What Is Real Love

By Michael Thomas

Love, either its expres­sion or its attempted nul­li­fi­ca­tion, plays a daily role in each and every one of our lives.  It impacts our inter­ac­tions with both our friends and strangers, as well as influ­enc­ing our deci­sions about what we share, do, and say. It effects our per­spec­tive towards new infor­ma­tion, and our tol­er­ance for dif­fer­ences. As Erich Fromm said in his inter­na­tional best­seller “The Art of Lov­ing,” love is “an activ­ity, not a pas­sive affect; it is a “stand­ing in,” and not a “falling for.”” Love is inher­ently bound with respon­si­bil­ity, respect, appre­ci­a­tion, giv­ing, and shar­ing.  Love is an art; mean­ing one improves through con­cen­tra­tion, prac­tice, and an under­stand­ing of your own strengths and weaknesses.

Part of respect­ing and appre­ci­at­ing every­thing from peo­ple to nature is open­ing your­self to giv­ing it your full atten­tion, your con­cen­tra­tion.  I find it use­ful to min­i­mize my con­scious thoughts, and allow myself to fully sub­merge in the moment, the person’s words, and truly inter­nal­ize what they are telling me; truly con­nect with them as a fel­low human.  This helps me then answer as an hon­est human being.

To con­tinue read­ing click HERE

N.B.: http://www.ExposingTheTruth.co/ is an excel­lent web­site. I highly rec­om­mend. It is well worth sub­scrib­ing to.

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On Being “Nice”

Here is the dic­tio­nary mean­ing of nice.
nice
adjec­tive
pleas­ant, lik­able, agree­able, per­son­able, con­ge­nial, ami­able, affa­ble, genial, friendly, charm­ing, delight­ful, engag­ing; sym­pa­thetic, sim­patico, com­pas­sion­ate, good.

 

In this arti­cle I’d like to look into what being nice actu­ally means in a rela­tion­ship. All the above applies and there is more. You can be pas­sively nice and actively nice.

Pas­sive nice­ness is when you react to your part­ner “nicely.” If you are made wrong about some­thing you don’t need to imme­di­ately become defen­sive and counter-attack. You can be nice about it and take the crit­i­cism, under­stand where your part­ner is com­ing from and offer, but not insist on, your expla­na­tion. If you are asked to do some­thing you don’t want to do, you can be “nice” about it and refuse politely and make a counter offer, if appro­pri­ate, being mind­ful of your partner’s feel­ings. Being nice in this cat­e­gory also includes not speak­ing your mind as a reac­tion to your partner’s behav­ior (such as: you’re fat) lest you hurt their feel­ings. I am sure you can come up with more exam­ples of nice reac­tive or pas­sive behavior.

Now, what does it mean to be actively nice? Active nice­ness requires a con­scious alert­ness to other people’s feel­ings and state of mind so that you can jump in and offer your help, assis­tance, or con­tri­bu­tion with­out being asked to. Yes, in dif­fer­ent cul­tures and cir­cum­stances this may come across as intru­sive on their pri­vacy, and some­times it may well be, but that is what is often required in true rela­tion­ships and true friend­ships. Per­sonal “pri­vacy” bound­aries shrink the closer we are to each other.

We are often bet­ter equipped to bet­ter see what’s “wrong” in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions that our part­ner or friend may be in than they can because we are usu­ally more emo­tion­ally dis­en­gaged and can see a sit­u­a­tion more “real­is­ti­cally.” We may see a sit­u­a­tion from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive that is unavail­able to the other, or have some­thing to offer (knowl­edge, insight or a mate­r­ial object or skill) that the other per­son does not know we have, doesn’t want to ask for, or didn’t think of at the time.

There is a fine line between being nice or help­ful and being pushy. Offer­ing your help or assis­tance with­out the other person’s con­sent may be very annoy­ing or even rude — in fact, quite the oppo­site of “nice.” Griev­ances with which your friend may come to you may not require your help at all. In fact, the only help and the nicest thing you can do is just lis­ten. (Men are par­tic­u­larly good at offer­ing unwanted help and solu­tions, which can be very annoy­ing to women.)

The say­ing that you should “treat oth­ers the way you want to be treated” may apply to some very lim­ited sit­u­a­tions among the peo­ple of the same cul­ture, age, gen­der, etc., who more or less share the same out­look on life and the world view. But, in the world of diver­sity in which we live, to “treat oth­ers the way THEY want to be treated,” is much more appro­pri­ate. For this you need to be much more sen­si­tive and alert to other’s needs and wants if you want to be “nice.”

Now, is being “nice” such a good thing to be that you should always be nice to every­one? NO, vehe­mently it is NOT. All peo­ple, includ­ing strangers, deserve to be given the ben­e­fit of the doubt and be treated nicely (pas­sively) and with respect of their per­sonal bound­aries to start off with. The closer you get, the more active nice­ness you will be allowed to demonstrate.

On the other hand, if you are threat­ened or bul­lied nice­ness will just get you into more trou­ble. Also, you need to beware of cer­tain types of peo­ple, such as psy­chopaths, sociopaths (cor­po­rate or crim­i­nal), and oth­ers with severe per­son­al­ity dis­or­ders, who do not appre­ci­ate nice­ness and will only use it to their advan­tage and ulti­mately to your demise.

I am sure you’ve heard about the con­cept of “tough love.”  On the sur­face, tough love cer­tainly looks any­thing but nice. Tough love may not look nice, but it cer­tainly demon­strates your com­mit­ment to the well­be­ing of another. And I think that that is nice.

In con­clu­sion, being nice is not the same as merely being polite. Your par­ents can teach you to be polite, but being nice is your per­sonal trait and can­not be taught, but it may be devel­oped. Close­ness and inti­macy in a rela­tion­ship is cre­ated and allowed by “niceness”.

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The Right to Be Wrong

Our cul­ture is built for win­ners. Every­one else is a loser. Whose aim in life is to be a loser? Not me, cer­tainly, and I per­son­ally don’t know of any­one who has. So, what do we do in the game of win­ning? We try to be right as much as we pos­si­bly can. Even if we know we are wrong we will try to con­vince oth­ers that we are right, or we will look like losers. “Look­ing good” is impor­tant. It projects a win­ner.  And I don’t mean just looks, but a gen­eral per­cep­tion of oth­ers that we are “in the know,” that we are always right, that we know what we are talk­ing about, that our judg­ments are cor­rect. We want to be trust­wor­thy and reli­able. We want to be RIGHT. We expect that oth­ers want to be right too and we “know” that if we admit that we are wrong oth­ers will not only gloat, make us look bad, lose respect for us, but also take advan­tage of us in every way possible.

All these attempts at being right are masks to hide behind in order to look good, but being always right is an impos­si­ble task to accom­plish. Suc­cess­ful peo­ple in busi­ness and in rela­tion­ships (busi­ness is made of rela­tion­ships like most any other action in life) have made dis­pro­por­tion­ally more mis­takes and have been many times more wrong than right.

The road to suc­cess is paved with failures.

One of the main com­plaints in unsuc­cess­ful rela­tion­ships is “we fight a lot.” Why do peo­ple fight? You guessed it: each per­son keeps insist­ing they are right by furi­ously jus­ti­fy­ing their posi­tion, by mak­ing their part­ner wrong and inval­i­dat­ing their partner’s point of view in order to win an argu­ment, so as not to be per­ceived as a “loser”. This down­ward spi­ral causes ver­tigo from which it is hard to recover.

So how do win­ners deal with los­ing, with being wrong and recover from their mistakes?

The rule of thumb is: the more insis­tent, sig­nif­i­cant and seri­ous you are about being right the more dif­fi­cult it is to recover, which implies that the more will­ing you are to admit, or could be wrong, and the sooner you can do it, the eas­ier it is to stop the down­ward spi­ral into rela­tion­ship dis­in­te­gra­tion. If you screw up a lot, you would even have to use that dreaded action to pub­li­cally or for­mally APOLOGIZE, which most peo­ple avoid like the plague.

I like to say that your rela­tion­ship is as good as your last conversation.

My inten­tion in this arti­cle is to uncover the lunacy of spend­ing our ener­gies, and indeed our lives, try­ing to be right about every­thing. Only peo­ple with low self-esteem and a low opin­ion of them­selves insist on being right all the time in a futile attempt to hide their inse­cu­ri­ties. If you are one of those peo­ple I sug­gest that you start doing exactly the oppo­site. Start being authen­tic. Stop hid­ing behind your right­eous­ness. Oth­ers will admire you for your courage, which most likely they them­selves do not have.  Peo­ple want to be right for fear of not being accepted, being shunned, rejected, not respected and, of course, not loved, when in fact the result is quite opposite.

This is how we “intu­itively” react to sit­u­a­tions when the right actions may be quite counter-intuitive: Most of our behav­ior is con­ducted from our rep­til­ian brain, our fight or flight instinct. We some­how uncon­sciously equate a chal­leng­ing con­ver­sa­tion with an encounter with a saber-tooth tiger. This brain, which has direct access to the emo­tional cen­ter (the amyg­dala), decides our actions. Becom­ing aware of what is REALLY hap­pen­ing, i.e., pro­cess­ing it through your con­scious mind (the neo-cortex), will uncover other pos­si­bil­i­ties and oppor­tu­ni­ties to “sur­vive” a con­ver­sa­tion with­out the knee-jerk reac­tion of hav­ing to be right.

In con­clu­sion: enjoy being wrong. You might as well, because most of the time you are. Con­sider that your beliefs are just that: YOUR beliefs, not nec­es­sar­ily facts. Allow oth­ers to have theirs. The world is not made to your spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Be gra­cious with oth­ers by allow­ing them to be wrong with­out beat­ing them up about it and mak­ing them wrong about being wrong. In other words, stop being right about their being wrong. If not imme­di­ately, but soon, they will start to rec­i­p­ro­cate, which ulti­mately leads to a great rela­tion­ship where each of you can be com­pletely authen­tic, and have the free­dom to be yourself.

To have a great rela­tion­ship you must give up the right to be right. Be a winner!

Good luck.

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Change

February 4, 2012

Posted by:

Category: Awareness, How to, Marriage

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Change

Change is a very pop­u­lar topic. You either want it, don’t want it, or it is forced upon you. In any case, change is inevitable. They say it is the only thing that stays con­stant. Very clever, and deeeeeep — in a cos­mic sense. But how do we deal with it in our lives, on the court?

When change occurs it hap­pens on all lev­els: per­sonal, social, behav­ioral and cul­tural or rela­tional. Or rather, if change is to take effect it has to occur in all of these four areas whether we like it or not.

Change may be thrown upon you, such as when you are being unex­pect­edly dumped by your loved one. The change in your rela­tion­ship is a cul­tural change. It occurs in a rela­tion­ship between two peo­ple. And not only two peo­ple, it has a rip­ple effect on most of the peo­ple you know. Their rela­tion­ship to you may also change.

Spa­tial change occurs in your envi­ron­ment; you may need to move out, change or find a job, etc.

Your behav­ior is bound to change as well. Things you used to do you don’t do any more, or you start doing things you never used to before, like drink­ing, etc.  Remem­ber, you have been dumped. It’s not easy on your emo­tional life. You may be dev­as­tated. You may be going through emo­tional stages sim­i­lar to peo­ple who hear that they have three months left to live.

All in all, you are in a big hole, emo­tion­ally and oth­er­wise. Changes like these can be dev­as­tat­ing. So, where do you start the recov­ery process? In The Rela­tion­ship Saver I say, “be happy”. Yes, right! Eas­ier said than done, you will notice.

Here is the first step. Start from your inter­nal processes, with your­self. The rea­son being that the only ele­ment you have con­trol over is YOU. (I know: it would be much eas­ier if oth­ers would change to accom­mo­date your wishes, but that’s not going to hap­pen.) Since change is thrown upon you, in order to turn it around, the first thing you need to do is CHANGE YOUR MIND. About what? You might ask.

