17Sep

Being Loved Changes Everything

Being loved changes everything.  Yet, it’s one of those things you know after you don’t know.   What I mean by that, is that if you are loved and then live with an absence of love, you realize how important being loved is.

Being loved means that everything that you do and say is different.  You walk taller, you talk easier, you give more freely.  This change in you, changes what people see in you.  When people see your smiles, your confidence, your comfort, they like you more and spend more time around you.  This can affect everything: getting a job, getting a client and getting a promotion.  This can affect whether people cooperate with you or do not.  Cooperation may seem small within an incident, but over time, it can change the way you live your life.

There is no way to earn love, you will be loved or not.  Love has a life of its own.  Parents fall instantly and ridiculously in love with their offspring.  You may meet someone who spontaneously inspires love in you.  You will love your parents – like it or not.  You will not always love good people.  Your love will not always be rewarded or reciprocated.  In many instances, love happens to us, we don’t know what happened and suddenly the love is there, engulfing and enfolding us.

Being loved gives us strength when we doubt, gives us confidence when we fear.  No matter what happens to us, if we know that we are loved, love gives us strength to endure, to survive, to thrive.  How many times did I tell myself while living alone in a far-away city “I must stay safe, my mother would be unhappy if I was hurt”?

You may not be able to earn love, but being loving is the best way to find yourself loved by another.  For some reason, loving others, draws love to you.  When you decide to love, it flips a switch in your perception of the other.  Suddenly, the spoiled behavior becomes understandable; the angry behavior is obviously hurt and not meanness.

This is why being loved is so wonderful, because you know in your soul that whatever you do, no matter how harsh and ugly you may be, the love remains steadfast and clear and true.

05Aug

Love and Faith

The very best gifts that you can give to yourself are love and faith.  Do it.  It’s important.  You can have some of mine if you need it.  Take love and faith from me, I will give it to you.  In the end though, you must give it to yourself.

02Aug

To the Woman Complaining because of Criticism that She Doesn’t Want Children

Look, I know you are upset because of all of the personal questions and negative feedback.  I have always felt put-out that my lifestyle is a bit different and people don’t like different.  We all want to validate our own lifestyle and so we are full of compliments for folks who mirror our lifestyles.  When people do not mirror our own lifestyles, we want to know why and/or ask them to justify their life position.  It’s a human issue, not a particular issue in relationship to your decision not to have children.

It’s not about that, you are personalizing a universally human condition to be right.  Let me just get you to the other side of your question: why do people want to have children?  Let’s ask the justification question from the other side.

I’ll start with some personal stuff: I’ve never been moved more powerfully by anyone over my children.  I think it’s in the DNA, we procreate and we are sincerely in love with our creations.  It’s the kind of love that mesmerizes us and follows us and consumes us.  For years and years we are romanticized by this love and we will go to the ends of the earth to make our passion worthwhile.  We continually work for and teach our offspring.  We want them to be brilliant, beautiful ad successful.  We will invest millions in our offspring’s life to assure this success.

Parents are, however, very clumsy.  Sometimes we do a good job and sometimes we do not.  Sometimes the DNA is just not going to work and our child may have handicaps, both seen and unseen, such as mental illness or developmental disabilities.

I think what people are really saying to you when they question your decision to not become a parent, is this; you will never find a greater love, a greater task and a greater challenge.  You will be forced to learn all kinds of things that you have no interest in knowing, but you will learn because you have to.  You will be motivated in a way that you cannot now imagine, but once you are there you will not know how life was life without your child.  It is a giving that has no boundaries and a taking that does not end.

If you do not have a child, you don’t get the experience.  It is possible that other experiences will be just as wonderful and just as awe inspiring and just as enduring.  Parents just want you to know that you might be missing something.

25Jul

Love Disappointment

Have you ever loved someone (I’m talking family and friendship love) and no matter what you do, or how you treat them, they just reject you and your efforts?

It is sincere from the standpoint of honesty, at least they do not pretend to want to spend time with you.  When they rebuff your invitation, at least you know that they are candid and forthright.

I may wonder why they will always reject me; I may question myself “What did I do to cause this?”  No communication will ever come, this fact is well established and does not regain consideration.

Still, I cannot stop feeling disappointed.  I love this person; I want this person to love me.  The fact that my love is not reciprocated, in no way changes how much I love.

