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.

Share

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.

Share

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/

Share

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/

Share

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

——–

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

Share

For Men

Here we go again about men/women dif­fer­ences! I keep get­ting calls and e-mails from men with trou­bled rela­tion­ships and the most com­mon prob­lem that I hear stems from a man’s lack of knowl­edge, aware­ness and accep­tance of the enor­mous gen­der dif­fer­ences that are the root of most of the trou­bles in relationships.

Here we will address one of the very char­ac­ter­is­tic modus operandi under­ly­ing women’s behav­ior, which men in their sim­plic­ity can­not even fathom, let alone thor­oughly understand.

Why do men so often find them­selves bewil­dered by their wife/girlfriend’s behav­ior when she wants to leave? Men usu­ally ask them­selves: “What did I do? Noth­ing changed.” When men find them­selves in this sit­u­a­tion they usu­ally start doing every­thing wrong and the oppo­site to what they are expected, yes, expected to do. Women have expec­ta­tions, all the time. The most com­mon expec­ta­tion is a mind-reading abil­ity. Yes, men are sup­posed to exactly know what their women are think­ing at any moment even though she exhibits behav­ior that is com­pletely oppo­site to what she wants. For exam­ple: she will push her man away expect­ing him to pur­sue her so that she can be assured that he loves he. Never mind if you have been mar­ried for years. There is never enough proof of love and a feel­ing of secu­rity. What she wants is a MAN by her side with whom she can feel secure. And most men do just the oppo­site, they either get angry, or start grov­el­ing and ful­fill­ing any whim that she may have. If you get angry she’ll be afraid of you. If you grovel she will despise you. Women will end­lessly test you, although this may be done on a com­pletely uncon­scious level; nev­er­the­less, you are being con­stantly observed and tested for your love, pro­tec­tion, loy­alty and man­li­ness in general.

Secu­rity is the pri­mary moti­va­tion for a woman to seek a rela­tion­ship, while a man usu­ally only has sex on his mind. In order for a woman to feel secure she most of all needs to feel loved. Their basic secu­rity need is emo­tional secu­rity. Women usu­ally do not want the respon­si­bil­i­ties and chal­lenges that men seek either. They do not want to make sur­vival deci­sions, com­pete to suc­ceed, have to make money, or think how to buy a house. But, this kind of secu­rity — mate­r­ial secu­rity — is not nearly as impor­tant as the secu­rity in the knowl­edge – that needs to be con­stantly rein­forced — that her man loves her.

There is a prover­bial say­ing that when a women says “no”, she means, “yes”. This is not to be taken lit­er­ally, but there is more truth in it than you may think. When she is push­ing you away she most likely wants you to pur­sue her. If you are not giv­ing her enough atten­tion to assure her that you love her, she may even seek the com­pany of another man who will “adore” her, but we usu­ally know what he really wants, don’t we? A woman needs attention.

The worst thing a man can do is to ignore her, blame her or be angry with her. While a man can be angry and still love his woman, a woman can­not do that. Her only real­ity is her inter­nal, emo­tional real­ity of the moment. When she is angry with you, you may just as well be dead at that moment. Women are allowed to express their emo­tions and that seems to be their inalien­able right. On the other hand, men are not sup­posed to do that, as it is per­ceived as “irre­spon­si­ble”. Women often com­plain that men do not express their feel­ings, but when they do, women per­ceive men as weak and not manly enough, there­fore not so desir­able. It’s a Catch 22, lose/lose situation.

A woman always keeps a close watch on her man. Often her actions will seem to a man as unrea­son­able and con­tra­dic­tory, but you must know that very often she will test you, albeit uncon­sciously, to see how much you love her and how much of a ”man” you are. This behav­ior is most obvi­ous at the point of break-up, and this is where most men fail by behav­ing the oppo­site of what women want to see. Men start beg­ging, plead­ing and grov­el­ing, or being angry and resent­ful. Noth­ing can be more dis­gust­ing or fright­en­ing to a woman. Either way this just con­tin­ues the down­ward spi­ral towards the final break-up. Such behav­ior by a man is not sur­pris­ing and it comes nat­u­rally to men, because — sur­prise ! — men have feel­ings as well. Nev­er­the­less, in such a sit­u­a­tion a man must hold his ground and be what is expected of him, a MAN.

