I'm a ridiculous, emotional, over-sentimental sap. I guess that's why I told my wife I loved her on our second date.
I had tried really hard up to that point to hold it back, honestly. I wanted to tell her on the first date, but I knew that would probably be weird.
I still remember her reaction. She kind of gave me this half-shy, half-amused smile. Then she nodded and looked off into the sky.
I wasn't heartbroken by the response. I think part of me recognized that she was much smarter and more modest than me.
But as time has gone on, I also realized that she knew something that I didn't.
Like most Hasidic Jews (we both became religious later in life), our dating period lasted a very short time. After two months of dating, we were engaged. Three months after that, we were married.
And that whole time I was swooning. This fire was burning in me, a fire that burned just like that second date: I was in love.
But then we got married, and everything changed.
Marriage, quicker than I was ready for, did this thing: It started sucking away that emotion.
I tried so hard to keep that fire going, to keep that emotion alight, but it got harder and harder.
I mean, how you can feel that burning love when you're sitting at the table discussing how to use the last $20 in your bank account?
How can you feel it when you get into an argument?
How can you feel it when you think it makes perfect sense to put your socks on the floor after you're done with them, and she has this crazy idea that they need to go in the laundry basket?
There was no way I could keep that dating fire burning as practicality invaded our lives.
And at first, it drove me nuts. That emotion meant love! That excitement was how I knew I cared for her! But suddenly, life was this grind. Even when I was with her. Especially when I was with her.
And even worse, it seemed that the harder I tried to be sentimental and lovey-dovey, the less it was reciprocated.
But it wasn't that she wasn't giving me love, it just seemed to come at different times.
Like, when I offered to do the dishes. Or make dinner after she had a hard day. Or, once we had a daughter, when I shared the responsibility of watching over her.
I don't think I noticed this consciously for a while. It just kept happening.
But I think it had an effect on me. Because as our marriage progressed, I found myself offering to help out around the house more and more.
And after each time, there would be this look she would give me. This look of absolute love. One that was soft and so beautiful.
It took me longer than I care to admit to understand what was happening.
But eventually it became clear. Through giving, through doing things for my wife, the emotion that I had been so desperately seeking naturally came about. It wasn't something I could force, just something that would come about as a result of my giving.
In other words, it was in the practicality that I found the love I was looking for.
And what was even more interesting was that once I realized this on a conscious level, and started trying to find more opportunities to give, the more we both, almost intuitively, became lovey-dovey.
And now, as I'm a bit older and a bit more experienced with this relationship, I've finally come to realize something. Something I haven't wanted to admit for a long time, but is undeniable.
I didn't love my wife on that second date.
I didn't love her when we got engaged.
I didn't even love her when we got married.
Because love isn't an emotion. That fire I felt, it was simply that: emotional fire. From the excitement of dating a woman I felt like I could marry. But it wasn't love.
No, love isn't an emotion or even a noun. It's a verb. Better defined as giving. As putting someone else's needs above your own.
Why wasn't I getting reciprocal lovey-doveyness when we were first married? Because it wasn't for her. It was for me. An emotion I had in my chest.
And even when I let it out of my chest, it wasn't love.
Being sappy isn't love. Telling someone you love them doesn't mean that you do.
And that's why my wife just gave me that half-smile. She knew, even if I didn't, what love really is.
And now that I've tried to change the way I look at love, the more I become shocked at the messages of love I had gotten when I was younger.
From Disney movies, to my favorite shows like The Office, to practically every pop song released, love is constantly sold as an emotion we have before we're married. An emotion that, once had, somehow magically stays within a marriage forever.
I can't imagine a bigger lie. And I'm saddened to think about how much those messages bounced around in my head for so long. And how much I'm sure those messages are bouncing around in other people's heads as well.
I think that might be a big part of the reason the divorce rate is so high in this country. Imagine a whole nation of people constantly chasing the emotions they had when they were dating. A country of people trying to live a Disney movie.
That's a recipe for disastrous marriages; for a country with a 50 percent divorce rate; for adultery (the classic attempt to turn the fire back on); for people who do stay together to simply live functional, loveless marriages.
It's sad to see just how common all the above is. How many people are in pain simply because they've been lied to.
Those people deserve better. We all deserve better.
It's time that we changed the conversation about love. It's time that we redefine it.
Because until we do, adultery will continue to be common. Loveless marriages. Divorce.
Living Disney movies in our minds, and tragedies in our lives.
