Tag Archives: Love

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

2 May

I don’t know if it’s the email spam lists I’m on or where I hang out (the beach) or what’s on TV (I seldom watch) – if you’re not coupled up, you just don’t count.  In the news, the debate about gay versus straight marriage has become tantamount as if marriage and coupledom is the only way of life.

But consider that with over 1/2 of marriages ending in divorce, and an equal split between singles and married adults in the US and one has to wonder why the 50% of singles are nonplussed.  When I survey most of my single friends, many would prefer to be in a committed loving relationship to being alone and would love to find love (wouldn’t we all!)  One friend of mine is miserable because she loves many male friends but professes that she really needs to be “in love.”

The pursuit of love (in my estimation) is a red herring – looking to “find love” should be a misnomer because love is all around us (and in us).  Romantic love (the kind in the movies and fairy tales) is fun, often fleeting, but it is only one kind of love – one that depends on another to fulfill us.  That’s where the problem lies – reliance on anyone other than ourselves to feel love!

Having been married half my life to someone who truly loved himself (and I him), I am discovering that the key to true love can only be found through “selfless self-love” – truly accepting oneself for the combination of beauty, faults, strengths and weaknesses we see in the mirror.  Many grow up without the self-esteem to know that we need to be attracted and attractive to ourself first and foremost before we can truly share love with anyone else.  Yet this is the ultimate truth – self-love is the root of happiness!

I frequently quote don Miguel Ruiz’ The Four Agreements because I truly admire and embrace the essence of his work.  The First Agreement “Always live with integrity” truly expresses the core concepts behind self-love.  I used to think that this agreement simply meant one should be honest and ethical – but that is so far off!

“Always live with integrity” means never, ever say anything to yourself that you would not say in love to a best friend.  So, the “I’m too sensitive, too xxx, whatever” needs to be banned forever from one’s vocabulary (both to yourself or to others!) and replaced with “I am who I am and I love me.”  Taking care of oneself first is like putting on your own oxygen mask first on an airplane – it allows you to function AND be able to share with others!  For me, this was an incredible concept as I was always told (and taught) and experienced that I had to give before I received.  Yet, by not giving myself the love I truly deserved, I gave away my sustenance and what I needed to truly survive.  Self-love is not selfish, it is selfless and necessary!

If you’ve read this far (and I’m almost done my rant for the day!) – you might be thinking that I am professing to become as narcissistic as the person I am no longer with, but this is wrong. Or you might be saying “how could you grow up without knowing self-love and putting yourself first?” (It happens to more than me, I guarantee it!)

I’m not saying one should become obsessed solely with oneself, but rather that finding love in the world means starting with truly accepting and loving ourselves.   We truly deserve our own true love.

So, what’s love go to do with it?  Loving yourself in all your splendor is the right thing to do – and once you’ve mastered that – love has found YOU!

Have a great week!

Carol

Is anything “real” these days?

6 Sep

 

 

The internet has spawned an “International Attention Crisis” where people worldwide are addicted to constant (24×7) updates and instant gratification by social media, email, voice mail, and other “indirect” (i.e., non-face-to-face) contact with others.

 

Walk into any restaurant, bar, coffee shop, or even car, these days and you’ll seldom find anyone to talk to – in person that is – and you’ll find the same with everyone else.  It’s as if we’ve all become zombie slaves to our electronic connection tools.

 

Sometimes I wonder if there is really any communication happening in person today… except on reality TV shows where fantasy and reality blend seamlessly to convince us that non-communication in our homes and personal lives is okay.

 

Tell me what is real and what is fantasy in these situations:

 

– People sitting at the same table in a restaurant or bar (who are in-person friends) all texting others who are not there;

 

– Drivers in cars watching their smart phone screens instead of traffic all around them;

 

– Children who text their parents from their rooms instead of walking into the same room to talk;

 

– Facebook members who brag about having 5000+ “friends” when research proves that the human mind can accommodate a mere 150-or so friend relationships;

 

– People who call out or disrespect others using Facebook because they lack the guts to communicate directly;

 

– Unlimited texting is more popular than unlimited talk on cell phones;

 

– Twitter is replacing email systems as the preferred method for some corporate communications;

 

– When you meet someone they ask you if you are on Facebook or Twitter before they ask for your phone number or other contact information;

 

– People know you by your photo on social media and don’t recognize you in person;

 

– Interactive voice recognition (IVR) computer systems block access to real people when you need help desk support – sometimes there is no possible way to reach a live human being who can solve your problem;

 

– The only way to bypass circular menu systems and reach a live person at banks or cell phone providers is to say “Cancel service”;

 

– When people say “I’ll call you right back” it usually means they are bored of talking to you and will often text instead of calling back;

 

– “Events” from Facebook or social media fill out your social calendar where you mingle with mostly people you don’t care to meet again;

 

– Life becomes more isolated, more self-reliant, more independent, and less connected (even though it seems you are ultra-connected!)

