Friday, September 27, 2013

I Didn't Love My Wife When We Got Married, by Elad Nehorai.

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:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

10 Signs you've found your calling, by Lisa Rankin, MD.

How can you tell if you’ve found your calling? As a doctor who was called to medicine at a young age but then wound up disillusioned by the system, questioning my calling, I’ve asked myself this question a lot. It’s been a long strange trip- first leaving medicine, then feeling called back, then leaving again only to find my role in healing our broken health care system as a writer, speaker, revolutionary, and teacher of physicians. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things about how to know whether you’re on the right track.

1. You’ll realize you’ve been training for your calling since the moment you were born.

Even the gritty things, the disappointments, the regrets, and the screw ups, they were all prepping you for what you’re now being called to do. You’ll realize that the divorce, the bankruptcy, the death of your loved one, the failure, the rejection- it was just school, teaching you the lessons your soul needed to learn in order to be who you’re being called to be.

2. Mystical things will start happening.

You might be tempted to write them off as coincidences, only they’re too perfect, too exactly what you need in that particular moment, too much like miracles to call them accidents. The synchronicities will fill you with a sense of wonder, because they’re proof positive that you’re being guided, that you’re not in this alone, that Someone is moving mountains to ensure that your mission is a success.

3. When you get off course, you’ll get redirected.

Doors you longed to walk through will slam shut. If you take the wrong fork in the road, your path will be littered with barbed wire and mustard gas and dragons and sharp knives lining the path. You will get the hint that you’ve made a wrong turn, steering yourself off course from your date with destiny, when the journey becomes a relentless struggle.  The deal will fall through. The money will run out. The mentor who’s been providing the magical gifts won’t follow you onto the wrong path. People won’t sign up. You’ll be rerouted just as magically as you were steered to your calling in the first place.

4. You’ll be guided by ease, even in the face of obstacles.

When you find yourself struggling to get through an obstacle-ridden forest, it can be hard to tell- is your commitment just being tested, or have you veered off course?  Obstacles can be part of the growth process, the cultivation of your inner hero, a necessary part of your hero’s journey. But they can also be signs that you’ve made a wrong turn. How can you tell the difference? The guidepost you can trust is a sense of movement towards ease. If the challenges are mounting, things are getting worse, one hard struggle is piling upon the other, you’ve probably gotten seduced off course from your true calling, and the Universe is just waiting patiently, twiddling Divine thumbs because you have free will, but never giving up faith that you will find your way back to your calling, which will always lead you to your own holy grail. When you’re back on track, things start to flow again.

5. Magical mentors will appear just in the nick of time.

Just when you need it most, the right people will show up, with just the tools you’ll need to support you and your journey in an almost mystical way.

6. Your health is likely to improve.

A strange but welcome side effect of finding your calling is that your health is likely to improve. You may notice fewer cravings for unhealthy foods, you’ll have more energy for moving your body, aches and pains that used to plague you might disappear, you’ll feel less tired, and chronic illnesses you may be battling may start to get better.
Take Andy Mackie, for example. At 59 years old, Andy Mackie had undergone nine heart surgeries and was taking fifteen medications to try to keep him alive, but the medicines left him feeling horrible, so one day, he told his doctors he wanted to stop the drugs. They told him if he did, he would die within a year, so Andy decided if he was dying, he wanted to do something he’d always wanted to do. So he took the money he would have spent on his medications and used it to buy 300 harmonicas, and he gave them away to children, complete with harmonica lessons. The following month, he was still alive, so he bought another 300 harmonicas. Thirteen years and 20,000 harmonicas later, Andy Mackie finally passed away.

7. You may find that money flows in just as you’re ready to throw in the towel.

I’m not suggesting that you won’t wind up in debt or staring at an empty bank account when you used to have a full one or even bankrupt. But if you’re on the right path, you won’t wind up living under that freeway overpass near what used to be your house, and you may find that money appears almost magically once you’re really right in the dead center of your life’s purpose.

8. You may feel strangely peaceful, even when you have every reason to be anxious.

Everyone around you will likely think you’re crazy. A part of you will agree with them. But a wise inner knowing, that part of you I call your Inner Pilot Light (link), will be so comforted by the fact that you’re finally on the path to your purpose that you may feel unusually calm- until your rational mind kicks in.
Our souls long to express what we’re here on this earth to express, and when you finally fall into alignment with your calling, your soul does a little happy dance.  It may appear as if everything else in your life is falling apart, but you’ll have this sense of peace, a huge relief, that at least- finally- you know what you’re called to do.

9. The Universe will roll out the red carpet.

When what you’re being called to do is what is needed for the highest good of all beings, the Universe will bend over backwards to hand you whatever you need on a silver platter. No request is too small. A copywriter may volunteer to help you just when you were thinking you needed to write a sales page. Someone will donate a printer when it’s time print a flyer. You’ll feel so supported, so lucky, that you’ll know you’re on track, even if you’re not quite clear what you’re on track to do.

10. Your people will find you.

Few can fulfill a calling alone. Most of us need a tribe to lift us up as we do brave, scary, world-changing things. But don’t worry. When you’re really on purpose, your people will find you, if only you’re courageous enough to be vulnerable about what you’re being called to do.

Do Any Of These Sound Familiar?

Have you found your calling?  Or are you still looking for it? If you’ve found your calling, YEAH! The world needs you! Blessings to you on your hero’s journey.
If you haven’t, don’t worry. We won’t leave you hanging. Martha Beck, Amy Ahlers, and I recorded a free 90 minute teleclass to offer you tips on finding your calling. (You can listen to the recording here.) We’re also about to start a whole program Find Your Calling: Awaken Your Life Purpose, Clarify Your Vision, and Do Your Soul’s Work. Read more about the 7 week teleclass series and sign up here.
Trusting your journey, wherever you are,
Read the original post, here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Spiritual Awakening: From Victim Consciousness to Source Realization, by Lynne Forrest

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

How Emotionally Mature are You in Love?, by Gina Hardy.

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: 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: About Gina Hardy: 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