I’ll Be Okay…AFTER The Anger

When you go through a hard time, it’s not always easy to remember to think before you act. All you want is for the pain to just stop so you can be okay again.

Step one in getting to the “Okay Zone” is to breathe. The restorative quality of just simply focusing on your breathing and nothing else is highly underrated. The rate of our breathing is greatly tied to our emotional state. For example, when you’re angry, your adrenaline is up and your breathing becomes very fast and erratic nothing else matters other than why you’re upset. You don’t want to be calm; you don’t want to be rational. All you want is to feel some sort of recompense for what you’re going through. We can’t let ourselves be ruled entirely by emotion. We must allow ourselves time to reflect and to calm down.

When you’re upset, and hear someone tell you to calm down, you feel that person is against you and taking the side of the person(s) who wronged you. What is usually the case; however, is that that person is trying to reduce your pain and back down any thought racing through your head of hurting yourself or others. Let’s face it, your anger justified or not, only really hurts the person expressing it. You can only go forward. You can’t undo what’s already been done. You do have the choice of your solution. You can remain angry and go over that situation over and over in your mind until you live and breathe your pain in anger. In this instance, it will consume you and put you on the path of no return. Another choice would be to go to an objective party to talk your situation out. There is nothing like a new pair of eyes to look at a situation to maybe show you something that you missed or help you to be more objective about it. This way, you have a better chance at repairing the breach or getting some sort of relief from knowing you did everything you could and can move forward. The other solution is to just let go. You push the situation from your mind and move on. What’s done is done and there’s nothing else to do. There’s no examination period in which we explore motives and analyze actions. We just accept that it happened and go on with our lives. In a lot of cases, this last example choice would be the healthiest. It may seem as if it’s just a “quitter’s option”, but there’s a more positive way in seeing this. Instead of losing yourself in the other person or the situation, you’re focusing on yourself and your emotions and reactions.

You can’t change the other person or what happened, but you can control what you do and what will happen moving forward. You can look at your feelings and your reactions and figure out what’s best for YOU. One thing we lose sight of during emotional upheavals is that “I matter too”. It’s easy to let ourselves get lost along the way. The hard part is to keep at the forefront of our minds the truth that we matter, our feelings matter, our thoughts matter, and our existence is for more than just someone else’s amusement.

 

Love: A Field of Dreams?

One thing that seems to be a common vehicle of relationships is a “field of dreams approach” to happy ever after. I don’t disagree to this approach on the face of it; however, I do disagree with how most people “build their fields”. I believe that honesty is the undisputable piece of land that all relationships must be built upon. Love can be a wonderful thing, but it also one of the most powerful. Love is blind, a chameleon, a veritable jack of all trades that can be a master of someone to the point that nothing else matters than the object of that love. When this happens, the field of love becomes obsession. This obsession is usually based on a tunnel-visioned dishonesty. By this, I mean that the “obsessed one” is so full of their own feelings that they feel that the feelings are mutual; but that for whatever reason, these feelings are not out in the open. So they build a life based on what they feel the one they love need or want whether they actually have the encouragement or not.

Building a relationship should be a team effort. It should not be a “let me build a life for them and let them come to the realization that THIS is what they want”. It should be based on honesty (self and with others), respect, affection, communication, and mutual love. If there are red flags, don’t ignore them. Face them head-on and determine whether or not they are deal breakers. If they are, move on; if they can be worked on, get some objective help and work on those problems together.

When building something yourself, the work may be hard but the finished product brings satisfaction. When building a relationship, sharing the work can be a little trying at times because let’s face it, nothing and no one’s perfect; but when you keep communication at the forefront and let each other know that you’re there for one another, the finished product can bring even more satisfaction. Just keep in mind that the finished product is a constant work in progress just like the people working on it.

The building starts with you and needs to move on to include who you want with you on your field of dreams. Start the building with self honesty and when you’re ready for company, don’t forget to send the invites!

How To End A Relationship

This week’s post by staff writer Rigby Rat discusses the proper way to leave a relationship.

 

The best way to end a relationship is amicably.  Meaning, don’t do it during an argument, or if you are emotionally overwrought.  Also, make sure you’re breaking up not because of an emotional knee-jerk reaction, but because you have fallen out of love and can’t reconcile your differences.

 

If you’re one hundred percent certain it’s over, then let her down gently, honestly, and succinctly.  Discuss only YOUR feelings.  “I’m hurt because you cheated on me.  The best thing for me to do is to move on, move out, and start my healing process.  I’ll be moving my things out tomorrow.”  No need to discuss or harp on any other past issues.  If her cheating on you is the straw that broke the camel’s back, then that is the issue you make her aware of by briefly stating your feelings and your intentions.  If her response is to turn the tables, she might say: “What about you?  You’re never home.”  DO NOT fall for this type of verbal volley, or engage in it.  Instead, pay the check and leave.  (If you drive to the restaurant, make sure you take two cars!)