I am stuck here with love disappointment.  At least, it is genuine love and genuine disappointment.

28Jun

My Husband Sees Only Good in those He Loves

My husband sees the best in everyone that he loves. No matter what they do, if he loves them, they did the right thing.
If he loves you, he defends you. He can do this to the point that he makes things up in his head. In my husband’s mind, you are wonderful, so of course you must have sent a thank you card (even if you didn’t). He will give you credit for the thank you card because he loves you. Plain and simple.
When I was younger by 20 or 30 years, I thought it was important for everyone to see truth and to be only honest. Brutal honesty with self was the only way to have successful relationships (or so I thought). I gave classes on how to be genuine, because I myself thought that the world had given goodness to each and every individual. Teach people to be genuine and to be open and accepting because everyone is basically good and therefore your experiences will be good.
I might have argued with my now husband, back then. Ironically, back then I thought I was a great person arguing for honesty. What would be honest about casting aspersions on a kid who forgot to send a thank you note? What would we gain by thinking of this kid as lazy or ungrateful? Now I know I would never interrupt my husband’s train of thought. I like it that he believes that his loved ones are wonderful people. I like it that he sees his loved ones as making the very best effort in every case. Of course, I am his beloved.

12Apr

Gloria, the Sentinel, Guardian of our Hearts

When you walk through life, there are sentinels.  Sentinels stand guard over us to keep us safe.  Gogi’s job was to guard hearts, and she did.  She guarded everyone’s hearts, not just her family, not just her loved ones, she loved everyone and so she loved us.  You may gain people for your family, you may lose people, but your sentinel is always there.  That is who the mothers are, sentinels for our hearts.  Gogi took this job so seriously, and stayed with us, regardless of our situations or our lives.  I am sure that she became weary towards the end.  But she did not stop guarding us, ever.  Gogi, go peacefully, we will take up arms, you have loved all of us for so very long.  Rest now and receive from us, our love to you.  We love you Gloria and we will not ever forget your love, nor will we forget how you guarded our hearts.And Daylight Turns to Dark

20Mar

She Was Crying

She was crying and at least part of what she was feeling was relief that she could cry.  She hadn’t cried in over a year and was beginning to wonder what had happened to her feelings.  Crying was a kind of reassurance that her feelings still worked.

All of her beliefs about herself had centered around being the strong one.  She was this in spite of a hostile environment that promised to ravage her.  She felt like she had worked her way through that environment into a more friendly and genteel place.  This was an enormous accomplishment: to leave the world of the single divorced mother struggling with a son with addiction problems.  Her world had become so small as to include only this one son and nothing else, of course, he was the one who ravaged her checkbook.

She left that world to become a married woman and importantly, to leave behind those intense economic struggles that left her without enough resources to make it through to the next paycheck.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with eating peanut butter and jelly for dinner…

She had to make a commitment that the kids who had left childhood many, many years ago, did not need her, nor her pitiful economic sacrifice.  They were fully adults who actually did much better on their own.  It was a strange commitment because, once again, it was her identity that she was losing, her life’s work, her purpose.  She was making the necessary adjustments for healthy living for everyone, but it wasn’t making her happy.  For a few years, she felt afloat.  It was her husband who anchored her life and her feelings now.  This was a new phenomenon for her.  Her husband was one person, and yet, he fascinated her, took all of her attention and even made her efforts worthwhile.  Once again, it was meaningful to cook, to do laundry, to nurture and nourish another person besides herself.   Thus fulfilled, she flourished.

Many years ago she had accepted the fact that she was a bit different.  For the most part, she felt that this centered around IQ.  Sometimes, her being different had caused discord in her life.  She always felt smug about these encounters and moved on from them.  She was always the boss or the boss’s wife and could move through any self doubts quite easily.  There is so much in life and in popular culture that attacks a person’s individuality that she could look beyond it all and point to her happiness.  That historic happiness had always centered around her children.

She was never someone who could transition from one mode of life to another with any degree of ease.  Life brings transitions a plenty and they just keep coming whether we want them or not.  This latest transition from “mommy” to “not-mommy” seemed to be the harshest life transition of all.