In con­clu­sion, men need to learn to walk the edge all the time. Women have to walk their own, but that is their con­cern. We men need to learn about women’s needs but per­sist in being manly in order to attract and keep a woman. Oppo­sites attract, remember?

What is your expe­ri­ence? I’d love to hear from you.

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/

Share

Thinking & Destiny

Some­times it’s good to be reminded of some basics, which may be very obvi­ous once brought to your atten­tion, but which we rarely   apply in our day-to-day deal­ings with our part­ners in our relationships.

So, here it is: OUR THINKING CREATES OUR DESTINY. I am not claim­ing that this is THE truth, but if you regard it as such your life will change for the bet­ter. We, our phys­i­cal bod­ies, are the exe­cu­tion­ers of our will. Every­thing starts with thought. Noth­ing hap­pens with­out it. Check it out if you do not believe me: your next move depends on what you are think­ing NOW. And, it is always NOW. Later becomes now and past when­ever it hap­pened, always hap­pened in what was then NOW. No one can put thoughts in your head. No one can make you think any­thing. Think­ing is a process that starts and fin­ishes inside your mind. It often looks as if some­one made us have cer­tain thoughts, but that is in fact impos­si­ble. All they do is they trig­ger some mem­o­ries and beliefs that we keep close and dear and when they are chal­lenged or con­firmed we REACT with our thoughts. These thoughts gen­er­ate feel­ings. There is no feel­ing with­out a thought except a phys­i­cal pain when we get cut, burned or hit. (This point can be argued as well, but I will not go into it at this point.)

Can you see how this can apply to your relat­ing to other peo­ple? Just because we are not aware that we are the cre­ators of our thoughts and/or are not will­ing to take respon­si­bil­ity for it, we tend to blame oth­ers for our des­tiny, for how our life and our rela­tion­ships go. By pass­ing on our respon­si­bil­ity to oth­ers we will­ingly give power to oth­ers to cre­ate our des­tiny and in return reserve the right to blame them and make them wrong. This is the way of the vic­tim, and I can see how being a vic­tim can be com­fort­ing. Hav­ing no respon­si­bil­i­ties is like being a child again, no power and seem­ingly no wor­ries. Being an adult means, to a large extent tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for your actions. And, since every action (and inac­tion) starts with a thought, your free­dom and the well­be­ing of your rela­tion­ship starts with your con­scious action for tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for what goes on inside your head. Your future, your life and your des­tiny depend on it, no more and no less.

Best regards,

Radomir

http://www.RelationshipSaver.org/

http://www.GamelessRelationship.com/


Google Analytics Alternative

Share

Do You Act Or React?

React­ing means to act again, re–act. React­ing is based on what we already know and often so well that we do it auto­mat­i­cally. Some reac­tions are very use­ful for our sur­vival, like pulling our hand back from a hot fur­nace or jump­ing away from an oncom­ing car. In other words when our bod­ies sense dan­ger we react with­out think­ing. This kind of reac­tion is all very well in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, but the part­ner in our rela­tion­ship may end the rela­tion­ship very quickly with­out our even being aware that our reac­tions are auto­matic and counter to our best inter­est. So, what is the mech­a­nism of reac­tion? If we can be become acutely aware of this mech­a­nism when­ever we are in a sit­u­a­tion to react, or in other words, when our but­tons are being pushed, our rela­tion­ships and our lives may look com­pletely dif­fer­ent; we could be much more evenly bal­anced, avoid prob­lems and expe­ri­ence a much higher degree of hap­pi­ness. React­ing is a very use­ful sur­vival tool, it is based on learn­ing from experience.