 

Another way a relationship ends amicably is when the wrongdoer owns up to her indiscretion and allows the other person to move on.  My friend Kat did just that.  She and her boyfriend, Kevin, had a very civil conversation over dinner at a local restaurant.  Kat offered Kevin his space to heal.  He declined, saying it was over.  Although devastated, Kat respected Kevin’s decision.  He helped her move out, then cut off all contact with her.  Kat and Kevin’s mother, however, remained friends and kept in touch.  Kevin immediately fell into another relationship that lasted two years.  One day, Kevin and Kat bumped into one another at Kevin’s mother’s house.  (Kat was visiting with her infant daughter.)  Kevin told Kat that if he had to do it all over again, he would never have broken up with her.  How unfortunate for Kevin that he didn’t take Kat’s suggestion that they take a break from one another so that Kevin could heal.  Live and learn, guys!

 

So, how do you end a relationship?  With finesse.  And if you truly don’t have the skills to handle such a delicate situation, DO NOT take this personal dilemma to your guy friends for advice, or help.  Instead, contact a relationship counselor for the tools to make the parting of the ways less traumatic for her, and you.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

How Women F**k-Up Men

This week’s post by staff writer Rigby Rat focuses on why some men have problems with communication in relationships.

 

It starts when he’s a little boy.  The first person who wreaks havoc on his young impressionable brain and heart is – you guessed it – his mother.  One way she forever changes her son: with her stinging, manipulative words.

 

I was at a friend’s backyard swimming pool.  Her sister, Rita, was there.  Rita’s five-year-old son, Max, was standing on the diving board, crying.  He did not want to dive off and into the deep end.  Rita said this: “What are you afraid of?  Be a little man and dive off!”

 

Max looked to me for help.  Rita immediately saw the connection and ramped it up.  She said, “What’s the matter, you can’t be a little man like your father?  You’re pissing me off.  Just jump!”  On that manipulative note, the frightened Max – tears streaming down his red cheeks – dove into the pool.

 

That day, Rita got her way, and Max learned four things:

 

1.  That if he doesn’t allow a female to get her way, he’s going to get verbally and emotionally beat up.

2. That if he doesn’t allow a female to get her way, he won’t be looked upon as “manly”.

3.  So, not to anger a woman and keep the peace, he should always cave.

4. When you cave to a woman, you hand your balls over to her.

 

The sad thing about this scenario is, Max is growing up thinking all women operate like his mother.  Because he thinks this way, and because his mother isn’t teaching him how to express his feelings – or express them appropriately – Max has ceased expressing his feelings.

 

When a man doesn’t express his feelings, we are led to believe that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

 

Men are not from Mars. They come from their mothers’ wombs.

 

Baby boys are born able to express their feelings.  Max was.  I saw his tears.  Sensed his fear.  How come his mama wasn’t being receptive to Max’s feelings, desires, and needs?

 

While Max stood crying on the diving board, Rita bullied her son.  Boys should never be bullied by their mothers, fathers, or coaches.  They should never be manipulated into burying their feelings, wants, or desires.  Instead, they should be encouraged to express their feelings – especially fear – without being judged weak.

 

Now you know where your guy’s deer-in-headlights look comes from when you’re having that big blow-up.  Blame his mother.  Now you know why his communication skills are lacking.  Blame his mother.  Now you know why he hasn’t any balls.  Blame his mother.  Now you know why the only way he expresses himself is with anger.  Blame his mother.

 

On the flip side, guys, once you’re finished blaming your mother, unlearn the behavior mama taught you: clamming up and caving.  It’s never too late to restore what you were born with: the ability to express your feelings.

 

 

 

Avoiding The Inevitable-Part 2: Guilt

This week, staff writer Stephany Salinas continues her “Avoiding The Inevitable” series with: guilt. Most of us have tried to avoid an inevitable break-up because we didn’t want to be the bad guy. But did we feel guilty because we didn’t want to cause our significant other heartache or because we didn’t want to be the target of an emotional hell storm?

 

Last week, I wrote about the familiarity aspect of a relationship that holds you back from doing the unfortunate task of breaking up with someone. This week, I’ll share with you yet another reason why people find it hard to break-up; Guilt.

At one time or another, most of us have been in a relationship where we just didn’t reciprocate the feelings of our significant other. They may have been crazy in love, head over heels for you, but the it wasn’t mutual. Yet, we continue staying in relationships like this because they make us feel better about ourselves. Who wouldn’t want a relationship that’s based around them, right? Wrong. It gets old, quick. When you become someone else’s world, you soon realize that the pedestal you’re on is pretty lonely, and boring.

It starts off great. You meet someone, and they’re so sweet, it’s unbelievable. In reality, it IS hard to find someone who is genuinely doing things out of kindness of their hearts and/or because they care about you. Let’s face it, the dating generation of today can be quite selfish, clueless, and careless. That being said, when you DO find someone who is willing to cater to your every need, you’re drawn to it. It starts off small and normal, with surprise lunches, cute texts saying how much they miss you, and all that adorable fun stuff that everyone shamelessly likes in the beginning of a new relationship. You see them constantly, because being without them sucks. You still get those funny feelings when you’re around them, because everything is new and exciting. You’re still learning about this person, and it’s fun. This is typically known as the “Honeymoon” stage. The stage every couple goes through.

