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First Confession

Fly Mom!

Forgive me followers for I have sinned:
it’s been 122 days since my last blog.

And whew, what a 122 days
Six months, really. This is definitely in the “Top 5” consciousness periods in my life – and I’m including my birth and reserving a spot for my death in there!

My Mom died.

Thank you, I can feel your warm energy.

It was not an unanticipated passing, but not a given at this time either. She had a stroke three years ago; and between adjusting to physical limitations, and struggling to re-engage the social stimuli – which was equally her life-blood, she faded a little more day by day… by day….. by.

Mom's Wedding Portrait 1958After the initial stroke, Mom’s personality and thus my relationship with her changed. She and I had a very intimate meeting of the minds and shared a life-philosophy that was not comfortably entertained in our household: it was a lovely place to deepen our relationship. The cool conversations we would share for hours (typically me lying on her bed, she in her favorite chair after having watched our daily regimen
of The Young and the Restless [another confession!] in our cozy bedroom cave), well… they simply changed. It became more and more challenging to explore and share the vulnerabilities of our take on the world as her attention, body and mind recessed. It was then that I began grieving the loss of “My Mom”.

“how lucky i am to have known someone
who was so hard to say goodbye to”
                                                          – adapted from Winnie-the-Pooh

Coincidentally- or not- as a permanent student of life, at the time of Mom’s stroke I was in a phase of actively exploring change“: neurologically, behaviourally, emotionally and philosophically. [Managing change is  the most prevalent challenge with my clientele- and that of most coaches’ and therapists’.] Me & Mallory
I was intrigued with and paid particular attention to experiences and behaviours around loss, death, and grief. It’s never sat right with me how the majority of North Americans (and my British heritage) perceive and thus manage death: as a death sentence. The default mood upon hearing of a death is morose, dark, sad, uncomfortable, and clinical.  It mongers fear: we almost instinctively jump to the negative view of our own mortality. But death is SO a fundamental part of life: it is an equal milestone to birth in our journey here on earth, is it not? We highlight death dates in obits (virtually the main public bio of one’s existence); and d. is one of the few bits of info on headstones: we don’t list our grad dates, first-job dates, marriage dates, or birthdates of our kids in either of those important declarations. I’ve never seen any contract guaranteeing: my exit date; the amount of time my parents/mates/kids get with me; or how or why I go out. You?

Life is jiggly.  Life on earth is simply a full contact, no-rules journey. Then it’s over. We have HOPE ONLY, of impactful experiences. Even if it’s as simple as a mother and baby only ever knowing each other’s heartbeat from inside the womb – THAT is as complete a journey as any – and we have no reason to expect more or judge it less.  With full knowledge of How are you living?the crapshoot nature of life, why is death so feared and so devastating to some; and so minimized as an accomplishment? The evolution of our physical bodies alone is miraculous, and worthy of conscious acknowledgement for “housing” our beloveds – and in Mom’s case, for a time, me.  Shouldn’t deaths send our thoughts instinctively to a place of fascination, dreams, inspiration and motivation, as we anticipate the wonderful space ahead of US, just waiting to be filled? Big, BIG discussion… but at the time of Mom’s stroke, in my personal journey, I was massaging my own working theory around life and death and was LOVING the insight into the beliefs and practices of others around this issue. I did in fact solidify a belief about death that was comfortable for me – but it was all still in theory, not yet in practice.

Well, in my Mom’s world, “practice made perfect” and she did not miss this opportunity – although a rather extreme one, Mom! – to offer me the benefit of experience. And I’ve got to say: both my curiosity of life and the belief system that I have tentatively adopted are paying off in spades: I am having the most enlightening, beautiful, fulfilling, calm, loving “mourning” period ever.

Huh??My Mom

Page 2: Confessing to enjoying death? What, how, why, who helped – who didn’t… and the greatest confession of all

Sister Act

sister nun blondeGood Golly Miss Molly… can you smell the change in the air: that summer-to-fall slight earthiness edging out the sweeter scent of summer??  My supersmell usually picks that up to the day, reinforced by a chillier now-I-need-a-sweater evening.  The air changed August 20th FYI; I mentioned it to my parents in a phone call that day and could hear the way-post-term-pregnant pause and unspoken “huh?”, followed predictably by: “oh, uh, okay… your Aunt phoned….”. A clear example of tribal lines. I asked about my Aunt: I’m long past trying to get my parents to relate to some of my traits for which they simply have no first-hand experience; and sincerely appreciate the occasions when they may explore me with me more.

Prior to my little summer hiatus, my last post entertained exactly this concept of going outside of your family-of-origin to seek your “tribe”: your support system. It provoked more than a few comments* from readers- ranging from relief to guilt, that family members may not be your best tribesmen as per the unofficial rule book of life.

You’ve asked me to elaborate on my alluded to “misfit” in my family tribe. I am more than happy to do so: I offer mentorship for the pure and simple reason that so many people have been able to learn and grow from my story and its muddy tributaries. Sure, I’ve had some “fun” and unexpected elements to my tale, however, what proves to offer the most value is my out-and-out “normalcy”. The perception that a challenging life comes with a history dominating in dysfunction still prevails: bad parents, no money, disabilities, abuse, no role models, few opportunities; or, if blessed with a few decent elements, you must be the freak, the geek, or – oh my – the one with the deviant gene. The contradiction of my having challenges in life even with a “textbook-perfect” upbringing is unsettling to people (and has made more than a few folks in my life very, very uncomfortable). Even though we clearly know as adults “well of course, nobody’s life is perfect”, people want to be able to have a place to attribute (…excuse… blame – pick a verb) their problems; and they want the reciprocal and comfortable justification that others “have it all” because of their golden roots and obvious advantages. If that were NOT the case then………omg.

privilegeWell, I had somewhat golden roots. But guess what: as even a bush-league gardener can tell you, any roots being nurtured in the wrong soil will struggle to thrive – or survive. From the stereotypical image of a family misfit, I in no way fit the mold – in fact quite the opposite.  I looked like my family and peers, had friends, good grades, was outgoing; no rebellious army fatigues or mohawks- -and never has black lipstick touched these lips! I looked normal. I was normal. My normal. Just terribly uninspired as I went through my “Stepford” bootcamp. Pre-conceived ideals suck the living souls out of us – and in my case, it took 20 years to get it back.

What I think has been most valuable to realize- and hammer into others, is that no life path follows the clear pattern of any other; and that the definition of success is yours and yours alone. While there are some societal foundations to facilitate order and cohesion, the rest of your life is a blank slate and you manage all the tools with which to write upon it… or draw upon it, or dance upon it, or turn it into a cake, a rocket ship, a sports playbook, a Tibetan prayer mat….
Blank SlateMaybe your tools are common and familiar to others; maybe they are one-of-a-kind and/or history-making. There are no shoulds: just can’s, do’s, be’s. Act from intuition, desire, joy, curiosity – not from expectation or others’ definitions of living.