First, let’s dis­tin­guish what I mean by mind in this case, before we go about chang­ing it. What I mean by your mind is your point of view, lit­er­ally, the point from which you see the world. Since every­one has a dif­fer­ent point of view, obvi­ously there is not ONE point of view to observe the world, or in this case, the present sit­u­a­tion of being dumped.

Chang­ing your mind or point of view is often dif­fi­cult to do because we iden­tify with our point of view, this is who we are, this is what we believe and let­ting go is as scary as los­ing our­selves in obliv­ion. We think if we change our point of view we have a weak char­ac­ter or that we are aban­don­ing our val­ues and beliefs, which we think make us who we are. Noth­ing can be fur­ther from the truth. Open-minded peo­ple often change their mind depend­ing on the real­ity with which they are pre­sented. You may believe in the sanc­tity of mar­riage, for instance, but such mar­riages are sup­posed to be per­fect mar­riages, noth­ing like the one you may be in now. Chang­ing your mind by real­iz­ing that your mar­riage is what it is now and not what it should be, is the first step. Is this mar­riage what you want or some­thing that you used to have? Obvi­ously not. So instead of hold­ing onto your idea of how things should be, start think­ing about what to do next. Many peo­ple in such a sit­u­a­tion say: “But I love him/her I don’t want us to sep­a­rate.” No, you love the per­son who was, not the one who is now.

Chang­ing your mind about your needs is another big step. You really do not need him/her. It is your fear talk­ing. Do not lis­ten to it. Do you con­sider your­self “brave” or a “weak­ling”? Fol­low your high­est self and you will change your mind much more eas­ily. Being a vic­tim brings a sweet cozy feel­ing for a while, but in the long run it is pathetic and dis­gust­ing, espe­cially if you are a self-proclaimed vic­tim, which is how it is most of the time. You HAVE every­thing you need. Change your mind about that and your life will change.

When you change the way you look at your­self every­thing changes, includ­ing your behav­ior. Chang­ing your cir­cle of friends and/or the place you live and work will most likely be a wel­come change in the long run. Stop con­trol­ling your des­tiny. You can­not. You will only make more mis­takes. You can only cre­ate your future and the time to do it is ALWAYS now.

Click HERE for The Rela­tion­ship Saver, The Fast Track Man­ual for Sav­ing your Relationship.

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Is what you do who you are?

How many times have you called your­self and oth­ers pathetic, stu­pid? “Not good enough” are the three words that would cover all the things that are “wrong” with you and oth­ers. Maybe you have noticed that this often func­tions as a self-fulfilling prophecy. After repeat­ing to your­self that you are stu­pid, you really start doing more and more stu­pid things. Why? Because you are “stu­pid”, of course! What else can you do? That’s how things are. Only stu­pid peo­ple do stu­pid things. Right? That’s who you are, you become con­vinced. When you think that some­one is __________ (fill in the blank) you relate to him/her as who she/he “is”, in appro­pri­ate fashion.

This prac­tice becomes even more promi­nent with your (ex)partner when your rela­tion­ship is not work­ing out the way you’d want it to work.

In the case of the rela­tion­ship brake up, in order to alle­vi­ate our suf­fer­ing we engage in a blame game, e.g. name-calling. It makes no dif­fer­ence whom we blame for the sit­u­a­tion as long as it is “some­one.” This, of course, includes our very selves. We first blame oth­ers, our part­ner and all the peo­ple he/she knows, and our friends and fam­ily for all sorts of dif­fer­ent rea­sons, from not warn­ing us to not agree­ing with our side of the story.  In order to absolve our­selves from any respon­si­bil­ity of a wrong judg­ment the com­plaint is not only focused on what peo­ple did, but who they ARE (thus name-calling), because of their deeds or the lack of. Of course, he lied to me, he IS a liar. Now, here lies the most dan­ger­ous and far-reaching mis­take. Peo­ple do all sorts of things, but that’s not nec­es­sar­ily who they are. If you lie once, are you a liar? If you fall in love with some­one else, are you a cheat, not faith­ful etc.? If you say some­thing rude do you become a rude per­son for­ever and exclu­sively. If you do a stu­pid thing it does not mean that you ARE stu­pid. You just did a stu­pid thing, and … by whose judg­ment your deed was stu­pid? Many “stu­pid” things we do turn out not to be so stu­pid after all. If some­one does not love you any more it does not mean that you are not lov­able, or not good enough as a person.

Although we judge peo­ple by their behav­ior, do not for­get that we judge our­selves by our inten­tions, and so do they. Step­ping into another person’s shoes and find­ing out what his/her inten­tions are is an act of grace, love and com­pas­sion. Also, you must under­stand that other peo­ple judge you by your behav­ior and that they are not obliged to know what your inten­tions are. They may not be inter­ested in your inten­tions. Your behav­ior speaks for itself. You have no right to expect peo­ple to be lov­ing, gra­cious and com­pas­sion­ate. You can­not make them wrong for it. All that has noth­ing to do with you, any­way. You need to be respon­si­ble for your own behav­ior and how you come across for oth­ers. At the same time it does not mean that you should asso­ciate at any cost with peo­ple who exhibit per­son­al­ity dis­or­ders in their habit­ual behav­ior. Ego­cen­tric, obsessive-compulsive, depres­sive, passive-aggressive, socio­pathic, bor­der­line, nar­cis­sis­tic, histri­onic etc. are just some exam­ples of the char­ac­ters to be avoided, not to men­tion abusers and addicts.

In the case of the well-balanced men­tally healthy peo­ple, the maxim that you should “treat oth­ers the way you want to be treated” is not very help­ful. There are too many oppor­tu­ni­ties to screw up. The bet­ter one would be

“Treat oth­ers the way they want to be treated”

To do this requires a large dose of the uncon­di­tional love and trust. (Accept the fact that not every­one who is offi­cially an adult will act as one all the time.) Peo­ple do make mis­takes, but mis­takes are part of life. The prob­lem is that we con­sider mis­takes to be “bad.” Mis­takes are just that, mis­takes, and an error in judg­ment. No one has ever escaped from mak­ing mis­takes. Why we are then, so harsh in blam­ing oth­ers (and our­selves) for mak­ing mis­takes. Being more for­giv­ing of oth­ers and our own actions is a cer­tain road to hap­pi­ness and self-growth.

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Open-Mindedness


Peo­ple are very open-minded about new things…

as long as they’re exactly like the old ones!

—Charles Ket­ter­ing

Def­i­n­i­tion

Open-mindedness is the will­ing­ness to search actively for evi­dence against one’s favored beliefs, plans, or goals, and to weigh such evi­dence fairly when it is available.

Being open-minded does not imply that one is inde­ci­sive, wishy-washy, or inca­pable of think­ing for one’s self. After con­sid­er­ing var­i­ous alter­na­tives, an open-minded per­son can take a firm stand on a posi­tion and act accordingly.

The oppo­site of open-mindedness is what is called the myside bias which refers to the per­va­sive ten­dency to search for evi­dence and eval­u­ate evi­dence in a way that favors your ini­tial beliefs. Most peo­ple show myside bias, but some are more biased than others.

Ben­e­fits of Open-Mindedness

Research sug­gests the fol­low­ing ben­e­fits of open-mindedness:

  • Open-minded, cog­ni­tively com­plex indi­vid­u­als are less swayed by sin­gu­lar events and are more resis­tant to sug­ges­tion and manipulation.
  • Open-minded indi­vid­u­als are bet­ter able to pre­dict how oth­ers will behave and are less prone to projection.
  • Open-minded indi­vid­u­als tend to score bet­ter on tests of gen­eral cog­ni­tive abil­ity like the SAT or an IQ test. (Of course we don’t know whether being open-minded makes one smarter or vice versa.)

Open-Mindedness as a “Cor­rec­tive Virtue”

Social and cog­ni­tive psy­chol­o­gists have noted wide­spread errors in judgment/thinking to which we are all vul­ner­a­ble. In order to be open-minded, we have to work against these basic ten­den­cies, lead­ing virtue ethi­cists to call open-mindedness a cor­rec­tive virtue.

In addi­tion to the myside bias described above, here are three other cog­ni­tive ten­den­cies that work against open-minded thinking:

1) Selec­tive Exposure

We main­tain our beliefs by selec­tively expos­ing our­selves to infor­ma­tion that we already know is likely to sup­port those beliefs. Lib­er­als tend to read lib­eral news­pa­pers, and Con­ser­v­a­tives tend to read con­ser­v­a­tive newspapers.

2) Pri­macy Effects

The evi­dence that comes first mat­ters more than evi­dence pre­sented later. Trial lawyers are very aware of this phe­nom­e­non. Once jurors form a belief, that belief becomes resis­tant to counterevidence.

3) Polar­iza­tion

We tend to be less crit­i­cal of evi­dence that sup­ports our beliefs than evi­dence that runs counter to our beliefs. In an inter­est­ing exper­i­ment that demon­strates this phe­nom­e­non, researchers pre­sented indi­vid­u­als with mixed evi­dence on the effec­tive­ness of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment on reduc­ing crime. Even though the evi­dence on both sides of the issue was per­fectly bal­anced, indi­vid­u­als became stronger in their ini­tial posi­tion for or against cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment. They rated evi­dence that sup­ported their ini­tial belief as more con­vinc­ing, and they found flaws more eas­ily in the evi­dence that coun­tered their ini­tial beliefs.

What Encour­ages Open-Mindedness?

Research sug­gests that peo­ple are more likely to be open-minded when they are not under time pres­sure. (Our gut reac­tions aren’t always the most accurate.)

Indi­vid­u­als are more likely to be open-minded when they believe they are mak­ing an impor­tant deci­sion. (This is when we start mak­ing lists of pros and cons, seek­ing the per­spec­tives of oth­ers, etc.)

Some research sug­gests that the way in which an idea is pre­sented can affect how open-minded some­one is when con­sid­er­ing it. For exam­ple, a typ­i­cal method of assess­ing open-mindedness in the lab­o­ra­tory is to ask a par­tic­i­pant to list argu­ments on both sides of a com­pli­cated issue (e.g., the death penalty, abor­tion, ani­mal test­ing). What typ­i­cally hap­pens is that indi­vid­u­als are able to list far more argu­ments on their favored side. How­ever, if the researcher then encour­ages the par­tic­i­pant to come up with more argu­ments on the oppos­ing side, most peo­ple are able to do so with­out too much dif­fi­culty. It seems that indi­vid­u­als have these counter-arguments stored in mem­ory but they don’t draw on them when first asked.

Exer­cises to Build Open-Mindedness

In my read­ings, I did not uncover any open-mindedness inter­ven­tions. But in the spirit of creativity/originality I con­sulted Cather­ine Freemire, LCSW [Cather­ine Freemire, LCSW, Bal­anced Life Coach­ing, coachcat@jps.net ], a clin­i­cal ther­a­pist and pro­fes­sional coach renowned for her cre­ative think­ing. She came up with three exer­cises for build­ing open-mindedness which I think are def­i­nitely worth trying:

Select an emo­tion­ally charged, debat­able topic (e.g., abor­tion, prayer in school, health­care reform, the cur­rent war in Iraq) and take the oppo­site side from your own. Write five valid rea­sons to sup­port this view. (While typ­ing Catherine’s idea, I had a related one of my own: If you are con­ser­v­a­tive in your polit­i­cal beliefs, lis­ten to Al Frankin’s radio show; if you are lib­eral, lis­ten to Rush Lim­baugh! While you are lis­ten­ing, try to avoid the cog­ni­tive error of polar­iza­tion described above.)

1. Remem­ber a time when you were wronged by some­one in the past. Gen­er­ate three plau­si­ble rea­sons why this per­son inad­ver­tently or inten­tion­ally wronged you.

2. This one is for par­ents: Think of a topic that you con­sis­tently argue about with your teen or grown child. Now, take their posi­tion and think of 3 sub­stan­tial rea­sons why their point of view is valid. (This could also be done with spouses or any fam­ily mem­bers for that matter!)

© 2004 Authen­tic Hap­pi­ness Coach­ing. All rights reserved.