Some expe­ri­ences are use­ful to remem­ber and remem­ber­ing them at the right moment can save our behind. The prob­lem arises when we react to the present sit­u­a­tion which is SIMILAR to the past ones. For instance, you were bit­ten by a snake once and now you are afraid of every­thing that crawls, like lizards and such. An exam­ple closer to rela­tion­ships would be that if you had an abu­sive father, now you think ALL men are abu­sive. Another exam­ple would be that your par­ents always told you what to do and now you get angry and resis­tant to ANYONE even ask­ing you to  do some­thing. If you thought that your par­ents did not love you, you will think that any­one who expresses their love to you is phony and lying or not hon­est. In these sit­u­a­tions you often tend to blame oth­ers for “mak­ing you feel that way” or “mak­ing you do cer­tain things”. So, you get the idea; cer­tain words and behav­iors by oth­ers push your but­tons or trig­ger mem­o­ries of the past and you are sim­ply RE-acting your past. You have no choice and no free will in the mat­ter. You can now begin to see how this auto­matic behav­ior can be detri­men­tal to your rela­tion­ship. But all is not lost. You actu­ally can take respon­si­bil­ity for your but­tons; they are yours after all and if you didn’t have them nobody would have any­thing to push.

This brings us to the alter­na­tive. Being respon­si­ble for your actions means that you are able to respond, thus response—able. What does this actu­ally mean, and more impor­tantly, how do you be response—able? For most peo­ple respon­si­bil­ity is bur­den, fault, blame, credit, shame or guilt. I sug­gest that if you take respon­si­bil­ity as will­ing­ness to deal with the sit­u­a­tion from the point of view that you are the one who has a choice about how you are going to act in a cer­tain sit­u­a­tion, you are going to gain power beyond your wildest imag­i­na­tion. Some­one said there is a moment between any stim­u­lus and a response and the choices that you make inside that win­dow of oppor­tu­nity is what your life depends on.  As you can see, respon­si­bil­ity is a mat­ter of free choice; it is an exer­cise in free will. Respond­ing is not sub­ject to your feel­ings or cog­ni­tion. It is inten­tional choice in accor­dance with your val­ues, ethics and morals and not some fleet­ing feel­ing, asso­ci­a­tion or thought. These belong in the cat­e­gory of reac­tions so it fol­lows that auto­matic reac­tions are irre­spon­si­ble actions. Now it becomes obvi­ous that no one can make you feel or do any­thing, ever. I do under­stand though that every action has its con­se­quences, but you are ulti­mately the one who will make the choice about what con­se­quences your actions will have.

Now that we have dis­tin­guished react­ing and respond­ing, I hope you can see that tak­ing respon­si­bil­ity for any­thing and every­thing that hap­pens to you in your life, no mat­ter how unrea­son­able it may be, will make you more con­tent, pow­er­ful, suc­cess­ful and ulti­mately hap­pier than merely react­ing to what hap­pens to you.
Take charge of your life: be responsible.

Radomir

The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship


Google Analytics Alternative

Share

To Be Or Not To Be … Attractive?

Am I attrac­tive? The bot­tom line truth is: you are and you are not. It depends on to whom you are talk­ing and what you mean by attrac­tive. Why do we play this “attrac­tive” game when we don’t know what we want to achieve by try­ing so hard to be attrac­tive? When you make your­self attrac­tive do you want to attract every­one or most peo­ple, or just one par­tic­u­lar per­son? Many would say some­thing like: “I am doing it for myself. I don’t care what oth­ers think. It makes me feel good.” Fair enough, it makes you feel good. But the rest of it is a lie and you know it. Thus, mil­lions of dol­lars and other cur­ren­cies are spent on mak­ing our­selves more and more attrac­tive in order to attract our soul mates, to boost our ego when oth­ers give us com­pli­ments, etc. So, by attrac­tive, we usu­ally mean sex­u­ally attrac­tive, or some­thing to do with looks any­way. Being attrac­tive to peo­ple we have never met is impor­tant for the first con­tact and with­out the first con­tact we can­not have the rest. This ratio­nale is a sound one. Unfor­tu­nately being attrac­tive in such a way is often false adver­tis­ing and although it may lead to an inter­est­ing sex­ual encounter, it more often than not results in unsuc­cess­ful long-term relationships.