Our greatest enemy is conditioning without the understanding that life is yours to change and mold as you need or want. Conditioning happens quite naturally, and for the most part with no calculated agenda; and it can form a very solid, secure jumping-off point to a healthy life. The key, however, is knowing without question that you have free will and permission – if not outright support, to realign your thoughts, beliefs, actions, environments or tribe to foster your authenticity. In my experience, this has not been a standard ideal: and it must be. Challenging the popular book, all we really need to know was not learned in kindergarten.

So… wanna hear more of my story, eh? Well, here we go with…

Sister Actsister true

What are the odds that of the 7,256,508,556 people in the world (as per to-the-second clock on worldometers; oh look, now it’s: 7,256,508,842 ! lol), that the five others in my family are going to fit the criteria for my personal acceptance/ support/ inspiration team?? Well, actually, a lot closer than the now 7,256,509,002 others, science might say – and logic too, given that my siblings and I have come from essentially the same nature/nurture pool. Not really though, and with the rapid advances in the fields of neurology and epigenetics¹, my family and I get further and further apart.

Apparently, most young adults think that they’re the “different” one in the family – the more misunderstood one: go figure!  Read More Sister Act (page 2)

Quotes to Query

See Quotes on… family!

Are YOU The Village Idiot?

Find Your TribeAccording to the latest research, the three components of true happiness are: gratitude, forgiveness and, without a doubt, social connection.

We may not like the fact that we are wired such that our well-being depends on our connections with others, but the facts are the facts.

Belonging to a group or community gives us a sense of identity. It helps us understand who we are and feel part of something larger than ourselves.

Most people come to  me, coaches and therapists when there is a “problem” in their lives. Imagine – just imagine if folks used mentors as a part of a self-perpetuating wellness strategy: you might have several mentors for different facets of your life, rotating them as you proactively ebb and flow in your personal growth. Imagine creating, directing, exploring, LIVING your life fluidly, securely, lovingly — as per your birthright.  Rather, a good 90% of folks in my practice have waited until some part of their life implodes or is driving them sufficiently nuts before they finally recognize that yes, in fact, it does take a village!! Essentially, that’s what most of us in the self-development/help field are: a paid, quick-and-dirty “tribe”; because society, parents (whoever is the scapegoat-of-the-week) has failed to ingrain– without question, the simple concept that we’re not programmed to go it alone. Our genetics and our happiness quotient are structured to have relationships in our lives, and it is our inherent nature and our human mandate to seek and filter those relationships to fuel our souls.

Find your tribe, before...“Tribe” is the moniker I use to refer to the support team in our lives. Some people need a big tribe around them constantly, others, just one or two close folks at a time.  Tribe members may be for guidance, support, or simple oxytocin (happy-mood hormones) to give someone a boost for a time. We are predominantly raised to accept our family-of-origin as our tribe: they are the ones that will “love us unconditionally” and “support us to reach our dreams” – through thick and thin, right?  “Of course- they’re my family!”  Your family may turn out to be a prime source of the types of support that you need to grow and thrive, but more often than not, you need to seek out and assemble a “custom” tribe.  Who ever told us that???  Sure, we’re encouraged to go make friends… you know, for basic camaraderie (led to believe that our friends will at least, be “loyal”: and inevitably hanging on to friendships well beyond their expiration dates for that seemingly finite definition!). Eventually we clue in that our circle of friends may need to “cycle” a little, but was it ever on your radar that in choosing friends, you are in essence auditioning your life support-team,  in which case, you might have very different criteria? No: because we have been conditioned by everything from Mother Goose to The Brady Bunch to English Lit 101 to butter commercials to believe that  family is the mainstay of our support-team, and thus inherently, will be our best bet to guide us in building a happy, secure, fulfilling life. I beg to differ.

Uniquely me.My birth-family is great: I simply define life and experience the world differently than how I witness- thus perceive, they do.  We all have enough similarities that my upbringing felt sufficient: the expected life-path seemed a decent fit.  I know now that while my familial path was certainly comfy, it was slowly choking the part of me that held the lion’s share of my authenticity.  As I rode the proverbial conveyor-belt into adulthood… I could feel the My tribe.suppression alright, I just didn’t have the modelling or education yet to understand it.  I’ll expand at another time… but suffice it to say, in order to tap into, nurture, accept, explore, utilize and LIVE my true nature, I have needed to build myself another family… a soul family- my tribe.

All relationships, family-of-origin or chosen tribe (and they need not be mutually exclusive), will meet our needs or not meet our needs at any given time. The message that needs to be hammered into our philosophical understanding of life from infancy is: to continually seek relationships that will help fulfill your needs, and filter those that don’t. (Of course in my fantasy here, it’s a given that one’s uniqueness has been identified and honoured from infancy!) Understandably, a little balancing and screening is needed in the parenting department with incumbent responsibilities in both the nurturing of self-security and in the legal guardianship of our minor kids (i.e. Mom still needs to be the boss of you!).  The basic concept of respecting that we may think/be different than our family members, and to ensure safety from feeling guilty/rejected should a someone seek like-minded or supportive individuals outside of the family, is a healthy, healthy way to nurture a lifetime of great personal tribesmen.

The vulnerability in my theory- as lived, is that we may not actually recognize that something is missing for us in our Ballet? Okay.early formative years; as with me, nothing seemed missing per se, I just didn’t have any passion anywhere in my life e.g. I didn’t hate ballet: I was indifferent (BTW that is SO me, the redhead at left… and my sister beside me!!).  But I shall once more beg to differ that we are oblivious to signs of dispassion: we truly can intuit- feel when things are “off”; and in the absence of that perception, we are certainly capable of knowing when we feel absolute delight and are excited, curious, or energetic about a path or project. Start there. Find others that share your interest and invite them into your tribe — for an hour, a day… or perhaps your life: time… and your soul will tell.

Still think you’re the blacksheep?? If so, it’s time to ask yourself what the payoff is: how does your adoption of being the blacksheep serve you more that going out and simply finding more black sheep?? Or are you really the village idiot, standing all alone, and yet still in your own way? I say that somewhat challengingly… but with full understanding that while it is that simple, a change in behaviour patterns, limiting beliefs, relationships, and a bevy of new dreams for your true identity will, of course, take energy (note I didn’t say work: with freedom comes fun!).Blacksheep. Really?

Even blacksheep are born perfect! Come on, can you even slightly think that she —->
…is a reject??!