Elad Nehorai is a writer living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Five years ago, he became a religious Jew in the Chabad Hasidic community and has since written about his experience extensively, most recently in his blog Pop Chassid, where this post originally appeared. He's also the CMO of a startup called Charidy designed for people who want to help give to nonprofits. You can find him on Twitter as @PopChassid and Facebook.
See the original post, here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elad-nehorai/i-didnt-love-my-wife_b_3908956.html
Friday, September 27, 2013
Sunday, September 22, 2013
1. You’ll realize you’ve been training for your calling since the moment you were born.
2. Mystical things will start happening.
3. When you get off course, you’ll get redirected.
4. You’ll be guided by ease, even in the face of obstacles.
5. Magical mentors will appear just in the nick of time.
6. Your health is likely to improve.
7. You may find that money flows in just as you’re ready to throw in the towel.
8. You may feel strangely peaceful, even when you have every reason to be anxious.
9. The Universe will roll out the red carpet.
10. Your people will find you.
Do Any Of These Sound Familiar?
Friday, September 20, 2013
We are each on a journey. In my opinion, that’s why we’re here — to play out in concrete form our own belief systems, for the sake of consciousness, and so that we might learn to adjust our thoughts to a higher frequency and bring an end to our own, self-made, suffering.
Nobody said it would be easy. Earth life is boot camp for the practice of remembering who we truly are. :)
For it is our thoughts that determine the quality of our life experience. Some of our thoughts have been with us since the beginning; they are ‘core’ beliefs, those ever present assumptions, that most of us have never questioned, and that, we believe, define us and the world. Our core beliefs dictate the route and the unfolding of our consciousness journey.
Our thoughts transmit an energy, the frequency of which is then transmitted out to the world around us. The vibrational quality of our thoughts and beliefs exude a magnetic charge (mental energy IS electro-magnetic) that attracts to us the people and events that will, in fact, mirror back to us, in technicolor, (I like to say, “for our viewing pleasure,”) the harvest of our own thoughts and beliefs. This is the way life in Reality works.
Our core beliefs therefore become the vibrational foundation of a psyche that is built on a (most often unhappy) story about who we are and what we can expect from the world. The victim triangle is where that story gets played out. As I’ve said many times, “the Victim Triangle is the playing field for ALL dysfunctional interaction. Moving around the triangle is the way we play out our unhappy core beliefs and prove to ourselves that they are true.
When we are on the victim triangle, we live in a state of , what I call, “victim consciousness.” Dr Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle defines the three basic roles of victim consciousness as the Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer; these roles are actually defense strategies that we resort to whenever we get into believing our unhappy story. As with most defenses, rather than to protect us, our defense strategies simply end up helping us gather evidence for our unhappy story. This is the root cause of all dysfunction and suffering. For those who live in the shadow of an unhappy story about who we are, life becomes miserable, even intolerable.
Most of us automatically believe the unhappy thoughts/stories that we think; it never occurs to us NOT to believe them. It’s all we’ve known or seen. Our parents and grandparents, generations that go all the way back in time, lived their lives blindly believing similar unhappy stories about themselves and the world. They, like us, never questioned their thoughts. How, therefore, were we to know that we don’t have to believe what we think? As a race, we are only now beginning to awaken to that realization. And what freedom it brings when we DO finally get it!
How we prove our life beliefs, whatever they are, is encapsulated in what I call the “Reality Formula™, which outlines in simple terms how we, as humans, set about proving the thoughts we believe. The Reality Formula says this: “When we believe what we think, we automatically feel as if it’s true, and act as if it’s true, which prompts us to react in ways that prompts others to prove us right.”
Interesting, isn’t it, how consumed with being right we are? We are willing to live years — for some of us, our whole life is spent in a miserable competition, set on proving we are right in our unhappy convictions about ourselves and others.
For instance, if Sue believes that others abandon her, she will automatically feel all the feelings that go with that thinking, and she will act accordingly. She will be paranoid and distrustful, always suspicious of their motives, and interpreting their behavior in ways that confirm her suspicions. She may become needy and clingy, hoping to convince the other to stay … however the very things she does to try and keep from being abandoned, actually drive them away instead. Is it any wonder that she gets left, as predicted, once again? What Sue doesn’t see is her own part in the act, i.e., how it is she abandons herself by acting in ways that push her loved ones right out the door! This is one small example of what it is to live in victim consciousness. We blame the world around us for the unhappiness we feel, and remain clueless that it is we who hold the key to freedom and peace, that comes automatically when we learn to question our beliefs.