Men like to look and women like to be looked at. Deep inside, instinc­tively and uncon­sciously, men look for fer­til­ity signs in women. Men can­not have chil­dren; only women can, so it is of the utmost impor­tance for a man to find a woman who will bear him many healthy chil­dren. Although these fer­til­ity signs may vary from cul­ture to cul­ture and change with time, men nev­er­the­less always look for sex­ual attrac­tion in a woman. Of course, women are always aware of it so they do their best to com­ply and be “attrac­tive” by being slim­mer, hav­ing par­tic­u­lar hair­dos, make-up and clothes; all in tune with the fash­ion of the day. Some of you may not quite agree with this, but that’s how we are pro­grammed and tens of thou­sands of years of pro­gram­ming do not go away so quickly. Think of the time when you were a teenager, when you stepped into adult­hood, when you actu­ally became fer­tile, able to have chil­dren. What were you mostly pre­oc­cu­pied with? Eng­lish lit­er­a­ture? Maybe. But you were mostly inter­ested in things of a roman­tic nature.

On the other hand, what women want from men is mostly secu­rity and pro­tec­tion. For women, attrac­tive men are the ones who are well off, in good health, strong and able to com­mit to long-term rela­tion­ships. So, men drive fancy and expen­sive cars to show their wealth, are suc­cess­ful in busi­ness to show their sta­tus and abil­ity to pro­vide secu­rity and for the same rea­son, go to a gym so that they can be phys­i­cally “attrac­tive” to women.

In a nut­shell, this is the attrac­tion game we play. Does it make sense in the 21st cen­tury, in the west­ern world where there are no saber-tooth tigers to prey on our women and chil­dren and the mor­tal­ity rate is min­i­mal? Of course it doesn’t when you stop and think about it. So what do we do? It depends on what we want. Do we let our­selves act from fear and the out­dated instinct for sur­vival, or are we will­ing to move up the evo­lu­tion­ary lad­der and act from the knowl­edge that all is well? When our instincts were impor­tant we lived in caves or in tribal soci­eties and with­out the appro­pri­ate resources to meet our basic needs so, often we were dri­ven to the brink of extinc­tion. Not so today, despite what the media are telling you. The media want you to be afraid because it serves this con­sumer soci­ety very well … but that is a dif­fer­ent topic. The fact is that there are no saber-tooth tigers any more, but we still behave as if they are around every cor­ner. The divorce rate in this coun­try is more than 50% which means that one in two mar­ried cou­ples even­tu­ally break up. What about all those other rela­tion­ships? How many of them are happy ones? Maybe we should look a lit­tle closer at the way we attract our part­ners and what it is that we are attracted to. Is it falling in love, or hav­ing great sex, or being cool or hot that will bring you a long last­ing rela­tion­ship? What hap­pens when you fall out of love, or are not cool any more because you’ve grown heav­ier? What if he loses his pres­ti­gious posi­tion or his car gets stolen and can­not be replaced? “For bet­ter or worse, for richer or poorer.” Yes, sure. The first thought is often: “I am out of here!”

Ulti­mately, it’s good to know that you can nei­ther BE attrac­tive, nor unat­trac­tive. Attrac­tive­ness is in the eye of the beholder. Some­one may or may not be attracted to you and that deci­sion lies in the mind of that per­son. It is not in the intrin­sic you. So, first you need to decide what it is that you want to adver­tise and who your tar­get mar­ket is. Then, what it is that you are sell­ing, and who you want to attract. All this may sound a lit­tle crude, but that is exactly how it works. Do you want to have sex, or do you want to sell your per­son­al­ity, or your real and authen­tic self? You know what they say about how you look or behave “in the morn­ing when you wake up”? If he loves you then he’ll always love you. If she still loves you when you lose your Porsche, or become poor, there is a big chance she will stay with you.

So, on the one hand you can never be attrac­tive enough for some and you will always be very attrac­tive for some­one else. Am I attract­ing the right peo­ple for the right rea­sons is prob­a­bly the ques­tion you may want to ask before you go to a party.

See you there.

Radomir

The Rela­tion­ship Saver

The Game­less Relationship


Share

 

; var sc_security=""; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_click_stat=1; // ]]>