On Being Attractive

attrac­tive |əˈtrak­tiv|
adjec­tive
• pleas­ing or appeal­ing to the senses
• appeal­ing to look at; sex­u­ally alluring

 ***

How impor­tant is it in a rela­tion­ship that one is attrac­tive? I’d say VERY impor­tant. But, what does it really mean – beyond the dic­tio­nary def­i­n­i­tion – to be attractive?

My obser­va­tions have con­vinced me (I am not aware of any sci­en­tific research) — and it is summed up in a say­ing “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” — that beauty is really the indi­vid­ual inter­pre­ta­tion of real­ity. Just look at the cou­ples you know and the ones walk­ing down the street. Don’t you often won­der how these peo­ple are together, how ANYONE can be with this “ugly and revolt­ing” per­son who you would not touch with a ten-foot-pole.

Yes, it is per­sonal, but not all of it is in the eye of the beholder. And, a per­sonal vision can change. To my eye, Cather­ine Zeta-Jones is one of the most attrac­tive women I know of. I am sure she was attrac­tive enough to Michael Dou­glas at the time they got mar­ried. What hap­pened? They are going through a very ugly divorce and attrac­tive­ness has dis­ap­peared and been replaced by repul­sive­ness. How did eyes stop see­ing beauty and see the oppo­site instead. Does beauty that we get attracted to actu­ally exist “out there?” Obvi­ously, or not so obvi­ously, NOT. The eye of the beholder is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent. But, is it only the eye, or is there more to it? Well, you guessed it: all senses are ulti­mately involved in choos­ing a part­ner: touch, smell, words said, even taste.

But, that’s not all. What about the well-known but not eas­ily describ­able sixth sense, intu­ition? What is it? In our case of attrac­tive­ness it’s often called “inner beauty.”

This inner beauty seems to be a deci­sive fac­tor, but what is it? Can we put our fin­ger on it? It is not easy to define, but it seems to be much more attrac­tive, con­sis­tent and long-lasting than the fleet­ing beauty of the prover­bial eye. After being with the per­son you love for a long period of time, looks become less and less impor­tant. And luck­ily so, because we get older and looks are very dif­fi­cult to main­tain, despite all the advance­ments of plas­tic surgery, hair trans­plants, potions, crèmes and the mil­lions of prod­ucts and pro­ce­dures of the beauty indus­try. A youth-glamorizing cul­ture com­pletely ignores inner beauty because it can­not be sold.

In a strong rela­tion­ship “outer beauty” is not nearly as impor­tant as the media would have us think. Good rela­tion­ships are strong because part­ners rec­og­nize and appre­ci­ate the inner beauty in each other.

Although outer beauty is impor­tant for an ini­tial attrac­tion, inner beauty is what keeps rela­tion­ships strong. Males and females have a some­what dif­fer­ent take on outer or exter­nal beauty. Men are attracted mostly to beauty per­ceived by the senses while women often want more than that. Women often look for a man’s abil­ity to sup­port her. That’s why men, regard­less of their looks but with a fancy car, money, a pow­er­ful posi­tion, intel­li­gence and con­fi­dence, are often more attrac­tive than a good-looking man with­out those qual­i­ties. This is one of the rea­sons that men think of women as “com­pli­cated,” and women know how to attract men just by their looks because men are “simple.”

Back to inner beauty. As with exter­nal beauty, the inter­nal one varies from per­son to per­son. Here we talk about com­pat­i­bil­ity. The inner qual­ity of a per­son is one of those inde­fin­able and highly per­sonal cat­e­gories. The elu­sive­ness of how to define “qual­ity” is beau­ti­fully demon­strated in a famous book, Zen and The Art of Motor­cy­cle Main­te­nance by Robert M. Pirsig.

Here is the link to one of the web­sites list­ing per­sonal qual­i­ties, good and bad:

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/wordlist/adjectivesforpeople.shtml

It is impor­tant to under­stand that there is no such thing as “good” qual­i­ties and “bad” qual­i­ties when it comes to per­sonal attrac­tion. The choice depends on the “per­son­al­ity of the chooser” as in the eye of the beholder. And even more than that, the choice depends on the inter­pre­ta­tion of, or the mean­ing given to par­tic­u­lar qual­ity, which may depend on the con­text of the sit­u­a­tion (cul­ture, par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stances, per­sonal back­ground, etc.).

As you can see, there isn’t such a thing as per­fect beauty, a per­fect rela­tion­ship, or per­fect any­thing. And at the same time (also depend­ing on how you want to inter­pret it), real­ity or “what is,” is always per­fect, because who are we to chal­lenge and ques­tion real­ity and the per­fec­tion of cre­ation of which we are only a tiny part?

In sum­mary, a per­son is not his/her qual­i­ties. A per­son has qual­i­ties. Accep­tance of your part­ner (as well as every­one and every­thing else) exactly the way they are and exactly what they are not is what is called love. If there are some qual­i­ties of the per­son that you can­not live with or accept, so be it, but it does not mean that you have to aban­don love.

Love equals hap­pi­ness, and aban­don­ing it to your inter­pre­ta­tion of the qual­i­ties that a per­son has instead of appre­ci­at­ing who a per­son is, will rob you of your hap­pi­ness whether you are in a strong rela­tion­ship, or if your rela­tion­ship is not work­ing out.

What are YOU attracted to?

 

 

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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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From Other Websites

I found this recently surf­ing the inter­net. It is old (2008) but still very per­ti­nent, like The Rela­tion­ship Saver, which is btw 9 years old this month:

Save Your Relationship

Since the Month of Love, FEBRUARY is com­ing up here is another thing I should share with you. I ran into some­thing I found for a friend who was strug­gling with their rela­tion­ship and I was tired of telling them about what I thought because what I was say­ing was not help­ful to oth­ers rela­tion­ships because I am not in their relationship.

It’s funny when you help oth­ers help them­selves by let­ting them find out on their own, you find things for your­self. I took a look of the Rela­tion­ship Saver and real­ized, it was full of ben­e­fits to me too, any­one actu­ally who wants a har­mo­nious relationship.

Look — there’s no such thing as a per­fect rela­tion­ship. Life isn’t all sun­shine and but­ter­cups. But a happy rela­tion­ship is a very real thing, and you deserve a happy, healthy rela­tion­ship. I can show you exactly how to win back your part­ner and re-ignite the pas­sion in your once happy relationship.

You remem­ber the feel­ings you shared when you first fell in love. When it was impos­si­ble to look at each other with­out smil­ing. Just spend­ing time alone together was the per­fect night. And the ani­mal attrac­tion between the two of you was white hot.

You were happy together once. And if you were happy once, you can be happy again. ” –Radomir Samardzic

I had the oppor­tu­nity to read Radomir’s e-book “The Rela­tion­ship Saver” last night and I must say that this is won­der­ful and con­cise to the T. The quotes of the very wise peo­ple included make you laugh but remem­ber because it makes log­i­cal sense. It’s a very great Script to keep in mind and use on daily bases.

The Rela­tion­ship Saver can be found at: http://www.relationshipsaver.com

E-book Includes:

  1. Indi­ca­tion behav­iors, to a pat­tern of habits for you to iden­tify and real­ize which may not be nour­ish­ing your relationship.
  2. Strate­gies to become aware of our actions and break the habit of being and liv­ing on automatic.
  3. Insight of the Rules of a Suc­cess­ful Relationship

The def­i­n­i­tion of insan­ity is doing the same thing over and over again expect­ing dif­fer­ent results” — Rita Mae Brown

Every­one has the abil­ity to achieve a won­der­ful rela­tion­ship and the read is very clear, con­cise and quick to the points with­out the sugar coated buffers other books use. At 14 pages, it can change your life and the way you want to live your life and view other rela­tion­ships. 
Remem­ber “func­tion equals beauty” in any rela­tion­ship. His infor­ma­tion is very prac­ti­cal, easy to remem­ber, and effec­tive. I know because I have real­ized that i have (many things with) the abil­ity to see things from other per­spec­tives as well. (all perspectives.)

Radomir gives a great quick strat­egy to how to float and reverse the drown­ing of any ship, espe­cially relationships.

I highly rec­om­mend this because we all tend think we know how to be but if were did, we would not keep doing the same things and get­ting the same results.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.com

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com

Posted: 12:27 p.m. EST Jan­u­ary 31, 2008 by Anne Meesriy­ong ”

 

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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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On Love

Love is like a stand you take for some­one or some­thing — a stand you take FOR some­one, towards some­one, rather than it being an inter­nal state which you rep­re­sent with the word “love.” If that were true, if just that lit­tle bit were true, the dis­tance between you and the mas­tery of love would be very short. You and I could bring forth the phe­nom­e­non of love by virtue of a dec­la­ra­tion, “I love you,” where the dec­la­ra­tion was a stand, a com­mit­ment and we could see that that was not some “thing” called love, but an open­ing, a pos­si­bil­ity, a clear­ing in which our expe­ri­ences could show up as an expres­sion of the dec­la­ra­tion, of the stand, of the com­mit­ment, of the context.

If all that were really pos­si­ble, then the dis­tance between us and mas­ter­ing love is pretty short. You see, what shows up in a stand val­i­dates the stand. If a doubt shows up in the space of some­thing for which you stand, it shows up as an expres­sion of the stand, that is to say it shows up for you as some­thing to han­dle out of your stand, not as some­thing con­trary to that for which you stand.

So if love in our rela­tion­ships was a clear­ing in which life became present, even what we ordi­nar­ily think of as a neg­a­tive cir­cum­stance, in a clear­ing cre­ated by a dec­la­ra­tion of love, where the dec­la­ra­tion is some­thing for which you stand, even a so-called neg­a­tive cir­cum­stance does not show up in oppo­si­tion to that for which you stand, but shows up as some­thing to be han­dled within the stand. I know you’re sit­ting there say­ing “gee I wish it were that easy” and I’m say­ing it might be some­thing very close to that easy … just like that.

And I’m invit­ing you into this domain of pos­si­bil­ity where you don’t know the answers, where rela­tion­ship and love exist like a ques­tion. I know you think that love is a set of emo­tions and moods and thoughts and atti­tudes and out­looks and feel­ings. And I’m invit­ing you to con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity that, that sim­ply is one inter­pre­ta­tion, not one with which you are stuck. That you do not need to live the rest of your life with­out love when you don’t have that set of feel­ings which you have hereto­fore described as love.

…that it might be pos­si­ble to bring love into your life, like a cre­ation, like some­thing for which you could be respon­si­ble, like some­thing you could bring forth on your our own as a mat­ter of dec­la­ra­tion and as a mat­ter of tak­ing a stand. And that you could bring love into those cir­cum­stance in your life when the rela­tion­ships are most dif­fi­cult, most prob­lem­atic. And you could do it as a sim­ple act of being where being is that for which you are will­ing to stand. And that the stand comes forth in a dec­la­ra­tion and exists behind the dec­la­ra­tion as a stand.

- Werner Erhard

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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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Changes In Relationships

May 20, 2012

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Category: Awareness, How to

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Changes In Relationships

The uni­verse is a net­work of rela­tions. What was once thought to be absolute is always sub­ject to evo­lu­tion and rene­go­ti­a­tion. The com­plete truth about the world is not gras­pable in any sin­gle point of view, but only resides in the total­ity of sev­eral or many dis­tinct views.”

This was a quote by Jus­tus Buch­ler, Phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor at Colum­bia University.

If this is true of the uni­verse, I thought, how would this apply to rela­tion­ships? And it did per­fectly. Let me rephrase it in rela­tion­ship language:

Rela­tion­ships are net­works of con­ver­sa­tions. What was once thought to be absolute is always sub­ject to evo­lu­tion and rene­go­ti­a­tion. The com­plete truth about rela­tion­ships is not gras­pable in any sin­gle point of view, but only resides in the total­ity of sev­eral or many dis­tinct views.

I often say that your rela­tion­ship is as good as your last con­ver­sa­tion. This may or may not be true, but it helps if you think it is. You may be more present and alert to the con­stant changes and fluc­tu­a­tions of cir­cum­stances and reac­tions from your part­ner. You will also learn to self reflect more often and have a bet­ter grasp of the real­ity and the feel­ings and true inten­tions of your partner.

Never under­es­ti­mate the power of con­text within which opin­ions and inter­pre­ta­tions are formed. Con­text IS deci­sive. Some behav­iors may be inter­preted quite dif­fer­ently in dif­fer­ent con­texts. This may influ­ence the health of a rela­tion­ship from one day to the next.

As you can see, there is no such thing as a sta­tic rela­tion­ship. It always changes, moves and fluc­tu­ates. A rela­tion­ship is bet­ter viewed as a verb rather than a noun. I believe that being agile and aware of the inevitable con­stant changes in a rela­tion­ship will make you a bet­ter per­son. Aware­ness is the first step to enlight­en­ment. This may be a rea­son good enough to take 100% respon­si­bil­ity for your rela­tion­ship. What do you think?

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Falling In Love

February 14, 2012

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Category: Awareness, Communication

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Falling In Love

On Valentine’s Day we are all sup­posed to be in love. We seem to be expected to fall in love just because a pope in 496 AD pro­nounced a day in the cal­en­dar to honor mar­tyrs, includ­ing one St. Valen­tine. And what if we are not in love? Can we make our­selves be in love, or even bet­ter, can we make oth­ers fall in love with us? These are the ques­tions that peo­ple whose rela­tion­ships are falling apart des­per­ately want to know. Any kind of magic would do the trick. Unfor­tu­nately there is no shortcut.