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Personal Boundaries

October 16, 2011

Posted by:

Category: Awareness, How to, Marriage

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Personal Boundaries

All prob­lems in life may be divided into ones we can do some­thing about and the prob­lems we have no influ­ence over. Every one of our prob­lems is either within the sphere of our con­trol or it is not , e.g. it is inside or out­side our per­sonal boundary.

Your per­sonal bound­ary marks the line between what you con­trol and what you don’t. Solv­ing prob­lems begins with the cre­ation and famil­iar­ity with a healthy, mature and inte­grated per­sonal emo­tional bound­ary, so that you can eas­ily dis­tin­guish what you can con­trol, and LET GO of what you can­not. Spend­ing your emo­tional energy on what you can­not con­trol is called emo­tional SUFFERING.

Space inside your per­sonal bound­ary is your safe space, your COMFORT ZONE. That’s where you feel com­fort­able and in con­trol i.e. per­form­ing rou­tine tasks, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with peo­ple you know well about things you are knowl­edge­able about, etc. What lies out­side of it is unknown, you feel UNCOMFORTABLE  and that pro­duces FEAR. Applied to your rela­tion­ship, if your com­fort zone is deter­mined by your rela­tion­ship, you will nat­u­rally fear a break up.

We often allow our bound­aries to develop HOLES. When­ever you get afraid of some­thing that is not an imme­di­ate threat to your life, your per­sonal emo­tional bound­ary has been punc­tured; you have allowed an out­side influ­ence that you have no con­trol of press your but­tons and let your bound­ary be vio­lated. When­ever you use the word SHOULD, you allow the out­side cir­cum­stances that you can­not have con­trol over pull your chain. Some typ­i­cal exam­ples are: “She should not leave me”, or “He should love me.” (Feel free to add those hun­dreds of your own.) Instead, con­cen­trate on what YOU can do about it now (within your con­trol and INSIDE your bound­ary) instead of what should be or, even worse, what should HAVE BEEN. What dif­fer­ence does it makes if you think that she should not have left or that the earth should be flat? Yes, you may wish, but you, unfor­tu­nately can­not change the past events or the present real­ity. So, con­cen­trate on what you CAN do about it and CREATE the future by expand­ing your per­sonal bound­ary. You can­not pre­dict  the future no mat­ter how hard you try. There are too many unknowns out­side of your boundary.

Your per­son­al­ity is deter­mined by your pref­er­ences, i.e. say­ing YES to some things and NO to oth­ers, con­sis­tently. Your likes and dis­likes deter­mine your per­son­al­ity. If you are wishy-washy about your pref­er­ences and what you like and dis­like you are open to punch­ing holes in your bound­ary, thus hav­ing a “weak per­son­al­ity”. Your per­son­al­ity is being invaded from out­side and that trans­lates into SUFFERING. When your per­sonal bound­ary is solid, capa­ble of say­ing NO and hon­or­ing NO (this is where your per­sonal integrity comes in, see The Game­less Rela­tion­ship on integrity), you are well pro­tected from STRESS. Say NO to stress and it goes away. Stress orig­i­nates in uncon­trol­lable envi­ron­ments, out­side your bound­ary. You can say no to any influ­ence from out­side of your bound­ary. Holes in your bound­ary are the places you have trou­ble “say­ing NO” or “hear­ing NO”. Say­ing NO to things that you don’t pre­fer and being able to take NO for an answer will only strengthen your bound­ary. Peo­ple who have “their but­tons pushed” or let­ting oth­ers “get under their skin” have very porous bound­aries. If you are being vic­tim­ized in any way, your bound­ary has been pen­e­trated. Peo­ple whose but­tons can­not be eas­ily pushed and peo­ple with “thick skin” have strong per­sonal bound­aries. Peo­ple who can eas­ily be manip­u­lated by SHAME, or made to feel GUILTY need to start seri­ously work­ing on their bound­aries. But, be care­ful. You may build imper­me­able WALLS around you.

Bound­ary WALLS may be just as detri­men­tal to your rela­tion­ship as bound­ary HOLES. Some­times we learn our lessons “the hard way” and plug the bound­ary hole too tightly. If your pre­vi­ous rela­tion­ship was “bad”, say, you were emo­tion­ally manip­u­lated, you might have promised to your­self “never again” and close your­self to inti­macy with ANYONE. Post-traumatic Stress Dis­or­der is a good exam­ple of how men who came from com­bat are “unable to feel” any­thing. It is not that they are unable, they just say NO to inti­macy and feel­ings. They have been hurt too many times and now build thick walls around them­selves that even the most lov­ing part­ner or any mem­ber of their clos­est fam­ily can­not pen­e­trate. You’ve also heard peo­ple get into gen­er­al­iza­tions such as: All men are_____, or women are______. That’s how walls are bul­let: mak­ing gen­er­al­iza­tions out of you own nar­row expe­ri­ence. Being a her­mit is just as bad as wear­ing your heart on your sleeve, as Paul Dobran­sky, MD would say.

In con­clu­sion: it is mat­ter of your integrity, men­tal health, and per­sonal devel­op­ment to con­stantly expand a healthy per­sonal emo­tional bound­ary that will not have holes in it, but be able to will­ingly open to pos­si­bil­i­ties that will allow growth of your per­sonal bound­ary and thus enlarge your abil­ity to influ­ence your life. The size of your healthy and mature per­sonal bound­ary will deter­mine how suc­cess­ful you are in all areas of your life, includ­ing your rela­tion­ships with loved ones.

Click HERE for The Rela­tion­ship Saver, The Fast Track Man­ual for Sav­ing your Relationship.

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The Freedom of Being: Beyond Right/Wrong


The Free­dom of Being: Beyond Right/Wrong, Win/Lose, etc.

By Larry Pearson

Taken from The Land­mark Newsletter

Land­mark Forum Lead­ers in Conversation

This pas­sage comes from The New York Times: “Long before seat belts or com­mon sense were par­tic­u­larly wide­spread, my fam­ily made annual trips to New York in our sta­tion wagon. Mom and Dad took the front seat, my infant sis­ter sat in my mother’s lap and my brother and I had the back all to our­selves. We’d lounge around doing puz­zles, read­ing comics, and count­ing license plates. Even­tu­ally we’d fight. When our fight had finally esca­lated to the point of tears, our mother would turn around to chas­tise us, and my brother and I would start to plead our cases. ‘But he hit me first,’ one of us would say, to which the other would inevitably add, ‘But he hit me harder.’

It turns out that my brother and I were not alone in believ­ing that these two claims can get a puncher off the hook. In vir­tu­ally every human soci­ety, ‘He hit me first’ pro­vides an accept­able ratio­nale for doing that which is oth­er­wise for­bid­den. It is thought that a punch thrown sec­ond is legally and morally dif­fer­ent than a punch thrown first. The prob­lem with the prin­ci­ple of even-numberedness is that peo­ple count dif­fer­ently. Peo­ple think of their own actions as the con­se­quences of what came before, they think of other people’s actions as the causes of what came later, and that their rea­sons and pains are more pal­pa­ble, more obvi­ous and real, than that of others.” *

The stuff of wars, soap operas, divorce courts, Ham­let, and more all bor­row on that equa­tion, as do we. While we might wish we’d left that even-numberedness to our child­hood and ado­les­cence, it’s not to be. The dynamic of deal­ing with issues that are unwanted, yet per­sist con­tin­ues to play out in board rooms, neigh­bor­hoods, mar­riages, and between nations—we jus­tify, we blame, we complain.

Issues that are unwanted, yet per­sist can be a pow­er­ful impe­tus for change, as evi­denced by the progress of human rights, for exam­ple. But there’s another world of things that are unwanted, yet persist—things that we com­plain about over and over, like some aspect of our rela­tion­ships or jobs that is not work­ing, and yet we find our­selves keep­ing around.

If we put what’s “unwanted, yet per­sists” together with “fixed ways of being,” we get what we call a “racket.” It’s a “mashup” of sorts (a web buzz­word). In a mashup, one web appli­ca­tion is com­bined with another, mak­ing both appli­ca­tions more pro­duc­tive and robust—you get some­thing greater than the sum of the parts. If you mash up what’s unwanted, yet per­sists (which is most likely occur­ring as a com­plaint) and a fixed way of being, you also get some­thing greater than the sum of its parts, but in this case, the yield heads in the wrong direction—the com­bi­na­tion is unpro­duc­tive or more accu­rately, counterproductive.

com­plaint is some kind of opin­ion or judg­ment of the way things “should” or “shouldn’t be.” The eval­u­a­tive com­po­nent isn’t a com­men­tary on facts that are true or false, accu­rate or not, but again how we think thingsshould be. By fixed way of being we mean act­ing in a pre­dictable and repet­i­tive man­ner (like always frus­trated, always upset, always angry, always nice, always annoyed, always sus­pi­cious, always con­fused, etc.). What­ever ourfixed way of being is, it’s not some­thing we have a choice over. It’s just there—it shows up auto­mat­i­cally when the com­plaint shows up. It’s also worth not­ing that a recur­ring com­plaint doesn’t cause the way of being, nor does the way of being cause the recur­ring complaint—they sim­ply come together in one pack­age. The whole point here, though, is that it’s a fixed way of being, not a pos­si­ble way of being.

The term “racket” comes from the days of big-city gang­sters and street-level crim­i­nals who con­ducted ques­tion­able activities—loan-sharking, bribery, larceny—usually set up to get some kind of pay­off, cam­ou­flaged by an accept­able cover above sus­pi­cion. In a “rack­e­teer­ing” oper­a­tion, the efforts at con­ceal­ing what’s going on behind the scenes can become quite elab­o­rate so as to pro­tect and ensure the suc­cess of the oper­a­tion. We bor­row the term racket as it’s applic­a­ble to our con­tem­po­rary lives and because it car­ries with it many of the same properties—deception, smoke screens, pay­offs, etc.

Some­times per­sis­tent com­plaints orig­i­nate with us, other times they come at us from some­one else. It’s harder to see that we’re in “racket mode” with com­plaints that come at us, because it looks like some­body else is the per­sis­tent com­plainer, and we just an inno­cent bystander. But under closer scrutiny, it turns out we too have complaints—complaints about their com­plaints. Our match­ing com­plaint might show up like, “don’t they under­stand, don’t they know how it is for me, why are they nag­ging, don’t they see every­thing I’m doing for them?” When we com­plain, we feel quite jus­ti­fied that our response is appro­pri­ate to the situation.

We explain the ratio­nale behind our com­plaints to inter­ested (and unin­ter­ested) par­ties, and point out how pleased we are with our­selves for tak­ing the nec­es­sary steps to sort things out—we have a cer­tain fond­ness for our attempts, for “try­ing.” We might get our friends, fam­ily, or cowork­ers to agree that we’re deal­ing with our com­plaints the best we can. If they point out that per­haps we’re the one per­pet­u­at­ing the prob­lem, we could feel mis­un­der­stood, put out, even busted. Seen from a dis­tance, there can be some­thing almost endear­ing about how we go about all this—as if it’s part of our authen­tic and sin­cere spirit—but actu­ally, our ratio­nale for doing what we do is another thing entirely. This is the cam­ou­flage or cover-up part. The decep­tive nature of a racket and the allure of the pay­off keep us from real­iz­ing the full impact rack­ets have in our lives.

The pay­offs for keep­ing rack­ets around usu­ally show up in sev­eral ways: being right and mak­ing oth­ers wrong (not the fac­tual kind of right, but think­ing that we are right and the other per­son is wrong), being dom­i­nat­ing or avoid­ing dom­i­na­tion, jus­ti­fy­ing our­selves and inval­i­dat­ing oth­ers (attribut­ing cause to some thing or per­son other than our­selves), engag­ing in the win/lose dynamic (not “win­ning” like a cel­e­bra­tion with tro­phies, applause, or con­grat­u­la­tions to the oppo­nent, but win­ning such that some­one else is the loser or is less­ened in some way). These pay­offs are like facets of a diamond—although one facet might be more dom­i­nant than another (and we might deny or not be aware that some aspect of a pay­off is active in our case), they’re really all at play.