Then, of course, the honeymoon stage is over. At this point, you ask yourself if you really like this person, or if it was just the thrill of meeting someone new that was exciting. Unfortunately, this is where things USUALLY get messy. Who knows, maybe you both decided, “Meh, it was fun, see ya later!” In a perfect world, all break-ups would be like that. Alas, we all know this world is far from perfect.

At this point, you’re still wondering if this is something you want to continue. Because you’re unsure, you’d rather stay in the relationship than potentially lose something you actually wanted to keep. As you continue through the relationship, for however long, you start to notice certain things that are suddenly annoying or unappealing. Whether it be physical traits or characteristics, you find yourself wanting to spend less time with this person. If you make it clear that you’re bored or unattracted to them, they try even harder to get your attention. That’s when you realize that you’re just not into them.

This actualization, like the realization of familiarity, may be sudden or gradual. For me, it was gradual, and a complete accident. Not only was I falling for someone else (a friend at the time), but I started realizing that I didn’t care about him anymore. I didn’t want to see him everyday, and I didn’t want him to accompany me when I went out with friends. His quirky literary imagination suddenly became annoying, and his obsession with wanting to be with me every chance he got went from being romantic to creepy. What’s worse, is every time I wanted to say something, I thought about all these romance novels and movies, and how what this guy was giving me was what every girl wanted. So why didn’t I want it? Why was I so different?

I wasn’t. I wasn’t different at all. I just wasn’t in love. At this point I realized that this guy was nuts about me, and I didn’t even remotely feel the same way. Now, I find myself to be a pretty nice person, and I try my best to never hurt anyone’s feelings, so I found myself stuck in a position where I was just clueless. How do you go about bringing up a conversation that you know is going to break someone’s heart? And this isn’t just a “maybe”, no, it’s a sure thing. His heart was going to be broken, he was going to be in pain, and it was going to be my fault.

So I did the worst thing possible; I waited. I waited and pushed it off as long as I possibly could, because for a moment, hanging out with him for a couple hours a day was bearable, compared to the heart break that I was eventually going to have to put him through. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the other guy I had started to get feelings for was still around, but we never did anything behind future-heartbroken boyfriends back. Cheating is for cowards.) So, I spent my days trying to avoid hanging out with my own boyfriend. I would make up excuses and say I was busy or had a lot of work/cleaning to do. After a few weeks, I realized what I was doing was even worse than breaking his heart. I was letting this guy think that everything was okay, and that I still loved him. I was leading him on, and that’s one of the worst things you can do in any relationship.

After I grasped this concept, I knew what I had to do. However, I was still struggling with how to bring about such a painful conversation, until our very last argument (as a couple).

I remember the exact moment it happened. I was outside tanning, and had been trying to make plans with my family. When I tried discussing these plans (that didn’t involve him) with him, he got upset. He was catching on. He asked why I had been MIA lately. I was concerned about leading him on and him thinking everything was okay, when, in reality, he was confused. That part of the relationship where you don’t know if everything is okay and you feel hurt and confused, that’s what I was putting him through.

At that moment, I knew I HAD to do it. I didn’t care about breaking his heart anymore, because what I was doing by procrastinating was even worse. So I called him and did what I had to do. Over the phone, it’s not too bad. It’s when I saw him in person a couple of hours later that was difficult. Looking into watery, heartbroken eyes is not an easy task, but one that you may have to endure during a break up. So we talked for about 45 minutes, which mainly consisted of him asking “why?”

Why? How do you tell someone you don’t love them? It’s tough. It’s extremely tough. Honesty can be extremely painful, but it’s a huge weight off of your shoulder, and a soon-to-be open door to happiness…with someone else.

So after a couple hours of dealing with the questions and anger from him, I finally felt free. I was happy. And honestly, that’s what matters most.

Never let guilt prevent you from ending a pointless relationship. The only way a relationship will be successful is if YOU are happy. If you’re not, realize that it needs to end, and that prolonging the break-up process because you feel sorry for the other person actually makes you pretty thoughtless.

At Last-A Tribute to Etta James

We all have a desire in the back of our mind to find “The One”. We are specially tuned to the one person who makes us feel that at last our true love has come to us. We know deep within us that there is a waiting, a holding of our breath in anticipation of having our days alone at an end. All these feelings were very uniquely captured in the classic song “At Last” by Etta James. I want to welcome you to dive into the heady rush of finding true love and enjoy a truly wonderful song by a truly wonderful artist.

 

Formed

The beauty of love is that it can be formed and reformed. The pain of love is that it is as fragile as clay. This is a poem I wrote about my feelings about love. Enjoy!

We all start as a ready glob

Waiting to be formed

Some are shaped by experiences

Some shaped by the people

We let in by our need

We are hardened by the fire

Of expectations and disappointment

We require special handling

For we all break

Some, more easily than others

Some, when dropped

Crumble to pieces

Will it be too late to be reshaped

Or are we now the sand

Of time and waiting