Falling in love seems to be a purely chem­i­cal process that has noth­ing to do with our inten­tions, will or plans. Falling in love is a genet­i­cally pro­grammed process with the pur­pose of pro­cre­ation, of mak­ing babies. Our genetic intel­li­gence urges us to pro­cre­ate so that genes can keep liv­ing, and uses our bod­ies to that end, it seems. And it does so by excret­ing hor­mones into our blood­stream by mak­ing us want to behave cer­tain way.

Dopamine, a neu­ro­trans­mit­ter, makes you focused on the one you are in love with. You want to spend more time with her/him. When you do some­thing that gives you plea­sure, dopamine is the one that urges you to do it again. Dopamine is released when you eat choco­late, do novel things, hit a hole in one etc. Dopamine gets released when you use drugs, which explains the feel­ing of being “addicted” to your loved one. In other words, dopamine helps you get attached to each other. So, falling in love is a kind of addic­tion. It cer­tainly feels like it.

Nor­ep­i­neph­rine is a stim­u­lant closely related to dopamine and gives you the energy to keep being together: it keeps you awake, you lose your appetite, and it gives you but­ter­flies in your stomach.

The pres­ence of sero­tonin, a neu­ro­trans­mit­ter that keeps you calm, is curi­ously low­ered when you are in love, so that you can be kept in a state of excite­ment and obses­sive think­ing about your part­ner. Being in love is closely related to anx­i­ety and fear. When you are newly smit­ten by love the level of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol shoots up. Also, men who are in love show low­ered lev­els of testos­terone, while women’s testos­terone lev­els go up. This may explain why men in love are more timid, while women are a lit­tle freer and wilder.

Oxy­tocin is what cements the trust and bond between peo­ple. This neu­ro­chem­i­cal is released in both men and women when they have sex. It is a bond­ing chem­i­cal that women also get a dose of when they give birth and breast-feed.

There is also an auto­matic reac­tion that reg­u­lates the pro­duc­tion of these chem­i­cals. It involves our senses and how we per­ceive the per­son we fall in love with. Besides the many con­di­tion­ing aspects of what we find attrac­tive in another per­son, there are some uni­ver­sal signs com­mon to all men and women that may reg­u­late the pro­duc­tion of the neurochemicals.

It is no sur­prise that there are whole multi­bil­lion dol­lar indus­tries that sup­port men and women in show­ing their “goods” in order to make the oppo­site sex “fall in love” with them. Every sense is addressed: hear­ing, sight, smell, taste, and touch.

Visu­ally men are gen­er­ally attracted by looks, i.e., signs of fer­til­ity and health in a woman. Besides age, these may include breasts, waist, hips, hair, etc. Women, on the other hand, would be attracted to signs of healthy genetic make-up (mus­cles, demeanor, height, strength, intel­li­gence, etc.) and signs of abil­ity to be sup­ported (money, posi­tion in soci­ety, etc.). Think fash­ion and what’s “in”.

Smell may play a deci­sive role in which chem­i­cals our body is going to pro­duce. The whole fra­grance indus­try is work­ing very hard to make smells attrac­tive. Con­sider the myr­iad of lotions, soaps, oils, can­dles, etc., on the mar­ket. Just imag­ine how you can be put off by a bad smell no mat­ter how attrac­tive a per­son may be in any other respect.

Hear­ing is just as impor­tant. Con­sider the music indus­try and the amount of love songs, and sooth­ing, roman­tic music that is pro­duced. All for one rea­son: to stim­u­late the pro­duc­tion of  “love chem­i­cals” and to sup­press the ones that may keep you dis­in­ter­ested. Con­sider the words “I love you.” By the same talken con­sider how attrac­tive it is to quar­rel, make your “loved one” wrong, not lis­ten, call each other names, put down your part­ner, etc.

Touch is just as impor­tant as any other sense. Women are espe­cially sen­si­tive to being touched. Man love to touch women, as we all know, and skin prod­ucts abound.

The ques­tion begs to be asked: If falling in love is purely chem­i­cal, what hap­pens when the body stops pro­duc­ing them? Do we fall out of love? The bad news is: yes.

But, wait! There is good news. We still have our senses that trig­ger the pro­duc­tion of our per­sonal chem­i­cal fac­tory. Also remem­ber that our mem­o­ries are very real to us. Remem­ber­ing good times can also acti­vate our per­sonal chem­istry pro­duc­tion. So, all is not lost. Stud­ies also show that peo­ple can stay in love for a very long time. And even bet­ter news is that the level of cor­ti­sol in cou­ples who have been together for a long time is much lower than in newly enam­ored cou­ples. Which means that they may be in love with­out the cus­tom­ary fear and anxiety.

And you think your choice and will power count for some­thing? Think again. In most cases we func­tion like any other mam­mals, when it comes to mat­ing games, on auto­matic. Sorry.

And yes! Isn’t it great when you are in love?! No other feel­ing comes close.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

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Valentine’s Day Expectations

by Sara Aboulhosn

It’s almost Valentine’s Day.  Radomir and I were casu­ally dis­cussing V-day and the crass com­mer­cial­iza­tion of just about all aspects of it and we started think­ing about what to write about for this so-called hol­i­day.  What topic would hit the nail on the head?  For me, it was easy to see – Unful­filled Expec­ta­tions.  Sorry Charles Dick­ens, not Great Expec­ta­tions but the unful­filled ones. They just pop up every­where, in all places, at all times; not just in romance. They do tend to stand out more on Valentine’s Day, though, because of the hype our cul­ture has built up around what we should do, what we should have and most, most, most impor­tantly what we SHOULD GET!

Oh, to be a woman (and I am) on V-day. We should get the flow­ers, the choco­late (even though we secretly or maybe not so secretly com­plain it makes us fat), the can­dles, the romance and yes, THE RING (if that’s where we’re at in our rela­tion­ship).  Hey, even if we’re past the ring stage, tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials tell us our man SHOULD be shop­ping at Jared Jew­el­ers or the like and buy­ing us a trin­ket from this or that lovely Valentiny col­lec­tion of jew­elry.  Depend­ing on the man, he might even be spring­ing for Tiffany’s and buy­ing us way more than a mere trin­ket.  The point is, though, he SHOULD be doing some­thing for us.  He SHOULD be show­ing us he loves us.  He SHOULD be spend­ing more money on us that he usu­ally spends and if he doesn’t usu­ally spend money on us, this is his chance to make it up and really show us he loves us.

I was so poignantly reminded of this whole nasty can of Unful­filled Expec­ta­tions by watch­ing the Valen­tine episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  Yes, you can pick up rela­tion­ship advice from these dra­mas, if you’re pay­ing atten­tion.  A cou­ple comes into the ER, he on a gur­ney, she walk­ing on her legs, both exit­ing from an ambu­lance that had picked him up from a car acci­dent. He was chas­ing her in his car – she ran out on him when she found out that once again, after 8 years, he didn’t give her an engage­ment ring.  Once again he got her hopes up with a small box, but instead of a ring, it had a “cheap neck­lace” inside (as she put it). She was harangu­ing him as he was being wheeled into the treat­ment room lying flat on the gur­ney, strapped down to pro­tect his neck, a gauze pad under his nose to sop up the blood, since his nose was broken.

Once again, after 8 years her expec­ta­tions were unful­filled. She couldn’t even open the neck­lace, which was a locket neck­lace. All she could do was run out of their home to escape the noise in her head which was prob­a­bly say­ing some­thing like, “He doesn’t love me, he’s using me, he’s this, he’s that…”

He needed surgery and after the surgery, as she was sit­ting by his bed­side watch­ing him hooked up to tubes and wires, look­ing washed out and gravely hurt, she told one of the doc­tors that although she had the ring picked out for when he finally pro­posed, look­ing at him there, she real­ized that all of that was crap. All she wanted was for him to be OK.  Unfor­tu­nately, it was too late and he crashed. They couldn’t revive him and he left the earthly plane with all of its unful­filled expec­ta­tions float­ing around.  Later, the doc­tor with whom the girl­friend had been speak­ing found his effects and in the midst of them was the “cheap neck­lace”. The doc­tor decided to open the neck­lace and what did she see?  Writ­ten on the left side of the heart, “Will You”, writ­ten on the right side of the heart, “Marry Me.”

That par­tic­u­lar story line ended right there. But can you imag­ine the anguish of the girl­friend if she was given the neck­lace?  Or if she wasn’t given the neck­lace? Either way, her unful­filled expec­ta­tions would be what she would have to live with vs. what was so.

All that really hap­pened was that her boyfriend of 8 years had not yet pro­posed on Valentine’s Day morn­ing, when she was hop­ing and expect­ing he would.  SHE was the one who had it mean some­thing.  And there’s noth­ing wrong with want­ing to get mar­ried (sorry guys who’ve been drag­ging your feet – this is not a “get out of jail card” for you to jus­tify foot drag­ging).  It’s just that we need to take respon­si­bil­ity, each and every one of us, for our expec­ta­tions and own them as our expec­ta­tions. They are not our part­ners’ expec­ta­tions, our pets’ expec­ta­tions, our boss’s expec­ta­tions. They are OURS.  If our expec­ta­tions are not being ful­filled or met, we can decide if we wish to pro­ceed or not. As Ein­stein said, the def­i­n­i­tion of insan­ity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect­ing to get a dif­fer­ent result.  (Radomir reminds us of this often too, in his blog posts). Prob­a­bil­ity wise, a dif­fer­ent result might be got­ten at some point but is that good enough for liv­ing a ful­filled life?

What should the girl­friend in the show have done?  I can’t say – I wasn’t there dur­ing the times she was dis­ap­pointed pre­vi­ously, dur­ing the talks they had, dur­ing the wed­dings she men­tioned she attended with him where she cried her eyes out nos­tal­gi­cally think­ing of HER non-wedding.  I do know that she could have taken respon­si­bil­ity for her role in their rela­tion­ship. She could have quit blam­ing him. She could have grown up and decided if it was worth wait­ing for some­one 8 years, even if you loved them, if mar­riage was your ideal and not his.

I do know she could have decided what was really impor­tant to her and taken that as the credo by which to live her life. This way, when Valentine’s day came along and no ring showed up, there would be no drama, no run­ning out of the build­ing in a frenzy.  Just an abil­ity to be with what was so — that what was impor­tant to her was not there in their rela­tion­ship.  And finally, then she could have opened the neck­lace, or not, while the man was still alive.

I wish you a guilt-free, calorie-free, expectation-free Valentine’s Day!

Sara

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

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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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To Agree Or Not To Agree? That Is The Question.

May 11, 2011

Posted by:

Category: Awareness, Communication

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To Agree Or Not To Agree? That Is The Question.

One of the main strate­gies for repair­ing your rela­tion­ship that I men­tion in The Rela­tion­ship Saver is that you must ALWAYS agree with your part­ner. This state­ment may cause you to imme­di­ately reject my sug­ges­tion, mainly for the rea­son of pride and self-respect.  Here are some exam­ples of what may be going through your mind:

- Why would I agree to a break-up if I don’t want it?

- How can I agree with her when she is wrong?

- If I agree to a divorce it will ruin our fam­ily and kids, and I will be just as respon­si­ble for a break up as he is and I am not the one who wants to leave, he is.

- I don’t want the sep­a­ra­tion, and if I agree it will make it easy for him to leave.

- I can­not lie and pre­tend. I am an hon­est person.

- Only peo­ple with­out their own opin­ion and of a weak char­ac­ter always go along with what­ever oth­ers want. I am not like that. No one tells me what to do.

- Please add your own….

What­ever rea­sons you may have for not agree­ing, it will make things even worse, and why agree­ing with your part­ner will not only pro­duce the results that you want, but also make you stronger, more respected and more desir­able to be with.

First, let me make one thing clear: you may be think­ing that you don’t want to ”play games,” that it is not hon­est to say what you do not mean, which it is basi­cally called lying. May I remind you: you have been play­ing games all along and you prob­a­bly were not even aware of it. Your game play­ing has brought your rela­tion­ship to this place. You may not agree with me about this, but if you look deep enough, you will see that your behav­ior was not always appro­pri­ate. Think about the times when you were mak­ing him wrong, dis­re­spect­ing him, push­ing and insist­ing, inval­i­dat­ing his efforts and try­ing to con­trol the sit­u­a­tion. Yes you were play­ing games, and unless you start play­ing a dif­fer­ent game noth­ing will change. You can stop play­ing games when your rela­tion­ship gets back on the right track again, or when you start a new rela­tion­ship. In the mean­time, you must change the rules of the game and give your part­ner a chance to react to the dif­fer­ent you. And, react he will.

Think about this: when you are con­fronted with a choice between being hon­est and being kind in any par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion, which one would you choose most of the time? If you are an hon­est per­son you may choose to rather be hon­est. If you do, you may be opt­ing to spend the rest of your life alone. Being hon­est is in at least 80% of cases incon­sid­er­ate, dis­re­spect­ful, self­ish, self-centered, ego­cen­tric and such, thus alien­at­ing peo­ple left and right. Yes, some­times you must be hon­est. Com­mu­ni­cat­ing how you feel, or get­ting oth­ers to see the real­ity of the sit­u­a­tion is some­times not only ben­e­fi­cial but nec­es­sary, although not always pleas­ant or kind. But you can do that only with peo­ple with whom you are on the same page, who you agree with, who respect your opin­ion and who are ready and will­ing to lis­ten. Oth­er­wise, you may just as well be talk­ing to the walls.