♥♥♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥♥♥

Tribes come about in all kinds of ways, for many different purposes and uses. Here are some thoughts from Dr. Julie Connor: planting the seeds so you can identify your top values and inventory your current tribe to see where there might be a disconnect.

Tribe cartoonCultivating Your Tribe

“Finding your tribe can have transformative effects on your sense of identity and purpose,” explains Ken Robinson, author of The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. “This is because of three powerful tribal dynamics: validation, inspiration, and what we’ll call here the alchemy of synergy.”

Next: Who To Include In Your Tribe (page 2)

Comparing? The Cat Knows A Lot About That!

No one youer than YOUEverything we really needed to know to thrive in our lives was declared by a cat in a hat. But did we listen – NOOOOO!

In the last few posts, we’ve been looking at the nonsensical act of comparing ourselves to others, and I think it’s pretty clear that we need to start nurturing – no, HAMMERING – the beauty of our differences at an early stage of life.  Dr. Seuss hit the nail on the head: his books are chock-a-block of “be yourself” ditties and they should be mandatory comprehension by preschool – and studied again in high school, before kids choose their career paths!

A slightly overlooked part of the whole comparison game, is that which we assign to the pedestal: be it prompted by societal views, familial expectations or life experiences.  In the case of people, when we’re “not good enough”, then reason says we think someone IS good enough: the problem laying directly in the word “think”. When we place someone in a high position on the “enough” scale, then for that person, there is nowhere to go but down. How fair is that – especially if it’s someone you’re close with? You will succeed.Everyone, just like us, is just trying to do their best; with trials and errors – just like us: struggling to find courage and resiliency, just like us.  To have the sense that somebody is constantly keeping vigil on the tarnish-factor of imaginary crowns is a lot of pressure to place on someone; and means at best, that they are not truly free to be themselves; and at worst, they are donning a mask to meet expectations and thus, presenting a false reality.  Who wins there? Excluding teachers and narcissists, no one asks to be appointed your guiding light: that’s a dysfunctional burden unwittingly placed on another; and a blatant imbalance of power in any relationship – destined to wither.

those who mind don't matterI’ve been in this position myself: placed on a pedestal and feeling that intense discomfort (if not an actual: “little miss perfect is not so perfect!” quip) any time I tried to reveal anything vulnerable about myself to this “friend”. True enough, I have experienced relationships where our life experiences are out of balance and unstimulating, and I have abandoned them. Never, though, have I stayed in a relationship for the pure reason of playing a leading role: way too unsatisfying – and blech, bore-ing!!! I want to take as well as give! Needless to say, I jumped off the pedestal and out of that relationship. Sad: I really liked her.

Oh the places you will go.Point being: assessing what “good enough” means is all in your own definition, influenced by your own life circumstances. At any point in time you can choose to change the definition. Don’t put your own personal fears and self-declared expectations randomly on others; and don’t underestimate yourself or what you can change if you focus less attention on others and more on YOU!
You are you. They are them. Enough.

Here’s an elaborated view adapted from Dr. Rob Kiltz on DailyOM.com:

In Life, There Are No Pedestals

When we fall in love with someone or make a new friend, we sometimes see that person in a glowing light. Their good qualities dominate the foreground of our perception; and their negative qualities – well, they just don’t seem to have any! This temporary state of grace is commonly known as putting someone on a pedestal. We have all done this to someone at one time or another, and as long as…

Next: The Pedestal (page 2)

Shed Some Weight: Toxic Friends

Let go of dead weight.

Last week we spent some good time looking at our primary relationship and having a heart-to-heart with ourselves as to whether or not our primary relationship was really working for the future we want.

While we’re cleaning house, what other relationships are weighing you down? A lot of the same rules apply when assessing any meaningful relationship, the ultimate question being: does it contribute or contaminate??

To give our primary relationship – and our lives in general, a fighting chance to blossom, let’s consider pulling a few toxic weeds. Here’s an article from IVillage that I found amusing- and useful, in taking a close look at who you might want to turf out and significantly lighten your life:

Time To Break Up: 20 Toxic People to Kick Out of Your Life — Stat!  

Toxic Friends

We all have one or two “friends” who drag us down instead of make us better. If you have someone in your life who’s taking more than they’re giving, it might be time to go your separate ways.

The Office Gossip
Sometimes, it’s nice to take a break in your day to hear the scoop on who’s ass-kissing who and who’s getting the pink slip. But is the office gossip stopping by your desk way too often?Gossips
“The office gossip can be a very destructive force, even if it seems just peripheral; and any interaction with this person calls your own integrity into question in the eyes of your superiors and co-workers,” says Karen Hylen, Ph.D, primary therapist at Summit Malibu Treatment Center. “Engaging the gossip on any level, reinforces a workplace house-of-cards, where perceptions are hugely distorted. Without this type of person in your life, you can focus your energy on your role and make your own assessments of what affects your performance and growth.” It’s deceiving how powerfully this toxicity clings to us outside of the workplace, even when we don’t think we are giving it much merit – beware!

The Ex who Calls for Sex
Sure, it’s nice to have a sex buddy on speed dial, but is their presence in your life adding or taking away value?
“Keeping an ex in your life purely for sexual reasons is essentially building up a barrier to your own happiness,” says Hylen. “By cutting this person out of your life, you can move past old feelings and emotional attachments and in turn open your heart and mind to new experiences and relationships.”

The Sad Sack
You don’t really like them, but you get together out of guilt. The truth is, that’s not good for them or yourself.
“People experience emotions on a very visceral level, taking in their surroundings and feeding off others’ energy,” says Hylen. “It’s more effective emotionally for you to have people in your life who exude positive energy, rather than those who can drain you of the vital life energy you need to maintain your own quality of life.”
The painful truth: You have to give the Sad Sack some space and find friends that are on your level.

Put a ring on itThe Date “On the Fence”
He says he loves spending time with you but he won’t put a ring on it — or even let you leave a toothbrush at his place! She commits to plans only in the n-th hour – when it seems nothing better has come along.  It’s time to tell yourself that you’re worth being “the one” — if not to them, then someone else.
“Being with someone who won’t commit to you on any level or take you seriously as a human being can result in low self-esteem and depressive thoughts or behaviors,” says Hylen. “You are better off being with someone who does not deny you those emotions, which are critical to overall mental health and well-being.”
(SNL version of Beyoncé’s video “Put a Ring on It”, above, is a hoot! – yes, that’s Justin Timberlake! See the entire sketch here: Justin Timberlake parodies Beyoncé. Don’t overlook Zach Galifianakis shaking his booty in the backgroundOMG!!!)

