Kick Start

Sometimes I just need to reboot.  Know what I mean?  Life gets in the way sometimes.  We get caught up in everybody’s issues and lose focus.  When it happens what do you do?

I have to have music.  The music effects my mood more than anything else.  There are rare occasions when I just can’t find the right music.  That’s when I know I need a distraction, the kind that will trigger my OCD and keep my brain occupied.  You may have heard me say that we work through our issues in our dreams, when the subconscious mind takes over.  Same concept.

I have been working on a jigsaw puzzle the last few days.   Yes, it’s taking days… Damn thing has no border.  (Thanks, Cindi!)  While it’s driving me insane and ruining my eyesight, it’s also letting my brain work through stuff.  I don’t feel bogged down with the everyday BS.  It works as good as meditating for me.

Once I’m lost in the puzzle, it doesn’t matter what music I have playing.  Believe me, that’s a rarity.  But now that the brain has rebooted, I know what music I want.  This morning it was a capella covers of some of my favorite songs.  Now I’m alternating between metal, rap and dance music.  Gotta have a beat to move your ass to.  Time to get the party started…..

Shattered Glass

We have all experienced the pain of a bad relationship.  What do you do when you realize it’s all gone wrong?  Do you let the negative emotions direct your actions?  Or look for something positive to inspire you?  Do you let the fear of more damage prevent you from taking chances?  How do you overcome the damage and move on?

In order to grow as a person you have to learn from your past, including what you may feel were mistakes or another’s mistreatment.  Let me clarify something for you:  FORGIVENESS is not the same as FORGETTING.  There are some injuries that you will never forget.  But it is possible for wounds to heal if you forgive the person who caused them.  Don’t laugh… I’m serious!

You need to recognize the cause of the damage.  If you’re doing something to put yourself in harm’s way, you have to learn to control your own behavior.  But what if the hurt was caused by someone else?  You need to define that person, what behaviors of theirs were so destructive.  And then you need to forgive them.   Carrying around that baggage will only do more harm.  You don’t have room for any happiness if your damage is taking up so much space.  Once you let go of it, those old wounds will heal better.

When you take a look at those wounds, you also need to look at your own actions.  A long honest look in the mirror can be as painful as those wounds if you are truly honest with yourself.  You did not expect to get hurt.  You did not ask to be cheated on or disrespected.  Sometimes we know the pain is coming and we do nothing to stop it.  It’s not unfounded to feel like you let it happen.  But you have to forgive yourself if you are truly going to heal.

Not all people are out to treat you like the people from your past.  Don’t expect them to act that way.  If you keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, all you do is draw negative energy around you and get negative feedback.  If all you seem to catch are bad fish, maybe you need to try a better bait.  Give people the chance to prove that they are capable of respecting and loving you.

Each of us needs to realize that we deserve to be happy and loved.  But if you carry all that negative baggage around, your hands are full of crap.  Let it go so your hands are open and available when something good does come around.  Scar tissue can build a cage around your heart.  You have the power to release yourself from that cage, that pain.  As long as you carry all the baggage other people have piled on you, they control your happiness.

Push their voices out of your head and think for yourself.  Take back your control.  It’s time to take a good look in the mirror and come clean.

Danger Zone

Unless you have a conjoined twin, there is not another person you can’t live without.  We are all somewhat capable of feeding, dressing, housing and entertaining ourselves.  So what attracts us to certain types of people?  Let’s revisit my friend Judy, the Enabler….

What attracts her to married men?  What is it she’s looking for?  She wants companionship and friendship without all the trappings.  She likes having the whole bed to herself, having no one to answer to, living life on her own terms.  She doesn’t need a man to take care of her, but she does like some attention from time to time.  The few men she’s been involved with have been her own enablers.

For Judy, a married man is dangerous,exciting, convenient.  The threat of being caught adds to the tension.  You might think the man’s schedule would dictate the whens and wheres.  But Judy controls that.  If she wants to go away with him for the weekend she can.  If she wants to walk away from him she can.  There is no obligation beyond not telling.

Sometimes Judy is attracted to a married man because he fits her familiar routine.  but sometimes it’s simply because they enable her to live her life the way she wants.  It’s not out of some sense of vengence for being cheated on, it’s simply convenience.

If you believe in Karma you have no use for revenge.  Whomever cheated on you or hurt you will get their comeuppance.  Revenge is a waste of energy you could be using to carry your baggage to the curb and take a step outside of your comfort zone.

So what should I tell Judy?  Yes, my opinion is important t her, evidenced by our many late-night conversations and this very trusting statement: Use me as an example for your blog.  But I’m not her momma.  I don’t necessarily agree with it but I understand why she does it.  She doesn’t have to answer to me.

What I want to tell her is not to fear finding that excitement with a man who may be available for more.  Look for a man who can give her the companionship she wants while giving her the space she needs.  The important thing is to be honest with herself and be happy with who she is.  Many situations can offer the excitement she looks for.

Trust me…

What defines a healthy relationship?  Friendship, trust, companionship, passion, emotion.  It’s difficult to find all of these things in another person.  Sometimes we take a ‘3 out of 5’ compromise and hope for the best.  But is that really being fair to ourselves?  Why settle? And why do we accept that as an option?

You may think the reasons people do things are so many and varied it would be impossible to generalize them.  And you’re probably close to right.  But there are some common themes.

A friend of mine is a good example of these themes.  Let’s call her Judy.  Judy only dates married men.  This is a defense mechanism, a built-in obstacle.  She doesn’t have to fear being hurt because there is no commitment, no emotional investment.  It also means there is no chance at complete happiness because the man is unavailable for that type of relationship.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is putting their own obstacles in their path.  Judy does this.  If a man gets too close, her children become the reason she can’t get deeper into a relationship.  The kids need me, I can’t meet tonight.  When the kids are grown I’ll look for someone.  An occasional evening is a lot safer than a lifetime.  If things get too intense, she steps back into the familiar.