The pull of these pay­offs is often com­pelling enough to get us to give up love, vital­ity, self-expression, health, and hap­pi­ness. That’s a ridicu­lously strong force. Those costs are the stan­dard fare of a racket.  It’s pretty obvi­ous that we can’t be happy, vital, and lov­ing while we’re mak­ing some­one wrong, dom­i­nat­ing some­one, being right, or jus­ti­fy­ing ourselves—one dis­places the other. This is where choice comes into the picture.

Rack­ets, although one thing, have two forms of exis­tence (some­what like ice and steam are two forms of H2O). One form of a racket shows up as “I am X, Y, or Z.” The sec­ond shows up as “ahhh, I have a racket that is X, Y, or Z.” When we are the racket, it shapes and deter­mines our way of being. But when we have a racket, it has very lit­tle power over our way of being. We have a choice about what’s at play—about giv­ing up our rack­ets, our posi­tions, our unpro­duc­tive ways of being. When we elect to trans­form our default ways of being—being right, com­ing out on top (the even-numberedness, so to speak)—we move to a place of free­dom, a place of pos­si­bil­ity. The ques­tion then becomes: How do I express my life? What would be, for me, the most extra­or­di­nary, cre­ated, invented life?  It becomes a mat­ter of art, of design. How extra­or­di­nary are the every­day aspects of our lives; how rich our lives are, how full of oppor­tu­nity, when we act on the pos­si­bil­ity of liv­ing life fully.

* Adapted from Daniel Gilbert, New York Times, 7/24/06.

Click HERE for The Rela­tion­ship Saver, The Fast Track Man­ual for Sav­ing your Relationship.

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Is Your Marriage a Private Matter?

Cer­tainly not; your wed­ding wasn’t. Let me try and explain, but first let me say what prompted me to write this blog. I’ll make it short. I recently talked to the par­ents of a cou­ple who was about to get divorced and they said: “We can­not do any­thing about it. It’s their busi­ness and their pri­vate life. They are adults and we do not want to interfere.”

If no one both­ers to “inter­fere”, there will be all sorts of trau­mas, incon­ve­niences, changes and expenses for all involved: the cou­ple them­selves, par­ents, friends, col­leagues, employ­ees, and employ­ers, etc., etc. In short, every­one with whom the cou­ple comes in con­tact. Peo­ple take sides and it causes a rip­ple effect of bro­ken friend­ships, hurt feel­ings, much gos­sip, and so on. As you can see, this is far from being a ”pri­vate mat­ter”, although it may seem that way at first sight.

In the past, when peo­ple lived in extended fam­i­lies sep­a­ra­tions and divorces were rare. The couple’s fam­ily felt respon­si­ble for their rela­tion­ship. A cou­ple could not behave any way they “felt like it” because there were always wit­nesses to pass judg­ment on their behav­ior. It is clear who is the one mess­ing up a mar­riage. Friends and fam­ily some­how think they are not respon­si­ble for the well being of the couple’s rela­tion­ship. It is so easy to shed the respon­si­bil­ity. Peo­ple often for­get – or they never knew in the first place – that wed­dings are meant for the guests to wit­ness the wed­ding vows and keep the cou­ple account­able and remind them of “until death do us part”. You are not invited to a wed­ding to eat, drink and have a good time only. Cer­tain respon­si­bil­i­ties come with it if you are a friend or a family.

So, as you can see, the respon­si­bil­ity for the suc­cess of a mar­riage is on both sides: the cou­ples, and on their fam­ily and friends. When a cou­ple is alone and iso­lated as a “nuclear fam­ily”, and when it comes to a break-up most peo­ple imme­di­ately take sides with one part­ner or the other instead of tak­ing a stand for the mar­riage itself. I’m not say­ing that all cou­ples must stay together no mat­ter what, but my expe­ri­ence as a rela­tion­ship coach with thou­sands of peo­ple, tells me that there are very few rea­sons that may jus­tify a break up: abuse for one. How­ever, most peo­ple break up for rea­sons such as an urge to be right, jus­ti­fy­ing one’s actions and inval­i­dat­ing the other’s, a wish to dom­i­nate or avoid dom­i­na­tion of mar­i­tal respon­si­bil­i­ties, being needy, hav­ing an inflated pic­ture of their own con­tri­bu­tion in the part­ner­ship, etc. All of these are per­son­al­ity issues that, if a per­son is will­ing, can be eas­ily iso­lated and dealt with. Peo­ple are always so ready to blame oth­ers and at the same time be totally unaware of their own actions and short­com­ings and what is even worse, being in total denial of it.

Friends and fam­ily hear only one side of the story when the going gets rough and often don’t know or don’t dare to ask ques­tions that may open a person’s eyes to their own actions (or more often inac­tions) that might have caused the prob­lem. So, instead of being sup­port­ers for their rela­tion­ships they become accom­plices to the break up.

On the other hand, a cou­ple often does not ask for help until it’s almost too late, or ask for help in the wrong places, with peo­ple who will uncon­di­tion­ally agree with their ver­sion of the whys, the hows and the whos, not both­er­ing to find out if there is more to it than meets the eye.

In con­clu­sion: sep­a­ra­tion is not a pri­vate affair. All involved should take respon­si­bil­ity for the fail­ure of a rela­tion­ship. And, yes, if you know them, you ARE involved. And if a cou­ple thinks that their break up is their own busi­ness, think again. You are not alone in this world; you may be screw­ing up some­one else’s life as well, not only your own. It is time to grow up, become an adult, what­ever that means to you. Stop point­ing fin­gers at oth­ers and see what you can do because you are the only per­son you can have con­trol over. Do not worry about your part­ner since he/she will react to you as she/he always has done in the past and is doing so in the present.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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The Power of Vulnerability

Vul­ner­a­bil­ity is one of those dreaded words. Some­times we’d rather die than allow our­selves to be vul­ner­a­ble in our rela­tion­ships. No won­der! Look at the def­i­n­i­tion of vulnerable:

“|ˈvəln(ə)rəbəl|
adjec­tive
Sus­cep­ti­ble to phys­i­cal or emo­tional attack or harm : we were in a vul­ner­a­ble posi­tion | small fish are vul­ner­a­ble to predators.”

Who in their right mind would want to con­sciously expose them­selves to an “attack”?!

Well, con­sider that there is always another side to the story, a dif­fer­ent angle, the other side of the coin. Bad can­not exist with­out good. There is no God with­out the Devil, no left with­out right, no up with­out down, and no Yin with­out Yang. So, what is good about being vulnerable?

The con­cept of being vul­ner­a­ble is sim­ple but it is often hard to let our­selves expe­ri­ence it. What is nec­es­sary is courage. The Rela­tion­ship Saver can help.

In The fol­low­ing video, The Power of Vul­ner­a­bil­ity, Mrs Brene Brown tells us that by allow­ing our­selves to be vul­ner­a­ble in our rela­tion­ships we can get no less than our very life out of it :

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

What are your strate­gies for deal­ing with vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties? Post your answer in the “Leave a Reply” space below.

Thank you.

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Don’t Tell Me What To Do!

When I was about 17, my par­ents strongly objected to some of my friends. Yes, they were my friends and my par­ents didn’t know them nearly as well as I did oth­er­wise they would have agreed with my point of view. The more they protested about my spend­ing time with them the more time I invested into our friend­ship. To tell the truth – and after all these years I can – even then I intu­itively knew that they were right, but there was no way that I would ever do what they told me to do. My eager­ness and need to be right and the power of mak­ing my own deci­sions was sim­ply over­whelm­ing. Sure enough, most of those friends turned out either not to be such good friends as I imag­ined. Sev­eral of them became alco­holics, or ended up in jail. And, yes, I admit my par­ents were right. They knew what was good for me and they acted as respon­si­ble par­ents to the best of their abilities.

No-one-tells-me-what-to-do atti­tude is per­fectly nor­mal for teenagers any­where. Their need to break away from their par­ents’ influ­ence and prove them­selves as able to be suc­cess­ful and respon­si­ble in the “real world”, is healthy and nec­es­sary behav­ior for the devel­op­ment of a healthy psy­che. But as we mature this atti­tude may present a sig­nif­i­cant bar­rier to healthy rela­tion­ships and a happy life.

First, this kind of rebel behav­ior may result in push­ing away any­one who comes close to you. This is how it usu­ally works: You know from your own expe­ri­ence that it is very easy for you to see when oth­ers are about to do some­thing that will not serve them well. If that per­son is a stranger or just an acquain­tance you most likely will not open your mouth to stop them. But, if it is some­one you care about, you will do your utmost to point out the fal­lacy of his/her intended actions. So, when­ever you become resis­tant to the sug­ges­tions of the peo­ple who care about you, you are jump­ing into don’t-tell-me-what-to-do modus operandi. In other words, you are digress­ing into a teenager. I cer­tainly do not pro­pose that you should accept all rec­om­men­da­tions from every­one who cares about you. What I am sug­gest­ing is open­ness to the pos­si­bil­ity and will­ing­ness to con­sider other points of view.

This kind of resis­tance to do what peo­ple ask you to do (or not to do) is a sign of inse­cu­rity, low self-esteem, infe­ri­or­ity com­plex and such. The more often you exer­cise your “right” to do what you want, the more you alien­ate peo­ple around you and more you push your­self in the direc­tion of inse­cu­rity and low self-esteem. Choos­ing not to do what peo­ple ask you to do is just as much a free choice as accept­ing other people’s requests and sug­ges­tions. You have right to change your mind. The choice is always yours. Be respon­si­ble for it. By refus­ing other people’s requests because you did not gen­er­ate the idea, and think­ing that some­how by accept­ing it you will lose power, is a vic­tim behav­ior. The choice is always yours no mat­ter which way you go. In fact, by accept­ing, or at least con­sid­er­ing and being will­ing to dis­cuss it in order to learn more about other people’s point of view, you show gen­eros­ity, trust, respect, under­stand­ing and secu­rity in your own beliefs. Para­dox­i­cally, the more you are open to the pos­si­bil­ity of chang­ing your mind the more you gain self-esteem. Most cul­tures teach us that chang­ing your mind under any cir­cum­stances makes you a per­son of a weak char­ac­ter, wishy-washy and less respected by oth­ers. Con­sider the fol­low­ing: you decide to do some­thing against other’s rec­om­men­da­tion, and you fail. Who do you blame? Your­self, of course (low esteem). Do you learn from the expe­ri­ence? No, you don’t. You vow that you’ll do it bet­ter the next time using the same strat­egy of the don’t-tell-me-what-to-do vari­ety. Do you give credit to the per­son who sug­gested oth­er­wise? No, you resent him/her even more. What hap­pens if you suc­ceed? Do you give your­self credit? Rarely. It’s just you. You just made a good choice. That’s it. You were lucky this time (low self-esteem). Your rela­tion­ship with that per­son worsens.

Now con­sider that you take some­one else’s advice. If you fail, what do you think? You see, I told you so. I should have done it my way. (Higher opin­ion of your­self.) If you suc­ceed, you will be grate­ful to him/her and you will praise your­self for mak­ing a good choice of accept­ing the sug­ges­tion and exe­cut­ing it (high self-esteem). Your rela­tion­ship with that per­son will become stronger.

So, yes, just as you have right do to what you want to do, no mat­ter what advice you get, you also absolutely have right to change your mind to your ben­e­fit and take other people’s advice. These are the two equal sides of the same coin.

Again, by all means, you should NOT go around doing what every­one tells you to do (low self-esteem), but being able to make a sound choice free of the bag­gage from the past, or emo­tions that may pop up unbid­den at those moments of deci­sion. Some­times even “blind trust”, although nor­mally regarded as irre­spon­si­ble, is accept­able. Think of pro­fes­sional advi­sors, teacher, friends and oth­ers that you trusted blindly, maybe with mixed results, which, by the way, will always be mixed, i.e., we will always make occa­sional mis­takes whether we do what we want, or if we lis­ten to other’s advice. Mis­takes are a part of life. Learn to live with them. But at least with the absence of the don’t-tell-me-what-to-do atti­tude you will have hap­pier life, bet­ter rela­tion­ships and open end for self-growth and being a respon­si­ble wise adult instead of a per­pet­ual teenager.