On the other hand, kind­ness requires respect for other’s point of view. When­ever you dis­agree with some­one you make them WRONG. It makes no dif­fer­ence if you know you are right. Your part­ner thinks she is right too, thus the dis­agree­ment. No one likes to be made wrong and it cer­tainly does not lead to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. If you’d rather be right than have your rela­tion­ship back then go ahead. But if you want to get your part­ner back, AGREE with her about EVERYTHING. And when I say agree, I do not mean to agree with him just because he would like you to. What I mean is that you trust that his idea, for exam­ple to break up, is a good one. Say so. See a bright side to it. Tell her that it would be a great oppor­tu­nity for both of you to see other peo­ple and date again. And don’t just say it, go out and do it. What kind of reac­tion do you think it may pro­duce? He will be fly­ing back to your arms as soon as he sees that oth­ers are inter­ested in you.  Think about what you would do in that sit­u­a­tion. He would do the same. We are all human. Well, it’s a game. If it’s worth play­ing, it’s worth play­ing well.

Only your best will be suf­fi­cient. :-)

By the way, I have never seen a women leave a man who always cheer­fully agrees with her (an vice versa). Keep that in mind.

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

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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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Selfish Feelings

Are we our feel­ings, or we just have them? Some­times it seems that we are made of them.  Feel­ings per­vade our every day lives. How do we man­age them and how we use them or abuse them? We have good feel­ings and bad feel­ings. When we feel good we appear to be a totally dif­fer­ent per­son than when we feel bad. How do we man­age them and how we use them or abuse them? This is the sub­ject of today’s article.

We feel and express our emo­tions all day long. Whether we com­mu­ni­cate them by words or behav­ior, we make sure other peo­ple know how we feel. Or do we? We also try to hide our feel­ings for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, be it fear, polite social con­duct, inap­pro­pri­ate­ness of the moment, strate­giz­ing, etc.

It has been shown that if con­nect­ing path­ways in our brain, from the lim­bic sys­tem and amyg­dala in par­tic­u­lar (the emo­tional cen­ter of the brain) are sev­ered, a per­son is com­pletely unable to make any deci­sions at all.  So, emo­tions seem to be an insep­a­ra­ble part of our every­day expe­ri­ence, and for good rea­son, as you can see.

How is it then, that these same emo­tions often make our lives mis­er­able? Can we do any­thing about it? Let’s first see how emo­tions play out in our rela­tion­ships and if there are any dif­fer­ences in their influ­ence on people’s lives.

One way to approach this issue is to make a sim­ple dis­tinc­tion between hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal dif­fer­ences as to how peo­ple man­age their emo­tions. Hor­i­zon­tal refers to peo­ple who are mostly on auto­matic, express their emo­tions with­out a sec­ond thought, or on the other hand, hide their emo­tions out of fear. There also seems to be a nat­ural and con­sid­er­able dif­fer­ence between male and female feel­ing man­age­ment, with which we will be more con­cerned here.

Ver­ti­cal dif­fer­ences are more con­cerned with the level of aware­ness, our abil­ity to observe our­selves objec­tively, our emo­tional intel­li­gence and level of per­sonal devel­op­ment.

I would like also to dis­tin­guish the dif­fer­ence between feel­ings and emo­tions, i.e., between feel­ing some­thing and emot­ing it. This dis­tinc­tion may not be com­pletely accu­rate, but it cer­tainly is very use­ful: feel­ings are an inter­nal affair while emo­tions are a behav­ioral issue. Our feel­ings are “felt” in our bod­ies as an energy field, in our plexus area, our throat, our limbs, our head, etc. Feel­ings are con­strained within the para­me­ters of our body; they are ours. When, on the other hand, we act upon our feel­ings, we show emo­tions, we emote, we cry, laugh, smash things in anger, show love, etc. In other words, emo­tions are the expres­sions of our feelings.

Men and women are pro­grammed dif­fer­ently the way they process their feel­ings. (By ‘man’ I mean mas­cu­line and by ‘woman’ I mean fem­i­nine; both gen­ders have a mix­ture of both to dif­fer­ent degrees in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions, so do not take this per­son­ally, and at the same time it may be use­ful if you indeed do so.)

One of the major gen­der dif­fer­ences in the realm of feel­ings is that women are feel­ing crea­tures and men are ratio­nal crea­tures. This comes from the appar­ent inabil­ity of women to con­trol what thoughts come into their mind. Since thoughts in most cases are trig­gers for feel­ings, women seem to not have con­trol of what they may feel at any moment. Since feel­ings are heav­ily involved in the deci­sion mak­ing process, women’s emo­tions may seem erratic to a man, incon­sis­tent, illog­i­cal, inap­pro­pri­ate, thought­less, etc, (add your own if you are a man.) That’s why it is thought that it is in a woman’s nature to change her mind often! No won­der this dri­ves men insane, but to a woman it is quite “log­i­cal and reasonable”.

If you were to pay atten­tion to the dif­fer­ence between a man and a woman’s vocab­u­lary, you may notice that women use the verb “to feel” and “a feel­ing” as a noun much more often then men. Guess why: Because feel­ings are much more impor­tant for women than for men. That does not mean that men do not have feel­ings, as many women pre­sume that men are defi­cient in the feel­ing depart­ment. In fact, men have just as many feel­ings as women; they just man­age them dif­fer­ently. Men, being hunters by nature, can­not afford to have emo­tions freely expressed while stalk­ing a deer, because the deer will escape, thus no food for that week. Men are much bet­ter at keep­ing a sin­gle focus and not allow­ing unwanted thoughts to enter their minds. (See The Game­less Rela­tion­ship.) On the other hand, a con­stant broad view and dif­fused focus allow­ing every­thing to come into the sphere of a woman’s aware­ness was a means of sur­vival in a hos­tile envi­ron­ment mil­len­nia ago. Thus, a man’s rela­tion­ship to feel­ings is dif­fer­ent than a woman’s, and although largely incom­pre­hen­si­ble to the oppo­site sex, is equally use­ful as a sur­vival tool. This is one of the rea­sons why a couple’s chance of sur­vival is much higher than a sin­gle person’s (not to men­tion repro­duc­tion opportunities).

In our rela­tion­ships, our roles have been deter­mined by thou­sands of years of evo­lu­tion. Just because we have lived in “mod­ern times” for rel­a­tively few years does not free us from our genet­i­cally pro­grammed roles. We, for instance, often hear of late that women want a ‘sen­si­tive man’. The moment a man becomes ‘sen­si­tive’ a woman does not like him any more because he is not ‘man enough’. I see it too often in my prac­tice. A whole new lan­guage has devel­oped about this, like “we are preg­nant”, not uttered by two women, but by a man in a mar­riage. Many ques­tions come to my mind such as, “How did these men get pregnant?”

What a woman means by want­ing a sen­si­tive man is one who is able to per­ceive what she is feel­ing. Men are prac­ti­cal. They want to solve prob­lems, not lis­ten to someone’s out­pour­ing of feel­ings about an issue. It is impor­tant for both sexes to edu­cate them­selves on the gen­der dif­fer­ences. Many rela­tion­ships could be saved if only we knew some of these secrets. Why they are still secrets, beats me. After all the knowl­edge we have accu­mu­lated, most peo­ple seem to be igno­rant about this subject.

So, why did I title this arti­cle Self­ish Feel­ings? It is about the ver­ti­cal dif­fer­ences of emo­tional man­age­ment.  Feel­ings are very per­sonal and par­tic­u­lar to every­one and for every sit­u­a­tion, yet we use and abuse our feel­ings to express our emo­tions in order to manip­u­late, blame, credit, cre­ate guilt in oth­ers, etc. Granted, we often do it with­out even being aware of it. Two year olds may be for­given for doing it uncon­sciously (although I’m not sure that it always uncon­scious even at that age) but with adults it is a sign of being irre­spon­si­ble and unaware or mind­less. Not being respon­si­ble for your emo­tions can be very destruc­tive for a rela­tion­ship. You can­not have your emo­tions run ram­pant and dump your feel­ings onto oth­ers when­ever you “feel like it”. It is a sign of infan­tile behav­ior not suited to fully devel­oped adults. I hope you real­ize that to be only con­cerned about how you feel, how oth­ers feel about you, or how you want them to feel or not to feel about any­thing or any­body else, includ­ing them­selves, is sim­ply self­ish. This world does not revolve around you although it may seem like it to you. Such ego­cen­tric behav­ior is nat­ural for chil­dren at a cer­tain devel­op­men­tal level. It is time to real­ize that a human being can go through higher lev­els of devel­op­ment past the ego­cen­tric, namely ethno-centric, world-centric, cosmo-centric and fur­ther, which we are yet to discover.

So, whether you are a man or a woman, it may be time to start work­ing, if you already haven’t, on becom­ing self-aware instead of being self­ishly self-conscious and notice where your self­ish feel­ings are at work and are inappropriate.

Feel­ings are such a huge sub­ject that I’m sure we will return to it. In the mean­time please post your com­ments, thoughts and ques­tions so that we can learn from each other.

Happy feel­ings!

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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Self Defense For Verbal Conflict

My good friend Philip, an Aikido prac­ti­tioner,  wrote this arti­cle. I imme­di­ately rec­og­nized it as a gold mine for resolv­ing rela­tion­ship con­flicts (although this par­tic­u­lar story is about a con­flict with a neigh­bor) and and at the same time devel­op­ing your­self. Our auto­matic behav­ior is to re-act to each other which, as I men­tioned in The Rela­tion­ship Saver, throws a wrench into the wheels of our rela­tion­ship and into a down­ward spin. Here Philip elo­quently explains how to stop react­ing and take your  rela­tion­ship into your own hands, the Aikido way.

Enjoy.
Radomir

==========

Self Defense For Ver­bal Con­flict

By Philip Stearns

A cou­ple days ago my friends Radomir and Antoinette were accosted by their next-door neigh­bor, a young, 20-something woman.  Based on the per­ceived affront of a car parked too close to her dri­ve­way, the woman mate­ri­al­ized on their front porch, banged on the door and, when Antoinette answered the knock, pro­ceeded to threat­en­ingly cuss her out as being an incon­sid­er­ate, f-ing bitch before head­ing back across the drive to her house.  Her hus­band Radomir, upon hear­ing of the inci­dent, made the trip next door to get to the bot­tom of the sit­u­a­tion.  He was met by a sim­i­lar stream of invec­tive high­lighted by the resound­ing bang of the door slam­ming in his face.

Hav­ing been friends with Antoinette for many years and know­ing her to be an extremely polite, respect­ful, gen­tle, soft-spoken, reserved Eng­lish woman, this scene seemed almost amus­ing in its absur­dity.  Who could get so worked up with Antoinette?  The look on her face, how­ever, revealed how shaken up she was by the episode.  Radomir, him­self an expert in human inter­ac­tions and rela­tion­ships and an author on the topic, was sim­i­larly both­ered by the extreme nature of the ver­bal attack.  The ques­tion imme­di­ately arose in the con­ver­sa­tion as to how I would have han­dled the woman had it been me stand­ing in the door­way, nose-to-nose with the rag­ing, abu­sive shrew.  I prac­tice a defen­sive art called aikido – some­times referred to as “the art of peace” — that is all about resolv­ing con­flict so this real-world episode demanded con­sid­er­a­tion and raised the ques­tion: how do you han­dle a sud­den, intense ver­bal attack so that every­one can win?  After all, the lady was their next-door neigh­bor.  You don’t want to aggra­vate the rela­tion­ship.  But you want to defuse the sit­u­a­tion and, ide­ally, feel good about it.

Before explor­ing approaches that can be taken in sit­u­a­tions like this, it is use­ful to under­stand a cou­ple of facts about human biol­ogy and psy­chol­ogy.  Under­stand­ing them is the key to both keep­ing your cool under fire and help­ing your assailant sim­mer down.

First of all, humans are equipped with an amaz­ing brain, the prod­uct of mil­lions of years of evo­lu­tion.  The brain is actu­ally made up of many inter­ac­tive parts.  Some two dozen or so of the old­est parts make up some­thing called the lim­bic sys­tem, a set of brain struc­tures that line the inner bor­der of the cor­tex.  Phys­i­o­log­i­cal func­tions such as sleep cycles, heart rate, blood pres­sure, hunger, thirst, sex­ual arousal, for­ma­tion of long-term mem­ory, fight or flight impulses, among other low level, basic func­tions, find a home in the lim­bic sys­tem.  This is the area of the brain that kept us alive through ancient times of extreme adver­sity.  This is where the impulse to flee from dan­ger is gen­er­ated and where the reflex­ive instincts to pro­tect our selves, our chil­dren, our food, our shel­ter and our stuff come from.  Sur­vival has always been the name of the game and fight-or-flight was a key to enabling us to see the sun rise another day.  Even now, after count­less gen­er­a­tions, if we per­ceive we are being attacked or threat­ened in some way, elab­o­rate hor­monal and phys­i­o­log­i­cal changes instantly emanate from the lim­bic sys­tem trig­ger­ing emo­tional responses like fear or anger.  The reflex­ive instinct towards self-defense rises from the ancient rep­til­ian brain, insist­ing we flee or fight.  Inher­ent in these reflex­ive feel­ings is a sense of vul­ner­a­bil­ity from exter­nal sources of danger.