 

Perhaps it is a sign that I am getting old, but I long for the days gone by when people went to restaurants and bars to meet and mingle rather than post photos and check-in on Facebook.  I’d like to go out “with” people who are not tethered, have a real date with a guy who isn’t constantly checking his email, and have good conversation with friends who are truly interested in my life and vice versa.

 

While it does happen from time to time, the reality is that nothing that was real yesterday (true communication, compassion, connection, and genuine interest) is real today.  Technology is supposed to be a communication “enabler” but I’m wondering just what kind of “enabling” it is really doing to our life today.

 

Is anything (or anyone) real these days or are we all living in the fantasy of virtual communication?

 

Wishing you genuine connections with real-life people!

 

Carol

 

 

If YOU believe it, it is so…

10 Jun

All of our power of creation is invested in our belief, and because we believe it, that’s the way it is.
– don Miguel Ruiz

No truer words were ever spoken!

All one needs to do is to watch any elected politician (even if you do not agree with them), passionate preacher, evangelist, terrorist, judge, etc. to know passion does not lie.  What we believe to be true is the bedrock of our very foundation – and, even if such belief is based on total malarkey or fiction, if we believe it, it is so.  Passion and perception (in the absence of facts to the contrary) become reality.

What does this mean in the grand scheme of our lives?

It all comes down to another quote:

“Whether You Believe You Can, Or You Can’t, You Are Right
Henry Ford

My biggest learning in life to this point (I am at middle age) is that it is only your own opinion that matters in life.  (This is absolutely a polar opposite to how I was raised (and in my long-term now defunct marriage) where my opinion (and intuition) were secondary to others who “knew better” and would love me if I agreed with them.)

This is my three-part (big) piece of advice to anyone who will listen:

Trust YOUR instincts and your intuition first – no matter what others in your past (yesterday and before) told you to do! 

Love yourself for who you are (even if it means that others withhold their “love” from you.) 

If you realize that your intuition is dormant (it may have been squashed or never allowed to grow) – start today to listen to your higher being.

When others (whether they love you or not, and whether they are well-intentioned or not) cast judgment on your life..

or your behavior or your plans or your thoughts (heaven forbid!) – it is up to you and you alone to close the screen door and not allow such negative energy to enter your being.  Negative energy will always be a part of life, but it doesn’t need to be a part of you!

Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know… because you never had the chance (until now!)

Sometimes when you’ve grown up under the influence of others who insisted they knew more/better that we about what was best for us, you never realize that there is any other way.

If you were born into judgment, you learned to give away power and control early – maybe even before the age of reason. Why? Because it was easier to agree than fight. (In the typical “fight or flight” situation, if we are too young to fly, have nowhere to fly, and no way to win the fight without being rejected, we learn to override our intuition.) Then by the time we are four or five, we are already conditioned to believe that one choice (submit and agree) results in love, while others do not. We gain approval, acceptance and hopefully, love, when we agree with the dominating (and usually well-intentioned) mother, father, grandparent, or another.

I am probably a very slow learner, but up until six years ago (my divorce) I never realized this. I spent my life seeking a personal path that would please (or at least not raise the ire) of my husband, my parents, and often, emotionally abusive friends.  Because I am an independent thinker, an individualist, and a survivor, I faced a constant internal battle between my caged intuition (which did not agree with the martyr behavior of taking care of everyone else’s needs first) and keeping the peace (and being “loved”.)

How does Submission and People-Pleasing become a(n unhappy) Way of Life?

For me, submission began with a strict religious upbringing where one choice was possible – ever.  My parents would love me  if I followed their dogma, their interpretation of organized religion, their path in life. Opposition was considered an affront and rejected outright.  In my marriage, when there was disagreement, my spouse’s way of dealing with things was similar “your perception is wrong, that is not the way things are … and I can bring in witnesses who will prove me right.” End of discussion.)

For years, I sought approval (which equated to love and affection) by agreeing and acquiescing to “mandatory” church attendance, strict partisan beliefs, my spouse’s views and choices, and generally squashing down my intuition.  I was woefully unhappy, but felt that I was “loved.” I believed this all to be true, and therefore it was.