Doing what oth­ers request from you, being a “yes” per­son, will pro­vide you with an oppor­tu­nity for ser­vice, whether it is gladly bring­ing your part­ner a cup of cof­fee*, or car­ing for the sick and elderly, or any­thing in between. We grow by serv­ing oth­ers. We serve our­selves by serv­ing oth­ers. We are social ani­mals. “Doing onto oth­ers what they want done to them­selves” is a higher motto for peace­ful rela­tion­ships and peace the world. It is an atti­tude of peace, not con­fronta­tion. It is about care, con­tri­bu­tion, pros­per­ity, effi­ciency, effec­tive­ness and self-growth from teenage-hood to adult­hood. Remem­ber the choice is always yours.

To be bound by our choices is not to have lost our freedom

but to have exer­cised it.”

Robert Brault

Radomir

*See The Rela­tion­ship Saver: “Reverse the process”

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Facts vs. Feelings

The more I learn about dif­fer­ences between men and women (or I should rather say fem­i­nine and mas­cu­line) the more I dis­cover the causes of mis­un­der­stand­ing and mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions that that are per­va­sive in man/woman rela­tion­ships. The fol­low­ing is a per­fect exam­ple how mas­cu­line and fem­i­nine per­ceive and inter­pret real­ity, which if under­stood and han­dled prop­erly can solve most of the rela­tionship prob­lems, but if unat­tended can eas­ily esca­late to a break-up or divorce.

Here is the exam­ple in the two cor­re­spon­dences that I received from Ali­son Arm­strong, a rela­tion­ship expert who I respect very much. (Her books, courses and CDs you can find in the right col­umn on this website.)

After read­ing this exam­ple try to see other occur­rences where gen­der dif­fer­ences, if under­stood prop­erly can save you a lot of grief in your relationship.

What doy think about this? Let us know.

Best regards,

Radomir

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Dear Radomir,

One of the things we dis­cov­ered years ago is that the Mas­cu­line mea­sures real­ity by trusted FACTs while the Fem­i­nine real­ity is cre­ated by her FEEL­INGs.  Both of these are com­pletely valid ways of see­ing the world.

An inter­est­ing and haz­ardous side effect, how­ever, is when you put these two real­i­ties in an auto­mo­bile together.  Let’s call the Mas­cu­line a “Man,” although this is not always true, and the Fem­i­nine a “Woman,” also not always true ~ but eas­ier to repeat over and over again.  He’s going to pay atten­tion to being Fac­tu­ally safe, while she can’t help but notice if she Feels safe.

Add to this the dif­fer­ence in eye­sight for men and women: He can track mov­ing objects way bet­ter than she can; she has a periph­eral vision that’s more sen­si­tive and prey-like than preda­tor ~ mean­ing she sees more threats.

This is how you have a woman full of ten­sion and poten­tially freak­ing out because he keeps chang­ing lanes.  Every time he moves the car to a lane on her side, it will look to her like cars on her side might hit her.  So she doesn’t Feel safe.  He may know fac­tu­ally that he hasn’t had an acci­dent in decades, that the car over on the other side wasn’t going to move, that the speed with which he slipped in that spot missed the other car by a mile… and so on.

Unfor­tu­nately, the Fact of her being safe will not make her Feel safe.  And a man’s great­est chal­lenge with women is mak­ing them FEEL SAFE.  Because every­thing good from a woman begins with her feel­ing safe ~ and every­thing nasty begins with her feel­ing unsafe.

I would love your com­ments and ques­tions related to this topic.  It’s worth exploring!

Bless­ings,
Alison

——

Thank you for your pro­found response to “Chang­ing Lanes.”  I’m thrilled that so many of you found insight, inspi­ra­tion, relief and, even, heal­ing, in a seem­ingly small thing that effects our time with the oppo­site sex in such a big way.

To con­tinue the dia­log: Since learn­ing about the effect of chang­ing lanes on my feel­ings of safety, Greg has mod­i­fied the way he dri­ves.  On a recent trip back from Ore­gon, he apol­o­gized for get­ting close to a semi-truck as he nego­ti­ated the hol­i­day traf­fic.  His apol­ogy was sweet but unnec­es­sary.  As I said to him, “Honey, chillin’ the cave­woman is a part­ner­ship.  I just reminded myself that, as a hunter, you track mov­ing objects much bet­ter than I do and the fact is you’ve never plowed me into the back of a truck!  So I calmed myself down.”

I tell you this because under­stand­ing our instincts and hav­ing a vic­tory of human spirit is some­thing we can all do.  On one end, it’s mak­ing an accom­mo­da­tion to not antag­o­nize another’s most prim­i­tive reac­tions.  On the other, it’s being respon­si­ble for hav­ing them and talk­ing your­self back down off the cliff edge.  Being will­ing to act from whichever end you’re on is a gift to our part­ners — and just plain smart.  Using the infor­ma­tion about our great­est weak­nesses and demand­ing solely the accom­mo­da­tion from our part­ners isn’t fair or in true partnership.

Speak­ing of part­ner­ship, I’m off to Col­orado for three weeks of bliss with some of my favorite two and four-legged part­ners.  PAX World News will return in Sep­tem­ber renewed.  Mean­while, Patrice will give you ample oppor­tu­ni­ties to lis­ten and watch the lat­est inter­views shar­ing my most recent trea­sures from the adven­tures of study­ing men, women and part­ner­ship.  Look for those emails from her in August.

Many bless­ings,

Ali­son

——–

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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How To Make Your Woman Happy

Note: What fol­lows does not apply to ALL the women ALL the time, but in major­ity sit­u­a­tions it could be very use­ful and right on the mark.

I shall attempt to lay out as suc­cinctly as I can a guide to most com­mon issues we, men, need to deal with in our rela­tion­ships with our women. Too often we for­get that we are deal­ing with a “dif­fer­ent species” i.e. female Homo Sapi­ens and by default, if we want to be nice, we treat them the way we want to be treated. That’s what we have been told: “Do unto the oth­ers as you would have them do unto you.” Wrong! When deal­ing with the oppo­site sex, in fact with oth­ers in gen­eral, we should use the mod­i­fi­ca­tion of this rule:  “Do unto oth­ers as they would have it done to them­selves”. In other word treat oth­ers as they want to be treated.

Well, the prob­lem arises when you have no idea how oth­ers (women) want to be treated. Espe­cially when it changes all the time depend­ing on cir­cum­stances and on con­stantly chang­ing feel­ings that women are so good at. Men are cer­tainly dis­ad­van­taged in this area. The best we can do is to become good at a guess­ing game. So often we find our­selves with a foot in our mouth not under­stand­ing what hap­pened and how we got there, although we treated our very much loved woman exactly the way we would want to be treated.

Here I will try to out­line some “rules” that will keep your foot where it belongs, on the floor.

Since this arti­cle is aimed at men I will deal with this issue in bul­let points. Here are some of the basic rules when deal­ing with a woman we love:

• First and fore­most: take full respon­si­bil­ity for what comes out of your mouth as well as how you choose to inter­pret what you hear.

• Reas­sur­ance. Our women need to be told that we love them. We erro­neously think that our actions like work­ing and pro­vid­ing for the fam­ily clearly com­mu­ni­cates our love for her. We often think that the more we work the stronger is the mes­sage of our love. Wrong again. Noth­ing can sub­sti­tute look­ing in her eyes and telling her: “I love you.”

• Emo­tions. Women emote very dif­fer­ently then we do. A woman hav­ing a dif­fused focus as opposed to single-focus of us, men, can­not con­trol what thoughts come into their head. Thoughts trig­ger emo­tions and we men find our­selves in trou­ble, not know­ing what hit us. There is no logic and no con­nec­tion to the present sit­u­a­tion. We can­not con­nect dots and We start ask­ing our­selves what did we do wrong. Most likely noth­ing. Feel­ings some­times go ram­pant in a woman. She can­not con­trol it. She can­not choose  what to think about. Say­ing “Don’t think about it”  does not help. Try to close the issue by resolv­ing the con­cern. Of course you need to find out what the real con­cern is and that may take some doing.

• Secu­rity. Again we think that the most impor­tant thing for a woman is that she feels finan­cially secure. That’s why, as I men­tioned before, you do your best to pro­vide for her. That’s awfully nice of you, but you may be bark­ing up a wrong tree. What she really wants much more than “money and things” is emo­tional secu­rity. This means that she can count on you to always be there for her and that she can count on you to be her best friend.

• Lis­ten­ing. We men lis­ten for a prob­lems and look for solu­tions. We also lis­ten for the point of the con­ver­sa­tion. We have no patience to lis­ten to a chrono­log­i­cal unfold­ing of a story with­out know­ing were it is going. As soon as our loved one tells us that she has a prob­lem, we are think­ing how to fix it. Wrong! Your women is quite able most of the time to fix the prob­lem her­self. If she can­not she will ask you for help. You need to trust that. What she wants from you is to lis­ten to her and acknowl­edge how she feels about it, because her feel­ings are the prob­lem that she needs to com­mu­ni­cate to you. Once you know that, it becomes easy (or not) to just lis­ten and not offer your solu­tions because there are none. She is deal­ing with her feel­ings which she has no con­trol over. So, next time she comes to you with a prob­lem, do not lis­ten to her prob­lem, lis­ten for her feel­ings. Do not offer help, wait to be asked for it, or ask if she wants your help.

• Sex. We men are very vain. When our woman does not want to have sex with us, we take it per­son­ally. Sex is our pri­mary drive in rela­tion­ship with a woman. Not so for them. In fact once you under­stand that woman’s “warm-up time” is much longer than ours and that she needs to be fore­warned so that she can antic­i­pate it, things become much eas­ier. It’s not about you. Women are wired dif­fer­ently and for a good rea­son. (I’m not going to go into it here.) Very often she just wants to be close to you, to snug­gle and be cud­dled. Of course, when­ever that hap­pens you think about sex. Hold your horses, not so fast! It DOES NOT mean that she wants sex. If you insist on it every time she comes close to you, she will start avoid­ing you. You scare her off. Take it easy, take your time. Once she gets into it, she WILL enjoy it as much, or maybe even more than you do, but patience is an oper­a­tive word.

• Beauty. A woman asks a man: “Does this dress make me look fat?” Man: “No, your fat makes you look fat.” Baaaaad move. That’s how you can talk to other man friends and not to a woman, because women are dif­fer­ent species. They will never inter­pret it as a joke, or just take it as plain truth. Remem­ber, it’s all about feel­ings. Her inter­pre­ta­tion would be …. well, make up your own. Women want us to find them attrac­tive. They want to be looked at and we, men want to look. Per­fect match! She has a deep need to know that she is beau­ti­ful for YOU. When she asks you how she looks do not say, just fine. Cul­tural pres­sure to look beau­ti­ful is great and it can hardly be avoided. So, tell her often and hon­estly that she is beau­ti­ful. You do not have to use exactly that word, but there are so many oth­ers and other ways to say the same thing. Be cre­ative.
These are just some of the points that we men often are not aware of, or sim­ply do not bother to prac­tice them. Try them, they work. Ask your women.

(Next arti­cle will be for women about men)

Let us know your thoughts and expe­ri­ences about this from both men and women.

Thanks

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Maintaining A Healthy Relationship

The fol­low­ing arti­cle describes what I have sus­pected for a long time and writ­ten about in one of my pre­vi­ous posts. We think that we should know how to man­age our rela­tion­ships and thus are very resis­tant to look­ing for help until it is often too late.

Smart busi­nesses invest in adver­tis­ing and devel­op­ment in the peri­ods of their pros­per­ity. We also invest on a per­sonal level when, as is men­tioned in the arti­cle below, we go to the den­tist for a check up. We do not wait for our teeth to decay first.