The next useful-to-understand fact of human nature is that each of us pos­sesses a set of bio­log­i­cal ‘switches’ for our emo­tions.  These switches are entirely auto­matic and they are uni­ver­sal.  They are often referred to as the Affect Sys­tem and they devel­oped along­side the lim­bic sys­tem to aid in our sur­vival in some way.  Most of the emo­tions that are trig­gered are thought of as being ‘neg­a­tive’, such as fear, anger, shame, dis­tress, dis­gust, etc.  A few are ‘pos­i­tive’, like inter­est, excite­ment and joy.  For our pur­poses here, it is only impor­tant to under­stand that:

1.  These emo­tional switches exist and they are fun­da­men­tal to who we are.  We all have them.
2.  Only a sin­gle switch/emotion can be acti­vated at-a-time.  An anal­ogy would be those old-fashioned car radios with ‘radio but­tons’; when one is pushed, the oth­ers pop out.  So, for exam­ple, we don’t expe­ri­ence fear and joy simul­ta­ne­ously, or anger and inter­est.  If you are feel­ing joy­ful and some­thing sud­denly fright­ens you, joy will give way to fear, and visa-versa.
3.  The third fact that is par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant to our expe­ri­ence in a sit­u­a­tion that we per­ceive as being threat­en­ing is a phe­nom­e­non often referred to as “affect res­o­nance”.  In a nut­shell, peo­ple tend to auto­mat­i­cally share emo­tions to one degree or another.  If a per­son is upset in our pres­ence, we tend to feel upset.  We res­onate emo­tion­ally.   The pres­ence of an excited per­son tends to make us feel excited, too.  Joy begets joy, anger begets anger, and so on.  This is most read­ily observed in chil­dren.  New­borns in a hos­pi­tal nurs­ery, for exam­ple, can eas­ily be seen shar­ing  ‘dis­tress’.  One hun­gry baby starts cry­ing and all the babies join in, hun­gry or not.  For­tu­nately, as we grow up we grad­u­ally learn to mod­u­late these emo­tional reac­tions.  With­out the learned abil­ity to get a han­dle on this phe­nom­e­non of Affect Res­o­nance every upset per­son would trig­ger upset in all of those around him.  Every tear would gen­er­ate a tor­rent of tears.  So, as we mature, we learn to mod­u­late the impulse to spon­ta­neously share the emo­tions of those around us.  Nonethe­less, we still feel the basic impulses when exposed to another person’s emo­tional state.

Right!  Now we have an under­stand­ing of these basic facts of human nature.  How might this serve us when faced with an enraged, scream­ing, threat­en­ing neigh­bor who has appeared on the doorstep intent upon vent­ing her rage and mak­ing you feel as bad as humanly pos­si­ble?  Let’s take a look…

First of all, the most nat­ural expe­ri­ence for most peo­ple is for your body and mind to become highly reac­tive as affect res­o­nance kicks in.  The woman is loud, angry and threat­en­ing.  You may well quickly feel hot, shaky, per­haps fear­ful or angry.  Maybe you will feel guilty or ashamed if your car really was block­ing the neighbor’s dri­ve­way.  Or, you might be dis­gusted by the bizarre dis­play. What­ever the ini­tial feel­ings, they will almost cer­tainly be neg­a­tive.  The inten­sity of the assault will be a shock to your sys­tem.  The first step toward tak­ing advan­tage of the sit­u­a­tion is clearly to get a grip on you.  You can feel your­self los­ing it.  What to do??

Remem­ber that what­ever affects (switches) are being thrown and what­ever emo­tion you are expe­ri­enc­ing can be coun­ter­acted by con­sciously throw­ing a dif­fer­ent switch.  The trick is to con­trol your mind.  It might be use­ful to see the woman on the porch as being a sales­per­son who is sell­ing you some­thing you really don’t want to buy.  After all, why would you want to buy a body full of rag­ing pep­tides and a head full of dis­tress?  Or, in the words of Tom Waits, “a head full of light­ning and a hat full of rain.” So, the first order of busi­ness is to CHOOSE to move your atten­tion con­sciously to some place other than the woman’s face which is the pri­mary pro­jec­tor of her rage.  My favorite loca­tion in this sit­u­a­tion is the bot­tom of my feet.  Put your atten­tion on the soles of your feet and become aware of the feel­ing of pres­sure com­ing from the con­tact with the floor.  Think about the feel­ing, visu­al­ize your feet and the way they greet the floor.  Are you wear­ing shoes?  How do they look?  Raise your big toes and see how the sen­sa­tions in your feet change.  Put them down again.  Take a deep breath and imag­ine the air is trav­el­ing all the way down to your feet.  Put your atten­tion in your feet.  Breath into them.

What this exer­cise is doing is cap­tur­ing your atten­tion and trig­ger­ing the “inter­est” switch.  You are switch­ing off the neg­a­tive emo­tions and turn­ing on inter­est.  You are calm­ing down and giv­ing your­self a break from being buf­feted by your own biol­ogy.  Now, main­tain­ing your aware­ness of the bot­tom of your feet, move your atten­tion to the woman’s body.  Notice that you can now do that with­out feel­ing reac­tive.  Inves­ti­gate all the ways she has become rigid, unbal­anced and unsteady.  Allow your­self to be absorbed in this inves­ti­ga­tion.  Then take another breath and extend com­pas­sion towards this trou­bled woman.  Feel a con­nec­tion form.  Reach out to her in your mind.  You now have some­thing that she dearly needs.  You have calm, empa­thy and compassion.

This is where the magic begins.  Notice that one of two things is going to hap­pen.  Either the woman is going to break away and leave because she feels her mood slip­ping away and she is invested in hold­ing onto the intensely neg­a­tive feel­ings… or…. she is going to calm down.  She is look­ing for resis­tance and you are giv­ing her none.  The abil­ity to main­tain her rage depends on your resis­tance.  She needs some­one to push on to main­tain her rage. When you take the resis­tance away, so goes the ugly mood.

Affect res­o­nance goes both ways.  Just as your emo­tions are trig­gered by your neighbor’s intense anger, so will her mood be affected by YOUR emo­tional state.  THIS is your power.  This is your road out of a sense of vul­ner­a­bil­ity and into a sense of peace and empowerment.

So, the name of the game is not to react to your neigh­bor… but to con­trol you.  When you trap your own atten­tion and become inter­ested or even – with prac­tice — joy­ful in the pres­ence of your neigh­bor, she is going to feel her own mood alter in accor­dance to the laws of her own phys­i­o­log­i­cal makeup.  It’s just a fan­tas­tic and for­tu­nate fact of human biol­ogy.  Your neighbor’s abil­ity to main­tain her rag­ing emo­tional state is under­mined by your own pos­i­tive pres­ence.  She can­not feel your inter­est, com­pas­sion, or your love with­out res­onat­ing to it and with­out hav­ing her neg­a­tive emo­tions switched off.  By con­trol­ling your­self you are switch­ing off your neighbor’s anger switch.  You have the power.  And it’s a win-win.  Once calm, you can work out the details of your differences.

The prob­lem in human con­flict is never the per­son attack­ing you.  The only issue is how you feel about it.  That feel­ing becomes a choice when you under­stand how your feel­ings oper­ate.  And, once you have expe­ri­enced the real­ity that what you choose to feel either sup­ports or dis­solves your attacker’s neg­a­tive inten­tions, it becomes dif­fi­cult not to ask the ques­tion, “who is really respon­si­ble for this situation?”

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

——–
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

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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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Lust vs. Love

lust |ləst|

noun

very strong sex­ual desire : he knew that his lust for her had returned.

[in sing. ] a pas­sion­ate desire for some­thing : a lust for power.

(usu. lusts) chiefly The­ol­ogy a sen­sual appetite regarded as sin­ful : lusts of the flesh.

Yes, of course, we all know the dif­fer­ence. We talk about love, sing songs, write poems and recite quotes, express it to oth­ers, cher­ish it and gen­er­ally put it on an emo­tional pedestal. We all know that “Love makes the world go round.” Or, do we some­times con­fuse that ever present and overused word “love”, with another word which is “sin­ful”, not to be men­tioned in not only polite soci­ety, but some­how regarded as weak­ness prop­a­gated for cen­turies by most reli­gions as unde­sir­able. This dreaded word is, of course you’ve guessed it, LUST.

Yet, I sug­gest that these two words, love and lust, are much more inter­change­able in our lives than we would like to admit. This some­how applies to men more often than women, which is not to say that women are immune to lust. On the con­trary, it can be just as strong a dri­ving force in a rela­tion­ship although most of the time does not lead to a long-lasting and happy partnership.

Of course, as we can see from the def­i­n­i­tion above, lust is closely con­nected with sex. Although you may lust for money or ice cream, this is not what we are talk­ing about here.

This arti­cle is about being able to dis­tin­guish between love and sex. Why, you may ask. As I men­tioned in pre­vi­ous arti­cles, being present to, and con­scious of what is real and what we imag­ine in our own minds can and will make the dif­fer­ence in your abil­ity to make sound choices and cre­ate your own hap­pi­ness. How many bro­ken rela­tion­ships and mar­riages have you known that started with a cou­ple being “madly in love.” Maybe it was one of your own. The divorce rate in the mil­i­tary is about 80–90% mostly due to young peo­ple hav­ing sex for the first time, falling in love (read: lust) and get­ting mar­ried, and the num­bers tell you what the out­come is for the most part.

How many times have you con­fused love and lust? How many times have you told a woman that you love her just to get her into bed. How many times have you actu­ally believed it if you are a woman? What were the con­se­quences? How many hearts have been bro­ken because peo­ple could not dis­tin­guish between the two?

Men and women usu­ally “fall in love” for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. Real, uncon­di­tional love has noth­ing to do with this phrase. For men, qual­i­ties, which mostly have to do with sex, i.e. looks, are impor­tant. By their good looks women are sub­con­sciously flaunt­ing their fer­til­ity. And, women know very well how to do it: thus, make-up, tat­toos, boob implants, high heels and such. For a woman, what is more impor­tant is the approval of her attrac­tive­ness and man’s abil­ity to sat­isfy her other needs. For a woman lust is rarely first on the list. Be aware, if sex hap­pens to be first on your list if you are a woman, run as fast as you can if you do not want an almost cer­tain break up in the near future.

This is in a nut­shell, how we oper­ate in rela­tion­ships. Our wants and needs go hand in hand. Nature has designed our mat­ing game to per­fec­tion. Our “self­ish genes” are ful­fill­ing their self­ish agenda very well — too well some­times. (There are 6,500,000,000 peo­ple on earth mostly poor and strug­gling for survival.)

Yet, we like to think of our­selves as con­scious beings in con­trol of our actions and lives. Noth­ing can be fur­ther from the truth; lust and sex are the most ancient and the strongest impulses that are hard to con­trol. Yet there is hope. The vehi­cle to knowl­edge is lan­guage. The vehi­cle to wis­dom and hap­pi­ness is the con­stant expan­sion of our aware­ness of the dis­tinc­tion between real­ity and our inter­pre­ta­tions of it. In other words, call­ing a spade a spade might help. Timely dis­tin­guish­ing between lust and love may save you from a life­time of suffering.

In the end I would like to make clear that despite what the church, your mother or soci­ety says, there is noth­ing wrong with “lust of the flash. Lust is a hormone-driven nat­ural process aimed at repro­duc­tion and it is hard to fight. As long as we do not con­fuse it with love we can put it to our ser­vice instead of being its slave.

Love and lust! Just know the difference.

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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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.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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How to…

Recently I received an e-mail from a per­son request­ing a refund because he had read many books on rela­tion­ships and that The Rela­tion­ship Saver was not help­ful.  A few oth­ers have com­plained that it’s not spe­cific enough. I’m sure that he is not the only one who has accu­mu­lated a lot of knowl­edge about sav­ing rela­tion­ships dur­ing a con­sid­er­able period of time, but has always been dis­ap­pointed because “it didn’t work”.

So, how is it that we are so knowl­edge­able yet can­not improve rela­tion­ships, no mat­ter what? The best exam­ple is over­weight peo­ple who want to lose weight. Most of them know exactly HOW to do it. The same applies to rela­tion­ships. We often know how to do it, yet we do noth­ing about it. And therein lies the problem.

Both The Rela­tion­ship Saver and The Game­less Rela­tion­ship are prac­ti­cal books of which there are two types: one, which spells out rules, and the other, which explains the prin­ci­ples. The Rela­tion­ship Saver is a “rule book”. It does not explain any under­ly­ing prin­ci­ples.  If they were included The Rela­tion­ship Saver would run to vol­umes. It is designed as a man­ual to be put to imme­di­ate use. Sav­ing a rela­tion­ship is often an urgent matter.

On the other hand, The Game­less Rela­tion­ship is a book about prin­ci­ples. Rules are cre­ated from prin­ci­ples, i.e., “Do not steal” is a rule, but it comes from a prin­ci­ple of hon­esty, cred­i­bil­ity, trust and integrity. A rule book is meant to be short  (look at The Ten Com­mand­ments).  To explain the under­ly­ing prin­ci­ples may take much longer.

How come we read all these books, we gather all the infor­ma­tion we can get, and our rela­tion­ship is still in trou­ble? I am sure by now you’ve guessed why. The magic word is ACTION, and not just any action. In order for a book to work, YOU must do the work. Sorry, there is no way around it. I wish there were a magic wand that you could just wave and your part­ner would change into a prince/princess and you would live hap­pily ever after. The only magic wand there is hap­pens to be the one you hold in the form of an ACTION that pro­duces a change in YOU. Here are some rules (with the under­ly­ing prin­ci­ples in paren­the­sis), which if you apply them, will not only improve your rela­tion­ships but will give you a much hap­pier life in general:

-    YOU must take action (actions are always in lan­guage).
–    YOU are the one who needs to change (peo­ple react to each other).
–    You can­not change other peo­ple (change can only be ini­ti­ated from inside and insist­ing that other peo­ple change makes you a vic­tim).
–    Keep your promises (integrity).
–    Do not gos­sip (integrity).
–    Do not judge, lest you be judged. (Your beliefs and inter­pre­ta­tions are NOT real­ity. They are only real to YOU.)
–    Leave the fol­low­ing phrases out of your vocab­u­lary:
o    I, you, he/she/it should (The world is what it is, not what you think it “should” be.
o    I’ll try. (“There is no try, you either do or not do” – Yoda from The Star Wars movie.)
o    I hope. (Hope is okay, but there is no action in it, there­fore no change.)