She had successfully navigated that transition and in her new life she no longer had the coping mechanism of happiness with her kids.  She was forced to find her own happiness in other places.  Loving her husband was very fulfilling, but seemed like a guilty pleasure rather than a purposeful activity and she suffered some guilt in exchange for her happiness.

So now loomed those discordant differences in her personality: with no backdrop of purposive happiness.  She had to question why people did not like her.  For the most part, she didn’t care, not everyone has to like you for you to have happiness.  She dismissed those that she labeled Philistines and those who would never impact her life, and still, still there were those who are close who did not care for her.

In a hostile world, one does one’s best to keep self intact without pain or injury.  The problem being that a caring person, (she thought) could get her feelings hurt with this dislike and discord.  She had some defense mechanisms, she kept her husband’s love close to her chest and when she needed strength, she would wear a piece of jewelry that he had purchased for her, or perhaps stare at her wedding rings…

There are times, when perhaps, it is all just too much.  The world snarls at you one too many times, your close person dislikes you and wants to be sure that you know that you are disliked.  It is at those moments when it falls down, when personal difficulty is bountiful and it is finally possible to cry.

06Feb

If You Are Going to Hate Me…

I wish you would get to know me first. You can’t imagine my dismay when I found out that I was an enemy to you.

How?

Why?

I searched my memory, what did I do? Did I say something that would hurt your feelings?  Did I make the wrong remark at the wrong time?  I looked inside myself for resentment towards you, to see if something hurtful had slipped out.

I did not find any resentment; I’ll admit, I did not notice you very much. I was so busy with my own life; I had no idea about yours.  I was prepared to learn about you and to care about you.  Our lives had collided and I was looking forward to hearing your story.

You stayed quiet, reserved and away from me. Then I learned that you had done and said bad things about me and to me.  We never even talked.  What happened?  The worst part is, I don’t know what happened.  Because I live and breath responsibility, I tried to blame it on myself.  I questioned and blamed and worried.

Wait,

You hating me and not knowing me, means that this is all about you and myself is not even in the mix. You hating me is all about you and your own anguish and pain.

So never mind, it is better that you do not know me and yet you hate me. I know that it is all about your own poisoned heart and really has nothing to do with me.

30Jan

What Matter, Kindness?

Kindness, Why is that a Difficult Concept?

Many years ago in my speaking days I gave an inservice to some convicted felons who were working towards recovery.  Anyone who has even been around a criminal knows that jail brings you intimately close to cruelty and violence.  The other hall mark of the convicted felons is their story.  The story is that it is not their own fault and that another has caused them to behave in a certain way.  This is probably part of the pattern of criminal behavior ~ a feeling that you are not in control of your self and that others can control your behavior.

In any case, we discussed the concepts surrounding domestic violence and one of the concepts is this idea that another person deserves bad treatment because you are upset.  Some people actually believe that their own anger or pain entitles them to hurt other people.  As you can imagine several people in the audience were very uncomfortable with the discussion of these concepts.  That was a long time ago, and indeed, feels far, far away.

Now it seems that society is much more in tune with the concept of owning their own feelings rather than believing that another person has caused them.  No one ever has the right to purge their anger on someone else, and yet over and over again, they do.

Whatever another person does, it is no more than your perception of their behavior.  You are incorrect if you believe that it is about you.  Your behavior is always about yourself, your feelings are always about yourself.

So what matter, but to be kind?  Why “purge” on another human being?  Why not step back, and breathe, even when you think you are being hurt by another, why not step back and breathe?  The truth of the matter, is the who you are is you.  It is always up to you to be kind or not, it is never up to another whether you are kind.  Take control of who you are, your behavior, and be a good person.

No matter what has happened to you, no matter what hurtful childhood you have had, you are a bad person if you treat others badly.  If others have brought you pain, it does not give you a free ticket for cruelty.  You are still a bad person, if you are mean and hurt others.

19Dec

Have You Ever?

Have you ever had someone in your life that you try hard for: you spend money and you work hard and then… Because they have a picture in their mind of perfection, they can never appreciate you.  You will never compare favorably to the person that lives in their head.  You can tell that your sincere efforts are being dismissed and invalidated and maybe you wonder what you have done wrong?  Don’t concern yourself, seriously, there is no hope that you will have an authentic relationship with this person.  Let them go.