And I believed it was so, for so many years…

Looking back, I don’t know why it is remains difficult to forgive myself for being asleep — for the years where I overrode my intuition and higher power in exchange for feeling loved.  In the process of giving first to others and seeking to be loved, I neglected loving myself.  I believed then that I would never know love unless I put others first (even at my own expense.)  Thankfully, I could be myself in my business – and ultimately this freedom to be me led me to find a new path (and new beliefs).

Today I believe that the only authentic true-love (without conditions of any kind) can be attained through self-love. (Because I believe it, it is so!)

I believe the best choices for me come from my higher power and my intuition, not from others who purport to love me if I agree with them.  I also believe that inner peace, free from conflict, is the path to happiness (and I am happy!)

What do you believe (that might hold you back?)  Are your beliefs truly yours or are they beliefs you agreed to long ago as dictated by others?

Wake up to a New Life and New Beliefs!

My awakening, to the realization that I gave up my power and control to others, was life-changing.  While my road to authenticity and living with integrity is like climbing a mountain, (my daughter once told me after my divorce that to “reach the other side, you have to go through a lot of fire”) – I am grateful to finally have my intuition firing on all cylinders and directing my life.

As I continue to wake up even more to being under my own control (instead of the Stepford-like control of others) – life gets better. I believe in the power of the Royal We (me, myself and I), and… life is good!

What do you think?

(While I may not choose to allow your opinion to influence my life, I still like to hear how my readers think!)

Carol

Thoughts become words become actions become… destiny?

8 May

I confess that I am sometimes a “serial” blogger in that I post, post, read other blogs, think, post…

One blog I subscribe to is about Expatriate Experiences (I live my Expatriate life-to-be vicariously through her experiences) and today’s post is worth sharing with you:

I’ve heard this many times:

“Thoughts become words.  Words become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become character.  Character becomes destiny.” (Source Unknown)

Read the post and let me know what you think – can we alter our present and our future through the power of (positive!) words?

Have a great day!

Carol

Saying NO to saying yes – a Survival Guide

7 May

There are two types of people in the world – those who say “no” and those who say “yes” as a matter of upbringing, personality, habit, or need for acceptance.

Stereotypically, the people who say “yes” are women who were raised to go with the flow, be service-oriented, don’t rock the boat, and the best one – take care of others before you take care of yourself.  Many of us learned and believed that the latter was our lot in life playing a support role to the world.

One of the most powerful self-care words in the English language is the word “no” (even when your first inclination is to still say “yes”) because it allows one the space to consider our own wants and needs first (which is the way it always should have been) before accepting the needs of another to override.  Much of my adult life has been spent saying yes: yes to children, yes to a spouse, yes to volunteer roles, yes to school, yes to friends, yes to everyone – and, no to myself.

In some ways, it is dishonest (and poor communication) to say yes, when no is what we really need to say (to survive!)

Finally, having read enough survival guides, I realize that “no” is a critical survival technique that should be taught to girls (especially!) and boys everywhere – we only have one life and one person (me) who will take the care to make sure our needs are actually met.  Everyone else wants to make sure their needs are met first!

But for every opinion, there is someone who dissents…

It comes as no surprise that the number of opinions in society at least equals the number of blogs online (gazillions!), but today’s post from a blog I read weekly took me aback.  You can read it yourself by clicking on the image below:

WOW – how completely opposite!!!  (But not surprising when you consider the writer is male.)

When you read the outlined paragraph, it falls along the lines of how I believe that my generation (end of the boomers) in North Americans are raised: boys were raised to take care of themselves, and girls were raised to take care of – well – everyone (except themselves).

In other words females are raised to put others first (in John’s blurb above:  “What’s in it FROM me”) to our detriment.  As a habit, putting others first without consideration of how it will affect one’s own (mental, physical or emotional) health is sheer suicide!  As a matter of survival, saying “no” more often allows us to be 1. Honest with what we can or cannot do; and 2. survivors by saying (finally!) “what’s in it FOR me.”

Having grown up with three brothers, I also saw that the natural tendency was for boys to be raised with the right survival mechanism – in boy scouts the mantra was “be PREPARED” or in other words, take care of yourself first (what’s in it FOR me.)

Why is there gender inequality?  Who knows?  But the best way forward is for everyone (regardless of gender) to take care of their own needs first (see Put on your Own Mask first) so that NO is an option, and not rotely saying YES and regretting it.