The Pitier
There’s always that sibling, cousin or aunt who is forever trying to fix your life. They mean well, but seriously… buzz off! “A pitying relative who tries to help you in various areas of your life can lead to a belief that you are not self-reliant or independent,” says Hylen. “Not having this person in your life will allow you to make your own mistakes and be accountable for them so you don’t repeat them in the future.”

The Half-Assed Friend
They forget to return calls for months, don’t acknowledge your special occasions and is generally MIA. When you do make plans, they’re always rescheduling at the last minute or showing up super late. “You should dump this ‘friend’ because they do not respect your time or your life,” says Jessica Leroy, psychotherapist and founder of Center for the Psychology of Women. “You need to spend that time with those who do appreciate you as a friend and who are interested in your life.” The verdict: Time to move on to someone who has friendship to give.

The Frenemy
They’re your friend, but also your arch enemy. How is this fun? “People deserve friendships in which they support each other’s triumphs as opposed to bringing each other down,” says LeRoy. “Some people who are a bit more insecure may believe that they deserve this type of friendship, or that this is normal behavior. In reality, supporting each other makes us feel much better about ourselves and our friends.”

The “Old Friend”nothing in common
Maybe it’s a friend from high school or a different time in your life, but if all you have to talk about is the past, it can get old pretty quick. “It’s great to have friends from your past, but if that is all you have to connect on, you’re not moving forward with your lives or making new memories,” says LeRoy. “Live in the present and spend time with people you would like to make new memories with.” The next time they call to make plans take a pass and spend the time with someone in your present -tense!

The Schemer
From asking you to help spy on an ex to involving you in get-rich-quick schemes, they’re always trying to make you an accomplice to shady plans. You might want to spend your time with someone who has more lofty goals and aspirations! “What are you really gaining from this friendship?” asks LeRoy. “It sounds like this person only wants a sidekick who will take the fall with them. You have better things to do with your time.”

The Bad Influence
Sometimes a bad influence can be fun, but this person just brings out the worst in you — from bad eating habits to low-self esteem. “When you only have one thing in common with a friend, and that one thing is not very healthy, it’s time to ask yourself: Is that how I want to be spending my time?” says LeRoy. “Why not spend time with people who you can indulge with occasionally but you also connect with on other levels?” Next time you befriend someone ask yourself: Does this person raise me up or bring me down?

The Hot Mess

Hot mess, where wonderful meets terrible. The type of show you can’t decide is incredibly disgusting, unbelieveable and embarassing or
if it’s plain genius.

Hot MessYou’re always scraping this friend off the floor — literally and figuratively. A night out with them is full of surprises — in a bad way. “If you’re the one always bailing your friend out of difficult situations then you’re the one dealing with the hot mess, not them,” says Barbara Neitlich, L.C.S.W., a Beverly Hills psychotherapist. “Once you release this type of friend out of your life, you will truly recognize how this individual often drew the mental (and sometimes) physical life right out of you.” Remember, you can’t fix friends’ lives until they’re ready to help themselves.

Your Gazillion Facebook Friends
If you’re spending all your time on the computer, chances are you’re missing out on real life. “Shut off the computer, get off the couch and jump into this game we call life,” says Neitlich. “You are better off having a few true friends that you can confide in rather than a bunch of Facebook friends you barely know. Your true friends will stand by you when you really need them. Your Facebook friends may simply log out!” Facebook is a fun pastime, just be sure not to let those online friends take the place of real life ones.

The Broke Buddy
Whether it’s a friend always asking you to spot her at dinner (and never paying you back) or a relative who expects you to pay for his life, remember you are a person and not an ATM. “Get rid of those who don’t pay their way,” says Neitlich. “In time you end up building resentment for always having to be the one to pay. Cutting the cord with these folks allows you to stand your ground as someone who is savvy and mindful of her money!” Think of all the things you can do with that extra cash once you get this person out of your life!

The Office Husband/Wifey
One or both of you are married but you have a pretty serious flirtation going on. “Set boundaries,” says Neitlich. “Stop engaging in the playful banter. You’re better off moving away from this type of temptation, as it almost always ends in disaster.” Even if you swear you’ll never act on your feelings, it’s better not to go there in the first place!

judgemental twats

The Snob
They make you feel bad about your clothes, your car and your staycation. Friends don’t let friends feel like less-thans! “When you consistently allow someone to make you feel badly about yourself, you turn a great deal of mental power over to them,” says Neitlich. “Most of us are pretty critical of ourselves. Do we really need a ‘friend’ who is so critical of us?”

The SWF/M
They wish they had your looks, your relationship, your adorable children…your life. Um, creepy. “This person is a time bomb waiting to go off because they can only take so much envying over what you have,” says Carole Lieberman, MD, a Beverly Hills psychiatrist and award-winning author. “They will change from sucking-up to stealing your cool stuff…or even your partner.”

The Judge Judy
They give unsolicited advice even though you’ve politely asked them to stop. There’s no reason to continue being held in contempt of their court. “Too much time spent in their company will make you doubt every decision you’ve made,” says Dr. Lieberman. “They want to give you a life sentence of insecurity without parole.” Find a friend who’s cool with letting you make your own choices — even if they disagrees with them.

The Bitter Bob/Betty
Everything is negative in their life and spending time with them makes you feel like life sucks. “Bitter people are bad for your health,” says Lieberman. “If you want negativity in your life, you can read the headlines and do away with them.” Life’s too short for this type of attitude. It’s time to break up!

Did they just say that?The Backhander
They give you compliments that somehow also take you down a notch. How do they do that?! “This so-called friend is passive-aggressive and not to be trusted,” says Lieberman. “They’ll smile while they’re twisting the knife in deeper.” The next time they give you a backhanded compliment, show them to your front door.

The Competitor
Whether it’s who took the nicer vacation or who has better parenting skills, they’re always trying to one up you. “It’s exhausting to try to be friends with The Competitor — and not really worth it,” says Lieberman. “They’re just using you to try to feel better about her poor, pathetic self.”

Seek out friends who support you and you’ll be a whole lot happier in all aspects of your life.

 

Friends reflect you.

 

Kiss Relationship Myths Goodbye

We’ve decided we want a primary partnership in our life, we are ready, we have some solid direction about choosing a partner.  Even with this fabulous new understanding of ourselves, old societal conditioning and limiting beliefs can still mess us up as we’re forging our healthier new relationships (or equally, as we evaluate leaving a current relationship: coming in next post!) Best to have these ideas fresh in our mind, so that when archaic thinking rears, we can immediately recognize it as such – and dismiss it.