The New York Times Arti­cle, Seek­ing to Pre-empt Mar­i­tal Strife by TARA PARKER-POPE is about research by psy­chol­o­gists in the topic of rela­tion­ship main­te­nance. Since I am a coach and author, here I’d like to point out that there is a dif­fer­ence between coach­ing and psychology.

Coach­ing is only for men­tally healthy peo­ple and it is mostly ori­ented towards future actions. We do not delve into the the past and “fix” things, we cre­ate the future. If we notice that there may be some deeper issues that need ther­apy, we would refer our clients to a therapist.

Since psy­chother­apy in this coun­try is a busi­ness, and it could be a very prof­itable one, I think that too many healthy peo­ple are made to think that they need ther­apy or coun­sel­ing (which is also mostly done by ther­a­pists) in order to be able to repair their relationship.

This is by no means intended to bash psy­chother­a­pists. After all, my daugh­ter will be one very soon. There are many cases where ther­apy best be used, but I have seen many peo­ple go to ther­apy as a default option when a lit­tle healthy coach­ing can make all the dif­fer­ence in the world. Ther­apy can be expen­sive, where just a few insights into the core prin­ci­ples of a suc­cess­ful rela­tion­ships may cause all the change that you want in your relationship .

All this said, here is the link to this excel­lent arti­cle by Tara Parker-Pope that was sent to me by my friend Anabela Enes:

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JUNE 28, 2010, 5:17 PM
Seek­ing to Pre-empt Mar­i­tal Strife
By TARA PARKER-POPE
Stu­art Brad­ford Does your mar­riage need ther­apy? If you’re like most peo­ple, the cor­rect answer may well be yes, but your answer is prob­a­bly no.
In most mar­riages, one or both part­ners resist the idea of coun­sel­ing. Some can’t afford it, or find it incon­ve­nient. And many view ther­apy as a last resort — some­thing only des­per­ate cou­ples need. Only 19 per­cent of cur­rently mar­ried cou­ples have taken part in mar­riage coun­sel­ing; a recent study of divorc­ing cou­ples found that nearly two-thirds never sought coun­sel­ing before decid­ing to end the rela­tion­ship.
“It seems like we’re even more resis­tant to think­ing about get­ting help for our rela­tion­ship than we are for depres­sion or anx­i­ety,” said Brian D. Doss, an assis­tant psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Miami. “There’s a strong dis­in­cen­tive to think about your rela­tion­ship as being in trou­ble — that’s almost admit­ting fail­ure by admit­ting that some­thing isn’t right.”
Mar­riage coun­sel­ing does not always work, of course — per­haps because it is so often delayed past the point of no return. One recent study of two types of ther­apy found that only about half the cou­ples reported long-lasting improve­ments in their mar­riages.
So researchers have begun look­ing for ways (some of them online) to reach cou­ples before a mar­riage goes off the rails.
One fed­er­ally financed study is track­ing 217 cou­ples tak­ing part in an annual “mar­riage checkup” that essen­tially offers pre­ven­tive care, like an annual phys­i­cal or a den­tal exam.
“You don’t wait to see the den­tist until some­thing hurts — you go for check­ups on a reg­u­lar basis,” said James V. Cór­dova, an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of psy­chol­ogy at Clark Uni­ver­sity in Worces­ter, Mass., who wrote “The Mar­riage Checkup” (Jason Aron­son, 2009). “That’s the model we’re test­ing. If peo­ple were to bring their mar­riages in for a checkup on an annual basis, would that pro­vide the same sort of ben­e­fit that a phys­i­cal health checkup would pro­vide?”
Although Dr. Cór­dova and col­leagues are still tal­ly­ing the data, pre­lim­i­nary find­ings show that cou­ples who take part in the pro­gram do expe­ri­ence improve­ments in mar­i­tal qual­ity. By work­ing with cou­ples before they are unhappy, the checkup iden­ti­fies poten­tially “cor­ro­sive” behav­iors and helps cou­ples make small changes in com­mu­ni­ca­tion style before their prob­lems spi­ral out of con­trol. (Typ­i­cal prob­lems include lack of time for sex and blam­ing a part­ner for the stresses of child rear­ing.)
“Cou­ples won’t go to mar­i­tal ther­apy with just the one thing that they are strug­gling with,” Dr. Cór­dova said. “So they end up strug­gling in places where the fix might be sim­ple, it’s just that they them­selves are blind to it.”
Not sur­pris­ingly, some ther­a­pists are cre­at­ing online self-help pro­grams to reach cou­ples before seri­ous prob­lems set in. Dr. Doss and Andrew Chris­tensen, a psy­chol­ogy pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les, are recruit­ing cou­ples at www.OurRelationship.com to study such a pro­gram.
The online study, financed by a five-year $1.2 mil­lion grant from the National Insti­tute of Child Health and Human Devel­op­ment, will deliver online ther­apy to 500 cou­ples. It is based on “accep­tance ther­apy,” which focuses on bet­ter under­stand­ing of a partner’s flaws — a tech­nique described in “Rec­on­cil­able Dif­fer­ences” (Guil­ford Press, 2002), by Dr. Chris­tensen and Neil S. Jacob­son.
The method, for­mally called inte­gra­tive behav­ioral ther­apy, was the sub­ject of one of the largest and longest clin­i­cal tri­als of cou­ples ther­apy. Over a year, 134 highly dis­tressed mar­ried cou­ples in Los Ange­les and Seat­tle received 26 ther­apy ses­sions, with follow-up ses­sions every six months for the next five years.
Half the cou­ples received tra­di­tional ther­apy that focused on bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion and prob­lem solv­ing, while the oth­ers took part in a sim­i­lar pro­gram that included accep­tance ther­apy. Five years after treat­ment, about half the mar­riages in both groups were sig­nif­i­cantly improved, accord­ing to the study, which appeared in the April issue of The Jour­nal of Con­sult­ing and Clin­i­cal Psy­chol­ogy. Dr. Chris­tensen says about a third of the sub­jects could be described as “nor­mal, happy cou­ples,” a sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment con­sid­er­ing how dis­tressed they were at the start. (The cou­ples who received accep­tance ther­apy had bet­ter results after two years, but both types of ther­apy were about equal by the end of the study.)
The hope is that an online ver­sion of the pro­gram could reach cou­ples sooner, and also offer booster ses­sions to improve results. Even so, Dr. Chris­tensen notes that the dis­ad­van­tage of online ther­apy is that it won’t give cou­ples a third party to ref­eree their dis­cus­sion.
“Nobody thinks it’s going to replace indi­vid­ual ther­apy or cou­ples ther­apy,” he said. “There’s gen­er­ally a sense that the inter­ven­tion might be less pow­er­ful, but if it’s less pow­er­ful but is eas­ily admin­is­tered to many more peo­ple, then it’s still a very help­ful treat­ment.”
Researchers at Brigham Young Uni­ver­sity offer an exten­sive online mar­i­tal assess­ment, called Relate, for cou­ples and indi­vid­u­als. The detailed ques­tion­naire, at www.relate– institute.org, takes about 35 min­utes to com­plete and gen­er­ates a lengthy report with color-coded graphs depict­ing a couple’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­flict style, how much effort each part­ner puts into the rela­tion­ship, and other things. The fee is $20 to $40.
Aus­tralian researchers are using the same assess­ment, along with a DVD and tele­phone edu­ca­tion pro­gram called Cou­ple Care, found at www.couplecare.info, to reach fam­i­lies in remote areas who don’t have access to tra­di­tional ther­apy. The Utah and Aus­tralia researchers have begun a ran­dom­ized, con­trolled trial of about 300 cou­ples to deter­mine the effec­tive­ness of the approach.
Pre­lim­i­nary data show that cou­ples reported improve­ment, but Kim Hal­ford, a pro­fes­sor of clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of Queens­land, St. Lucia, in Aus­tralia, said more study of long-term effects was needed.
Dr. Hal­ford notes that as more cou­ples meet through Web dat­ing ser­vices, the appeal of online cou­ples coun­sel­ing may increase. “If infor­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy is inte­gral to how you began your rela­tion­ship,” he said, “then if ther­apy is required it’s not sur­pris­ing that they would look to online tech­nol­ogy.”
A ver­sion of this arti­cle appeared in print on June 29, 2010, on page D1 of the New York edi­tion.
Copy­right 2010 The New York Times Com­pany
Pri­vacy Pol­icy    NYTimes.com
620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018

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If you are not sure about qual­ity of your rela­tion­ship, you may check it HERE

If your rela­tion­ship is less than you may con­sider “per­fect”, The Game­less Rela­tion­ship will expose exactly what may be missing.

Thank you

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Is It Fear, Or Is It Love?

We talk a lot about love in rela­tion­ships as being the most impor­tant ingre­di­ent with­out which a rela­tion­ship can­not be sus­tained. So, we always talk about how we want to be loved more, how the love was lost, how to regain love and put the “spark” back in our rela­tion­ship. We think that some­how that feel­ing of love or a lov­ing feel­ing should always be present and only then we would know that our rela­tion­ship is OK. When a rela­tion­ship is break­ing up there seems to be a simul­ta­ne­ous loss of love, or loss of love pre­cedes the break up. We treat love as a “thing” that can some­how be lost. If it can be lost, then we think it can be gained as well. Peo­ple who use The Rela­tion­ship Saver are always on the side where their partner’s love for them was lost and they want their part­ner to regain it. They live in a state of fear that they will not be able to get their part­ner to regain their love for them although they “love“ them “with all their hart.” No one notices the con­tra­dic­tion and impos­si­bil­i­ties in this kind of rea­son­ing, or rather wish­ful think­ing: love and fear don’t mix, like oil and water.

First we must under­stand that that elu­sive “love” is a state of mind and it is much big­ger than a sim­ple feel­ing. You can only receive love if you are able to give it. There is no such a thing as a lim­ited sup­ply of love. You can­not share love. Love is not a pie so when you give two slices to one per­son there is none left for another. When you love, every­one and every­thing receives all your love all the time. You do not have to with­hold love for one per­son in order to have “enough love” for another per­son that you love. Love has no bounds. You are either in a state of love or in the state of fear.

If you are sav­ing “your love” for one per­son or thing, you are being in a state of fear, which elim­i­nates love. Love is much big­ger than a feel­ing for one per­son. Love starts with the accep­tance of real­ity itself. Accept­ing real­ity for what it is and not what you think it “should” be is the first step to expe­ri­enc­ing the state of love. You can­not love one per­son and not love other peo­ple and the world itself. So, by now you might have noticed that the kind of love I am talk­ing about is uncon­di­tional love. And, yes, that is the only love there is. When­ever you have a rea­son for lov­ing you may be sure that it is not love. It most likely is a need. Ask your­self why you love your part­ner. Is it because he is good to you, strong, hand­some, good father, or is it because she is beau­ti­ful, sup­port­ive, good mother? Now ask your­self what would hap­pen if your part­ner loses those qual­i­ties or stops doing thinks that you love him for. Your love will most cer­tainly dis­ap­pear. We can safely con­clude that your love is not uncon­di­tional, but you were get­ting what you needed and you were grate­ful to your part­ner for it.  Your part­ner sat­is­fied your needs and that’s why you “loved” him. And, fear of los­ing it was always present, or you just took it for granted. You did not love your part­ner for who he is, as a per­son, but for what he does, or what need of yours she could sat­isfy. So when your part­ner says he is not in love with you any more, or that she does not love you any more, he/she prob­a­bly never really did in the first place. You were only sat­is­fy­ing one or more of your partner’s needs and now you don’t.

Fear of los­ing a per­son is often trans­lated into “I love him so much”. Con­sider that you don’t. If you did, you’d let him go. You do not need him. I know that it may sound coun­ter­in­tu­itive, but life does not con­form to what you think life should be. Life just is. You were born alone and being an adult, you do not need any­one to tell you that they love you. You are the one who is capa­ble of lov­ing and that’s the only way to receive love. You can­not extract love from any­one. Love is liv­ing with­out fear. Love dis­perses fear like light dis­perses dark­ness. Liv­ing in fear is like liv­ing in dark. Turn the light on and be fearless.