-    Love (uncon­di­tional love is the high­est level of self expression).

How do you fol­low the rules? By apply­ing them in action. Liv­ing by the rules is fine — many peo­ple do — but dis­cov­er­ing and becom­ing aware of the under­ly­ing prin­ci­ples and learn­ing from them makes you much more ver­sa­tile, secure and much more pow­er­ful; not to men­tion that lit­tle plea­sure of being right more often.

Dif­fer­ent peo­ple learn (or not) differently:

- Stu­pid peo­ple do not learn.
– Smart peo­ple learn from their own mis­takes.
– Clever peo­ple learn from other people’s mis­takes.
– Intel­li­gent peo­ple learn from PRINCIPLES.
(Dr. Lo)

So, how do you make the most of a prac­ti­cal book? Every sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent. Every sit­u­a­tion can be observed from dif­fer­ent points of view and thus inter­preted dif­fer­ently. No prac­ti­cal book, there­fore, can tell you exactly what to do in ANY par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion. You must make your own judg­ment accord­ing to your inter­pre­ta­tion of the cir­cum­stances accord­ing to the rules and prin­ci­ples learned from prac­ti­cal books. To the ques­tion I often get: whether The Rela­tion­ship Saver will get my love back, the answer is NO, The Rela­tion­ship Saver will do noth­ing for you.

Some peo­ple think that just by read­ing a book and hav­ing more knowl­edge about rela­tion­ships and/or if they are told exactly what to do in their par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stance they will save their rela­tion­ship. Rela­tion­ships are about being and not about doing. Doing is a direct result of being, not vice versa.  In other words, what you do is a direct result of who you are being in any par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion. YOU must walk the talk. YOU must learn about the changes you need to go through AND put them into prac­tice. And, YOU are the only per­son you CAN change, thus most likely chang­ing your rela­tion­ship and the qual­ity of your life. Do not give that power to ANYONE else.

Books have enor­mous power, but only if you coop­er­ate and if what you’ve read is reflected in your actions.


http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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How To Avoid A Conflict

argu­ment |ˈärgyəmənt|

noun

1 an exchange of diverg­ing or oppo­site views, typ­i­cally a heated or angry one

Accord­ing to the above def­i­n­i­tion – and we will con­cen­trate on the most com­mon vari­ety – an argu­ment is a con­flict of views or opinions.

In order to be able to dis­solve a con­flict we must first be able to dis­tin­guish between a fact and an opin­ion or a per­sonal view.

The fol­low­ing are some exam­ples of opin­ion statements:

This is ter­ri­ble

You are wrong

You are a jerk, rude, etc.

You are very late

You always do that

You never ______

And here are some fact statements:

It is rain­ing here

I am home

You arrived at 2:40 PM

I am hungry

I think that you ______

The door is open

You said: _____

I did not go to work yesterday

Most of the time con­flict arises from think­ing that our opin­ions are facts and our treat­ing them as facts. The prob­lem starts when we start tak­ing actions based on what we per­ceive as a fact but in real­ity they are only our opinions.

Often we are blind to the fact that our opin­ions are just that, and although they may appear as facts to us, they are just “our” truths and not THE truths. The first step in dis­solv­ing a con­flict of this nature is to start own­ing our opin­ions.

As a speaker we can start by mod­i­fy­ing the way we make statements:

Instead of say­ing “This is wrong” you may say I THINK that this is wrong. Instead of say­ing: “You are wrong”, you may want to ask: “Why do you think that?” Instead of angry become curious.

Opin­ions are inter­pre­ta­tions, judg­ments and assess­ments ABOUT what hap­pened. Opin­ions are gen­er­ated in our mind.

I have heard many peo­ple fight tooth and nail to prove that their opin­ions are true. And yes, they are true, but only for them and not nec­es­sar­ily for any­one else. Just because some or ALL the peo­ple agree with your opin­ion, it does not make it any more true.

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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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What Really Determines How We Live Our Lives?

This post is from a friend and men­tor Morty Lefkoe, at http://mortylefkoe.com

It goes very well with my pre­vi­ous post and some oth­ers. And, very use­ful in highly emo­tion­ally charged sit­u­a­tions .… if you decide that you want to use it, that is. Unfor­tu­nately we often just won’t. How stub­born can we get, to our own detri­ment of course? No won­der our rela­tion­ships go down the tube, although we do have tools to save it.

****

For years I’ve thought that our lives—what we do, think, feel, and perceive—were the direct result of our beliefs and our con­di­tion­ing.  When I looked at the lives and beliefs of over 13,000 clients, I noticed a very close correlation.

In the past few weeks I’ve had rea­son to rethink that con­clu­sion.  I’ve iden­ti­fied a  cou­ple of steps between beliefs and how we live our lives, so I no longer think there is a direct connection.

In order to explain what the actual con­nec­tion is, let me briefly remind you of my three posts last year on “occur­ring.” (See here) Most peo­ple are not aware that the way real­ity shows up or occurs for them is not the same as what’s actu­ally “out there” in the world.

For exam­ple, if some­thing you’re about to do occurs to you as dif­fi­cult, for you it really is dif­fi­cult.  For you, the dif­fi­culty is a fact. Actu­ally, the project might require skills that you don’t have or per­haps you aren’t con­fi­dent about your abil­ity to do it suc­cess­fully. But the project itself isn’t dif­fi­cult.  Dif­fi­cult is in our minds.  Only the require­ments of the project are in the world.

So there is a pro­found dif­fer­ence between real­ity and how real­ity shows up for us, and most peo­ple usu­ally never make that distinction.

Back to my new real­iza­tion.  It now seems to me that what deter­mines our thoughts, feel­ings, behav­ior, etc. at any given moment is the way peo­ple and events (and even our inter­nal thoughts) occur to us, moment by moment.  And, for us, real­ity is this occurring—not how real­ity really is.

Are beliefs and con­di­tion­ing involved at all?  Yes, they are.  The con­nec­tion between our beliefs and con­di­tion­ing and how things show up or occur for us is   the mean­ing we are giv­ing real­ity moment by moment.

Here’s how I think it works: We have beliefs and con­di­tion­ings from ear­lier in life.  When we inter­act with any sit­u­a­tion, our exist­ing beliefs and con­di­tion­ings are the pri­mary deter­mi­nant of the mean­ing we give the sit­u­a­tion.  That mean­ing in turn deter­mines how it occurs for us.  And that occur­ring then deter­mines how we react to the situation.

Here’s an illus­tra­tion to make this real.  Imag­ine you have sev­eral beliefs, includ­ing What makes me good enough or impor­tant is hav­ing peo­ple think well of me. The sit­u­a­tion you encounter is: You’re with a group of friends, all of whom have the same opin­ion about some­thing.  You dis­agree.  That’s real­ity.  Given the beliefs you have, the mean­ing you might give this real­ity is: “It’s dan­ger­ous to dis­agree with my friends because that might result in them not lik­ing me or think­ing less of me.”  Given that mean­ing, the sit­u­a­tion prob­a­bly will occur for you as uncom­fort­able and you will feel resis­tance to speak up about your dis­agree­ment.   And given this way the sit­u­a­tion showed up for you, you prob­a­bly would not say anything.

Can you see that your beliefs would lead you to give real­ity the mean­ing you did?  … And can you see that given that mean­ing, the sit­u­a­tion would occur to you as it did?  … And finally, can you see that your behav­ior prob­a­bly would be con­sis­tent with how the sit­u­a­tion occurred to you? …

When I men­tioned this new way of look­ing at the rela­tion­ship between our beliefs and the way we live our lives, one friend said to me last week: Why are you com­pli­cat­ing the sit­u­a­tion?  If beliefs and con­di­tion­ing cause the mean­ing, which causes the occur­ring, which deter­mines how we life our lives, so what if there are a cou­ple of ele­ments between the beliefs and how we live our lives?

Here’s why this dis­tinc­tion can be very impor­tant.  If our lives are the direct result of our beliefs and con­di­tion­ing, then we could not change our lives until we found and elim­i­nated them.  But if our lives are the result of the mean­ing we give any given sit­u­a­tion, then it might be pos­si­ble to change that mean­ing, thereby chang­ing how we will act and feel in any given sit­u­a­tion, with­out elim­i­nat­ing the beliefs.

I think that it is pos­si­ble to do that and I’m in the process of con­duct­ing an exper­i­ment with 20 peo­ple over a ten-week period to see what is required to change the mean­ing we auto­mat­i­cally give to sit­u­a­tions.  So far it looks like it can be done.  I per­son­ally have done it many times, even though it can be dif­fi­cult to do it consistently.

Now in the long run you still would want to get rid of the rel­e­vant neg­a­tive beliefs and con­di­tion­ing because, if you don’t, the next time a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion comes up, you’ll prob­a­bly form the same mean­ing, which you will then have to change.  On the other hand, if you elim­i­nate the neg­a­tive beliefs, you’ll form a dif­fer­ent, more pos­i­tive mean­ing the next time, and you won’t have to change it.

At this point you prob­a­bly are ask­ing: So how do you change the mean­ing we auto­mat­i­cally and uncon­sciously give events every minute?  The same way we elim­i­nate the mean­ing we gave the events that led to beliefs as a child.  Give the events two or three dif­fer­ent mean­ings so that you can make real that the mean­ing you gave the sit­u­a­tion is not “the truth,” and then real­ize you never saw the mean­ing in real­ity.  You only can see real­ity; mean­ing is always in our mind.

Also, it seems that some peo­ple are able to ignore or tran­scend how things show up for them. I’ve observed a few peo­ple who seem to be suc­cess­ful finan­cially, in their careers, and in other aspects of their lives (such as deal­ing with eating/weight issues)—who still have a bunch of neg­a­tive self-esteem beliefs.  That wouldn’t make sense if our lives were con­sis­tent with our beliefs.  But given what now appears to be true, as I’ve described above, these peo­ple either are chang­ing the mean­ing of sit­u­a­tions con­stantly or are tran­scend­ing the way things show up for them.

Peo­ple who do the lat­ter seem to be able to say to them­selves: “Yes, the world is occur­ring as dif­fi­cult, or me as inad­e­quate, etc., but so what?  I don’t care about real­ity (how the world occurs to me), I’m going for it anyway.”

In look­ing at my own life I can see that I’ve done that from time to time.  I have  pur­poses or goals that I am so com­mit­ted to that I can totally ignore how things occur for me.  One exam­ple is I have decided to dras­ti­cally cut down my con­sump­tion of sugar and have just a square or two of choco­late after din­ner and none dur­ing the day.  Most days after lunch I feel a desire for choco­late.  I notice that feel­ing and ignore it, say­ing silently to myself: “I don’t care if I feel like eat­ing choco­late, I’m not going to do it.”  There is no strug­gle or effect and I don’t think about eat­ing choco­late any more after I have that thought.  It’s as if my com­mit­ment is so much greater than the way my desire for choco­late shows up for me after lunch that the desire for choco­late feels irrelevant.

I’ll have more to say about chang­ing the mean­ing you have given a sit­u­a­tion and tran­scend­ing how the world occurs to us a few weeks after the Lefkoe Free­dom Exper­i­ment is com­plete and I have the results from 20 exper­i­menters.  In the mean­time, check it out your­self.  See if you can notice that you gen­er­ally are not aware of the dif­fer­ence between real­ity and how real­ity occurs or shows up for you.  And then see if you can change that occur­ring by chang­ing the mean­ing you had just given the sit­u­a­tion in front of you.”

****

Well done Morty! Great arti­cle and excel­lent insight.

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Humility

This is what the dic­tio­nary says about what we mean by Humil­ity:
humil­ity |(h)yoōˈmilitē|
noun
a mod­est or low view of one’s own impor­tance; humbleness.

But is this really enough to grasp the whole impor­tance humil­ity plays, or does NOT play in our lives? Is being hum­ble a pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive trait?

Hum­ble (v.)  and humil­i­ate (v.) sound sim­i­lar, but humil­i­ate empha­sizes shame and the loss of self-respect and usu­ally takes place in pub­lic, while hum­ble is a milder term imply­ing a low­er­ing of one’s pride or rank.

So, why and how is this impor­tant in a rela­tion­ship? Con­sider that what makes us who we are, is our world-view, our opin­ions, our ways of deter­min­ing what’s true and what’s not. So how do we deter­mine what is true in a con­ver­sa­tion? What we do is we com­pare what we hear or see with what we already know and see how it is the same or dif­fer­ent from our past expe­ri­ence. Also, we check our feel­ings to see if we like it or not. That is basi­cally how we deter­mine what is true and real and what is not. This is all very well for a 5-year-old, but unac­cept­able for a healthy fully devel­oped adult. A five-year-old will say that he does not like broc­coli because it is yucky. What he does not see is that it is not that broc­coli is yucky; in fact, quite the oppo­site is true. He calls broc­coli ”yucky” because he doesn’t like it. He, of course, does not see it that way. He thinks that any­one who likes broc­coli has no taste to say the least. This is what we call “onto­log­i­cal arro­gance”. Ontol­ogy is the branch of phi­los­o­phy that stud­ies the nature of real­ity. Onto­log­i­cal arro­gance is the belief that your per­spec­tive is priv­i­leged, that your way is the only way to inter­pret a sit­u­a­tion. While onto­log­i­cal arro­gance is nor­mal and even cute in chil­dren, it is much less charm­ing in adults.