Before we go on, let’s get the whole issue of whether or not you believe in soulmates out of the way: bluntly, I DON’T CARE! The word “soulmate” is truly very innocuous, but somehow it has Soulmates. Real?become a true or false debate, and in my opinion, you’d only debate the issue if you don’t know yourself very well; otherwise, you’d have a clear understanding of how relationships factor in your life and vocabulary wouldn’t mean a damn thing!!  The word soulmate is just kind of a handy term to indicate those bearing deeper resonance in your being, as opposed to terms like “significant other” – which let’s face it, doesn’t make someone sound very significant at all! There’s no inference here that you can’t have more than one soulmate, or that they won’t change roles in your life as you grow.  For the purposes of this article:

A soulmate (or soul mate) is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity more rare and unique than that of other relationships.
– Collins English Dictionary

Simple and generic as you can get. Now, onto an opinion by Dr. Phil regarding “relationships myths” to steer clear of, as per an O Magazine posting:

Ten Relationship Myths

If you are still romantically connected to someone who is not a soul mate, it’s important to discern when one particular relationship has run its course. Most of us know, but sometimes it is hard to let go. It is difficult to let go of a relationship that offers soul pathcompanionship, sex, fun, or financial security. But when you want a true soul mate, holding on to a relationship that only imitates love keeps us from the very thing we say we desire. Even the difficult aspects of romantic evolution can be considered “time served” in preparation for true love. Many of us get our best training in relationship boot camp. We may beat ourselves up for bad marriages, relationships, and dates–any time that seems wasted on Ms. or Mr. Wrong–but in truth, they are an important, instructive part of the journey. The grand awakening to what soul mate love is comes by discovering firsthand what it is not.

The quality of a relationship depends on how well it meets the needs of those involved. -Dr. Phil

Think your relationship is a failure because you and your partner aren’t following certain “rules” or meeting certain standards? Dr. Phil blows the whistle on 10 of the most common but dangerous relationship myths.

MYTH #1: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP DEPENDS ON A GREAT MEETING OF THE MINDS

  • You will never see things through your partner’s eyes because you are two entirely different people. You are genetically, physiologically, psychologically and historically different.
  • You will not solve your relationship problems by becoming more alike in your thinking. Men and women are wired differently. Attempting to blur your fundamentally different viewpoints is unnatural and even dangerous.
  • Recognize that a relationship is far more enjoyable when you’re with someone who enriches your life, not simply reflects it. Appreciate your differences.

MYTH #2: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES A GREAT ROMANCE

  • Yes, your life with your partner should include plenty of romance. But don’t kid yourself and expect an unrealistic Hollywood fairytale. The truth is that in the real world, being in love is not like falling in love.romance fairytale2
  • Falling in love is only the first stage of love. It’s impossible to remain in that stage. A mature relationship will shift from dizzying infatuation to a deeper, more secure love.
  • Don’t make the common mistake of thinking that when the initial wild passion fades you aren’t in love anymore. The answer is not to start a new relationship so you can recapture that emotional high with someone else. The answer is to learn how to move on to the next stages of love for a different but richer experience.

MYTH #3: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES GREAT PROBLEM-SOLVING

  • Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you and your partner can’t be happy if you can’t resolve your serious disagreements. Ninety percent of problems in a relationship are not solvable.
  • There are things that you and your partner disagree about and will continue to disagree about. Why can’t you once and for all resolve these issues? Because in order to do so, one of you would have to sacrifice your values and beliefs.
  • You can simply agree to disagree and reach “emotional closure” even though you haven’t reached closure on the issue.

You'll love it

MYTH #4: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES COMMON INTERESTS THAT BOND YOU TOGETHER FOREVER

There is nothing wrong with your relationship if you don’t share common interests and activities.

If you and your partner are forcing yourselves to engage in common activities but the results are stress, tension and conflict, don’t do it!

MYTH #5: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP IS A PEACEFUL ONE

  • Don’t be afraid to argue because you think it’s a sign of weakness or relationship breakdown. Even the healthiest couples argue.
  • If approached properly, arguing can actually help the relationship by (a) releasing tension and (b) instilling the sense of peace and trust that comes from knowing you can release feelings without being abandoned or humiliated.
  • Instead of worrying about how many times you argue, worry about how you argue. Here are some guidelines:
    • Don’t abandon the issue and attack the worth of your partner during an argument.
    • Don’t seek conflict because it’s stimulating.
    • Don’t pursue a take-no-prisoners approach in your arguments.
    • Don’t avoid achieving emotional closure at the end of an argument.

MYTH #6: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP LETS YOU VENT ALL YOUR FEELINGS

  • Getting things off your chest might feel good, but when you blurt something outRelationships ebb and flow in the heat of the moment, you risk damaging your relationship permanently. Many relationships are destroyed when one partner can’t forgive something that was said during uncensored venting.
  • Before you say something you might regret, bite your tongue and give yourself a moment to consider how you really feel. The things we say while we’re letting loose often don’t represent how we really feel and shouldn’t be communicated — especially if they are potentially destructive.

MYTH #7: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX

  • The belief that sex is not important is a dangerous and intimacy-eroding myth. Sex provides an important time-out from the pressures of our daily lives and allows us to experience a quality level of closeness, vulnerability and sharing with our partners.
  • Sex might not be everything but it registers higher (90 percent) on the “importance scale” if it’s a source of frustration in your relationship. If your sex life is unfulfilled, it becomes a gigantic issue. On the other hand, couples that have satisfying sex lives rate sex at only 10 percent on the “importance scale.”
  • Don’t restrict your thinking by considering sex to be something that only consists of the actual physical act. Touching, caressing, holding hands and any means by which you provide physical comfort to your partner can all be viewed as part of a fulfilling sex life.

MYTH #8: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP CANNOT SURVIVE A FLAWED PARTNER

  • Nobody’s perfect. As long as your partner’s quirks are non-abusive and non-destructive, you can learn to live with them.
  • Instead of focusing on your partner’s shortcomings, remember the qualities that attracted you in the first place. Perhaps some of these idiosyncrasies were part of the attraction? Just because a behavior isn’t mainstream, doesn’t mean that it’s toxic to the relationship.
  • Be careful to distinguish the difference between a partner with quirks and one with a serious problem. Serious problems that are destructive and abusive include substance abuse and mental/physical abuse. Unlike idiosyncrasies, these are not behaviors you should learn to live with.

MYTH #9: THERE IS A RIGHT WAY AND A WRONG WAY TO MAKE THE RELATIONSHIP GREATMy rules

  • Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no definitive “right way” to be a good spouse, good parent, or to handle any relationship challenge that life throws you.
  • Do what works for you rather than following some standards you might have read in a book or heard from a well-meaning friend. If what you and your partner are doing is generating the results you want, stick with it. If both of you are comfortable with the principles that work, you can write your own rules.
  • Remember not to be rigid about the way in which you accept your partner’s expressions of love. There is no “right way” for someone to love you. The fact that your partner expresses feelings differently doesn’t make those feelings less genuine or of less value.