•    Love is not a thing.
•    Love is not a feel­ing.
•    Love is a state of mind.
•    Love is choice.
•    The oppo­site of love is not hate, it is fear.
•    Love is pos­si­ble only where there is no fear.
•    When there is fear there is no love.
•    Where there is love there is NO fear, no mat­ter what.
•    Love is free.
•    Love is fear­less.
•    When you love you can­not be afraid.
•    Jesus was not afraid of dying. He loved.
•    Love is oppo­site of fear. One can­not love and be fear­ful at the same time.

Prac­tic­ing uncon­di­tional love requires fear­less­ness. You must be brave, con­scious, com­mit­ted, in touch of and respect­ful of real­ity and counter your knee-jerk reac­tions. When being in a state of uncon­di­tional love you will expe­ri­ence free­dom like you’ve never known before, peace, tran­quil­ity, and feel­ing of invin­ci­bil­ity and sense of per­fec­tion. You know that every­thing is just the way it should be. Expe­ri­enc­ing uncon­di­tional love is not the same as liv­ing in an illu­sion­ary la-la land. Liv­ing an illu­sion is liv­ing in you own imag­ined world that does not rep­re­sent real­ity.  On the other hand, liv­ing in uncon­di­tional love you are keenly aware of, and accept­ing of real­ity, know­ing full well that shoulds, and coulds will not change it. You real­ize that com­plain­ing about what already is, makes no sense and so you are free to take action now to have your future be dif­fer­ent than present and what it was in the past, fully aware that you can­not change the past itself. Liv­ing in uncon­di­tional love is THE most pow­er­ful and fear free place you can pos­si­bly be in.

Do you have enough guts to do it? Go ahead make my day!

Love

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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How To Stay Together

Ded­i­cated to my wife Antoinette with love

Today is our (Antoinette’s and my) 35th wed­ding anniver­sary, which prompted me to write this post. Our friends and fam­ily con­grat­u­late us and obvi­ously are impressed how we stayed together for such a long time. We do not really see any­thing to be impressed about. We just are together and it is the most nat­ural thing for both of us. In The Game­less Rela­tion­ship I have out­lined the four prin­ci­ples of a healthy rela­tion­ship and we are both draw­ing from it on daily bases. Some­one says that all is in atti­tude. And indeed it is. Let me explain.

Just to be on the same page here is the definition

atti­tude |ˈatiˌt(y)oōd|

noun

a set­tled way of think­ing or feel­ing about some­one or some­thing, typ­i­cally one that is reflected in a person’s behavior

So, when it comes to your atti­tude towards your mar­riage, do you see it as a rela­tion­ship between two sep­a­rate peo­ple that have come together to share life, or do you see your­selves as one fam­ily and parts of the same fam­ily. Although both are true, which one do you think is more likely to sup­port a long-term rela­tion­ship? How do you see your par­ents or your grand­par­ents, as two peo­ple that got together, merely in a rela­tion­ship, or as your fam­ily? As a fam­ily of course. They are yours. Blood is thicker than water. Why is it than, that spouses can­not see them­selves as such a strong fam­ily unit as their chil­dren see them. (Hint: blood has noth­ing to do with it.) What would it look like if your atti­tude (set­tled way of think­ing) towards your mar­riage would be not merely as a mar­riage, but as a fam­ily unit? Remem­ber, you can­not dis­own your fam­ily i.e. par­ents, chil­dren etc. That kind of atti­tude requires you to make such a choice (“choice” is a key word here) with integrity, com­mit­ment, respon­si­bil­ity and love, the four prin­ci­ples of a per­fect rela­tion­ship as elab­o­rated in The Game­less Relationship.

So, when­ever a prob­lem comes up, you deal with it as a unit, a fam­ily, not as two sep­a­rate peo­ple look­ing to gain advan­tage over each other, or get some­thing more for your­self. In par­ent­ing there is a rule that you scold chil­dren for what they did, or did not do and not for who they are. Take 100% respon­si­bil­ity for your fam­ily and avoid per­sonal judg­ments and per­sonal attacks. Use the same prin­ci­ple in your mar­riage towards each other and deal with it from the point of view of your fam­ily and what’s best for it, which coin­ci­den­tally, most of the time turns out to be best for each of you. Trust the process and you’ll eas­ily reach your 35th anniver­sary and not be sur­prised about it and cel­e­brate it with joy like every other day in your marriage.

Aware­ness Exer­cise: Notice in what ways and in what sit­u­a­tions you feel alone, although you are mar­ried or in a rela­tion­ship. Do you feel that that your life is, and deserves to be sep­a­rate? What prob­lems would you con­sider to be his/hers or yours only? How eas­ily can you dis­own your spouse/partner? Can you do the same with your sib­ling or a parent?

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Who chose your partner?

Whether your rela­tion­ship is going well or not you can always think back to the out­set of the rela­tion­ship and, if you are able to look at those begin­nings with an open mind and objec­tively, you can always say, I told you so. Or at least your par­ents, rel­a­tives or friends could say it.

Our ini­tial rea­sons, feel­ings and intu­ition, or denial of the same are very telling about what our rela­tion­ship will look like in the future. No sur­prises here. If, say, when you first met your part­ner your intu­ition told you that he/she was not for you for any par­tic­u­lar rea­son or in gen­eral, and later you gave in to your feel­ings and rea­sons for not trust­ing your intu­ition, you may very well regret it at some point in the future. If you got into the rela­tion­ship with an agenda, when­ever your agenda gets ful­filled or is not per­ti­nent any more, the rela­tion­ship will most likely dis­solve. You may even be unaware of the real rea­son why you do not want to be in a rela­tion­ship any more, so you will look for some super­fi­cial imme­di­ate rea­son to end it, but if you go deep enough you will always find that orig­i­nal agenda being the real rea­son and cause for your “change of heart”.

Now imag­ine that your part­ner came into the rela­tion­ship with an agenda that he/she has never revealed to you. Often they may not even be clear about it them­selves, or they may be in denial about it. You may end up bewil­dered and con­fused as to what hap­pened. You will never get a straight answer from your part­ner for the rea­sons men­tioned above and you will have to set­tle for some other lame and unbe­liev­able excuse for the break-up. Either way, the real rea­son most of the time lies in the ini­tial rea­son for being in the rela­tion­ship in the first place.

So, who chose your part­ner? Were they your fears, long­ings, desires, inner child, inse­cu­ri­ties, low self-esteem, lone­li­ness, sex drive, you name it. These are just some of the rea­sons. Men and women usu­ally have very dif­fer­ent ones. That par­tic­u­lar dif­fer­ence makes it very dif­fi­cult for you to dis­cern what the real rea­sons are for your part­ner want­ing out.

But when all is said and done, the rea­sons for break­ing up most of the time are just that: rea­sons, plau­si­ble sto­ries, excuses and expla­na­tions. Orig­i­nal agen­das are rarely part of the break-up con­ver­sa­tion and tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for it is not even on the radar screen. It is much eas­ier to blame the other for your lack of com­mit­ment, respon­si­bil­ity, integrity and gen­uine love.

Aware­ness exer­cise: Being hon­est with your­self is very demand­ing, often uncom­fort­able, some­times even impos­si­ble, but nev­er­the­less, it is an essen­tial prac­tice for being in touch with real­ity and your growth and devel­op­ment. This exer­cise has two parts: a) no mat­ter how resis­tant and uncom­fort­able it may be, admit to your­self the real rea­sons you got into the rela­tion­ship in the first place, and b) remem­ber what your ini­tial reac­tion was when you met your future part­ner for the first time. What con­clu­sions can you draw from these mem­o­ries? Cau­tion: This is nei­ther the place nor the time to blame any­one, includ­ing your­self. Just notice what insights you come up with. You may even share them with your part­ner if you think it appropriate.

Please share those insights  with us.

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http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Gender Equality in A Relationship

I real­ize that this is too big a sub­ject to cram into one arti­cle, so I am going to raise some ques­tions about what it means to be equal in an adult man/woman (or gay) rela­tion­ship. I have many women friends and I do my best to treat them as equals, but some­times by treat­ing them as an “equal” I tend to pre­sume that they will react as men do to what I say. WRONG! A female friend of mine once jok­ingly said that she was leav­ing my party because there was no cake and I jok­ingly, of course with­out think­ing, replied: ”But didn’t you put some weight on lately?”
That was a bad mis­take. She got really upset, and no mat­ter how much I apol­o­gized and said that I loved and cher­ished her as a friend, she kept cry­ing and say­ing that if I loved her I wouldn’t have said such a thing to her. Need­less to say the sit­u­a­tion became very seri­ous.  Had I said that to a man, he most likely would have laughed.
The ques­tion I have for you is this: can a man and a woman be equal, and what are the con­di­tions and rules of behav­ior in treat­ing each other given that men and women are so very dif­fer­ent? One of the rules we hear often is to treat oth­ers the way you want to be treated your­self. In the above exam­ple it cer­tainly did not work. Men would cer­tainly not react the same way to my com­ment. So, a bet­ter rule would be to treat oth­ers the way THEY want to be treated. Great, but how do we know what oth­ers think? What comes to mind first is just ask them, but even ask­ing them may pro­voke unwanted feel­ings and reac­tions.
Men and women ARE dif­fer­ent. In fact, we are so dif­fer­ent that it jus­ti­fies the phrase “oppo­site sex”. Where does equal­ity come in then? These are some of the fun­da­men­tal differences:

Men / Women

Big­ger                                             Smaller

Stronger                                          Weaker

Aggres­sive                                       Defensive

Pro­tec­tors                                        Protected

Fathers (can­not bear chil­dren)           Mothers

Ratio­nal                                           Emotional

Hunters                                            Gath­er­ers

Want sex                                          Want security

Want free­dom                                   Want relationship

Please add your own….

The whole issue about equal­ity was ini­tially raised by women. The Women’s Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment started because women felt sub­ju­gated and wanted to be equal to men. And there is no denial that in many cases  women are not treated the same as men, such as not get­ting equal pay for equal work. But in gen­eral, isn’t it just a nat­ural out­come of our genetic dif­fer­ences?
Do women really want to be the same as men, or do they want to be as pow­er­ful as men? The con­text seems to be deci­sive here. Which area are we talk­ing about: inti­mate rela­tion­ships, social inter­ac­tions or busi­ness envi­ron­ment? This is a ques­tion espe­cially for a woman in a fem­i­nist move­ment to answer because a woman would have to be adopt­ing a chameleon behav­ior in dif­fer­ent con­texts. Is that healthy, or even pos­si­ble? Do women have to pre­tend to be more like men in a busi­ness envi­ron­ments? If they do, does it come eas­ier for some then for oth­ers to adopt these mas­cu­line traits? Can women be just as nat­u­rally and authen­ti­cally fem­i­nine at work? It cer­tainly seems to be an unwel­come behav­ior in this “man-made world.” If a woman is forced to take on some mas­cu­line traits in order to suc­ceed at work, how does that reflect on her rela­tion­ships towards men. I think she can get pretty resent­ful about the whole affair and put the blame on men.
On the other hand, when it comes to the ques­tion of hav­ing good sex, part­ners have to take on their authen­tic mas­cu­line and fem­i­nine role.  Oppo­sites cre­ate energy flow. The big­ger the dif­fer­ence between cou­ples’ respec­tive roles, the stronger the sex­ual attrac­tion. In order to main­tain “equal­ity” in a social arena and the work­place, can they and should they main­tain that dif­fer­ence, or do they  have to drift closer to each other, i.e., men adopt more of women char­ac­ter­is­tics — such as being more sen­si­tive and express­ing their feel­ings — and should women adopt more mas­cu­line traits, such as com­pet­i­tive­ness, being more sin­gle focused and tougher alto­gether? This cer­tainly seems to be hap­pen­ing in the work­place and, sadly, in inti­mate rela­tion­ships as well.
Many “lib­er­ated” women insist on being treated as an equal in a rela­tion­ship. Is that what they really want? Instead of a woman being an equal part­ner in the sense that she is self-aware, respon­si­ble, and wants to know her man as a per­son, fem­i­nism seem to have pro­duced a dou­bly defen­sive woman who is on guard about her rights, but insis­tent that men be roman­tic and “make her feel like a woman” by act­ing like a real man. A lib­er­ated woman insists on changes in her atti­tude and ide­ol­ogy but not in her deeper fem­i­nine process; she has tra­di­tional long­ings and needs, is attracted to men who are win­ners and avoids weaker, less ambi­tious men, and she wants a man to play the lead role unless she decides oth­er­wise. For the man there is often a con­fus­ing sense that what­ever he does he will be made wrong and blamed. If he treats her as an equal, it does not feel roman­tic to her. If he treats her in tra­di­tional ways, he is often con­sid­ered to be a chau­vin­ist and sex­ist. He is expected to be a man and yet to not act as a man at the same time. When a man can­not achieve this dichotomy, a lib­er­ated woman becomes angry and blames him for not being able to ful­fill this impos­si­ble dream.
From my per­sonal point of view, in a rela­tion­ship, if a woman’s issue is power in a rela­tion­ship then she has noth­ing to com­plain about, or be lib­er­ated from. Her power is just as promi­nent as the man’s. The only rea­son that this is not so obvi­ous is that the “lib­er­ated” woman is look­ing for power in the wrong place, a man’s place. As I said above, it all depends on the con­text, and in the con­text of a rela­tion­ship a woman’s power is enor­mous, start­ing with the abil­ity to bear chil­dren and her ulti­mate choice of men to share par­ent­hood with, to a say­ing that behind a great man there always stands a great or pow­er­ful woman.
To my mind, equal­ity in a rela­tion­ship con­sists of uncon­di­tional respect, accep­tance and love for who the per­son is as a human and a spir­i­tual being. If a woman is objec­ti­fied (as men often do, espe­cially regard­ing sex) respect for a woman is often absent. On the other hand, there is con­di­tional respect for what the per­son does, which really applies to all peo­ple regard­less of gen­der or their posi­tion in soci­ety.
Let us know what do you think.
Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Denial