Once we become aware that we don’t have to believe the unhappy thoughts we think, we have officially, and consciously, begun our spiritual journey Home. This is the long, winding road off of the victim triangle and out of victim consciousness that we each must take, one step at a time, towards higher ground. In the process of awakening, we will move in and out of our unhappy stories, on and off the victim triangle, becoming increasingly conscious as we go, which allows us to reframe our old, unhappy beliefs to a gentler, kinder vibration, opens us to a happier perspective, and makes possible a more peace-filled world.
This then is the path to enlightenment, which is simply to awaken and align, here and now, with Reality, which sheds the light of Understanding upon us. Through its radiance, any and all unhappy story about ourselves or the world is abolished, allowing us to see clearly instead the Truth in the Way things are.
I had the following analogy come to mind as a metaphor for our life journey to consciousness:
I saw the consciousness journey in comparison to being on a road trip and pulling into a gas/convenience store to “fuel up” for the trip. (It is our cravings in life that often determine our stops and starts) We stop, not only because we need to fill up our vehicle with fuel, but because we seek distraction from the long road ahead. We want something to make the trip more appealing, and being relatively new on the road (to consciousness), we seek something “for the palette” in the form of a treat that we fantasize we will find on the aisles inside the store.
This is how we often start out on the road to consciousness. We want to make the trip, but we seek distraction, the easier, softer way of traveling. What we often don’t see is that our so-called treat quickly turns into an unkind treatment of ourselves!
To continue the analogy: We go straight to the candy row and walk up and down the aisles looking for what appeals to our taste buds — we see temptation on every shelf. The seduction of color and promise prompt us to totally disregard the contents or ingredients we are about to ingest; we are not concerned with whether it’s nutritious, or the long term effect on us at all. Our ultimate well-being is ignored. We are looking for a shortcut to feeling good RIGHT NOW and this is the best promise of momentary distraction available to us now. With no regard for possible consequences at all, our cravings take over and dictate our choices.
Needless to say, much of our consciousness journey is spent here on the “candy row” of life — seeking distractions, palliatives that will medicate the discomfort and suffering that goes with believing the unhappy stories we tell ourselves about how hard life is. We want to progress on our spiritual pilgrimage … we have set our intention on movement forward, an essential part of getting there, but at the same time we are easily distracted by the glitter and promise of distractions along the way.
We pay the price of disregarding our well-being in exchange for fleeting pleasures, but there are benefits as well. Not only do we gain wisdom through life experience, but through sampling these distractions, we discover their illusionary nature and become better skilled at choosing eternal things instead. This is what it is to grow up spiritually.
The spiritual path is indeed about the maturation process. Spiritual Consciousness is the mature awareness that allows us a depth of love and compassion for ourselves first, and then for others, that only those who have walked the byroads of life, learned from their life experience, and grown from their own mistakes, can offer.
And so it is for us on the journey to greater consciousness. We are led around by our cravings and carnal desires, with no thought of the cost to us. We simply react to life, with no real thought about what we are believing or why we do what we do. We live in this state of immaturity for a long time … some for life. Never mind, it IS a legitimate stage of the journey, for it is the place of launch. Sooner or later, we begin to make the connection between the suffering we feel and the beliefs we feed ourselves (we see the illusion of what the candy counter offers).
Perhaps you think that from here we should go immediately into changing our ways, avoiding those candy aisles, and never again doing anything that is not in keeping with our highest good, right? Not necessarily so. That is rarely the way it works. Instead, most of us keep right on making those trips to the candy row and suffering the results — but the effect is compounded now because we suffer the guilt and remorse from going against what we feel is best for us. We are embarrassed, or ashamed that we don’t have more control … some of us may go into hiding about what we’re doing. We may resort to denying or hiding or justifying our choices out of guilt, or for fear others may judge us as fiercely as we have judged ourselves for our “weakness.”
These are all common responses on the road to waking up. We see how we shoot ourselves in the foot, but we don’t seem to be able to control it. We resort to feeling bad about ourselves, and think of ourselves as failures that can’t ‘get it.’ But it is actually the design of the road to consciousness, a road full of twists and turns, and double backs, where we get to see up close the workings of our own mind. We lear to meet temptation without self-deprecation, allowing us to learn from our responses, and become kinder and more accepting in the way we see ourselves.
Slowly, as we become more seasoned travelers, however, we learn to witness (developing our observer state) our doings without so much judgment. We grow in experience. From observing the outcomes of our choices we begin to slowly, ever so slowly, make healthier choices. This is what it is to develop an Observer Self, the witness who sees and grows from what is seen, without the need to resort to blame or judgment.