Another way we stay in that comfort zone is to enable people to behave the way we feel safest with.  Judy fears getting hurt by a potential partner.  So she seeks out men who are not available for more than friendship with benefits.  She has no commitment to anyone, but she will help them cheat because she knows what behaviors to expect.

Sometimes people throw a wrench into the plan.  Judy had one suitor who offered to leave his wife for her.  After the initial Oh $#!%, Judy turned him down and walked away.  She doesn’t want a relationship with a cheater.  She’s aware of the inherent dangers of a cheating partner.  That’s why she keeps them at arm’s length.  Granted, some people can break old habits, but in general once a cheater always a cheater.

In my last post I mentioned people who are continually getting hurt by putting themselves in the same type of relationship over and over again.  It’s the same thing as Judy.  Fear of stepping out of that comfort zone drives her back into old habits.  Losing someone hurts.  Seeking out that pain will not make you happy.  Happiness is in letting go of those fears and inhibitions.

Can you trust yourself?  That is really the question.  Can you be honest enough with yourself to see the patterns in your own behavior?  Do you want to put your hand in the flame and get burned again?  Respect that pain but don’t fear it.  Fear of a thing will control you.  You have to break the old patterns and trust yourself to take a step in a new direction.  Lying to yourself won’t get you anywhere you want to be.

Fruit Loops

Let’s face it.  $#!% happens.  Not every relationship we have, romantic or otherwise, works out the way we want it to.  Families have falling-outs.  Friends drift away from each other.  Lovers lose the flame.  It happens.  Life goes on.  Do you?

Regardless to how a relationship ends, we take away both good and bad memories.  That’s normal.  What most of us don’t see is that we tend to fall back on those familiar patterns.  We seek out what we know from our past because it’s not as scary as something new.  I’ll give you an example….

Most of us know someone who has been in an abusive relationship.  The only way to break the cycle of abuse is to get out of it.  But when the reality of life without those behaviors sets in, the abused will seek out the same type of relationship because it’s familiar.

A similar example would be the person who gets cheated on repeatedly.  Every relationship ends because their partner cheats.  They expect that behavior and unconsciously seek out and want partners who will fulfill that pattern.

Insanity is performing the same action over and over expecting a different result.  If you put yourself in the same situations you’ve been hurt in before, you will get hurt again.

It’s scary to step out of that comfort zone and try something new.  I don’t want to have to change.  But if I don’t then no one will.

Yes, It’s Monday…

On the typical wall calendar Monday is not the first day of the week but the second.  So why do people hate Mondays?

Granted, it’s the first business day of the week.  In today’s economy, having a job to go to on Monday is a good thing.  Besides, that paycheck makes it a lot easier to enjoy the weekend.

Of course, if you have too good a weekend, Monday could mean you’re hung over.  It’s not any fun to work when you’re trying to recover from too much fun.  Then again, if Saturday is your party day and you still feel it on Monday, maybe you’re getting a little too old to party that hard.  Just saying…

It’s not like Mondays come as a surprise.  We know it’s going to happen every week.  And we generally know what to expect from our jobs on that first day.  Those who work weekends like Mondays because it means time off.

Kids hate Mondays during school because they hate homework.  Either they didn’t do their homework over the weekend or they’ll be getting more for the week.  But they still know it’s going to happen after every Sunday.

Do we really hate Mondays as much as we think we do?  It may be the most under-appreciated day of the week.  Think of Mondays like Jimmy Buffet does.  Come Monday, it’ll be alright…

Fear Not

Do you know why you can’t seem to keep those New Year’s resolutions?  Because you’re afraid of the commitment.  You have to make a commitment to yourself to keep that resolution.  That’s a scary thing to do.  But if you’re too afraid to commit to yourself, how can you commit to someone else?

A commitment between two people can mean many different things.  What it boils down to is an agreement between two people to put some effort into being a couple.  [Don’t confuse this with compromise.  That’s a totally different beast.]

I think it’s important to have some ground rules for this experiment.  Blending two lives together can be dangerous so it’s good to be careful.  Agree to disagree.  We can’t agree on everything.  What would we talk about?  It’s okay to like different things, different people.  Don’t expect a person to give up their friends to be with you.  That’s not fair to anyone.

It’s important for two people to remain two individuals while celebrating the things that bring them together and exploring the new territory of their differences.  Our differences don’t have to be fuel for arguments.  It’s what makes conversation interesting.   If we are always in each other’s space agreeing on every little detail, each person gets lost in the WE.  The relationship will run you to ground, leading to resentment, arguments and unhappiness.  Differences are what make each of us unique and attract us to each other.  They should be celebrated and respected.

What if one of you has kids?  When do they become part of the commitment?  Or do you keep them a separate part of your life?  Our family and friends are part of who we are.  They should be shared and celebrated as well.

Before we get lost in the details of togetherness, you have to get to the commitment.  How do you know if you’re ready to take that step?  How do you face that fear?  Are you the frequent flyer who offers the whole tamale to anybody who stands still long enough?  Or do you hold out until the one you want seems so far away you have to pray for a miracle?  Maybe you’re so afraid of taking that step that you hide from making the decision while opportunities pass you by.

Some things we know without doubt.  Get gas when the tank’s on E.  Answer the phone when it rings.  Dial 911 if you can’t stop the bleeding.  Can we ever be sure we’re ready?  Maybe not.  But I’m willing to take that chance.  Even if it scares me …