MYTH #10: YOUR RELATIONSHIP CAN BECOME GREAT ONLY WHEN YOU STRAIGHTEN YOUR PARTNER OUT

  • Don’t fall into the trap of believing that if you could change your partner, your relationship would be better. You are, at the very least, jointly accountable for the relationship.
  • Let go of the childlike notion that falling in love means finding someone who will be responsible for your happiness. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness.
  • If your relationship is distressed, the most important person for you to change might be yourself. Once you identify the payoffs you are subconsciously seeking with destructive behavior, you can choose to remove them from your life.

Appreciate the relationships that have taught you what you don’t want. Honor those loves. Express gratitude for the lessons you have learned, even the toughest ones. Send a spiritual message to your old flame saying,

“I thank you, I bless you, I release you”

… and sayonara baby!

How to Choose Your Life Partner

It's not rocket science.It’s Not
Rocket Science!!

Okay. Through the last couple of posts, we’ve decided that we want a significant other in our life and upon much reflection, believe we are ready.

AGHHHHH! What now??  Okay, okay – deep breath, I really am ready: I’m at a good place understanding and loving myself; I can see why some past relationships weren’t exactly what I was after… so… go forth confidently!??

But go armed. As mentioned, there are quite a few inspirational articles out there in that interweb, and what I figured out: some will simply resonate with you more than others, most likely because of past experiences, or because they are relative to things you are working on in your life. So go ahead and peruse a few – just for moral support, but definitely limit your research: the goods are in the doing part!

I couldn’t narrow down to one article so I picked two that I thought presented consistent information, but in slightly different ways. See how they sound to you:

A Flourishing Life: Choosing a Life Partner

by Gail Brenner, Ph.D

If you are like me, no one ever sat you down and instructed you on how to choose a life partner.  Yet, this is one of the most critical decisions we will ever make in life – with potentially huge repercussions for a less-than-ideal choice.  A long-term relationship can be one of the most joyous and fulfilling experiences life has to offer.  Although you may not have learned it from your mother, here is what you need to know to choose the life partner who is right for you.

Consider qualities that are important to you
First, become familiar with the qualities that you desire in a partner.  It doesn’t matter what they are – what matters is that you are consciously aware of what is important to you.  Take some time to reflect, write a list if it helps you, and keep at it until you are clear about what you want.  Two qualities you might seriously consider are honesty and openness/flexibility.  You need to be able to trust your partner to be straight up with you – about money, preferences, things they are doing, people they are spending time with.  In addition, you will want to choose someone who is open to examining themselves, willing to take responsibility for their own behavior, and able to move with the ebbs and flows of life.

Identify what you want

Remember these qualities when you are dating
Now that you have developed a list, have the wisdom to use it.  We all know how easily we are sidetracked by sexual attraction, the blush of a new romance, relationship melodrama.  If what you want is a partner for life, forget romance and be logical and realistic.  As you are getting to know your potential partner, take some time to sit by yourself and determine if he or she possesses the qualities you desire.  If so, happily continue dating.  If not, find the strength within yourself to stay aligned with what you really want, say a kind goodbye, and move on.  Abandon hope that things will change inI wanted this?? the future.  Base your decision on what you are certain of, which is what you know to be true now.

Discuss the big issues
I find myself in disbelief when I hear of newly married couples discovering monumental differences on some of the most essential life choices.  Spare yourself this challenge by initiating open discussions about children (if, when, how many), child-rearing, money, work, religion, where to live, and relationships with extended family.  The purpose of these discussions is to uncover any fundamental differences between you so you can decide if you want to continue the relationship.  Do the research thoroughly, but also realize that priorities and preferences have a way of changing over time.  This is why openness and flexibility are important.  Learn all you can about your potential mate, and have the courage to walk away if the fit is not right for you.

Find a good friend
Sharing your life with the right partner is a joy.  The intensity of the initial attraction will subside, so make sure that the friendship is strong.  Do you have common interests?  Is your conversation enjoyable and stimulating?  Would you choose to spend a free day with this person?  If your answer is “yes” to these questions, you have in place an important element that can make your relationship stand the test of time.Hanging

Find a lover
You really want the sexual part of your relationship to work, as stumbling in this area can cause great conflict and dissatisfaction.  Appetites will change – often once children arrive or hormones begin to dwindle.  Start off with sexual compatibility, and you are building a strong foundation now and for the future.

Don’t think that love, or sexual attraction, is enough
How often have you heard, “But I love him?”  A long-term relationship involves so much more than love.  A successful relationship requires communication and problem-solving skills, the ability to manage your own emotions, patience, selflessness.  You end up dealing with child-rearing, balance between work and home life, crises that inevitably arise.  Love and sexual attraction are beautiful expressions, but they are not enough for choosing a life partner.

Determine if you can solve problems together
Notice how you disagree, and how you recover from disagreements.  If you or your partner defend your own positions, you will have difficulty coming to a resolution.  The need to be right limits good communication.  Look for, and be, someone who speaks respectfully and is open to other points of view.

Decide if you can accept your potential partner’s idiosyncrasies
We all have them.  Ways of being, things we do, that are our personalities and quirks.  Take the blinders off, and see with your eyes wide open to determine if the person you are considering is someone you can actually live with on a daily basis.  Reflect on their energy level, preference for time alone, desire for social interaction, ways of handling stress, and level of cleanliness.  Don’t be caught by the trap of hoping they will change, and don’t fool yourself into believing that something that bothers you now won’t continue to fester over time.  People do change, but there is no guarantee.  Contemplate within yourself to see if you can accept your potential mate as is.

Dealbreakers

Know your dealbreakers
Only you can know your bottom line.  You deserve to be with someone who is truly interested in making your relationship thrive.  If you are mistreated or disrespected in any way, think twice before moving forward.  Take very seriously problems such as addiction, large debt, uncontrollable emotions, or severe mental illness.  You can have tremendous compassion for people with these issues, but the likelihood of being in a satisfying relationship with them is negligible.

Be an amazing partner
While you are looking, use your time wisely.  Reflect within yourself to become aware of the difficulties you might contribute to a relationship.  Are you too clingy or afraid of getting close?  Are you overly passive or controlling?  Do you need to get your own life on track in some important way?  Are you attracting, and choosing, people who aren’t right for you?  Do you have annoying habits?  Are you a grownup, able to make your relationship with a partner a priority over your immediate family?  Be happy in your own life, and you will effortlessly bring happiness to others.