But even when we make better choices, we are often not satisfied. There is an inner craving for immediate gratification that may keep us fixated on the false promises held out by the little rancid snacks in colorful packages, that call out to us to save them from their dusty shelves where they have been stored for who knows how long; it’s the promise of something good, of something fun, that distracts us from the false emptiness of their offering, and promises us fleeting palliative distraction from our story about a monotonous journey that seems to us in the moment to be nothing but interminably long and boring.
This is just like us in real life. We live out our unhappy stories on the drama triangle, and find ourselves drawn to glittering promises of distraction and relief. We often become relentless in seeking distraction and escape from the path we are presently experiencing, simply because we tell ourselves we should be somewhere else, doing something more worthwhile, and then fail to see the immense possibilities offered us in this present moment. As a result, we miss out on the ever present aliveness that only life-in-the-happening moment can offer. Instead we too often settle for rancid candy treats to lessen the sting of not being in the moment.
As we progress (given we choose to progress), there comes a time when we walk right by the candy row, without giving it any notice at all. It no longer holds an interest for us, not because we are avoiding it, or ‘shoulding’ ourselves away from it, but because we are aligned with a higher frequency, and no longer find it enticing.
We have aligned with Reality, and come to recognize false promises for what they are, illusions that provide no nourishment for us. We have developed a taste for sweeter, more sustaining, long-lasting, things, with which no candy counter can compete, and we are no longer willing to settle for less.
This is a good metaphor for the way it is on the journey to Awakening, as I see it. Awakening is a process of learning how to choose what is real over false promises of fulfillment that leave us emptier than before.
I invite you to awaken from victim consciousness by questioning your long-held, blindly-believed assumptions about yourself and life. Allow yourself the process of a journey that takes you a step at a time closer to what’s Real, and to the memory of who you really are and why you are here in Reality.
Lynne is a Reality Guide & Personal Growth Mentor. Lynne was educated through a life time of studying and observing metaphysical life principles taught to her early in life, and learning how to apply those principles to her own life in positive ways. She has been sharing her findings with others and watching their lives transform since the seventies, and has supported herself and her family through a private practice, which was founded on those principles in 1985.
See the original post, here.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Most of my lovely couples come to me in relational angst when their bag of long standing coping “tools” has run aground and they have nothing left with which to communicate their feelings and needs in a healthy way.
Many couples just cope, rather than experience deeply fulfilling and nourishing relationships, because they feel, it’s “better not to rock the boat…”, “it’s easier this way….” “I can’t bear the thought of losing my husband/wife, so I’ll do anything…..” “Well we have kids and so we must stay together…”
Too many arguments or the lack of them, create all sorts of symptomatic behavior of two inner children trying to get their needs met that somehow escaped them in childhood.
Have you ever noticed yourself or others, when you are in conflict, how childish the words and body language is?
“You always do that….!” “You don’t love me…..!” “I hate you…..!” “You never let me do anything I want to do….!”
Tasmanian devil body language, slamming doors, shutting down, throwing yourself on the bed, running out of the house, throwing things, bolting the door, pushing your partner away. The list goes on. Are any of these familiar?
It seems the deeper the conflict the more your inner child will show itself in all it’s stunted glory because what you need the most, is being threatened not to be available.
From the moment we are parted from our mother’s umbilical cord and experience separateness, the inner demons are born. Some spiritual folk say the Light (love) is born alongside the dark (fear). The brain stem or “old brain” as the Imago Relational experts call it, is watching out for signs of impending death, hence the power of this part of the brain and its flight / fight protective response.
As a baby, the feeling of our parents/caretakers being near is of utmost importance. We are safe when they are around. If they are absent, the fear of death is alerted within the psyche and over the years can develop into severe psychological disturbances. Thankfully most of us are not severely disturbed but I do feel we all suffer from some degree of emotional lack of care at some stage in our lives and that shows up like a clear blue day in our intimate relationships for the distinct purpose of healing it and growing beyond it.
The saying goes that you truly connect to your deepest knowing when you suffer and I, for one, know this to be true. I have met people and thankfully for them they haven’t had any great upheavals in their lives thus far, but on another level appear disconnected from the Self. I wonder then that emotional maturity is connected, in part, to how deeply you have suffered in your life time and more importantly what you have learned from your experiences.
Throughout life all we need is love, approval and safety to develop in a healthy way. That’s it, end of. However many of us have not had equals or large measures of all of the above and so wherever lack is felt at whatever stage of growth, we will relive it when we fall in love. How do I know? Because I see it every time I work with couples.