In charged sit­u­a­tions most of us assume that we see things as they are; that is not so. We actu­ally see things as they appear to us. Check out for your­self. When was the last time that you met an “idiot” who thought exactly like you do? Do you believe peo­ple dis­agree with you because they are “idiots”? Or do you call them “idiots” because they dis­agree with you? Do you think your spouse is push­ing your but­tons and wants to make you mad on pur­pose? Or do you think that because you do not like what they have to say and the way they say it they seem to “push your but­tons” on purpose?

The oppo­site of arro­gance is humil­ity. Humil­ity has the root in Latin word humus, mean­ing ground. Onto­log­i­cal humil­ity, on the other hand, is the acknowl­edg­ment that you do not have a spe­cial claim on real­ity or truth, that oth­ers have an equally valid per­spec­tive deserv­ing respect and con­sid­er­a­tion. (Hence chap­ter two in The Rela­tion­ship Saver about agree­ing with your part­ner.) Acknowl­edge that there are many ways to look at the world. Some are more prac­ti­cal and ”true” for you than oth­ers. Nev­er­the­less, they are only views. They are never objec­tive truths; they are always inter­pre­ta­tions, per­sonal maps built by our lim­ited senses pass­ing from our indi­vid­ual and unique fil­ter woven from our past expe­ri­ences. It never even resem­bles THE truth. The fact that we agree about any­thing with any­one is only coin­ci­den­tal and it is always a prod­uct of our will­ing­ness to agree. It does not make it more real or truth­ful though. It is easy and nat­ural for us to dis­agree, to push our truth as the right one. It is sweet to be right and that oth­ers see the world as we do. Our arro­gance in this respect has no bounds. Onto­log­i­cal humil­ity makes sense intel­lec­tu­ally, but it is not the nat­ural atti­tude of a human being. It requires, at least, the cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment of a six-year-old.

Onto­log­i­cal humil­ity does not mean that you have to dis­re­gard your own per­spec­tive. It is per­fectly hum­ble to state that the cir­cum­stances are “prob­lem­atic” as long as you add “for me”. That acknowl­edges that the same cir­cum­stances may not appear prob­lem­atic “to you”.

There are times when you can “agree to dis­agree” and at other times you will need to bring the con­ver­sa­tion to some agree­ment. But we’ll talk about that some other time. Stay tuned and try to behave as if you are at least six.

By the way, I saw a great bumper sticker yes­ter­day: “You don’t have to believe every­thing you think.”

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Do Women Have An Agenda?

Do women have an ulte­rior motive when they start a relationship?

Oh, yes they do! Now, let’s see how this works. I under­stand that it is a gen­er­al­iza­tion, but we are gen­er­ally either men or women, so this would apply to all of us to a larger or smaller degree whether we are aware of it or not.

Every­one knows what a man’s agenda is, at least at the begin­ning of a “roman­tic” rela­tion­ship. It’s sex, loud and clear. We men of course will not admit it out loud, but that’s what we dream of when we encounter a woman we “like”. Women know that as well and they use it, con­sciously or not, to attract men.  So, now women know what we want, but are we men aware of what and if women want some­thing from us. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, yes, unless we get “roman­ti­cally” involved, i.e., fall in love. At that point we’d like to think that we swept them off their feet.  In other words, we pre­fer to be blind and have our ego take over. We like to think that a woman was attracted to us for who we are, because of our per­son­al­ity, because we are funny, well-built, macho, smart, intel­li­gent, good look­ing, etc. Usu­ally noth­ing can be fur­ther from the truth.

Our agenda when we meet a woman we are attracted to is sex; women’s agenda — whether they know it or not – is a com­mit­ted rela­tion­ship lead­ing to mar­riage. Women don’t date, only men do. That all-encompassing motive may have any one of many sub-motives, including:

-    Want­ing to be res­cued from a frus­trat­ing life sit­u­a­tion
–    Want­ing to get away from con­trol­ling par­ents or a dis­sat­is­fy­ing rela­tion­ship with a man.
–    Want­ing to be taken care of, finan­cially and/or emo­tion­ally, specif­i­cally, want­ing some­one to pro­tect her from the things that she fears. Those may include being alone and being respon­si­ble for her­self, mak­ing deci­sions, deal­ing with money mat­ters, or deal­ing with the every­day stresses and con­flicts of life.
–    Want­ing to be val­i­dated as lov­able and attrac­tive.
–    Want­ing a baby.

Just as a man trans­forms a woman into an object when it comes to his dreams about sex, so does a woman uncon­sciously trans­form the man into an object. She is attracted to him for his poten­tial func­tion in her life, a motive she will deny because she wants to believe that her motive is pure love. Her denial is no dif­fer­ent from a man’s denial when he says, “I really do love you. I’m not just after sex.”

In my expe­ri­ence most of the rela­tion­ships that fall apart started with “love” of this sort: blind­ness or the denial of real rea­sons and agen­das most likely were at work at the time. Just by look­ing at how rela­tion­ships started one can pretty much pre­dict how they will end if there were no per­sonal devel­op­ment work involved i.e., if the aware­ness level has not been raised and each per­son came to grips with real­ity. Rela­tion­ships that start with such infat­u­a­tion usu­ally start dis­in­te­grat­ing as soon as the orig­i­nal needs and motives for start­ing the rela­tion­ship have been real­ized. The rea­son for “lov­ing” has dis­si­pated and the man becomes just another annoy­ing per­son with all his pos­i­tive char­ac­ter­is­tics which were the orig­i­nal rea­son for enter­ing into a rela­tion­ship with him turn­ing into faults. His being strong and tough becomes a bully and insen­si­tive, being suc­cess­ful into “never spend­ing enough time with the fam­ily”, being funny into always telling crude jokes, etc. This is not to say that men have no part to play in these dynamics.

Men are equally respon­si­ble because of their resis­tance to look­ing at the true nature of the rela­tion­ship in the first place, along with the need to believe the unbe­liev­able – namely, that they are irre­sistibly lov­able just for being themselves.

The inher­ent rea­son for such auto­matic behav­ior on both sides is well explained in The Game­less Rela­tion­ship so I’m not going to repeat it here. Suf­fice it to say that 15,000 years of liv­ing in sur­vival mode have cre­ated deep roots in our way of think­ing and deal­ing with real­i­ties, that we most of the time oper­ate on auto­matic and rarely stop to smell the roses and attempt to be authen­tic because being authen­tic, although seem­ingly dan­ger­ous at times, will not sum­mon a saber tooth tiger to threaten our very life.

Rela­tion­ships that start with a healthy atti­tude and gen­uine love – which is often con­fused with “being IN love” – have a much bet­ter chance of sur­vival. Maybe there is some­thing to be said in favor of “arranged” mar­riages, but I’ll leave that sub­ject for future articles.

Love to all,

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

 

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Natural” Relationships

In the last few years since I’ve been sell­ing The Rela­tion­ship Saver and coach­ing peo­ple in their rela­tion­ships, I have come to see an inter­est­ing trend in age-old beliefs and behav­iors taken for granted, never ques­tion­ing whether they work or if there is a bet­ter way to do things. Namely, there are two things that we pre­sume come to us nat­u­rally: rela­tion­ships and par­ent­ing. What we mean by nat­u­rally is that we should have inborn knowl­edge of the best way to be in a rela­tion­ship as well as to rear our chil­dren. In fact, there are very few behav­iors that are genet­i­cally pro­grammed and they are mostly about basic sur­vival. The way we learn about rela­tion­ships and par­ent­ing is from our par­ents and the way they learned it is from their par­ents and so on. So, what we know about rela­tion­ships and par­ent­ing is largely learned behav­ior and has very lit­tle to do with “nat­ural” knowl­edge. Acquir­ing knowl­edge in this way might have been okay 5,000 years ago when tribal struc­tures were dom­i­nant and nec­es­sary in order to assure the sur­vival of the tribe. How­ever, most of us do not live in tribes any more and the knowl­edge that we acquire from our par­ents – which hap­pens mostly on a sub­con­scious level – is far from enough to ful­fill our desires for being in a great rela­tion­ship or bring up men­tally healthy children.

It is curi­ous to observe how far dif­fer­ent branches of sci­ence and phi­los­o­phy have come in learn­ing about human behav­ior as indi­vid­u­als and in soci­eties, and yet the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion is largely unaware of the knowl­edge avail­able to them. Tribal cul­tural pres­sure still dom­i­nates our way of think­ing; we still think that we “should nat­u­rally know” how to cre­ate great rela­tion­ships and rear happy chil­dren. We are able to go to the moon and dis­cover the secrets of the uni­verse, but we are unable to edu­cate our pop­u­la­tion in these two basic areas. We go to school to learn all sorts of things to make us more able to get a “job” and make money but when it comes to rela­tion­ship and par­ent­ing our igno­rance is painfully obvious.

I have come to believe that the most impor­tant sub­jects through­out the school years should be Rela­tion­ships because the “qual­ity of our rela­tion­ships deter­mines the qual­ity of our lives.” Of course, if that ever hap­pens — which I doubt it will any time soon since schools are not inter­ested in our hap­pi­ness — I will have to change my pro­fes­sion as a rela­tion­ship coach, and I’d be happy to do so, not because I do not enjoy it, but because my dream would be fulfilled.

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http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Effective Communication vs. Arguments (2)

In the last arti­cle we talked about prepar­ing for dif­fi­cult and pos­si­bly emo­tion­ally charged con­ver­sa­tion. In this arti­cle we will see how to actu­ally con­duct an effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion that may promise the res­o­lu­tion of a conflict.

The Rela­tion­ship Saver rec­om­mends agree­ing with your part­ner. Dis­agree­ments are unfor­tu­nately, often more accu­rately called argu­ments. (See the def­i­n­i­tion of argu­ment in a dic­tio­nary or in the pre­vi­ous arti­cle “Effec­tive Com­mu­ni­ca­tion vs. Argu­ments (1)”.) You must have heard the tech­nique that helps in heated con­ver­sa­tions to say “and” instead of “but” in reply to a state­ment. It is just a small part that points towards an agreement.

There are two parts to every con­ver­sa­tion: speak­ing and lis­ten­ing. Well, this may seems very obvi­ous but hold your horses, there is more to it than meets the eye. Let’s see what we say and how we say it when we speak and how we lis­ten when we do not speak.

Psy­chol­o­gists have iden­ti­fied three cat­e­gories of peo­ple and their behav­iors when it comes to heated dis­cus­sions: those who digress to threats and name-calling (tch, tch…), those who revert to silent fum­ing (mak­ing you, or them­selves silently wrong), and those who speak openly, hon­estly and effec­tively. Not sur­pris­ingly, they dis­cov­ered by fol­low­ing cou­ples with all three ways of behav­ior for 10 years, that the 90% of cou­ples who were able to resolve their high-stake, con­tro­ver­sial and emo­tion­ally charged dif­fer­ences in a respect­ful and hon­est man­ner stayed together; those who did not, split up.

As far as speak­ing is con­cerned, if you want to be effec­tive you need to be brave, not fear­ful, open, not closed, hon­est, not deceit­ful, coop­er­a­tive, not com­pet­i­tive, will­ing, not withholding.

Courage is nec­es­sary when you are vul­ner­a­ble, when you are about to dis­close the under­belly of your rea­son­ing, being the nec­es­sary com­po­nent of hon­est con­ver­sa­tion that will make your part­ner and some­times your­self, under­stand your inten­tions behind your behav­ior. If you are com­mit­ted to resolv­ing dif­fi­cult issues you must love truth, more than sav­ing your face and sat­is­fy­ing your ego.

In start­ing a con­ver­sa­tion it is always good to begin with agree­ing with each other. So, find some com­mon ground where you may share an opin­ion or describe the sit­u­a­tion that both of you would agree on. Make sure both of you are clear on what you are going to have a con­ver­sa­tion about.

Just the facts, Ma’am.”  Make sure you do not con­fuse opin­ions and facts. You can usu­ally both eas­ily agree on facts, but opin­ions are your own. Inter­pre­ta­tions of the facts and mean­ings of the events are yours only. Own them and men­tion that they are yours. Do not say things like “You are a jerk. You were very rude and you hurt my feel­ings when you talked to me last night when you came home.” Notice that all these state­ments in one sen­tence start with you. Being rude and a jerk are totally your inter­pre­ta­tion and the mean­ing you gave to his behav­ior. Maybe his inten­tion was some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent, so do not present that his being rude is a fact. Sec­ondly, no one can make you feel any­thing. You gen­er­ate your feel­ings, so be respon­si­ble for them. Yes, someone’s words or actions may trig­ger your feel­ings, but you must be response-able i.e., you have a choice in how to respond. Uncon­scious response is called reac­tion, which is auto­matic. When­ever you are express­ing your opin­ion, start the sen­tence with “I”. So, this leaves us with facts: he talked to you last night when he came home. That is a fact. Every moment dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion you must strive to rec­og­nize what your opin­ions are and not con­fuse them with an objec­tive truth. Say­ing, you are a jerk is not stat­ing a fact. It is your opin­ion. The bet­ter way to say it is: “You came across to me (or, I saw you, or I thought you were) as a jerk and very rude last night. My feel­ings were hurt.”

Another part is mak­ing sure that you rec­om­mend some sort of action towards the res­o­lu­tion. If you want to have a con­ver­sa­tion that will pro­duce results you must deal with specifics as opposed to gen­er­al­i­ties. As I men­tion in The Game­less Rela­tion­ship, effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion con­sists of only two con­ver­sa­tions: effec­tive requests and effec­tive promises. Effec­tive means that requests and promises are the only con­ver­sa­tions that will move pos­si­bil­ity into real­ity. Noth­ing hap­pens with­out requests and ful­filled promises.
Find out more about this on http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

Always explain the rea­son­ing behind your state­ments and be open to the input of the infor­ma­tion from your part­ner. In this way you will cut the amount of often-wrong assump­tions on his part. If you are cor­rectly under­stood, it may very well hap­pen that after your partner’s input and ideas you will change your mind for the ben­e­fit of a win/win out­come. Humil­ity does not mean giv­ing up your point of view. Your pur­pose is to explore the sit­u­a­tion together, not to aban­don your per­spec­tive. It may hap­pen that your part­ner starts get­ting aggres­sive. As long as you stick to your val­ues and fol­low the above rec­om­men­da­tions you will not fall into the trap of auto­mat­i­cally and emo­tion­ally react­ing to his aggres­sion. Remem­ber you are in charge of your experience.