What do you think?

Related posts:

I “no” you’ll find a way to have a good week!

Carol

 

 

Judgment or admonishment, excuse me either way…

13 Apr

Do you ever feel like you just want to be accepted — or left alone?  There are times when I get tired of having others reject, correct, chide, or otherwise disrespect me, that I wonder if it is worth meeting new people.  Is this what life is like for anyone else?

I make an effort to tolerate others “ad nauseum” (it just doesn’t make sense to get upset over little things in life), but it is not reciprocal.  Sometimes it is hard to keep up the good fight (being tolerant), when others seen to tolerate nothing (and then insist on telling me.)

I try to follow the motto “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” – and yet most people disagree.  I often am told off if I glance in the wrong direction (according to them.)  If you are a reader of my past posts, you might sense my growing frustration with how there is so much judgment and so little acceptance in the world today.

This week it started with a Facebook post…

I shared a quote (picture at left) on my Facebook wall and in turn, several friends shared it on their wall.  Different people commented – most agreeing with the sentiment – except for one who wrote:

” I understand the wrong of being judgmental. But to never judge doesn’t ring true does it? Quoting from “http://www.tldm.org/News6/judging.htm” Those without convictions proclaim a mistaken notion of tolerance: But ‘tolerance’ can be a genuinely harmful force when it becomes a euphemism for moral exhaustion and a rigid or indifferent neutrality in response to every great moral issue—when, in G.K. Chesterton’s phrase, it becomes the virtue of people who do not believe in anything.”

Holy Schmoley!

It always surprises me how religious zealots will cite scripture to justify why they deserve to confront (and judge) others about their choices.  While such people spout words of acceptance (“God loves everyone…”), they are typically intolerant of anyone who does not share their beliefs.

When religion and righteousness enter the conversation, logic often seems to exit. We end up with bullying behavior from adults under the guise of “I am compelled to save you (from your own misguided way of thinking)… because I know better than you what is right!”

Argh – I hate that!   It is like saying “I accept everyone for who they are, but I simply will not tolerate anyone who is not as righteous as me!”  (It reminds me of a notepad I saw once depicting a crotchety an old woman ranting “There’s nothing I hate more than intolerance!”)

You have a right to your opinion, as long as you agree with me…

I realized that what bothered me about the comment was that it felt too familiar. My parents use guilt and scripture as rationale for their non-accepting, strongly worded opinions, and incessant chiding (verbal spanking). It makes no difference to them that I am a good person with high morals and values, it only matters if I follow their edicts.

You might think, after decades of guilt mongering, I would have figured it out.  I COULD be loved and accepted if I could just fit into the first communion dress I wore as a child. It will never happen, and I am happy and healthy loving myself.

Today, I live thousands of miles away, yet my father continues to send me (dis)missive emails.

You might recognize the pattern of the email:  “Dear Carol, How are you?  I hope you know how much you are hurting (or how much suffering you are causing to) <insert family member name here> by <insert unrelated behavior here>.  You know that God would want you to <insert their recommended behavior change here> because He says <insert convenient bible passage here>.”

Fight or flight (or fright?)

I have learned to ignore such rhetoric until it escalates with follow-ups.  At some point, I end up confronted with the primal “fight or flight” response, and neither renders a good outcome.  Fight means a showdown of religious righteousness that I am unwilling to wage (it is a no win).  Flight ends up being a chase where I am eventually caught to further face guilt-laced “gentle correction” to save me from the fires of hell.  Why so much judgment when there is so  much goodness to accept?

Judgment or admonishment – who needs it?  Please excuse me either way…  I am living a good life, and no matter how much judgment you heap on me, I’ll still tolerate you.  What do you think?

Have a good week!

Carol

Unconditional

5 Apr

Unconditional…

A Dr. Suess concept concocted as a dream, half-baked, and fed to the masses eager for acceptance and love.

Whoever says life in any way is unconditional has mastered self-love (which can be unconditional), and accepts the world at face value and the terms it presents.  Relationships with others are, at their core, conditional on what each party can get out of it.  When one party’s conditions are that the other give completely (while they take completely), the relationship ends. Sometimes conditions are parasitic, sometimes symbiotic, sometimes conditions change. But there are always conditions.

Love is based on relationship(s). Life is a complex web of rules and conditions.  Always changing, morphing, ebbing and tiding.

Not bad, not good, just is. Life is a conditional reality.

Have a happy day – and love yourself for the wonderful person you are!

Carol

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