouldn’t doubt that there’s a boyfriend version of this. And it would be just as foreboding as this one is. From a mental health perspective this represents the behaviour of someone who’ll end up suicidal if they’re not careful. The second panel is fine: it’s great that when we’re with any other human being if we’re quiet-minded and present with them. It’s the first panel–girlfriend or no girlfriend–that indicates the most unhealthy behaviour there is. No other people or situations or events can force us to think anything. It is us and always us. You make you think. You can forget you have that control but you never lose it. Your thoughts are like a bicycle. If no one peddles them they don’t go anywhere. Maturity is when we stop using words in our heads to blame the world or our parents or the bullies in our lives or ourselves for our troubles. Every life has challenges and everyone gets knocked down badly. And at the same time, everything changes, so you’ll never be permanently down. So don’t respond to life by sitting still and thinking negatively. The answer to a loving, peaceful life is the same as it always is: have a quiet mind and be appreciative. Overthinking is unhealthy in any situation, so if the only time you’re peaceful is when you are with your partner then you need to learn to take better control over your own thoughts. Do that and you will have empowered yourself in the very best way possible.

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 - Other Perspectives Footer

Rekindling Love

I often write about how there’s pretty much both a new physical and a new psychological You ever 8 years or so. This means every married couple essentially has to get spiritually remarried each time one of them goes through these phases. You have to re-choose your renewed partner. And because people often marry people close to their own age that also means that both people are going through their tumultuous times at roughly the same time. That can make essentially good things look pretty bad.

768 Relax and Succeed - We do not see things as they areAdding to this mix is the fact that these questions usually start getting asked during a crisis, like when someone has let their partner down in a very significant way by cheating, lying, stealing or generally undermining their long term confidence. Then it’s possible for one or the other people to actually feel they have fallen out of love. Fortunately this isn’t actually possible in the spiritual sense so there’s no need to panic but you do need to proceed with wisdom. Divorcing isn’t just ending your marriage. It’s changing your entire financial life, it’ll change all of your friendships and it will make you a completely different person.

If you truly stand for entirely different things–if people aren’t happy together in the most fundamental ways then they should split. But if they’re just experiencing the inevitable bumps and challenges that go with debt and aging and family and career and decision-making and the general angst that naturally goes with each age, then that’s just the stuff you covered in your wedding vows. Remember? You were supposed to endure some hard parts too. Otherwise a lot of people end up regretting that they left something only to find themselves right back in a similar situation eight years later, often with a person who is less dedicated than the one we left. The trick is, how do you know which situation is which?

It’s actually not that hard. You just have to be in the right state of mind to make the decision. If your mind is full of thoughts then you’re lost in ego and you will make an egos decision. That includes pro and con lists, fantasies of possible futures etc. etc. If you choose what you want, or if you choose based on what you don’t like, then those thoughts will dictate your life. Buf if you’re aware of the love that exists between all people then you’re in a healthy state and there’s no egocentric repulsion or revulsion or repellant. You can see each person beautifully and clearly. If you decide to go elsewhere from that state of mind then go. But if you decide before you re-establish that loving connection then you are making your decision from an egocentric perspective and it is more likely to lead to a lesson than a reward.

768 Relax and Succeed - Let's not forgetDepending on who you ask the Greeks had six types of love. If you can establish even one of them with your partner you will be able to see them clearly. From that state you can make a quality decision. So what are your options in terms of how to feel about the person you’re considering reconnecting with?

Unless the situation is unusual you probably won’t use Storge, which is familial love. And you’re trying to reconnect to Eros–romantic or intimate love–so you won’t use that either. But you can experience Philia, which is akin to open and loving friendship (among other things). Or even better would be Agape, which is that impersonal love we feel for our fellow man–the love the religious describe as God’s love. Each is without judgment. Once we can see our partner without any judgment then we are left with a better sense of what form our connection should take in the outside world.

These can feel like terrifying times. But like Ukemi in judo, if we remain very aware then we can end up better off for having fallen or failed. Once we are not afraid of what is happening our resisting thoughts leave us in peace. We make friends with the present moment and in doing so we gain access to the sort of wisdom that will lead us to answers we can feel are the right ones for the person we are in this moment.

If you’re seeking wisdom, be in love. Look at the world with clear vision. And then choose your path. Either way you’ll find joy and heartache. You can do no wrong. Be at peace.

Much love, s

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

Other Perspectives #79

Now this is a subtle one. Simply put: no. Sorry to steal your romantically motivated sense of kismet but there are no people you are supposed to meet. Or, put differently, everyone you meet you’re supposed to meet. You have free will. Yes this universe has some laws, rules or forces that shape its existence but within that you always maintain free will. In the real Now there is no subject and object–there is no you–so you can’t want, need or recognize anything as belonging to you. If we choose to surrender our free will then our life can become an unconscious repetition of patterns that could create a sense of destiny without there being any real destiny there. Yes, look for value in the interactions with everyone you meet. But your soulmate is every other aspect of this universe. If you think your life satisfaction is tied up in a relationship then you don’t understand how connected you become with everything and everyone once you learn to drop your sense of filtering everything through an egocentric personal identity with personal desires.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, mindfulness instructor and communications facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.

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

Other Perspectives #77

741 OP Relax and Succeed - The best gift a manRomance can get confusing and before you come to an understanding of how things work a lot of wisdom can seem like paradox. So I didn’t X this quote out because I only do that with the ones I feel are strongly misleading. This one’s more subtle. Yes, I’ll note that we shouldn’t be surprised if things go poorly when we demonstrate our love in a way that our partner has trouble absorbing, but that doesn’t actually conflict with this statement. Stealing from The Five Love Languages, if your partner likes Quality Time but you keep presenting them with either Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service or Touch then the struggles you’ll have will make a kind of sense. But if you’ll notice, if both people are spiritually and psychologically healthy then this quote does actually include all five languages. The Gift is the presence itself. And while it may not initially be perceived as a gift, it would be over time. After that it clearly lists the Time which is used for Attention which is just another word for Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service or even Touch. And if you ask most women why they left their marriages it wasn’t because of some big emotional reason like cheating—it’s usually just a slow, simple lack of attention. Men get so busy managing life and work that they sometimes forget that their partner needs more attention than they do. If you don’t think to give your spouse regular compliments then you’re not really noticing your spouse, because if they were good enough to marry then they’re certainly worthy of regular recognition.

peace. s

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Scott’s Top Other Perspectives of 2014 #2

716 OPY Relax and Succeed  - The path through trouble

You get to vote on your favourite blogs at the end of each year, but those aren’t always the ones that I felt were my best work. So this year, to ensure your summer reading is of high quality while I’m on my break, I have decided to use now to reveal my personal favourite blogs of last year. To that end, my second-favourite Other Perspectives of last year was all about how much easier life is when you have a mature concept of love.

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Winner: Scott’s Top
Other Perspectives of 2014 #2

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

2014’s Other Perspectives of the Year

587 Relax and Succeed - Selfishness is not living*

This blog is based on interpreting quotes and memes I’ll witness people interpreting or misunderstanding as they move around the web. The Other Perspectives series is a collection of quotes that are so far off-target that they’re actually dangerous and teach ego rather than health. There were a lot of popular OP’s this year, but I think this one really hit home with a lot of people because it discusses unhealthy approaches to relationships and a lot of us have been there. I know it was probably the central mistake I made in my own marriage. So in the hopes that learning this is as valuable to you as it was to the rest of us, I happily bring you this year’s most popular Other Perspectives:

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2014’s Other Perspectives of the Year

peace. s