In choosing your partner, I’m inviting you to use your head as well as your heart.  When you do, you are opening yourself to the possibility for the deepest intimacy and celebration of life.  Allow your heart to expand in every direction, and enjoy the journey!

Haven't met you yet.

Gail Brenner, Ph.D. is a guest blogger for PickTheBrain. She offers practical and inspiring wisdom for realizing true happiness at her blog A Flourishing Life, focusing on real solutions for self-defeating habits.

Next:  Looking for Love: Understanding What You Need (page 2)

Relationship Truth: Are You Ready?

ready available (2)

Last post we explored the question of why we want relationships in our lives, now the next question is about timing: are you ready?

This whole journey is really about you – REALLY!
It’s not about checking off the next thing on a long-outdated societal checklist (not that it was ever a good one to begin with!) The timing is not about the fact that you have a break between school and career, you’ve sowed some oats, and therefore it’s a logical time to choose a lifemate: it’s about where you are in your personal philosophy, where you are relative to your personal goals and dreams.  Will a partner complement what you are trying to experience currently, and, are you in a good “receiving” place in your life – balanced healthily with what you are ready and able to give??

I found some great advice on criteria to consider regarding your wants and needs, and on choosing partners: still trying to decide which to feature, and I’ll post one of them this week.  In the meantime, the following is an article I read recently (I will accredit it when I figure out where I found it!) that is good basic warm-up prior to diving into the relationship pool!

Are You Ready for a Relationship?

imagesCAAUA0O5Often people feel they married the wrong person, but I’ve learned that it’s truly about growing to become a better person.

We all want to find that special someone, it’s inherent to our nature. Sometimes though, we put up roadblocks, not even realizing that we’re our own worst enemy. One good way to find out if you’re ready for a relationship, is to look at your relationship patterns.

1. What type of person do you choose to be in a relationship with?
You’d think everyone’s answer would be, “Someone who is good for me and makes me feel good about myself”. That’s not always the case though is it? Often, on a subconscious level, we choose people who aren’t good for us, people who make our bad habits and patterns easier to achieve. For instance, you may have been mentally abused by a parent in the past, and through still seeking their approval, date someone who is similar to that parent in the hopes of rectifying the past.

2. How much baggage are you really carrying around?relationship strong2
Is it a carry-on bag, or is it one of those giant suitcases you can fit a great dane into? We often don’t resolve issues from our past relationships and jump into the next one, thinking it’s going to be better because you’re with a different person. Wrong! Past relationships need to be left in the past – issues surrounding trust, power dynamics and those pesky bad habits need to be RESOLVED before being transferred into a new relationship. It’s very important to spend time by and on yourself in between relationships; recharge your batteries, get yourself strong and learn to be happy on your own before you ask someone into your life.

3. How do you feel about yourself – how do you see yourself?relationship self2
Do you ever say, if only I found that person to make me whole everything would be ok? Guess what, there is no such person. We need to learn to be whole from within. A great relationship is not about having what the other person is missing (although we can help each other see what that is), it’s about two strong and functioning individuals coming together to enrich each others’ lives. You will never find what you think you’re missing in another person, and it’s unrealistic (not to mention unfair), to expect that of another human being. If you have difficulty liking yourself, you are not in a healthy place to nurture a relationship, and you will need to work on getting your confidence up. In a nutshell, you can do this by figuring out what you want in life for yourself and being the creator of your own destiny. Turn to mentors, therapists and books to streamline your exploration.

Break out of old patterns and bad habits, do some soul searching and learn to love yourself. It’s the only way you will be able to attract and keep someone who is good for you.

“A great partnership is not about finding the right person.
It’s about becoming the right person.” -Anon.

Ever Asked Yourself Why You Want a Relationship?

awareness jung
Last week’s featured article was a another hint about being conscious in your life. “Is It Love… or Comfort” prompted us to view relationships as containers for growth.  We begin relationships at whatever growth level we happen to be in when we meet, and then — we change.  Change is the way of the world, so inevitably in our relationships, we have a choice: we can grow together or we can grow apart. A significant number of couples do not consciously make this choice.

Our social and familial conditioning often contains an autopilot that dictates partners, marriage, children as an endgame. Advocates of conscious living, myself included, view these as lovely, fulfilling choices – IF you so choose, but certainly not an endgame. Particularly, the old message of relationships often includes an element of another person being the completion of one’s life and love, as opposed to a complement to your own self-love and fulfilling “be-ing” – – which is in essence, the generator of your ability to share love in the first place.  Awareness of one’s self is pretty key to a lot of outcomes, and the following article and video by renowned relationship expert Margaret Paul explores a very fundamental view of this:

If you are a person who
wants to be in a relationship,relationship water flame

have you thought about why?

Actually, in my research and years of relationship counselling there are two very different reasons for wanting a relationship. The first is about what you want to get, and the second is about what you want to learn and share.

Wanting a Relationship in Order to: Get

If you ask people why they want a relationship, many will say things like:

  • I want someone to love me and make me feel special and worthy.
  • I don’t want to be alone and lonely anymore.
  • I want to have children.
  • I want to feel safe and secure.

What they might not say outright is that they want a relationship to:

  • Fill the empty place within them.
  • Complete them. They hope that their partner will give them what they are not giving to themselves and what they might not have received as children.
  • Make them feel taken care of emotionally, financially and/or sexually.

You might be thinking, “Right! Aren’t these the reasons everyone wants a relationship? Why be in a relationship if not to be loved, cherished, made to feel special, safe and secure? What’s the point of a relationship if not to fill me, take away my loneliness and make me feel okay about myself?”

There really is another reason for wanting to be in a relationship.

Wanting a Relationship in Order to: Heal, Learn and Share Love

The other reason for being in a relationship stems from the fact that relationships are the most fertile ground for learning about what is unhealed in us, and for having an arena to heal. Most of us have baggage from childhood that we carry into our primary relationship — such as fears of rejection and fears of engulfment. These fears generally get played out with a partner, which offers us an incredible opportunity to learn about and heal them. Relationship can be the Ph.D. of personal growth!

being the real you takes courageLearning about your fears of intimacy, as well as about control issues that may surface with a primary partner, can lead to much personal growth — enhancing your ability to love. The more you learn to take responsibility for your own feelings — learning to love yourself, cherish yourself, make yourself feel special and valued — the more you may want a relationship in order to share your love rather than to get love. Contrary to what many believe, it’s not the getting of love that takes away loneliness, but the sharing of love.

The most profound and beautiful experience in life is the sharing of love. But we can’t share our love unless we are filled with love. When we learn to fill ourselves with love from our “Source” — whatever that is for each person, such as nature, spirit, God, the energy of the universe — then we come to our partner with inner fullness rather than with inner emptiness. Rather than needing a partner to complete us, we desire to share our completeness with our partner.