We cre­ate our rela­tion­ships from the very start. The prob­lem is that we are mostly clue­less how to go about it. Our actions often stem from our feel­ings and beliefs, and what we’ve seen from our par­ents. No one ever attended 101 Rela­tion­ship class at school. That’s why I decided to help peo­ple with their rela­tion­ships, because I can.

I sell hun­dreds of Rela­tion­ship Savers every week. The let­ters I very often receive start with: “My part­ner broke up with me three months ago….” Some­times it’s a year or more. I have been won­der­ing for a while now,  why peo­ple wait until it is almost too late to ask for help about their rela­tion­ship. Most rela­tion­ships, i.e., more than 50%, are not happy ones. Peo­ple either break up, or stay in an unhappy rela­tion­ship due to fear, con­ve­nience, eco­nom­ics, chil­dren, you name it. Why do peo­ple not ask for help as soon as they notice a change for the worse?

I guess only you can answer that ques­tion for your­self, but the prob­lem seems to have some gen­er­al­i­ties which almost every­one can find some­thing to iden­tify with. The most preva­lent rea­sons are: hope and fear.

Hope is always asso­ci­ated with the future. We hope that things will change, that or our per­cep­tion of the sit­u­a­tion is wrong, that it is only a tem­po­rary thing that will pass as soon as cir­cum­stances change. Hope that some­thing will hap­pen to change the sit­u­a­tion or that we will find a way to change it our­selves. Hope that God will help us. Hope that our part­ner will real­ize his/her wrong­do­ing and stop, and so on. Feel free to add your own hope. Well, hope is a sur­vival mech­a­nism to ward off fear. Hope is a very effec­tive tool for trick­ing our ratio­nal mind into going to sleep for a while longer. When one loses hope one tends to be depressed. The two are almost syn­ony­mous. Hope gen­er­ates pro­cras­ti­na­tion, stag­na­tion, and cur­tails action. Hold­ing onto hope sup­ports a sta­tus quo, no mat­ter how bad it is. The more you hope the more stuck you will get, often until it’s too late for action. This becomes a great excuse for not tak­ing action. I was hop­ing he/she would change, you may say.  Hope is the per­fect way to fall into a vic­tim mode, which admit­tedly can be a very cozy place to be. Victim-hood knows no per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity. It is always some­one else’s fault and some­one else, i.e., your part­ner, who should change. Change is scary, so you do not want to ini­ti­ate it.

Fear is our best friend and worst enemy. Fear helps us sur­vive. If we had no fear of heights, snakes, hot or cold we’d all be dead a long time ago. Our brain is struc­tured in such way that on a sub­con­scious level we can­not dis­tin­guish between dif­fer­ent causes of fear. Fear is a feel­ing that we can­not con­trol. In gen­eral, we can­not con­trol our feel­ings. What we can do is become aware of our feel­ings and trans­fer atten­tion from the amigdala (feel­ing cen­ter of the brain) to the neo­cor­tex (the con­scious, think­ing and rea­son­ing part of the brain). In other words, make a con­scious deci­sion whether our fear is a fear from an oncom­ing bus, or a sim­ple con­ver­sa­tion. One will kill us, the other will not.  Now, how long have you been par­a­lyzed with fear? Fear that you will be alone, fear that if he leaves you will become home­less and die, fear that you will not be loved or that you will be rejected if you take this or that action. Fear that your child/ren will suf­fer. Fear of mak­ing a mis­take, feel­ing guilty, hurt­ing his/her feel­ings, fear of loss, etc. Again, find your own fear that is stop­ping you from tak­ing action.

All this is sim­ple but I real­ize that it is not so easy to do. The first step is to admit that you do not quite know what to do when your rela­tion­ship hits a bump. This is called get­ting in touch with real­ity. Not know­ing is not bad or good. It just is. On what basis do we pre­sume that we “should” know how to cre­ate a good rela­tion­ship. We pre­sume and we think that if we could only find the right per­son — our soul mate — we will live hap­pily ever after. It only hap­pens in Dis­ney stu­dios, not in real life.

Deny­ing that prob­lem exists or that it is seri­ous, pro­cras­ti­nat­ing, post­pon­ing and going for help to peo­ple who have not taken that Rela­tion­ship 101 class is mostly a waste of pre­cious time and the chance to save your rela­tion­ship or make a healthy start of a new one. That was the rea­son for my Writ­ing The Rela­tion­ship Saver and The Game­less Rela­tion­ship backed up with this blog.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Susccess & Hapiness

Great arti­cle.

What is your expe­ri­ence of a relationship

between suc­cess and happiness?

The San­dra Bul­lok Trade

By David Brooks
The New York Times
March 30, 2010

Two things hap­pened to San­dra Bul­lock this month. First, she won an Acad­emy Award for best actress. Then came the news reports claim­ing that her hus­band is an adul­ter­ous jerk. So the philo­sophic ques­tion of the day is: Would you take that as a deal? Would you exchange a tremen­dous pro­fes­sional tri­umph for a severe per­sonal blow?

On the one hand, an Acad­emy Award is noth­ing to sneeze at. Bul­lock has earned the admi­ra­tion of her peers in a way very few expe­ri­ence. She’ll make more money for years to come. She may even live longer. Research by Don­ald A. Redelmeier and Shel­don M. Singh has found that, on aver­age, Oscar win­ners live nearly four years longer than nom­i­nees that don’t win.

Nonethe­less, if you had to take more than three sec­onds to think about this ques­tion, you are absolutely crazy. Mar­i­tal hap­pi­ness is far more impor­tant than any­thing else in deter­min­ing per­sonal well-being. If you have a suc­cess­ful mar­riage, it doesn’t mat­ter how many pro­fes­sional set­backs you endure, you will be rea­son­ably happy. If you have an unsuc­cess­ful mar­riage, it doesn’t mat­ter how many career tri­umphs you record, you will remain sig­nif­i­cantly unfulfilled.

This isn’t just ser­mo­niz­ing. This is the age of research, so there’s data to back this up. Over the past few decades, teams of researchers have been study­ing hap­pi­ness. Their work, which seemed flimsy at first, has devel­oped an impres­sive rigor, and one of the key find­ings is that, just as the old sages pre­dicted, worldly suc­cess has shal­low roots while inter­per­sonal bonds per­me­ate through and through.

For exam­ple, the rela­tion­ship between hap­pi­ness and income is com­pli­cated, and after a point, ten­u­ous. It is true that poor nations become hap­pier as they become middle-class nations. But once the basic neces­si­ties have been achieved, future income is lightly con­nected to well-being. Grow­ing coun­tries are slightly less happy than coun­tries with slower growth rates, accord­ing to Carol Gra­ham of the Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion and Eduardo Lora. The United States is much richer than it was 50 years ago, but this has pro­duced no mea­sur­able increase in over­all hap­pi­ness. On the other hand, it has become a much more unequal coun­try, but this inequal­ity doesn’t seem to have reduced national happiness.

On a per­sonal scale, win­ning the lot­tery doesn’t seem to pro­duce last­ing gains in well-being. Peo­ple aren’t hap­pi­est dur­ing the years when they are win­ning the most pro­mo­tions. Instead, peo­ple are happy in their 20’s, dip in mid­dle age and then, on aver­age, hit peak hap­pi­ness just after retire­ment at age 65.

Peo­ple get slightly hap­pier as they climb the income scale, but this depends on how they expe­ri­ence growth. Does wealth inflame unre­al­is­tic expec­ta­tions? Does it desta­bi­lize set­tled rela­tion­ships? Or does it flow from a vir­tu­ous cycle in which an inter­est­ing job pro­duces hard work that in turn leads to more inter­est­ing opportunities?

If the rela­tion­ship between money and well-being is com­pli­cated, the cor­re­spon­dence between per­sonal rela­tion­ships and hap­pi­ness is not. The daily activ­i­ties most asso­ci­ated with hap­pi­ness are sex, social­iz­ing after work and hav­ing din­ner with oth­ers. The daily activ­ity most inju­ri­ous to hap­pi­ness is com­mut­ing. Accord­ing to one study, join­ing a group that meets even just once a month pro­duces the same hap­pi­ness gain as dou­bling your income. Accord­ing to another, being mar­ried pro­duces a psy­chic gain equiv­a­lent to more than $100,000 a year.

If you want to find a good place to live, just ask peo­ple if they trust their neigh­bors. Lev­els of social trust vary enor­mously, but coun­tries with high social trust have hap­pier peo­ple, bet­ter health, more effi­cient gov­ern­ment, more eco­nomic growth, and less fear of crime (regard­less of whether actual crime rates are increas­ing or decreasing).

The over­all impres­sion from this research is that eco­nomic and pro­fes­sional suc­cess exists on the sur­face of life, and that they emerge out of inter­per­sonal rela­tion­ships, which are much deeper and more important.

The sec­ond impres­sion is that most of us pay atten­tion to the wrong things. Most peo­ple vastly over­es­ti­mate the extent to which more money would improve our lives. Most schools and col­leges spend too much time prepar­ing stu­dents for careers and not enough prepar­ing them to make social deci­sions. Most gov­ern­ments release a ton of data on eco­nomic trends but not enough on trust and other social con­di­tions. In short, mod­ern soci­eties have devel­oped vast insti­tu­tions ori­ented around the things that are easy to count, not around the things that mat­ter most. They have an affin­ity for mate­r­ial con­cerns and a pri­mor­dial fear of moral and social ones.

This may be chang­ing. There is a rash of com­pelling books — includ­ing “The Hid­den Wealth of Nations” by David Halpern and “The Pol­i­tics of Hap­pi­ness” by Derek Bok — that argue that pub­lic insti­tu­tions should pay atten­tion to well-being and not just mate­r­ial growth nar­rowly conceived.

Gov­ern­ments keep ini­ti­at­ing poli­cies they think will pro­duce pros­per­ity, only to get sacked, time and again, from their spir­i­tual blind side.

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http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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