Now, a few words about lis­ten­ing, or shall we call it enquiry? Some call it active lis­ten­ing. How­ever you call it, here are some help­ful prin­ci­ples that if fol­lowed may pro­duce noth­ing short of a mir­a­cle. We have two ears and one mouth, thus we should lis­ten twice as much as we talk. A few sug­ges­tions on how to lis­ten: no mat­ter how charged a sit­u­a­tion is you can always achieve almost com­plete dis­charge by pay­ing com­plete atten­tion while she talks. It is more than that. Lis­ten as if nuggets of gold are pour­ing out of her mouth. It does not mat­ter if you share her opin­ion or not. You are get­ting the infor­ma­tion about her think­ing process, men­tal state, and the inten­tion behind her behav­ior. You are tru­ing to get to the truth, to the bot­tom of it. Truth does not come out eas­ily at the first attempt. It takes repeated enquiry and safe environment.

By intently lis­ten­ing and being gen­uinely inter­ested instead of hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with your­self, prepar­ing answers and hav­ing opin­ions, try­ing to fin­ish her sen­tences and pre­sum­ing that you know what she wants to say because you “heard it so many times before”, you will encour­age her to say what truly is on her mind. Some­times even she may be sur­prised by the truth that comes out of her mouth that she was not even aware of. Dur­ing the process of lis­ten­ing, do not speak nor give answers or opin­ions unless asked to do so. The other jus­ti­fi­able time to say any­thing is to inquire as to under­stand bet­ter what she is try­ing to say. Do not offer your opin­ions, rebut­tals, crit­i­cisms and such. Be very inter­ested. Your body lan­guage has to be con­sis­tent with your inten­tion to lis­ten. Do not fid­get, doo­dle, scan the envi­ron­ment, cross your arms and such. Con­cen­trate on her words only. Once you hear what she had to say give it back to her by sum­ma­riz­ing it, so that she a) knows that she was heard, and b) that you know that you got it right with­out your inter­pre­ta­tions and arbi­trary mean­ings that you might have slapped onto what she said.

Do not give your opin­ions, com­ments or solu­tions with­out her con­sent. Ask if she wants to hear what you want to say. Very often peo­ple just want to be heard. Strange as it may sound, just lis­ten­ing and “get­ting it” may be enough to dis­solve any dis­agree­ment between you two.

Acknowl­edge her for what­ever you can and even for what you can­not. You’ve heard about “pay for­ward” instead of pay back. Acknowl­edg­ment is a per­fect plat­form for such a “pay­ment”. Acknowl­edg­ment is not sim­ply a reac­tion, polite expla­na­tion of what hap­pened in the past and cer­tainly not a manip­u­la­tive tool. Acknowl­edg­ment can be a very pow­er­ful incen­tive to agree­ment, under­stand­ing and encour­age­ment for inti­macy and even behav­ioral change if gen­uine. The core of effec­tive lis­ten­ing has noth­ing to do with tech­nique; it is an atti­tude. By pro­vid­ing lis­ten­ing to her, you show that you care. As the say­ing goes: “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.”

These few points in this arti­cle about speak­ing and lis­ten­ing are tools not to be used on your part­ner but with your part­ner.  These are coop­er­a­tion tools and not manip­u­la­tion tools. So, do not keep this knowl­edge to your­self. Share it with your part­ner. Make sure you do not do it in a con­de­scend­ing way.

Lastly, keep the con­ver­sa­tion in integrity, whole and com­plete, espe­cially com­plete, when there is noth­ing else to say or learn. If you think that for any rea­son you can­not fin­ish the con­ver­sa­tion make sure that you have the time and the place set for con­tin­u­ing it until complete.

If you fol­low these prin­ci­ples in any con­ver­sa­tion the like­li­hood of bet­ter­ment and/or con­tin­u­a­tion of a good rela­tion­ship is almost guaranteed.

Note: Fred Kofman’s phe­nom­e­nal book “Con­scious Busi­ness” inspired me to write this arti­cle. Thank you.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Trust — Venn Diagram

Venn Dia­grams are great tools for solv­ing prob­lems and mak­ing com­plex con­cepts clear. Try and make your own. It is fun and you may even get some valu­able insights. It cer­tainly makes you think.

Start from cen­ter, then fill in the cir­cles as com­po­nents that make, or con­sti­tute, the cen­ter. In the end fill in the inter­sec­tions of the cir­cles cir­cles to rep­re­sent the result of two cir­cles get­ting together.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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What Is Happiness?

In The Rela­tion­ship Saver I sug­gested that one of the actions you need to take is to be in high spir­its, cheer­ful and happy. As you have prob­a­bly noticed, it’s eas­ier said than done. Just decid­ing to be happy does not nec­es­sar­ily make you happy. So the ques­tion is, how do you achieve this eva­sive hap­pi­ness that every­one strives for?

First, we must dis­tin­guish what hap­pi­ness is and the ori­gin of “ the word hap­pi­ness.  The word happy orig­i­nated in Mid­dle Eng­lish and meant the same as lucky.  In my lan­guage, Serbo-Croatian, we have the same word for happy and lucky. What I find inter­est­ing is that most of us still treat our hap­pi­ness as luck, some­thing that we have no con­trol of, some­thing that just hap­pens or not — as if we have noth­ing to do with it. In other words, we often think that hap­pi­ness is some­thing that’s pro­duced by out­side events, like money, stuff, shop­ping, pos­ses­sions, other people’s love, respect, com­pli­ments, care, etc. We often say some­thing like, if such and such hap­pens (get pro­mo­tion, dif­fer­ent job, new car or clothes etc.) or if you were only to do so and so (buy me flow­ers, give me a com­pli­ment, have sex with me, etc.) it will make me happy.  We also say to our chil­dren that if they clean their room or have good grades we will be happy. So inad­ver­tently we teach our chil­dren gen­er­a­tion after gen­er­a­tion that they are not respon­si­ble for their own hap­pi­ness and should expect oth­ers to do some­thing for them, or that the out­side world and cir­cum­stances should adapt to their wishes so that they can find hap­pi­ness in life. Although some events may induce a feel­ing of hap­pi­ness and even tem­po­rary eupho­ria, hap­pi­ness is not merely a feel­ing. The dic­tio­nary says:

happy |ˈhapē|
adjec­tive ( –pier , –piest )
feel­ing or show­ing plea­sure or contentment

Hap­pi­ness is also con­tent­ment. Con­tent­ment is a state of hap­pi­ness and sat­is­fac­tion. So, hap­pi­ness is not merely a feel­ing it is a state of being.

So, how do we achieve a last­ing state of being happy? We must start with rec­og­niz­ing that any state we find our­selves in, whether it is hap­pi­ness or depres­sion, is gen­er­ated within our­selves, by us mak­ing mean­ings and inter­pre­ta­tions of the events that we find our­selves a part of. We often can­not influ­ence out­side events, but what we can always do is choose what inter­pre­ta­tions and mean­ings we give to those events. As I men­tioned ear­lier in my other writ­ings, mean­ings and inter­pre­ta­tions do not reside in events — they are solely a prod­uct of our own mind. There­fore, we have com­plete con­trol of how we inter­pret any event, although it cer­tainly does not seem like that some­times. We are in charge of con­ver­sa­tions with our­selves and unfor­tu­nately there is noth­ing new we can tell our­selves. What we do most of the time is auto­mat­i­cally regur­gi­tate the past in our mind, often blam­ing our­selves, feel­ing sorry for our­selves and in a word, being vic­tims and enjoy­ing it. Yes, there is a cer­tain plea­sure in being a vic­tim (more about this a lit­tle later).  Instead, we could use our intel­li­gence that only humans are endowed with and observe our thoughts and actu­ally choose what we want to think about. All right, so what could we think about in order to be happy?

You must be aware that your inter­pre­ta­tions an mean­ings are inti­mately con­nected to your set of val­ues. They are a dri­ving force behind how you per­ceive reality.

Now, what we need to do is estab­lish what our val­ues are. What is it that we value in our lives? Hon­esty, love, integrity, dig­nity, courage, rela­tion­ships, well­be­ing, pros­per­ity, co-operation and … add your own? I found that high­est val­ues that are not sub­or­di­nate to any other ones are truth, hap­pi­ness, free­dom, peace and love.
Now, ask your­self a ques­tion: how do I com­pro­mise my val­ues in every­day sit­u­a­tions in order to achieve cer­tain goals, such as being “suc­cess­ful”, mak­ing money, sur­viv­ing, keep­ing a job, main­tain­ing a rela­tion­ship, being loved, appre­ci­ated and respected? How often do you lie, cheat and deceive your­self and oth­ers in order to pro­duce a cer­tain result, to be suc­cess­ful? If that sounds too harsh for you, think of all those white lies and with­hold­ings of infor­ma­tion or truth in order to pro­duce or avoid a cer­tain reac­tion in oth­ers. Are all these actions that you are “forced” to do con­trary to your val­ues, which you ulti­mately want to man­i­fest in your daily life?

We are told that suc­cess brings hap­pi­ness, that suc­cess­ful peo­ple are happy. Look around you. Are they? Are you com­pro­mis­ing ful­fill­ment of your high­est val­ues by  achiev­ing inter­me­di­ate suc­cesses at any price, like mak­ing money, acquir­ing mate­r­ial things, win­ning a con­tract or some­one else’s “respect”, etc? It is fas­ci­nat­ing how we uncon­sciously grav­i­tate towards the things that ulti­mately mean very lit­tle to us and in the process we sac­ri­fice the very val­ues that moti­vate our behav­ior and make us happy. How often we do some­thing that we very well know we should not and that can be hurt­ful to some­one else and our lit­tle secret never gets recov­ered, but we fully well know that it was com­pletely con­trary to our beliefs of what is right and what is wrong. What often hap­pens is that they are exactly those behav­iors that we always dis­ap­prove of in pub­lic and make oth­ers wrong about. When­ever your emo­tions go ram­pant about cer­tain wrong doing of some­one else you may be sure that that is your own pro­jec­tion of what you do or did and which is con­trary to your val­ues. Those actions of yours and when rec­og­nized in oth­ers are cause of unhappiness.

So, you might have noticed here that hap­pi­ness lies in the process and not in the result. You can see that every action has two pur­poses. First you can act to move towards a desired result. Sec­ond, you act in order to express your val­ues. Align­ment between your behav­ior and your val­ues is a mea­sure of your high­est integrity. Your behav­ior always expresses your values-in-action. Your integrity hinges on whether your values-in-action agree with your essen­tial val­ues. The envi­ron­ment we find our­selves in con­stantly demands of us to make deci­sions and you inevitably face the ques­tion of pri­or­i­ties: you put integrity before suc­cess, or you put integrity sec­ond and go for suc­cess at all costs. It is fash­ion­able today, espe­cially since The Secret and The Law of Attrac­tion became pop­u­lar, to think that we are in total charge of our des­tiny and what hap­pens to us is of our doing. It often may be so, but it is a very sim­plis­tic way of think­ing. To actu­ally man­i­fest your real­ity requires much more than most peo­ple think, but I will leave that sub­ject for another arti­cle. Suf­fice it to say that other peo­ple may also be try­ing to man­i­fest their own real­ity in con­flict with our own, which may make things very com­plex and com­pli­cated. The fact for most of us is that most of the time we are thrown into sit­u­a­tions requir­ing that we sim­ply need to deal with them the best way we can. Think of play­ing cards. We are dealt a hand and we must play the best way we know how. In other words, we must acknowl­edge that God does not take sides (that is if you are reli­gious) and that we can­not change real­ity. But, there is still a lot we can do in any given sit­u­a­tion: we are in full con­trol of our inter­pre­ta­tions of any event and the choices we make. A sit­u­a­tion may not be in your con­trol, but you can always choose to act in integrity because you con­trol your own your thoughts and behavior.

Act­ing con­trary to your val­ues and com­pro­mis­ing your higher self for an inter­me­di­ate gain may rob you of the ulti­mate goal you want to achieve, to be happy now and in the future. This is the place where you have a choice between being a vic­tim of cir­cum­stances or being in charge of your life and your hap­pi­ness. By sim­ply look­ing into the future and solu­tions to your sit­u­a­tion and dif­fer­ent pos­si­bil­i­ties instead of lament­ing how the life and the world is unfair, you will get empow­ered instead of vic­tim­ized, you will be con­tent know­ing that you are doing your best instead of feel­ing sorry for your­self and blam­ing oth­ers. Results are never guar­an­teed and we will fail more often than we would like to admit, mostly because of cul­tural pres­sures. But, when you are being in integrity through­out the process you will be happy even if you do not suc­ceed. You will know that you did the best you could because you did not com­pro­mise your val­ues and came out of it being in integrity, whole and com­plete. You will not relin­quish your power to the cir­cum­stances to deter­mine how you feel. You are always in charge.

In con­clu­sion, we may safely say that you will be happy when your behav­ior and your inten­tions are in sync with your val­ues, when you put the process before the result, when you are in integrity at all times. Wait­ing for cir­cum­stances, envi­ron­ment and other peo­ple to change and make you happy is a pre­scrip­tion for depres­sion, frus­tra­tion and mis­ery and a life of per­pet­ual vic­tim­hood. All you can do is what you do to live your life with­out com­pro­mise guided by your val­ues, and that is more than any­one else can do for you.