When two people come together to get love rather than to learn, heal and share love, there is a strong possibility that their relationship won’t last. With both partners trying to get loved and filled by the other, and neither one having learned to love and fill themselves, each will ultimately be disappointed. Very often, one or both might believe they’ve picked the wrong partner.

When two people come together because they want to learn together, grow together, heal together, share their time and companionship, and share their love and passion, they have a good chance of creating a lasting, loving relationship.

When these people are asked why they want a relationship, they say:

  • I have a lot of love to give and I want to share it with a partner, who also has a lot of love to give. Possibly, we might want to have children with whom to also share our love.
  • I want to learn and grow with someone who also wants to learn and grow.
  • I want to share time, companionship, lovemaking, laughter and play with someone with whom I feel deeply connected.

If you tune inside and honestly ask yourself why you want a relationship, and you find yourself on the first list rather than on the second, do not despair. You can learn how to love yourself and fill yourself with love so that you have plenty of love to share with a partner.

It’s important to realize that we attract people:we are one when we are two

at our common level of health — which is the level of taking personal responsibility for our happiness and wellbeing — OR

at our common level of self-abandonment — which includes making someone else responsible for our feelings.

Given this reality, you have a far better chance of creating a healthy and loving relationship with a partner when you have a healthy and loving relationship with yourself.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a relationship expert, best-selling author, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette, and featured on Oprah. There are many more wonderful videos on youtube.

Daily Love… or Comfort?

TDL_FB-icon

Following is a recent post from The Daily Love blog, which is one of the few blogs that I have signed up for and then actually kept following!! The Guest authors on this site are fabulous and founder Mastin Kipp is a pretty insightful, inspiring and hip guy!  I highly encourage you to check this blog out (particularly if you are just beginning your self-awareness journey): http://thedailylove.com/ .

This snippet is a taste of Mastin’s wisdom, preceded by a fitting quote – which are offered daily to set the tone for the TDL blog.  More importantly, this is insight into how Mastin lives: life is too short, and simply too precious- – and FUN to live inauthentically.  In his own words:

“F-ING DITCH PLAN B!!!  Go ALL IN on Plan A!
Plan B is an f-ing distraction from your dreams!!!”

Also, find 25 minutes to watch the video below the article – you won’t be disappointed.  It’s proof that there is a sincere movement to shift consciousness to live more authentic lives, how Mastin’s efforts are a part of that, and how a strong, LOVING relationship is not only healthy – but just really cool!
(Disclaimer: video is uncut – unedited version of the above quote is included!)

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Is this Relationship About Love…
or Comfort?

Comfy or worn out?“You must constantly ask yourself these questions:

Who am I around?

What are they doing to me?

What have they got me reading?

What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming?

Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay? Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”
Jim Rohn

Many of my clients come to me because they are in a relationship crisis. Most of my clients are women, and some of them, when they are in a relationship crisis, feel as if they have done something wrong. Their partner is telling them that they don’t recognize the person they are in a relationship with. At first, before we go a little deeper, some of my clients feel as if they are the bad guy.

Imagine who you could be.

But – upon further investigation, we see that the cause of the relationship crisis is that my client is choosing to grow and their partner is choosing to stay the same. I say it so often, but I say it because I feel like I want this to be one of the main mantra’s TDL provides you – relationships are containers for growth; just because relationships end doesn’t mean they were a failure if you learn the lesson that the relationship was meant to teach you. I repeat, RELATIONSHIPS ARE CONTAINERS FOR GROWTH!

So what happens is that we meet our partner at a certain level of growth and we are with them, we change, we evolve, we grow and at some point, we have a choice – we can grow together or we can grow apart. Most couples do not consciously make this choice. Most couples “slide” into this place and all of a sudden a relationship crisis blooms. And then wedead end roses ask ourselves the famous lyrics from The Clash, “Should I stay or should I go?”

This is a tough question to answer. And there isn’t a cookie cutter answer, either. But what I can say is, ask yourself these questions if you are considering leaving a relationship – “Is this relationship serving my empowerment?” and “Am I serving the empowerment of my partner?”

The answer to these two questions, if you are REALLY honest, will get you far. Oh and here is one more: “Am I in this relationship for LOVE or for comfort?” A lot of people stay in relationships that don’t serve their empowerment because it’s comfortable. But, as we have learned (and preach) at TDL, choosing the comfortable path isn’t always what’s best for us and it’s rarely what our SOUL is calling us to do. Our SOUL is calling us out toward adventure to learn, to risk, to dare and to find a relationship where we bond over our power rather than just our wounds.

How's that workin' for ya?Of course we must Love each other, and that includes each other’s dark side. BUT – can you see how bonding over your wounds, over your fears creates a certain type of relationship? You have wounds in common. This is called woundology.

When you focus on and bond over your wounds you are playing small IF you support each other in staying wounded. Can you see the conflict that comes when people bond over their wounds, support each other in staying wounded and then all of a sudden one person wants to grow? All of a sudden the relationship dynamic isn’t the same. One person is growing, no longer the victim, taking responsibility for their life – and the other person is still stuck in the pain of their wounds.

This is what creates many relationship crises. So, if you are in this place either in a personal or professional way – ask yourself:

“Was this relationship created because we bonded over and supported each others wounds? Did we support each other to stay wounded?”

“Is this relationship now serving my empowerment?”

“Am I serving my partner’s empowerment?”

If you were TOTALLY honest with yourself, what would you say? And knowing this, what would you DO?

A few affirmations for you:

What's it gonna be?I attract relationships and business partnerships that serve my empowerment.

I am worthy of being happy, simply because I exist.

I celebrate taking steps towards my empowerment and let go of what no longer fits.

Love,
Mastin

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Mastin and partner Jenna give us some insight into who exactly brings The Daily Love into our lives, and what their personal relationship has both contributed and gained from this project of self-awareness and conscious living. Enjoy!
UPDATE: awww, they pulled the public access to the video – it was so good!

audio

Mastin Kipp is the founder of TheDailyLove.com – a website, daily email and twitter account that serves soulful inspiration to a new generation.  Started as a feed of quotes sent to Mastin’s friends, The Daily Love shot to fame after a tweet from Kim Kardashian. And a love monster was born.

Hosting Mastin on her weekly show Super Soul Sunday, Oprah dubbed him an “up and coming thought leader of the next generation of spiritual thinkers.”  Both an honor, and a mouthful.Mastin’s mission is to connect people back to what makes them happy. Happy people make better choices, and better choices make for a better planet.

His book, Float: An Achiever’s Guide to Happiness, is due out from Hay House in February 2014.

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