It’s like the mini explosions of the love within, cracks open all the mucky bits that float to the surface for healing and releasing with the assistance, but often not easily, with our significant other.
Emotionally fit people have exercised their emotional muscles. They are able to understand themselves and how they feel in every situation and have learned the art of communicating in a healthy non-threatening but boundaried way.
Intellectual fitness doesn’t mean people are emotionally fit as well. You need to spend time on both. I know many intellectually fit people, who have amazing jobs/careers, but have disastrous love lives!
Some things to spot in emotionally immature people that may not bring you a happy relationship:
1. Age, particularly with men, DOES have something to do with emotional fitness. I have dated much younger men in the past 25 years and longed for an emotional hunk but got an emotional fledgling. No fault of their own, just age and life. Ladies, I urge you. Have a good time but beware. Statistically men are less emotionally mature than women, so chasing after little inner boys when you want a mature conscious relationship, may end in tears after the honeymoon stage transitions.
2. Out of control emotions. Emotionally strong people can look at what’s coming up inside them and be able to articulate it without kicking off. Does your relationship suffer regular rows, nasty words, blame, judgment, criticism or even physical abuse? None of us are perfect and this one sweeps up a whole chunk of the global population because, let’s face it we all judge and criticize every day. Protesteth not! But we can always find the room to work on it. What we judge is in us!
3. Unable to show/discuss feelings – many women will say “oh lord this is so my man!” . It’s interesting thought because many people who remain calm, stoic and won’t be rattled are not necessarily emotionally fit. They speak of being the sensible peacekeepers in times of conflict but will not show up emotionally and explain how they feel. This can be deemed as passive control. Behaviors range from, hiding away in rooms, books, at the pub or on the golf course and avoid talking at all costs. Emotional avoidance doesn’t exercise the muscle; it keeps it limp and weak!
4. The perceived easy life – as described before, suffering generally connects you to the Self. I dated a guy ten years ago, who on the outside, came from a good stable background, but he had experienced little suffering in his 26 years. Not that I wished that on him but when I showed up as Mrs. Emotional Pants, he couldn’t seem to really get how I was feeling when things got tricky. He hadn’t been there and so had no recollection of feeling those emotions.
You could label such behaviors as Asperger’s Syndrome – which in essence is an inability to socially interact. Wikipedia describe it as a genetic disorder which I believe to be a load of baloney, because as Bruce Lipton would correct, these conditions are developed as a direct result of our environment i.e our upbringing.
Exercising the emotional muscles within your relationships can be done in a variety of ways:
1. SELF development – you don’t need me to tell you where to go nowadays but the self-development industry has evolved through people seeking love, safety and approval within themselves. Naturally with introspective processes comes the ability to mature emotionally as you choose to explore every feeling and emotion to their fullest. “Everything is energy” is the growing mantra. What you become, so you attract. Self-development is the ability to turn around on your life path and look at yourself warts and all and to begin to clear out those bits that hold you back. As you heal from the past, so you emotionally grow.
2. Argue – yes that’s right! Arguing exercises the emotional muscles, particularly for those who find it hard to talk. Practice airing your views and feelings. Encourage each other to go for it. To make it more palatable, encourage each other to hold stage and vocalize thoughts and feelings while the other keeps quiet. Want that for each other. Truths rarely come out with people who say “oh we never argue.” No wonder at it that these people often suffer physical ails like migraines, depression and anxiety!
3. Learn to communicate with your beloved in a healthy way. You can get tips and hints on my comms blog: http://www.ginahardy.co.uk/category/communication. In any situation I encourage you to use the following language:
“When you do that darling, I feel sad/lonely/hurt/frustrated/irritated….” “I could really do with a cuddle/some time talking/help with the laundry children etc…..” “What feels/doesn’t feel good for me is….?” Conscious languaging will get you heard in an easier non-threatening way. Be willing always to serve your relationship by expressing what you feel and what you need. Work as a team. So there you have it. A few thoughts and some energy about emotional maturity. Like anything, we need to practice, practice, learn, and learn. The journey of you is indeed the best one you will ever take, so do yourself a favor; help your planet by aiming to be the best you can be. Emotional immaturity causes wars and pain. That’s old paradigm. Belong to the new every time.
---Original post here: http://omtimes.com/2011/04/how-emotionally-mature-are-you-in-love-2/ About Gina Hardy: http://www.ginahardy.co.uk If you would like to try Conscious Dating and want to connect with a community of like-minded souls on the same path as you, visit http://AscendingHearts.com