As you might have noticed, the prin­ci­ple of integrity applies to every area of your life with­out excep­tion. I want to leave you with the ques­tion: where have you been out of integrity, for­get­ting and com­pro­mis­ing your true val­ues in your rela­tion­ship? How often do you expect oth­ers to make you happy? Are you a vic­tim, or are you in charge of your life, con­tent and happy?
I wish you all the hap­pi­ness in the world.

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Are You A Yea Or A Naysayer?

Here is how you can, with one almost mag­i­cal touch, not only repair, but have your rela­tion­ship back again.
One of the first things I say in The Rela­tion­ship Saver is that if you want to start repair­ing your rela­tion­ship you will have to start agree­ing with your part­ner. The first think that may think about when I say this may be some­thing like, “Why or how should I agree when he/she ______.” Before you start defend­ing your posi­tion on this issue stop and think what result you want to achieve. I pre­sume that you want him/her to change their mind and agree with your point of view. Of course you do, because your point of view is bet­ter, right, fair, cor­rect, eas­ier, more log­i­cal, etc., and, it may very well be so. But, again, think about what out­come you want and whether forc­ing the out­come would work. You might have noticed that it does not, espe­cially in con­fronting sit­u­a­tions. When your rela­tion­ship is fine, when you are in love, when you have noth­ing to lose includ­ing your face and your pride it is easy to agree, but in a sit­u­a­tion when things are not going well, sur­vival kicks in and you are dri­ven to pro­tect your­self and coerce your part­ner to be on your side so that you can feel safe again. Say­ing no in such sit­u­a­tions is auto­matic, backed up with sheer hope that if you say no over and over again that some­how he/she will see the light. Well, in case you haven’t noticed, it almost never works. Your part­ner finds him/herself in the same sit­u­a­tion like you, defend­ing his/her posi­tion and try­ing to sur­vive the sit­u­a­tion just as well as you do. So, your instinc­tual reac­tion to a dis­agree­ment from your part­ner is to dis­agree as well and then the rela­tion­ship rapidly spi­rals down­ward out of con­trol. Although it may be counter intu­itive, to stop the down­ward spi­ral from plum­met­ing you need to stop react­ing. Notice that re-action means tak­ing the same action over and over again. The way out of this quag­mire is to do some­thing totally oppo­site: AGREE. Start say­ing yes. Since no does not work any more, yes might, and this is why. Say­ing yes is unex­pected. It inter­feres with the flow of the down­ward spi­ral, stops the process of react­ing to one another. When he says that he is going to do some­thing that you may not agree with and you put a cog in the wheel by say­ing okay, at that moment he will have to take respon­si­bil­ity for his actions. At that moment he does not have to react to you any more by doing it “just because ______.” By say­ing yes you may not stop her from doing what she is bent on doing any­way, but by being okay with what­ever she wants to do you will stop the ani­mosi­ties in your rela­tion­ship. I should men­tion that by say­ing yes it does not mean that you actu­ally want your part­ner to go through with his choice action, and of course he will know that , but what you will do is show respect for his deci­sions even if you do not like them.

As you might have noticed, say­ing Nay most often does not make the world com­ply with our wishes, but by say­ing Yea we get in tune and agree­ment with real­ity instead ask­ing real­ity to change to our wishes. It never does any­way. In The Rela­tion­ship Saver one of the first rules for repair­ing your rela­tion­ship is being happy. It is no coin­ci­dence that the first rule of com­edy improv is never to say “no”, because it stops the con­ver­sa­tion in it’s tracks. You must have heard it before that if you want to have a effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion never say “yes but” because it has the same mean­ing as no. Instead you may say “yes and” which means “I agree”. Agree­ing with your part­ner is another rec­om­men­da­tion of The Rela­tion­ship Saver.

In con­clu­sion, the first step to change is being able to be pro­foundly related to what is. Unless you are able to fall in line with the real­ity of the sit­u­a­tion, you have no hope of chang­ing it. Liv­ing in a la-la land of your thoughts and wishes, divorced from real­ity and negat­ing it, is not only inef­fec­tive and unre­al­is­tic, it is down­right child­ish. It is time to grow up even if you do not want to, for your own sake!!!

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

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Responsibility In Relationships II

What respon­si­bil­ity means in a rela­tion­ship and how we avoid being respon­si­ble unbe­knownst to us. In The Rela­tion­ship Saver and else­where I men­tioned that the only effec­tive way to be respon­si­ble is to take 100% respon­si­bil­ity for your rela­tion­ship. How do you know if you are not being 100% respon­si­ble? Well, there are a few behav­iors that once you rec­og­nize them they will give you a pretty good idea of how respon­si­ble you are. In the coach­ing com­mu­nity we call it RACKETS. What it means is that we pre­tend we are doing the right thing when in fact there is a much more insid­i­ous rea­son for our action:  avoid­ing respon­si­bil­ity at all costs.

And the costs are high. But first, let’s see what a racket is and deal with what we get out of what is called “run­ning a racket.” The def­i­n­i­tion of a racket is: A fixed way of being plus a per­sis­tent complaint.

What is it that you do and what do you get out of run­ning a racket?
–    You are right and your part­ner is wrong.
Read the arti­cle “On Being Right”
–    You try to dom­i­nate or avoid dom­i­na­tion of a sit­u­a­tion or your part­ner.
This may include pres­sure, bul­ly­ing, insist­ing on your point of view, all sub­tle passive/aggressive behav­iors, etc., as well as the “don’t tell me what to do” syn­drome, even avoid­ing the dom­i­na­tion of your own promises. (Read the arti­cle on Integrity In Rela­tion­ships)
–    Your actions are always jus­ti­fied (by you, of course) and your partner’s actions and/or opin­ions are by default inval­i­dated.
We judge oth­ers by their actions. We judge our­selves by our inten­tions.
In short, what we get out of run­ning a racket is avoid respon­si­bil­ity and by default lose power.

You may notice that for most peo­ple this is a default behav­ior, we do not know any dif­fer­ent. But, the big ques­tion is: are we aware of the COST? Do you know what the costs are? I bet you don’t — these are very obvi­ous so here they are:
–    Love and inti­macy
Love starts with com­plete accep­tance of your part­ner (read the arti­cle on Love In Rela­tion­ships in this blog) and inti­macy is free­dom and the abil­ity to safely com­mu­ni­cate what­ever you are present to at the moment
–    Full self-expression
This means being free to be your­self at your best with­out hav­ing to jus­tify, defend, sur­vive, or in any way com­pro­mise your integrity (read the arti­cle on Integrity In Rela­tion­ships)
–    Health and vital­ity
You know how you feel when your rela­tion­ship isn’t work­ing. It can lit­er­ally make you sick. Depres­sion is another option. Vital­ity is nonexistent.

And now that you know what it costs you to run a racket you may try to become more aware of what comes out of your mouth pre­ceded by your thoughts. In order to become aware here is how to rec­og­nize if you are run­ning a racket or not:  When­ever you are frus­trated or upset and that state of mind is famil­iar to you, you think, “it always hap­pens,” you may be sure that you are run­ning a racket.

Run­ning a racket and thus pass­ing on the respon­si­bil­ity to oth­ers, cir­cum­stances and/or the envi­ron­ment is the best way to lose power and con­trol of your life and a say-so in your relationship.

Please also note that run­ning a racket is an instinc­tual, knee-jerk reac­tion and totally counter-intuitive. Nev­er­the­less, it is a nec­es­sary com­po­nent of your hap­pi­ness in a happy and game­less rela­tion­ship to be prac­ticed on a moment-to-moment basis until it becomes your sec­ond nature and you can stop a racket in its tracks, even before it man­i­fests itself in lan­guage and behavior.

Absence of rack­ets in your life guar­an­tees hap­pier per­sonal life, stronger rela­tion­ships, huge leaps for­ward in your per­sonal devel­op­ment and valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to others.

Love

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/



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Relationships On Automatic

Yes­ter­day we went to see the movie 500 Days of Sum­mer. It was a love story, a rela­tion­ship story, which left me very unset­tled and frus­trated. As I was leav­ing the the­ater I kept ask­ing myself, what was it that was mak­ing me so uncom­fort­able, even angry? Since anger almost always comes from loss of power, I started search­ing for the source of the pow­er­less­ness that I felt.  Then it dawned on me that the char­ac­ters in the movie had no con­trol over their feel­ings and actions and they did not know why or how things were hap­pen­ing to them. Obvi­ously I was iden­ti­fy­ing with the male char­ac­ter in the movie. Both of them were like leaves in the wind of life. It all was very real. I bet that the screen­writ­ers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber must have had sim­i­lar expe­ri­ences to be able to make a movie this powerful.

Such behav­iors which are com­pletely auto­matic, with which we are so force­fully genet­i­cally pro­grammed that we are pow­er­less when faced with it, are preva­lent in humans and although they may be counter pro­duc­tive in today’s soci­ety, they pos­i­tively rule our lives.  In order to start solv­ing a prob­lem, one must first cor­rectly iden­tify the core of the prob­lem. So, this led me to the ques­tion: “If I had to choose one thing that dri­ves each gen­der what would it be?”

From all my expe­ri­ence with peo­ple’ s rela­tion­ships, as well as my own, I came to the con­clu­sion that the bot­tom line rea­son for female behav­iors is SURVIVAL and for males it is CONTROL. Many peo­ple would say that feel­ings are what drive women, and power and sta­tus are what drive men, but both boil down to sur­vival and con­trol. This totally makes sense when you con­sider that women are directly respon­si­ble for the sur­vival of the species and that “self­ish gene.” On the other hand, man’s duty is to pro­tect and ensure that their “self­ish gene” will sur­vive too and the best way to do that is to make some sense and order and take con­trol of this world.

So is there any­thing we can do about it? Yes, I think so and that is to stop resist­ing our nat­ural devel­op­ment, EVOLUTION. We must evolve in order to sur­vive. By evolv­ing I mean adapt­ing to the ever-growing com­plex­ity of the prob­lems we face.  Here we are again, hav­ing to iden­tify a prob­lem before we can tackle it. So, In order to over­come our thou­sands of years of pro­gram­ming we must repro­gram our genetic infor­ma­tion and bring it up to date.  (Sci­en­tists are find­ing that it is not only pos­si­ble but that is nat­u­rally hap­pen­ing all the time from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. Our actions and behav­iors today will impact gen­er­a­tions to come.) The first step is to stop resist­ing it and argu­ing against it and become aware and present to its power over us, dis­tin­guish it as such, as often out­dated auto­matic behav­ior and bring our free choice into play. Are we ready for it? Some are and some are not. Only the future will tell.  So, go and see the movie and try to look at it through the lens of sur­vival and con­trol for woman and man respectively.

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/


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On Looking Good

If there is one drive that all humans have apart from their sex­ual drive, it must be the desire to look good. By look­ing good I don’t mean just visu­ally but also intel­lec­tu­ally. What con­sti­tutes look­ing good varies from per­son to per­son. The com­mon denom­i­na­tor prob­a­bly is avoid­ing not being good enough. In all these years of coach­ing peo­ple I have never come across a sin­gle per­son who deep inside truly thought that he is good enough. This, of course, applies to women too. Appear­ance is every­thing. What will oth­ers think about you? Do you come across as stu­pid, incom­pe­tent, not lov­able, too old or too young, not sexy enough, not beau­ti­ful, rich, respected, well dressed enough? The list goes on. Pick your own rea­sons as to why and in which area you think you are not good enough. So now you may think what has that got to do with rela­tion­ships. Maybe you already have an inkling.

But first let’s quickly sum­ma­rize where this deep “know­ing” of some­thing being wrong with us comes from. It comes from our beliefs, which are mostly formed before our age of seven or so. Some­thing kept hap­pen­ing and we inter­preted it as if it was our fault, and if only we were some­how dif­fer­ent that would not have been hap­pen­ing. Well, with­out our know­ing it we could not have inter­preted it any other way because up to that age we are very self-centered and we are not able to see the world as sep­a­rate from us.

Then we become adults and for­get about the source of the deci­sions we made when we were five and keep believ­ing that that’s who we are — sad, but true. Now all the rest of our lives we try to com­pen­sate for our not being “good enough” by prov­ing that we are, pre­tend­ing, and try­ing to appear as good enough by doing every­thing to be attrac­tive, loved, respected, accepted, approved of, etc. In other words, we are imple­ment­ing our “sur­vival strat­egy,” not being aware that we do not need one in the first place. The orig­i­nal con­clu­sion, of which we for­got the source, was faulty and for the rest of our lives we are try­ing to cor­rect a nonex­is­tent wrong.

This is where the notion of love comes in. You can­not love any­one if you do not love your­self first, it is said. In other words, how can you sat­isfy one of the basic com­po­nents in your rela­tion­ship, i.e., to love your part­ner, if your focus is on look­ing good and pre­tend­ing to be some­one you are not, which is bound to come out in almost all the con­ver­sa­tions and espe­cially the ones where you are not in agree­ment with your partner.

So, now, start notic­ing when you are not being “you”, but some­one who you think you “should” be. How often do you still try to meet some­one else’s expec­ta­tions (like your father’s or your mother’s)? How often you feel uncom­fort­able because you “must” look good. You see, the whole life is one big med­i­ta­tion, being aware where you pre­tend and by pre­tend­ing you squan­der a chance of plea­sure to be authen­tic, your true self. This is who your part­ner or spouse want you to be – just you. Don’t you?

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/


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